Posts Tagged: christmas ideas

Pebble From the Birth Place of Jesus

What an amazing opportunity for any Christian.  This is the kind of thing that only comes around once in a lifetime.  This is no ordinary cross; this is the ability to own a piece of the cave where the baby Jesus spent his first night with his mother Mary.  You can own a piece of the cave where the magi came to bestow gifts upon the newly born Lord.  Here was the cave in the rear of the house, and used for cattle. In a manger, as the most ready and fitting place, the babe was laid. The place where the shepherds came to pay their adorations, the place marked by the star of Bethlehem.

There are many different options, but this is my favorite: The Carpenter’s Cross is the embodiment of the simple life Christ lived. Straight, clean lines, the ultimate in modesty and a true symbol of the working life of Christ, who Himself was a carpenter by trade. With The Original Nativity Stone at the apex of the Cross, this is the perfect Christian gift for the man, woman or child who strives to live life on a daily basis according to the teachings of Jesus.

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 2.44.30 PM

Carpenter’s Cross


Emperor Justinian built the church that now stands over the cave of the nativity in 565 A.D. on the site of a previous church built by Constantine Cesar and his mother the Empress Helena, in 327 A.D.  It is one of the oldest churches in the world.

The cave of the nativity is 38 feet long by 11 wide, and a silver star in a marble slab at the eastern end marks the precise spot where the Lord was born. There is an inscription on the star that reads: Hie de virgine Maria Jesus Christus natus est. that means: Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary.  Silver lamps are always burning around, and an altar stands near, which is used in turn by the monks of the convents. The manger in which the Lord was laid was taken to Rome by Pope Sixtus V. and placed in the church of St. Maria Maggiore, but a marble one supplies its place. A few feet opposite, an altar marks the spot where the Magi stood. The walls are covered with silken hangings.


The actual birth place of Jesus


The stones that are contained in the crosses were removed during construction in the cave.  You can read the story about it here by clicking on the cross, and then on the second page clicking on “The Story.”

This is the only time that stones from this most holy of places will legally be removed.  Once these stones sell out, they will never be available again.  Take this opportunity to give a gift that will become an heirloom for generations of your family.  Give the gift that truly keeps Christ in Christmas. If you want to buy one now, you can get 15% off with code HOLIDAY15  Purchase yours here Nativity Stone Crosses

If you want a gold cross, this one is really beautiful: The Classic Nativity Stones Cross is perhaps the most spiritually connected Christian gift symbolizing our love for Jesus Christ.  The unique design of this cross is the work of world-renowned jewelry designer Paul Dimitriu.

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 2.55.16 PM

The Classic Nativity Stones Cross


Edible Gift Tags

I got so excited when I saw this post on EricasSweetTooth!  What a fun way to take gift giving to the next level.  Plus, who wouldn’t want a little cookie with their gift, or a little gift with their cookie for that matter?  I’d also like to mention that the cookies themselves sound absolutely delicious.  Here is how Erica describes them “…this recipe is great because it yields the slightest crunch and a really soft center. The sweet royal icing on top is a great complement and helps balance the earthy flavors of the gingerbread, plus the contrast between the deep brown cookie and bright white icing went great with my graphic red paper and burlap adorned gifts!”

Two things to take note of when making these gift tag cookies.  To make the shape of the cookie, she simply rolled out the dough, and made a “stencil” out of cardboard.  Then she just placed the stencil on the dough, and cut around it with a paring knife.  Then to make the hole for the ribbon, she uses a straw!  She says that this particular recipe doesn’t rise or spread much, so the holes didn’t fill in.  She also uses edible markers to write on the cookies.  Ok, here is the recipe!


for the gingerbread cookies:
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/4 cup dark molasses
2 eggs
6 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground nutmeg

for the royal icing:
4 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 cup water
Few drops vanilla extract


In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter, shortening, and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the molasses and eggs and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour until just combined. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate dough for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface roll out half the dough to a ½ to ¼ inch thick and use your pre-cut gift tag stencil (I made mine using the cardboard of an empty butter box) and a sharp paring knife to cut out the shapes. Use a straw to punch out a hole in each tag. Transfer cookies to Silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheets about an inch apart, and bake for 12 minutes, or until the edges are just slightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the royal icing, combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder, water, and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix ingredients with mixer on medium-low for 1 minute, then increase speed to medium high and beat for 2-3 minutes. If icing is too thick, add more water and if icing gets too runny, add more powdered sugar. You want a dollop of icing to “melt” back into the rest of the icing in about 20 seconds. Transfer the royal icing to a piping bag fit with a small round tip or a plastic squeeze bottle and cover all of the cookies. I chose to just use 20-second icing for everything, but you could also do stiffer icing as a border and fill in the rest with flooding icing. Allow the royal icing to set for at least 24 hours. When ready, decorate with edible ink markers and adorn your gifts as desired!

10 Homemade Ornament Projects

One of my favorite holiday traditions when I was growing up was making ornaments.  We didn’t have a single store bought ornament on our tree.  It was really fun to see all of the ornaments we made as little kids, and how the ornaments progressed as we grew older.  My mom was really good about dating them as well, so that we could see them in order.  This year my kids are both old enough that we are going to start the tradition at my house as well.  I think this weekend will be our first ornament making party.  Here are the 10 ideas that I was able to find that aren’t too difficult to make, but look really nice.

Click the caption beneath the photo to go directly to the tutorial.


Food Face Plate

Remember that toy when you were a kid with the face and the metal shavings?  You had a little “pen” with a magnet on the end, and you could drag the metal shavings around to make beards and eyebrows on the face.  Now that concept has been transferred to the lunch table!  Let your kids express their creativity with their peas and carrots, or make their lunch more fun by setting up their plate for them!  I know I would have a great time changing up the face as I eat.  I’ll bet your kids will too.  You can get the Mr. or Mrs. version, and they are only $10 a piece.  They are ceramic, dishwasher safe, and measure about 8.5 inches across.  Maybe they will even forget that they don’t like peas!

Go here for the Female version.

Go here for the Male version.

Food Face Plate

Food Face Girl