Sunday, November 25

Christmas Eve Will Find Me

Our daughter turns three in a few months, so we're beginning to think a little more deeply about holiday traditions, what they mean, and what she will remember from her childhood. As a kid, in my mind "Advent" was just a church term for the time leading up to Christmas. We didn't do anything special for the season beyond lighting the pink and purple candles on the dinner table that month. Not until I started attending an Anglican church did the concept of Advent mean anything much besides a good time to decorate the house and watch presents collect under the tree.

In the liturgical tradition, Advent is a time of penitence and waiting, rather akin to Lent. A couple of years ago, Adam and I fell into a wonderful way to make a practical statement of this.

It was our daughter's first Christmas and I had not yet learned to juggle the activities of childcare and feeding with much of anything else. The weeks before Christmas, I had planned to decorate with lights and ornaments as my parents' home had been. But, time passed quickly and the house remained unchanged. The day of Christmas Eve, I was quite sad that we hadn't managed to make the house look pretty. Christmas just didn't seem very celebratory without strings of lights and decorations on the tree. After our daughter went to sleep that evening, Adam pulled out the Christmas boxes from our storage room. We spent an hour or two putting up lights and bows and cards and glass balls.

After we'd finished, we sat in the glow of Christmas tree lights and started to talk about the transformation of the house. How fantastic it seemed to me that it now really looked and felt like Christmas. That evening, we decided to make the Christmas Eve decorating an annual tradition. We would allow ourselves the space to contemplate and anticipate during Advent, but, in a burst of activity, it is suddenly Christmas.

This year, our church is commemorating Advent with a series of services looking at some of the the individuals who surrounded Christ at his birth. Each week, we'll look in depth at Zechariah or Elizabeth or Mary and see a little bit more of the well-known story. I was thinking I would like to incorporate this same sort of storytelling into our family tradition.

The first Christmas Adam and I were married, I was seven months pregnant. I was not a happy, glowing pregnant woman riding the "blessed art thou among women" wave. We had agreed as a couple that year not to exchange gifts. On Christmas morning, I was rather taken aback when Adam handed me an envelope. Inside, he'd written a first-person account of Mary's pregnancy--fraught with struggles and frustrations, but ending in the joy of giving birth to Jesus, the Babe who would save the world.

I've always loved the book The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. The way the Herdmans react to the retelling of Christ's birth as they hear it for the first time inspires the narrator and her mother to take a fresh look at the traditional account as well. Over the next few years, as a family, I'd like to rewrite the stories of those who were a part of The Story. Maybe one person each year, taking a look beyond the glossed-over tradition to see the real people. Collecting these perspectives can offer a new insight on a story that should never (but sometimes seems to) grow old.

This post was written for the Carnival of Anglican Advent Traditions. Find out more about this carnival here.

Tuesday, November 20

At Last ...

Here's to Mr. Dragon and Miss Noah on their recent engagement.


(Now, are you in the market for a cute blonde flower girl? She's really good at dropping things on the floor )

Friday, November 9

Just Under the Wire

MamaLady is hosting a carnival of birth stories today! I just got the message, but I think I can make it in under the wire. Luckily, I already have my birth story posted. So, really this is just a heads up for anybody else who wants to join in the fun. You have two minutes left--get typing!

Special thanks to Jeanne for sharing.

Wednesday, November 7

Works for Me: Birthdays

Today is my birthday, and another Works for Me Wednesday: Backwards Day over at Rocks in My Dryer.

I'm planning a party this weekend for three of us who have birthdays all within a week and a half of each other. This year, the sum of our ages is 100, so we're celebrating together at a 100th Birthday Party. I'm excited for that, but I'm in charge of doing a lot of work for it, too.

What does your family do to make your birthday special? Especially if you're the one who generally makes the special stuff happen?

Thanks in advance for the thoughts. I'll be sure to pass them on to my husband and daughter!

Tuesday, November 6

Chocolate Cheese Fruit Tart

This post originally appeared on By Hook or By Cook.

I was looking for something fresh that would compliment an Italian meal we were making for company. I found some tart recipes, but none of them were quite right, so I combined a few elements of different recipes and made up my own.

½ c whole blanched almonds
1½ c flour, divided
2 T sugar
6 T butter, melted and cooled
1/3 c orange marmalade, melted
1 c chocolate chips

· Finely chop almonds, or grind in food processor with ½ c flour.
· Stir in remaining flour and sugar.
· Blend in butter until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
· Press into 10" tart pan.
· Bake at 350°F until crust is golden brown, about 35 minutes.
· Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes.
· Spread bottom and sides with melted marmalade.
· Return to oven until marmalade is bubbly throughout, approx. 15 minutes.
· Immediately spread chocolate over bottom of crust only. Cool completely.

6 oz cream cheese, softened
2 T sugar
1 T milk

· Whip together.
· Spread over bottom of cooled crust.

½ pint fresh raspberries
1-10½ oz can mandarin oranges, packed in juice
1 c orange marmalade, melted

· Arrange fruit on top of cream cheese mixture.
· Brush melted marmalade over fruit until it is completely covered. Let cool.
· Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1¾" slice (86g)
Serving per Recipe 18
Amount per Serving
Calories 207 Calories from Fat 91

% DV
Total Fat 10g
Saturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5g
Cholesterol 21mg
Sodium 68mg
Total Carbohydrates 29.5g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 21g
Protein 2.5g


"All" About Me

I just got an e-mail from a friend of mine with all sorts of personal, but not especially intimate questions. I thought it would make a nice quick blog post.
  • Were you named after anyone?
    My great-mother, grandmother, and father
  • When was the last time you cried?
    Sunday night
  • Do you like your handwriting?
  • What is your favorite lunchmeat?
    Roasted chicken, I guess (I'm not much of a lunchmeat fan)
  • Do you have kids?
  • If you were another person, would you be friends with you?
    Yes, but I would probably annoy me
  • Do you still have your tonsils?
  • Do you use sarcasm a lot?
    I'm trying to cut down
  • Would you bungee jump?
    Maybe--not by my feet, though
  • What is your favorite cereal?
    Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds
  • Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
  • Do you think you are strong?
    I think I have a strong character
  • What is your favorite ice cream?
    Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby
  • What is the first thing you notice about people?
    I don't really know (according to Adam, it's "whether they're organized or not")
  • Red or pink?
    Red, almost always
  • What is your least favorite thing about yourself?
    My belly fat
  • Who do you miss the most?
    My mom
  • What color pants and shoes are you wearing?
    Black pants and white shoes
  • What was the last thing you ate?
    Beef stew and wheat bread
  • What are you listening to right now?
    Divorce Court (Adam's watching TV)
  • If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
    I've always liked Burnt Sienna
  • What is your favorite smell?
    Fresh bread, new books, and warm cider
  • Who is the last person you talked to on the phone?
    My daughter's Sunday school teacher
  • Do you like the person who sent this to you?
    Hmmm ... just kidding, Clare!!
  • What is your favorite sport to watch?
    Football--especially if the Bears are actually winning
  • What color is your hair?
    No longer blonde
  • What color are your eyes?
    Hazel, but mostly brown
  • Do you wear contact lenses?
    Not until I get a new prescription
  • What is your favorite food?
  • Scary movies or happy endings?
    Happy endings, no question
  • What is the last movie you watched?
    The Prince & Me (Adam picked it because he figured I'd like it)
  • What color shirt are you wearing?
  • Do you prefer summer or winter?
    I like the sunlight and carefree attitude of summer, but the snow and holidays of winter
  • Hugs or kisses?
  • What is your favorite dessert?
    Chocolate cheese fruit tart (see the recipe here)
  • What book are you reading now?
    My sidebar says The Blind Assassin, but I'm not really reading anything at the moment
  • What is on your mouse pad?
    My mouse
  • What did you watch on TV last night?
    Part of Still Standing and That '70s Show
  • What is your favorite sound?
    I love the sound of snow, the way it muffles everything when it first falls
  • Rolling Stones or The Beatles?
    Not really a fan of either; if I had to choose, probably the Stones
  • What is the farthest you have been away from home?
    8837 miles (Sydney, Australia)
  • Do you have a special talent?
    I can curl my tongue into three "leaves"
  • Where were you born?
  • Who will you tag to go next?
    Angela from Purple Puzzle Place (I think it's time for more of your eleventy-one things)

Thursday, November 1

Ohh, the Sinus Pressure!

Just wanted to let everyone know I'm sick and crabby--so really, right now, my continuing to not post regularly is for your benefit.

Take good care of yourself!