Monday, December 30, 2013

Belated Christmas Post

Our tree, 2013
Well, I had every intention of writing up some kind of lovely post, with lovely photos, sharing our "Simple" Christmas celebrations. I planned to share photos of our tree, decorated with handmade ornaments. I planned to tell you all about some of our Holiday rituals and traditions.

But, Life being well, Life... things happened. I was behind on finishing handmade gifts. I had to work the Monday before Christmas Eve, and found myself scrambling to finish baking and other holiday preparations late into the evenings. We began our official celebrating on December 24th, and had several days of visits with various facets of family. In the midst of this, (on Christmas morning, in fact) one of the kids began a two-day run of a horrible stomach bug. We did our best to just keep on keepin' on, trying to make the best of the holidays in spite of a few setbacks. We had our final day of Christmas celebrating yesterday, when we enjoyed a nice visit with family who came up from Maryland, and then it was back to work today. Somehow, Christmas is officially over.

Well, mostly over. I am still in the Where to Put the Stuff phase of Christmas, and have yet to un-decorate and take down the tree. This will (hopefully) happen on New Year's Day. While doing this, I will try to hold onto some of the pleasant memories I have of this last week:

~ Making gingerbread houses with my Bunch, laughing and eating way too much candy.

~ My youngest (who still "believes") scurrying up the stairs to go to sleep so Santa would come.

~ Staying up late on Christmas Eve with my brother, filling the stockings, putting out the "Santa" stuff and finishing the last-minute wrapping, cracking ourselves up as we were overtired and punchy.

~ The big smiles on the kids faces as they opened their gifts.

~ Sitting by the tree, relaxing and visiting with Family.

~ Enjoying some Quiet Time with The Man, counting our Blessings.

~ Listening to the sounds of 8 kid cousins running around the house, laughing.

As the New Year approaches, I will also be reflecting upon the events of the past year, and thinking about my New Year's Intentions for 2014.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter Solstice, 2013

Last night, my family and I celebrated the Winter Solstice. I was very excited that we had a lovely cover of snow the week before, thinking how wintery and lovely everything would look for our feast. Then, the two days before Solstice, we had a "heat wave" and rain, washing all the snow away. So instead of a cover of crisp, white snow, we had puddles and piles of slush. We also had for forgo a couple of our favorite Solstice traditions... Ice lanterns (too warm) and s'mores by the fire pit (all our wood was soaked) ) However... we didn't let Mother Nature's silly whims keep us from celebrating the longest night (and the return of the light!) Here's a little glimpse at our Solstice Feast:
The table, all set for our Feast. We light candles all around the room,
as a reminder of the returning light. 

Our centerpiece... a narrow wooden tray, with votive candles,
 twigs, pine cones and evergreen.
Evergreen boughs and candles on the windowsill of our large kitchen window.
Some appetizers, to start... crostini with cashew cheese, carmelized onion and fig
(these were absolutely delicious with a glass of Pinot Grigio!)
and a little tray of crackers, carrots and figs for the kids. 
Winter Salad... mixed baby greens, pear, cranberries and walnuts.

Vegan root vegetable stew and fresh-baked multigrain bread.

Dessert! Hot Chocolate and  chocolate peanut butter bar cookies. 

The rest of  this week will be quite busy, I'm sure... but I will venture to post about our Simple Christmas as soon as I can. Happy Holidays to all!