Monday, December 26, 2011

Pumpkin Stuff

If you've ever been to a pitch in with us, you know that in the Spring & Summer I usually bring fruit or veggies, and in the Fall & Winter I bring "Pumpkin Stuff." It's my pumpkin pie recipe adapted for making in the crock-pot. Since so many people have asked for the recipe, I'll include it below. After all, what could be healthier (or yummier) than pumpkin, eggs, milk, & a little brown sugar? This is MY ultimate comfort food!

Crock-pot pumpkin pie

24 graham cracker squares (crushed)
5 T melted butter
3 T sugar
(Mix all ingredients until well blended, then spread across bottom of crock-pot, push down to even it out, then turn crock-pot on high for 5 hours.)
Pie filling:
3 1/2 cups pumpkin (or one large or 2 small cans)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs- well beaten
3 T butter- melted
2 T dark molasses
1 T Pumpkin pie spice
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup evaporated milk (6 oz can)
Combine in order given, spread on crock-pot over pie crust, cook for 4-5 hours on high (if you do the crust first, then mix the filling, it’ll have about 4 1/2 hours cook time)
Beat the eggs well in a separate small bowl before adding. Mix well after adding each ingredient, especially between the eggs & butter. After about 2 hours, carefully dump the excess water from the crock-pot lid into the sink & then put it back on.

One Step at a Time

So now it's the day after Christmas, and you may be wondering "what now?" Try taking it one step at a time. IF, as the Mom, you tend to stress out about cleaning up, putting away, and anything that resembles chaos- take a deep breath, let it out, repeat! 

A one step at a time mentality can help you do "what's next" without driving your family crazy. Maybe your biggest pet peeve is all the dirty dishes, then take yourself to the kitchen and get to work. Let the rest of the family have some down time while you're being productive. They probably need the rest, and you probably want some time alone. Spend your alone time thinking over all your blessings, and giving God thanks. 

Tomorrow you can do "what's next"- maybe it's sorting out the presents from the wrapping paper, or helping your kids organize their new things. Instead of driving yourself (and everyone else) crazy by trying to finish it all in the next 24 hours, jot a note to yourself of the top 5 or 6 "what's next" items. Then, as the days go forward, pick one or two things to focus on daily and do them well. Better one room well cleaned that everyone can relax in than a house full of unfinished organizing projects!

Enjoy time with your family this week. Your children will only be young once, and your husband is sure to enjoy it more if you're not a stressball. Play a board game, take a walk, play in the snow (if you have any), watch a movie, make cookies, or a big pot of soup, and just relax.

God wants to grant you peace, but you have to be willing to accept the gift!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Great Christmas Traditions

Many families have Christmas traditions that they love. Maybe yours is opening one present on Christmas Eve (new PJ's are popular, then everyone looks great in the Christmas morning pictures!) Perhaps yours is a new ornament in the children's stockings every year. Or it might be having one favorite food for dinner- every year! Some families go to see The Nutcracker ballet annually. What ever your favorite tradition, know that your children will remember it far longer than the other presents they receive. Families gain a lot from traditions. They give us something to anticipate each Christmas, no matter how crazy or stressful our year might have been. If you haven't started any family traditions yet, you could start now, OR, better yet, talk together as a family about what you would like to do for next year, and then set aside whatever time or money you will need to make it happen for 2012. Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite Christmas traditions to inspire us all!

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve to you and your family from our family! May the love of Jesus, and the magnitude of what He has done for us, fill your hearts and lives on this day and every day. May your light shine brightly to a world in need. May your family be blessed and strengthened in the year to come. May you find great joy in the simple gifts of quality family time, good books, and great experiences!