Sunday, November 16, 2008

What is your favorite family holiday tradition?

I don't remember which year we started doing this tradition in my family growing up, but it was an instant success! We decided to choose a country each year and on Christmas Eve we have a meal of foods native to that country. We also learn about their holiday traditions (usually Christmas traditions, but other holidays if they don't celebrate Christmas) and sometimes watch a video tour checked out from the library. We also have an ornament for the tree to represent that country! Some of the countries we've done are Mexico, China, Denmark, Equador, Taiwan, Australia, Hawaii (not a different country, but very different traditions), and Native American (also not a different country, but one of my favorites). I am probably missing a couple, but it's hard to keep track after so many years of doing this! We are currently trying to come up with a country for this year's celebration, so feel free to leave any ideas, especially if you have an idea of the food we could prepare. We do try to stay away from disgusting sounding things, no matter how popular they are in the country (such as dog, or goat brains). This is definitely my favorite holiday tradition, because it has opened our frame of knowledge to realize that not everyone celebrates the same ways that we do here in the U.S. and it is also really fun to just learn what other people believe!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What do you love most about the holiday season?

I have a lot of reasons why I love the holiday season, but I think being able to get together and be with family tops the list. I truly love my family and know that I can really be myself when I am around them. It's like that commercial that shows the boy doing some robot moves by himself, and then his friends come up and start doing the exact same moves, and then the commercial says, "People who understand you: priceless." That's how I am when I am around my family. They know me, so when I do something crazy (as I am always apt to do) I don't get strange looks. My family helps me to be happy, and they bring a sense of peace into my life that is hard to find with others.

Another thing I love about the holiday season is how much it transforms people, even complete strangers. I notice people talking to each other in the grocery line, people are more generous and kind, and they just tend to smile more.

I also love being able to decorate my house, and put up my Christmas tree (this may surprise you, or it may not, but I put up my tree and decorated it yesterday), and burn candles that smell like cinnamon, or evergreen.

I also love being able to wear my coats and scarves! It's hard to find an excuse to wear those when it is pushing 100 degrees outside, but during the winter, I can wear them all the time!

And, as much as I love Christmas and receiving gifts, I love even more, being able to make special gifts for people! Few things give me more joy than to see someone's face when they open a handmade gift made just for them, and then to have them ask, "Did you really make this?" Oh, the joy!

So, I hope you enjoyed some of my rambling about Christmas, but more importantly, I hope you were able to think about why you love the holidays, or if you don't, why you should.

Holidays At Home

I decided that I wanted to participate in Sew Mama Sew's Holidays at Home blogging activity. What I am going to be doing is using some of the writing prompts that they came up with on the blog to write about some of my favorite traditions, gift ideas, and anything else holiday related. I hope you enjoy reading about them, because I love writing about them!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Heaven in a Jar

I found this recipe on Sew, Mama, Sew in one of their handmade holiday idea blogs. I made it last night, and it truly is heavenly. It is a recipe for Pumkin Butter, which is sort of like apple butter, but even better. I thought I would share the recipe with you.

Pumpkin Butter Recipe
6 cups pumpkin (eaither canned, or fresh from your own baking pumpkin)
4 cups sugar
4 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger

Mix all ingredients together and cook for 20-30 minutes or until thickened. Ladle into pint jars and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

(I did add some water while making this, just so the butter would be a little less thick, but make it according to your heart's desire)