Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Christmas Poem and December Festivities Update

It's the last Sunday in Advent.  Are you ready?  Have you managed to take care of the details of Christmas, so you can spend the time focusing on your family and loved ones?  Not the time of giving them stuff, but the gift of giving them your time. 
Although it feels like I've been getting ready for Christmas forever this year, I'm so glad I did so many tasks in advance.  It means that our Christmas break will really be about spending time together.  I'm relaxed and ready to spend lots of time enjoying each other. 

What we've been up to in December....

A Weekend at the Farm with Grandma

My sister has been decorating my grandma's house for almost 30 years.  Before my grandfather passed away it was a job they did together.  She still misses him when she decorates, but it helps to have the kids there to help.  They have fun with their Aunt, and Grandma is always so excited to have her house so pretty.

Farm Tree

We're very frugal people about many things.  One of them is our tree.  Although the choices are getting slimmer every year, we still prefer to pick a tree from my parent's farm.  Farmer Dan cuts and loads the tree, and the price is certainly right (FREE)!


Making Roshky and Sugar Cookies with Matka

As expected, grandma gave me instructions the whole time.  It's such a wonderful day with her. She chatters away, and then laughs at herself when she tells me how to make cookies I've been making with her since I was five. 
Apricot filled Rosky
Nut filled Rosky
Decorating these cookies takes some serious concentration.
We decorate cookies for each person in the family.  These face cookies are our sugar selves. 
My Aunt tried to share a cookie tray with Matka.  Matka kept stealing the cookies that Aunt Deb planned to decorate.  It was very funny.
It was a rainy day, so Farmer Dan was not hunting.  He got creative with the cookie dough and did some free hand sculpting until we chased him out of the kitchen.

Fun Days at Home

Tree Decorating

No matter how humble, once a tree has lights and ornaments on it becomes a thing of beauty and peace.


We had a great time celebrating Hanukkah this year.  Highlights included lighting the menorah and saying the blessing most nights ( I think we missed two nights), eating copious amounts of latkes and playing dreidel after dinner while we waited for the candles to burn down.  I feel that celebrating Hanukkah really increased the kids capacity to tolerate and appreciate religions other than our own.  We'll definitely be keeping this as one of our December celebration traditions.
Latkes and Apfelpankuchen (German Oven Apple Pancake)

Santa Lucia Day

This was a new one for us, but one that Reading Girl really enjoyed.  She really, really wanted to wear a crown of real candles, but I nixed that idea.  We prepped the dough the night before, but she insisted on doing everything else herself.  She got up really early and baked the Santa Lucia breads on her own and made hot glogg.  We decided though that it's too much for a school day, so next year we'll be doing Santa Lucia the second weekend in December.

Solstice Bonfire

Another new event was having a bonfire on the night of the Winter Solstice.  It was a very cold and windy night, but we enjoyed time around the fire with friends drinking hot wassail.  Then when we got too cold, we moved inside, turned off all the lights in the house (with the exception of the Christmas tree lights) and lit all of the candles.  It was a delightful way to kick off our holiday celebrations.  I think we'll be doing this one every year too.

Winter Crock Pot Wassail

Add to crock pot
4 beers (I used 2 Harp and 2 Pumpkin Wheat because that's what we had).
1 bottle of sweet red wine or port
1/2 c. (or 1 c. if you like things sweeter) of brown sugar
1 orange sliced
bag of mulling spices (if you don't have mulling spices put in fresh ginger and a few cinnamon sticks)

Loving God, Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

- Robert Louis Stevenson

What have you been up to this December?  Did you do anything new?  Whatever you did, from the simple to the complex, I hope you had plenty of time to enjoy each other. 
Blessings to you and your family in the new year.

1 comment:

  1. Matka is such a beautiful lady. Please tell her I said so when you have a chance:-).