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Welcome to The Christian Homekeeper. I'm really glad you stopped by. I love the Lord and I love His Word. My goal is to offer some words of encouragement and build up your desire to know Him better and to share old fashioned information that is helpful. I've been online since 1996 with first a web site and now a blog. I enjoy hearing from you in the comments and you can find me on Facebook and Twitter as well.
I’ve got different ideas about Christmas than most people I know. Probably different from yours and that’s OK, your ideas are ok. But I thought I’d briefly share my thoughts about Christmas so that if you too have different ideas, you’ll know you’re not alone.
I started thinking about this when I read that our Bible study lesson mid-week would be “What If There Was No Christmas?” It was a good lesson, we discussed what God has done and how blessed we are that God came in flesh to save us. But my first thought was: “If there was no Christmas… so what?”
That sounds awful doesn’t it? But hear me out. Christmas is not a holy day, not something God has commanded us to celebrate or observe. Christmas is a celebration created by humans originally to honor God and celebrate what He has done for mankind.
If there was no Christmas, then God would have done what He was going to do anyway. Its humans who created Christmas and it is humans who have perverted the original meaning of the celebration into an orgy of materialism.
Christmas as a man-created celebration of the blessings of God is similar to the Hebrew celebration of Purim. No where in scripture is Purim commanded by God to be celebrated. However, Jesus probably celebrated it (John 9) as a minor feast day as He celebrated Chanukah (John 10:22) another minor feast day. ~*~
So, I celebrate Christmas. Not because God said to do so but because I am so happy and so overwhelmed at His kindness and mercy to me.
So, I hope you have a Happy Christmas, filled with awe and wonder at what God has done for you.
For years I have written about bringing traditional values and practices back to our US holidays. This year, I want to write to you out of my own experiences with preparing for Christmas and other holidays through my adult life. Hopefully I can encourage you to take a new look at how you go about getting your home and mind ready for Christmas.
Americans seem to have lost so much through the years and people yearn for those simple, peaceful occasions. Many of us go looking for what we call old fashioned ways of celebrating Christmas so that we can recapture something we hope will fulfill us and our family. We often go to great lengths to find this fulfillment and very often our efforts end up in arguments or stressful confrontations in the family, overspending and profound sadness.
Holidays aren’t peaceful or simple if you find yourself strung out, worn out and tensed up over trying to make the occasion into something that meets unrealistic expectations. I want to encourage you to let go of your expectations for a perfect Christmas get-together this year and to redefine your ideas of Old Fashioned and Perfect.
What does an Old Fashioned Christmas look like anyway? To most of us it means food, family…. and beyond that, what? Perfectly decorated tables? An immaculate house? New furniture? Lots of going and doing? Shopping with family and friends? Just the perfect gift for everyone on your list? A quiet evening or two before the fireplace with family? I think it can, in part, mean any of those things but conspicuously missing from those descriptions is the Lord Jesus Christ and the particular peace and fullness He brings to our lives. Also missing is the true purpose of Christmas; Celebrating the Gift of Jesus and God’s salvation to mankind. It seems so easy for most of us to get busy and involved with making the perfect Christmas celebration that we forget about the reason for all our blessings.
When we set up a picture in our minds and make plans for a perfect Christmas we set up expectations. Expectations can be dangerous things to family harmony and peace.
Unmet expectations = Discouragement & Frustration
Christmas and other holidays like Thanksgiving often leave us discouraged and frustrated with the people and preparations of the seasons. We somehow believe that because we spend money, time, thought and energy on preparations for these holidays that they must turn out a certain way. We believe that our friends and family must react to our efforts in particular ways. And then they don’t. So we become discouraged and frustrated and we show that by the way we treat our family members and in our private thought life.
Food for thought ~ We have no rights to expect anything in this life except the promises of God. Yet our sinful nature tells us that we have rights to our expectations. We have the Gospel and we have forgiveness in Jesus. Is that Good News enough for you? Or do you insist on having your holiday expectations met?
Everyone has their own ideas of what constitutes the perfect Christmas, an Old Fashioned Christmas, but I think the main things that people think of when they think of a holiday being old fashioned are peace and simplicity. I believe we can have those beautiful attributes in our present day celebration of Christmas, if we focus our minds on what we are grateful for, remember to worship God and enjoying the people God sends into our lives.
Certainly, go shopping, lay around the fireplace with family, play games, make and buy gifts, go for a walk…. do all those things but do them with an attitude of thankfulness and with an eye on the fact that these luxuries are gifts from God; we don’t have a right to any of them. When I think in those terms I become even more thankful for what I have.
In these upcoming weeks as you prepare for Christmas, open your heart to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to prepare it for giving thanks and worshipping God in spirit and in truth. Focus your mind on Jesus and serving others as He has done. Focus on people and being thankful for what God has given you. Then your Christmas will be simple, sweet and truly old fashioned. No matter what happens, no matter if things don’t go perfectly and according to plan, you will have thankfulness and peace in your heart….and I think that is the very best kind of old fashioned Christmas there is.
All my Turkey info in one place. Plus a little more.
Gravy Recipe Including my fast Thanksgiving gravy!
A few years ago I made Sweet Potato Yeast Rolls for Thanksgiving. They’ve been requested every year since then. The recipe doesn’t have much sweet potato in it, just enough to make it nicely orange and a little sweet.
I use my standard Aunt Eura’s Yeast Roll recipe with a few tweaks. This recipe will make about 3 dozen rolls.
Sweet Potato Rolls
3 pkgs yeast or about 7 teaspoons loose yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 c warm water
1/2 cup melted butter or shortening
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup pureed sweet potatoes
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional but very good)
6 c plain or bread flour
Place the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water with the teaspoon of sugar to get foamy.
In a large mixing bowl combine and mix:
Melted butter or shortening
Add yeast mixture and 2 cups warm water. Mix well and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. You may add a little flour if the dough is too sticky but in general you want your dough to be soft and pliable and a little sticky.
Cover and allow to rise until double.
Once dough is doubled in size, you can make 2 inch rolls. If you want the pumpkin shape, use a pair of clean, sharp scissors to cut the sides of each roll almost to the center of the roll. Use a piece of a pretzel stick for the stem of the “pumpkin”.
Need to see how to make rolls? Here is my video about how to do that!
Place prepared rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet in a warm, draft free area to rise until about double their size. Bake rolls at 400*F for about 18 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Disclaimer: The instructions I offer here in this post (and in all my posts about herbs and home remedies) are what I use personally at home. Of course the standard disclaimer goes: I am not a doctor and don’t prescribe medicines or herbs, this is just what we have done here for generations with great results.
Here in the southern US there is a tree called the Sweet Gum Tree. Liquidambar styraciflua is a large tree that is valued for its pretty leaves and hard spiky fruits. Its the fruits that I am interested in because they are a source of shikimic acid which is the active ingredient in medicines like Tamiflu®.
Be sure you pick the green balls, the brown ones are finished for the year and won’t make a tincture. They’re cute for using in crafts though.
Here’s how its done:
Pick enough green sweet gum balls to fill at least a clean, sterilized glass jar that has a tight fitting lid.
Bust open each green gum ball either using a hammer or a hatchet. But be careful, they’re harder than you think!
Once you get them busted up, put all the pieces in the clean glass jar and cover the pieces with any clear, at least 100% proof alcohol. I buy the cheapest vodka I can find and use that.
Let this sit in a cool, dark place for about 6 weeks. It seems to take longer for sweet gum to give up its properties than other plants. After 6 weeks you can strain it and put it in dark amber bottles. It will keep forever.
To use it, I take 1 teaspoon every 3-4 hours when I know I have a virus. I combine it with elderberry syrup sometimes. If the taste is objectionable to you, you could put the teaspoon of tincture in a cup of water or even tea and drink it.
For keeping viruses at bay, I take 1 teaspoon in a cup of hot water each day during flu season.
I have not made sweet gum tincture using glycerin, I have doubts as to whether the glycerin would be able to pull out the medicinal properties of the fruits.
Hey everyone, hope you’re having a great end of summer. Its nearly Autumn, really my favorite time of year. The color! The weather! The food! And the cleaning of my home to get ready for all the winter time where we’re shut up in this house.
Here are links to all my Harvest Homekeeping and Fast and Furious Fall Cleaning that I have done over the years here at CHK.
Use all of them that you can, leave behind what you can’t use. If you have questions be sure to ask.
This is a delicious, moist cake with homemade chocolate icing that hits the spot for BBQs, parties, family dinners. It’s a recipe for a half-sheet cake which is 12 inches by 18 inches. It will serve 40 or more people. This isn’t modern-instant-make-it-fast food, its old fashioned with a twist so take your time, read through and give it a whirl.
If Snack Cakes are more your thing, check out my recipe. Chocolate Snack Cake
Pre-heat your oven to 325*F
Grease and flour your pan or use a spray like Baker’s Joy
Get your ingredients together.
A 12×18 inch pan and either Baker’s Joy spray or you can grease and flour it.
2 Dark Chocolate Cake Mixes – I used Duncan Hines Chocolate Fudge Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 – 3 oz package of instant fudge pudding mix
2 1/2 cups brewed coffee – you won’t taste the coffee in the final cake, the coffee brings out the chocolate flavor
2 cups sour cream
I found the idea for this tweak on www.cakecentral.com and its by a member there named macsmom. The icing is my own recipe.
Make The Cake
Mix everything together well and pour in your prepared pan. Bake at 325*F for 45 minutes, check the cake for doneness and bake longer if needed. Some ovens will take 50-55 minutes maybe a little more. Mine takes 45. You test for doneness with a very thin sharp knife or a broom straw. Insert the sharp knife in the cake in the middle and to each side. If the knife comes up clean, no cake batter on it, then the cake is done.
Once its done, allow the cake to cool.
You can turn the cake out onto a prepared piece of cardboard or cake board or just leave it in the pan, that’s what I usually do.
In a medium sauce pan combine:
2 sticks butter – don’t use margarine or other substitute, it will be too oily.
1 1/3 cups cocoa powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
Stir it as it cooks. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, stir well.
Add: 2 teaspoons vanilla, stir.
Sift 2 pounds of confectioner’s sugar, using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, slowly add the confectioner’s sugar to the chocolate mixture until well blended. You can add some milk in tiny amounts if you think the icing is too thick. When its done, it should pour.
Pour the icing over the cooled cake, let it all cool before packaging.
The icing will form a nice, light crust as it cools.