Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day Redefined

Several hours, and over a thousand bricks later, Jack and I have given Boxing Day a new twist. I wonder how many boxes of Lego we will assemble next year?

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Merry Christmas

Wrapping paper and ribbons flying in all directions.
Christmas wishes fulfilled.
Smiles of joy and hearts brimming with delight.

And, of course, the box is the highlight of the day.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

Sometimes I think the anticipation of this moment is better than the reality of the next day.
Tangible excitement, believing in magic.
Anna laid out a holiday feast she felt Santa would appreciate the most.
Pineapple, red pepper, baby oranges and a cold cup of water. She wants him to stay healthy. She also felt he needed a comfy chair, for resting. Mittens, in case his fingers were cold. And her festive tree branch, for "extra beauty". My thoughtful girl.

Jack, more or less, wanted to get on with things. He is literally quivering with joy.
But for now, peace.
Dean Martin crooning in the background, rain on the skylights and visions of sugarplums dancing in the heads of my littles asleep in their beds.

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Blur of Merriment

A blur of merriment, that is what December has been. How much festive fun can you pack into a season?

Gingerbread, skating, wrapping and caroling.
Baking, Santa Claus, school parties and bright lights.

Joy of family, homemade fun, wide eyed wonder.
Tangible excitement with just two more sleeps to go.
Happy Christmas.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

O Christmas Tree

One of the highlights of last years Christmas season, was cutting down our own tree for the first time. We must have been there for two hours, tromping around in search of the one.

And what a tree it was. Your perspective gets skewed when the sky is your ceiling. 

This years much anticipated trip was warmer, wetter and a whole lot muckier.
But we found it. A good eight feet of natural, more or less symmetrical beauty.

The littles chopped down a pint sized tree of their own, and have festooned it with all things merry and bright up in their room.

So far this is the best tree ever. Why? Because in the history of T and I, it's the only one that hasn't fallen over. A Christmas miracle.
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Marshmallow Tutorial

Since I've had more interest in these beauties than any other post I've done, I thought I'd give a bit of a how to.
4 envelopes of gelatin
3/4 cup of water
1 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract
3 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of water
1 1/4 cup of corn syrup
1/2 tsp of salt
icing sugar
chocolate for dipping
Combine the gelatin, water and extract in the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the whisk, and let bloom.
In a saucepan, combine sugar, water, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil and let it boil for 4-5 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 235-240F.
Very carefully pour boiling sugar mixture into stand mixer bowl set on slow speed. I cover the mixer with a tea towel, to avoid splatter, and then turn it up to full speed. Let it mix for 8-10 minutes. The bowl will be full of marshmallow fluff (and if you ever need marshmallow fluff, you can stop right here).

Pour into two 9x9 square pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray, lined with parchment paper and sprayed again. This is very sticky stuff!
To make the swirly design, squeeze about nine drops of red food colouring randomly on top of each pan. Using a toothpick, swirl the colour into the marshmallow.
Stick on a high shelf, away from pokey fingers and allow to dry out for about 10 hours. I know, not exactly instant gratification.
Turn out onto a cutting board, dusted with icing sugar. I find a pizza cutter works well for cutting into squares. Roll in icing sugar to stop them from sticking. They can be stored this way in an airtight container for a few weeks, but believe me they won't last that long.

Dip in melted chocolate and allow to dry on parchment paper. They can be stored in an airtight container this way for a few days.
Excellent on their own, or floated in hot cocoa. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Marshmallows

Seriously, do I need to say anything? Make these and never buy marshmallows again.
Marshmallows from scratch are so simple and can be customized in endless ways.
There are going to be a few happy teachers in our town tomorrow.
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Gingerbread Ski Chalet

In all honesty, any day that involves baking and/or candy is a good day in the eyes of the littles. So the pinnacle of this has to be the annual gingerbread house. Or this year, the gingerbread ski chalet.

Their own piping bag of icing, bowls of candies, it's just one hedonistic sugar free for all. I couldn't get any decent pictures of them because everyone was on a sugar high and completely unable to focus. Just part of the fun.

But by some miracle, a bit of frosting and candy actually makes it onto the house and the end result is always charming.
An enchanted forest, dashing reindeer, and a snow dusted chalet with skis at the ready. Perfectly sweet.
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Thursday, December 2, 2010


Did you know that "Advent" is derived from the Latin word aventus. It means coming.

And come they did at 6am on December the 1st.

Overflowing with excitement and leaping on our bed shouting "We get to have chocolate for breakfast!".

Not sure that's what the church had in mind all those centuries ago.
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