Thursday, December 24, 2015

Day 22-23-24. Looks and Feels Like Christmas



It hardly seems possible that 24 days have just flown by like an Olympian racing across a frozen pond. In real life, sometimes I didn't even get to open my Advent Calendar window every single day. Some days I'd ask myself, did I open my window today? Oops, I guess I didn't. But all that meant was that 'today' I had a bigger treat as I could open two or even three windows all at once.

Such is what you find here today. In the midst of holiday preparations -- family of 19 coming on Christmas Day -- the last couple of days whistled by. I didn't know how to squeeze in a little blogging time, especially if I wanted to sleep. And, as I wanted to share a picture or two and those still needed loading from my camera plus editing ... well, you get the idea.

Today, we're delighted to  offer a three-in-one bundle for Days 22, 23, and 24. I hope you enjoy.


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Day 22. Pictures of the tree

I promised a few photos of the tree. This is the first time in decades that our tree has multi-coloured lights. I have loved the warm white twinkle lights ever since they first came out a couple decades ago. I never tired of them.

So, you can imagine then, when we brought home our lovely scented tree last week, I surprised myself. For this year I wanted to do something different. I thought at first to create something more natural. I used to put fresh baby's breath and dried roses on it (that's some years ago now). I also realized I wanted to celebrate by using multi-coloured lights intertwined with some white lights. For a real tree and multi-coloured lights both remind me of those wondrous days as a little girl where excitement was palpable just days before Christmas.

Since I didn't know there would be this change of plan in my tree decorating, by the time I got to the stores at this late date most things were picked over or gone. Shelves were empty. There certainly wasn't time to hand make new things. So it was create as I went with what I found in my boxes.

And so it has ribbons and burgundy poinsettia on its top -- no stars or angels this year. It may interest you to know that these ribbons are now 17 years old -- they were our pew decorations at our wedding all those years ago. Now they are a regular part of our Christmas decorating. Often on the tree, sometimes on the mantel, sometimes on the stair railings.


We love this pretty enamel painted star below. An ornament years old now. It looks huge here but it's not, as it fits in the palm of my hand. Every year I pull it from its tiny square box and admire its delicate work before hanging it up.


And, so we love its liveliness, its warmth of colour, and its use of pretty ornaments and ribbons in a more old-fashioned style ...



...maybe even in a slightly higglety-pigglety way, reminiscent of simpler, happy times. I smile every time I look at it and draw near many times to let my fingers pick up the scent and feel its softly prickled branches.




This little tree offers us her beauty and we in turn offer her our love and thanks. She brings us much joy these dark and cozy days. 
  


Day 23. Vanilla Rolled Cookies

Making cookies here with my mom the way I remember doing it as a child. Roll-Roll-Roll. Cut-Cut-Cut. Bake till the kitchen smells of vanilla sugary sweetness. Let cool slightly before dabbing on some icing just to get to the good part -- where you decide which sprinkles to shake on. The red or green sugar crystals? The chocolate morsels? Or the teeny coloured balls? All the while attempting to do so without spilling the whole bottle on one small tree or star.

Of course, then comes the best part -- popping that first slightly-warm cookie in your mouth. Just a bit of crunch on the outside with the hintiest of hints of soft in the centre (that is, if they were rolled a wee bit thicker). Savouring each bite. And remembering how that little girl felt back then doing the very same thing. Sharing the moment with her mom again after all these years.

It's a simple recipe. So flavourful with real vanilla and almond essence added to the dough. Heavenly.



Here's the recipe for Vanilla Rolled Cookies.
It's from a Wilton recipe that came with some cookie cutters I bought once.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (only used about 1/8 tsp)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with mixer until light and fluffy.

Beat in egg and extracts.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mix 1 cup at a time, mixing well.

Do not chill dough.  Divide dough into 2 balls.

On floured surface - roll each ball approximately 12" wide and1/8" thick.
Dip cutter in flour. Cut dough into shapes.
Bake cookies on ungreased pan 8 - 11 minutes or until lightly brown.
Cool slightly before removing from pans.

Best to ice them while still a little warm. Decorate as you wish. Recipe can be doubled.
Approximately 2 dozen (depends on size of cookie cutters).

 


Day 24. Christmas Eve - Stars in my eyes


It was snowing most of yesterday. Softly. Quietly. Resolutely. Turning our corner of the world into a winter wonderland. Making it feel Christmas-y inside and out.




Ever since I was a child, right alongside my birthday, Christmas Eve has been my most favourite day of the year. For me, there is so much wonder and awe wrapped up in the Christ Child's birth. All the other things I love about Christmas and this time of year wouldn't be as meaningful without knowing that Jesus is real and His love is real too.

I have shared more meditative thoughts in other posts over the years. If you are interested, you will find some of them under the label Christmas Past and in my Advent PDF Restoring the Joy of Christmas (towards the end of the book).

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Before I sign off for a few days now (I'll be back after Christmas sometime), I do want to send you my very best heart wishes for a beautiful Christmas holiday.

With a gentle kiss atop thy head!
Hugs,
Brenda
xox




8 comments:

  1. I love that you use your wedding ribbons in your Christmas decorations! So meaningful!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours! It sounds like your home will be filled with love and memory-making moments as you celebrate our Savior's first coming!

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  2. Enchanting post, Brenda. Have a blessed Christmas

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  3. I have enjoyed these Advent postings so very much. A bit of calm and beauty after a busy day. Like you, I haven't opened some days on the Advent calendar yet, but there's the after Christmas tranquility to take advantage of that.
    Blessed Christmas celebrations to you and yours! Enjoy that house full of loved ones. Immanuel: God with us.

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  4. Merry Christmas, Brenda! I'll be catching up on your Advent postings tonight.

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  5. Hi Brenda, wishing you a very Merry Christmas to you and yours xx

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  6. I think your tree contains many memories, nicer than new store bought decorations. How lovely to have your wedding ribbons there, and your treasured star. So lovley!
    Happy Christmas dear Brenda.

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  7. Dear Brenda, A very Merry and Blessed Christmas with your family and loved ones. You have helped make my(family and I) make our Christmas special too. In Friendship, Maudeen

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  8. Beautiful, Brenda...an ahhhh on a busy day! Merry Christmas!

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To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xox

PS. I do not always comment here, but I do look forward to coming and visiting you....