Friday, December 26, 2008

364 days

We keep a Christmas Countdown chalkboard in our kitchen during the holidays (in fact it used to be by my desk when I used to work in an office)...there are 364 days until next Christmas! After having a wonderful and plentiful holiday season, we're making some notes for next year. Yes, I am planning things for next year already - while things are fresh in my mind, I can decide what worked, what we kept 'forgetting' (having trips to the store each evening this week was not planned for...we'd like to avoid that next year!). Last year I planned our holiday menus, including baking, in a spreadsheet. Then I listed all the ingredients, compiled the ingredients, then came up with a Christmas Grocery List - then a couple of weeks before the holidays we can look in the cupboards and determine what needs to be purchased and just note it on the list (yes, it's a template). However, last year's "template" and menu didn't account for lil k's dairy/sugar sensitivities that has required some creativity in baking/cooking of late. So we have new items to add to the menu (like the yummy fruit juice concentrate sweetened gingerbread boys/girls) to changing our tortiere recipe, to adjusting menu items for soy milk, goat milk, goat yogurt, goat cheese, etc. So this boxing day we added menu items, changed items, and took a few off that we didn't really need (hot crab dip and herb spread for example). As with any template, it's a living document that will be adjusted for 'entertaining' menu items vs. quiet family menu items.

So, food lists are taken care of, I'm now planning my Christmas knitting for next year. I missed the knitting "frenzy" in December. Although, I must admit, it was nice to not have to pull an 'all-nighter' to knit something to get into the mail and/or miss getting it done in time for Christmas. I figure if I plan now, I can get gifts done for next Christmas, and enjoy myself in the process.

Yes, I am taking requests, with size and colour preferences up until Jan 1st...but I make no promises on all requests being completed

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Merry Christmas

We've been baking, cooking, preparing, shopping, knitting, and singing lots and lots of songs.

Lil k is buzzing with excitement!

Have a wonderful holiday!
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Week 4 Advent - Human Kingdom

It's a busy week this week - first a shepherd appeared on our table...then an angel...soon to arrive are Mary and Joseph, then finally on Christmas Eve, the baby in the manger...

The three kings are still travelling, and will arrive on the 6th of January...lil k is wondering why it is taking them SOOOOOO long - but they are travelling from far far away...

We have had an abnormal amount of snow - our strata hasn't bothered to follow up with the contractor to clear our sidewalks/driveway/courtyard, so D got stuck in the driveway this morning - lil k and I had to go out and help. Lil k had a cold yesterday which seems to have disappeared, however, I now have it :( Although it is fun to have a white Christmas for the first time in 10 years living here in Victoria, being sick and not having winter boots, and no longer owning a shovel has made this rather tiresome :( But, by the same token, this weather really gets me in the mood to knit nice warm wooly things. I finished lil k's sweater (finally got up the nerve to block, baste and sew the sleeves, AND did the zipper.) I'm not completely happy with the zipper, but when it's on lil k, it looks fine - I'm just going to put in a fleece neck lining so the zipper/wool don't bother his neck - so I'm hoping to get that done today.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Week 3 Advent - Animal Kingdom

Also known as the "Joy" time :)

The nature table has a couple of lambs and some sheeps wool in the stable (which actually I put last week, but read that I should have done it THIS week instead - oh well, I'll know better next year). I have a duck to put on the table tonight, and have to quickly knit a donkey and possibly make a cow. I really need the donkey because as of Sunday, it's the "Human Kingdom" week, and Mary/Joseph will be riding in on the donkey. I also need some shepherds, so maybe I'll make a few more lambs - or just convert the bunnies I have by shortening their ears :)

We also made some lovely origami window stars . We made green and blue tissue paper ones. But, I found this pattern afterwards - maybe we'll try it next year.

With all the snow we've had recently, I desperately needed a hat to cover my ears - so I knit this one up in 2 evenings - it's been great! IMG00044
Now I'm tempted to use the pattern to make some fingerless mitts to match...but alas, I started a scarf for my brother - which may or may not be ready for Christmas - I wasn't planning on doing Christmas knitting this year - but in December, I desperately wanted to make things (after reading Yarn Harlot's blog about her schedule). I think I may take a tip from another knitting friend, and start knitting for NEXT Christmas so I'm not killing myself to do something in just a few days!!! But then, where's the challenge and fun in that :)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Week 2 of Advent - Plant Kingdom

It's Saturday night and we've now setup the manger for the 2nd week of Advent - the Plant Kingdom in the Waldorf realm.
The manger is in place, some of lil k's wood blocks, some cinnamon sticks, and some uncarded wool for 'straw'.
We'll add some holly and pine over the week to add to the plants, and in all likelihood, lil k's favourite nature table item will end up there - we have no less than a dozen pinecones that he collects on walks and insists on adding to his nature tables...we'll see whether this rates the same :)

Cheers and happy season greetings to everyone!
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Monday, December 01, 2008

Advent has started...

Lil k had attended a Waldorf child care centre from 18months to age 3, so for the past two Christmases, he followed a very exciting 4 week journey through advent. Now we aren't a religious family, but I do love Christmas and have spent years researching old traditions, why we celebrate with trees/lights (more of a pagan thing), why we hang stockings(St. Nicholas), etc. The Waldorf approach is fun. Similar to the church having the 4 Sundays of Advent (Hope, Joy, Love, Peace), the Waldorf advent follows 4 weeks of 'kingdoms' (mineral, plant, animal, human). When following this for little children, the four kingdoms end up on the nature table, and eventually links up to the story of Christmas. Let me explain:

Week one, Mineral - we set up our nature table on top of our buffet with a green tablecloth, a clay dish, and 4 advent candles. For 'mineral', we can add shells, rocks, glass, etc to the dish - my son added those on Sunday evening (First day of Advent).

At the same time, on December 1st, the 3 kings begin their travel to Bethlehem, so we have 3 Kings (bendy dolls I made last night after lil k went to bed - yes, I could have planned this better in advance!!) beginning their travels on the window sill of the upstairs loft bedroom - they will travel around the upper levels of the kitchen cupboards, etc until they arrive on January 6th (on the Nature Table).

Week two, plants, we will add some plants (I'm planning to add holly to the advent 'wreath' where the dish/candles are.) and the wooden manger/stable.
Week three, animals, we will add some little woolen sheep, felt donkey, felt cow and maybe some others (depending upon how much free time I have to make these!!)
Week four, humans, we will add the shepherds, angel, mary/joseph all on different days until December 24th, we'll add the baby :)

Lil k got extremely excited when he saw the 3 kings this morning at I'm glad we are carrying on this tradition he started at his first 'school'.