S: Mom's Christmas Book
FC: Mom's Christmas Book | Fail not to call to mind, in the course of the 25th of this month, that the Divinest Heart that ever walked the earth was born on that day; and then smile & enjoy yourselves for the rest of it; for mirth is also of Heaven's making | ~And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling & puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled & puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. ~Dr. Seuss
1: This book is dedicated to my 6 children and the *“lips cup” to whom I have learned so many snatches of remarkable and useless information from. Much more the former than the latter I confess. They have been some of the great teachers of my life. Things such as: patience, love, laughter, wonder, awe, hope and all about dreaming when you are awake I have learned from them. They continue to inspire me. Also~ a special thanks goes out to Holly because minus her you would never be reading this. Ever since you were cherubs I have pulled back the bow of my hopes, sending them straight to the bosom of God. The arrows of my prayers were dipped into the greatest desire for you to understand fully the kind of love that God has for you and of course, the course that changed history. The one true course that produced the manger and the cross. I have many memories of Christmas mornings. Not unlike firecrackers bursting out of their casings usually it was the boys who would fly down the stairs first, in a fit of squeals awakening their sisters, the 11 pets and the neighbors down the block. We would have our traditional pancake breakfast (with real whip cream). Then while I sipped my coffee, trying to stimulate the morning laggard, (the remnants of a long night of wrapping) then we would situate the caroming bodies down and focus on why we were celebrating in the first place. I remember even though the suspense was killing you, deep down you knew this part of Christmas was important and would be even more so in years to come. We would read the Christmas story, maybe Dad would ask questions or we'd share what we were thankful for. Then we would pray and take turns organizing all those presents, Cassy in the lead. We made you sit and watch each other take turns opening your gifts, letting the moments last. My prayers have always been that you would deeply know Jesus, why He came and the meaning of Ephesians 3:17-19: "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." All of your lives I have asked God that each one of you would have a hunger and a thirst for Him that can be satisfied in Him alone. He is the one who can fill the deepest desires of your heart because He designed you. You are His masterpiece. There is nothing that a mother yearns more for than this; to see her children follow Him with their heart even when it isn't popular, convenient, easy or logical. He deserves it my children because He is all you have ever hoped for and so much more. It's the difference between a marble and a planet. And if ever you lose your way, let the star of Bethlehem be your compass. All My Love, Mom The Story of *the lips cup To “the mom” the “lips cup” was just another stupid cup to wash. I mean who would want that retarded, deformed thing that deserved to be tossed in the garbage. It melted in the dishwasher for heavens sakes and we have 26 other perfectly good multi-colored cups to choose from! It certainly wouldn't have wars fought over it and Kingdoms in disarray because of it. I mean you'd think it was the Holy Grail or something. Ahh but then one kid's trash is another kid's treasure. So I learned patience from it every time my kids fought over it, love when they were willing to share it, laughter over how ridiculous this crazy cup can be, awe at how valuable it had become, hope that when God looks at me and sees a “lips cup” I’m His “lips cup” that He is loving and remaking, flaws and all. This message was also brought to you by Hoops, Yo Yo & Chuckee Duhnardo.
2: Christmas 1988 Happy Happy Christmas!!! This is my very first year to be able to celebrate Christ's wonderful birthday! Well this is the annual newsletter from the Knebels. Last year Karissa wrote it and the year before that Christopher, so I guess it's my turn. The BIG news is, I don't think there will be anyone to carry on the tradition, unless we take turns. What I mean is, mom's not pregnant! Do you think we should throw a party for daddy to encourage this status? Well, you can let me know. Anyway, it's been a very special 1988 for my family. I was born! It's kinda nice living with these Knebels. They take pretty good care of me. Dull moments are extremely rare. It's great for me though, I just lay back and take in all the entertainment. One thing I have learned in this brain-cracked house is that Jesus holds us all together and without Him, there wouldn't be much love or purpose within these walls, and for that there is so much to be thankful for. Let me first mention Holly, she really likes to take care of me. When she's not in school, reading her books, at Awana, swimming lessons or her other dad's. I have to make an appointment, for her undivided attention. But I love her even if she is a little busy-body. Then we have Cassy. She likes to hold me sometimes, when she isn't falling down or getting 21 stitches in her chin. Her hobbies are doing acrobatics on the sofa, playing the piano (which sounds pretty good when I don't have a headache) and plotting strategies with Christopher for World War 3 and 4. She loves watching the "The Wizard of Oz", and she really can be a little cuddle bunny. Then there is CHRISTOPHER, my BIG brother. He can't wait till I'm big enough to play football and basketball with him. I sure wouldn't want to be on his opposing team though, considering his two idols are Mike Tyson and Hulk Hogan. His way of showing affection is to throw a truck at you, but he is very spirited and can be very loving!
3: Karissa~ Well, Karissa is a little schizophrenic. One minute she'll give you the sweetest smile heaven can hold and then she'll slap you on your head (Or wherever is convenient). She's either drawing murals on the walls or pulling all the toilet paper off the rolls. She loves Sesame Street, books and candy. She really is a little comic and can be lots of fun. And as for mom and dad, they have their hands and hearts full! In closing, on behalf of us all I would like to wish you God's best, a warm Christmas and a happy year ahead! Love, Jonathan Knebel and Family P.S. Looking forward to seeing you soon. | Gingerbread Men I made with you kids Makes: 2 1/2 dozen Ingredients: 1 (3.5 ounce) package cook and serve butterscotch pudding mix 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1 egg 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon Directions 1.In a medium bowl, cream together the dry butterscotch pudding mix, butter, and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon; stir into the pudding mixture. Cover, and chill dough until firm, about 1 hour. 2.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease baking sheets. On a floured board, roll dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness, and cut into man shapes using a cookie cutter. Place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. 3.Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are golden at the edges. Cool on wire rack | No matter how carefully you stored the lights last year, they will be snarled again this Christmas.
4: Christmas 1989 Wishing you all a very merry and happy Christmas this year! Just thought I would update you on the family's current events for the 1989 year. Dad and mom seem to have adopted a few "things" this past year, such as: three trucks, their own room (with their own bed), a van with assigned seating, * Julie and immunity to birth control! Yes. Mom is expecting a call from the stork again, about 11 days after Valentine's Day. Yes, that stork is getting pretty chummy. He's almost like family, he could find our house | blind-folded! I guess that puts us in the running with The Waltons, The Brady Bunch, and Eight Is Enough. Or is it? Well, I suppose that is the question of the day. Dad is trying to be encouraging. He's been looking for the autobiography of ** Misses Charles Wesley to give to mom this Christmas. Anyway, Holly is growing up fast. She is 8 already. She likes school, art, reading, helping around the house (sometimes and only for money). She is waiting for the day she can babysit and get her ears pierced. She has a very loving and tender heart too. | Cassy loves to cook, bake, season spaghetti, be able to do grown up things like her sister Holly does, draw pictures and live dangerously. She also is very sweet, petite, and lovable. Christopher, my big brother loves: dinosaurs, watching t.v., teeter-totters, walkie-talkies (like his friend Josh has), teasing people and playing outside. He also is thrilled with life and is dear to us all. Going through the terrible twos is always rough they tell me and that's Karissa right now. She's in love with being
5: pugnacious, being independent, copying Christopher, and antagonizing people, coloring, lipstick and jewelry. Who else do I know that would fight over throwing away a poopy diaper!!?? She does have a vivacious giggle and can be a sweetheart. She really takes on an angelic quality when she's sleeping. Then there is sweet ole innocent me. I don't like talking about myself, but I am the charmer of the family. I try to hold my own, but I'm pretty content living with this tribe of indians. I fit right in. I guess right now everything is an adventure to me. I love exploring everything. It's amazing what one can learn by just watching those around him! One thing I have noticed though is that this house, full of chaos and noise is a happy house. There is love here because of Jesus. Were thankful for Him and what | He's done for all of us. Our hearts go out to you and your family this year, In celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. God Bless You! Sincerely, Jonathan Gary Knebel (Jon Jon) * Julie is our new housekeeper/ babysitter/ helper. ** Misses Charles Wesley was the saintly mother of 19 children who inspired them to become some of the great of our time. | ~Wouldn't life be worth living Wouldn't dreams be coming true If we kept the Christmas spirit All the whole year through?
6: Mom’s favorite~Turtle Cookies 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1 egg 1 egg yolk 1 egg white 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/8 teaspoon maple flavored extract 60 pecan halves FROSTING: 2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate 1/4 cup milk 1 tablespoon butter 1 cup sifted powdered sugar Directions: Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, egg yolk, vanilla and maple flavoring. Set aside. Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients gradually to the creamed mixture until you have smooth dough and then chill 2 hours. Shape dough into balls to make 12 equal balls. These should be shaped into ovals like a turtle body. Dip bottoms into little of egg white. Press pecan pieces into bottoms that have the egg white to form a head and the 4 feet for the turtles, place onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 10 to 12 minutes or until set and when cool, frost. FROSTING-Melt chocolate, milk and butter. Beat in the sifted powdered sugar until smooth. YUM! | Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, & behold, everything is softer & more beautiful | The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: The presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other | It is good to be children sometimes, & never better than at Christmas when its mighty founder was a child Himself. ~Charles Dickens | Oh for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money.
7: Esther 4:9-14 The Message (MSG) Hathach came back and told Esther everything Mordecai had said. Esther talked it over with Hathach and then sent him back to Mordecai with this message: "Everyone who works for the king here, and even the people out in the provinces, knows that there is a single fate for every man or woman who approaches the king without being invited: death. The one exception is if the king extends his gold scepter; then he or she may live. And it's been thirty days now since I've been invited to come to the king." When Hathach told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai sent her this message: "Don't think that just because you live in the king's house you're the one Jew who will get out of this alive. If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else; but you and your family will be wiped out. Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this." | Mom’s Other Favorite Cookies ~Pecan Fingers 1 cup unsalted butter, softened 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup pecans, chopped Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugar together, in bowl, until creamy and fluffy. Gradually add the flour until well mixed in, then salt, vanilla and pecans. Shape level teaspoons of dough into 2-inch-long fingers. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. For glaze, in a microwave, melt chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Dip each cookie halfway into chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Immediately dip in pecans. Place on waxed paper until set. | GLAZE: 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped or chocolate chips 3 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup chopped pecans
8: Christmas 1990 MERRY CHRISTMAS! Another year of fear and cheer at the Knebel house. Fear that the noise pollution level at our household has broken all barriers, and could be equated with Michelle Field Airport. In cheer, that at much as mom brags, that she likes to have kids, she's retired her responsibility to populate the world and handed it down to her sister Corrine. We can all breathe a sigh of relief and get on with our anti-boring lives. Other news- we sold our house! We are thinking of moving, probably by February 15th. Mom has decided it's about time to clear out the clutters, she begins in the closets, leaving a trail of course, in case she can't find her way back out. When she goes into the kids' closets she leaves a will as well. She then tackles under the beds. She won't say what excitement that task holds but she told me that two episodes of Animal Kingdom were filmed under there. So if you come over Geraldo, forget Al Capone's vault- for a real adventure try to open our front door! Holly is getting big. Her teacher says she is the hardest worker she ever saw. This is hard to understand. This is someone who would rather sleep on top of her quilt to avoid to ever having to make her bed. And this is the same person that throws her clean clothes down the chute so she doesn't have to put them away. She and I have a special relationship though. She is still such a sweetie. She also works in toddler church. Cassy too is blossoming. Mom fell of the pedestal and was replaced by Miss Bechtel, the most beautiful and loving teacher in the world. Cassy still has a mind of her own, a smile that lights up a room and looks that kill. Someone once said they actually saw fire shooting from her eyes. She never looks at me like that, only people that don't cut her pancakes into the proper shapes. But she's sweet, sensitive and loves to cuddle. Christopher, now here's a man I could grow up to be like. His three biggest thrills: playing army guys, wielding swords, and playing with his friend Josh. He's really cool.
9: Then there is Karissa who will either be a nurse someday or just weird. You see she has this preoccupation with OW-WEES. She likes to examine people's sores, cuts and stitches. She can even watch people getting their shots. In her spare time she does 60 piece puzzles and thinks about marrying Josh. Jon Jon. He works part time at a comedy club. When he isn't cloning his brother Christopher. He also thinks Nestle should get in on the cereal market. He loves to eat their chocolate bars for breakfast. Three favorite games enjoyed: swords, batman, and sitting on me. And of course couldn't be lived without dad. He's a great snuggler and tells me all his secrets. He likes to go to work to get quiet and sanity. And I always thought people went to work to make money. And there you have it, Holly 9, Cassy 5, Christopher 4, Karissa 3, Jon Jon 2, (ME) Austin 10 months, by the way I'm cutest, mom- nuts, and dad laughing. That's us the Knebel crew. Merry Merry CHRIST-mas. From us all. Love, Baby Austin | Philippians 4:10-14 The Message (MSG) Content Whatever the Circumstances I'm glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you're again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don't mean that your help didn't mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.
10: Christmas 1991 Greetings All: Well, (hopefully) I'm moving past the flu season and on to my very second Christmas. I'm excited too. We've had a few changes this year such as moving into a new house as of July. I'm cured of my claustrophobia. There was nine of us living in a two bedroom duplex, counting Opah. Now we live in Muskego with plenty of room! Now if you were to come and visit us, you would find our house in the midst of a winter wonderland, we really love it here. Our two story house is surrounded by trees that are blanketed with snow. As you entered the driveway you may or may not have noticed the two inches of handlebars protruding out of the snowbank. A couple of our bikes are freezing to death! Then as you approach the front door you would see our lovely welcome wreath (that mom happily purchased at a rummage for all of 2 dollars, who'd know?) All in all it makes a rather picturesque and tranquil impression. Until you rang the doorbell. But don't leave, it might take a good ten minutes while Christopher and Cassy fight over who's going to let you in... first. You have now entered the twilight zone home of the Adams- I mean Knebel family. Once inside you would have the choice of climbing over the dozens of mittens, scarves, and snow pants or digging a tunnel. Instead of Christmas music filling your ears, you'd be hit with a flashback from the old Godzilla versus the screecher creature movies, because both ears would be filled with a symphony of shrieking, stampeding, crying and laughing.
11: Above you, at the top of the stairs would be Holly in agony, waving empty candy wrappers crying, "they got in my room again mom!" To your left you'd pick up Christopher's flailing arms swinging from a light fixture. Cassy would probably be filling up water balloons while drafting graffiti on the bathroom mirror using lipstick and fighting with someone all at the same time (she's ambidextrous). The television would be blaring to no one in particular and Karissa would be in the process of discarding her clothes for the eleventh time | that day so that she could color in a different outfit. And of course Jonathan would probably be standing with one arm on hip, the other clutching a law book, and arguing with dad because dad didn't put his jelly on the right side of his bread. And last but not least, I'd greet you with the plunger as I finish toilet-papering the house. HOnestly, this Merry Christmas letter is not intended to scare you away but just to give you a glimpse of what you might find if you do stop by. If you give a call first we'll even put out the Airwick Solid, even though it will certainly melt before you get here. We'd love your company! Hope you have an exceptionally GREAT Christmas and New Year! With Love and Hugs, Austin Knebel P.S.: In all the commotion I forgot to mention how mom and dad are doing. Last I heard they are planning a weekend get-away to Charter Hospital, for two, but otherwise they are doing well.
12: Isaiah 40:27-31 The Message (MSG) Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, "God has lost track of me. He doesn't care what happens to me"? Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening? God doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind. | Cassy’s favorite potatoes You can add all of these ingreds., or some of them. Whatever you prefer. 5 pounds of potatoes (I like Idaho best) 8oz sour cream 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese 4oz. cream cheese 1/4 pound of bacon cooked and crumbled (you can also diced some onion and add it to the bacon grease, drain it and add it. 4 T butter I peel and boil approx. 1 potatoes per person. I will count 1 per small child and 2 for a hungry man like one of the guys. Drain. Add ingredients while the potatoes are hot, then mix with a mixer. And Bona Petite!
13: How to Roast a Turkey Time Required to Thaw a Turkey 8 to 12 lbs.2 to 3 Days 13 to 16 lbs.3 to 4 Days 17 to 20 lbs.4 to 5 Days 21 to 24 lbs.5 to 6 Days Make your stuffing ahead of time and set aside to cool. Remove gizzards, liver and organs from inside BOTH ends of the bird. Yes, both ends Jon. Don’t be afraid to put your hands inside Karissa. Generously rub salt and pepper and paprika inside and outside the B-I-R-D (as Austin would say). This should be done alone, as anyone watching will giggle at you. Now stuff the bird. I do the back end first then tuck the skin under then fill the large cavity. Lastly, rub the outside skin of the turkey with butter or oil, and season with salt, pepper and more paprika. This triple application of flavor will mean an end to bland birds. Tuck the legs back in together in the little plastic thing. (Some people will laugh at you for not taking the plastic thing off. They tie their bird’s legs together with string) but we’ve been doing it this way for years. Make sure you add about an inch or 2 of water to the bottom of the pan. Put a loose tent of aluminum foil over the turkey to prevent from burning. Take off during the last hour of baking. Stick your meat thermometer deep into the leg. It should read 165 degrees F. * The secret to juicy turkey is 2 things. The paprika and basting it every hour-45 minutes. Whole Turkey Unstuffed Aprox. Times @325degrees Stuffed Aprox. Times @325degrees 8-12 lbs 2 3/4-3 hours 3-3 1/2 hours 12-14 lbs 3-3 3/4 hours 3 1/2-4 hours 14-18 lbs 3 3/4-4 1/4 hours 4-4 1/4 hours 18-20 lbs 4 1/4-4 1/2 hours 4 1/4-4 3/4 hours 20-24 lbs 4 1/2-5 hours 4 3/4-5 1/4 hours | When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs? ~G.K. Chesterton
14: Christmas 1992 Happy Holidays I guess we can stop holding our breathe. It looks like the stork will be having a retirement party at the Knebel house. So I can't pass down the responsibility of our annual Christmas letter to anyone but our cat. Maybe next year. That is if mom doesn't take out a contract on that cat. It used her bed as a liter box. Mom says she's having a stressful year and for some unknown reason she says me (I'm Austin) and Jon contribute to it. We're beginning to refer to her as Mommy Scrooge. Just because we were playing army one day and she was sick in bed and we decided to torpedo the house. Alright, maybe it wasn't such a good idea to use 19 jumbo eggs for missiles, but what do we know? We're only 2 and 4. Mommy Scrooge wouldn't by it though. She said we knew egg-xactly what we were doing. We took cover in our barracks but she found us and gave us new meaning to the word CONSEQUENCES. My bottom is still blushing from that one. Dad was happy and sad this year. He had knee surgery, he tore the cartilage on Mother's Day and was happy he got out of doing 200 dishes. He was sad because he can't catch us as quick as he used to. His leg is pretty good now. One nice thing did happen to mom though. She won 13 days of sun filled noise (we're calling it a vacation). You see, it's kind of ironic. She won us a trip to Arizona at a silent auction. Only $300 for a week in Butterfield, AZ. All 8 of us are driving in the van and we can't wait. We told her we would even have a toy rummage to do our part. She said she hopes they have an after Christmas sale on straight jackets. Otherwise everyone is doing well.
15: Holly is gaining on mom in inches, vertically. She gets the privilege of watching me sometimes but she padlocks her room. And she has fun with her two crazy friends Christy and Lisa. Cassy is the queen of the kids. She likes telling us what to do and how to do it. Her hobbies are building blanket houses and rearranging the house. She and Karissa have a love-hate relationship. They love to hate each other. Karissa is a deep thinker. She asks people questions that Aristotle hasn't even thought of. She also has a slair for the dramatic. Five words she made famous (recited in her most passionate scream) "Mom will you kill her?!!" Christopher is an ever-ready and a real barbarian. I think he's living in the wrong era. He's constantly thinking up new ways to mask produce sling shots, spears, and other medieval weaponry and then seeing how well they work... on us. I think enough has been said about me and Jon, so I'm sending you a copy of mom's 1992 wish list- just in case there is anything you can do about it. Mom's Wish I wish... 1)I had a quarter for ever aromatic diaper I have ever changed so I could send my kids to college. 2) hat I could sleep until I got bed sores. 3) That we could afford glasses for Cassy and Karissa so they wouldn't throw their clean clothes down the chute. 4) That extra strength tylonol was tax deductible. 5) That my kids came with a mute button and a warranty. 6) That Jon and Austin would go get a job at McDonalds. All Ho Ho Ho-ing aside... we are really loving our new church. The people there really have shown a lot of love and know how to celebrate Jesus, which is what Christmas is all about, right? Hope you have a great one! Love, Austin Knebel
16: Christmas 1993 Christmas time as I see it nineteen hundred and ninety tree as eyes see it. WAIT! WAIT! First let me introduce my timid self. My name is... what else? Sweetie. I'm Holly's side kick parakeet. Well, now what monstrous morsels of the petrified presence can I serve you (from this feisty family)? Or what creative crumbs can I come up with from the Knebel memorabilia file for this Christmas season? As I see it they have not too many kids but six many KIDS!! Let me start by telling you about HER HIGHness Holly. You'd think she was living in Yugoslavia fighting for her life! About every other day I am a witness to her pacing and venting fits. It makes me nervous until I hear her mumbling the names of her siblings. But by now I've already molted. I'm sure you can guess that she doesn't miss much school and she's even gone so far as to volunteer to go on weekends. To make matters worse she refers to herself as Hollyrella and when "the mom" asks her to do something, her eyes pop out and she begs "Oh please can I?" I am thankful that Holly takes care of me, cause if it were up to "the mom" I'd have surely starved to death by now. She couldn't keep a cactus alive if something promised her a lifetime of handy supply of handy wipes! The best interpretation of Cassy I could come up with would be a tom boy/ pixie-ballerina mix, with a touch of indian chief. When in the mood, she is passionate about everything, fearless, and very much of a dictator. She likes to wear her hair in her face or on top of her head and her favorite color is gaudy. But she has the biggest blue eyes, the color of a tropical sea. | Were I a philosopher, I should write a philosophy of toys, showing that nothing else in life need to be taken seriously, & that Christmas Day in the company of children is one of the few occasions on which men become entirely alive ~Robert Lynd
17: Karissa. What a spitfire! She's the only person I know who can say the words "I love you" in a sentence and sentence you to the words "I hate you!" in the very same sentence. Let's put it this way, she can vomit the venom faster than angels can fly in heaven! To say she is a FEELING person would definitely be called an understatement. She is tragically dramatic. She is also capable of being the sweetest little flower. Christopher, Jon and Austin are training for the military as we speak. Are you surprised? Christopher still lives for his weaponry. Even though we could live without it. He's a pretty normal rough and tough seven year old. He would love to take karate lessons. When pigs fly. When he's by himself he's like a tender, huggable teddy bear, been when he's with anyone but himself... it's WAR! He absolutely adores fishing and is a good fish catcher thanks to grandpa Gary. Jon's favorite word is BUT. BUT MOM or BUT DAD!!! His second favorite word is poopyhead. Try finding that in the dictionary. He also has a fixation with scissors. If you hadn't heard he and Austin used the SOFA as an art project. Yes, they cut it up! Wouldn't you have liked to be a fly on the wall that day? Jon also has a very specific technique when he wants to enact justice, if he's mad at you he will hide your most needed possession. Whether it's your shoes or the toilet paper he'll get ya. He's so stubborn but if you asked him what he thinks of himself he would say, "I'm fast, I'm funny and smart. And I talk too much!" he loves coloring and making pictures for everyone in the family. And Austin is the baby and he knows it. The baby started preschool. He hasn't decided if he likes it or not though. He tells you he's a big boy and doesn't suck his thumb anymore but it's in his mouth every time he breathes. For Christmas he wants a bow an arwow un a hot wis a feza. Little Austinhood. "The mom" and "the dad" are staying calm as long as their medicated. You can tell this is a fun, crazy, LOUD, nutty, zany, LOUD, happy, angry, LOUD but loving house! And I know I complain but I love em all!!! But another year with these people I will be out looking for a job as a laboratory experiment. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU AND REMEMBER THIS HOLIDAY WHO YOU ARE LIVING FOR. A wonderful God who cares about you. The Knebel's parakeet, Sweetie P.S. Please excuse my typing errors, it's hard with bird feet.
18: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow | Mom’s Stuffing 1box stove top stuffing mix for turkey 1-1/2 cups orange juice cup of craisons Handful of pecans chopped or broken 2 stalks of celery chopped 1 small onion chopped 1 apple with skin on chopped Butter Make stuffing as it says on the directions but use juice instead of water. Add all ingredients to the orange juice and cook until veggies are soft. Then add croutons, cover. Let stand 5 min. and fluff with fork. | Mom’s Pecan Pie 1 cup Karo® Light Corn Syrup 3 eggs 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons butter, melted 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract 2 cups (6 ounces) pecans 1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen** deep-dish pie crust Preheat oven to 350F. 1.Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust. 2.Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes (see tips for doneness, below). Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving. 3.RECIPE TIPS: Pie is done when center reaches 200F. Tap center surface of pie lightly - it should spring back when done. For easy clean up, spray pie pan with cooking spray before placing pie crust in pan. If pie crust is overbrowning, cover edges with foil. | The universal joy of Christmas is certainly wonderful. We ring the bells when princes are born, or toll a mournful dirge when great men pass away. Nations have their red-letter days, their carnivals & festivals, but once in the year & only once , the whole world stands still to celebrate the advent of a life.
19: Proverbs 3:5-12 The Message (MSG) Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline; don't sulk under his loving correction. It's the child he loves that GOD corrects; a father's delight is behind all this. | He who has not Christmas in his heart Will never find it under a tree | Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love! ~Hamilton Wright Mabie
20: Christmas 2007 When I sit at my desk on many mornings I have this picture before me that makes me smile and it often inspires me. To me it's a picture brimming with heart in the midst of a cold winter. It's a snapshot of God's heart towards mankind, filled with delight, freshness, freedom and love. For me, it brings me back to those crazy, sweet days when my children were young, carefree and brimming with love and light. I’m bombarded with memories when they first captured my heart. A time when I could press their little bodies in my arms, sing them silly songs and hang their latest masterpieces up on the frig. I remember Christmas time, picking out the perfect Charlie Brown tree, us stringing popcorn and cranberries, letting them dress and decorate it, even though the top half was naked and the bottom half sagged under the lop-sided brightly colored ornaments, due to their limited vantage points. I remember their little feet dancing to Rudolph the red-nose reindeer and Jingle Bells. Fluffy flakes of snow shaken over the midnight blue sky, fluttering like butterflies. In my reflections I see tiny fingerprints that kissed the cold window panes as they waved at the snowman in the yard that was starting to lean. We would have our annual cookie baking marathon as I tried to find one clean space that wasn't covered with dough or sprinkles, to place that last batch of gingerbread men. As I look back now, I’m smiling at my children's frosted noses and sticky fingers. Somehow I’ve almost forgotten the first 2 hours of trying to untangle the Christmas lights and having 2 strings out of 6 that actually worked, or the fights over the “lips cup”. Why it was life or death for 6 children to drink from a deformed cup that had melted in the dishwasher is beyond me. Or as we told them to get into the Selen’s mobile (our station wagon) so we could all go to Candy Cane Lane to see the Christmas lights, all 6 ran to the same door, grabbed the same handle, and for the next several minutes proceeded to beat each other up. Not one of them had the intelligence to say “Hey look, there are 4 more doors.” And being in that car with them hearing their chorus as the sound barriers broke, I could feel my seat being assailed to the beat of their cacophony; I would turn one eye to the back before they assassinated each other, and ask “what is the problem?” “He’s looking at me again Mom.” Yes, having 6 children is the most beautiful irrational act a mother can have. And if that isn't enough to take off the pounds, well I have always enjoyed fasting at every meal as I cut up 6 other people's food. My husband Gary has memories too. He remembers countless studies of the toilet bowl, as he tried to assess what in particular his daughter Ashley had flushed down there this time. His Pastor training came in handy so he could give a eulogy for Barbie as she had the misfortune of dying in a drowning accident. I’m surprised he didn't pursue a career in plumbing instead of auditing. And his daughter Melissa, tapping her feet in perfect time to a melody, as a baby in her crib, music was a staple of her being, even before she could talk.
21: Parenting is such a privilege, such a migraine, full of wonder and stress. It's kind of like life. It's full of surprises. We've learned from our children as they've learned from us. We love watching God take them from infant to adulthood to see what he's up to in each of their lives and how special they truly are to us and to Him. Our children are no longer children, but young adults. I can't believe my baby is turning 18 on March 1st! Their ages are: Austin-17, Jon-19, Karissa-20, Chris-21, Ashley-21, Cassy-22, Melissa-25 and Holly-26!!! Where did the time go??? Without each one of their precious souls, there would be a hole in this world. They have had to weather a divorce and each one is a hero in our eyes. We are so deeply proud of them all! And then there are the 5 grandchildren. We never realized how much joy and privilege it would be to become a grandparent! Each child and grandchild has something profoundly unique and valuable to offer this world that no one else has. We are truly blessed! We thank God for each one, and especially for Jesus during this remarkable season for in Him, all things conceive their meaning. Our hope is that this Christmas season there is meaning beyond measure alive in your heart. Live in the moment! One sad thing that has touched our lives is that my brother Michael was diagnosed with colon cancer this past October, he's only 35. He underwent surgery also. Please pray for him, his wife Jenny and their 4 children as they go through the 6 months of chemo. Please pray for strength and their finances and that following the chemo he would be entirely free of the cancer. “I am always with you; You hold me by my right hand You guide me with your counsel, And afterward you will take me into glory My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart And my portion forever” (Psalms 73:23, 26). MERRY CHRISTMAS Sincerely, Cindy & Gary Maness And their Tribe of 8. | Great little One! whose all-embracing birth Lifts Earth to Heaven, stoops Heaven to Earth.
22: Christmas 2008 Dear Santa, I’ve tried to be a good mom all year, even though my kids all have their own residences now. Holly is now 27, Melissa-26, Cassy-23, Chris-22, Ashley-22, Karissa-21, Jon-20 & Austin-18. It's been difficult for me with all of the kids grown and gone. Two in Richmond, 1 in Leesburg and 5 in Wisconsin, I’m adjusting to it alright but I sure miss them though! When we all get together it is an especially wonderful event! Thank-you for giving me this big beautiful house with room for everyone to come and visit and where I can land a Goodyear blimp in the kitchen and there would still be room for a gymnastics class. Well that is if I could do a somersault. I’m sure it would entertain somebody, especially my husband. I wish I would have had this kitchen when my kids were small and I could have put it to good use. I mean do you know how hard it was to bake Christmas cookies with 6 small children using the counter space the size of a spatula? As you well know, our reputation precedes us when it comes to Gary and me in the “navigation department”. The GPS unit you put under the Christmas tree last year has corrected that little problem except that it doesn't work inside our house, so basically I just call him on his cell phone when I can't locate him. Could you please bring me some goalie gear this year? My 3 boys haven’t figured it out that even though I’m 46, I’ve become breakable. With a combined weight class of about 421 pounds they still like to demonstrate their affection by wrestling me to the ground and piling on top of me, and I don’t mean for 30 seconds, I mean until I wet my pants from laughing so hard, which I did twice, so you may want to bring me a case of those things I think they’re called “depends” or something like that. Also, Could you put an I-tunes card in a couple of my kid’s stockings, (you know who I’m taking about) maybe of some Monks chanting “Oprah and your mom are not related and your parents aren’t rich, your parents aren’t rich, your parents aren’t rich”. You might also want to safely booby trap my daughter Holly’s cherished nativity set. Last time I walked into her house I heard her yell “Get that baby Jesus out of your mouth right now!” I’m not sure if she was directing that command at her 1 year old, 2 year old or her husband Tom. And then there’s little Savannah, just a warning Santa. Her mom, Melissa told
23: her that she was going to put all of her pacifiers in her stocking this year and that you would trade them out for presents. You may want to make them some really good presents because she said if you take them she’s gonna shoot you. Well thanks for another exciting year! God’s been so good to us even with Gary losing his job and the physical challenges with our parents: like Dad’s heart, mom’s leg, Gary’s mom’s spleen, Ethan’s marfans. Please keep them all in your prayers. Sincerely, Cindy Maness P.S. My friend Helen sent me a really cool E-card for Christmas. I liked it so much I thought I’d copy and paste it to an email and send it to you & everyone. Melissa just called and asked if we got 6 new dogs, because it was signed “Merry Christmas, Love, Joe, Helen, Henry, James, Charlie, & Indigo. Are there pills for this? | Romans 8:31-39 The Message (MSG) So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced
24: Ingredients: Pie Crust: 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon sugar 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter flavored shortening, chilled 1/3 cup ice water 1 tablespoon vinegar 1 egg, beaten Directions Pie Crust: Chill all ingredients, including the flour and vinegar. Combine the flour, salt and sugar. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles cornmeal. In another bowl, mix water and vinegar with the beaten egg. Add the liquid mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, to the flour mixture, tossing with a fork to form a soft dough. Filling: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Peel and slice apples. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and add apples. Toss to mix. Add vanilla and cream. Melt butter in heavy skillet. Add apple mixture and cook approximately 8 minutes, to soften apples. Turn into pie shell. Streusel Topping: Combine the flour and sugar. Mix in butter with fork until coarse crumbs. stir in the crushed toffee bars. Sprinkle over pie. Add top crust. Seal, flute edge and vent top. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake 45 minutes longer. | Filling: 6 cups apples (Jonathan or Granny Smith) 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup all-purposeflour 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon vanilla 4 tablespoons heavy cream 4 tablespoons butter Streusel Topping: 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon butter 2 toffee bars | Caramel Apple Pie (You can use a pillsbury crust if you don’t want to make one)
25: Black-Bottom Peanut Butter Mousse Pie For a pretty presentation, drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Nonstick vegetable oil spray 7 whole graham crackers, coarsely broken 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted 4 tablespoons sugar, divided 1 1/3 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (about 8 ounces) 2/3 cup plus 1 3/4 cups chilled whipping cream, divided 2 tablespoons light corn syrup 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided 6 ounces (1 cup) peanut butter chips 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter Directions:Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish with nonstick spray. Blend graham crackers, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in processor until moist clumps form. Press crumb mixture over bottom and up sides of prepared pie dish. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine chocolate chips, 2/3 cup cream, corn syrup, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium heat until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Whisk until melted and smooth. Spread chocolate mixture over bottom of crust. Freeze 10 minutes. Microwave peanut butter chips and 3/4 cup cream in large microwave-safe bowl on medium heat at 15-second intervals just until chips soften, stirring often. Whisk in peanut butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool to barely lukewarm. Beat remaining 1 cup cream and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until very thick but not yet holding peaks; fold into peanut butter mixture in 3 additions. Spoon mousse over chocolate layer. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. | Austin’s Favorite Jello 1 lrg. Pkg sugar-free strawberry jello 1 8oz. container frozen strawberries w/ sugar 1 8 oz. cool whip Dissolve jello in 2 cups boiling hot water. Mix till all jello is dissolved. Add frozen berries and stir till melted. Refrigerate for several hours. Layer with cool whip. | Only in souls the Christ is brought to birth, And there He lives and dies ~Alfred Noyes
26: Christmas 2011 Yea, so it was my bright idea to get a jump on my New Year’s resolution and join a health club. First day there as I’m hobbling on the treadmill I hear this loud crunching, I look around and wonder whose eating potato chips? Then I realize it’s my own knees. I’m not sure why but they won’t let you use a walker on these things. You’d think they would care about safety first. I wake up the next morning and I can’t move. It takes a John Deer to drag me out of bed. I make it through the first week and notice I’m feeling better, have a zippity zing in my step and then that night I end up in the ER feeling like I’m in labor with another child. I have a CT scan and find out I have a kidney stone which has to be the size of a 9 pound baby. I still haven’t delivered it but then I get sick. It turns into a full blown cold the size of a Wisconsin December and I spend my days blowing through 8 boxes of Kleenex and coughing up a lung. And the warning label on the penicillin they gave me says “May cause diarrhea”- It should say I hope you have a comfy toilet seat because you’ll be spending most of your time on it. By now my bottom feels like I sat on a camp fire. Hopefully the water in the bowl will put out the flames. For some reason I feel like I’m always living out of an “I love Lucy episode.” On an extended note of cheer; when my kids and I all gather together as a family their latest wish is to see who can make mom wet her pants from laughing so hard. Well let’s just say, they’ve gotten their wish many times over, and if a cough comes I have a mess to clean up. They seem to take a little too much pleasure in watching me try to run to the bathroom and come walking back like a cowboy. I mean my next call is going to be to send the Depends driver over here to unload his semi, and I might as well just invite him in for lunch because he’s gonna be exhausted after that trip. Yea, well the Grinch is on his way over to transport me into 2012 as a 50 year old grandma who’s falling apart. I happened to peek into the mirror the other day and dang I realized I’m growing a mustache! The hair was white and like 2 inches long! I’ve got grey hair popping up faster than dandelions and don’t even get me started on the nose hair! Sheesh! What’s going on here?? And I thought people only got pimples on their face. Ug. And don’t be surprised when you hear my voicemail message which is; “Sorry I can't come to the phone now because I have old age amnesia and I feel stupid talking to people I don't remember. I'd appreciate it if you could help me out by
27: A list of a few of my favorite things: 1. Grandchildren. In February I shall have 8 of them. It’s one of the greatest joys of my life! 2. My husband Gary, who I adore, just became permanent at his job. Yay we have insurance now! 3. My son Austin who is a Calvary Scout and is deployed in Afghanistan, please keep him in your prayers. 4. My son Chris who was accepted into Officer School and leaves January 17th for 21 weeks of training. 5. My daughter Karissa, who now lives in Houston as a flight attendant and allows me to fly for free! 6. My son Genius Jon who has started his own search engine optimization consulting firm called Milwaukee SEO Company. (Yea that’s a mouthful.) 7. My daughter Holly who has a baby in the oven and 3 others under the age of 7, and to whom I am so proud! 8. For Cassy who is happily married and has 2 adorable little girls. 9. For my son-in-laws, who are real men who love their families well. 10. For Ashley and Melissa and their charming little girls. I’m such a blessed step-mom/grandma! 11. For our new tenants, Joanne & Joseph who have brought such blessing into our lives. 12. For extended family, friends, & parents who grow wiser with age. 13. For Bella my cat that isn’t a person but thinks she is. 14. And for God for sending His son to take away the sins of the world, who loves us beyond measure, and who we celebrate not just on Christmas but all year long. *These are the people that make aging worthwhile. My cup runneth over. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Love, Gary and Cindy aka crotchety Grandma Bubbas | leaving my name and number. They say some women age like fine wine, for me it’s more like sour grapes being chewed by a pit bull. Ah well, one day God will graciously give me my new body, until then *sigh* I’ll just have to make do with this one. * Disclaimer; Gary thinks I’m putting myself down. Not really, just trying to make some lemonade.