We sat down around the kitchen table this morning to write thank you notes to our friends and family that blessed us with Christmas gifts this year. Canaan is old enough to write his thank you notes and Ezra, although too young to write, draws pictures as his thank you.
It is so important for me to teach this act of thankfulness to the boys. It is really easy (for me as well) to neglect taking time to acknowledge and show gratitude for the time and money others have spent on us to shower us with gifts during holidays.
We had a wonderful Christmas as a family. Lots of yummy treats, cozy nights watching Mary Poppins, playing with new gifts, and relaxing together as a family.
Next Christmas we will enjoy the addition of our new little guy. It will be another amazing Christmas for sure.
So far today I have started pastry dough for 4 tarts and 4 pizzas. The tarts (which I have mentioned before over here) are for neighbors and friends and the pizza dough is for our family pizza night. I still have some french macaroons to make~which is my standard Christmas cookie of choice each year. I use this recipe, which is pretty much foolproof.
Along with baking has been alot of playing. Thankfully we are experiencing a mild spell weather wise this week which means the boys are outdoors more than indoors. Of course, along with outdoor play comes the pitiful cries and complaints of injuries. Today's biggest injury (thus far) was a broom handle to Canaan's mouth (the above picture is Ezra's sorry for hitting Canaan face). They are now settled in with lunch and a short episode of Franklin before a couple hour quiet time this afternoon. I am looking forward to it much more than they are, I am sure.
After 6 months of heat lamps, coop building, poop scooping, watering, and feeding, the chickens have finally started earning their keep. Between the 2 of them we have been given 5 eggs in the past 6 days...not too shabby. They are still small eggs, for sure, but they are perfectly egg shaped, lightly brown colored, and so fun to find each morning.
In this week leading up to Christmas I always hope for something out of a 1930's movie. Candlelit dinners each night, stories by the fire and fresh baked goodies filling our kitchen counters. But in the reality of being 8 months pregnant and having serious sleep deprivation due to trying to find that "perfect" sleeping position, much of my hopes for this week aren't coming to fruition.
I am trying to learn to not beat myself up over the fact that I didn't make the neighbors a pie yet or that we ate dinner in front of the TV last night. But rather to just let life happen and enjoy those few magical moments we do have each day to savor the season.
As we settle into winter we also settle into a different kind of menu...comfort food. Our summers are full of smoothies, salads, grilled chicken, and bruschetta. Wintertime is when we pull out our recipes for short ribs, soups, pasta, and casseroles.
As unhealthy as some of those winter foods can be, I try to keep them as healthy as possible. I thought I'd share what our menu looked like last week. I love to see what others are making for dinner so I thought you may feel the same!
I will include links for the recipes (hover over the recipe and click)
Monday: Healthy Buffalo Chicken Salad and Mac n' cheese
Tuesday: Vegetable Soup (use your favorite recipe for this one) and salad
Wednesday: Aromatic Noodles with Peanut Lime Sauce
Thursday: Balsamic Glazed Salmon with Broccoli and Wild Rice
Friday: Chicken Pot Pie ( I use a recipe that I came up with years ago) and spinach salad.
Saturday: Beef Stroganoff and steamed veggies
(Click here for a complete look at this years designs)
I finished yet another order for a shop recently. It is headed up to Louisville this week. I do love to create, when time allows, and it seems this year afforded alot of time for creating. I was able to squeeze in power sewing sessions during Ezra's daily naptime and occasionally after the boys headed to bed in the evenings.
As insane as I am about finishing projects~ I believe it is really important to not let these endeavors take away from the flow of what is going on in our home. There have been days I wanted to sew right through dinner to get an apron or handbag done but it is far more important that my family not resent the sight of my sewing machine nor that I take away from the precious fleeting moments that I have at home with the boys...there will be many years for sewing when the boys are grown, right?
With that said, I am so thankful that Mike and the boys not only put up with, but encourage my creativity. Equally we encourage Mike's creativity in his home renovations, beer making, and writing. We encourage Canaan's creativity in his cooking and baking, his entrepreneurial dreams, and his paintings. And we encourage Ezra's creativity in his imaginative stories, his break dancing, and his choices in daily soccer outfits.
The boys both love to read at night before bed. We usually give them 15 minutes or so to unwind with a book before we come up to say prayers and tuck them in. Canaan often will be in the middle of a book and gets frustrated that he will lose his page if he doesn't finish or that Ezra will take his book while he is at school the next day.
To alleviate this nightly headache, I came up with a solution. A simply sewn book holder for the end of each of their beds. I whipped both of them out in less than an hour and they are so happy with the result. There is a big pocket for the books and 2 smaller pockets in the front~one for a flashlight, the other for bookmarks. It has definitely been one of those easy yet very necessary projects for our home.
In our dining room is a small little Charlie Brown tree. Throughout the year I would occasionally use scrap linen from other projects to make small embroidered ornaments. Then at some point I grabbed my cream colored yarn and made pom poms as well. They all ended up in a small bag in my craft room waiting for the holidays.
I pulled them out last week and put them on our little tree with some white lights. The pictures don' t capture how sweet and nice this little tree really is. I am in love with it. Its simple yet magical and it fits perfectly into our home.
It has been a whirlwind of a week. Canaan's first order of 12 bags were due to the coffee house last Tuesday. By Friday they called saying they had nearly sold out of all the bags and needed another 24 bags by Saturday night.
So we kicked it into high gear and whipped out another 24 bags before the holiday open house on Saturday night.
Canaan had his own table where he had samples out and bags of marshmallows for sale.
He is the ultimate salesman. He answered questions like a pro and even threw in some added thoughts like "these melt really well in hot chocolate", and "they are all natural, too!." He was cracking Mike and I up all night long. One customer asked how they were made and Canaan's response was "the ingredient list is on the back but I won't tell you temperatures or how they are made." Love that.
We hung around his table for the first hour or so and then he finally looked at us and said "you guys can go walk around or something. You don't need to stand there." He spent the night talking to customers, offering samples, taking breaks to go get food from the catered food table, and chatting with one of his good friends that stopped by to see him.
It was a long and slightly tiring weekend but it was so much fun. Canaan has seemed to flourish with his new business and a new level of independence is emerging. As sentimental as it is to see my 6 year old start spreading his wings just a bit, it is so very exciting.
A couple of days ago we put up our Christmas tree. Like most years over half of our Christmas light strands didn't work so we decided to abort the tree decorating until I could go buy more lights.
So for 2 days now Ezra has taken it upon himself to decorate the tree for us. This includes his pajamas, dixie cups from the bathroom, books, DVD's, his toothpaste (that he uses each night and then places back on the tree), game pieces, candy, etc...
He takes alot of pride in his decorating ability and although it is quite hilarious and charming, I am not sure if we will be able to convince him to take the toothpaste out so we can put Christmas ornaments up.
He also has started apologizing for things he may do in the future. For example, last night he came downstairs and said "I'm sorry" (in his most pitiful tone). We asked him why and he said "I'm sorry that I am going to use a sharp knife to break the big window downstairs someday." (mind you this is in the cutest little 3 year old sqeaky bedtime voice ever). Oh Ezra...you are always giving us something to chuckle (and slightly worry) about.
The Christmas decor is slowly making its way into our home...along with Belgian waffles ~ thanks to an early Christmas present from my parents.
Its hard to believe next Christmas we will have another little boy to add to the mix. We can't wait although we are savoring each moment as a family of 4 this holiday season.