After consulting our schedules for the month, it appeared we were going to need to take Wednesday, December 8th, as our caroling day: rain, snow, or no snow, warm or cold. For the past two years, we had waited for the snowiest day in December, and last year, we definitely experienced a memorable evening. In fact, this time, people were mentioning how much better the weather was then the last time we came.

The weather was dry as a bone, and mild, with temperatures around thirty. Some of us didn’t even wear ear bands! It felt different to not have to bundle up. Late morning, Anna began the baking adventure. It was decided this year to make Poppy Seed bread, and the process was much less time-consuming then the yeast cinnamon bread. Thanks, Anna, for all your work. πŸ™‚

We are greeted with enthusiasm and smiles as we carol, with people commenting about “last year” or your “group is growing.” I guess it must have seemed like we were increasing in numbers, but somehow, that wasn’t the case this year. Nathan ended up having a work emergency he needed to deal with, and Melanie stayed back with Bethany. Grandad and Grandma’s health does not allow them to come anymore, so it was the eight of us, plus Christopher and Anna Marie, and we had the privilege of bringing one of our adorable nieces along, Miss Abby.

If you haven’t taken the time to go caroling as a family, we’d encourage you to consider it. We visit anywhere from 30-40 homes, singing one Christmas carol and then ending with the standard “We wish you a Merry Christmas” chorus, give the recipient the treat with a card from us, and bid them a “Merry Christmas” as we leave. We hear from our neighbors how meaningful this short visit is and how much they appreciate it. It certainly is a blessing for our family that we look forward to each year.

Sarah for the rest

Jesse stopped in to see how things were going.

Putting the glaze on.

Caroling to Grandad and Grandma, a semi-sweet time, as we remembered all the years we did it together.

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).


Poppy Seed Loaf

3 cups flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/8 cups oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons Poppy Seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons almond flavoring
1 1/2 teaspoons butter flavoring

Mix all ingredients for 1-2 minutes. Pour into 2 large, lightly greased loaf pans (in our case, we bought foil pans from the store and divided each batch into three loaves). Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees or until toothpick comes out clean.

1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring

Cool cake 5 minutes. Then, pour glaze over cake. While warm, remove from pan.

24 thoughts on “Caroling!”

  1. Yum! I like poppy seed muffins, the bread sounds delicious! My sister, Annah made some scrumptious cinnamon bread last week!

    Caroling! How fun! We did it 2 years ago with a large group in a friend’s subdivision. And last year we did it with our dear friends in our neighborhood. It must have been a treat to have Anna Marie along with you this time!

    Hope you’re all enjoying preparing for Christmas! Hope it will be the most blessed one you’ve ever had… so far!

    God bless! Rebecca K.

  2. Hmmm! I have enjoyed poppy-seed muffins and cake in the past but have never tried baking it. Would you mind sharing your method sometime? Thanks

    Have a Blessed Christmas!
    Added it to the post!

  3. Wonderful! πŸ™‚ Our bible study group will be going caroling this year, I can’t wait! πŸ˜€ I am sure your ministry of caroling every year is so enjoyed by everyone you go to. πŸ™‚

    The bread you made Anna looks fabulous! πŸ˜€ Mmm, I love lemon poppy seed bread. πŸ˜‰ And it looks so lovely all tied up with the tags on it. πŸ™‚ What kind of mixer do you all have there? It looks like quite a large one! πŸ˜€ *grins*

    Blessings and Hugs to all!
    ~Miss Rachel~

    It’s a machine that has held up for many years, and which we love. It’s a Magic Mill Electrolux. They have much fancier versions out now.

  4. What great fun! When I was a child, my friends and I would carol in the neighborhood. I don’t think we were very good πŸ™‚ But, the neighbors were always happy to see us and we were the recipients of cookies and hot chocolate. I think it is lovely that you do it together. I am sorry that some of the family could not make it this year.
    I think it is important that we keep the elderly in our prayers. Many find the cold weather difficult with colds turning into pneumonia quickly. Unfortunately, their recovery time takes much longer than the young…. And, let us not forget the many families who do not have the heating to keep them warm. Our prayers can be the Christmas gift they need.
    Yes, I agree!

  5. Good Morning Maxwell Family,

    We are going caroling as a church on the 18th in our neighborhood. I was wondering if you would be so kind as to share your poppy seed recipe with us. We wanted to give out a home made treat of some kind, and this seems to be the perfect idea.

    Mrs. S.
    I added it on to the post.

  6. Fun!! Glad the weather worked out so well for you! I Love listning to Christmas Carols!
    Do you have favorite songs that you like to sing?
    We usually sing Joy to the World or O Come All Ye Faithful. We favored more the latter song this year.

  7. What a coincidence! I took my Webelos den caroling last night. The boys enjoyed it and so did the neighbors.

  8. Girls, I love your aprons!! They are so colorful! The breads look absolutely delicious..y’all did a wonderful job on them! I laughed at the 30 degree comment…we’ve had a cold wave through the Lowcountry and it’s been around 30 at night and we’re all freezing. Thankfully, by the end of the weekend it will be in the 60’s!! My kind of Christmas weather πŸ˜‰

  9. My family used to carol together in our neighborhood when I was growing up and I always loved it. I am praying that my own family will be able to start that tradition again….but that will have to wait since we have a 3 month old with us this year! πŸ™‚
    God bless ya’ll.

  10. Any chance we could get the poppyseed bread recipe… That sounds yummy with some orange or lemon sauce for breakfast. And even as a few gifts. πŸ™‚
    I added it to the post!

  11. Looks like fun, baking, caroling and all! Did Nathan, Melanie, Abigail and Bethany come along, or did Melanie/Nathan stay home with Bethany?

    Just Abby came–Nathan had to work, and Melanie stayed back with Bethany.

  12. Could you share the recipe? Thanks, Becky
    I just added it to the original post.

  13. You are so inspirational! Thank you for your testimony of not just talking about reaching your neighbors with the love of Jesus , but following through. (Something I have a struggle doing as a homeschool mom..) Anyway, I know last year you also posted your card info with a gospel message. Could I trouble you to share what the card says again this year? We have teens who want to do this in our Upcountry SC neighborhood.
    God bless you all Maxwell’s!
    PS the aprons are SO CUTE! And the recipe looks really simple.. great!
    Here’s the link to the blog post from ’08 where you can read the card.


  14. Caroling is so much fun, and people really do appreciate the visit of music. We are caroling next Wednesday with friends. You poppy seed cake looks delicious and I think I my bake it up to take with us.

    Merry Christmas and blessings for your holiday season.

    –Mrs. Mari

  15. This was such a sweet post. I think your tradition of caroling for neighbors, friends and family is wonderful. Thank you for sharing the delicious recipe. I have just added it to my recipe file.

    I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas season!

  16. Your bread looks good.I am looking forward to trying the recipe.Thank you for sharing it with us.I was curious what kind of mixer you use?
    It’s an older version of the Magic Mill Electrolux. It’s held up well!

  17. Thank you for posting your recipe. My family is going to use it to take to several families on Christmas afternoon. Thanks for the inspiring tradition idea!

  18. How big were your pans you used? I just have to have everything spelled out for me. Thanks! We go carrolling every year to our neighbors and make bread and I thought we’d try the poppy seed bread!
    They were the foil loaf pans from the grocery store–not as big as our normal homemade bread pans.

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