Saturday, December 15, 2012

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I absolutely love the month run up to Christmas.  We bake, decorate, listen to Christmas music and attend holiday events.  I can't help but smile and feel warm and fuzzy inside.  It's my favorite time of the year.
Adelaide had her very first holiday concert at ICS.  The kindergarten, first and second graders performed and both Justin and I got choked up.  The kids are just so precious.  Addie's favorite song was called "I want to be an elf" and she had performed it for me for the past two weeks.  It was wonderful to see her and her classmates all performing together.  Their music teacher, Mr. Olaf is clearly adored by all the children.

We attended a Christmas bazaar looking for Christmas gifts that turned out to be less Christmas bazaar and more carnival.  The girls loved the bouncy castles, face painting, cotton candy and kid rides.  Justin and I were left feeling like we needed to stand in front of our open freezer with a sweater on holding a cup of spiced cider.  The girls have no concept of what a Christmas bazaar should be like so in the end Justin and I simply forgot to adjust our expectations.

Justin started reminiscing about his favorite childhood cookie that his grandmother made.  When she passed away the recipe went with her.  Suddenly, I had a new challenge to locate a recipe and try to replicate his beloved walnut filled, powdered sugar covered rolled cookie.  It turns out the cookie is a Polish Kolacki.  The joy on my husband's face when he ate one of my attempts at the Kolacki's was priceless. I could almost see him slipping back to his boyhood Christmases with his grandparents.  Now we have another delicious cookie added to our Christmas cookie repertoire.  
Every year I make almond rocca as a holiday treat. It's a family tradition and I believe I was standing at the stove stirring the candy spoon and staring at the candy thermometer long before I could do long division.  Trying to master this basic candy making technique at almost 8000 ft above sea level, has proved to be a challenge.  Water and candy boils at a full 22 degrees cooler than sea level so trying to get my candy to hard crack without the butter separating out again was touch and go for a bit.  The candy came together and I sold my first 5 batches at Market Day this Friday.  My husband was devastated that it was all gone though so I have some more candy to make this week along with our traditional Christmas cookies.

I had the bright idea to turn locally grown and sold decorative berry branches into wreaths for the house.  I busted out my floral wire and tied up some pretty gorgeous wreaths.  The only trouble is keeping them fresh. I have to give the wreaths a bath at night to water them and a few have been forgotten and started to dry.  The dried berry wreaths are still pretty.  I'm kind of amazed that I'm the first person to think of this.  No one in Ethiopia is selling these type of wreaths and the berries are so cheap.  It cost me less than $5 to make the large white berry wreath.  I feel like there is business to be done in the wreaths here!  I did sell one at the market on Friday.

We enjoyed Breakfast with Santa on Saturday morning.  The girls all wore their red dresses.  I was thrilled to see Ashlynn in Addie's first Christmas dress.  I get a little teary when I think about it being the last time that sweet dress gets worn by one of my daughters.  Santa was a no-go for Ashlynn and Arabella, but Adelaide stood with Santa and presented him with a drawing she had created as well as cheerful "Merry Christmas".  Everyone had ice cream.  Right? Because Christmas just isn't the same without ice cream, bouncy castles and temporary tattoos.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh I hear you on the need to "minimize" expectations when it comes to holiday celebrations overseas. Thankfully we've got such a huge EUropean community here that they seem to have figured out how to do the holidays right--though admittedly we haven't been able to attend half of the things going on here. The girls look like the had so much fun though. The kolaki and the rocca both look fantastic and I STILL can't get over those wreaths. Seriously, you deserve some sort of write-up in Martha Stewart.