We celebrated my husband Joe's 37th birthday on Dec. 22. These years fly by way too fast.

Right now my daughters Elizabeth, 11, and Loretta, 5, are washing dishes from breakfast. Daughters Susan, 9, and Verena, 8, are making their beds and sweeping the floors. Benjamin, 6, is ready to go outside to pick up the eggs. With these cold days the eggs almost have to be picked up mornings and evenings so they won't freeze. We are now averaging 48 eggs a day. I think we need to get a few more customers now.

The children are enjoying their vacation from school. It sure is nice to have them home. We want to make Christmas cut-out cookies and also homemade "party mix" this afternoon.

Benjamin lost another top front tooth this past week The other one came out two weeks ago so we are teasing him that all he wants for Christmas is his two front teeth. He keeps looking in the mirror to see how he looks with both teeth missing.

I am looking forward to having my husband Joe home next week. It will be nice not to have to wake up at 3 a.m.

I have laundry that needs to be folded and put away. Loretta folded the washcloths for me. It is really surprising how helpful the younger ones can be if they want to help.

God's blessings to you all. Remember this important passage from the Bible: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men Luke 2:14.

A reader in Holmes Beach, Florida asked for an oatmeal bread recipe. This is a really good one from my Mom's cookbook:

OATMEAL BREAD

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons salt

4 tablespoons butter

4 cups boiling water

2 (1/4-ounce ) packages active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

9 to 10 cups bread flour

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and butter. Pour the boiling water over the top and mix. Let cool to lukewarm. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and add to the oat mixture. Add enough bread flour to make an elastic dough and knead thoroughly until smooth. Place the dough in a large greased bowl and turn once so it's greased lightly on top. Cover with a loose piece of cheesecloth or plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise until double (about two hours).

Punch the dough down, then re-cover and let rise again until nearly double (about 90 minutes). Divide the dough evenly into four balls and shape into loaves. Place each loaf in a greased loaf pan, cover, and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise again until nearly double (about 90 minutes). Bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes, until the loaves are nicely browned and sound hollow when tapped. Makes four loaves.

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