Jump into your Husband’s Holiday World

We love our husbands, but do we show them we like them and enjoy spending time with them by doing what they like to do?  Does our husband know that he is priority? Do we set aside what we want to do and jump into his world? Or, do we expect him to jump into our world and go along with what we like to do? I admit it! I sometimes have a plan and then I expect him to jump into my world! I do!

We need to make “time” with our husband a high priority during the holiday season (and all seasons for that matter). Finding out what our husband likes is saying to him, “You are important to me.”

How many of your husbands can’t wait to put up the Christmas tree and decorate it? Some?  But not most. Instead of singing to him, “Mr. Grinch” or making “Bah humbug” jokes when he does not want to take part, it is good to find out what he likes to do. He may not like decorating the tree. Let us not insist he help. If he likes to watch you and the children decorate the tree, then fix him his favorite snack where he can have a front row seat watching his family decorate the tree. He may want to invest in an artificial lit tree to make things simpler. Have you asked him his preference?

What does your husband dread at Christmas?  Find out, and make plans to drop what he dreads or work it out, so it is pleasant for him.

Have we asked our husband what he likes to do at Christmas and on New Years? I just asked my husband for the first time this year.  Yes, I am ashamed to say.  It was the first time. I found out he does like helping to decorate the Christmas tree! Yay!!! I always thought so!!

My husband enjoys buying a fresh Christmas tree too.  Every year, he enjoys picking out the most perfectly shaped tree on the lot. I think fresh trees make the house smell like Christmas, whatever that means. My husband wants me to string the lights on the tree, which I do.  He does not like doing that part.  After that, we all enjoy decorating the tree together hanging the ornaments. Background Christmas music is playing and egg nog is being served. I buy a special ornament for our marriage almost every year and one for each of our children.  I ended up giving our children their ornaments after they got married. :( I loved their little special ornaments, and it was hard to part with them.

My husband likes for me and the children to unwrap the pieces of the nativity scene and put it in a prominent place in the home. He likes being a spectator. Barry then enjoys reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 about that first Christmas. He reads by candlelight. “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12

I asked my husband, “What are your favorite things to do at Christmas?  He gave me his two top answers:

1. Spending time getting together with family.

2. Eating good food.

He is such a family man! I am blessed!

Why am I not surprised at his second favorite thing! Yes, food is the way to a man’s heart. My next question should be, “What would you like for me to cook?”  Yes, that should be my next question, and I should happily cook his favorite Christmas and New Years dishes. Yes, I should! The other day Barry said he wanted shrimp for Christmas! I quickly responded, “Shrimp, that is weird for Christmas!” Alright, that was what I was not supposed to say.  I later told him if he wants shrimp, I will gladly make him shrimp. Shrimp is a good idea to me now. :)

Speaking of food, what fruit are you and I feeding our husband this holiday season?

“the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance (self-control).”  Galatians 5:22,23

We should not be feeding our husband the rotten fruit of a critical spirit, dismay, impatience, unkindness, anger, rudeness, gossip and so on.  Love is not a mood or emotion. It is a command. I have the job as a wife to encourage my husband. He needs me. I desire to have a radical love for my husband. I do this by laying down my wants. I complete him by doing him good everyday. “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:12

We married our husband because we love him. Now, we love our husband because we married him.  Where is our husband on the Christmas list?  Is he even on the Christmas list? Remind him he is priority by jumping into his world. Enjoy him and learn to enjoy doing what he likes to do.

How many of your husbands like to watch football? Mine does! I am not a sports fan. Even if you are not a sports fan, jump in with a positive attitude to enjoy a football game with him. Again, make his favorite finger food.  My husband and I have a fun tradition of kissing when his favorite team makes a touchdown.  Kissing is better than high fiving any day! Yes, watching sports with hubby can be fun after all.

We sold what I termed an “Archie Bunker chair” and opted for a love seat, so we could sit next to one another.  Sitting next to Barry, enjoying his favorite team has become pleasurable to me now. I am learning to like his world. When my husband is happy, I am happy.

Spending time with extended family is what my husband enjoys too.  We have the neatest extended families.  On his side, his mother is an excellent cook. When we were first married, I was so frustrated and said, “I will never cook as good as your mom!” Well, I decided to solve that problem. I spent a week with Barry’s mother and had cooking lessons. His mom does not measure the ingredients…she just tosses them in, but I learned just the same.

At Christmas, his mother also wraps many presents for us to open.  We all laugh when we each unwrap a box of cereal.  His mother even remembers all our favorite cereal brands.  I asked my son what he thought his children wanted from us for Christmas, and he said, “I liked unwrapping cereal at Mamaw’s house. They will like that too.” So funny! This Grandma and Papa will pass on the wrapped cereal tradition. Fun Memories.

On my side, we have a huge family who homeschooled.  Two of my sisters have seven children and my other sister has five children. We all invested in music lessons for our children. Before the big day, my daughters made a program after talking to each cousin about what they were going to do for the family music fest.

On the day, my Dad led the Christmas music and announced which grandchild would be next. We ended by singing Christmas carols together. What special memories of a special family time!!!! The photo is of my parents and three sisters. This was the last Christmas our mother enjoyed with us before she went to be with the Lord this past May of 2012. Mom is celebrating in heaven with my brother and sister. I pray for all those readers who are missing loved ones this Christmas to be comforted, and may you know the Lord’s tender compassion for you. “Jesus wept.” John 11:35

This Christmas Holiday, let us show our husband that he is tops on our list by putting his wants ahead of our own. A happy husband makes for a happy wife and a happy holiday season.

By the way, holiday means Holy Day.  Who is the Holy One? Jesus Christ. And when they write Xmas? X is Greek for Christ! They can try, but they can never take Christ out of Christmas.

My all time favorite Christmas Scripture:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Do you have any other suggestions for Jumping Into Hubby’s World this Christmas and New Years?  How do you work this out for your family?

I Believe God Does Not Speak in Probabilities; God Speaks in Truth!

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

When my husband and I were parenting our children, we believed Proverbs 22:6 was a truth of God and not a probability. As I compared Scripture with Scripture, in that same chapter, God explained why the Proverbs were written.

“Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?” Proverbs 22:20,21.

Twice, in that one passage, Proverbs are said to be the words of truth.

When my husband and I were parenting our children, I did not know that many Christians thought Proverbs 22:6 was a probability and not a truth of God.

I confess that I do not understand why some children rebel in good Christian families. It is a sad mystery to me. I am still praying for these wayward grown children. Looking at other Christian families and wondering, “why” is not the reason for this post. I don’t know why. I also don’t know how a child’s free will to choose right or wrong comes into play in Proverbs 22:6. That is a mystery to me also. What happened in other Christian families is not my purpose in writing this post. Telling you what to believe or not to believe about Proverbs 22:6 is not my purpose for writing this post.

  • My purpose in writing this post is to tell you about my childlike faith in Proverbs 22:6 as being a truth of God and not a probability when we were parenting our children. I learned long ago that experience does not measure truth. For me, if God said it, that settled it.
  • My purpose in writing this post is to explain how my confidence in the certainty of this Scripture kept me on my knees crying out daily to the Lord for wisdom as a parent. This Scripture gave me hope and I pray other young parents will seek wisdom from God for each of their children. I desire for other parents to have this same hope.
  • My purpose in writing this post is to give God all the glory for what He has done!

Prayer~Because of Proverbs 22:6, I would cry out, “Lord, You are omniscient, all knowing. I don’t know what to do as a parent. Your Word says for us to train up a child in the way he should go… I don’t know ‘the way each child should go,’ but You do. You have future plans for each of our children, which I as a parent know nothing about. That is why I desperately need Your wisdom today. I need You to direct me. Empty me of myself and fill me with Your wisdom, power, love and grace. Thank You for lending these precious children to us. Lord, may they grow up to love You with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. I am not training them up for here and now, but with eternity in mind; that day they stand before You, their Maker. May each child hear these words from You, ‘Well done thy good and faithful servant.’ I thank You, Father God for what You are doing in our lives and for what you will do in the future. I pray in the precious Name of Jesus, Amen.”

Our three children are grown now and married. Of course, they are not perfect, but they never out-right rebelled against us, praise the Lord.  They were saved at a young age, love the Lord and are so very kind. Am I boasting in myself? No, I am nothing, nothing, nothing! God is everything, everything, everything! I am boasting in the LORD!

Proverbs 22:6 was my hope! Proverbs 22:6 was my confidence that God was working good out of my imperfect parenting.  Proverbs 22:6 kept me in the Word of God searching for treasures and in prayer crying out for help and direction as a parent.

I made mistakes in parenting, and wish I could go back and change some things. I worried about what others thought about me too much. Yes, parents have peer pressure too. I added pages to the Bible and put those standards on our children. I was being like a Pharisee when I did that…ugh. I was not always on the same team as my husband, and would sometimes become child-centered. Oh, I wish I could go back and do better.

This very week I apologized to my daughter for these wrong-doings of mine as a parent and told her I wished I had done some things differently. She said she had a good childhood and thought we did well as parents. Aww…but still, I have some regrets that make me cry to this day.

Our children~
Our children~

While our children were growing up, Proverbs 22:6 was framed and on our wall. I considered Proverbs 22:6 personally written to me from God and claimed it as my parenting Scripture.

As a mother, I simply believed Proverbs 22:6 to be truth. It never ever occurred to me to do otherwise. Why? Because God said it in His Holy Word, and His Word is truth.

Hospitality and Presentation

Part 4 of “Entertaining with Elegance and Ease”~by Gwen Brodd

Once you decide on what you plan to prepare…presentation is everything!

Presentation

Let’s talk about table presentation and food presentation.

Table:  

  • For a dinner party set the table with plates, glasses, flatware and decorations a few days ahead of time.

 

  • For an appetizer party decorate the table and gather the plates, trays
    By~Gwen Brodd
    By~Gwen Brodd

    and baskets you will be using. I use a sticky note to identify what item will go in each one.

 

  • Decide if you are going to use paper products or your regular dishes. Guests really won’t care. I know this goes against everything we were taught but we are trying to entertain with ease. Paper products aren’t like they use to be. You can find some great products and set a beautiful table.

 

  • If you’re hosting a crowd, consider traffic flow. Offer beverages in one room, set up food on the kitchen and dinning room table and set bowls of snacks all around in the living room.

 

  • As far as decorations for the table are concerned… add layers. Start with a table cloth. Add a runner or another smaller table cloth square~ Placemats. Stack plates: dinner & salad.

    table
    By~ Gwen Brodd

 

  • Add napkins and napkin rings that you buy or make. Make place cards for dinner parties. They can be simple hand-written cards. Use scrapbooking stickers for embellishing.

 

By~Gwen Brodd
By~Gwen Brodd

Tie ribbon or sash around the chairs and add an embellishment.

Hang Christmas glass ornaments from the dining room chandelier.

Set a warm and welcoming environment for your guests.

 

Food:

Presentation is everything. You can take a store bought pie and put it on a silver tray and impress people.

Keep in mind you can purchase trays and platters of food that are prepared from Carving turkeya bakery, grocery deli or your local Sam’s or BJ’s. You can actually throw a great party with good food without making the first thing. Remove items from the plastic trays and arrange them on your glass or ceramic platters or baskets. Now THAT’S easy and your presentation makes it elegant.

If you want to prepare the food yourself then offer some good ole’ standbys but prepare them with a modern twist.

presentation~I don’t like to offer items that get messy or look bad after a few people have had at it! I want it to look as good for the last person in line as the first person in line.

  • Raw Vegetables: Instead of your typical veggie tray….put them in a basket or glass containers and offer the dip in a hollowed out red cabbage. You can also present veggies in individual plastic cups with the dip in the bottom.

 

  • Fruit can be served on skewers with cubes of cheese.Fruit Kabob

 

  • Offer several kinds of cheeses. An elegant but easy cheese item is baked brie. There are several ways you can prepare it. You can use rolled out pie crust from Pillsbury or thawed Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry. Top it with brown sugar, chopped pecans, and maple syrup. Or top with mango chutney. Wrap in the pastry and bake. Serve with crackers. You can cut out a shape out of extra pastry to decorate the top.

 

  • For sweets, you can buy mini Gigi cupcakes or assorted pastries from a bakery and cut them into small bites and arrange on a plate.

 

  • Put out bowls of nuts …and candies around the house

 

  • A great canapé is Antipasti Mozzarella Cups with fresh basil,
    By~ Gwen Brodd
    By~ Gwen Brodd

    cucumbers, tomatoes and mozzarella in Atheno Phyllo cups with olive oil and red wine vinegar, salt and pepper

 

  • Or Antipasti skewers where you skewer a small mozzarella ball, pepperoni or salami, black olive, black olive, grape tomato and a piece of basil. If you like, prepare tortellini and add it to the skewer.

 

Remember… men love meat and potatoes.

 

  • Crostini with Pork Tenderloin and Herbed Cheese
    Cook marinated pork tenderloin as directed. Cool. Chill and slice thinly. Take a crostini spread the soften cream with garlic and herbs and top with a slice of pork tenderloin.

 

  • BBQ chicken wings or sesame chicken bites will make the men happy.
Make good family memories during the preparation time with family!
Make good family memories during the preparation time with family!

· Cheese and Bacon Potato Rounds is an easy twist on potatoes skins.

Have a variety of food items…something for the health conscience and for those who like to indulge a little during the holidays.

You can have your teenager be responsible for replenishing and keeping the area clean of used napkins and cups. If you don’t have a teenager…hire one from student ministries.

 

Having someone there will keep you free to fellowship with your guests. You want to have FUN too!

With good planning, smart preparation, elegant presentation – and a pinch of prayer – you can be prepared to share your home with friends, neighbors, extended family and even the strangers God may send your way not only this holiday season but throughout the year.

Organization is Key to Hospitality

Continuation of a workshop, “Entertaining with Elegance and Ease” presented by Gwen Brodd, wife of Jeff Brodd, and mother of four grown sons~

Prioritize the things that are most important to you and your family and organize your schedule around them. Choose activities that are meaningful and memorable for the whole family and let other things slide.

When our boys were growing up we hosted a neighborhood birthday party for Jesus. Neighbors from all religions as well as no religion came. I had them bring gifts to give our local home for unwed mothers. We “acted out” the Nativity candleStory. We lighted the Advent candles and told what each candle means. We read from Luke 2. Our desire was to bring the light of Jesus to the children in our neighborhood.

If family tradition dictates a big tree decorating party on the weekend before Christmas, this may be the thing to do while skipping some of the lesser events.

  • Decorate early in the season. I love Fall and Thanksgiving and I decorate a lot for the season. Thanksgiving weekend we pick out our Christmas tree. We use to always do it as a family; all four sons in tow, but things have changed. Last year, it was just Jeff and me. I tried to keep a good attitude and not cry too much. I didn’t even want to get out of the car at the tree lot 😉

I decorate for Christmas during the weekend. I have a lot of decorations. Jeff would say too many.

In fact, I asked my family, “If I was not here (meaning, I am celebrating Christmas with Jesus) would you decorate my home?”

They all gave me a look and said “No, not to the extent that YOU decorate.”

My decorations are in bins labeled by room or location, such as kitchen, mantel, dining room, front porch, etc. It does not take me long at all to decorate. I like to have it done by December 1st so that I can sit and enjoy them the rest of the month.

These seven suggestions should help you in planning your holiday season to open up your calendar in December for a stress free season so that you cane entertain with ease.

Throwing a party for friends and family should be a joy, not a chore. By utilizing a style of entertaining that is informal, relaxed, and expressive, not only will your guests enjoy themselves, but you will as well.

cornucopia~Organization is the key to easy entertaining. There are 3 questions you need to answer in planning your party:

  1. What is the date?
  2. How many guests will be there?
  3. What type of party will it be? (dinner, potluck, appetizer) The kind of party you want to have will determine the number of guests you will invite. You may only have 10 for a dinner party but 25 for an appetizer party.

Pick a date for the party and get it on the calendar this afternoon! Schedules fill up fast between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, so reserve your date early. Don’t forget about the week between Christmas and New Year’s when there’s nothing going on. (I will schedule our neighbors that we get together with every year –their son, Kirk was Kyle’s best friend during that week as well as my high school girlfriends that I have over.) They are very casual, low key dinners.

I actually will schedule several events a few days apart. I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out. Think about it. You only have to clean house once and as I empty the dishwasher, I set the table for the next event; don’t even bother putting them away. This method saves time and energy and makes it easy on me.

After you have planned the date of your party, the kind of party and the number of guests, you need to start preparing.

Preparations

Invitation1. Prepare Your Guest List

Send out invitations immediately. Snail mail is the best method for sending invitations. I know we are in the age of texting and FACEBOOK invitations. Invitations need to sent out 4-6 weeks in advance. If you must go with email invites, make sure you at least personalize them, by uploading your own photographs or images and cut and paste them into your message using a font that works well…. but make it easy on yourself.

2. Prepare Your Home

Do not wait till the week of your party to do DEEP cleaning…. do it next week and when it comes time for the party…just a quick dusting and vacuuming. Remove clutter. Make sure the powder room is clean. I am going to share a secret: Keep lights low, use lots of candles and put your ceiling fans on low to keep people from seeing the dust on the blades!

You don’t have to have a house that will pass the “white glove test” from your mother-in-law. A tidy –uncluttered house will LOOK clean. Remember….people are not coming to your home because of how your house looks or how good your food tastes…they are coming to be with YOU! They like the way you make them feel…at home and special. The truth is…most peoples homes are a mess, cluttered and untidy. They will just feel at home at yours!

3. Prepare Your Menu

Forget new recipes….now is NOT the time to experiment. All those cute and clever things you see on Pinterest or people’s FACEBOOK…wait till January and February to try them…in between your root canal and routine physical.

Prepare items that you have successfully made before that your family and friends enjoy. People want to help…it’s okay to have people bring part of your menu. If you are having a dinner party for 8-10 plan prepare the main entre yourself but have someone bring a potato or rice dish depending on your meat dish, someone else bring a vegetable, another bring, a salad and the last one bring dessert and rolls. It’s okay!

If you want to prepare the meal yourself keep the menu simple… a meat dish, starch, vegetable and rolls. I wouldn’t serve Beef Wellington or Crown Pork Roast if cooking is not your thing.

If you are having more of a party where the food will be finger food such as finger foodsappetizers you can have guests bring a dish if they offer. If you want to provide the food then prepare a menu of hors d’ oeuvres. Even though it is the holiday season people still want to eat somewhat healthy.

I would offer about 7-10 different items for a typical party. Your menu should include vegetables, fruits, assorted cheeses, crackers, meats, nuts, and sweets.

Next Post~Hospitality and Presentation

Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe~Emilie Barnes

Want to cook up the Perfect Turkey for your Thanksgiving feast? You can do it! I tested this recipe myself.  Because the turkey turns out amazingly delicious, juicy and tender, slices beautifully, barely shrinks in size and the vitamins and proteins are not harmed because of the low cooking temperature, I thought I would share it on my blog. The Perfect Turkey Recipe is from Emilie Barnes book, “The 15 Minute Organizer.”

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers! I am thankful for you!

Perfect Turkey Recipe

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (note: cook uncovered)
  • Wash thawed turkey well; remove neck and giblets.
  • Dry turkey with paper towels, salt the cavity and stuff with dressing of your choice.
  • Rub the outside of the turkey with pure olive oil. Stick a meat thermometer in the turkey.
  • Place turkey breast-down in the roasting pan on a rack (this way the breast bastes itself, keeping the meat moist).
  • Roast the uncovered turkey one hour at 350 degrees to destroy bacteria on the surface. Then adjust the heat to 180 or 200 degrees for any size turkey. The turkey can roast in the oven on this low temperature 15 to 30 hours before you eat it. A good rule for timing is to allow about one hour per pound of meat. (Emilie begins roasting a 22-pound turkey at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Eve. It will be done the next day between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.)
  • Once the turkey is done, it will not overcook.  You can leave it in an
    Carving the Perfect Turkey~ Thanksgiving 2013~ Mmm... it was perfect!
    Carving the Perfect Turkey~
    Thanksgiving 2013~ Mmm… it was perfect!

    additional three to six hours, and it will not dry out. It browns perfectly and you will get wonderful drippings for gravy.

Not only have you cooked the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey, your house will smell oh so good! We plan to cook the Perfect Turkey for our Thanksgiving Feast!

 

Next Post~Organization is Key to Hospitality