Category Archives: Christmas

I’ve been getting flack for not updating this blog lately. ;)  Not too bad, but suddenly life has become way too entertaining to just sit at this keyboard and talk about it!

Where should I start?  I am kind of melancholy right now as we had to say good-bye (again) to J early this morning.  I’m always an emotional train wreck when he leaves.  Seeing his toothbrush we forgot sent me over the edge just a bit ago.  How can I explain the connection I have with a child who I did not give birth to?  A connection that far surpasses the annoying habits he’s developed in his short 10 years…the not knowing his health history…or even his genetics?  All I can say is it’s a God thing.  He knows me better than I know myself, so of course He would lead me to a child who He destined to be mine, and who I would have a connection with.  Thank you, God.

So, I will start at summarizing the past couple of months.

Regarding an adoption update, we are still motoring along (albeit at a put-put-put pace).  We finished our home-study and received final approval just before Christmas.  The next step is USCIS (ie, orphan immigration) approval and, once our bio-metric fingerprints are submitted, we should get that around the beginning of February.  Meanwhile I am working on our dossier which is what will travel to the Latvian ministry in seeking permanent placement of J with us.  Lots of paperwork and lots of doling out of money ahead in the next month or so!

As far as travel to get J, we anticipate it happening in March or April.  However, we may seek to have it pushed out nearer to the end of May so that E & C can come with us on the initial 3-week trip.  There is the issue of childcare for them if they don’t go, which is not so cut and dry since we will be moving to the country soon and, instead of transferring schools mid-year, we will be driving them an hour to and from school everyday.  NOT looking forward to that, and I certainly wouldn’t expect someone else to do it while we are in Latvia.  It’s a conundrum as I desperately want to get J here ASAP too!  *sigh*

Which brings me to the other big news…we are moving! :D  Tom and I have always wanted to move to the country, and the opportunity has just never presented itself.   With just C & E our small house is ok, there is a decent backyard and they each have their own room, BUT a third child brings up the volume level quite a bit and we suddenly feel like we are busting at the seams in this house.  We started looking at houses casually last fall and only just got serious this past December.  When we found THE house, we made an offer!  After a bit of quibbling we went under contract and Tom went out last week to do an inspection while I met with carpet and paint people to get estimates on some home improvement.   The house itself is in great shape and Tom is pleased that it has copper wiring & plumbing and no engineered floor joists.  I’m pleased that it has a huge kitchen pantry and main level laundry-mudroom combination.  Everyone wins! :)  Oh, and did I mention the major selling point?  It’s on 6 acres!  Yay for the country!  Here’s a photo of the front & back:

 

We are SO thrilled to move!  This house is exactly what Tom and I have wanted and we hope to live here at least until all the kids are finished with high school.  Plus we can eventually get all sorts of animals such as chickens, goats, and horses…a mini farm! :)

As I mentioned earlier, J was here for another hosting over Christmas and New Years.  He arrived Dec. 16 and just left today.  We had so much fun with him and we were able to tell him about his adoption.  It was a huge weight off of all of us as his guard was down the entire time and he was much more engaged in talking about future plans.  We also had quite a few other host families in the area and made some fast friends, spending a lot of time staying together in the mountains, at restaurants, and a Nuggets game.  It was such an amazing time, I will always cherish the people we’ve met and the good times we’ve had with them.

Now for the photos!

Christmas Morning!

And our New Years Vacay in the mountains…

As you can see, there are many exciting things happening in the Recke household this year!  I’ll try to be better at updating this blog. :)

I’d also like to add that I will be making this blog private this week, to keep the adoption proceedings private.  If you desire to have access to future blog posts, please send me an e-mail request at trecke05@yahoo.com and I’ll give you the password, which will be good for all private blog posts.  Thanks!!

For our family, today was a sort of dedication to Jesus…whose birthday we celebrate tomorrow.  We went to what seemed like a very early (1pm) Christmas Eve service at our church where we had amazing worship and a message about remembering Jesus AFTER Christmas.  It was, all in all, a perfect way to re-focus on the true meaning of Christmas and not on the last 6 weeks of shopping, shopping, and more shopping.

And of course I had to get the kids’ photo in their Christmas best…

There was also an after-dinner birthday celebration.  A couple of weeks ago our church handed out boxes of cake mix with instructions to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.  Having not done that before, I found it a great way to get the kids involved in something other than Santa Claus and gift opening.  Tom actually took the reigns while I made dinner… mixing the cake with the kids, baking, and then frosting it.  I love the organic way it turned out. :)

Merry Christmas to you, and may you have a blessed new year!

It’s that time of year again.  The time where you realize Christmas is just around the corner and (gasp) you need to save up money for Christmas presents.  Admittedly, that is generally my way of thinking…presents and decorating before giving much thought to the reason we (Christians) celebrate Christmas.  It’s funny, because I don’t think of myself as one who “forgets” that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ.  I mean, we go to Christmas Eve services at our church, we read the Biblical “Christmas Story” to our kids, and there is always a nativity scene proudly displayed in our home.  Isn’t that enough?!

I thought it was enough…until I saw the movie “God Grew Tired of Us” (seriously, this is a must watch documentary if you want a better understanding of the horror that is happening in Sudan, and it was produced by Hollywood peeps…surprisingly).  In summary, the movie follows the Lost Boys of Southern Sudan, Christian men oppressed and threatened with death by the Northern Sundanese (Islamic) Government.  They are forced out of their homeland to wander parts of Africa, often settling in refugee camps that offer very little in the way of good farmland, clean water, and food sources.  The movie follows a few of these Lost Boys as the American Govt. offers to relocate them to America in an attempt to better their life.  In one scene (and one that has stayed with me), a Lost Boy ponders the celebration of Christmas in America.  He wonders, why is there a tree?  It’s pretty, but how does it represent Christ’s birth?  And of course he’s also confused by the giving of gifts and consumerism…once again wondering what any of it has to do with Jesus Christ.  I was deeply convicted by this.  He could have easily been talking about my focus, and I was ashamed.

And THEN, I get an e-mail yesterday from Gospel of Asia, which had a link to a video from “Forgotten Christmas” (incidentally, if you go to their website there is an opportunity to get a free Christmas catalog where 100% of the funds received from it go to help those in need).  Knowing that just 1% of the 460 BILLION that is typically spent on Christmas consumerism could give clean water to everyone in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India, really gives me pause.

Here’s the video:

Pretty convicting, especially for those of us who are Christians.

I’m still thinking of what Christmas will look like for our family this year, but I can tell you it will not revolve around gifts or shopping malls.  I’m even hesitant to put up a tree!  And I would love to see the money we would normally spend on presents and decoration go to a worthy cause, to reach those who have yet to hear about the true meaning of Christmas.  I’m going to pray about all of this because, honestly, I love Christmas.  I love the decorating and the shopping.  I have given in to the hype for a long time and it’s hard to re-wire my thinking.

I pray it becomes clearer to me as Christmas gets closer.  I know I’ll likely start here though.

We pray this holiday finds you happy, joyful and blessed!
Thank you to all of our dear friends and family who make each year so memorable,
it’s an honor to have you in our lives.
Love and Blessings,
The Recke Family

A Crafty Soiree for crafts and treats…and tutorials! I’ve had a couple events over the past week that allowed me to use *some* creative energy.  I’m pretty happy with how things turned out so I thought I’d share the tutorials on my blog. Felt Rose Bouquet For a Ladies’ Christmas Dessert function at my church, I made a centerpiece to go on our table, along with a pin as a take-home gift. The centerpiece was essentially a knock-off of the one found at “Creative Jewish Mom“, but with my own touches (like adding leaves).   The roses are the same as the ones I used for my yarn wreatha couple of months back…

 I used a 6″ foam ball for the bouquet (size isn’t clear in the tutorial) and would not recommend going any larger…unless you want to go insane and wipe out the felt in every Michael’s store withing a 25 mile radius.  Making these flowers is a tedious (albeit not hard ) process!  I also chose not to glue the roses to the ball, and instead used long straight pins with a pearl end so that I could re-arrange as necessary (and it was necessary).
 Here is a picture of the pins I made as gifts for the eight ladies at the table
(they matched the bouquet even though they look like different colors in the photographs):
 
Melty Snowman Rice Krispy Treats

For my son’s school Christmas party I put these treats together.  I have seen something similar on other blogs where the snowman was on top of a sugar cookie, but I thought this version would be better for the kids who had gluten allergies (disclaimer: not sure how gluten-free these truly were since I didn’t take the time to research the chocolate I used.  You CAN do it though!)

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Melty Snowman Rice-Krispy Treats

To start, make a single batch of rice krispy treats according to package instructions, and let cool before adding snowmen (yield: 12 treats).
Ingredients:
  • White Candy Melts (one 14oz package makes 16 snowmen)
  • Mini Chocolate Chips
  • Light Cocoa Candy Melts
  • Rolos Candy
  • Candy Corn
Instructions:
  1. For each snowman, you’ll need 6 mini chocolate chips, a light cocoa candy melt, and a Rolo.
  2. To make the nose, cut the orange section from a candy corn, then slice it in half lengthwise. Roll the piece between your fingers to form a carrot shape.
  3. To assemble your snowman, melt the white candy in a bowl according to the package instructions, then scoop a rounded tablespoon onto the *cut* rice krispy treat. With the back of a spoon, smear the candy into a puddle.
  4. Working quickly, stick on the light cocoa candy melt, add a dot of white melted candy, then place the Rolo on top (side-note: if you assemble the hats beforehand, it makes for faster assembly).
  5. Finally, add the candy corn nose and mini chocolate chip eyes and mouth (I used tweezers for accuracy in placement).
  6. Let treats set and enjoy!

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What crafts and special treats are you making this holiday season?

This post has been linked to:

MakingThe Girl CreativeSumo Sweet Stuff