All posts by Teri Maxwell

Anna Marie’s Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipe

Y’all, I think we’re officially in the Christmas season! I’m excited to share with you Anna Marie’s favorite cookie recipe. It’s simple to make and easy to include littles. 

Vanilla Butter Cookies

1 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and mix well. Add salt and flour (1 cup at a time). Form 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Stamp with cookie stamp. Bake at 350° about 8 minutes or until edges are barely turning golden. Enjoy about 3 dozen cookies.

(Note: Anna Marie’s cookie stamps are Rycraft brand.)

Lydia, Ruthanne, and Anna Marie Maxwell

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6

Firsts and Lasts

Sometimes Steve and I wish we could remember the first or last time we did something, either for ourselves or because someone asked us. For example, Steve and I would like to know when we watched our last TV show. It was over thirty years ago, and we know approximately when but not exactly. We would like to know when we began reading our Bibles every single day and then when we started daily family Bible time. Again, we know about the time but not exactly.

We have a tradition of listening to Back to the Bible’s Twelve Voices of Christmas near Christmas while driving around looking at Christmas lights. What year did we first do that?

We can’t go back and document those special “firsts” or “lasts,” but we can encourage you to do that. When they happen, you probably don’t think that much about them, but thirty years down the road when they have become family treasures, you just might wish for that information.

There are many means you could use for this. Here are a few:

  1. Keeping your calendars and making sure you have entered special events and occasions and any change that occurs. That way you could look back through them for the information.
  2. Journaling.
  3. Making and keeping up a simple list of special events/occasions with dates beside them. This one seems like the easiest to come up with the information from, but also could be hard to know what to write down.
  4. Photographs and then keeping your photographs organized. This method is much easier now since phones have cameras in them, and we take photos of so many daily events.


What firsts do you wish you had documented? Lasts? How are you documenting them now?

Trusting in Jesus,

“They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness,
and shall sing of thy righteousness.” Psalm 145:7

Meet Up at The Apologetics Conference?

Anyone going to the EPS Apologetics Conference: Reasonable Faith in an Uncertain World in Parker, Colorado, November 15-17th? Jesse and Steve will be there and would love to meet up with you.

If you haven’t heard of the conference, it is Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday morning. The cost is quite reasonable: $49 per person.

Steve and Jesse have never been to this conference before, but the speakers look good and Steve has read two of the speakers’ books. Steve and Jesse are looking forward to their trip together and the conference.

If you are going and would like to meet up with Steve and Jesse sometime during the conference, you can e-mail Steve ( and let him know so you can exchange contact numbers to figure out a meeting time and place.

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope
to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13


Hudson Taylor, A Great Audiobook

Some homeschool moms seize the opportunity for extra reading using audiobooks. I used to listen to Elisabeth Elliot messages while I sewed for 1/2 hour in the afternoon. I did back exercises so that was another opportunity I had to listen to something edifying. If you exercise at home, you might be able to pay attention to an audiobook.

Now I listen to Scripture, sermons, or audio books when I:

Work in the kitchen alone
Do back exercises

As we mentioned earlier, Steve and I listen to audiobooks during part of our daily walk. We use air pods so we can listen to the same book.

We recently finished the audiobook called Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor. We have the two-volume book in our home, having read it about 25 years ago, and this appears to be a comprehensive, audio abridgment of that work.

The book was well written and engaging. Hudson Taylor is the founder of China Inland Mission and was a man of great faith and courage. He determined to trust God alone to supply his personal needs and the needs of his mission, never making any appeals for money or even letting others outside the mission know of needs.

Steve and I were blessed, motivated in our walk with the Lord, and greatly encouraged by the life of this great man of God. Not only does the book tell the story of events in Hudson Taylor’s life but the spiritual growth he experienced and how it was lived out in his life.

Whenever we can, we are getting our audiobooks from that has a monthly subscription program similar to Audible. You can try the first month for free! They also have a family share policy for 5 family members to share an account name and password if those family members are dependents.

Trusting in Jesus,

“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings:
his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.” Psalm 112:7

A Mommy Retreat

Our two daughters-in-law with school-age children are busy homeschooling mommies, each with five children. When GiGi went to visit my sister for two weeks, it was a perfect opportunity to get a retreat day for both Melanie and Anna Marie—a time of spiritual refreshment. The goal was to give them a break from their everyday lives that are filled with giving of themselves in service to their families, and for them to be able to spend a day quietly with the Lord.

Melanie had her day first. She took a suitcase with her that was filled with Abby’s down blanket. It was a surprise for Melanie. Abby loves that blanket dearly, and Melanie used it all day! Bethany helped collect Melanie’s Bible and books. She wrote a note and put it in Melanie’s Bible. She also packed her lunch in a cooler.

An especially sweet part of Anna Marie’s day was the note she discovered at GiGi’s house for her from her 10-year-old niece, Abby, with Scripture verses on it. Psalm 63:1 was one of them, and when she read that verse, she spent much of the day studying and meditating on that chapter. Also in her hurry to get ready and out the door by 9:00, Anna Marie hadn’t grabbed breakfast. When she opened the fridge at GiGi’s, she found breakfastyogurt and cheese that Melanie put there for a special treat for her. Anna Marie told me that Melanie didn’t even know those were two of her favorite treats.

Trusting in Jesus,

Ellie came over with Sarah to take pictures,
and Danny is very fond of Ellie.

On Anna Marie’s day, in the afternoon, Anna was actually
babysitting for some of Nathan’s crew too, so she combined them!

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the
heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10). 

Cherry Tart

Do remember our Austrian blog friend who sent us a cherry stoner (see this post)? She also sent us her favorite cherry tart recipe, which we wanted to try out with the cherries we stoned and froze. We usually make pies, cobblers, and crisps with fruit, but we hadn’t made a tart before so it was fun to try something new.

We served this dessert recently when we had weekend guests. We all agreed. It is delicious.

Cherry Tart

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 lb. cherries

Beat butter with hand mixer until fluffy. Then beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in sugar. Continue until everything is really fluffy. Then fold in flour with baking powder. Mix only until everything is combined.

Pour into baking dish. (I use a round one about 9 inch diameter). Then let the cherries sink in. You can use even more than 1 pound of cherries. Bake at 350° until golden brown. Serve warm or cold, with or without vanilla ice cream. It’s delicious!

“My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness;
and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips” (Psalm 63:5).