Monday, December 15, 2014

Parenting Advice

I have fallen off blogmas and will probably not go back.

In other news, I read so many blogs from parents of young children who seem to worry about the wrong things so I feel called to put out some parenting advice of my own.

These words are for parents with children of all ages. Always strive to be kind; modeling kindness goes a long way toward growing kind human beings. Encourage your kids to be brave. Do not force them, and remember that braveness looks different in different people. You can never know exactly what your child is thinking or feeling.

Perhaps most importantly, put nothing ahead of the relationship. When something else becomes more important, your child will know, and quickly lose respect and connection with you.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Blogmas Day 11: Christmas Food, What Is on the Menu

I don't know? I do not think was have strong traditions about specific Christmas foods in my family!

We have a Christmas party of sorts every year, but the furthest I've gotten on planning the menu at this moment is that we will have buttery brie and crackers, and a dark chocolate salted caramel Oreo pie.

About the rest, we shall see!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Blogmas Day 10: Show Us Your Cookies, or Recipes

I have a lot of recipes that I use for Christmas cookies, but this is my favorite:

Gingerbread Cookies
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 tablespoons sugar

Mix the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, Beat in the egg, water and molasses. Stir in the dry ingredients except for the 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Roll the dough into walnut size balls. Roll each ball in the reserved sugar, and place them 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 F for 9 to 10 minutes.

This is a close second that just smells like Christmas Eve to me:

Christmas Casserole Cookies
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup sugar

Beat the eggs with an electric mixer. Beat in the sugar. Stir in the dates, walnuts, coconut, vanilla and almond extract. Place in a 2-quart casserole dish, and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and immediately beat with a wooden spoon. Let the mixture sit until it is cool enough to handle, and then form into balls and roll them in the reserved sugar.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Blogmas Days 7, 8 & 9!

Oops! I have been busy with work and missed a few days.

Day 7
Handmade Christmas: Your Favorites to Give or Get
I love to get hand-knit mittens. I have never had a pair of mittens from the store that was quite right!
I am not much of a homemade gift giver. I don't really enjoy making things. I have given photo books before and baked goods, but that is about it.

Day 8
What Is on Your Wish List This Year?
I want a calendar with big squares, but I think someone has already taken care of that need. I would love gift cards to get warm clothing. I think I spent my entire yearly clothing budget on summer stuff this year. I always like treats and games to play with the family.

Day 9
Winter Items You Can't Live Without
Snow shovels!!! We go through so many snow shovels. Hot chocolate and flavored coffees. Music. Warm soups and stews! Salt for the steps. Mittens.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Blogmas Day 6: When Do You Open Presents

We open presents on Christmas morning! Some years we open them right away, and others we wait until after breakfast. Both work well for us. When I was growing up, we were morning openers. My dad was responsible for maintaining the temperature in the factory he worked in so some years we had to wait until he went in and came home (and the place was probably a 30 minute drive away.) It wasn't really a long wait, but when you are little, those presents are very enticing. I remember some years my mom let us open one while he was gone, and one year we got up really early and did it, but I think all of use agreed that that didn't really work.

My favorite part of opening presents is doing it one at a time. We get to enjoy our own gifts and others' vicariously. We didn't do that when we were little, but after we adopted the tradition, I knew I would never go back!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Blogmas Day 5: Favorite Christmas Food

I enjoy Christmas cookies, as long as they're good Christmas cookies! I love gingerbread with whipped cream and nearly anything with peppermint. Roast turkey and roast pork are not completely Christmas traditions around here, but they are both delicious as is homemade cranberry sauce.

I like good food, and I am a good cook, but I am not really a foodie. That may be why this topic is difficult for me!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Blogmas Day 4: Favorite Christmas Music

I love Christmas music. I love carols. I love modern Christmas songs that make me laugh. I love old sentimental favorites.

My favorite carols are "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "It Came upon a Midnight Clear." Both evoke the scene and the feeling of that first Christmas night so long ago. My family favorite is "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays." 'N Sync started this one, and it fast become our family's favorite. It never feels like the Christmas season has really arrived until we have all listened to this, and singing it together unaccompanied is a Christmas Eve tradition. My favorite from this century are a few of the holiday songs put out by The Killers, particularly "Don't Shoot Me Santa" and "Boots." This year's "Joel,  the Lump of Coal" came out two days ago and combines The Killers ingenious mixture of humor and sentimentality to make me cry.