Tag Archives: traditions

Happy Easter 2012

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Blessings, ~Mrs. R (aka Aunt Mae)

Meaningful Christmas Vacation Activities

We are taking a short break from school work during this Christmas season.  This holiday and Thanksgiving are the ONLY ones we take that coincide with our local public school’s vacations.  After our harrowing experience at the zoo when a large number of government school prisoners children were also there I went back to my calendar and made sure all our vacations were NOT at the same time as our local school districts.

Here are some suggestions for meaningful Christmas Vacation activities.  😀

1) Go through all your Christmas cards and spend time praying for that individual or family

2) Walk or drive to see light displays (you could discuss the meaning of the Christmas star, the wise men who traveled by it, Christ as Light of the World, spiritual meaning of the various colors (white – cleaned from sin, red – sin, green – growth in Christ, etc).  We like to look for Christian symbols in the decorating.  This year we actually saw THREE different displays with crosses as a prominent parts!

3) Write down things & people you are thankful for from the past year on paper stars to hang in the house, then as you are taking down the stars you can pray as a family for that thing/situation or person.

4) sing or play Christmas music in a nursing home or retirement center or go caroling in your neighborhood.  Some of the Christmas carols have some great doctrine in them… some are doctrinally un-sound (baby Jesus did cry, crying as an infant is NOT a sin!)… off my soap box now.  🙂

5) Listen to this sermon audio link  as a family: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=5220621750

6) read all the Christmas story accounts in the bible… don’t forget John 1:1-15!!  Here is a free download from Answers in Genesis – Nativity Booklet available only until Dec 31st!

7) Find a Christmas story read aloud and the younger children can color pages (Little House on the Prairie Christmas section, or others)

8) each person can start writing notes to various people who have had an impact on them over the past year (or more) to be sent out at the first of the year.  Express how much they mean to you, what they did to bless you, how they have impacted your life, etc.  Be specific, use proper grammar, sentence structure and punctuation and your best handwriting!

9) at dinner have each person go around the table telling how each of the other family members have been a blessing to them this past year and try to be specific about something not just generalizations.

10) Make it a day or evening of playing games together

11) do a special jigsaw puzzle together as a family or one set of folks could do the puzzle and another could be playing games and you can rotate depending on your space

12) Take a nature walk to see what animals are about, what plants are out and how the Lord provides for his tiny creatures in the winter.  Gather bits of nature to take home to decorate the trailer and start a Nature Notebook.  Use the Latin names for things in labeling them, draw the bit if nature you brought home, write about the walk and what you saw, etc.  This can then be added to through the year and if you walk in the same general places all year long you can document how it all changes through the seasons.

13) Recite and/or memorize Christmas poems, you could have a poetry reciting evening with Christmas cookies and eggnog!

14) Didn’t get those Christmas cookies baked with your precious children?  Why not do that between the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations??!!  I will be.  I have never made homemade sugar cookies.  I know it is hard to believe, but it is true.  I also want to try decorating them with that icing that gets hard.  I even bought a snowflake ornament to use.  I am so excited about this project!  I also have all the ancient cookie cutters that were my mother’s.  We will use most of them, though Santa will stay in the container as we don’t “do” Santa.  I want the true meaning of Christmas to shine forth.

And of course a poem… you know me and poetry!!

‘Christmas Bells’ poem by Henry Wadsworth

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Merry★* 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★Christmas★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門| ˚And a Happy New Year!!!! 

                                          ~Mrs. R (aka Aunt Mae)

All art from Art.com – for which I am an affiliate.

Snow and Snowmen

I have always loved the snow.  I grew up in northern “flyover” country where it snowed every year and I could pretty much count on snow being on the ground at Christmas time.  And it would be there for a long time… you know, until spring!  lol

Now I live in the Pacific Northwest region where snow is not even an every year occurrence.  When it does snow here, where the cities don’t have any snow removal equipment, the traffic is a snarly mess.  I have learned that, though I took my driver’s test in the snow… 34 years ago… you don’t drive in the snow here!  The un-removed snow packs down on the roads with all the cars driving on it, making it a sheet of ice.  Then you have all the hills round about.  Put those two things together and driving is treacherous.  And most of those on the roads think they are good drivers, but in actuality they are NOT!  Yikes.

I do still love the snow.  It is so quiet when it has snowed.  The ground is blanketed with a fluffy (or very wet…) intricate quilt of whiteness.  All the sounds are dampened, making everything still and peaceful.  And my yard actually looks great covered in snow.  You can’t see the weeds or the bare patches.  It’s all uniform and smooth.  Ahh.  ‘Twould be SO nice would it were so.

Did you know that a single snowflake is an intricate specimen of exquisite symmetry and stunning beauty?  And that there are no two snowflake duplicates?  So no snowflake twins anywhere.  How amazing that the Lord of Creation would put such beauty in microscopic details!  I like to think of snowflakes as ‘snowmen embryos’.

I love watching the snow fall.  And I used to love how the falling snow looked from inside a moving vehicle.  Even now I get an excited feeling when I watch the snow fall.  Maybe this stems from childhood memories of blizzards, hugely tall piles of snow along the streets, snow forts, ice skating rinks in the backyard and snowmen.

putting on the details…

Arrow’s Snowman

These photos are of Arrow’s Thanksgiving snowman.  Yesterday another snowman was built, but the warmer air caused that poor fellow’s upper two thirds to slide and then fall over sideways!  And he fell over before I could get a photo of the guy.   All the “details” are from a ‘Snowman Kit’ I purchased from Land’s End a number of years ago.

One thing I try to do is decorate our family dinner table in fun ways.  Not every meal, but for a fun change.  I have purchased paper plates with snowmen on them (and other designs) and then use those under clear glass plates.  It makes the table festive, yet frugal since I can re-use the decorative paper plates!  We also have some napkins (I have used only cloth napkins for nearly thirty years) and napkin rings with snowflake designs.  I will try to get photos of these and put them into this post.

We enjoy reading books and poems that pertain to the season, weather event or holiday at hand.  Here is a short list of some we really enjoy reading & looking at when it has snowed:

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin


The Snowflake by Kenneth Libbrecht

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehner


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.
This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.

‘The Snow That Never Drifts’

by Emily Dickinson

The Snow that never drifts —
The transient, fragrant snow
That comes a single time a Year
Is softly driving now —

So thorough in the Tree
At night beneath the star
That it was February’s Foot
Experience would swear —

Like Winter as a Face
We stern and former knew
Repaired of all but Loneliness
By Nature’s Alibit —

Were every storm so spice
The Value could not be —
We buy with contrast — Pang is good
As near as memory —


‘A Little Snow Was Here and There’ by Emily Dickinson

A little Snow was here and there
Disseminated in her Hair —
Since she and I had met and played
Decade had gathered to Decade —

But Time had added not obtained
Impregnable the Rose
For summer too indelible
Too obdurate for Snows —


‘Snow Flakes’  by Emily Dickinson

I counted till they danced so
Their slippers leaped the town,
And then I took a pencil
To note the rebels down.
And then they grew so jolly
I did resign the prig,
And ten of my once stately toes
Are marshaled for a jig!


‘Winter Morning Poem’
Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snow men
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over the lakes.
Smooth and clean and frost white
The world looks good enough to bite.
That’s the season to be young,
Catching snowflakes on your tongue.

Snow is snowy when it’s snowing
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.

by Ogden Nash

What books and poems do you like about snow and snowmen?

Enjoy the snow!

Blessings,  ~Mrs. R (aka Aunt Mae)

This post also linked here:

The Easy Thanksgiving or Holiday Turkey

Just like how I make mine… how about yours??  lol


~Mrs. R

Reformation Sunday 2010

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

 A mighty fortress is our God,  a bulwark never failing; 
our helper he amid the flood  of mortal ills prevailing. 
For still our ancient foe  doth seek to work us woe; 
his craft and power are great,  and armed with cruel hate, 
on earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide,  our striving would be losing, 
were not the right man on our side,  the man of God's own choosing. 
Dost ask who that may be?  Christ Jesus, it is he; 
Lord Sabaoth, his name,  from age to age the same, 
and he must win the battle. And though this world, with devils filled, 
should threaten to undo us,  we will not fear,
for God hath willed  his truth to triumph through us. 
The Prince of Darkness grim,  we tremble not for him; 
his rage we can endure,  for lo, his doom is sure; 
one little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers,  no thanks to them, abideth; 
the Spirit and the gifts are ours,  thru him who with us sideth. 
Let goods and kindred go,  this mortal life also;  the body they may kill; 
God's truth abideth still;  his kingdom is forever. 

This beloved hymn was written by Martin Luther.  No, not the Martin Luther who gave the I have a Dream speech!!  This Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483 in Germany.  He was studying to be a lawyer when nearly struck by lightening and became a monk.  He dedicated himself to monastic life.  He describes this time period as “a time of deep spiritual despair”.  He later would say that , “If anyone could have gained heaven as a monk, then I would have indeed been among them”, and “I lost touch with Christ the Savior and Comforter, and made of him the jailer and hangman of my poor soul”.  His superiors believed he needed more work to distract him from his excess introspection and was ordered to pursue an academic career.  In 1508 he began teaching theology at the University of Wittenburg.  On March 9, 1508 he received his Bachelor’s degree  in Biblical Studies.  On October 19, 1512 he was awarded his Doctorate of Theology.

Wittenburg Church Door

Just 5 years and 10 days later is when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenburg church door.  Much of this was a protest to the sale of indulgences.  At the time, the Catholic church was selling forgiveness & salvation to any purchaser.  This is in direct opposition to what the bible clearly states.  It is God alone who grants forgiveness.  The nailing was not an act of rebellion or confrontation, for the church door was like a bulletin board for the town.  This was a learned objection to church practices.  The 95 Theses were quickly translated from Latin into German and then printed (thanks Gutenberg!) and widely copied & distributed.  Within 2 weeks copies had spread all over Germany, and within 2 months it had spread over all of Europe.

Luther’s room in Wartburg Castle

The Catholic church was upset and took steps to silence Luther.  His stand against the church was that he would need to be convinced by the scriptures or by clear sound reason.  The church declared Luther an outlaw.  He was rescued on his return trip home by being “kidnapped” and kept hidden in Wartberg Castle.  It was here that Luther translated the New Testament into German.

One of our church traditions is to have a Reformation Sunday celebration with German food, a quiz, scripture memory recitation and to sing many of the ‘hymns of the reformation’.  One family tradition we like is to watch the black & white movie, “Martin Luther” with Niall MacGuinnis, Phillip Leaver, David Horne & Annette Carell.  A great book to use with your younger children to learn about Luther is: Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World by Paul L. Maier.  For older children & adults there is “From Dark to Dawn” by Elizabeth Charles.

What does your family do to celebrate the reformation?

I pray your Reformation Day is a joyous one!

~Mrs. R

A Spectacular Fall Day

Having a sunny fall day may not be all that unusual for many areas of the country.  Here is the Pacific Northwest a sunny day after mid September is very unusual!

Most days you can not see that there is any mountain anywhere nearby, but today… WOW!

Mount Rainier


Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!

Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!

Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord!

We took advantage of the beautiful sunny afternoon to visit a local pumpkin patch.  These visits have become one of our fall traditions that “Arrow” looks forward to all year.  We have visited many of them over the years.

picked over pumpkin patch

This particular one had added some new features since we were there a couple of years ago.  The courtyard area was now covered in beauty bark and they installed two new play structures for the children.  Added to that there was 5 or 6 photo ops set up!  Very nice indeed.  Arrow’s favorite photo ops were the ones with the antique trucks.

one of the photos ops…

We do not participate in Halloween, but go to the pumpkin patch as a celebration of the change in seasons, and the cool weather that allows me to wear… sweaters!  Though today a sweater was not necessary.  Our one rule is that you must be able to lift  whatever pumpkin you choose by yourself.  “Arrow” met his match today!

“Arrow’s” Acquisition

When The Frost Is On The Pumpkin

by James Witcomb Riley

WHEN the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then the time a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.
They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.
The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover overhead!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.
Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
And your cider-makin’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!…
I don’t know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be
As the angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me—
I’d want to ‘commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock

A simply lovely day.


~Mrs. R