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Sunday, December 9, 2012

My afternoon of holiday baking: part 2 -- things improved

After an hour's rest, I got myself back up (with the help of a chocolate bar), headed into the kitchen to survey the disaster zone. Not too bad. My daughters had made efforts to clean up for me.  I tackled what remained, and started to plan our tree trimming dinner. There is something about singing along to the radio when there's Christmas music playing, that can't help but put me in a good mood and reboot my energy.

Our family has a tradition for our tree trimming. I make a bunch of snacky foods, we trim the tree at our leisure, and drink cola from small bottles. Now you are going to think this strange, but many years ago I bought a 6 pack of those tiny Coca Cola bottles. We drank from those bottles when we trimmed our tree that year. I washed them out, and saved them. We use and wash them every year. I fill them with generic cola. Everyone in the family knows that it's just generic cola, but there is something special about drinking it from those bottles.

Okay, back to the dinner planning. I put together a quick pizza dough, thawed some frozen sauce and cheese, and got a Hawaiian pizza into the oven. With this we had a fresh veggie and dip platter. (I bought the veggies, washed them myself, and filled a bowl with ranch dressing, all by my little ol' self, and for about 1/4 the cost of those premade veggie platters.) Plus the spiced nuts and Swedish cookies, and that was our tree trimming meal. Most years I do more for the menu, but this year I ran out of time. And I knew my family would rather keep on schedule with the tree trimming and forego the extra food goodies, than put off decorating the tree just so I could do more baking.

We've added 3 new ornaments to our tree this year. While on vacation to the Scandinavian town this summer, my kids each chose a straw ornament, as a souvenir. 

I love pulling the ornaments out of the trunk one by one, and remembering special people and times. I have some of my parents' ornaments. My kids have ornaments that they've chosen over the years, as well as ornaments that their grandparents gave to them after their travels. My favorite ornament of one of my kids, is a small wooden nativity carving, bought in Bethlehem by my Dad.

We have one decoration that goes on the tree before the rest of the ornaments. It's a bird's nest. According to lore, a bird's nest in your Christmas tree will bring a year of health and happiness. Here's to another year of good health and much happiness!

I realize with every year, we get closer to that time when our children will have their own homes and trim their own trees. So I cherish these times that we have as our little family.

Christmas music playing in the background. The lights on the tree shimmering. A good dinner. My family all together for the evening. It was a wonderful night.

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