Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes!

https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

Collection time is upon us so please go to the provided link and sign up to make a child . . . or two or three, so very happy this Christmas. The plastic shoe boxes complete with lids can be found at Walmart for under a dollar. They are in the plastic container aisle. Grab your box and then go shopping so you can see how much you can cram into the shoe box. Also, the link will tell you how to obtain the labels which do cost a small amount to cover the shipping. You will find the collection centers listed, too.

I’m packing my four boxes today – two boy and two girl boxes. Besides the candy, stickers and school supplies, I’ve actually managed to fit in a shirt for each of the boys and a dress for each of the girls. Still have a few things to buy to tuck into any spare corners. I tend to overbuy but tend to make it all fit!

I know times are often difficult around the holidays in our own homes but our children always get something for Christmas. These children overseas might not get anything if people don’t share what they have and insure at least one box is in the bunch being sent out in a few weeks. Don’t forget to enclose a Christmas card and a little note as the children cherish the thought and effort.

Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Boxes!

November is my favorite month of the year and not for the usual ‘turkey’ reason you might think! November is when I start planning and buying for my Samaritan’s Purse Christmas shoe box for children in far away places. This will be my third year and I’ve gone from doing one box the first year all the way up to four this year. What can I say? I’m addicted and love thinking about some child in strapped circumstances finding a shoe box loaded with all kinds of unexpected items including one special thing like a tee shirt or baseball for a boy and a pretty dress for a girl. It is amazing how much you can cram into one of the plastic shoe boxes you can find at Walmart for under a dollar. My younger daughter started doing shoe boxes for the first time last year. She is hooked now and planning to do two of her own. Besides, we like the challenge of my husband saying, “You are never going to get that stuff packed in that shoe box and proving him wrong!

I usually buy my proposed shoe boxes in the summer. Every time I find something cute, fun, or useful for my chosen age group, I buy it and toss it in one of the four boxes I already have on hand.

Truth be told, depending on what you buy, it can cost around $30 including the $9 donation to go towards the shipping. It is a challenge trying to keep within a budget but when I look at what has been purchased for my own children compared to this simple shoe box, I buy what I need for some child’s first real Christmas and worry about the cost later.

My husband’s part in this is taking our boxes over to the collection center. There are collection centers all over the country so most everyone finds a convenient one. Last year, he was one of a small group at the center at the same time. The person in charge asked each person to state something in their lives that needed prayer and the people all gathered in a circle, holding hands, and praying for each other and for the safe and happy delivery of each Christmas box to a happy child.

Interested? https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ Some people have told me that it just doesn’t fit into their Christmas budget. The only way we can manage is to consider the overseas recipient children as part of our Christmas costs treating them like one of our children. And, if you start in the summer to start stockpiling items, you usually only have to get a few more items and the box is quickly packed and on its way.

Catching Up With Christmas!

Homemade proof that Poinsettias are a summer flower! A very thoughtful friend saved one of the plants that graced our church during the Christmas season and my husband kindly planted it for me. I was walking out for the mail earlier this week and suddenly registered that there was Poinsettia blooming in the garden!

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Samaritan’s Purse National Showbox Collection – Collection Date is Soon!

Just ordered my labels for my Christmas Shoebox donations! The best part was getting to have an excuse to hang around the toy section to find dolls, cars, and all sorts of fun little items to stuff in my four boxes – two for boys and two for girls.

There is so much joy on the faces of the children who receive these treasure chest boxes of goodies prepared just for them. I’m thinking our children would grow up with more awareness of what is of value in life if we put more into what Christmas is actually about and a shoe box each for their Christmas!

Samaritan’s Purse Shoe Box Collection!

Operation Christmas Child

I discovered this last year and it was so much fun to fill a shoe box with surprises for a boy and a girl in the Philippines. No, you can chose the country but they do tell you once they have been delivered for Christmas.

It is simple! Buy a plastic shoe box with a lid at Walmart or Hobby Lobby and then fill it up! It is amazing what you can cram into the box and how much happiness this effort will bring to a child who might not be expecting anything for Christmas. The link tells you all you need but time is of the essence as the drop-off week for the packed shoe boxes will soon be upon us.

I tried to include one really useful item like a fun tee shirt or a hat along with small games, little doll, gum, lip balm, mints . . . Use your imagination. I purchased my boxes at the onset of my shopping spree and that way I could figure out what would pack well and fit in with the box.

As I said, go to the Samaritan’s Purse link (top of the post Operation Christmas Child) for full in formation. There is a small cost involved to help with shipping and you have to find a drop-off place near you. I can guarantee this will be the most gratefully received Christmas gift you have ever given.

The Trouble With Truffles . . . You Don’t Want to Share!

Christmas Truffles

1 ½ sticks butter (no margarine, please!)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons brandy
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (pecans or almonds work, too)

Melt butter in saucepan and stir in the cocoa until smooth. Keep stirring while slowly adding the condensed milk. Stir and cook over low heat for about 5-6 minutes or until the mixture thickened and is shiny and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in rum, zest, and nuts.

Pour into a pan and refrigerate for several hours or until the mixture is firm enough to shape. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon roll into 1-inch balls. At this point, you can roll the balls into more ground nuts or some red and green decorations for the Christmas spirit. Place on a plate to refrigerate a few more hours before serving. Something that can be made the day before to have on hand for a party or just a great treat.

Ideas . . .

This recipe is open to other flavors! Mint? Add a little creme de menthe in place of the brandy or just add some peppermint extract. Could mix in some crushed candy cane in lieu of the nuts, too.

A bit of instant coffee power in the cooking stage take the treat to a more grownup level.

You can roll them in either sweetened cocoa power or the unsweetened version depending on the state of your sweet tooth!

Adventurous? You can get some coating chocolate in either chocolate or white, melt it, and dip some of your truffles in that and sprinkle with decorations for an added dimension.

Christmas Isn’t Over Yet!

The saddest day of December 26h, to me, are all the discarded Christmas trees lining the curbs. Frankly, I can understand this as they are all dry and probably fire hazards . . . because many of them have been in place soon after Thanksgiving dishes were washed and put away. How lacking is a holiday putting the culmination of the Christmas event so far ahead of the goal. The decorations and outside lights have been up for weeks. Where is the anticipation of Christmas if so much of it appears before we have even made our way through Advent? And, now, Christmas is considered over and done for 2015 and we will probably start seeing Valentine candy in the stores within the week.

My mother was raised in Germany and their custom was that no child would even see a Christmas Tree until Midnight on Christmas Eve. The doors to the place where the tree would be were closed to excited children while they heard interesting sounds and rustlings going on behind closed doors. At midnight, the doors would open to reveal a tree sparkling with tinsel and candles. In my mother’s home, she had a few minutes to take in the glory and it was then off to Midnight Mass with excitement in the heart for the late night out, the beauty of the Christmas Mass, and a few thoughts about what would be under the tree when she got home.

Christmas continued from the 25th until January Sixth when the Three Kings paid an overnight visit and let some treats in her shoes to find in the morning. Between the 25th and and January Sixth was filled with visiting, tasty coffee parties, meeting up with friends, and exchanging gifts. December 25th was the beginning of Christmas not the end of a hectic holiday season.