Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sharing Christmas

Christmas Day at Gramma and Poppa's.

Christmas Eve storytime.... Twas the Night Before Christmas...
notice La Diva in her cap. She wanted curls for Christmas Day.

Story of Christmas from Luke, I think it's kinda cute that the Hero is reading
from his daughter's pink Bible.

The Pickle Finders for Christmas Eve 2008! They started working as teams last year and find it works to their advantage. They all enjoyed the pickle prize of Wii music.

Jesus' Birthday Cake. Turtle thinks Angel food is the best choice.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thick-Crusted Garlic Prime Rib

The Hero made this for Christmas Eve dinner. It was amazing so I thought I'd share the recipe.

3.15 kg (7 lb) prime rib premium beef oven roast

8 cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers

30 ml (2 tbsp) Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

125 ml (1/2 cup) coarsely chopped fresh parsley

50 ml (1/4 cup) Dijon mustard

30 ml (2 tbsp) each herbes de Provence or dried thyme

30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil

Shallot Gravy (recipe follows)

Cut shallow slits all over roast; insert garlic slivers into slits. Rub all over with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine parsley, mustard, herbes de Provence and oil. Set aside 30 ml (2 tbsp) of the mixture for Shallot Gravy, rubbing remainder all over roast.

Place roast, bones down, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert oven-safe meat thermometer into centre of roast. Roast, uncovered, in a 230 C (450 F) oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 140 C (275 F); roast until thermomenter reads 57 C (135 F) for medium-rare to medium, 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 hours.

Remove from oven. Cover loosely with foil and let stand for 15 to 30 minutes before carving. Drain all but 30 ml (2 tbsp) of the drippings from roasting pan to make gravy.

Shallot Gravy: Place roasting pan over medium heat; add 3 shallots (coarsely chopped) and reserved herb rub. Cook, stirring, until shallots soften. Stir in 500 ml (2 cups) beef broth and 45 ml (3 tbsp) Worcestershire sauce; simmer, stirring up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Combine 15 to 30 ml (1 to 2 tbsp) cornstarch with equal amounts cold water, making a smooth mixture. Gradually stir into broth; bring to a boil, stirring until thickened, about 3 minutes. Strain.

Makes 8 to 10 servings, with leftovers (about 18 Canada Food Guide servings).

Nutritional information per serving: 218 calories, 26 g protein, 10 g fat, 3 g carbohydrates.

Source: Beef Information Centre.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Know it all "fans" ??

We went to the Oiler's game last night. The Hero was given tickets as a thank you for a job well done from one of his colleagues. We took La Diva and Iceman as neither of them have been to a game this season. Iceman is a die hard Flames fan and was set to deck out in Flames gear, however they were playing the Predators not the Flames. We convinced him to borrow one of Kodiak's old jerseys, he then chose to go all out with a hat and tatooed his face with Oilers logos. He looked the part of a die hard fan. He was excited to be going and said he'd do his best to cheer on our favorite team. (by the end of the night he decided that Oilers were his second favorite team in the league... his BFF Jarome Iginala ;) will be crushed)

We dropped Turtle off for his sleepover, went to Red Robin for dinner and then headed to the game. We found close parking which was a bonus because I hate that usual 100 mile trek across the tundra to get to Rexall. Iceman was totally enthralled with the pre-game action. He thought it was especially cool that he could see the players that autographed Turtle's hat and one for his Auntie on the ice. He really got caught up in the whole night and it was awesome to see his face and watch him jump up with fists in air when they scored. The only damper on the evening were the 6 people sitting behind us. They obviously were season ticket holders and had gotten to know each other over the season or seasons. They were probably about 10+ years older than us (old enough to know better imho) and spent the entire game (non-stop yapping, even through the national anthem which had me ready to pop them in the nose from the get go) criticizing the Oilers from the coach down to every player that stepped on the ice. The bagged on them constantly and didn't stop even when a player they had been trashing scored mere seconds after the words came out of their mouths. The Oilers broke their losing streak against the Predators and I thought it was a good game, shots on goal were fairly even throughout, not a ton of power plays, even penalties for fighting for the most part, etc. These people were relentless and when they ran out of fodder for their own team they started in on young Tootoo from the Predators, the first ever kid from the NWT (aboriginal too) to ever make it to the NHL. He's a fiesty little guy and obviously fought hard just to play hockey as long as he did, let alone make it to and stay in the NHL without falling into the trap of too much money leading to a reckless lifestyle. The youth of the NWT have lower education levels and employment levels up into the early 20s are also very low. It's a challenge to stay on the straight and narrow and not fall into the trap of substance abuse and despair for many of his peers. When they commented that his playing skills must be due to all the caribou he ate I nearly came completely unglued. Next to me was a good looking young aboriginal man and his girlfriend and I was amazed and saddened when he didn't even flinch at the deragatory comments. I held my tongue because the tickets belonged to a colleague of T's and I had no idea what his relationship with those people may or may not be. Later T said I should have went for it because his friend and his wife are aboriginal as well.

I do not understand why you would chose to have season tickets to watch a team that you have not a single decent thing to say about. Why waste your money if it is so painful to watch them play? Why ruin the experience for those around you? Iceman even said afterwards that the game was awesome except he wanted to pop those people in the nose for being so rude during the whole game. What kind of life must they have when their whole source of entertainment is to ridicule and make fun of these atheletes? Sure they are overpaid for their skills and the whole professional sports industry is way out of control but you have a choice as to how much you chose to participate in furthering that industry. I wonder if they bag on the waitress or the grocery store clerk or anyone else they encounter the same way. I pray that they have never been involved in minor sports or other activities involving children. I cannot imagine the pressure people like that put on kids.

It was a great game and nice to spend some time with half the crew. We are relieved that those are not our season's tickets as I doubt that any of us could tolerate another evening with the jerk squad sitting behind us.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Spoiled Rotten

We've been busy taking it easy since Christmas. We had an awesome Christmas Eve and an enjoyable day with our extended family. The crew have been enjoying their new Wii games and we've been watching some of the family movies they got. The Hero and Kodiak ventured out on boxing day as bigfoot aka Kodiak needed new bindings for his snowboard. They ended up coming home with bindings and a new board because they got a killer deal. I had predicted that they wouldn't stop at bindings. lol The Hero is taking up boarding this year so he will use the board when he's taking his lessons during the week. Then they will have to wrestle for it when they all go boarding. heh!

After weeks of feeling awesome I've had a few days of weariness. I guess all the stress and busyness caught up to me. Oh well, I'm thankful for those good days and am no where near where I once was. I'm hoping I can hold it together until Dr. X gets back from Chicago in the new year.

I was royally spoiled by the Hero for Christmas. I'm still reeling at all the surprises that he was able to pull off. We had agreed that this year we would keep things simple and while I upheld my end of the bargain he went over the top. I feel like a Queen with all my lovely new things- from beautiful bling to my very own Macbook!!!! The Hero and I are going to take in some classes at Apple university so that I can learn all the tricks of my new toy.

We are so greatful for the many blessings that we have been given this year. The Hero's hard work and our sacrifice of his time these past few months paid off in early December with a big promotion and all that comes with it. We are not taking that blessing for granted considering the state of the economy. We are very thankful and were excited to be an even greater blessing to those who have less than we do this Christmas season. This year more than many before we were able to communicate the reason for the season to all of our children. It was awesome to watch them be more concerned about giving than getting. I hope that we can carry this spirit over through the new year with the crew and get involved in some projects throughout the year.

I'm not sure what our plans are for New Years. I think that we might fondue. We will likely stick close to home and keep it low key. We surely cherish our time together and are grateful that the Hero is essentially off work until the New Year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Hutch

We were asked to share our favorite Christmas memories by the Elementary school. When I asked the crew what they thought was the best Christmas they came up with the following:

The Hutch crew has spent many years living far from their family. During those years we were not always able to travel at Christmas and we only had family come to us a handful of times. We created many traditions to make the holidays special. When we asked the kids what their favorite Christmas memory was they said the times when we did not have to travel and could keep doing the things that are special to our family.

La Diva loves when Dad reads the story of the birth of Jesus from the Bible on Christmas Eve. The kids all crowd around to hear it and we have pictures of this special event from nearly every year. As they’ve grown older they take turns reading it or reading one of the books that have also become part of our traditions. We read “the Small One” and as a nod to Mom’s childhood we read her Hallmark Pop-up book of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. She also likes that we get to open our ornament present on Christmas Eve. Everyone looks forward to finding out what Mom and Dad have found for him or her to represent the year. They will have quite the collection when they leave home.

Iceman likes finding the pickle hidden on the Christmas tree. A Pickle on a Christmas tree may sound strange to some but we hide a glass pickle ornament on our tree. The child that finds it will get the first prayer of blessing from Dad and gets to open the pickle present. The pickle present is a gift that can be enjoyed by all the kids and is usually a book, a board game, a video game or a DVD. Isaac can’t wait to see what the pickle present is this year and hopes that he gets to find it.

Turtle said that he likes the birthday cake we make for Christmas Eve. We’ve had several kinds over the years but his favorite is angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. We light candles and sing “Happy Birthday to Jesus”.

Kodiak said his favorite part about staying home at Christmas is being able to stay in our pjs when we open presents on Christmas morning. His Grandma likes everyone to be dressed up in their Christmas best…. he’s a teenager and he doesn’t like getting up any earlier than necessary.

Other traditions at the Hutch during the Christmas season are for each child to do a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, to help our community in some way by being involved in their Christmas program in some way and giving to those who are not as blessed as we are. We also celebrate the season of Advent by making a wreath and lighting a candle and doing a devotional each Sunday. This year we have a new tradition that uses a homemade Advent Calendar to help us to focus on the important things during this busy time of year. Each day has activities for us to do that range from “being kind to someone we don’t like” to “making popcorn and watching a movie as a family”. Of course we love all the food, the decorating and opening presents too.

We hope you enjoyed a peek inside the crew's favorite memories of Christmas. We wish you a blessed Christmas and a New Year that is filled with life's richest blessings of love, peace and joy! Enjoy your time with those you love.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Top 10 favorite things of 2008

1. Our Keurig coffee maker. Love, love, love this thing. The only complaint is no Starbucks K-cups yet, blasted Tassimo people have them.

2. The Conair Infiniti Hot Air Styler. This has saved me so much pain in doing my hair with my fibro. I can dry and straighten at once and only need to lightly go over my hair with my flat iron. Love this tool!

3. Sahale Snacks Valdosta Pecans. They are delicious and so addicting. We found ours at Costco.

4. The Magic Bullet!!! Get your mind out of the gutter. LOL The Hero was a little confused when I said I was buying a magic bullet because Canadian Tire had them on sale. It's small, powerful and makes the best smoothies.

5. Curvetech tank tops from Mark's They have built in bras, hold up great when you wash and hang to dry. Are awesome for layering and keep the girls where they are supposed to be. The Denver Hayes yoga line is also very comfy.

6. The new socks that are infused with Vitamin E or Aloe. I have some fun stripey ones that are in cotton and not like those fuzzy spa ones you normally see. Mine came from Marks but I've seen the fuzzy spa ones at Avon, Bath and Body Works and other places. My feet get some TLC just by wearing socks.

7. Microfiber plush blankets. We love them. Each of the kids have them on their beds. The littles actually sleep on top of them instead of underneath them because they love the snuggly feeling so much. One of the frustrating symptoms of my torment is getting cold so I have a couple of these hidden away in our ottoman in the living room and we all snuggle up in them. We bought ours at Costco.

8. Sultan Flokenes mattress. We desperately needed a new mattress and with my fibro we wanted to get something that would insure I get the best chance at a good night's rest. We shopped around and tried everything from high end top of the line ones to these ones at IKEA. I found this IKEA mattress to be more comfortable than the doctor recommended one for fibro at a specialty mattress shop. Bonus is that it was a fraction of the cost. The Hero also likes it which is great because we are usually on opposite ends of the spectrum in what we want from a mattress.

9. The Shack. There has only been one other work of fiction that has impacted my life so greatly. I laughed, I wept, my heart broke into a million pieces and then was put back together again. I am so thankful for what happened in me through this book. I know there is a ton of controversy out there over this book and I admit that is partly why I wanted to read it for myself. Rev. Lang endorsed it and that alone gave me the courage to read it. I have the utmost respect for him and his family as I've seen them take a horrific tragedy and turn that pain into ministry. I'm so blessed that I made the choice to read this powerful book. God used it to move me in ways I have yet been able to put to paper.

10. Alternative medicine and a medical doctor who is open to me trying these things. I have found so much relief and healing by taking this path. I'm so thankful that there are alternatives to modern medicine that have helped me and my torment.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sort of a bucket list.....

Found this on my friend LeAnn's blog and thought I'd do it while I wait for my cupcakes to bake.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a Praying Mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris (not yet but will in 2010)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (another hope to when I'm in France)
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight 
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset 
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community (we don't have Amish where I live but I've been to a Hutterite colony)
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (money isn't where my satisfaction lays)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (hope to in 2010)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (not me but the Hero Last of the Dogmen with Tom Berenger)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt 
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London (again, will do so in 2010)
77. Broken a bone 
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating 
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one 
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (as a legal assistant but not as someone being sued or suing lol)
98. Owned a cell phone 
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Visited Italy

**  This is obviously a US list.  I should make a Canada one and maybe I'd be more life experienced. LOL

Baking frenzy

I've been on a baking frenzy for the past couple of days. I've made Marshmallows, Eggnog Poundcake, Gingerbread Cupcakes, Banana Crunch Muffins and Orange Poundcake for Trifle for Christmas. I need to make Coconut Cupcakes, Viola's Chocolate Cupcakes, another batch of eggnog pound cake to give away and some more marshmallows, as we gifted the entire batch. I'm in charge of desserts for Christmas Dinner with the only request being trifle and something chocolate. I decided to do a variety of cupcakes which I'm freezing ahead of time and will ice on Christmas Eve.

Barefoot Contessa's Marshmallow Recipe

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
With the mixer on low speed slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

With a sieve, generously dust an 8 x 12-inch non-metal baking dish with confectioners' sugar. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top** and dust with more confectioners' sugar. Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out.

Turn the marshmallows onto a board and cut them in squares. dust them with more confectioners' sugar.

Yield: 20 to 40 marshmallows, depending on cut size
Recipe from: Barefoot Contessa Family-Style by Ina Garten (Clarkson N. Potter)
** sometimes we sprinkle with crushed candy canes and then dust with confectioners' sugar.

Eggnog Pound Cake

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup eggnog
Sift dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well
after each addition, then the vanilla.
Add flour mixture to bowl, alternating with eggnog.
Bake at 325° for about 65-75 minutes (in 2 loaf pans), 70-80 minutes (in a
Bundt) or about 22 minutes for mini-loaves.

*recipe from my friend Julya. It's been a huge hit with all the ladies on our message board this year.

Viola's Grandmother's Famous Chocolate Oil Cake


2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 T vanilla
3 cup flour
4 heaping tbsp. Hershey's cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cup boiling water


Combine sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

Sift dry ingredients and add to batter along with boiling water.

Pour batter into two 9-inch rounds (or into one 9 x 13 baking dish). Bake at 350° F for 30 to 35 minutes (rounds) or 35 to 45 minutes (sheet).

Ice as desired. I like to use a double dark fudge frosting like Duncan Hines, but a ganache is even more decadent!

***This is another famous recipe from a group of gals who met on Martha Stewart boards.  This is always the chocolate recipe I go back to.  I'll be making it into cupcakes this time.

Well I better get to it.  I need to run out this evening and finish up my Christmas shopping.  Still haven't got a thing for the Hero. ;)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fostering a sense of community....

This year our children's school has taken a different look at the holidays in their group activities. The concentration has been on having an old fashioned Christmas and focusing on the simpler things. One of the key lessons has been giving over receiving and that gifts can be as simple as a smile, a hug or doing something kind for your classmate. Instead of sending gifts for the teachers they had asked that the students make a donation to one of 2 projects- backpacks for the homeless or shoe boxes filled with stocking stuffers for someone within our own community. There was not a big concert production this year but a carol sing where families were invited to join with the students to sing carols, share memories of a favorite Christmas and have a time of fellowship with hot chocolate and cookies that had been baked by the teachers. The teachers felt that it was necessary to take the focus off of finding a fancy outfit to wear, knowing full well how much of a hardship that is for some of the families and just showing their students and our community what fun can be had by just being together. I've been involved in some fundraising activities this week that had me at the school more often than usual and around some of the parents. I overheard some complaining to a dear teacher that they were hugely disappointed that there would be no stage at this event, no opportunity to videotape their child, no reason to attend the event. *sigh* The teacher tried to explain that they were trying something new and that for some families this would be one of the few moments where they could be together doing something like this. This person went on and on about how she wouldn't waste her time and how could she expect her parents to travel from another town for this. The point of the evening was completely lost on her. It made me so sad that all she cared about was a production to tape her child at. She was well dressed, as were her children and the prospect of not having an event to shop for was probably causing her much grief as well. We attended the event and while it wasn't a packed house like it is when they have to hold 2 seperate concerts for the school it was a decent turn out. The kids were well behaved (except a few who ironically belong to people who consider themselves to be "all that") and they were really into the night. It went a little long but most things run late around here and they had some sound and video challenges. I don't know that it fostered a huge sense of community because this is a place where people stick to who they know. As members of parent council and PTA, Troy and I did our best to talk to people who seemed left out of the group. Our kids preferred it over the normal school productions. They will have assemblies this coming week with a couple of classes at a time performing for the rest of the school. I wonder how many of the video tapers will show up for that.

Today was the day they handed off their shoe boxes and backpacks to the people from Christmas Elves. I think they were proud of what they had accomplished and I hope that some of the more fortunate children learned a little bit about giving and how blessed they are. Maybe they can pass that knowledge onto their spoiled parents who want what they want.

This week also marked the kick off of the breakfast program for the school. This is a project that is near and dear to the Hero and I. We, along with some dear people, worked hard and pushed through a great deal of ridicule and adversity to pull this off. Today was the day when all that drama paid off in a huge way. Since Tuesday each of the children in the school have received some breakfast on their assigned assembly days. Today the entire school was given some healthy muffins baked especially for them by our local bakery and a milk. They learned how this program came to be and that thanks to the generosity of a local business they will continue to receive funds through the coming year to keep this program going for some time. They wanted to have breakfast for everyone at the beginning so that the stigma of it being just for those that were lacking was removed. The kids now know that if they are hungry they need to only ask their teacher and food will be provided for them. The Hero was choked up talking about the project and many of the teachers had tears freely flowing. It is a really great thing what our dear friends have pulled together and the need is only going to become greater as times get tougher for many in our community. It was a good end to a project that came with a great fight. I'm so glad that we all pushed through and saw it come to pass.

Monday, December 08, 2008

School Pics

They arrived last week and I forgot to post them. Here you go.... my grown up crew.

O Christmas Tree

This weekend we decorated our Christmas tree... finally... the poor thing has been sitting in the corner nekkid for way too long. We have a slim tree for our current home and we had too many ornaments to decorate it with. So we went with the ones with memories over the color coordination. I did manage to sneak in a few of my copper sprigs, sprays and beaded garland. Otherwise it is very much a tree of memories with the ornaments that the crew and the Hero receive each year. We have enough fire related decorations to do a whole tree and when we have room for more than one tree we will do that.

We also made cut out gingerbread babies (that is what Iceman and Turtle insisted on calling them after we read Jan Brett's Gingerbread Baby) and sugar cookies. The crew had much fun decorating them. I'm pretty good on the making memories part but I'm not so great at capturing them on camera.

This week is a busy one so I don't know if I'll get on here very much. I'm trying a new treatment for my torment this morning... if I'm up to it after I'll let you know how it went.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Gah!!! or should I say Bah Humbug!

Who screws up Butterscotch Confetti Squares?? They are nearly the easiest thing to make but I had nothing but trouble pulling this off today. gah! I'm so not into baking this Christmas. The crew are clamoring for some treats but I think I'm going to make the new home ec student (Kodiak) take charge and make some cookies. He has baked some really wonderful things so far this term. I figure it can't be worse than how I'm making out this year. I was going to make Madeleines but I must wait til I'm in a better baking groove. We've been lax on the goodies around here since I lost weight (yes, I punish them all for my lack of self-control....bwa hahahahaha) and I seem to have lost my baking mojo somewhere.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


I finally did it, I made an advent calendar that we can use every year. I'm craft impaired but when the Hero came home with a boxful of Starbucks mittens from last years gift cards I knew I had to do something with them. I had this old frame with the glass broken out of that has been laying around begging to be re-purposed, so I wrapped the matte in Christmas paper, strung some mini garland for the mittens to hang off and stamped numbers on some scrapbooking embellishments... Viola... advent calendar. I planned to do some nicer inserts but ran out of time so I just tucked slips of paper with the instructions for the day on them. Our list of advent activities for this year are, in no particular order:

Sing a Christmas Carol

Write “I love you” notes to your parents and hide them under their pillows.

Ask a parent permission to make popcorn for your family and watch your favorite holiday movie.

Be nice to someone that you do not like a lot.

Offer to say grace at mealtime.

Clean your bedroom without being asked.

Make a Christmas Card for your favorite teacher and give it to them.

Hug everyone in your family today.

Read the Christmas story to your family.

Read Luke 2:1-20 with your family and then set up your Christmas crèche.

Take a drive to look at the pretty lights.

Read your favorite holiday story.

Do something nice for someone in honor of your mother.

Donate food to someone’s holiday meal.

Your Mom has a treat for you today.

Bake holiday treats and share them with someone.

Give service to someone by sweeping their walk or shoveling their snow.

Be secret Santa to someone and give them an anonymous gift.

Make a cup of Hot Cocoa and think about your blessings.

Write down 3 things you are thankful for.

Put spare change in a bell ringer’s bucket.

Tell someone you love them and are glad they are part of your life.

Do something nice for a brother or sister.

Say a prayer for the hungry people in the world.