Make a Gingerbread House! An Advent Tradition

At the end of November each year (the Friday after Thanksgiving may be a convenient time, since the project can extend an entire weekend), we get started mixing dough, cutting out the templates, and baking each cookie. The next day, we make a batch of royal icing (I cheat and use the powdered kind.

About cutting out the template for each piece of the house: You can make your own out of poster board or laminated parchment paper. If you’re not architecturally inclined, you can enlarge and trace this simple pattern. I also found this excellent tutorial on how to assemble a simple gingerbread house here at “Cookies, Cupcakes, and Cardio.”

We like to make two houses … one to keep, one to give. (I’ve found that teachers especially appreciate it if you offer to host a gingerbread decorating party in the classroom … and may even let you tell the story of St. Nicholas and the three bags of gold!). Continue reading

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EMN Carnival: Thanks, Mom!

Congratulations to Kate Wicker, who presents the winning entry for this month’s EMN “Moms we love” contest! Her entry, entitled My Nana, is posted at Momopoly. In my favorite bit in the post, Kate recalls asking her grandmother “how she did it.”

“Did what?” Nana asked.

“Had nine kids,” I said. Like duh.

“Oh honey, if God gives you rabbits, He gives you grass,” was her response.

Clearly, Nana was of the God Family Planning mindset. God plans families; couples don’t.

Lori in “Dakotacityquilter” writes: “My mother taught me to accept gifts graciously and always thank the giver–whether it was something we wanted or not!!  And she told me to always hug my kids, she thought she wasn’t a “good mother” as she was always busy and working and didn’t hug us enough.  Hey Mom–you were the best!!”

At “Mommy Monsters,” yours truly offers a tribute of a different kind at “Ghosts of Mothers Past.”

I’d also like to alert you to one of my all-time favorite mother tributes, which I’m reviewing for “Secretum Meum Mihi,” entitled The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less . As I mentioned in my newsletter, I find Evelyn Ryan (the subject of the book and the author’s mother) a truly Extraordinary Mom. She raised 10 children — and upheld her vows before God in a truly difficult marriage — with an amazing combination of faith and tenacity.  Why not order the book now, and give it to your favorite “mommy bookworm” for Christmas?

Lastly, a few posts came through the transom that didn’t really “fit” the theme of this particular carnival, but I’m including them here — lots of good advice for those who need it!

Julie at “More4Kids Parenting and Family” contributed a helpful post for families with children with ADD/ADHD. Along with “Don’t answer when someone asks if your child has taken his meds that day — remind them that everyone has good and bad days,” these four pointers will give you a taste of her helpful, practical advice!

  1. Improve the organization within the home. Order is will help decrease distractions.
  2. Set a regular schedule. This will help your child know when to expect certain things such as “quiet time,” breakfast, lunch and dinner, bedtime, wake up time, practice.
  3. When you or your family talks with your child, make sure that you are making eye contact with the child.
  4. If your child has a list of chores to do, give them one chore at a time and let them complete it before giving them the next. After all, it is a problem with attention we are talking about. Sending them to their room to clean it won’t work. They will go in and start to pick up something and then they start playing with it.

For those who are struggling to cope with a child’s diagnosis of autism, Michelle at “Autism Assistance” sent “Creating an Autism Intervention Action Plan.”

“Therapydoc” at “Everyone Needs Therapy” contributed “Pull versus Draw: Enmeshment” with the observation: “The best moms are the ones that know when to let go, who have the faith in themselves that they’ve taught their kids well enough to think for themselves.”

Thanks to all those who joined this month’s carnival!

Come and Join the Carnival!

You have one more week to get your entries polished up for this month’s “EMN Carnival.”  If you didn’t read about it in my newsletter (if you want the newsletter, just drop me a line at hsaxton@christianword.com), I posted the announcement today at Mommy Monsters. Come and see!

Remember, the winner gets $25 plus (if you have the EMN button on your blog) a free copy of my book Let Nothing Trouble You.

Deadline is October 20 … Carnival posts November 1!

Weird Mom Moments: EMN Mini-Carnival

Congratulations to Kate Sherwin at “Rosemary Sauce.” Her entry, “Like Mother, Like Son” was this month’s winner of the “Weird Mom Moments” Carnival Contest! Kate won $50, since she had the EMN button prominently displayed on her site! Good work, Kate!

Every mom must have them at one time or another … the moments she looks down at herself and say, “What have I DONE to myself?!” I know I have, as my daughter reminded me only recently. “Don’t be weird, mom…”

I can’t help it. I was born and raised that way … by a woman who clearly did not mind appearing ridiculous for the benefit of her girls (and their respective Girl Scout/religious education/school friends). She would burst into song … loudly, though usually on key … with all sorts of ditties, like:

“I’m wild about horns on automobiles that go WAH_AH_AH_AH_AH_AH_AH (ooga, ooga)”

“John Jacob Jingerheimer Schmidt, his name is my name too. Whenever we go out, the people always shout, there goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA.”

“Oh, an Austrian went yodeling on the mountaintop high…” (and proceeded to tangle with a grizzly bear, St. Bernard, Jersey Cow, and pretty girl with the appropriate gestures and sound effects).

She’d do stuff, too … weird mom stuff. Like the day she took us on a Girl Scout Hike through High Point State Park to teach us trail-making … and we wound up 10 miles up the Appalacian Trail. Or the time she took us camping, and left the bubble gum in our tent; that night we watched the squirrels blowing bubbles as they jumped from tree to tree. Or the time, shortly after my sister had her leg operated on, she brought a hand puppet to stick on my sister’s foot, to give the doctors (and my sister) a good laugh when they pulled back the covers. Or the time our dog got in the house when she was putting the finishing touches on a wedding cake (she made wedding cakes as a sideline when we were little), and she was forced to “fix” the cake rather than make a new one. (I’ll spare you the gory details.)

Judging from how few entries that were submitted for this contest, I’d have to say that there are a lot of moms out there who don’t want to let on about all the weirdness that goes on in their houses. There were a galliant few, however … and my hat goes off to you, too!

“If you jump off that and breakyour leg, don’t come running to me!” Moms are famous for all sorts of homespun wisdom. Barb Szyszkiewicz of “SFO Mom” adds a few memorable zingers of her own in her contribution to the EMN Carnival,  “Things Parents Say (when they live at my house.”

And Sarah (A.K.A. my favorite humor blogger, “Mighty Mom”) adds to the weirdness with her own “Look Before You Touch!”

Thanks, ladies for participating!

Wish list…

If you (or someone you know) would be interested in writing on one or more of these topics, I’d be delighted to have you guest post here at EMN … Or perhaps you’d consider writing on one or more of these topics for our next EMN Carnival!

*  “Signs that your child may be autistic” (include a story of how your child was diagnosed, if possible.

*  “Five things I wish non-military families understood about military families” (include practical ways others have helped you that you found especially helpful)

*  “When a loved one goes to jail” (tips to help children who have a parent in prison)

*  “Choosing the right agency: tips to help”  (could be written either from the perspective of one interested in foster licensing, or adoption).

*  Confessions of a Down Syndrome Mom: Ten Reasons I Feel Blessed to Have a Down Syndrome Child” (could also be “10 Reason” articles on other conditions.)

Let me know ASAP if you’re planning to write about one or more of these! And God bless you!

EMN Carnival #1: Tea Time!

I wanted this, our first Carnival, to be a friendly introduction to the women you’ll be hearing from now and again through EMN. We’re just getting started, and I’m hoping this time next month there are many more entries for you to peruse. But for now, just pour yourself a favorite cuppa, and “come and see.” (This is a picture of my favorite teapot … just ignore the tree!) Continue reading

Join the Carnival!

Join the Carnival!

Join the Carnival!

August 1 will be the first-ever Extraordinary Moms Carnival. If you’d like to participate, please submit your entry by July 28 at 10 p.m.

You can submit your entry here, or you can send me a link along with the following information:

*  Your name and blog

*  Your blog URL

*  Link to your post

*  Post URL

*  Your area of interest/expertise (adoption/fostering/special needs/grief and loss/etc.

Please be sure to put the EMN logo on your blog, so I can add you to the blogroll!