Christmas Preparations

So finally {2 days before Christmas} I feel prepared for Christmas. This season has been quite busy but over the course of a few weeks we finally got our tree/decorations up, baked a bunch of goodies, and got all the shopping/wrapping done! yippee! 

So here’s our lovely tree from Home Depot. We have quite an eclectic mix of ornaments, each with their own story πŸ™‚


And we weren’t too thrilled with the tree toppers last year so we went with this guy, our penguin in a reindeer hoodie! We like him πŸ™‚


And I can’t go long before having a blog post about food can I?? Well, these goodies are long gone already. I made them for a couple parties and work friends. Peanut blossoms, peanut butter bars, peanut brittle, sugar cookies, rum balls and snickerdoodles = YUM. I’ll gladly share any recipes if you’re interested, just leave me a comment. (I also made stroepwafels with my mom today but they will get their very own post)

And here is my Tante (aunt) Dicky! She lives in Holland and was out for my Opa’s (grandpa’s) birthday (which I will also post about later) She’s a pretty cool lady…I like her. We are going to plan a trip to visit her ASAP!!!!

Advent Part 2

Here’s our part 2 of Advent. The theme for the week is Bethlehem. Here are the pictures we put up along with the text. We tried to make all these pictures look simple since Jesus came to Earth in a simple way. The next two themes are Praise and Jesus. I’ll post them soon πŸ™‚
β€œAnd you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; For out of you shall come forth A RULER who will shepherd my people Israel.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”
Tell me what you think about this project so far…I would love some constructive criticism.


We are part of our worship service’s (Resonate) creative team. A while back the worship leader thought of gathering a team of people to come up with creative ways to keep the service interesting and fresh. We didn’t want people coming to this service expecting the same thing week in and week out. We came up with lots of ideas to incorporate art including painting, photography, videography and murals. Of course we were mostly intrigued with using photography and videography. It has been a fun adventure and we have enjoyed using our God-given talents in this way!
So the most recent project we worked on for the Christmas season was Advent. The gentleman grew up with his family celebrating advent but I wasn’t super familiar with it. Advent in Latin means coming and it is meant to put you in the right mindset for the true meaning of Christmas. You light candles and do a devotional reading of a few verses per night to remember that we are celebrating Christ coming into the world. It’s second purpose is to remind ourselves that we are waiting for the second coming as well. So our project for the chapel was to come up with photos that depict the different themes of each week of advent. Week one’s theme is Prophecy. Here are the photos and text that we put up.

PROPHECY – “the people who walk in darkness will see a great light…For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us…And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace”
If you haven’t celebrated Advent before, check it out. Don’t make it something that makes you too busy in this already crazy season, but maybe take some time out and read the story of Jesus’s birth or just pray and thank God for all the things we are blessed with including salvation! Even in rough times, living here in the U.S. is a blessing, we have so many freedoms and so so much here.
There is always something to be thankful for.
I’ll post the rest of the Advent weeks as we finish them. I’ll also try to post more things that we do for Resonate, including Songs of Christmas! If you aren’t doing anything on the 20th (this coming Saturday) come to Resonate for our Christmas concert. We will be filming it so if anything we’ll post a few songs online. Happy Advent!


Well, I’ve been busy so when that happens, the blog suffers. So I might post a lot this week to catch up…
But to back up…I put a “Thanksgiving” post on the SidebySide Video blog that you can check out here.And I realize that we did not take any pictures at Thanksgiving this year! BUT, I did take pictures of the pies I made. I love making pies!!! Well, I love baking anything and I’m sure you can tell based on how many posts with recipes I have πŸ™‚

The first is a favorite and one I have made many times, crumble crust apple pie. I haven’t always used the same recipe because I like to change it up sometimes so I’m not posting a recipe for this one. What bums me out though is that these days it is quite cheaper to buy a pie already made than to make one yourself. Even though the ingredients are a bit more and it’s quite time consuming, apple pies are one of my favorite things to make! (following stroep wafels at Christmas and banana bread anytime!)
This was a new one this year. I figured other people would bring pies even though I was in charge of making them and I figured those pies would be pumpkin (I was right) so I made a variation of pumpkin. This is a turtle pumpkin pie. Rena gave me the recipe and I think it turned out pretty good! The recipe is below.


  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 1 (6 ounce) HONEY MAID Graham Pie Crust
  • 1/2 cup PLANTERS Pecan Pieces
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 2 pkg. (4 serving size) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 (8 ounce) tub COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
  • 2 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping
  • 2 tablespoons PLANTERS Pecan Pieces


  1. Pour 1/4 cup caramel topping into crust; sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans.
  2. Beat milk, dry pudding mixes, pumpkin and spices with whisk until blended. Stir in 1-1/2 cups whipped topping. Spread into crust.
  3. Refrigerate 1 hour. Top with remaining whipped topping, caramel topping and pecans just before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator.
There was a lot to be thankful for this year: God’s providence, husband, family, friends, health, jobs, happiness… I feel like a pretty blessed person πŸ™‚
What are you most thankful for in this crazy life??