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Ruby for Women ―. . . . her worth is far above rubies.‖ Proverbs 31:10 November / December, 2010

 Have a Homemade Christmas!  ―Ditch the Joneses‖  Jesus or Santa?  Mamma’s First Christmas with Jesus  Vintage Paper Dolls  Snowball Ornaments  Family Favorite Holiday Recipes  Holly Berries Quilt Block  Thankfulness and Thanks Living  Reaching Out at Christmas and Beyond  Snowflake Crochet Pattern  Learn to Applique the Simple Way!


Editorial Staff for Ruby for Women

In This Issue . . . Page

Nina Newton, Sr. Editor

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Jackie Ladner, WAHM Business Editor

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Carla Gardner, Health & Wellness Editor

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Heather Miller, Home School Editor

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Laura Day, Story Lynn Mosher, Devotions Editor Keith Wallis, Poetry

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Beth Brubaker, Family Fun Editor

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Dorothy Kurchak, Gardening Editor

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Rochelle Martin, Quilting Editor Jennifer Cirka, Crochet & Cooking Editor

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Deborah Shank, Women’s Ministry Editor

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Carolyn Arnold, Kids Crafts

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On the cover . . .

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The Stephen’s children

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30 30 31

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Title Letter from the Editor Nina Newton This Tree Has No Candles Keith Wallis Have a Homemade Christmas Beth Brubakaer My Family‘s Favorite Recipes Jennifer Cirka And the Word Was Made Flesh Lynn Mosher Reaching Out at Christmas Amanda Johnson Snowball Ornaments Beth Brubaker Vintage Paper Dolls Thankfulness and Thanks Living Deborah Shank Mama‘s Craft Corner Carolyn Arnold Jesus or Santa! Heather Miller The First Christmas Carol Lynn Mosher Snowflake Crochet Pattern Jennifer Cirka Holiday Letter Tiles Puzzle Beth Brubaker Love Unveiled Amanda Johnson From Aunt Dots‘ Garden Dorothy Kurchak Time Management Strategies Tomica Bonner Ditch the Joneses Cathi Brese Doebler Vintage Paper Dolls for Kids of All Ages Vintage Mama Make a Glowing Christmas Candle Aunt Dots Math Square Puzzle Beth Brubaker Mop and Bucket at the Lamb and Psalmist Keith Wallis Gardener‘s Delight Quilt Bl ock Rochelle Martin Introducing Kathi Macias: Author of Red Ink

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Guest Authors and Contributors Amanda Johnson

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Tomica Bonner

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Paula McVay

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Cathi Brese Doebler

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Lee E. Shilo Katherine Corrigan

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50 51 52 53 55 56 56

Send Out Cards

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www.sendthecards.com

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Ruby‘s Family Favorite Recipes Various Contributors Mamma‘s First Christmas with Jesus Paula McVay Ascend Our Thoughts Keith Wallis Ask Ms. Beth Page 39 Beth Brubaker Has Something Stolen Your Christmas? Deborah Shank Vintage Gift Tags A Shiny New Bicycle Lee E. Shilo Christmas Coloring Page Vintage Mama Page 49 Countdown to Christmas Heather Miller Mission Possible Deborah McCarragher Make a Kid‘s Craft Basket Vintage Mama Seasonal Change Puzzle Page 51 Beth Brubaker Spicing Things Up for the Holidays! Beth Brubaker My Christmas Dog Lee E. Shilo Homemade Crayons Vintage Mama More Yummy Holiday Recipes Katie Corrigan Page 55 Who Will Take the Son? Lynn Mosher Frugal Spending, Joyful Giving Cathi Brese Doebler Great-Grandma‘s Danish Puff Vintage Mama Learn to Applique the Simple Way! Page 62 mamas*little*treasures Great-Grandma‘s Peanut Brittle Vintage Mama More Vintage Paper Dolls Vintage Mama Answers to Holiday Puzzles Beth Brubaker Introducing Danie K. Bell of ―Send Out Cards‖ Ruby Editors and Writers Page 71 Credits and Copyrights 2


Letter from the Editor Isn‘t it always amazing to find that another year has flown by and it is time to celebrate the holiday season again? Our family has established many holiday traditions, and we are continually coming up with fun, new ways to celebrate the season together. One of the traditions that has been part of our holidays for many years is making candy together. Now, I realize that all that sugar is not good for my children. But once a year, we tend to relax our nutritional devotion a bit, and get creative in the kitchen. Actually, I‘ve found lots of ways to be creative AND nutritious, but when it comes to holiday recipes, sweeter and more colorful seems to be the best way to celebrate! When my older children were small, we would always make lollipops, decorated with little sprinkles, red hots, colored sugar, or other tiny tidbits of candy. Then, we would decorate a little jar that we had purchased from the Dime Store in our village (do they even have dime stores anywhere anymore?), fill them up with six or eight lollipops, tie a ribbon around the top and give them as gifts. Another fun kitchen creation was peanut brittle. We have a treasured recipe that was passed down from our Great Grandma, and if you follow it precisely, you can make the best peanut brittle in the world! If you pull it just right, it becomes thin and brittle, not thick or sticky or chewy. Perfect! It takes a few practice batches to get it to that state of perfection, but it is definitely worth the effort.

Another traditional holiday recipe that we always make at our house is Danish Puff. Now, we are not Danish (mostly English and Irish, and of course, Chinese!), but Great Grandma made Danish Puff every holiday season, and we would have it warm from the oven on Christmas morning. Super simple recipe, and actually the basic puff pastry has no sugar! It does have a sweet, sugary glaze, however, and decorated with red and green maraschino cherries, it is definitely festive on a holiday brunch table. On Christmas Eve, my mama would always make up a batch of ―Pigs in a Blanket.‖ That‘s what she called them, anyway. They were made using little sausage links rolled up in pie crust or biscuit dough and then baked in the oven. Every year, for my entire life, that is what we eat on Christmas Eve! I have no idea why (but isn‘t that the magic of traditions . . .we don‘t always know why we do it, but there is something to be treasured in doing the same thing, the same way, at certain times of the year), but even now our children look forward to that special Christmas Eve supper. We recently added another tradition to our holiday celebration: Aunt Ellen‘s Caramels and Candy Cane fudge. I‘ll include those recipes in this holiday issue of Ruby for Women, in case you want to add them to YOUR family‘s holiday traditions! Have a blessed and peaceful holiday season, from the entire Ruby for Women family to yours!

~~ Nina 3


This tree has no candles by Keith Wallis This Christmas tree has no candles. This tree has no needles finely falling on presents at its feet. This tree has no splendour, torn from earth, wrenched from root. The adorned silence of eternity replaces the rustling of temporal branches. This Christmas tree is pain-laden, love created, garden grown, universal sown. Cock-crowed carols surround it - searching for a tune. This tree is advent epiphany fulfilled, a sight for blinded eyes and the lame to dance their carols. There is no Christmas without this tree, blood-brother to the tinselled child, herald of eternity, gift wrapped present of a reconciled. No other gift had such a wrapping nor was bought at such a price, and neither would the giver plan another such device. For here, and here alone, is there meaning for all things, things of wonder, things of beauty, things of peace on broken wings. This Christmas tree has no candles. save the Light that shines in darkest places.

First place in FaithWriters challenge Oct 2008

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Have a Homemade Christmas! by Beth Brubaker The fresh items like nuts (if we can afford them that year!), coconut, and eggs are usually bought a week before Baking Week. Then we bake our hearts out! During the Great Depression, people made-do with what they had, and though money was tight, it's those Christmases that are the most memorable. Once more, many of us face a bad economy with little or no money for gifts. But does that mean you can't have a good Christmas? Absolutely not! For many families, some of the best holidays were the ones when they had very little to share. We just need to remember that we aren't the three kings - we're more like the shepherds of the fields; common folk who gladly gave what they could to the Christ child. In other words, we don't need to buy ipods or a game system to make our child happy, nor do we have to give gifts of great cost, as long as you are giving one of great value. Think about your own Christmas memories which ones do you remember most? Was it the times when you gave and received all the expensive gifts, or was it those times that were the hardest financially, where you were given a special handmade gift or had special friends and family over for a meal? My guess is it's the latter.

Goodie baskets are filled with a variety of cookies, candy, muffins or cupcakes, my special banana bread, and my husband's specialty, homemade hot fudge for ice cream. When stored in the fridge, it can keep forever, so our friends can even use it for the summer, when ice cream is in high demand - but it never seems to last that long! My mother-in-law likes to can and preserve, and will often give out jars of her homemade bread and butter pickles as gifts. Others like to give jar recipes, with all the dry ingredients layered prettily in different patterns. Some sew, knit, crochet, or have some other creative talent they utilize for gifts when things are tight. One friend has an amazing green thumb, and gives away houseplants for Christmas! She wraps the pots in pretty paper, with a big bow around it. Lovely!

But what about the kids? If your kids are weird like mine and they actually like getting clothing for Christmas, you can find some really nice things at thrift stores. You can also find toys and Whatever your talent is, use it to make this Christmas special! Just keep in mind that it's not games, but make sure all all about the gifts, it's about celebrating God's gift the parts are there before to the world. And God doesn't care what your gift you buy it. may be, as long as your heart is in it! There's nothing wrong with fixing broken toys and re -gifting them, either. Fixing your son's bike or We do a lot of baking in our house, so we start making new outfits for your daughter's favorite dolly gathering the ingredients in bulk about would be very much appreciated by your children. a month or two before. Flour, chocolate chips, It also teaches them that they don't need all those and other things that store well are purchased expensive gifts to enjoy Christmas! early, so as not to strain the budget too much. 5


And don't forget - if your child has a special talent, encourage them use it to make gifts for the family! Even a video of your child recalling all the events of the past year can easily be burned onto a DVD (if you don't have a camera or a DVD burner, you can ask a friend or rent one for that week), and sent to relatives along with a Christmas card. But what if you can‘t afford a tree? Make a manger of household items! Baby Jesus can be a boy doll bought at the thrift store – just wrap him up in a small blanket (a throw or even a bath towel should do nicely), and put up a small card table in the corner of the room, draping some bedding around it to make it more cave-like. Borrow your daughter's doll cradle (or use a small box), place another throw over it and lay 'Baby Jesus' into it, placing the cradle just inside the 'manger'. You can add lights or just a few of those battery operated candles, for a more rustic look. If you have stuffed animals like those present at the

manger, go for it! But you don't really need all the rest of people and animals - He is the real reason for the season, after all! Keep it simple and focused on Him. This year will be a year of creativity for us. I plan on making a few bigger gifts that involve a lot of sewing, and the entire family will be getting involved in baking goodies and maybe making some handmade ornaments out of flour dough clay for family and friends. How precious will those ornaments be when my kids see what they've done ten to fifteen years from now? Or when their children see what Mom or Dad made when they were their age? They don't know it yet, but I plan on snagging a few and hiding them away for when they get married! Merry Christmas, everyone!

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My Family’s Holiday Favorites – and yes, we love peanut butter! from Jennifer Cirka of Jaybird Designs

Grandma’s Peanut Butter Fudge This is not your average, creamy fudge recipe. This one is coarse and crumbly and oh-so-peanut-buttery!!

2 Cups Sugar 2Tbs Cocoa Powder ½ Cup Evaporated Milk ¼ Cup Water 1 Tbs Butter Pinch of Baking Powder 2 Heaping Tbs Peanut Butter A little extra butter spread onto a plate or pan Mix sugar, cocoa and milk to create a paste. Add water to thin it. Bring to a boil over medium/high heat (do not use a non-stick pot!) until candy thermometer reads 240 degrees/soft ball. Remove from heat and add butter and baking powder. Stir to combine. Add peanut butter and mix till almost hard. Spread onto a buttered plate or pan. Allow to cool. Cut and serve.

Giant Reese’s Cup This reminds me of a yummy treat they always served in the school cafeteria! 1 Cup Peanut Butter 2 Sticks Imperial Margarine Softened 3 Cups Powdered Sugar 1 7/8 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs 6 Oz Chocolate Chips Mix peanut butter, margarine, powdered sugar and cracker crumbs together. You may need to knead it with your hands. Press into a buttered pan. Melt the chocolate chips in microwave or double burner, stirring until smooth. Pour and evenly spread over the peanut butter mixture like icing. Cut into bars and serve. 7


Slow Cooker Apple Butter We love this on just about anything! Fresh baked bread or rolls…even pancakes! Makes enough to can and give away as gifts. Makes your house smell wonderful! 8 Cups Fresh Homemade Applesauce-unsweetened (cooked, mashed apples) 1 ½ Cup Honey 1 ½ Tsp Cinnamon ½ tsp Ground Cloves ½ tsp Allspice Make applesauce: Peel, core, and thinly slice apples. Add a bit of water and cook on low heat until soft and able to mash/blend to desired consistency. Add all ingredients to crock pot. Mix well. Cover and cook 14-16 hours on low heat until deep brown in color. Pour into hot jars and freeze or process as needed.

And the Word Was Made Flesh by Lynn Mosher Advent King in straw-lined splendor, swaddled gently at mother‘s breast, God incarnate in a pink suit, not knowing yet His future test. In the gentle hush of silence, soothing sounds of cattle lowing, angel hosts sing Him their praises, all creation in glory knowing. Destiny pressing upon His life, as crossed shadow falls on His face. The miracle of the manger now filled with man‘s future grace. ~~Blessings, Lynn~~ 8


Reaching Out at Christmas and Beyond! by Amanda Johnson I love the holiday season! Harvest celebrations followed by Thanksgiving Day with family, which of course kicks off the month-long countdown to Christmas! It truly is one of the most wonderful times of the year, but for many, it can be one of the most depressing times of the year. The joy and warmth of the holidays, for some, brings back memories of lost loved ones, broken relationships, distant friendships, and loneliness. A few years ago, I met an elderly woman living in my community. Our dogs were actually the first to meet. I stopped to talk a few minutes and then hurried on my way. I like to be independent and focused and stopping for a chat when there‘s work to be done isn‘t something I do very often. However, there was something different about Miss Betty. She was about the age my grandmother would have been if the cancer hadn‘t taken her several years back. Miss Betty was new to the area and living on her own. Her family lived nearby, but worked during the day. I was working from home. I enjoyed my solitude, but at times it could get lonely. The same was true for Miss Betty. Before long, I found myself walking my dog each morning just outside Miss Betty‘s patio in hopes of catching her outside feeding the ducks or walking her own little dog.

Our sidewalk chats soon turned into living room get-togethers; times of sharing stories and a midmorning snack or two. Miss Betty told me about her late husband and the friends she missed back home. I shared about my grandmother‘s fight with cancer and my family‘s fight to stay strong. As December rolled around, the community began decorating for Christmas. It was my grandmother‘s favorite time of year and mine too. I missed her deeply. Miss Betty missed her husband and friends as well. During the days when I would‘ve gone to see Grandma and share cake and coffee, I found myself visiting Miss Betty. She and I decorated her Christmas tree together. The void in the heart of both of us was filled that Christmas by the simple comfort and presence of one another. Miss Betty spent Christmas with her family and I spent Christmas with mine. We still found time to meet for a quick chat after all of the festivities that day. It was then we realized how blessed we were to have one another. Miss Betty, at 83, couldn‘t imagine why I, at 27 at the time, would want to spend so much time with her. We both laughed and realized that age had nothing to do with it. God had brought us together to meet a need in one another‘s life. Miss Betty could never replace my grandmother, but her friendship soothed the pain and sorrow. Likewise, I could never replace Miss Betty‘s husband or friends, but I could help fill the loneliness she often felt. 9


That Christmas was a treasured one because of our friendship, but it didn‘t end there. Miss Betty and I have remained friends throughout the past several years and continue to talk and visit with one another. I want to encourage everyone to take the time this holiday season, to find someone who is hurting or feeling lonely and simply be a friend. Give that person a hug, take them out for dinner, be a listening ear. Discover the joys of giving and be amazed at what is received in return; not just at Christmas, but throughout the New Year as well! Proverbs 17:17a, “A friend loves at all times…” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

Snowball Ornaments by Beth Brubaker I made these when I was a child out of my mom's extra craft supplies. They were very inexpensive to make, and very easy too! Instead of hanging them on the tree branches, we just tossed the finished ornaments into the tree - just make sure you toss them after the lights are put on and before you decorate with breakable ornaments! Here’s what you need:  6 white Styrofoam balls (any size that fits in your palm)  1‖- 1.5‖ Pins  Glue (optional)  Sequins, felt, beads, rickrack (one or all types can be used) If you want a permanent decoration, you can use glue along with the pins - but if you like the idea of changing the ornament's look, just leave out the glue! Place a dot of glue where you would like your first decoration. Place decoration down and insert pin, pushing it all the way in. If using rickrack, glue a thin line about ¼ of the way around the ball, pinning the end to the ball and adding a pin about every inch. Secure end of rickrack by trimming it evenly with beginning end, and secure with a pin. Keep placing decorations until you are happy with the design (don't forget to allow lots of space for the snowy white of the ball to come through!), and allow to dry overnight (no need for this last step if you skipped the glue). You can also cut small pieces of felt into shapes and layer the decorations (like a sequin and a bead, felt and a sequin, or sequins on rickrack), and see what wonderful things you can come up with! Then gather your snowballs and start throwing them into the tree! 10


Vintage Paper Dolls

http://designdazzle.blogspot.com/ 11


Thankfulness and Thanks Living By Deborah Shank God doesn't want our thanksgiving to be limited to one Thursday in November. He wants us to thank Him continually. He wants us to live a life of thankfulness and Thanks Living. When we choose to give thanks to the Lord, we're paying our debt. We owe God thanksgiving. We owe Him everything. But when we give Him thanks, we're paying our debts to God. When we thank Him, we're recognizing that God is the source of every good and perfect gift in our lives. Being thankful means a conscious choice to live a life that is God-centered rather than self-centered. We choose not to focus on ourselves, our wants, our desires, our needs. We choose to live a life that is totally centered in God. When we give thanks we exalt God. We glorify Him. When we do that we fulfill the purpose for which we were created. We exist to put a spotlight on God, to glorify Him. The fact that God expects us to thank Him for His blessings in our lives, is evident in the words of Jesus, to the one lone ex-leper who returned to thank Him. Luke 17:15 "One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed" Where are the other nine?"

God not only deserves our thanks, but He also desires them. He wants us to be grateful for His goodness and not to take it for granted 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." The apostle Paul made it clear that our giving of thanks is to be continual and not contingent. That it is to be ongoing in spite of our circumstances, not just because everything is going well. Paul was able to maintain an attitude of gratitude even though he faced some very devastating circumstances, because he held onto a proper perspective of both God and His circumstances Knowing that God expects us to live a life of thanksgiving rather than offering limited thanks, and knowing that we must never lose sight of God's goodness, and God's hand at work in everything we face is crucial in our Christian life. When our circumstances turn from good to bad, when the flow of God‘s blessings seems to be temporarily turned off in our lives, what we tend to forget is that in these moments, the world is most likely to be watching our lives.

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Suffering provides us the greatest opportunity to demonstrate the validity of Christianity at work in our lives. I can prove my gratitude by "Thanks Living.‖ John 14:15 "If you love me, obey me;” John 14:21 “The one who obeys me is the one who loves me; and because he loves me, my Father will love him; and I will too, and I will reveal myself to him.” Jesus said that his followers show their love by obeying God. Love is more than lovely words. It is commitment and conduct. If we love Christ, then we must prove it by obeying what He says in his Word. Christians should offer continual thanks, because the enemy is listening and watching. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Lions attack sick, young, or straggling animals; they choose victims who are alone or not alert. Peter warns us to watch out for Satan when we are suffering or persecuted. Feeling alone, weak, helpless, and cut off from other believers, so focused on our troubles that we forget to

watch for danger, we are especially vulnerable to Satan's attacks. During times of suffering, seek other Christians for support. Keep your eyes on Christ, and resist the devil. Then, says James, "he will flee from you" (James 4:7) Philippians 4:4, 5 tells us “Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice! Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do.” It seems strange that a man in prison would be telling a church to be joyful. But Paul's attitude serves to teach us an important lesson. We have a choice to demonstrate ―Thanks Living‖ even when our circumstances are everything but ideal. Paul was full of thankfulness and joy because he knew that no matter what happened to him, Jesus Christ was with him. Several times in this letter, Paul urges the Philippians to be joyful, probably because they needed to hear this. It's easy to get discouraged about unpleasant circumstances or to take unimportant events too seriously. If you haven't been joyful lately, or if you haven't been demonstrating ―Thanks Living‖ lately, you may not be looking at life from the right perspective. So let me ask during this Thanksgiving season: What has God done for you this past year? As you reflect on your life this year, have you remembered to thank God for all that He has done in your life and family? Is your life demonstrating ―Thanks Living‖ today? If not, it isn't too late to make some positive changes. Happy Thanksgiving and blessings to you and your family! 13


Mama’s Craft Corner by Carolyn Arnold We Give Thanks for Pudding! (aka hand-turkeys) 1. Make non-cook pudding and chill in refrigerator until ready to eat. 2. Place a dollop of pudding on a small plate for the child (no need for a spoon!). 3. Have the child dip their hands into the pudding and rub together – this will get the pudding all over their hands! (Good clean fun!!) 4. Have child place hands down on paper (any color, fingerpaint paper works best, but even printer paper works well). 5. Have child lick pudding off their hands (then wash!). 6. Let pudding dry on paper. 7. Decorate, or have child decorate, and turn their hand-prints into turkeys and an autumn scene. 8. Don‘t forget to write the child‘s name, their age, and the date on the bottom of the page. Angels in Our Hands and Under Our Feet! 1. Trace child‘s foot on floor. Any color of construction paper will work, but I prefer white. 2. Trace child‘s two hands on same paper (or slightly different if you‘d prefer). 3. Cut out hands and foot. 4. With the heel of the foot at the top for the ‗head‘ of the angel (the toes make a nice ‗flowing‘ gown), attach the hands, thumbs down, to the sides of the foot. Tape or glue sticks work best. 5. Draw a face and arms or cut out a picture of your child‘s face and attach it to the heel part for the angel‘s face. 6. Don‘t forget to write the child‘s name, their age, and the date on the back of the angel. Step into Christmas! (aka hand-deer) 1. Trace child‘s foot on floor. You can use either construction paper or a paper grocery bag. 2. Trace child‘s two hands on same paper (or slightly different if you‘d prefer). 3. Cut out hands and foot. 4. With the heel of the foot facing down, attach the hands – thumbs out, to the toe area. Tape or glue sticks work best. 5. You can add eyes and a nose if you wish. 6. Don‘t forget to write the child‘s name, their age, and the date on the back of the ‗deer‘.

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Jesus or Santa? The Reason for the Season . . . and teaching it to your kids by Heather Miller

Ask any random sampling of kids on the street the words to the song ―Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer‖ and the majority of them can sing it to you. Ask them the words to ―Silent Night‖ or ―Away in a Manger‖ however, and you're likely to get blank stares. A few may know some of the words – maybe 1 in 100 will know the whole first verse. But don't expect them to know any more. And certainly don't expect them to know songs like ―God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen‖ or ―It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.‖ Ask that same random sampling (or another random sampling, if you're feeling friendly) what Christmas is about, and most of the time you'll get answers like, ―Santa,‖ ―Presents,‖ or maybe (if you're lucky), ―Being with family and friends.‖

Why is it that kids today have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas? Well, to be quite honest, they haven't forgotten it, they never really learned it in the first place. Why? Because their parents never taught them! As homeschoolers, and, conversely, even more so if you're not a homeschooler (since your children will be bombarded with secular celebrations at school), it is absolutely crucial to teach your children the real reason for the season. If your children are still very young (or if you don't have any yet), you still have the opportunity to knock Santa off his high horse from the beginning. Personally, we never taught our children that Santa was real, and I know hundreds of other families (I'm sure there are more than that, those are just the ones I know) who have done the same. 15


My reasoning in the beginning for not teaching my children that Santa was real was actually that I remembered finding out myself at the age of seven. My older brother told me, and my mom confirmed the awful truth. I wasn't upset that Santa wasn't real, though, because that part didn't bother me. What bothered me was that my parents had been lying to me for seven years! Not to mention that I felt like they must have thought I was really dumb for believing such an impossible lie for all those years! I never wanted my children to have to feel that way, so things like Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, have never been painted as real for them. But over the years I've seen an even greater benefit to this way of thinking. When children are not taught that Santa is real, it makes it much easier to focus on Jesus at Christmas time. When all their hopes are not tied up in whether or not they've been good enough for some fat guy in a red suit to drop off some gifts while they sleep, they can focus on the real gift that this holiday is supposed to make us think of.

Also, when children are taught that Santa (and those other holiday creatures) are real, and then suddenly one day they find out they aren't real, they begin to question what else their parents might have lied to them about. Eventually this thinking will turn to God. Is He real, or just another lie? He seems to have an awful lot in common with Santa . . . an old fatherly figure who sits behind the scenes somewhere watching the way we act, rewarding good behavior and chastising the bad. And come to think of it, they've never seen Santa, but they've never seen God either! Of course there's the Bible, but how many books are there about Santa, too? Hmm . . . . . If you're already teaching your kids that Santa is real, don't despair, though! It's not impossible to teach your children the true meaning of Christmas, even if they do believe in Santa. Also, while I'm still on the subject of Santa, let me say that just because you don't teach your children that Santa is real, doesn't mean they can't know who Santa is. They're going to be exposed to him in multiple places anyway. My children know who Santa is. They know him as a fun, made-up character in stories and movies. As they get older, they learn the ―true‖ story of Santa, which you can read here: www.stnicholascenter.org So how do you make sure your kids keep their Christmas focus where it should be? Well, first of all, you have to make sure you're keeping your focus where it should be. If your focus for Christmas is outdoing all the neighbors in decorating and making sure to have the biggest tree on the lot and a hundred gifts under the tree, then you need to step back and assess your own priorities. There are many little ways to bring Jesus into the Christmas season (where he rightfully should be). While it's OK to sing the fun songs with your kids, make sure you spend time singing and listening to the Christmas carols, the songs that talk about Jesus. Read through the words like poems (incidentally, one of my favorite Christmas carols, ―I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day‖ was originally a poem – by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) and really talk together to figure out 16


the meaning of some of those older, more obscure verses. Often the second, third, and fourth verses of carols have a much deeper meaning than the first verse. Don't know the verses? You can look them up online or borrow a hymnal from church! Read your books about Santa but also read the Christmas story from the Bible. Make sure everyone is quiet and calm when you do this, so that the atmosphere itself conveys to your kids that there's something different, more serious, about this story. There are also numerous children's books about the Christmas story (see list at the end of this article).

So each child gets: • a book (sometimes this is a set of books that go together) • an article of clothing (something they wouldn't normally get, something special) • a toy (or, in the case of our older daughter, something like an art set or a new camera) Plus one gift for everyone to share, like a board game or a movie we've all been wanting.

When it comes to gifts, sometimes less is more. We started many years ago giving each child three gifts. The reasoning behind this is that the wise men brought Jesus three gifts, and if that was good enough for Him, it's good enough for us! We have a little poem that we have used the last few years:    

Something to read Something to wear Something to play with Something to share

When it comes to decorating, try to play down the Santa angle. There's nothing wrong with having a few Santa things, but be sure you have a good nativity scene as well. We have a little crèche and figures that we set out in a prominent place. We let the kids play with the figures. If you're nervous about your glass figures getting broken, Fisher Price sells an adorable Little People nativity set that you could buy. We also have angels and a ―Little Drummer Boy‖ figure that decorate our piano. In the end, the thing that will most impress on your children the importance of Jesus in Christmas is your own attitude. If you stop often to thank God for sending Jesus, if you take the time to sit quietly listening to carols or reading your Bible by the Christmas tree, your children will see that this is important stuff. Enjoy Christmas, enjoy your children, and always remember that a very special Child was born over two thousand years ago, and it is that Child that we celebrate. 17


Wonderful Children's Books That Tell the TRUE Meaning of Christmas God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren

The Legend of the Christmas Stocking by Rick Osborne

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg

Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell & Jason Cockcroft

The Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson (A Little Golden Book with classic pictures by artist Eloise Wilkin)

The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado

We Believe in Christmas by Karen Kingsbury

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The First Christmas Carol by Lynn Mosher

What is one of the best elements about Christmas, aside from the obvious of Jesus‘ birth? The presents? The tree? The food? Nope! For me, it‘s the music! I love all the Christmas music. So many wonderful carols have been written over the years. Do you know which one is truly the original? It‘s the Song of Mary, which is called the Magnificat and it is found in Luke 1:46-55. Mary‘s song starts out with these beautiful words in verse 46, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” I don‘t think we fully understand what magnifying the Lord means. The Old and New Testament words mean essentially the same: to grow, to make great, powerful, or important, promote, praise, increase or enlarge, esteem highly, lift up, exalt, extol, and so on. The English dictionaries define ‗magnify‘ as to increase in actual size, enlarge, exaggerate, amplify, intensify, to extol, praise, glorify, to make seem more important, and so on. Did you catch those last three? Praise, glorify, to make seem more important.

As the result of our praising God, we enlarge His image and His power, intensifying them more than our circumstances. The disciple John said it most succinctly, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 NKJV) I know there are things you praise God for - your family, your friends, your home, your job, but do you thank Him for the things you have that millions of people around the world do not have? Like your haircut, your toothpaste, your nice, hot shower, your mattress, your shoes, your make-up, your razor, your TV (which is questionable!), your car, your cell phone, your computer, your dishes, your washer and dryer, your dishwasher, your refrigerator or even the little bit of food you may have in it? We are so much more fortunate and blessed than two-thirds of the world, and yet, we whine when our new shoes pinch our feet! Paul commanded the Ephesians to sing spiritual songs and to make music to the Lord in their hearts. He knew how to do that despite his circumstances. 19


When the stream of joy dries up and disappears, do as Paul told the Philippians to do as he wrote from a Roman jail, saying, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4b NKJV)

Sing any tune, make up any words, but sing to your Beloved. Sing the praises of the One Who deserves them. It will make a difference in your attitude and in your circumstances.

The one rejoicing unlocks the dam built by negative thoughts, words, and circumstances. He waters that dry, rock-bed stream and joy flows once again, for he “will have rivers of living water flowing from his inmost heart.” (John 7:38b Phillips)

I know many are having great difficulties this season, but do your best to sing along with Mary and me. May the Lord bless you immensely as you sing . . . .

The impetus for regaining that joy is not triggered by material things given to the flesh but by praise given from the heart.

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”

~~Soli deo gloria, Lynn~~

The hosts of heaven, praising God, ushered in the birth of Christ, ―Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!‖ (Luke 2:14 NKJV) If Christ lives within you as your Savior, do you sing of His glory as Mary did? Do you sing praises to magnify His presence as the angels did? What kind of music does your life make to the Lord? Being thankful is easy when everything is hunkydunky, but the praise that emanates from a painravaged heart, which presses on despite sickness or loss, is the sweet - smelling sacrifice of holy incense that rises to the throne room and lingers at the Father‘s feet. This is the sweetest praise of all, for it is based on the love of the Lord.

www.foresthillsoaps.com

Welcome to the Forest Hill Soap Company! We are a small, family-owned business specializing in luxurious homemade bath and body products. Our cold process soaps are handcrafted, from scratch, in small quantities using traditional methods. Our ingredients include the finest vegetable oils, along with essential oils, quality fragrance oils and other skin nourishing additives. We invite you to browse our site and discover distinctive body care products to create a luxurious spa experience in your own home. 20


Snowflake Pattern by Jennifer J. Cirka/Jaybird Designs

Materials:  Size 10 Crochet Cotton thread. Color White  7/1.5 MM Steel Crochet Hook  Yarn Needle  Optional Fabric Stiffener Round 1: Ch 4. 15 dc in first ch. Join with sl st to 4 th ch of beg ch-4. (16 dc) Round 2: Ch 4. (Dc, ch1) in each st around. Join with a sl st to 3 rd ch of beg ch-4. (16 dc, 16 ch-1 sps) Round 3: Sl st in first ch sp, *ch 5, sl st in next ch-1 sp. Ch 3, sl st in next ch-1 sp. Repeat from * around ending with a sl st in first ch sp. (8 ch-5 sps, 8 ch-3 sps) Round 4: *Sc in ch-5 sp. (Ch 3, sc, ch 5, sc, ch 3, sc) in same ch-5 sp. Sc in next ch-3 sp. Repeat from * around. Join with a sl st to first sc. Finish off and weave in ends. Have fun with this! Stiffen and attach a ribbon to make fun ornaments or gift tags. Sew onto purchased or handmade scarves, hats, or clothing.

Holiday Letter Tiles Puzzle by Beth Brubaker

Answer on page 81. 21


Ministry Update from Amanda Johnson I recently shared with Ruby readers about God‘s call on my life to go into full time ministry with a non-profit organization called Loved UnVeiled (LUV). LUV recently celebrated its third year of ministry and I‘m excited to give an update as well as a call for prayer! Love UnVeiled is a ministry that exists to help transform, equip and empower women to be all God wants them to be, setting them free to fly and multiply His glory in all the earth. LUV carries out this vision and purpose by equipping women in the churches with the tools they need to grow in Christ, lead, disciple, and mentor other women for Christ within their own community. We are currently working, by invitation only, in India and S.E. Asia as well as holding speaking engagements in the US and UK. As I write this update, our team is ministering in three cities in India with plans to move on to two different S.E. Asian countries. It‘s a big task and God is blessing it in amazing ways! Women in the church are finding their identity in Christ and are growing from small caterpillars into beautiful butterflies working steadily to spread the fragrance of Christ with other women in need. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us ―if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!‖

Through the caterpillar/butterfly analogy, women are being set free and equipped to spread God‘s love to a country living in spiritual darkness. The people of India worship more than 330 million gods. There is a fierce battle going on for the souls of the men and women, but God is great and His light is shining through the works of the women; His butterflies! It is a humbling experience to work with such a small ministry that God is using in a mighty way! I want to invite everyone to be part of this by coming together and uniting in prayer for the women of India and the ministry of Love UnVeiled. Great things are happening in the name of Jesus and the enemy is looking for ways to attack and quiet the work of LUV. Please join me in praying daily for the ministry of LUV, for the health and protection of the families of those working with LUV, for the safety of the women in India and for the salvation of their families and friends. Prayer warriors are already uniting in six different time zones praying over this ministry. Please join us in praying for spiritual strength for LUV, India, and S.E. Asia.

For more information about Love UnVeiled, please visit their website at www.loveunveiled.org or contact Amanda at amanda@loveunveiled.org

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From Aunt Dots’ Garden by Dorothy Kurchak

Well here it is November. The snow isn‘t staying on the ground yet. The other evening the sunset was so pretty I had to take a picture of it. It was a very hot summer, but I‘m tired and the cool air feels good. I did a few improvements this summer (with help from my son, Ben). I got an idea from a garden magazine to make a flower pot from a large plastic pot. You will need a two gallon or larger, hard plastic pot, pre-slit flexible pipe insulation with an outside dimension of 1 1/2 diameter, Liquid Nails, duct tape, sandpaper and spray paint. Wash the pot well and rough up the surface with some sandpaper so the paint will stick. Cut a piece of the insulation to fit around the top edge of the pot. Apply some Liquid Nails to the top edge of the pot and place the insulation over the top. Apply some duct tape over the insulation where the ends meet to hide the connection. Place the pot on some newspaper or plastic and spray paint it. There is a spray paint that looks like stone which is attractive, but I used just some brown paint. To dress up the pot I glued an artificial flower on it with the Liquid Nails and painted it, too. Looks pretty good! The coleus did well despite having full sun in late afternoon.

Also this summer Ben made a couple little ―buildings‖ to house the well pump and the post with the electrical outlet. I think it looks a lot better with the pump and post covered up. It goes along well with my other little houses I have here and there. The tall building has a little door in it so you can access the electrical outlet. I‘ve started a shade garden in that area but I have to remember to keep plants out of the way of the plumber who takes care of the well and motor.

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Also, I have to show you the wild cucumber vine I picked this fall. You can see by the fuzzy seed heads that the clematis is it‘s close cousin as it also has fuzzy seed heads. So if you see vines along the road side with these fuzzy little seed heads, pick some and hang it up somewhere. To keep the seed heads from falling apart a little hair spray will help.

To replace my summer bouquet in the living room, I used some dried grasses and other items for a fall bouquet. The arrangement has red fountain grass, miscanthus, blackberry lily seed pods, artificial bittersweet and asparagus. I had to use artificial bittersweet because one of my bittersweet died and so there is no cross pollination and hence no flowers. That‘s another plant to add to my spring planting list. The gold vase looks good with the color of the grasses.

The ornamental grasses are a good addition to your garden. Some have very attractive seed heads or lovely colors that make attractive arrangements. I have also picked wild grasses for arrangements. I‘ve been trying to identify a plant that sprung up in my back yard by the garden waste pile. So far I haven‘t found out what it is.

This summer I pruned off some branches of the smoke bush and dried them. This shrub is very attractive because of the dark burgundy color of the leaves and blossoms. I highly recommend it if you have room for it but it can be severely pruned to keep it within bounds.

Some grasses can be very invasive, too. When I planted green/white variegated miscanthus by the garden shed, I knew it would spread. It did. Next spring, however, a friend is going to come and remove some for his garden. I warned him, but he‘s willing to take the risk. It‘s good looking and a good filler for problem spots. It creates its own problem spot! I have several scotch pine trees around my yard and they produce an over-abundance of cones. When I make an evergreen wreath for the door I use many of them. 24


For indoors, I made a candle ring. You will need some strong wire to make a ring. I used a 2-inch candle and made the ring 5 inches in diameter. Use very fine wire to fasten to the end of the pine cone and leave a little tail on it. You will use the tail to fasten the cone to the ring. Fasten them as close as you can. You can fill in some of the gaps with acorns or smaller cones. For Thanksgiving, you can decorate the ring with bittersweet, acorns, fresh flowers (I used mums), or whatever you wish, and then change it for Christmas with tiny glass bulbs, evergreen sprigs, holly or some tiny bows. I wish you all a blessed Christmas. Blessed due to Christ coming to dwell among us and provide salvation for those who choose Him. May you be one of the chosen. See you later, Aunt Dots

Time management Strategies with Tomica Bonner It couldn‘t get any simpler than this: just stop procrastinating! However, we know this is easier said than done. Overcoming procrastination is something most of us battle with daily. Some of us do this at a minimum and manage to complete our workload. Then there are the ones who are probably like me, and procrastinate so much they feel as if they have accomplished very little, if anything, at the end of the day.

Prioritize what you have to get to immediately and what can wait. Take advantage of your email programs. Google has a filter option where you can have emails feed into a folder. They also have a filter that marks emails important and separates them from the others.

Don‘t just organize your work schedule, but also your home as well.

Procrastination is defined as the act of procrastinating, putting off or delaying an action until a later time.

Being a mom of seven and working from home can get hectic. Learning to fit in my house, work and schooling has become more than necessary. To-Do lists work for the home as well.

Some suggestions to help you battle procrastination: • Use the To-Do list – Don‘t just write it, but refer to it repeatedly! 

For example, I have taken to updating my to-do list daily, by either adding more or taking off what I‘ve completed.

Manage your email, set times when you‘ll check and answer messages.

I get around 300 emails a day, and if I stop and check and answer my emails all day I can spend more than three hours just catching up on messages.

Day One Workshop Activity: 

Write down everything you do today, and how long it takes. This may seem crazy, but this is where you‘ll first begin to see what you do all day. It‘ll also give you an idea of what you can do differently.

Think about why you procrastinate. We all have a reason.

What do you think of your daily activities? What have you discovered about yourself and procrastinating? 25 Here‘s to a very productive day!


Ditch the Joneses by Cathi Brese Doebler FAMILIES CAN THRIVE ON LESS THAN TWO INCOMES The definitive guide to living on less in today‘s economy One of the top reasons for marriage conflict and significant daily stress is financial pressure. Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family: How to Thrive on Less Than Two Incomes, addresses decisions parents are faced with regarding finances.

"Doebler‘s well-researched and parent-tested advice about how to make lifestyle changes in order to spend more time at home with your children is more valuable now than ever. From making that initial decision to increase the quality of your family life through creating an action plan, she‘s got it covered," said Mary Lou Kish, M.S., Assistant Professor and mother of four. Owner of Ditchthe.com Cathi Brese Doebler published Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family: How to Thrive on Less than Two Incomes in 2010. Complementing the book is also a workbook on CD, giving readers a chance to work through the tools designed for the Ditch the series. The CD also includes an audio version of a personal coaching session with Doebler.

Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family gives parents ideas on saving money while spending more time with their families. This book provides practical know-how for families searching for balance in how they spend their time and money.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO CONTACT CATHI DIRECTLY @ (716) 870-0783 or info@ditchthe.com

Pulling together 15 years of business coaching and training experience, and a decade of parenting, the author shares information that is realistic, focusing on useful tools and ideas for families.

For your health and wellness www.carlajgardiner.com 26


Vintage Paper Dolls for kids of all ages! by Vintage mama When I was a little girl, I loved playing with paper dolls! Sometimes we would have paper dolls that were printed in a book, like a coloring book, that we could cut out. There were paper dolls that were already colored or we would have the kind that we got to color ourselves. The clothes came the same way: either already printed in color, or printed in black and white and we would get to color them any beautiful color we wanted. I remember taking the cardboard backing off of a tablet of paper, drawing my own version of the latest fashion diva, and then creating my own clothing designs. We would play with our paper dolls for hours, drawing, designing, coloring and cutting. We would even make our own little stands for our paper dolls, by simply cutting a strip of cardboard, fold it in half and cut two slits in the top edge where we would slide the bottom edge of the paper dolls. Then they would stand up on the kitchen table while we designed and decorated all of the gorgeous garments in their wardrobes! That was great fun for little girls who really didn‘t have very many opportunities to have beautiful new clothing of their own. One of my favorite books of all time is entitled, ―The Hundred Dresses,‖ which tells the story of Wanda, whose family has recently arrived in America. Because they are immigrants, it is difficult for her father to find work and so, of course, they are not wealthy. So, when Wanda goes to her new school, the ―popular‖ girls make fun of her for wearing the same dress to school every day. But when they tease her about her worn and mended dress, she tells them, ―At home, I have one hundred dresses, all lined up in my closet.‖ After many weeks of this torment, and her repeated insistence that she really does have ―one hundred dresses, all lined up‖ in her closet, one day Wanda does not return to school. The girls who have been teasing her are curious, so they seek out the humble little cottage where Wanda lived with her family. But when they finally get there, the house is deserted. As they tip-toe inside the broken down shack, they discover a closet in one of the bedrooms. The door is ajar, and they peek inside . . . only to be amazed at one hundred beautiful drawings of gorgeous dresses that any little girls would be delighted to wear. There were Wanda‘s ―one hundred dresses, all lined up,‖ in her closet. But Wanda and her family had moved away, hoping to find a school where the other children would not make fun of her because her clothing was not as nice as that of the other students. 27


Paper dolls have always been an inexpensive way for children to play dress-up and make-believe, even in a world that does not always offer us all the opportunity to have beautiful garments in our everyday lives. And paper dolls are still a fascination for many of us, even if we no longer take them out and line them up on our kitchen tables! Many doll collectors have at least a few paper dolls as a part of their collection. Paper dolls also appeal to collectors of paper ephemera. But, most collectors know very little about the rich history and strong collectibility of paper dolls.

Early History of Paper Dolls Paper dolls first appeared in Paris in the 18th century, during the reign of Louis XV. The whimsical toys easily found a place in the gay atmosphere of royal French society. On the other side of the English Channel during this time period, proper British printers mixed fun and virtue by printing moral stories on the flat sheets that comprised the dolls! Hence, from their earliest, paper dolls were used in a very different ways, and were accurate reflections of very different cultures. Early European paper dolls often depicted actors and actresses, and the dolls were intended for use with toy stages. Literary-minded youngsters enacted Shakespeare with casts of paper dolls, many with permanently printed costumes (which was common at this time).

In Pioneer America, paper dolls had more humble beginnings. During that historical period, paper was a prized resource, and it was rarely "wasted" on toys. If children were lucky enough to get paper dolls, they treasured them between the pages of a book or in a carefully guarded box. This later changed with the invention of mechanical grinding machines, which became a ready source for pulp paper. As paper became less of a luxury, dolls were mass produced on inexpensive cardboard and became readily available to children. Until the development of chroma-lithography printing, paper dolls were colored by hand. In America, Civil War widows often earned money by embellishing the printed paper dolls. For instance, they would create a series of beautiful brides--"the Belle Of the South, "The Belle Of the West, " and "The Belle of Saratoga." In 1866, an artist named Raphael Tuck, was perhaps the best known manufacturer of the vintage paper dolls. The trademark style of this company was the set of vintage paper doll costumes and interchangeable heads. There were dolls representing actors from the theater, stage, opera and even television. The time when the vintage paper dolls were the most popular was during the 1930's to the 1950's. An interesting fact about early printed doll clothes was that they did not include tabs for dressing the dolls, as are common with paper dolls today. Instead, children painstakingly attached the clothes with tiny drops of sealing wax. They took care to press gently when they attached their clothes to their dolls, lest they tear the paper doll. Collecting vintage paper dolls is exciting and can be done very inexpensively. Venture back in your memories of sitting down with your paper dolls, playing with your friends. Now you will be able to relive those memories with your vintage paper dolls collection. You can find more free printable paper dolls online at http://www.frugal-freebies.com/2009/06/freeprintable-paper-dolls.html 28


More Vintage Paper Dolls to print and cut out!

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Make Your Own Glowing Christmas Candle

You will need . . .     

by Aunt Dots

One quart cardboard milk or juice container, washed Candle the height of the carton, any color Box of paraffin Saucepan to melt the paraffin Crushed ice or ice cubes

Put the ice cubes in a bag and break them up. You need pieces of various sizes. Melt the paraffin. Pour a little in the bottom of the carton and place the candle in the center of the carton. Put this in the frig to harden. When it is hard, fill the carton with crushed ice. Pour the melted paraffin over the ice to the top of the carton. Set it on the counter and let the paraffin harden. When the paraffin is hard, cut off the carton. The ice will be melted, so there will be water in the carton. You now have a candle with holes in it! When the candle is burned, the light will show through the holes. You can place evergreens around the candle with other decorations or make a pine cone wreath as featured in Aunt Dots‘ gardening article.

Math Square Puzzle by Beth Brubaker Use the numbers 1 through 9 to fill the spaces in the grid and complete each numerical expression. Each number is used once. Answer on page 81.

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Mop and Bucket at the Lamb & Psalmist by Keith Wallis ―Phew! What a day! The boss has got this place filled tight as a Roman‘s breast plate. It‘s census, see – all the Roman‘s {spit} idea - folk have got to go back to their home towns to register their names. Well, how‘d you like to have to do it? How far would you have to go? And it ain‘t as if it was voluntary - the Romans {spit} don‘t do ‗voluntary‘! I‘m lucky though, we‘ve lived here since David was a shepherd. Anyway, the boss has got the place busting at the seams. ―Then, earlier today, this couple turn up with their donkey – come all the way from Nazareth, they have. Donkey looked exhausted and so the boss says: ‗We‘ve got some space in the animal room‘. I thought he‘d taken pity on the poor animal and was just offering to put the donkey up. ―Oh no, not Jacob-the-miser, not Mr ‗One Eye on the Till‘; he was inventing an ‗annex‘ for the Inn. There he was thanking the Romans {spit} for their brilliant idea to boost the tourist industry – and thinking all his Christmases had come at once. Ooops, I can‘t say that can I, ‗cos Christmas hasn‘t come yet, has it! ―Boss didn‘t notice that the girl on the donkey was in the family way. That‘ll come back and bite him on the bum, I thought, ‗cos I don‘t reckon she‘ll see the night through without needing a midwife.

―I stepped outside for a moment – a comfort break - and they were right. There was ‗something‘ even about the feel of the air, as if everything was on hold and waiting. ―Stranger still, up on the hill, there were some odd lights in the sky. Could have been the Romans {spit} up to something, but whatever it was, it‘ll get the UFO geeks stirred up. I thought ‗that‘ll scare the shepherds‘, smelly blighters. ―Then, as I‘d expected, it started getting noisy in the cow shed. Boss came running down stairs – thought I‘d give him some encouragement – ‗Told you so!‘ I offered. He mumbled something like ‗they were family and anyway it‘s all about Christmas‘. ―What does he know about Christmas? ―Suddenly, all heaven let loose – what a night.‖

―Then all he ruckus of childbirth‘ll keep the guests awake, money grubbing git will have some apologizing to do. ―Warned him, I did – it‘ll all go Caesarea Phillipi – I told him. He don‘t listen though, bad as asking a Roman {spit} to spare a denarius. ―Some of the locals came in earlier this evening. Well, they would have done if the place wasn‘t so full. Actually, what they did was put their heads ‗round the door to say that something odd was going on. 31


Gardener's Delight by Rochelle Martin This issue of Ruby has the fourth block of Gardener's Delight which is the Holly Sprigs block.

Materials The yardage for the quilt is in the May/June issue of Ruby. For this block you will need: • • • •

11" square of tan tonal fabric fabric from ½ yard green tonal (holly leaves, ½ of heart shapes) 1-1 ½" wide x 10" light green tonal strip (½ of heart shapes) fabric from red fat quarter for holly berries

10 ½" unfinished

A block diagram of the Holly Sprigs block has been included to help you place your shapes on the fabric 11" tan tonal square. It's helpful to use a light box to see the lines of the block diagram through your fabric square or you can make a tracing from the diagram and use it as an overlay on top of your fabric block.

Instructions 1. Using the templates, prepare your berry, leaf and stem shapes in the appliqué method you are using. The shapes have been reversed for fusible and freezer paper hand and machine methods. 2. Fold the tan tonal square in half and finger press a vertical crease (figure 1). 

Open the block and finger press a horizontal crease. Use these lines to center your block design on the 11" tan tonal square.

3. Tape the Holly Sprigs design sheets (left and right) together along the dotted reference lines. 4. Using the block design as your guide, position and appliqué the four prepared stems in the method you are using. Use matching or contrasting thread finish the appliqué edges in a machine short zigzag or blanket stitch. 5. Sew together into a panel one 1 ½" wide x 10" strip of green tonal and one 1 ½" wide x 10" light green strip (figure 2). Press the seam open. 6. Cut out four M heart shapes using the M template. Position the seamed M heart shapes and appliqué over the center stem ends. 7. Position three red berries on each stem and appliqué to the block. 8. Position one green leaf on each stem and appliqué to the block. 9. Press the block face down on a towel to remove stitching distortion and trim the block to 10 ½". 32


Holly Sprigs Quilt Block Templates Gardener’s Delight Quilt by Rochelle Martin

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Holly Sprigs Quilt Block Left Block Design Gardener’s Delight Quilt by Rochelle Martin

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Holly Sprigs Quilt Block Right Block Design Gardener’s Delight Quilt by Rochelle Martin

Rochelle Martin

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Introducing Kathi Macias Author of ―Red Ink‖

Ruby for Women is honored to share with you an interview with Kathi Macias, author of Red Ink, as well as numerous other Christian books. Kathi has graciously offered to join with us in telling you about her writing career, her books, and a bit about her life. If you would like more information about Kathi and her ministry, you can visit her website at www.kathimacias.com * How did your writing career develop? Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer, or are you an "accidental author"? I can‘t remember ever wanting to be anything other than a writer. I learned to read before I started kindergarten, and I‘ve been in love with words ever since. When I was in the third grade I wrote a short story and gave it to my teacher. She liked it so much that she showed it to the school principal, and together they decided to turn it into a play for the entire PTA. I was hooked! Then, when I was about 13 or so, I was walking home from school with my then boyfriend (now husband), Al, and I told him I was going to be a writer someday. He often reminds me how blessed I am to be able to do what I‘ve always dreamed of doing! * What are some of the inspirations for your stories? Are they based on people you know or have met, or are they perhaps a compilation of different people, events, and ideas that you bring together? In the beginning, I stuck to the old ―write what you know‖ rule for fiction, setting my stories in places where I‘d lived or at least visited extensively, and creating characters I could relate to easily and

perhaps even shared a few life circumstances with, but all that changed in my most recent novels. This year I‘ve seen three of my four-book Extreme Devotion series from New Hope Publishers release, as well as Valeria’s Cross, my stand-alone historical novel from Abingdon Press (co-authored with Susan Wales). Valeria’s Cross was a real stretch for me because it‘s set in third-century Rome. Quite obviously I wasn‘t around in the third century (contrary to what my grandchildren might believe!), and I‘ve never been to Rome. But my co-author, Susan Wales, has visited all the sites mentioned in our book and is very knowledgeable of that period of history, so we were a great team. The Extreme Devotion series, on the other hand, is contemporary (with the exception of book one, No Greater Love, which is set in 1989, but at least that‘s a period of time I remember well), with each book set in a different country: No Greater Love in South Africa, More than Conquerors in both Tijuana and San Juan Chamula, Mexico (San Juan Chamula being a stronghold of Mayan culture), Red Ink in China, and People of the Book in Saudi Arabia. Since the only country of those four that I‘ve been to is Mexico, it made the research a lot more challenging, but I used the Internet primarily for the initial draft, and then worked with someone living in the country itself as my reader/consultant, which helped tremendously. All of the stories are loosely based on the events of real-life people, Christians living under very difficult situations in foreign lands. 36


The books are mostly adventure, with a touch of mystery and romance thrown in, but all are faithbuilders and life-challengers for readers. Valeria‘s Cross, though set in third century, also deals with people who paid a heavy price for their Christianity. If you like historical romance, you‘ll love this book! * What are your goals for your writing? Do you have more books in the works? My goal in all my writing, whether fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or historical, international or local, is to challenge readers to a deeper faith walk and a more committed love relationship with the Father. I also want to take Christians from the small mindset of life as we know it personally to see how other people live in different cultures and countries and times. The new series I‘m working on right now—the “Freedom Series,” another series in the ―fiction with a mission‖ line from New Hope Publishers— is a three-book fiction set based on the horrors of human trafficking and a call to the Church to take a stand against it. The first book in that series, Deliver Me from Evil, releases in Fall 2011.

These are all books that I use as a basis to teach at women‘s and/or writers‘ conferences, and they are also developed in such a way that individuals or small groups can study them on their own. Another of my novels, My Son John from Sheaf House, deals with a middle-aged Christian woman whose mother is brutally murdered; while she‘s still reeling from that shock, her 23-year-old son is arrested for the crime, and she must deal with her denial, her grief, and the challenge to her faith, which includes forgiveness and unconditional love. * Please share with us a bit about your family: I am married to my junior/senior high school sweetheart, Al. Our children are all grown with families of their own, which means we have 18 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. (I still haven‘t wrapped my mind around that one!) My almost 90-year-old mom lives with us, and I am her primary caretaker, so I juggle those responsibilities with writing/speaking fulltime. And when my husband and I manage to have a little spare time to ourselves (doesn‘t happen often!), we escape on his Harley—hence, my ―road name‖ of Easy Writer!

Tell us about a few of your books: In addition to the books I‘ve already discussed, I have several nonfiction books, primarily (but not exclusively) directed at women: Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today; How Can I Run a Tight Ship when I’m Surrounded by Loose Cannons?; Beyond Me: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World; The Train-of-Thought Writing Method: Practical, User-Friendly Help for Beginning Writers. 37


* Anything else that you think is important to share with us ;o) Enjoy the season of life you‘re in! It will pass far too soon. It seems my ―babies‖ were just in diapers and learning to walk; now they have grown children of their own. I wasn‘t able to do all the things I do now when they were little, but those precious times we shared then are some of the best memories I have.

* What can you share with aspiring writers to encourage them to pursue their dreams? Be sure that you‘ve been called to this, because it‘s a very difficult endeavor, and you‘ll be tempted to throw in the towel more than once! However, if you‘re certain that this is what God wants you to do, don‘t let anything stop you! And don‘t be concerned with jumping on other people‘s ―bandwagons.‖ Trends in writing/publishing come and go, like anything else. Identify your own passion, that focus that God has built into you, and pursue it with all your heart. God will open the right door at the right time.

Also, I love to hear from readers! You can find me at www.kathimacias.com where you can sign up to receive my weekly devotional in either English or Spanish, watch videos on my various books, or email me via the ―contact‖ button. You can also find me at my Easy Writer blog at http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com, where I‘m running a contest for a free Kindle, so please stop by! Here are a few of Kathi's books, available now or will be coming out soon: NO GREATER LOVE (South Africa) - out now MORE THAN CONQUERORS (Mexico) - out now RED INK (China) - out now PEOPLE OF THE BOOK (Saudi Arabia) - coming April 2011.

www.goaskkatie.com

www.giftsbykatherine.com

For your holiday shopping, visit Gifts by Katherine! 38


Ruby’s Family Favorite Holiday Recipes from our readers and contributors

Homemade Cakes and Jam: Unique and Inexpensive Holiday Gifts! by Amanda Johnson Once again I find myself heading down the road on another exciting trip to visit friends living in the mountains. The more miles I drive into the mountainous farmlands of western Pennsylvania and New York, the more road signs I see inviting travelers to stop and pick apples, find the right pumpkin, taste homemade jams, and sample fresh maple syrup. Sure, we can buy any of that in the supermarket, but there‘s something heartwarming and special about homemade jams and baked goods. This Christmas I‘m planning to give out some of my own homemade goodies to family and friends. It‘s definitely a great way to cut costs without having to cut the value of the gift!

Below are two recipes that are sure to delight family and friends. The first recipe is very close to my heart. It‘s a timeless formula of love passed down to me from my grandmother. Grandma has been gone for six years now, but her memory lives on through the many times my family and I gather around for a slice of moist Sour Cream Pound Cake. The recipe isn‘t new or unique, but it has a way of blessing the hands that prepare and share it.

Pound Cake Ingredients: 2 sticks of butter (one cup of butter) 3 cups of sugar 6 eggs ¼ tsp of baking powder (or baking soda – I‘ve used either one) 3 cups of flour 1 cup of sour cream 39


Instructions Preheat the oven to 300 degrees

Ingredients

Start with 2 sticks of butter, softened, and then add 3 cups of sugar. Mix the two together and begin adding the 6 egg yolks (saving the whites for later). Next, add in the ¼ tsp of baking powder, followed by one cup of flower. Continue mixing. Next, add a half a cup of sour cream followed by another cup of flour. Finish up by mixing in the remaining sour cream and the last cup of flour. In a separate bowl, Wisk the egg whites until they become stiff and then fold them into the batter.

Fresh blueberries 1 box/packet of Sure-Jell Premium Fruit Pectin (or another available brand) ½ teaspoon of butter 5 cups of sugar Quart jars and lids (Sterilized – send them through the dishwasher!) Large pot (deep because the jam will pop as it boils just like pasta sauce!)

Bake

Instructions

This recipe will make one Bundt pan or two loaf pans (fill the pans half way). Don‘t forget to flower the pans. These cakes love to stick! Bake the cake for an hour and a half at 300 degrees. Cake is finished when a butter knife is inserted in the middle and comes out clean.

Sure-Jell usually comes with a set of jam and jelly instructions depending on the particular type of jam that will be made. Be sure to refer to the instructions for any alterations that may occur for a different type of berry. To start, wash the blueberries and make sure there are no s mall stems still sticking out of them. Next, mash the blueberries into a puree (or use a food chopper). Four cups of mashed/pureed blueberries are needed.

Sparkling Berry Jam This second recipe was given to me by my best friend Jennifer during one of my summer visits with her and her family. For this recipe, we used handpicked blueberries since they were in season. Any berry, however, can be used, so be sure to check to see what‘s in season!

Pour the blueberries into the large pot, add the packet of Sure-Jell followed by a teaspoon of butter. Bring the mix to a rolling boil. Pour in the 5 cups of sugar and again bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Once this is achieved it‘s time to pour the mixture into the quart jars. Don‘t forget to wipe the rim of the jar clean with a paper towel before sealing. Once the jars are filled and sealed, set them aside to cool and sit back to listen to the popping sounds of the lids sealing. Place the jars on the shelf for storing. Refrigerate after opening. Enjoy!

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Grandma’s Dilly Bread from Lynn Mosher Here's a great bread that we traditionally have for Christmas but sneak in a few other times during the year!

Dilly Bread 1 pkg. dry yeast (not fast acting) ¼ c. lukewarm water (around 110 degrees) 1 c. creamed cottage cheese, heated to lukewarm 2 T. sugar 1 T. dried minced onion 1 T. butter 1 egg 2 ¼ c. All-purpose flour 2 t. dill seed 1 t. salt ¼ t. baking soda Dissolve yeast in water. In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except flour. Add flour gradually to form stiff dough. It is not necessary to beat this with electric mixer. Cover and let rise near heat until light, about 60 min. (I turn on the oven for a couple of minutes and then turn off.) When raised and fluffy, stir down dough with floured hands or spoon and turn into greased loaf pan or 2 qt. casserole. Let rise again near heat, about 40 to 50 min. till risen. Bake at 350 degrees about 35 min. or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. The recipe says to brush the top with butter and sprinkle with salt while still hot but I‘ve never done it but probably will the next time. I always do this: when cooled, slice, butter, wrap in tin foil and reheat for about 10 min. or so until butter is melted and it‘s hot. Enjoy!

Candy Cane Fudge from Vintage Mama 2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups miniature marshmallows 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips 2 teaspoons mint extract 1/4 teaspoon red food coloring In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, salt, evaporated milk, and butter, and stir until the sugar melts. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil stirring constantly, for five minutes. After five minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the marshmallows, white chocolate chips, and mint extract. Pour the mixture into an 8 X 8 pan that has been lined with aluminum foil or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

* Optional: Sprinkle drops of red food coloring over the top, and stir once or twice, creating red swirls. Do not over-stir, otherwise the candy will turn pink. Place in the refrigerator to set the fudge for at least one hour. * Instead of the red food coloring, I sprinkled the top of the fudge with red and white sugar crystals. You could also use crushed candy and sprinkle over top of the fudge.

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Aunt Ellen’s Caramels from Vintage Mama * 2 cups sugar * 3/4 cup light corn syrup * 2 cups light cream (20%) * 1/2 cup butter

Butter square pan, 8 X 8 X 2 inches, or line pan with tinfoil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and half the cream in large saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining cream.

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, to 245 degrees on a candy thermometer (or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water forms a firm ball. This is the way my mama always did it!)

Immediately spread mixture evenly in pan. Cool. Cut into 1" squares. Makes about 5 dozen candies. You can wrap the individual caramels in squares of wax paper or tin foil to keep them from sticking to each other and to hold their shape.

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Mamma’s First Christmas with Jesus by Paula McVay ―Mamma got to spend Christmas with Jesus!‖ my oldest grandson declared emphatically. ―What did they do? Were all the angels there?‖ he wondered aloud.‘ I was able to respond with a resounding ―Yes!‖ and I added that I was almost positive she would be organizing a party with them. You see, the night before, I was awakened to pray for Kellie, our 34-year-old daughterin-law who had been struggling with breast cancer for 3 years. My specific prayer was that angels would fill the room and everyone would know God‘s presence as Jesus welcomed Kellie home. I began to sense God‘s presence there in the bedroom where my husband and I were staying in our son‘s home while he was at the hospital. Of course, I longed for Kellie‘s healing, but God began to give a comfort and an impression that it was time for Kellie‘s home-going. It was about 3:00 a.m. that Christmas Eve when I awakened my husband and told him that I thought he should get dressed because our son needed him at the hospital. When the phone rang a few minutes later, my husband was dressed and ready to go when our son told us that Kellie had been ushered into heaven. ―It‘s amazing, Dad,‖ he exclaimed. ―I was standing there rubbing her arm, and even though she was unconscious, I told her not to worry about the boys and their Christmas morning. We had everything under control and she could go on to have Christmas with Jesus. I assured her that we would not tell the boys until the day after Christmas. She had been laboring for every breath, but then she seemed to

hear me. She actually smiled, took a normal breath and went to be with Jesus. I felt God‘s presence all around.‖ Kellie always loved Christmas more than anyone I knew. Every the fall, she would begin having each of us make a list for her so she could shop. She and her sister, Mom, and aunts had a special weekend every year just for shopping. Oh yes, she put emphasis where it really belongs………on the greatest gift of Christ Jesus………reading Bible stories and setting up the manger scene for the boys, but she loved all the seasonal decorations and giving and receiving gifts. Not having a daughter of my own, I thoroughly enjoyed all the girly things Kellie loved. I could wrap up a bottle of hairspray or nail polish and you‘d think I‘d given her gold. Even though she struggled with cancer for 3 years, she never quit laughing and loving. In November, before her last hospital stay, she and her relatives went on the shopping trip while Papa and I babysat. She told me where all the gifts were in case she became too ill to wrap all of them. The week before Christmas, I went up to their huge attic-like closet and found gifts, gifts, and more gifts, each labeled for all the relatives and friends. As I wrapped each one, I sensed the fun she‘d had on that shopping trip even though she had to be pushed around in a wheel chair and had to go back to the hotel to rest several times during that weekend. 43


Christmas day everyone opened the gifts from Kellie while, God gave amazing strength for us to rejoice for the sake of the boys and because we knew that she was not suffering anymore. Of course, we couldn‘t say anything and we were able to act as if she were just still in the hospital; therefore, could not be present for the festivities. God had everything in control Col. 1:17 “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” NIV What a miracle that the little guys did not ask if they could take Mamma‘s presents to the hospital. They had been able to visit her a few days before, and knew how sick she was. I have to confess that I was in constant communion with God about how my son would tell the boys the next morning. All through the night, I claimed God‘s wisdom for our son, Vince. James l:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God.” NIV The next morning, our son took the boys back to the bedroom as we listened in the bedroom next to them. He explained about the angels and how Mamma had been so sick, but now she was in heaven with Jesus. He told them that she had seen their wonderful Christmas day so much better than if she‘d been in that hospital bed, and that she would always be watching over them.

Later that morning, the boys were playing with their toys around the tree. The three-year-old asked his five-year-old brother why there were still two gifts under the tree. He replied with such ―big brother‖ wisdom and authority. ―Bryson, those were for Mamma, but she doesn‘t need them anymore.‖ Bryson replied, ―Oh, I know, Mamma had Christmas with Jesus and all the angels. ‗Member‘, Daddy told us.‖ We don‘t understand why someone so young and vibrant would be taken, but we do know that God gives strength, grace, and mercy.

II Cor.12:9 ”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” NIV Kellie had grown up in Dixon, Tennessee where she was always surrounded with friends and where she loved to work in her church and community. Her church and town raised thousands of dollars for her health care. They constantly dropped by the house while we were there. Some were Christians and some were not. Kellie had always made her faith known and had expressed to them that even though she did not understand, she knew she was ready for heaven and her illness would be worth it all if certain of her close relatives, including Vince‘s younger brother, would come to know Jesus and experience the greatest gift of God‘s peace. Kellie was the church administrator for a small church in Dixon, Tennessee, which tripled in size while she was there. Over 600 people came to the funeral and continued to help and encourage our son. People from Michigan, where I taught in the public schools, were so impressed with God‘s grace and strength as I returned to teach after being away for three weeks. They wanted to know how we could be joyful in such tragic circumstances. God gave me the wisdom and strength to be a light and witness. Even though I would never choose such grief, I am so thankful for the opportunities to show His light and love in a dark world. I was so thankful that I could share Kellie‘s love of Jesus, and the story of how I knew the angels had come into that hospital room and ushered her into heaven. 44


.

Ascend Our Thoughts Resplendent in glistered frost we unwrap the special day when all is changed, though still the same, and mangers, stars and hay ascend our thoughts. Nativities have come and gone in varieties of craft some creating tear drops, and some creating laughs ascend our thoughts. Discarded wrappings litter our paths and cheery homes and somehow Jesus lays there while reindeer, elves and gnomes ascend our thoughts. The carols fuel our reveries Silent Nights and First Noels, and in semi-Bleak Midwinter the turkey-roasting smells ascend our thoughts. The Christmas gift, if gift it is, costing much yet given so free meanders in the mistletoe as mischievous kissery ascends our thoughts. Yet, trapped within our wonders, the miracle of birth, new sounds upon the quietude, new feet upon the earth ascend our thoughts. And Christ has come again, again. In mangers of unworthy hearts unwrapped, and Holy, bright and new that love of God, which He imparts, ascends our thoughts. Keith Wallis

November 2008

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Ask Ms. Beth by Beth Brubaker

Top Ten Low-Cost Holiday Gifts The economy has hit many families hard, and most people can't afford the expensive gifts that loved ones want on birthdays, holidays and special events, like weddings. Here are a few great tips I've used when dealing with the need for a gift with little or no money to spend!



Personalized Coupons

Holiday Coupon Good for an evening on the town with . . . Me

If you are handy with computer art (or a scanner), make up a few sheets of coupons the receiver can use throughout the year. Cut them out and turn them into a book (use fancy edged scissors for a fun look), or gift them inside a fancy envelope you decorate yourself. Kids can give parents coupons for quiet time and extra help around the house, and if you're a scrapbooker, you can use your extra supplies to make each coupon a personal work of art! Friends can gift babysitting time to moms, a night out with the girls for friends . . . use your imagination with this project, and a simple idea will become extraordinary! 

Bake a cake or other sweet

Maybe you're the 'famous' family baker / candy maker, and you have a treat you make only for special occasions. Or this someone has a favorite thing she can't get too often because they are pricey (like chocolate covered nuts). Go ahead and make it for her! You can buy boxes at your local bakery/candy shop to store them in, which can be tied with their favorite colored ribbons. See what's in your pantry (so you don't have to buy extra ingredients unless needed), and see what kind of special something you can make for your deserving sweet-tooth foodie. 46


Cook a favorite meal

This seems simple enough, but give it a little extra meaning by setting the table with the special china, lighting a few candles (if an adult), or lay out a fun and colorful tablecloth with bright napkins and party decorations (if a child).

Craft a useful or needed item Think about what your friend/family member needs or would like to have, and create an item to blow their socks off! Say you can knit, and you notice your friend is always cold - make a sweater out of your stash of yarn - or a scarf, or a snuggie - whatever you think she would like! Take old photos and put them in a scrapbook, with hand written memories of your adventures together. Make a lap quilt, jewelry, a bag or purse - anything is possible! And most (if not all) of the supplies can come right out of your craft stash.

Spend time with them

Go for a nice long walk in the park and talk, ride bikes together, play a game - anything that gives them your complete and total attention. It doesn't matter if they're a friend, child, or even your sweetie, taking time out of your busy schedule just for some one-on-one time with them is greatly appreciated especially if it's a friend you haven't talked to in a long time!

Take them to their favorite place

It might cost a little, but if they have a certain place they like to go to, make arrangements ahead of time, and save up for it. Look online for coupons or specials (if it's a restaurant, theatre or sports event - some nights are discounted or have meal deals) to see if it's something affordable. If not, take them somewhere they like to go that doesn't cost a lot, like a mountain trail to look at nature, or a trip into the city to window shop. 47


Make a gift basket

This can tie in with the baking and candy making, but it can also be something for the writer/student, cook, or movie lover. Take a small basket and fill it with all kinds of goodies - many of which can be found at a dollar store. This can include pencils, pens, tablets (for the student), spices, a collection of recipes, spoons and spatulas (for the cook), microwave popcorn, candy and soda (for the movie lover). Of course you can make a basket of homemade goodies too, filled with cookies, small breads and cupcakes. Don't have a basket? Use a fancy bowl (from the dollar store) or a coffee mug! Get inventive - then wrap it up in colored or clear plastic wrap and tie it up with a bow. No tape needed! 

Host a potluck party

What if you wanted to have a party, but didn't have the funds to do it? Invite friends over and ask them to bring something - you can include things like paper products and drinks as well as food items and snacks. (I would suggest that gifts be an option in this case, since they are contributing to the party.) Write a list out of what you need, and write down the attendee‘s name next to the item, so there is no confusion or doubles.

Chip-ins for big ticket items

Still want to get a big gift? Have friends and family chip-in to get it! Make or buy a big birthday card and get everyone who donated to sign it, writing down a few well wishes too. This makes things a lot easier on your budget, as well as everyone else's! People are more willing to chip -in on a gift than getting one themselves, because you are the one doing the shopping!

Give a special day of pampering

Husbands and wives can give foot rubs, massages, letting him watch the game uninterrupted (with drinks and snack provided for easy access of course!), take the kids out for some time by him / herself (or take the kids to mom's so it's just you two), give them a gift card to do a little light shopping, go out to lunch (don't forget those lunch specials!), and just do things that they like to do to relax. Even if you're out with the kids (theirs or your own) or not with her in person, giving her a block of free time to decompress is priceless!

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Has Something Stolen Your Christmas? by Deborah Shank Christmas is far more than gifts and a wish list. It is about a Savior who came to give you and me eternal life in heaven. It is about accepting God's free gift of salvation. It is about walking with Christ, so that one day we will spend eternity in a beautiful place with our Heavenly Father. In a culture which is increasingly secularized, there are many people who have no clue what Christmas truly means. Christmas in the eyes of the world is combing the stores in frustration. It is searching the Christmas tree lots for just the right tree. It is listening to dogs barking to the tune of ―Jingle Bells.‖ The world is offering a hollow and shallow substitute for the true meaning of Christmas. The controversies surrounding Christmas have been all over the media again this year. The Christ-child is being asked to leave more and more places. But isn‘t that the reality of Christmas? A child is born into the world and the world ignores him. He was unwelcome the first Christmas and many wanted to destroy him. His teachings are still regarded as dangerous by many. We are expected to celebrate Christmas, but we are not supposed to remember why. People are still offended at Him. People still reject Him. People still try to forget Him and ignore his presence. The Gospel of John gives us the true meaning of Christmas. It says: ―Now this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent‖ (John 17:3). What would it have been like if Jesus never came? What would the story of our lives be? Without His coming there is no meaning, there is no reason. But because he came, we can experience a true and fulfilling purpose for our lives.

This is a season to be thankful for all of God's blessings, and to be reminded of the gift God gave to each of us. This is a time of year to give and to bless others as God has blessed us. It is so easy to be overwhelmed by all the demands of the holidays. Let's remember why we celebrate Christmas. Don‘t allow stress to rob you of your Christmas. Focus on today and prioritize your schedule. Make time for daily devotions and prayer. Even in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, nothing is more important than our relationship with the Lord. Don't allow your Christmas to be stolen. It can happen when you least expect it. Stay focused during this very busy season. After all Jesus is the Reason for the Season! This article is submitted by Rev. Deborah Shank. Debbie and her husband Bobby pastor Belvoir Assembly of God located in Marshall, Virginia. They have been co-pastoring in ministry for 29 years. Debbie is the Women’s/Music Pastor at their church. She is also employed as the Executive Assistant to the District Superintendent at the Potomac District Council of the Assembly of God in Virginia. Debbie and Bobby live in Warrenton, VA. They have two grown and married children and two grandchildren. Debbie is available to speak and ministers through her blog http://www.DeborahShank.blogspot.com weekly. Her ministry website is http://www.DeborahShank.com.

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Vintage Gift Tags For Your Holiday GiftGiving

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A Shiny New Bicycle by Lee E. Shilo

It was in the last good days of that summer, and I was riding my bicycle back home. We lived three houses in from a busy intersection. I was making a left-hand turn at the traffic light, when both tightening levers from the wheels decided to loosen suddenly.

We had not been in Victoria long after and moving away from my abusive father. My mother was only getting part-time work at the General Hospital, and I so badly wanted a bicycle like all the other boys, as I was constantly being made fun of for not having one. As everyone can remember, being teased was the worst thing that could possibly happen to a child that age. As money was tight, my mother shopped around for weeks, trying to find a good deal on a cheap used bicycle. I guess she could not take my whining any longer, and finally bought the cheapest bike she could find. Okay, now most of you are thinking a normal, typical bike, right? Wrong, this is where it gets interesting! This was a fold-up bicycle. The front tire folded back to the left, and the back tire folded to the right, just like an accordion. The handle bars were a facsimile of the Banana bar type on normal bikes, but much more stupid looking, and smaller. They came out from the front prongs, for easy storage, and there was nothing to keep them tight when they were in. Each tire had a tightening lever to keep them from buckling once they were deployed. Then, it was a simple matter of just shoving the handle bars in, and away you go! I can't really say I was popular, but I was most certainly noticeable to the other kids. At that time I did not care, I had a bike to ride like everyone else, and that was all that mattered to me. I enjoyed my bike, and not getting teased, right to the end of summer.

Trying quickly to adjust and regain my balance, I pulled up hard on the handle bars. Yup, they came right out in my hands! Cars came to a screeching halt, horns began to blast from every direction, and obscenities were hurled at me as if they were supposed help me get out of the way sooner. So there I was, in the center of the intersection, with my legs trapped between the folding wheels, and the handle bars flailing in my hands, doing a balancing act trying not to fall over. I did eventually manage to extricate myself from the evil clutches of my bike, and hobbled to the side of the curb with the pieces in my hands.

I would like to point out, no one actually left their car to try and help me. I curse them to this day! Anyway, once I got the pieces home, I threw them with disgust into the garbage, and explained to my poor, hardworking mother, why I was not going to ride the bicycle anymore. Thank goodness she understood, and I never complained about not having a bicycle to ride ever again. Since then, I have walked or jogged everywhere, and consequently became one of the best at track & field runners in my school because of it. My popularity grew and no one made fun of me anymore for not having a bicycle! ŠLee E. Shilo-All Rights Reserved-2010

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―For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.‖ John 3:16

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Countdown to Christmas by Heather Miller

Ah, Christmas. In most people's minds, it's the best holiday of the year. We long for it in the heat of summer. We sneak out our Christmas CDs to listen to while we clean in October. We begin counting down the days three months in advance. But I would like to issue a word of caution: overdoing Christmas too early can lessen the impact when Christmastime really does roll around. There's something very special about pulling out the Christmas music, movies, and books at the beginning of December, and knowing that now, finally it truly is Christmastime! We here at the Miller home have a long-standing tradition of doing a Christmas Countdown. I'm sure everyone has seen the various kinds of advent calendars that can be bought in the stores, but we like to make our own. We have many different ways of doing this. First, you must understand that we are not only counting down the days, we are doing something special on each day as we count down. Each day from December 1-25 is assigned some little task or activity, and each day, as we check our calendar, we perform the assigned task.

Some ideas for making the ―calendar‖ that we have used are: • Cut paper strips for a chain, write a date and activity on each one, and each day, read and perform the activity, then attach that strip to the chain. On Christmas Day you have a 25 link chain to hang on the tree, over the fireplace, or wherever you want! • Make paper ornaments (we do this by tracing Christmas cookie cutters onto paper, cutting out, punching a hole in the top, then tying a yarn loop to hang by), write a date and activity on each one, then you can either: 1) hang them on the tree one by one as the days go by, or 2) hang them all on the tree the first day, then each subsequent day, the children have to search to find the right one (this is the favorite method at our house).

• Make your own calendar by taking two 12 x 18 inch pieces of construction paper, cutting 25 doors (three sides of a square) in one paper, then gluing it over the second piece. Write a number (1-25) on each of the doors, then open them up and write the activity for the day on the paper beneath. You can design your top paper to look like a present, a tree, or anything else you can think of! 53


Of course, you'll need to make a list of things to do for each day. Don't expect your list to stay the same each year. Or, at least, don't expect things to happen on the same days each year. For example, there are certain things that take longer than others so we make sure they're on the weekends, or there are things that must be done in the evenings so we make sure they're on a day when Dad will be home in time. What goes on your family's list will be different from what goes on anyone else's. Ideas include watching Christmas movies, reading Christmas books, singing Christmas songs together, baking cookies or other goodies, going out to look at Christmas lights, and making gifts or cards for family members. To give you an example, here's our (tentative) list for this year: Dec. 1 Put up Christmas decorations Dec. 2 Watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” Dec. 3 Bake Christmas-chip cookies Dec. 4 Go to Christmas tree farm and pick out a tree! Dec. 5 Make paper chain for tree Dec. 6 Read The Polar Express – and have mugs of hot chocolate! Dec. 7 Read The Nutcracker while listening to Tchaikovsky‘s Nutcracker Suite Dec. 8 Drive to Utica Square to see Nutcracker scenes Dec. 9 Watch The Nutcracker Ballet Dec. 10 Make fudge – chocolate and peanut butter! Dec. 11 Make Christmas cards for family members Dec. 12 Make popcorn chains for tree Dec. 13 Read Stave 1 of “A Christmas Carol”

Dec. 14 Read Stave 2 of “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 15 Read Stave 3 of “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 16 Read Stave 4 of “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 17 Read Stave 4 of “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 18 Bake Christmas sugar cookies Dec. 19 Turn out all lights except tree lights and some candles, listen to quiet carols and truly think about the reason for the season Dec 20 Gather ‗round the piano and sing Christmas songs Dec 21 Make Christmas placemats with red and green paper weaving Dec 22 Drive around at night and look at Christmas lights Dec. 23 Read the Christmas story from Luke 8 Dec. 24 Read “A Visit from St. Nick” (aka “The Night Before Christmas”) Dec. 25 Merry Christmas! Your list will be unique to your family, and that's great! Christmas is a time when families should draw closer together and enjoy each other's company. It's also a time when adults can loosen up a bit...so what if there's flour in your hair or you can't sing in tune? Just enjoy yourself, and your kids will, too! 54


Mission Possible by Deborah McCarragher

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to stand in the gap for your mate‘s soul. This small book is a powerful tool for any woman who is married to a man who does not share her passion for Jesus. Every woman knows someone who is struggling with this in their marriage. It will encourage and challenge the reader to embrace God‘s promises for their spouse and future together. In this book you will: 

Discover how to believe with radical faith for your spouse‘s salvation

Learn the secret to ―staying the course‖ while you wait for your promise

Find out why many women don‘t like to share their ―secret sorrow‖

Overcome your own fears and doubts about your husband‘s future with God

Join other women in the knowledge that God has a perfect plan of unity for you and your spouse.

"Mission Possible" encourages women through scripture to believe that God‘s Word will transform their husbands and bring glory to God. Deborah invites the reader to join her as she candidly portrays her quest to reach her husband for Christ. Her goal is to share her personal testimony with others while bringing hope and practical help through her book. Deborah began her journey of creative writing soon after coming to know Jesus as her personal savior in 1989. She enjoys using her spiritual gifts of encouragement and teaching in her home church. Her love of the Holy scripture and bible study are evident in her poetry and literary works. Her primary goal is to share her personal testimony with others while bringing hope and practical help through her books. She and her husband have one married son serving in the U.S. military. They reside in north Florida. Her book "MISSION POSSIBLE" is available through her website at www.Godmissionpossible.com

The author applies Scripture and practical action in this must-have book. Mission Possible – Spiritual Covering candidly portrays her quest over time to reach her husband for Christ. Mission Possible was awarded the 2010 Gold Seal Award for best Christian Non-Fiction book on Readers Favorite website. Here is a preview of Deborah's book, available at God Mission Possible.

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Make a Kids Craft Basket

If you are looking for a fun, easy, inexpensive idea for a holiday gift for a child, here‘s an idea that is sure to make kids of all ages happy! Fill a plastic crate or box with:              

colored paper crayons, markers stickers pipe cleaners buttons pom-poms white glue or glue sticks safety scissors foam and / or cardboard shapes wobbly eyes kid-sized craft apron (recycle one of dad‘s shirts!) sparkles, glitter, sequins washable paint drawing paper

by Beth Brubaker Answer on page 81.

www.LindaGJ.Etsy.com 56


Spicing Things Up for the Holidays! by Beth Brubaker

You open your pantry door to see . . . disaster! The food is at war on the pantry shelves - the jams are fighting the cake mixes, the microwave popcorn rebels against the impeding cereals, and the jar of peanut butter seems to be the first casualty - it lies by your feet, looking half-empty and pitiful. The key to making a tasty snack or meal is to know where your ingredients are in the first place. I guarantee you've spent years looking for things you may never find and back to the store you go, buying what you need, only to return from the store to find it sitting on the same shelf you looked at for two hours straight. But now you have an old one and a new one. And if the recipe is brand-new, it wouldn't be the wisest thing to be double the recipe - Don't ask me how I know. Break out the recipe books, gather everything together, get out all the cooking utensils and pans, and put on your apron - you are ready!

   

Don't smear butter on burns. Butter does go with everything. (except burns) Sometimes all you need is a little salt and pepper (and butter). When making cheese sauce, don't leave it heating on the stove – ever - unless you enjoy choking down burnt cheese balls the size of a goat.

It's good to try different styles of cooking as well you might find you make a terrible Italian chef, but you can make Chinese dishes like nobody‘s business! You might be gifted with perfection when cooking certain meats, vegetables, rice whatever it is, use that strength to enhance your holiday cooking!

By testing new recipes before a holiday for a holiday, you learn a lot. You find out what your strengths and weaknesses are, and what you have a natural knack for. You also learn what not to do. For instance:  Long hair and open flame is a really bad thing.  Hair nets can be sexy if you use sparkles.  Green or red for Christmas is nice! Ponytails are sexier than hair nets.  Chocolate does not go with everything, especially fish. 57


Don't be afraid to try things made from boxed foods either - you would be amazed at what wonderful creations you can concoct with a cake mix! Though I like making things from scratch, fiddling around with a mix can have great benefits- especially if I have the 'tweaked' recipe ready when I need something fast! I like to add a little cream cheese to a cake mix for a richer flavor - I add some to the tub of icing too! Take those boxed scalloped potatoes and crumble in a little bacon and add some green leaf spices . . . try boiling your pasta in a flavored broth instead of water anything you think can be improved upon, give it a go! I found my strengths were making chicken of almost any kind, and I have a knack for making cream sauces and cream soups. I'm also a very good baker - though my husband is better when it comes to cobblers and inventing crusts. He can also make anything with beef taste like heaven! He's much more experimental with spices, while I like to keep things simple. He's known for his vegetable beef soup, and I'm known for my 'famous' chicken fingers. And both of us make some awesome cookies! Ah yes, cookies . . . another one of my favorite subjects! Cookies are a lot more forgiving than chicken or roast beef - if you make a booboo, they are usually still edible. I can't really say that about the steaks I left too long in the oven last week. We saved them to start the grill for next summer! Cookie dough is so much fun! I think people like to make cookies because the dough reminds them of so many childhood joys - Grandma making them whenever you came over, Mom baking on the holidays, all that PlayDoh you used to shove in the heating vents on the floor . . . all that good kid stuff. It's also therapeutic! The dough allows me to get out my frustrations when I knead it. Personally, I think that's why moms should bake a lot! Not only are you making something for the family, you are a calmer, more relaxed person afterwards. My kids particularly love 'Squoosh cookies'. They have cookie stamps and I make a nice form-holding sugar cookie dough and roll it into balls and they SQUOOSH it with the stamp into the features of their

You can even try new spices by sauteing a diced, raw chicken breast (or beef, or whatever you usually eat on a regular basis) in a little butter or oil, then dividing it up into three or more portions into bowls. Add just a tiny bit of spice to one, and put it back into the pan, then taste. Do you like it? Try mixing another spice into it and see what happens. Dicing it allows you to take a nibble as you go. You might be surprised by what you find! The best part is, if you do this early enough before the holidays, you can show off your newfound spice blends to your guests! And don't forget to write down any newfangled recipe - I lost many a fantastic creation trying to remember what and how much I put into it later on! We have a family word I like to use . . . ―inspirated ― (IN spur ate ed). It's not the word 'inspired' misspelled, but a word with a slightly different meaning. 'Inspired' adds a lofty, whimsical aura to an idea, whereas 'Inspirated' gives an idea a really bouncy, fun and invigorating spirit! So here's what I want you to do - go out into the kitchen (or wherever you keep your food stash), have a look at what you already have, and get ―inspirated‖ for the holidays!

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My Christmas Dog by Lee E. Shilo

It was at this age, when my mother decided I should have a pet. I think she was concerned that I had no friends, being new in Victoria, and did not want me to feel totally isolated. My only sibling was my sister, and she was ten years older than me. My mother was told of a pet adoption center many miles away, up the highway. It was run by Nuns, and was called the The Good Shepherd Animal Shelter. For a small donation, we could adopt a pet. That suited my mother just fine, since we were all but poor. It was getting near to Christmas and she decided that this was going to be my Christmas present for the year. I of course had no objections, "Absolutely!" I had ants in my pants for the rest of the week waiting for my mother‘s days off, for when we could go up and visit the animal shelter. The final day came, and my mother had secured a work friend with a car to drive us up. An hour of driving, and three washroom stops later, we had arrived. It was a spooky looking place, way out in the woods. The shelter itself was an old dilapidated, converted house. The nuns in their penguin suits only added to the already bizarre mystique of the place. We were greeted immediately by a nun wearing big rubber boots, with the end of her mud spattered habit stuck inside them. She was pleasant enough, and was anxious to show us about. We were lead inside and shown the small animals first. There were rabbits, turtles, birds of every kind, and of course cats and dogs. You might be asking yourself at this point, which animal I was going to pick? Not hard, I am a boy, a dog of course! The only prerequisite my mother had, was that the animal be small enough. I had a hard time deciding, since there were so many breeds in the shelter. We finally arrived at a cage with five dogs in it. All but one came clamoring up, panting and barking. It was a small short hair 59


Fox Terrier, and was too little to make it past the other dogs that were being petted. "What is that one‘s name" I asked, pointing to the small dog in the back. "His name is Saint Nicholas, oddly enough," the nun replied, somewhat surprised at the circumstance. "Mom, I want that one. It's perfect since Christmas is coming, and his name is Saint Nicholas. He looks small enough. Please, oh please!" I begged like only a twelve year old could. The nun's face was one big smile, as she looked towards my mother. I think she knew the power of a pleading twelve year old boy. My mother relented of course, and paid a small donation to the shelter. I had my Santa Claus dog! The trip back home seemed to go a whole lot faster as I recall."I'm going to call him Nicky mom, is that okay?" I asked gleefully. "Yes, I'm sure that will be fine." she replied, happy that I finally had a friend. Christmas came and went, and spring was just around the corner. Me and my best friend, Nicky, were attached at the hip. There was nowhere I went without my dog Nicky, aside from school. He was even allowed on my bed when it was time to go to sleep. He would nuzzle under the blankets, and work his way down to the foot of the bed. He always kept my bare feet toasty warm under the blankets. I was a troubled young lad when I was twelve. We had just separated from my abusive father, I was hypoglycemic, (a rather new medical phenomenon at the time) and I was still a bed wetter. Our family physician prescribed sugar cubes to be in my pants pockets at all times. This was in case I had an attack of hypoglycemia while out with friends, they could put one in my mouth to melt until I was stabilized enough that they could rush me home. I even had to eat one whole candy bar before class in the morning, doctor's orders! Oddly enough, I did not much like candy or sweets, ever since I was five years old. To top it all off, it was not until much later in life that my doctor deduced that this was when I first began to develop an executive ulcer. That is an ulcer in both the stomach and duodenum. However, I digress. Yes, my dog Nicky and I were the best of buds. No one messed with me with him around, and he got my undying love and attention. Spring was nearly upon us, and my poor mother was getting increasingly concerned about my bed wetting. She was desperate to find a way for me to control it. But being a nurse, she knew that forcing the issue would be the wrong thing to do.

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It was a particular evening in May, just before my thirteenth birthday. My mother and sister were stripping the beds for laundry, so we could have nice clean sheets for bedtime. When my mother arrived in my room to put the clean bedding on, she was horrified at what she saw. There was good ole Saint Nicholas having a pee on my mattress! I cannot repeat here what was said exactly, but I think you can guess. She would have gotten rid of him there-and-then if it was not for my incessant crying and wailing to keep him. I made promises I thought I would never have to make, extra household chores, and of course taking Nicky out as often as possible for bathroom breaks. Oh, and of course that was the end of him sleeping on the bed! But wait, here is the best part of the whole story! It was not me wetting the bed, it was the dog. I wasn't a bed wetter after all, yay! So you see, when one door closes, another door opens. That may sound clichÊ, but it is so true, and I have lived my life by that motto ever since. ŠLee E. Shilo-All Rights Reserved-2010

Supplies:

Homemade Crayons

One ice cube tray or muffin tin Liquid food color 2 tbsp. hot water for each crayon 1 c. soap flakes Small bowl Spoon Directions: For each color, put two tablespoons of hot water and one cup of soap flakes into a bowl. Add as many drops of food color to the mixture as you wish. Stir the soap mixture until it thickens. This takes time, so be patient! Press spoonfuls of the first color of soap into the sections of the ice tray. Mix enough soap in other colors to fill the ice tray, following the above directions again. Let the soap crayons dry for one or two days. Gently bang the ice tray to loosen the crayons. Pack them in a box for gift-giving. 61


More Yummy Holiday Recipes from Katie Corrigan

Almond Spritz Cookies

.

Before You Start: Preheat oven to 350 ° What You Need: 1 cup butter, softened 1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

2- 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg yolk

Colored sugars (optional)

Powdered Sugar Icing (optional) Powdered Sugar Icing: In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches desired consistency. If desired, tint icing to desired color. Small decorative candies (optional) Powdered sugar (optional) Let’s Make It! In a large bowl, combine butter and cream cheese. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and salt. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Add egg yolk, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.. Force unchilled dough through a cookie press fitted with a desired-shape plate. Press dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. If desired, sprinkle shapes with colored sugar. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm but not brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool. If desired, brush or drizzle cookies with Powdered Sugar Icing and decorate with colored sugars or candies. Makes about 75-95 cookies (depending on cookie press)

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Candy Cane Bark What You Need: 6 ounces chopped chocolate-flavor candy coating 3 ounces chopped milk chocolate bar 6 ounces chopped vanilla-flavor candy coating 3 ounces chopped white chocolate baking squares 1/4 cup crushed peppermint candy canes *If desired, substitute milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and/or white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter for candy coating. Let’s Make It! Line a large baking sheet with foil. In a small, heavy saucepan, melt chocolate-flavor candy coating and milk chocolate bar, stirring over low heat until smooth. Pour onto baking sheet and spread into a 10x8-inch rectangle; set aside. In another small, heavy saucepan, melt vanilla-flavor candy coating and white chocolate baking squares, stirring over low heat until smooth. Slowly pour white mixture over chocolate mixture on baking sheet. With a thin spatula, swirl white mixture into chocolate mixture. Shake baking sheet gently for even thickness. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Chill 30 minutes or until firm. Use foil to lift candy from baking sheet; break candy into pieces. Makes 1-1/4 pounds. *If desired, substitute milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and/or white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter for candy coating. Let’s Make It!

Alabaster Box Publishing Company

Line a large baking sheet with foil. In a small, heavy saucepan, melt chocolate-flavor candy coating and milk chocolate bar, stirring over low heat until smooth. Pour onto baking sheet and spread into a 10x8-inch rectangle; set aside. In another small, heavy saucepan, melt vanilla-flavor candy coating and white chocolate baking squares, stirring over low heat until smooth. Slowly pour white mixture over chocolate mixture on baking sheet. With a thin spatula, swirl white mixture into chocolate mixture. Shake baking sheet gently for even thickness. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Chill 30 minutes or until firm. Use foil to lift candy from baking sheet; break candy into pieces. Makes 1-1/4 pounds.

www.alabasterboxpublishing.com

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Marshmallow Truffles What You Need: 1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme 1/3 cup butter, softened 1/4 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla* 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 cups powdered sugar Powdered sugar 1 tablespoon shortening Toasted whole almonds, toasted pecan halves, toasted macadamia nuts, toasted hazelnuts (filberts), quartered pitted dates, and/or dried cherries

8 ounces semisweet chocolate squares, chopped Finely chopped toasted nuts, toasted coconut, or candy sprinkles White baking chocolate, melted

Let’s Make It! Line a large baking sheet with waxed paper; butter the paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine marshmallow creme, butter, almond extract, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the 3 cups powdered sugar, beating until well mixed. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until mixture is easy to handle.. Lightly dust your hands with additional powdered sugar; shape marshmallow mixture into 1-inch balls, forming the mixture around a whole almond, pecan half, macadamia nut, hazelnut (filbert), date piece, or dried cherry (you may need more marshmallow mixture to completely cover the pecan halves and almonds). Place balls on prepared baking sheet. Cover lightly; freeze for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine semisweet chocolate and shortening. Heat and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Line another large baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside. Remove balls, a few at a time, from the freezer; dip balls in chocolate and use a fork to lift balls out of chocolate, drawing the fork across the rim of the saucepan to remove excess chocolate. Place balls on waxed-paper-lined baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle tops with finely chopped nuts, toasted coconut, or candy sprinkles. Let stand at room temperature about 15 minutes or until completely set. If desired, drizzle truffles with melted white chocolate. Makes about 40 truffles. Katie’s Tid-Bits * If you prefer, omit the almond extract or vanilla and add 1 tablespoon desired flavored liqueur (such as raspberry or orange) to the marshmallow mixture; increase the 3 cups powdered sugar to 3-1/4 cups. You may use 8 ounces vanilla-flavor candy coating instead of (or in addition to) the semisweet chocolate. If using both, in separate small saucepans, combine the candy coating or semisweet chocolate with the shortening; melt, dip, and decorate truffles as directed. (You will have leftover melted candy coating and chocolate, but use 8 ounces of each so you get enough depth to dip truffles.) If desired, drizzle white-coated truffles with melted semisweet chocolate. 64


―Who Will Take the Son?‖ by Lynn Mosher I present to you a story that you may have read. It has been passed around; however, the author is unknown. I love this story. I know you will, too. A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire their great works of art.

The young man held out the package. ―I know this isn‘t much. I‘m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.‖ The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting.

When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.

―Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It is a gift.‖ The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home, he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The young man said, ―Sir, you don‘t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you and your love for art.‖

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. ―We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?‖ There was silence. Then, a voice in the back of the room shouted, ―We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one!‖ But the auctioneer persisted. ―Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100? $200?‖ Another voice angrily said, ―We didn‘t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!‖

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But still the auctioneer continued. ―The son! The son! Who will take the son?‖ Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. ―I‘ll give $10 for the painting.‖ Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. ―We have $10. Who will bid $20?‖ ―Give it to him for $10. Let‘s see the masters,‖ yelled another from the audience. The crowd was becoming angry. They didn‘t want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. ―Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!‖

God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on the cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: ―The son, the son, who will take the son?‖ Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets it all. ~~~~~ God sent His Son to be born in human form. This Christmas, will you offer your heart as His manger? Will you take the Son…and receive it all? ―For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.‖ (John 3:16 NLT) ~~Soli deo gloria, Lynn~~

A man sitting on the second row shouted, ―Now let‘s get on with the collection!‖ The auctioneer laid down his gavel. ―I‘m sorry. The auction is over.‖ ―But what about the other paintings?‖ questioned the man. ―I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal the stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. Therefore, the man who takes the son gets it all!‖

Jaybird Designs specializes in unique crocheted photo hats and props for newborns, babies, and children along with women's hats and accessories, and original crochet patterns. www.jaybirddesigns.etsy.com www.jaybirddesigns.blogspot.com www.jaybirddesigns.com 66


“Ditch the Joneses This Christmas” It often starts around September for me; a feeling of anticipation as I think about how many people will be on my Christmas list this year. Don‘t get me wrong . . . I love giving gifts at Christmas. My anticipation is usually a mixture of questions: •

What can I give that is unique?

What can I give that will mean something to the people I love?

What can I give that is within my budget?

The last few years I have had a lot of fun answering those questions, often with gifts that can meet all of the questions above. If you are wondering how to answer those same questions, here are some suggestions: 1. Plan and start early: The earlier you come up with ideas for some of your gifts, the easier it will be to find good deals. For example, I knew that I wanted to give the dads and grandpas in my life a ―fire starter kit‖ a few years ago. Knowing this ahead of time helped. My sons and I collected pine cones in our own yard way in advance for the kits. We also planned a day to borrow my father‘s candle-making pot to put candle wax on the pine cones. In addition, I was able to watch for basket sales and purchase mini-baskets for the kits. Each of these could have cost more if I had waited too long before beginning my search. 2. Buy items during “after season sales”: My friend Michele shared a gift she gave in the past that I am going to use this season. Last year after Christmas I went to a store that had Christmas napkins for sale. I bought a large amount of the napkin packs at discount prices. This year, I will be giving those same napkins to many people with a decorated note that will say, ―I hope your Christmas spills over with joy.‖

Frugal Spending, Joyful Giving: A Christmas Gift Guide for a Limited Budget by Cathi Brese Doebler, author of “Ditch the Joneses, Discover

Your Family: How to Thrive on Less than Two Incomes!”

3.

Buy in bulk:

Last year my children helped me create a fun gift for many teachers, family and friends. The first step was for me to buy the items in bulk, which helped me to get a better deal on the items. Then we labeled bags with the words ―Winter survival kit‖. Then we filled the bags with the goodies such as lip balm, mini-tissues, cough drops, tea bags, and other items, topping them off with candy canes. It was a fun project we could work on together, and it was more affordable because of buying the items in bulk. Some businesses will reduce the price of items when you purchase them in bulk. For example, at my website www.ditchthe.com, when you visit the store page there is information about price reductions for bulk orders of my book. 4.

Be creative:

Once, my friend Michelle gave cheese spreaders as gifts and wrote a note thanking her child‘s teachers for ―spreading‖ the love of 67


learning. A few years ago my husband and I took picture frames with two openings, and filled one opening with a picture I had taken and the other opening with a bible verse. This was a gift that would have cost a lot to purchase, but was more affordable and meaningful because we could create a frame that was personalized for our loved ones. As Christmas nears, I pray that your season is first and foremost filled with the wonder of Christ‘s birth. Along with the joy of the season, I hope you have the opportunity to try some of these ideas and give those you love gifts that are unique, meaningful, and within your budget. Looking for more gift ideas? What about Doebler‘s Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family, the definitive guide on how to thrive on less than two incomes. Some ideal recipients for this gift include a friend or family member who: •

has a new baby on the way

has children and wants to reduce their work hours to be home more

is trying to reduce his or her spending, and improve on money management

is facing retirement soon and therefore a reduction in their household income

Find “Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family” at www.ditchthe.com

Welcome to 'A Southern Belle' Christmas Soiree... (Oct. 31st - Dec. 23rd) www.southernbellemarketing.com 68


Great-Grandma's Danish Puff from the kitchen of Vintage Mama Here is the recipe for Danish Puff that we always make on New Year's weekend - sometimes we have it for a special brunch on New Year's Day. Just another one of those family traditions that seem to mean so much to us, and perhaps the kind of thing that you love, too. If you are still looking for one more special recipe to add to your holiday traditions, this one is so easy! You will be surprised, however, how yummy it is. Actually the only sugar is in the almond glaze that is swirled over the top. This recipe originally came from Great Grandma Steed who loved to bake. Another one of her specialties was Peanut Brittle!

Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened 1 cup flour 2 T. water 1/2 cup butter or margarine 1 cup water 1 t. almond extract 1 cup flour 3 eggs * Almond Glaze * Chopped nuts Step 1: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut 1/2 cup butter into 1 cup flour. Sprinkle 2 T. water over mixture; mix. Step 2: Round into ball; divide in half. On ungreased baking sheet, lay out two sheets of tinfoil to make individual baking "pans." Pat each half into oval shape, approximately 4" wide X 8" or 9" long. Fold tinfoil up around each dough oval to make a small edge. Step 3: Heat 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup water to rolling boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat and quickly stir in almond extract and 1 cup flour. Step 4: Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and beat in eggs, all at once, until smooth and glossy. Step 5: Divide mixture in half; spread each half evenly over strips. 69


Step 6: Bake about 60 minutes or until topping is crisp and brown. Cool. (Topping will shrink and fall, forming the custardy top of this puff.) Step 7: Frost with Almond Glaze and sprinkle generously with nuts. * Almond Glaze: Mix 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 2 T. butter or margarine, softened, 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract and 1 - 2 T. milk or water until smooth and of spreading consistency. * If you want to wrap them up for gift-giving, the little tinfoil "pans" make it very easy to pick them up, put them in individual plastic bags, and tie up with a festive ribbon.

Scentsy Candles Dress up a room with a Scentsy Warmer, add one of 80-plus fragrances, and enjoy!

Have fun while earning Host Rewards—free or half-price Scentsy Products—when you host your own Scentsy party. Learn to Applique theBonilla SIMPLE Way! Contact Maritza by https://bonilla.scentsy.us/Home mamas*little*treasures 70


Learn to Applique the Simple Way! by mamas*little*treasures I learned to applique as a young mom, many years ago, and the primary technique for applique was the hand-stitched method. As I learned how to quilt, with all of the stitching by hand, applique was just one of the decorative techniques available to quilters. Creating a hand-appliqued quilt design has so much possibility! And I always loved the handstitching process, as it is so relaxing and peaceful. Hand-stitched applique work is perfect for an heirloom quilt, but if you want to create a fun, quick, and easy applique design for a t-shirt or for kids' clothing, here's a simple technique to whip up an embellished garment quick as a wink! STEP 1: Gather your materials for the project Whether you are planning on creating an applique design on a t-shirt, a pair of jeans, a skirt, or even a separate piece of fabric to make a pillow or wall hanging, you will need the same basic materials. One of the fun aspects of applique is that you can use up lots of fabric scraps that you might have stashed in your sewing corner that are just too small to be used for anything else. Or, if you want everything to coordinate for a complete outfit, then you'll want to purchase enough extra fabric for your applique. But usually 1/4 of a yard of each fabric should be enough for any applique design you have in mind. At this stage of the project you will also want to decide on the particular design you want to use. One place to find great applique patterns is either in kids coloring books or free images on the internet. I like to search online for images of whatever theme I'm working on. So, for instance, if I'm working on an outfit with frogs as the theme, then I will search for free images of frogs until I find one that I like. Or zebras, or birthday cakes, or snowman images, or ducks, or whatever you have in mind. For the Christmas Presents applique design, I just cut out some shapes, free-hand, until they looked the way I wanted them to! I have included several simple applique patterns with this tutorial for you to use on your creations, but feel free to find your own wherever you can.

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You can make beautiful machine-appliqued designs using any regular sewing machine that does a zig-zag stitch, using a regular presser foot. Let‘s get busy! Get your materials together and start your appliquĂŠ project. You will need: * Scrap fabric * Matching or coordinating thread * Iron-on interfacing * Fusible Web * Scissors * Various embellishments such as ribbons, rick-rack, buttons, beads, or lace * Garment you want to applique STEP 2: Preparing your garment Embellishing a garment with an applique design is not difficult, but there are a couple of things you need to do in preparation before you begin the actual applique process. If you are going to be stitching an applique design to a t-shirt, you will begin by turning the shirt inside out and press out all the wrinkles on the inside front. Then cut a piece of iron-on interfacing to cover the entire inside front of the shirt. Although your design will probably not fill up the entire front of the shirt, it is better to have extra interfacing to be sure that all areas that you will be stitching on are covered. The interfacing on the inside of the t-shirt is to provide stability to the knit fabric when you are stitching the applique design in place. Press the interfacing thoroughly onto the inside front of the t-shirt. STEP 3: Cut out applique pieces Print out your applique design on copy paper, or trace and draw your design. Before you cut out the applique design pieces from your fabric, you will need to press fusible web to the back side of your fabric scraps. Cut out all of the pattern pieces from the copy paper and pin them onto your various fabrics, all with fusible web pressed onto the back side. As you are choosing your fabrics for your design, you can decide whether you want your design to be fun and whimsical, or if you want a more realistic look. Choose colors, textures, and designs to create an overall composition that you like. Peel off the paper from the back side of the fabric pieces where you pressed on the fusible web, and lay your applique pieces out to create your design.

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When you have the design the way you want it, remove all the pieces EXCEPT THE BOTTOM "LAYER" pieces of the design. These pieces will be the ones that you press and stitch on first. STEP 4: Stitch on the first "layer" of your applique design With the first "layer" of the design pieces laid out on your garment, carefully press them in place. This is a very important step, as this will hold each applique piece in place while you stitch it on. Set your machine for a WIDE, CLOSE zig-zag stitch (called a satin stitch). On my machine that setting is at 3.6 WIDTH (on a scale of 0 - 5.5) and .30 LENGTH (on a scale of 0 - 5.5). That setting will create a stitch that should be wide enough to cover the edge of each applique piece, catching in enough of the fabric to hold the piece securely in place, and tight enough to provide a smooth row of stitching all around the applique piece. Begin on a relatively straight edge of each applique piece. If you have curved or rounded edges, begin on an edge that has the slightest curve. t is easier to begin and end your stitching to line up if you are working on a relatively straight edge. Begin stitching around your first applique piece, keeping the presser foot centered over the edge of the fabric. Carefully stitch around the design, curving and turning as necessary. If you have an inside or outside corner, end with the needle in the DOWN position, lift the presser foot, and pivot the fabric around so that you can continue down the remaining edge of your design. Stitch all the way around the first design piece, returning your stitching to the beginning place, and overstitch a few stitches. Then, return your machine to a straight stitch mode, and stitch back and forth a couple of times, ACROSS the zig-zag stitching, to securely tie off the stitches. Press thoroughly after stitching. 

stitch all the way around the appliqué piece, returning to your beginning point, and overlap the stitching for approximately 1/8‖ – ¼‖.

return your machine setting to a straight stitch, and take three or four stitches back and forth across the end of your zig-zag stitching to tie off securely.

If you have any additional, decorative stitching on your design, you can do that after you have securely stitched the outside edges in place. For the Christmas presents, stitch across each ―package‖ and then stitch another row of the satin stitch from top to bottom, creating the look of ―ribbon‖ wrapping around the ―present.‖ Carefully press your garment after you have stitched your first ―layer‖ of your design in place. 73


STEP 5: Stitch on remaining "layers" of your applique design Using the same technique, lay out the next "layer" of your design, press and stitch in place. If you are including any embellishment on your applique pieces such as rick-rack or ribbon, you will want to stitch them onto each piece BEFORE you stitch the design piece onto the garment. This will ensure that any raw edges of your embellishments will be securely stitched into the satin stitching that you will be using to attach the design piece to the garment.

Continue this process until you have stitched all "layers" of your design in place. Press design carefully between stitching each "layer" in place. STEP 6: Complete applique and finish garment If your applique design has been stitched onto a t-shirt, you will need to remove all of the excess interfacing from the inside of the garment. Turn the t-shirt inside out, and CAREFULLY pull any excess interfacing away from the garment fabric. Usually it will just pull off quite easily. You can pull it right up to the stitching, and then trim very carefully around the stitching. Be very careful not to clip into the fabric of the garment! After you have trimmed away all the excess interfacing, turn the tshirt right side out and press everything thoroughly. Stitch on any additional embellishments such as buttons, charms, or beads, and your appliqued t-shirt is finished! Using other appliqué designs included in this pattern: All of the appliqué patterns included in this eBook can be used in exactly the same way as the ―Christmas Presents‖ pattern. Just follow the same steps, cutting out the design of your choice using a variety of fabrics. Be sure to use the fusible web on each pattern piece to hold it securely in place while you are stitching it onto the garment. And don‘t forget to use fusible interfacing on the inside of any t-shirt top when you stitch on an appliqué design to provide stability and keep the stitching from tearing the shirt. Just follow these simple directions for appliqué, and pretty soon you will be embellishing everything in sight! Have fun and watch for more appliqué pattern eBooks from mamas*little*treasures.

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Copyright 2010 by Nina Newton aka mamas*little*treasures. All text and images contained herein are owned by and are copyright 2010 mamas*little*treasures. None of the contents of this pattern eBook may be reproduced or republished. This pattern is for the express and sole use of the customer for personal or home use, and may be used to create garments for the customer to sell on his or her own.

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Great-Grandma’s Peanut-Brittle from the Kitchen of Vintage Mama In my recipe card file, I have many recipes that have been handed down to me over the years from the grandmas, moms, aunts, sisters, cousins, and treasured friends. When I went through the recipe card box the other day, I was reminded that even the box was a gift! It must be at least 30 or 35 years old, and it was given to me one Christmas by my sister-in-law. It is a beautiful wooden box with a charming picture decoupaged on the top.That is ONE way I KNOW that it is at least 30 years old ;o) But it brings back so many memories every time I open it . . . . and I keep it right on my kitchen counter. It has always been on my kitchen counter, no matter where we have lived over those 30 years of making memories. But when I open that treasured little box, so many more memories come alive in my heart and in my mind! And in my recipe box is a recipe that has been part of our holiday traditions all of those years; ―Great-Grandma‘s Peanut Brittle.‖ Perhaps you will want to add this recipe to your holiday traditions, too! The key to ―brittleness‖ is ―thinness.‖ To ensure this quality, be sure to spread the candy mixture carefully and thinly, and very carefully s-t-r-e-t-c-h it as it cools! INGREDIENTS: 2 tsp. soda 1 tsp vanilla 2 cups sugar ½ cup water 1 cup light corn syrup 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine 1 pound shelled unroasted peanuts (2 cups) Butter two baking sheets, each 15 ½‖ X 12‖; keep warm. Combine sugar, ½ cup water and the corn syrup in large saucepan. Stir in peanuts. Cook, over medium heat, stirring occasionally to 300 degrees on candy thermometer (or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into threads which are hard and brittle). Watch carefully so mixture does not burn. Immediately remove from heat; stir in butter, vanilla, and soda thoroughly. Pour half the candy mixture onto each warm baking sheet. As it cools, pull edges carefully to make candy thin and brittle. When candy is completely cooled, break into smaller pieces to pack into boxes, bags, or tins for gift giving!

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More Vintage Paper Dolls!

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Answers to Holiday Puzzles by Beth Brubaker

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Introducing Danie K. Bell Of

“Send Out Cards�

My name is Danie K. Bell. I am Greek American, Wahm, wife and mother. I was born in Charlotte, NC and moved to Florida in 1996. My family is of Greek origin, and most of them live in Greece. If you have seen the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, that is my life to the last frame. It was really funny seeing it for the first time and thinking, OMG, that's me! I have a wonderful loving family and a wonderful career. My family is very supportive in my business. They help me strive to reach my goals and make me want to do my best. If it wasn't for them, I would be lost. My family is the backbone of my business. I have been in network marketing for over 5 years, and have seen a lot of great things happen over the internet, as well as some bad. There are some people who want to help and some who want to take advantage of situations and want to blow "hot air" all over you. You have to wade through all the "deep" and find what works for you and stick with it. I have been in a couple of different MLM's and some have failed while others have done great. I learned from my mistakes what questions I should ask myself and what is right for me and my family. I have to believe in the product and live the life of that product. Being with the company I am with today has brought me closer to my family and has helped me to build better relationships with my customers. I also own a small landscaping company and my husband is a pilot for a local ultralight school. We take photos and send them as "thank you" cards and the response is overwhelmingly great. I have been able to work my own hours and schedule. I get to spend more quality time with my family. What else can you ask for? I get to make money from both ends. I own two businesses and have created a residual income. My goal in life is to be financially free and not worry about where my next paycheck is coming from. This company will allow me to do that. I am so thankful to be in the position to show others how to do the same. If you are interested in doing the same, let me show you how!

www.DanieBell.com 82


www.mamaslittletreasures.etsy. com

www.gossamerwingsstudio.etsy.com

www.scalersusa.com 83


Ruby Editors and Writers Aunt Dots, our Gardening Editor, is a Master Gardener I believe I got my love for growing flowers from my mother. She had a large flower garden with annuals and dahlias. I had my first flower garden after I married and we lived in a garden apartment. I planted seeds in a small 4x6 plot in front. Then we moved to a house trailer next to my mother where I had annuals. After my first husband died, I married Mike and we moved to the home where I presently live. The soil here is very good. Mike put in water lines to various points for watering. I use a lot of ―weeping‖ hoses. It was at this time that I started trying perennials. I have a rose garden with about 35 bushes, a large perennial garden about 15x40, iris beds, a small square bed for perennials all attached by paths. I also have grape vines, asparagus, currants, gooseberries, walnut trees, apples trees and hazelnut trees. Summer is a very busy time. There are a number of subjects I can cover in my articles. In the winter months I sew. I‘ve made quilts from Rochelle‘s patterns and donated them to a Mennonite Relief auction. I‘ve made some hand-made paper. I make pictures and greeting cards with flowers I‘ve pressed. I volunteer two afternoons a week at a nursing home. I‘m on the mission board at church and teach adult Sunday school. I‘ve had a major and a minor stroke within the past 3 ½ years. It is a very sobering experience, as I know what the future may hold. But I know the Lord is with me and will help me through whatever may happen. I hope I can handle the new challenge with Ruby. At this time I don‘t believe it will be difficult to work it into my schedule.

Lynn Mosher,

Devotions Editor

Since the year 2000, Lynn Mosher has lived with fibromyalgia and other physical conditions. During this time, the Lord placed the desire in her heart to write for Him. Now, armed with God‘s purpose for her life and a new passion, she reaches out to others to encourage and comfort them through her writing, giving God all the glory. She lives with her husband in their empty nest in Kentucky. On occasion, the three offspring, who have flown the coop, come to visit, accompanied by a son-in-law and three granddaughters. http://lynnmosher.blogspot.com

Beth Brubaker,

Family Fun Editor

Good day to you! I am Beth Brubaker, editor of ‗Fun‘ for Ruby! I‘m a mother of two really active kids, and their antics will be sprinkled liberally in my columns. I have been married for 12 years to my Knight in Shining Armor, and we still hold hands in public. During the day, I‘m a fabric artist, homemaker, and I love to write. I enjoy making people laugh at life‘s ironies! I also love animals, being creative, and cooking, yet I hate cleaning up my own messes! My home is a disaster area (my sewing room is worse), but we always give a warm welcome to unexpected visitors - we just shove the stuff under the couch. I‘ll be writing humor about life in general (Footprints In The Mud), puzzles, and an advice column (Ask Ms. Beth), based on reader questions and any hints and tips I find on my travels. My travels include the laundry room, the living room, and the kitchen, so be prepared! 84


Rochelle Martin, Quilting Editor Rochelle Martin lives in mid-Michigan with her husband, Randy. They have two married children who also live in Michigan. Rochelle inherited her artistic talent from her mother and grandmother and art was her main focus in high school and college. She met Randy at college and they married in 1974. Rochelle put it all away when she was carrying her son and later her daughter. When the children were in early elementary school she started quilting for herself and businesses. She is the owner of her quilt pattern company, Cottage Quilt Designs, which she started in December of 2004. Her quilt designs are in quilting magazines, books by House of White Birches, fabric companies and various shops and online shops. After 20 years of quilting and using art in her appliquĂŠ blocks, she is enjoying once again picking up art tools and creating images. Dolls and paper dolls have been a long time interest. She has collected 19th century china head dolls and sewed period clothes for them in silk and cotton fabrics. Cottage Quilt Designs www.cottagequiltdesigns.com www.cottagequiltdesigns.info/blog

Laura Day, Story Editor My name is Laura Day. I have been writing since I was a child, but only recently was published in Cotton Spice Magazine. I‘m married and have two cats, Zoey and Missy who are often inspirations for my stories. My hobbies are reading, writing, eating chocolate, and gardening.

Cathi Brese Doebler, Author Owner of Ditchthe.com, Cathi Brese Doebler published Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family: How to Thrive on Less than Two Incomes in 2010. Complementing the book is also a workbook on CD, giving readers a chance to work through the tools designed for the Ditch the series. The CD also includes an audio version of a personal coaching session with Doebler.

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Nina Newton Sr. Editor, Ruby for Women When all of my four older children were in school, I returned to college. Eventually, I earned degrees in Classics and Philosophy, and a graduate degree in Medieval Studies: History of Theology. After teaching at a small community college in Michigan for seven years, my husband and I were blessed with the adoption of our two beautiful daughters, Gracie and Annie. Gracie is 9 years old, and Annie is 8. They were both born in China, and we were able to travel to China two times to bring our daughters home. We live in northern Indiana in a small farming community where I work from my home office. For the past five or six years I have been designing and creating children‘s clothing and various crafts. I began writing eBook patterns for my designs in 2007 and have several patterns available for sale on You Can Make This at www.youcanmakethis.com More recently I have been working on vintage embellishment and reconstruction projects. I love everything vintage . . . . especially my husband! I have also been a free-lance writer for many years, writing for two local newspapers when we lived in Michigan. I am looking forward to the opportunities ahead as part of the Ruby family. My blog can be found at www.mamaslittletreasures.typepad.com where I frequently post tutorials and patterns for crafts and other sewing projects, as well as daily reflections on life as a woman, wife, mother, and child of the King.

Paula McVay

is the mother of 3 sons and grandmother of 3 boys. She has earned a BS degree in elementary and secondary education, as well as a master‘s degree from Syracuse University. Paula has taught in both private and public schools for 30 years, and she has worked as a day care and preschool administrator and teacher. She is a pastor's wife, ministering in her local church as the children's church and toddler nursery coordinator. God has blessed Paula‘s ministry as a women's retreat speaker, and adult Christian education teacher. We welcome Paula to the Ruby team!

Katherine Corrigan, Crafts and Recipes I am originally from England and now living in the US I have had the privilege of living in, and visiting, several different countries throughout my lifetime. I have had many wonderful adventures. I hold a rare dual citizenship with the UK and the USA and I am a proud citizen of both. I believe a good laugh and a hug every day help you to live a long happy life. I work very hard to create designs for my shops and to provide an entertaining and informative website and blog. I hope you‘ll stop by. I welcome your friendship! Hugs, Katherine 86


Keith Wallis, Poetry Keith Wallis is an English poet with decades of experience from the era of the ―small press‖ to the era of ―the web.‖ He‘s been on this planet since 1949 when, by a strange manipulation of the universe, he arrived early and half cooked. He is a husband, a father, and grandfather. His first chapbook of poems, ―Wordsculptures,‖ owes its title to him being called ―Wordsculptor‖ by a colleague thirty years ago, and the name just stuck. His occupation is in engineering design, but he sees poetry as a ―gifting‖ and works hard to keep it in shape. Relaxation comes via dabbling in artwork and photo manipulation. He is currently a moderator at ChristianWriters.com. His particular interest is the use of the language of poetry within a worship environment – church (where he is on the leadership team) is getting used to being ―experimented‖ on when he leads services! Keith's blog: www.wordsculptures.com Keith is a Moderator at: www.ChristianWriters.com ShoutLife profile : www.shoutlife.com/wordsculptor Wordling: www.wordbrief.blogspot.com

Carolyn Arnold, Kids‘ Craft Editor Carolyn Arnold is a stay-at-home mom. She has been married for fifteen years to Craig and they have five children. Carolyn has written many poems and has recently expanded her writing to novels. She graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Elementary Education and holds a current teaching license. Carolyn enjoys doing memory crafts with her children, teaching aerobics at the YMCA, tending her family's ducks and chickens, swimming, and reading.

Heather Miller, Home School Editor Heather Miller, our resident Home School Mom, shares her wisdom and experiences with other moms. Her ideas for educational projects are a great source of inspiration and guidance for every mom and dad! ―I have been married to my amazing husband, Tony, for nine years. We have three children and are open to more if the Lord chooses to bless us with them! We live in northeastern Oklahoma, where "the wind comes sweepin' down the plain." I started homeschooling six years ago when my oldest was in first grade. We are an eclectic homeschooling family (most homeschoolers are) and I hold firmly to the belief that children should be able to enjoy childhood without having to grow up too fast, and that learning is best accomplished when interesting and fun! When I'm not teaching (or cleaning!), I enjoy reading whatever books I can get my hands on, playing the piano, gardening, quilting, cooking and baking, and of course, writing!‖ Visit Heather‘s blog at www.growninhisgrace.blogspot.com 87


Deborah Shank, Chocolate and Coffee Women‘s Ministries Deborah Shank is married to an ordained Assemblies of God minister who is also her high school sweetheart. She is a mom, grammy, mentor, pastors' wife, speaker and also an Assemblies of God minister. Her passion is to encourage others to live large for Jesus Christ! You can find Deborah at her blog, ―Chocolate and Coffee / A Pastor‘s Wife‖ at www.deborahshank.blogspot.com Debbie, and her husband Bobby, pastor Belvoir AG located in Marshall, VA. They have been in ministry for 30 years. Debbie is the Women‘s/Music Pastor at their church. She has also worked at the Potomac District Council of the AG in Gainesville, VA as the Executive Assistant to the District Superintendent for the past 11.5 years.

Jennifer Cirka, Crochet and Cooking Editor Jennifer Cirka, the designer behind Jaybird Designs, is never without a hook and some yarn in her hands! This Crochet Guild of America recognized Professional Crochet Designer has a book of her girl‘s sweater designs with Leisure Arts and has been featured in major crochet magazines such as Crochet Today, Interweave Crochet, and Crochet World, with more publications coming out each year! She also independently sells her own crochet patterns at various online locations. For those who do not crochet, finished items such as infant portrait props, woman's hats and accessories, and lots of other goodies can be purchased online. Jennifer pledges that all of her handmade items are of the finest quality with excellent workmanship and amazing attention to details. When not crocheting, she also is learning to knit, and enjoys baking and spending time with her family. www.jaybirddesigns.blogspot.com www.etsy.com/shop/JaybirdDesigns www.jaybirddesigns.com

Carla Gardiner, Health and Wellness Editor Carla Gardiner of Symmetry Direct, has a passion for sharing vibrant, good health with the world. Many times we take our health for granted. The problem lies in that we only get vibrant, good health when we take care of ourselves. Being a working wife, mom and grandma, I got caught up in the rat race and didn't take care of "me.‖ Over time my health crashed and I almost lost it for good. A good friend shared with me a way to regain my health and I'm so thankful that I eventually listened to her. Today, I look and feel ten years younger than I did thirteen and a half years ago when I heard of Symmetry. Everyone deserves to live a life full of adventure. To do, that we need our health, and sometimes extra money. I can share a way with you that you can achieve both. That is my passion, living a life full of adventure, one ounce at a time. www.carlajgardiner.com 88


Jackie Erwin Ladner,

WAHM Business Editor Jackie Erwin Ladner, creator and owner of Southern Belle Marketing, and Southern Belle Shoppes. ‖In January of 2010, we created Southern Belle Marketing and we wanted to create a place for those who work solo, and who are their own brand. We created Southern Belle Marketing because online marketing is necessary--to get business and get recognized as a company. When we started the site, it was a hobby and we never thought about it in terms of a social impact it would lead into. It was really about helping people connect around a sphere of common interest so they could do business and have fun on the way!‖ www.southernbellemarketing.ning.com www.southernbelleshoppes.com

Tomica Bonner

is the creator of ―The Joy of Giving Birth.‖ She is a consultant for young moms on all topics including pregnancy, childbirth, and caring for a family. Tomica is currently working on a book in which she will address these topics, as well as share questions and ideas from her readers. You can reach Tomica at www.joyofgivingbirth.ning.com .

Lee E. Shilo, Short Stories In my countless years, I have recounted and entertained people with a multitude of strange and sometimes embellished, bizarre stories from my life. Now, as I look back, in the twilight of my years, I find most of it hilarious, interesting, and at the very least, astonishing that I have even survived this long. There have been more than a few requests for me to write a book about my many exploits, and mishaps. Every word written is true. Though fabrication is a writers stock and trade, even I could not make this stuff up. For entertainments sake, I have chosen only the most interesting segments of my life, those that teach a moral ending, and have endeavored to put a humorous spin to each one. So, without any further a-do, here are the stories from off the imaginary wings of my childhood flight of fancies, and fantasies.

Amanda Johnson, Free Lance Writer My name is Amanda Johnson. I'm a freelance writer and ministry assistant with a non-profit organization that reaches out to women. I hold a B.A. in communications with a minor in English. My writing experience includes Christian daily living articles, human interest articles, business writing, non- profit grant writing, and non-profit publications. You can read my blog at Forever In Him.

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We hope you have enjoyed this holiday issue of Ruby for Women. Please send us your comments and questions to editor@rubyforwomen.com and let us know what you would like to see in upcoming issues of Ruby for Women. You won’t want to miss the next issue . . . it will be available the first week of January, 2011. Be sure to let us know if you have ideas for topics or articles; recipes or crafts; patterns or tutorials; or anything else that interests YOU! Also, don’t forget the Family Photo Gallery. Please email your favorite winter photos to me at editor@rubyforwomen.com See you next time ;o) Nina

Credits and Copyrights All stories and articles are copyright by the authors. All pictures and images are copyright by the authors and / or have been purchased, used by permission or are in the public domain. If any pictures or images have been used inadvertently, and they do not belong in this publication, please email us and we will immediately remove them. Nothing in this issue of Ruby for Women may be reproduced, copied, or shared without the permission of the author. Advertising information is available from editor@rubyforwomen.com Questions? Email Nina @ editor@rubyforwomen.com Ruby for Women is published by rubyforwomen.com All submission inquiries should be directed to Nina Newton, Sr. Editor Ruby for Women editor@rubyforwomen.com Graphic design by Jorim http://jorimslist.com/portfolio Special thanks to Maritza Bonilla for sponsoring the Scentsy Fundraiser this autumn. Please visit our community website at www.rubyforwomen.ning.com to see how you can participate and help support the ministry of Ruby for Women. 90

Ruby for Women Holiday 2010  

The holiday issue of Ruby for Women features articles holiday cooking and crafts, devotionals, poetry and inspirational stories, tutorials,...

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