Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas traditions

This Christmas was really lovely....for the most part.  Izzy got sick, some kind of virus, early Friday morning so we ended up postponing Christmas with Jared's dad and brother.  Izzy and I spent a good chunk of Saturday at the ER because we were worried that she had strep throat and the only other clinic open was Walmart which, we were told, had a 5 hour wait.  Thankfully we were only at the ER for about 3 hours total.  And I may or may not have spilled my green tea all over my chair...while I was sitting in it...resulting in the butt of my pants, halfway down to the back of my knees, soaking up all the hot liquid.  Jared came to bring me another pair of jeans, but of course, we got called back about 17 seconds before he showed up.  I just tried to carry my coat nonchalantly behind my back as we walked past everyone.  Fun times.


Here are a few of our Christmas traditions!

I am officially beginning a tradition of making ornaments each year.  Just. one.  After Thanksgiving I had this big list of handmade stuff to make - cards, 2 or 3 different ornaments, garland, candy, crafts.  And then I got overwhelmed and almost abandoned everything.  I'm slowly learning that I cannot do everything I want and will have to pick a couple of things each year and leave it at that.  So we did ornaments - for our tree and gifts for the grandparents.

We made Santa handprint salt dough ornaments and I used this tutorial.  I've made salt dough ornaments before - 2 years ago - and they didn't turn out flat like these did.  I think the key is to not bake them.  These sat out for about 4 days, which is what was recommended in the above link.  They were pretty easy - the most difficult and time consuming part was the painting.  I thought they turned out really cute.

The kids helped me mix and roll out the dough.  That was the extent of their helping.  Well, except for their handprints, of course.

I actually covered them with a coat of mod podge when they were completely dry, but I guess I forgot to take a picture of the finished product.

Next year we'll go for something different - no salt dough since we've done that twice.

Gingerbread houses.  
Okay, yes...I know.  Everyone makes a gingerbread house.  But.  We do a little something extra that I haven't heard anyone else do.  (I obviously don't converse with a lot of people.)  Growing up my mom always put a few little somethings inside our gingerbread houses before assembling the roof.  Then on Christmas Eve, we would break them open to reveal our treasures.

So, of course, I am continuing this tradition with our little ones.  You can see the girls' gingerbread houses from last year here.


This year I put some bubble tape gum, a chocolate marshmallow snowman, and some nail polish - purple for Addy and blue for Izzy (their favorite colors right now) - into their houses.

First of all.  I may do a lot of homemade, but gingerbread houses isn't one of them.  Tried it once.  Never again.  To me, it isn't worth the stress of spending the extra time to make the gingerbread and trying to cut it perfectly and what not, so now graham crackers and hot glue is the life for me.  It's more about the time spent together than making it flawless.

Secondly, this year I decided to put the gingerbread houses together by myself, I repeat, by myself, while the girls were playing outside.  I finally tuned in to the fact that the girls don't necessarily have to be involved in every step of every project we do.  I realized that they're really more interested in the decorating part anyway.

So, I enjoyed putting the houses together in the peaceful kitchen, alone with my thoughts and concentration.  And then, I was able to enjoy the girls decorating them a few days later without any leftover frustration from them getting in the way (because they're kids and that's what they do) while I'm waving around my hot glue gun.

We kept it simple this year - jelly beans, skittles, smarties, marshmallows, and pretzels.


Christmas Eve - time to demolish.

Christmas-themed books on Christmas Eve.
We usually open one gift on Christmas Eve, as I'm sure a lot of other families do.  This year, however, we are starting the tradition of the gift being a Christmas-themed book, and then we proceed to read them before bed.

Addy got Christmas in the Big Woods and Izzy got I'll Be Home for Christmas (Toot and Puddle).

Kolaches are a 2 or 3 times per year specialty, and one of those times is usually around Christmas.  This time I made them for Christmas breakfast.  It seems like the last time I made these was for the girls' birthdays back in April.  

When my brother and I were growing up, I remember visiting my grandma in Texas around Christmas, and she would always have poppy seed kolaches waiting for us.  I loved them.  They were so good and something we never got except at her house.

Maybe I should explain what a kolache is.  A kolache is a traditional Czech pastry.  (My dad's family is of Czech heritage).  It's like a sweet yeasty roll with some kind of sweet filling wrapped up inside (actually not all kolaches have the filling wrapped up inside - some have an indention in the roll with a dollop of the filling on top - I prefer the former).  My grandma always made poppy seed kolaches (and apricot I think, but I don't recall those), and I make the same.  However, I also make chocolate kolaches (thank you, mom, for coming up with those!).  They're both so delicious.

Here's a picture of a beautiful poppy seed filled kolache.  Yum!

No, she is not drinking sprite for breakfast.  Notice it's not even open.

I always make fudge around the holidays, but unfortunately I didn't take a picture of it!  However, I still wanted to share with you my new favorite recipe.  It's so easy - it doesn't require a candy thermometer - and so creamy and delicious.  It's much better than the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk version that I used to make.  Here's the link to the recipe.  The only picture I have is of Izzy helping me stir.

Christmas cut-out cookies.
We also always make cut-out cookies for Christmas.  This is the recipe we use.  We almost didn't get to these this year, I guess because I kept putting it off and was busy trying to get all my wrapping done early so that I wouldn't be up til 2:00 Christmas morning (I may speak from experience).  This year I made the dough Christmas Eve morning, and we pulled it out after lunch.  And I did the same thing I did last year - I forgot that the dough needs to warm up a little because it's so hard to roll out when it comes right out of the fridge!  So, we enlisted the help of Mr. Mountain-Macho Man.  (He has since trimmed his beard.  And, don't you just love his shirt?  It says "Cheers" at the bottom, haha)

The girls didn't help me make the dough, but they helped cut out the cookies.

We did not, however, have time to ice them.  Sorry, Santa.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas!  If you have any Christmas traditions, please share!

No comments:

Post a Comment