Thursday, December 31, 2015

Then and Now

The first Christmas after we left the Amish was the first year we had a tree. A new tradition was born that year, of having the children sit in front of the tree for pictures. It's been fun watching them grow and seeing the difference each year makes.

The first year.

Buddy joined our family.

This year.

Monday, December 21, 2015

All About Christmas

1. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
  I can only take a certain amount of Hallmark Christmas movies before I reach my limit. There are several I do enjoy, and one I enjoy watching every year is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

2. Have you ever had a white Christmas?

 Most Christmases have been white. Part of the fun of going to my grandparents house on Christmas day as a child used to be tying our sleds to the back of the buggy and riding to their house that way.

3. Have you ever built a gingerbread house?

   I can only remember one year when we made an actual gingerbread house. We preferred using graham crackers. Building them is a tradition that I have allowed to die. Kind of sad now that I stop and think about it.

4. Candy canes or gingerbread men?

 Neither. I don't care for gingerbread at all, and candy canes while pretty are not something I want to eat.

 5. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

 We have a fake tree. It's getting to the point where it needs to be replaced. It's the only one we have ever had and it is showing its age.

6. What's the best Christmas gift you have ever received?

 This is hard. All my Christmases, except one, have been very special. I guess my favorite gift would have to be the lovely Corinthian Bells wind chimes I got several years ago.

7. Are you a pro at gift wrapping or do you fail miserably?

 I really enjoy wrapping gifts, and I'm good at it so I'll go ahead and label myself as a pro in this department.

8. What is your favorite food at Christmas?

 Our Christmas breakfast is my favorite meal of the year. It's not one specific food necessarily, but rather the combination, variety, and quantity that make this meal one we look forward to all year long.

9. Eggnog, hot chocolate, or peppermint mocha? What is your favorite Christmas drink?

 Hot chocolate! With plenty of mini marshmallows.

10. What is your favorite Christmas song?

 There are so many, but I never grow tired of listening to Rhonda Vincent's Beautiful Star of Bethlehem.

11. Do you go Christmas caroling? Do carolers come to your house?

 We don't go caroling.

Carolers have come to our house already. The first time I was not happy about it at all. Putting a cranky baby and two toddlers to bed I wanted them to sleep uninterrupted and not awakened by carolers who then went merrily on their way while I could go ahead and try to get everyone back to sleep again.

The next year wasn't much better. They had no idea what they had interrupted. We didn't answer the door and tried to stay hidden until they left.

 12. What is your favorite Christmas candy?

   While I love chocolate, my favorite is the rice krispie candy we make every year.

13. Do you make homemade candy for Christmas?
We make a variety of candy for Christmas. This year we're not making as much, but still a nice selection to choose from on Christmas day.

 14. When it comes to Christmas gifts do you prefer to buy or make the things you give? Receive?

 A little of both. We're doing more of a homemade Christmas again this year.

15. Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve or wait until Christmas morning?

 We always wait until Christmas morning.

16. Do you go to Christmas Eve services at a church?
We have already, but it's not something we do every year.

 17. Have you ever had a ride in a one horse open sleigh?

 I have. It's so much fun, or at least it used to be when I was a little girl. Wrapped up in a thick buggy blanket, sitting next to Daddy, the sun making the snow glisten, and nothing but the muted sound of hoof beats and the sleigh runners gliding over the snow was every bit as fun as one would imagine it to be. Getting cold toes was worth it.

18. Do you like fruitcake?
I used to think I don't until I discovered a recipe to make one that requires you to candy your own fruit. It's a long drawn out process. (45 days) but the end result is worth it and it has become one of our traditions. We all love it and it never lasts long enough.

19. Do you make your own Christmas cookies, or do you prefer the store bought kind? Sprinkles, or no?
The girls enjoy baking Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve. I don't care for sprinkles so we usually use colored sugar instead.

 20. Of the 12 days of Christmas ..... which one is your favorite?
Going by the song ...... Day five. :)

Actual 12 day celebration. I don't really have a favorite. We only ever did the twelve days of Christmas celebration once. By the twelfth day it was relief to have it be over.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  Many families have a story they love to tell every year around a holiday. Does your family have one? Are you the star of that story, or does another family member take center stage? Share your story if you want.

I can't think of any specific story that our family loves to tell every year around a holiday.

2. Are you afraid to speak your own opinion?

Yes and no. It depends on how well I know the person I'm speaking to.

3. Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2016, and for the first time have chosen two shades-rose quartz and serenity. Hmmm...did you know serenity was a color? You can read the thought behind their selection here, but essentially it's blending the warmth of rose quartz with the tranquility of a very soft shade of blue. So what do you think? Are these colors I'd find in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in these shades to either place in the new year?

I love those colors, but I don't have them in my wardrobe, and it's highly unlikely that they will be added in 2016.

4. If you could be in a Christmas carol, which one would you choose? Why?

Jingle Bells, or Let it Snow.

I am so ready to have snow, but day after day it keeps on being unseasonably warm.

5. December 9th is National Pastry Day. Will you celebrate? When did you last purchase something from a bakery? What's your favorite treat that falls under the heading of pastry? Do you make it yourself or buy from the professionals?

I think I will celebrate. I was wanting to bake something today anyway. One of my favorite pastry treats is the Canadian Butter Tart. I make them myself.

6. When it comes to holiday decorating_____________________________.

We hardly do anything other than put up a Christmas tree.

7. When did you last laugh so much it hurt? Explain.

There's a lot of laughter in our house, but the last time it physically hurt when I laughed was when I was recovering from a surgery.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Buddy has been getting in on the fun of helping create Christmas goodies.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas Memory

      As I put the finishing touches to our Christmas preparations today and realized just how simple this years Christmas will be I was reminded of one of my favorite Christmases from my childhood.
      I was five years old, and only vaguely aware that Christmas was supposed to be something special. It had been a hard year for my parents and money was more than a little tight. Something that we didn't realize until years later.
      When Christmas morning arrived we each had an orange in addition to our regular breakfast and then it was time for our gifts.
       I got an eraser that was shaped like a shoe, and my brother John got silly putty.
       Mom sat down and helped me draw pictures and we erased our mistakes. It was a wonderful day as we drew pictures and played with John's silly putty.
       I treasured that eraser, saving it to use only on special occasions.
       To me, it's proof that time is often the best gift we can give to others.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Did you watch The Charlie Brown Christmas special Monday night? Who's your favorite Peanuts character and why?

I did not watch it. I don't have a favorite Peanuts character. I know they are loved by many, but I never saw them as endearing or interesting.

"Most psychiatrists agree that sitting in a pumpkin patch is excellent therapy for a troubled mind."~Linus  

Would you agree? 

I do agree. Not that it necessarily has to be a pumpkin patch, but getting to be outside and sitting soaking up nature does a world of good.

2. Describe a sound from your childhood. What does this sound bring to mind? 

The squeal of buggy wheels cutting through the snow on a cold winter morning. I used to love that sound. It's something I haven't heard in twelve years.

Thinking about this sound takes me back to when I was a little girl. Our entire family was bundled up warmly and we children would sit close to each other in the back of the buggy while wrapped up in a nice warm buggy blanket as we headed for church.
3. You've won a trip to a winter wonderland...would that excite you? Which one of the following would you most want to experience (or which one would you dislike the least)-see the Aurora Borealis in Norway, stay in Sweden's Ice Hotel, go dogsledding in Lapland Finland, take a winter wildlife safari in Yellowstone or celebrate Winter Carnival in Quebec? 

I would love to see the Aurora Borealis in Norway. With winter being my favorite season I wouldn't mind going to any of these places. Although the ice hotel doesn't sound particularly appealing.
4. Who or what keeps you humble? 

Children have this way of keeping you humble.
5. What part of preparing for Christmas do you like the most? Explain. 

I'm not sure what part I love the most. I really enjoy this time of year. Putting up our tree is certainly a part I really enjoy, but I also really like the time the children and I spend in the kitchen creating treats and baking cookies. Our homemade Christmas lends a certain air of secrecy to the house as everyone tries to create gifts without the others seeing what they're working on.
6. Gingerbread-yay or nay? Is making a gingerbread house part of your family holiday tradition?

Gingerbread = nay. I like creating gingerbread houses, but prefer using graham crackers rather than actual gingerbread.
7. What's one thing you want to start, do, or complete before the calendar rolls into a new year? 

I had really wanted to wrap up a writing project this year.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

There has been so much happening recently. So much I could have been blogging about, but somehow it seemed like a time to simply step back, to feel, to be there, and cherish the moments of this fleeting life.