Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Family times

I find myself ahead of the game a bit this year, things for Christmas are mostly done, only fun things left to do this week with the kids.  Last week Ben and I embarked upon a media free time with the kids, I felt they were spending too much time either watching TV or playing on the computer.  It took lots of extra energy to get organized enough to have a bit more of a schedule for them, that involved one of us reading to them or playing with them, but they're always happy to help in the kitchen.  Z can crack an egg with one hand already (I think I was in my twenties!),  Juju can crack eggs too and knows to pick out any shell that drops in the bowl.  Z is obsessed with cooking his own soup and making his own spices.  He carries it around and has us try it on everything.  "Buddy's Super Spice" is not that bad on potatoes, actually.

We've been very domestic lately, making yogurt and cheese about a week ago.  My mom was here to help still, and I may wait till she comes back for a visit to try the cheese again.  It took us an hour and a half to make 30 minute mozzarella.  I cheated this year, and though we did make some cut-out cookies for the Mommy Group a couple weeks ago, we didn't make any other fancy Christmas cookies.  But we did happen upon a new easy creation that hardly counts as work. I call them pretzel mints.  Here's the recipe for them.  Takes five minutes in the oven, half hour from start to finish if I'm mass producing them.  We actually bought Christmas colored Cadbury's chocolate candies to put on top instead of m&m's and they look even cuter, like little winter hats with a bobble on top!  Yum.  We packaged them up for neighbors, to be delivered tomorrow night.

I had started buying presents at the beginning of November, well, I suppose some I bought at the Farmer's Market over the Summer, but not many.  We made a New Year's resolution this year to buy locally or fair trade whenever possible and I feel we did pretty well this year, but especially in our Christmas buying.  I can count on one hand the presents that were mass production and imported.  I stayed in contact with artisans whose displays I liked from local festivals or the farmer's market, called them up in November and ordered Christmas presents, shopped at local artists' shops or made the gift myself (only four people this year!).  I learned from last year, making too many gifts stresses me out.  We bought the bulk of our gifts at the World Craft Store in Kidron, though it's not local it is fair trade and supporting a good cause.

We have a tradition of only getting each other one gift at Christmas to symbolize God's gift to us: Jesus.  I can tell you what the kids are getting as they're too little to read this!  Z has consistently asked for a "Whack-a-mole" game since he saw one at the store a while back, so that's what he got.  I wanted to do something sentimental for Juju as at 2 years old they don't remember much.  Make no sense?   Well, if I make her a gift, and we save it, she'll know later what she got and that it was special.  So, I made her a big chunky necklace with a magnetic clasp and am putting it in an ice cream cone purse that was knitted by a lady down the road.  I can't wait.  Speaking of which, I really need to go finish making that necklace.

May you all have a stress-free week, enjoying each other, enjoying food, caring for others less fortunate, living life to the fullest!!    

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