Then, I started baking French bread; putting together a big pan of Ziti; and whipping up some yummy, cream cheese goodness to stuff a pumpkin roll, that I baked last night, for a friend and her family's dinner. My friend just had a beautiful, baby girl! Congratulations, Steve and Jamie!
Last night, I recovered, somewhat, from my exhaustion and was able to get a few loaves of homemade bread baked for BJ to take to work, today, to give to his co-workers. They, also, received our family Christmas picture and letter; but anyway, I thought the bread loaves would make the perfect compliment to a jar of our homemade apple butter.
We dressed several more jars of homemade apple butter the same way and paired them with this card to pass out to our neighbors.
I began this card with a Real Red, cardstock base. I, then, adhered two patterned papers, both of which are from K&Company's Brenda Walton Peppermint Twist line. The lower patterned paper was punched, along the lower edge, with Martha Stewart's Doily Lace Edger punch, and the top patterned paper was punched, using Stampin' Up's Slit punch, in two, strategic places, to hold our family photo. I wrapped a sheer, red ribbon around the card front, just below our picture, and tied it in a bow. I, then, wrapped a little, Paper Studio button, laced with white string and a "Happy Holidays" tag, around the bow's knot. For the tag, I stamped the sentiment, in Certainly Celery ink, on Certainly Celery cardstock and traced over it with a Gelly Roll pen. Although it's difficult to see in the picture, I, also, stamped a holly image, in Real Red and Certainly Celery inks, to the left of the sentiment.
I wish I had the energy AND time to make tons of these cards to pass out with our family Christmas pictures and letters, but I just love writing our letter; so, it, always, receives more of my time and attention. I, also, thought that it might be fun to share it with all of you, so here it is. I'll be back tomorrow with another challenge submission, but if I forget to tell you so, I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas!
Dear Family and Friends,
Jinny, recently, mentioned to BJ that we didn’t do much this year; therefore, this year’s Christmas letter would be brief. However, she, then, started looking through our calendar and is, now, about to show you how incredibly wrong she was.
The list of all Adina has learned, this year, is extensive and includes sleeping through the night; sitting up; using baby sign; crawling; eating table foods, of which she loves, surprise, sweet things the most; waving; climbing; pulling up; standing; and walking. Not to mention, she, now, has a vocabulary that would put any two-year-old to shame. It has been so fun watching her eyes sparkle with the joy of experiencing so many new firsts. She was surrounded by the indispensable presence of family members, when she was dedicated to the Lord, in May, as well as, when she celebrated her first birthday, with a pumpkin theme, in November.
Ezekiel has learned everything that home school first grade has had to offer, including cursive, and that being a big brother is full of responsibility and can be difficult, sometimes. He’s kept busy with basketball, swimming lessons, Awana, and Heartland Family Adventure. He and BJ have spent lots of time together, while Jinny and Adina rested and adjusted to life as mother and daughter, including bowling at a father/son church night, cheering the ORU Eagles to a decimating win against the UMKC Kangaroos, attending an Indy Race, and camping out in a friend’s backyard. In July, he celebrated his sixth birthday, complete with a dinosaur theme, Slip ‘N Slide, and friends.
Jinny has learned that being a stay-at-home mom is the most rewarding profession she’ll ever embrace, with all the whining, food throwing, arguing, messes, melt-downs, sickies, and all, and that her Messiah is sometimes wild, like she can be, and it’s alright. She has enjoyed attending a perennial gardening class and transposing her new insights to her own gardens; teaching Sunday school, at Heartland Community Church (HCC), alongside BJ; cooking up new recipes; taking the kiddos on trips to the zoo; papercrafting; sewing; starting a blog (jinnynewlin.blogspot.com); opening an Etsy shop in hopes of selling some of her handmade creations (www.etsy.com/shop/loftydesigns); and joining her sisters and mom for a return trip, to the New Theater Restaurant, to see Church Basement Ladies 2.
BJ has learned that he would much rather spend a weekend, of chaos, at home, with his family, than a week, out of town, by himself and is continuing to learn that, even when things don’t make sense logically or can’t be explained away, Jesus is still good, maybe not safe, but good. In addition to teaching Sunday school, at HCC, with Jinny, he has continued to enjoy attending Men’s Journey at HCC and assisting in Ezekiel’s Awana class at First Baptist Church of Shawnee. In October, he took a work trip to
, where he had the opportunity to view the American Fire Sprinkler Association Apprenticeship Competition as a non-competitor, study his trade in greater depth, and meet Shamu at SeaWorld. San Diego, California
This year, as a family, we’ve watched BJ’s youngest brother graduate from Emporia State University; rejoiced in Jinny’s step-grandmother’s victorious journey to meet her Heavenly Father; attained a long-awaited, new roof for our little house; hosted our first, neighborhood BBQ; visited with countless friends and family members; celebrated BJ’s cousin’s Orange Beach, Alabama, wedding; and helped HCC move into a new building.
In June, we met Jinny’s parents, at Melvern Lake, for our only (not for lack of planning another, but the weather has so much control over our tent-camping plans), camping trip of the year. We’ve got to do better next year! We, also, traveled to Omaha, for a family vacation, where we explored Nebraska’s historic, Fontenelle Forest; shopped and enjoyed sweet treats at the Old Market; walked the 3,000-foot-long, pedestrian bridge over the Missouri River; visited the world’s largest indoor rainforest, desert, and nocturnal exhibits, as well as Lozier IMAX Theater, at the Henry Doorly Zoo; and thoroughly, enjoyed an entire week of BJ’s undivided attention.
As you can see, we have so much to be thankful for this year; but more than ever, we’re appreciative of the constancy of BJ’s job at Bamford Fire Sprinkler Co., Inc.; God’s grace; and your continued presence in our lives. We wish you all much love; laughter; and time together, full of precious memories, this Christmas season.