Monthly Archives: December 2008

Draw Near

Draw Near

I’m sure you’ve heard the Christmas story,
They tell it every year,
How Jesus Christ came down to earth,
To banish all men’s fear.

As shepherds watched their flocks by night,
Angels announced Christ’s birth,
“Glory to God on High,” they sang,
“To all men, peace on earth.”

The shepherds knelt before the baby,
Their bright eyes wide with awe,
Then ran excited through the streets,
Sharing news with all they saw.

I’m sure you’ve heard the Christmas story,
They tell it every year,
But often it gets swallowed up,
In gifts and festive cheer.

So take a minute; stop and ponder,
On God’s great gift of love,
He sent his only Son to earth;
From heaven, up above.

Yes, Jesus gave his life for you,
He paid for all your sin,
If you will give your heart to him,
A new life can begin.

I’m sure you’ve heard the Christmas story,
They tell it every year,
But listen now for Jesus’ voice:
“My precious child, draw near.”

(L14)

We wish you all a very happy Christmas and pray that you will know God’s presence and blessing today and always.

Winter days

Officially winter has not yet begun, but if you look out our window, you can see that it is well and truly here.  We have had quite a few snowfalls with more storm warnings ahead  so a white Christmas looks certain.  The days are much shorter.  We find it hard to get out of bed in the dark and to turn on the lights at 4:30 in the afternoon.

The end of the the school term is near and we are eagerly looking forward to a few weeks holiday.  Each of the children have some academic tasks that they are trying to finish by Friday at the latest.  B8 amazed us all by deciding that he would like to finish earlier than Friday and to that end he completed three math problem sets on Monday then two plus a test on Tuesday.  This has never happened before! But now I know it is possible…

L14 is working on her last writing assignment for this year, a Christmas poem and A12 is finishing up a research paper on trench warfare.   Our Christmas preparations are well underway despite the need for school to continue.  On Monday night we picked up a Balsam fir tree which is looking beautiful in our lounge room. The other  night Andrew and I put up lights on our front porch.  It was minus 7 at the time so we kept going inside for a little thaw break.  All the hard work had to be done by Andrew, some on a ladder some on the snow covered rook.  I just stood and gave advice and wondered if the hedge would be enough to break his fall if he slipped off the roof.

Lately, the girls have had several opportunities to play violin in the community .  Today, along with their friends H and P they provided Christmas music for a Senior Christmas Dinner at H and P’s  Grandma’s church.  A couple of weeks ago they did the same for the seniors dinner at our church.  Last Sunday L14 and P performed  at our church’s  Youth banquet.

This time next week will be Christmas Day, which we will be spending with friends we made back in Wollongong when A12 was a baby.  They are in New York now and will arrive at our place on Christmas Eve.  Everyone is looking forward to their arrival.  Like us they have three children, very close in age to ours.  There will be fun and games for sure.

Gingerbread House recipe

The gingerbread we use for our houses is a different recipe to the one we make our cookies out of.  It does not rise and is denser.  When cooked it does spread slightly but not much, which is what you want.

Gingerbread House recipe

4½ cups flour
¾ packed brown sugar
2tsp cinnamon
1½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup butter ( I ended up using a bit more as the dough was too dry to work with )
¾ cup molasses
1 egg yolk ( save white for icing )

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine flour, sugar, ginger, cloves and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Slice cube of butter into 4-6 slices, put in microwave bowl and melt in microwave, about 1 minute on high, it should not boil. Mix butter, molasses and egg yolk together in a small bowl with a fork or large spoon. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until combined. The dough will be thick and slightly dry. ( I used my kitchen aid mixer because it could handle it )

When rolling it out roll it between pieces of parchment, but before you do work the dough in your hands to get rid of any air bubbles. It should only be rolled to ¼” thickness. The best way to guarantee this is to use two pieces of dowel either side of the rolling pin. Chopsticks work too.

Glue icing

1¼ cups icing sugar
1 egg white
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
food colouring

Put all ingredients in a non-plastic bowl. Mix with electric mixer on highest speed until peaks stay when you lift mixture with a spoon, about 5 minutes.

Final Gingerbread Entries

L14 and her friends P and E designed, built and decorated this house.     The group worked really well together as each participant had their own area of expertise which was employed as needed.

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As you can see the scale is quite big, there was definitely the need for a little structural reinforcement inside this one!

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A little frozen creek was added along with the pretzel bridge.

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The final entry  from the Group of Four, an outdoor hockey rink, was made by two of the boys, who did a fantastic job and managed to put it all together  in the shortest time.  It was funny to hear them discussing the details, they were not in the least concerned about how to make the lights stay up, or how to make a gingerbread sign, they were deep in conversation about the exact position of the gummy bear players.  They were setting up actual hockey plays!   I intended to get another picture from the other signs which would have showed the little “Ginger-rena” sign, but I didn’t get to it before it was taken to the competition.  See the little gingerbread zamboni yet to be positioned on the board.

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Gingerbread Church

The gingerbread structures took quite some time to complete, as you can probably imagine.  We had scheduled three mornings but the church definitely needed more time.  Even though all the moms lobbied for a winter scene the girls making the church were determined to surround the church with a spring garden.  We were very impressed with their finished product, especially as it had all been their own design, from sketch and cardboard model through to completion.  By the way the stained glass windows will be shown off with little lights inside.

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Ducks on the pond:

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and graveyard out the back:

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They painstakingly put together the pretzel fence and sprinkled the parsley grass around.  There are also several  garden beds and a bridge over the pond.