Day 12 & 13 – Christmas Cookies, baked goods and CHOCOLATE

What is Christmas without food? To be more exact – cookies. Oh and chocolate. We cannot forget chocolate at Christmas! Short breads, ginger breads, and a whole bunch of others. I am drooling at the thought. Oh no wait; I am also drooling because my house smells like fresh baked brownies right now.

I love to bake. Really. Ask my husband! I am the reason he gains so much weight over the winter. Banana breads, cookies, brownies, cakes. You name it, I will probably bake it over the course of the winter months. Thankfully between the three of us the baked goods do not last very long in this house. Then I get to bake some more!

The recipe for brownies I received from my friend Katie. Most recipes I have tried in the past all came out dry and crumbly and just…shitty. They were not the brownie I was looking for. I have found the perfect brownie recipe! And after trying it once, I decided to make a second batch. And alter it. I had the inspiration from Mexican Hot Chocolate. Reaaaaalllly yummy. Trust me. Don’t believe me? Google it for a recipe. Cinnamon and chocolate combined in a brownie sounds like heaven to me! Now I cannot wait for them to cool down so I can chomp into them. Or two. Or three. I have a funny feeling I am going to have to buy more cocoa soon….

Brownies

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1 c. melted butter

1 c. cocoa

2 c. sugar

6 Tbsp. flour

1 c. chopped walnuts (optional) (side note – walnuts make the brownies healthier, right?)

splash of vanilla

about 1/2 Tbsp. – 1 Tbsp. cinnamon (really to suit your taste)

splash of milk (I find I need to thin the batter out a smidge)

Instructions:

Mix dry.

Beat wet into dry ingredients.

Stir in the nuts.

Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until done.

Day 11 – The Crèche or Nativity Scene

Now, I may not believe in Jesus, but to me Christmas just is not Christmas without setting up my grandmother’s crèche. Every year as early as I can remember, I would go over to her home to set it up for her. Everything had its place. Jesus and the three wise men with their camel hidden in the back until they arrived. The rest of the figurines in the front and how they were placed were changed every year depending upon my whim, fancy and imagination. Then the lights placed on top to light it up – always making sure the yellow one was in the center pointing straight up like the star of Bethlehem.

This year, she passed the tradition of setting up the crèche at my home. She says she has gotten too old for it, plus most of the time she is not home for Christmas. Even though it is not in my beliefs I still set it up. It is tradition. It might not be set up properly due to lack of size of where it is placed this year, but that is alright. It will also give plenty of stories to be told to Ashlynn when she is older. Mind you; Steve might have to do some minor repairs to it as the years go by as it is at least 60 years old. I guess that means I have an antique on my hands! But if he does anything to fix the ‘drunken camel’ I might be sorely upset. It is an icon of laughter of how come the camel always falls over or has to be leaned up against the crèche every year.

The crèche set up ontop of our antique three-tiered table. Where it is safe from little hands and cats.

The crèche set up ontop of our antique three-tiered table. Where it is safe from little hands and cats.

Days 3 to 10 – Poinsettia

I am going to cheat. Why? Because I can. Ok ok not really. Little one has not only been teething but sick with a head cold. It has not been an easyElmo-elmo-elmo past few days. Now to make things better – I have come down with what she had. Fun! Not! And my period started at the same time. I am not a happy mommy at the moment to say the least! As much as I hate the television as a babysitter; my lifesaver today was tossing in an Elmo movie my mother passed on from my niece to Ashlynn. So far she is hooked. Thank you little red furry muppet for being my life saver.

Now speaking of the colour red…other than Santa’s suit and Rudolph’s nose…the colour red makes me think of the poinsettia flowers that are in abundance at Christmas. Whether they be fake or real, their vibrant red petals just tell me it is getting closer and closer to Christmas!

Through some research I found out that the poinsettia is native to Mexico and Central America. Thanks to a diplomat bringing it back to the United States in 1825; we now associate the poinsettia with Christmas! And contrary to popular belief it is not highly toxic. It rather contains latex, which can be mildly toxic but not enough to kill, can be more harmful to those who are sensitive to latex. But it is still not recommended to eat the plant as it can cause vomiting and explosive shits, I mean, diarrhea.

Now back to curling up on the couch, watching Elmo and drinking my ginger ale. Fuck I hate being sick.

Day Two – Snowmen

Ahh yes the joys of winter. Snow forts, snow ball fights, snow angels, tobogganing, and making snowmen. I think nothing says winter quite like a snowman. Freezing your damn hands off to build a somewhat replica of a big, fat, humanoid looking being. With a carrot for a nose – if you go the traditional route. I am hoping we get a decent snow fall so as to take Ashlynn and Steve outside and build a snowman with them. She may be too young to understand what is going on, but later on she will! And I cannot wait!

Until then….why not some cute snowmen pictures?

Happy go lucky snowman

Happy go lucky snowman

Rock n Roll Snowman - just my kind of snowman!
Rock n Roll Snowman – just my kind of snowman!

Happy go lucky snowman
Happy go lucky snowman

And to leave you on a happy note (and maybe get Christmas carols stuck in your head…)

Frosty the Snowman, was a jolly happy soul,
With a corn cob pipe and a button nose, and two eyes made of coal.

Frosty the Snowman, is a fairytale, they say.
He was made of snow, but the children know he came to life one day.

There must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found,

For when they placed it on his head, he began to dance around!

Oh, Frosty, the Snowman, was alive as he could be;
and the children say he could laugh and play,
just the same as you and me.

Thumpety thump, thump, thumpety thump, thump,
look at Frosty go.

Thumpety thump, thump, thumpety thump, thump,
over the hills of snow.

Frosty the Snowman, knew the sun was hot that day,
so he said, “Let’s run, and we’ll have some fun now, before I melt away.”

Down to the village, with a broomstick in his hand,
Running here and there, all around the square,
sayin’, “Catch me if you can.”

He led them down the streets of town, right to the traffic cop;

and only paused a moment, when he heard him holler, “Stop!”

For Frosty, the Snowman, had to hurry on his way,
But he waved goodbye, sayin’ “Don’t cry, I’ll be back again some day.”

Day One – The Christmas Tree

What better way to start the month of December as well as counting down to Christmas via an advent calendar blog than with a Christmas Tree? Whether it be a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, a fake Christmas tree, or a real one; nothing quite says Christmas like a tree. I never got to know the

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

fake-christmas-tree

Pretty purple fake Christmas Tree

joys of a real Christmas tree until my husband and I moved in together (before we got married). My father is highly allergic to real trees so every year we had a fake tree. I love the smell of a real tree and I could not even think of having a fake one in my home now. Well I could when I think about the pine

needles that seem to spread throughout the home and are found even months after the tree is long gone. For those that already have their trees up and decorated, I envy you. Sort of. I still have no clue where we would put our tree once we brought it into our apartment. We are still in the middle of unpacking since our move this fall.

The Christmas tree has come to be a symbol of Christmas. It is the centerpiece of the home to say that the holiday season is upon us. It is usually the first thing to be put up in many homes before decorating the rest of the home for Christmas. But did you know that the tree is not strictly a Christmas symbol? Or at least, at one point, wasn’t.

The Christmas tree has its roots in the pre-Christian peoples of various countries around the world. Egypt, Rome, Ireland, and Norway to name

Real Christmas Tree

Real Christmas Tree

a few. The winter season was a barren one. Devoid of growth. Cold. And in the northern parts of Europe, full of snow and ice. To many pre-Christian peoples their Sun God was weak and/or sick. The winter nights were long and thought to be wrought full of evil spirits. What else could bring such snow, ice and cold other than evil spirits? The Germanic and Druidic peoples would look to the plants that stayed green all winter long for protection. This ranged from holly, mistletoe and evergreen trees. By celebrating the Winter Solstice, having various evergreen plants brought into the home; it would remind these people of the bounty that spring and summer would bring. Plus, it would help keep the homes smelling nice when it was impossible to air them out in the cold winter months.

Now fast-forward to when Christianity became a predominant religion. Many of the so-called Pagan symbols had their meanings altered so as to convert more people to Christianity. Christmas trees prevailed among the Germanic people and disappeared among the rest of Europe. Along came Martin Luther (of the Protestant Reformation) and according to many sites I read this morning, he saw stars in the night sky and decided to add candles to his Christmas tree at home for his children. In Germany they would hang apples and other edible treats instead of the ornaments that we now know today.

It was only with Queen Victoria with her husband Prince Albert that the Christmas tree became a wide-spread symbol for Christmas. What was popular at court became popular among pretty much…everyone. With the discovery of electricity soon the candles were replaced by electric lights. Edible treats became replaced with ornaments. And there you have it, a Christmas tree as we know it today!