Monday, December 20, 2010

Play-doh Night

We spent Friday evening with two cutie pies making play doh. When I was little my mom's best friend Patti  used to make play doh for vacation bible school. When the week was over I got to take all the play doh home. I had a play-doh spaghetti factory and played for hours making delightful dishes.  When I got married this past summer she sent me the recipe. It was one of my favorite gifts that we got. I wanted to share with Meg and Holly the play-doh I loved so much.

Meg wanted purple.

Holly wanted green.

Holly was a big helper as she looked on.

It cooks quickly.

Meg was Will's helper.

Will helped her make the purple that she wanted.

We made Christmas shapes with our Play doh.

Here is the recipe if you are interested:
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons of cream of tarter (you can find this on the spice aisle)
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of cooking oil

Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and water. Add food coloring before cooking. Cook in nonstick pan on medium. Stir constantly because the mixture thickens quickly. Cook until it becomes a large ball. Empty onto wax paper or a cutting board and let cool.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tradition 12- Christmas Morning Banana Nut Bread

Nice mixer huh? It is my mother in laws.

What a great dish..this belongs to Kristen.

1/4 cup self rising flour
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
3-4 ripe bananas (the browner they are the sweeter)
1 cup chopped pecans

bake on 350 for 1 hour

My mother made Banana Nut Bread every December.  It isn't Christmas until I smell that lovely bread baking. I was at my sister in laws baking this weekend and I got so excited. It is an instant reminder that Christmas is near.

I can't believe I made it through all 12 days of traditions. I am still waiting for you to share yours with me. Thank you for dropping in. I hope that you will all have a wonderful Christmas. May the coming of Christ bring the hope that all will be made right.

"Light and life to all he brings, ris'n with healing in his wings."   -Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tradition 11- All Those Reindeer Games

When I was a kid my brother and I would create games to entertain ourselves. One holiday game I reminder in particular is candy cane swords. The game didn't really have a name, but for the sake of the blog I had to call it something.  The object was to see who could get their candy cane the sharpest and poked the other one. It probably doesn't sound like it would hurt, but think again.  Those ends can get pretty sharp. It usually ended with my brother chasing me as I repeatedly yelled ouch.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tradition 10- Williams Family Tradition

This contribution highlights another Christmas tradition: Guest Bloggers.  Will Williams is an aspiring physician and incredible lover.  I know personally, because he's my husband. 

Presenting Will Williams:
 The Guest Blogger

"...ere' he drove out of sight, 'Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!'"  The fire is burning and the tree is on and the television is off and we are gathered in my grandmother's den.  As she reaches for Luke's account of Jesus's coming, Christmas Eve is here.  In the morning, we will rise and sift through wrapping paper and boxes.  In the morning, we will dig into stockings stuffed with oranges and walnuts and selections from Parisians' center aisle displays.  But tonight there are no gifts.  There is simply togetherness and expectation and rice crispy treats and divinity.  Something magical happens here.  The rush of life, accelerated for the past few weeks (or, for the perpetually late Williams family, the past week) has stilled.  Noise is conspicuously absent, replaced with rich sounds of laughter and Glenn Miller's "White Christmas."   And this Moment is my favorite Christmas tradition.  There are no real particulars of this Moment, nothing that is essential or even intentionally replicable.  But I know when it has arrived.  I know that it is good.  May you find just such a Moment this season.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tradition 9- Christmas Services

I love a good Christmas service, candlelight services are my all time favorite. I drove by this church last week on the way home and I saw their sign "December Advent Concerts."  I thought I am there. They had a choir from a local university come perform.  Their voices were nothing short of angelic. I had hoped for more traditional Christmas songs but when I heard them it didn't matter anymore. Most Christmas seasons I work myself into a major ball of stress. I plan too much and make myself crazy trying to check everything off my list. I decided I was going to this service as a time of rest. I am learning if I don't stop in the midst of my busy to dos I end up missing everything.  I always think I will rest when I have completed the list, but I am so wound up I usually just find something else to occupy my time.  I wasn't as settled as I would have liked to have been but at least I set aside time. I hope your holiday season will be filled with moments of rest.. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tradition 8- Gingerbread Houses

I can only remember doing this as a kid one or two times.  The gingerbread kits have changed. We did everything from baking the gingerbread to constructing the house. I think either people have gotten lazy or the gingerbread producers have stolen our building fun. I am going to write a letter! Anyways, this is the house that Claire and I decorated hence the big R and the Big C on the roof. We decided we would live there if we were small enough. Claire was the icing artist and I was the skilled candy placer.

The starting point

My Side of the House

The front door with a lovely wreath.

Claire's side of the house.

Can you tell that is a tree in the window?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tradition 7-Wrapping Presents

One of my favorite things to do is give someone a gift. But not just any gift, one that I know they will love.  I get so excited when I am sitting on my living room floor surrounded by presents and paper. I do my wrapping all at once. I like to try and reuse things that I already have(not for gifts but for wrapping). One it is good for the environment and secondly, that item gets one last chance at glory. This year I am using all the magazines that we have collected and won't read anymore. I bought some ribbon to add a hint of Christmas cheer.
Now our tree (Ralph) has presents to keep him warm.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tradition 6- Happy St. Nicholas Day

St.Nicholas (Nikolaos of Myra, which is now Turkey) was a bishop who was known for giving secret gifts to those in need.  He is the model from which our Santa Clause came.  St. Nicolas Day is a European tradition where children leave their shoes or stockings out on the night of December 5th. When they wake their shoes have been filled by a secret gift giver. Some people use St. Nicholas Day as a reminder to do something nice for someone else without them knowing.
A childhood friend celebrated St. Nicholas Day when I was growing up and I always thought it was strange, but secretly wished I had candy in my shoes. I don't know that this will be a holiday we will adopt, but I do like how Santa is linked to a saint that helped the poor. It is a great why to explain Santa Claus to a child without it being all about commerical products.

I left Will a little prize, but it wasn't a secret because
we are the only two that live in our apartment.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tradition 5- Christmas Movies

Everyone loves a good Christmas movie. There is nothing better than curling up on the couch with hot chocolate or cider to enjoy a holiday favorite. Here are my top 10 must see movies during Christmas.

2-A Charlie Brown Christmas
3-National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
4-The Family Stone
5-Home Alone
6-How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Animation Version)
7-Love Actually
8-The Polar Express
9-While You Were Sleeping
10-Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (This is disturbing)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tradition 4-Christmas In Your Mouth

Starbuck's Peppermint White Chocolate  Mocha also known as Christmas In Your Mouth is tradition number 4.  I discovered this wonderful concoction  three years ago.  This time last year I walked into Starbuck's with a huge grin on my face and requested my favorite Christmas beverage. I told them I had been waiting all year for this drink. Puzzled, the barista looked at me and said, "You can get them all year round, but we advertise them at Christmas."  Of course you serve it year round, Starbuck's, but I prefer to keep it special. I normally will not allow myself to have one until Dec.1st but I cheated this year. I was having a hard time with feeling Christmas, I thought if I had a PWCM it would help. I wont' do it again...sorry. It did help, if that makes it any better.

Holiday Lattes

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tradition 3- Holiday Parties

Every year there is bound to be a Holiday event to attend. Last night it was the school of Public Health's Holiday Social.  I have to be honest I did not want to go. Will and I even had an argument before we left.  I don't know why the older I get the harder it is to get me to big social gatherings.  The thing is I really do like them but it just takes me a while to warm up to the idea. The event was at Michael's Bar and Grill on the north side of town.  It was random. There was an older guy mixing music and scratching turn tables. Everyone was sitting in their huddles and I thought good this won't take long; these people aren't going to dance. BOY was I wrong.  A good hip hop song can get most anyone on their feet. He played all the latest and remixed Jackson 5's Santa Claus is coming to town. I was very pleased with his skills especially when he played Rob Base. I danced with my honey and a multitude of other people I didn't know. It ended up being a great evening. I hope all your holiday parties are memorable.

School of Public Health Holiday Party

There was dancing....I told you once and I told you twice

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tradition 2- Can you find the pickle?

Here is our newest tradition. hehe. It's funny a pickle hanging on a tree. The last several Christmas' I noticed World Market selling pickle ornaments. I thought it was random and bought one as a joke for a friend.  Several months ago I started reading about traditions and came across the pickle ornament again. It is a supposed German tradition. The pickle ornament is the last ornament to be placed on the tree. The first person to find the ornament on Christmas Day receives an extra gift from St. Nicholas.  The fun part about this tradition is it doesn't have to be limited to parents and children it can expand to friends or coworkers. Since we don't have any children we decided we could either time each other (which could be fun) or have people over for dinner and have a little friendly competition. 

Our Pickle

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tradition 1- Baking Christmas Sweets

One of my very favorite memories at Christmas time is baking with my mom. We spent all day in the kitchen baking various goodies that we would nibble on through the Christmas holidays. I always loved being in the kitchen as a kid, but often I was a bit messy. Thank goodness being neat was never a concern on Christmas baking day. As I was making these cookies I wished so badly I could go back to being a kid in that kitchen with my mom if only for a moment, but I suppose the memories will have to do. The peppermint cookies we made were always my favorite so I would like to share them with you.

Wax paper is ideal but we were out.
The soft peppermint is the easiest to crush.

The hour sitting time in the fridge is important
or the dough won't be stiff enough

Yum enjoy!


2/3 cup of shortening
3/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
4 teaspoons of milk
2 cups of flour
3 peppermint sticks crushed

let dough sit in refrigerator for 1 hour

Bake 375 for 8-10 minutes

Twelve Days of Tradition

I think the reason Christmas is one of my favorite holidays is because it is filled with so many traditions.  I have decided to blog for twelve straight days and write about the old and new traditions of my family. Feel free to share your family traditions along the way. December I welcome you!