Sunday, 4 January 2015

Goodbye and hello!

Welcome to 2015! I was reading over my horoscope and it's looking pretty good. I think it will be safe to get out of bed. The gist of the reading was that Sagittarians are at the end of a 7 year cycle of poor luck. If I look back 7 years that seems to fit. I chose to leave Tilleys that year and I haven't settled anywhere since. I'm looking forward to finding a lasting position this year. It's exhausting constantly being the new kid. Time to settle, yes I said settle, and put down roots in Cambridge.
I'm not going to revisit the year, it's over, what happened happened and I now want to focus on looking forward.
I thought I'd share with you a little of our Christmas with a picture of our simple, primitive tree.
Every year I think it's time to change the look of the tree, stop putting up the ornaments accumulated over the last 30 years and start fresh. The kids talk me out of it and we dig out the boxes. I grew up in a time and a house where that gawd-awful tinsel decorated every surface. From the first time I put up my own  tree I have eschewed any shiny ornamentation in my decorating and search for ornaments that have a lot of detail and meaning. When Jerry and I were first married and the kids were little we chose a few new ornaments each year. Hallmark used to make lovely Victorian-style ornaments that we loved to collect. Over the years I've created ornaments in cross-stitch, Mom smocked some pieces and we have snowflakes crocheted by my grandma, my mom and me and so the collection has grown. Our tree is one you have to get up close to and really look at everything. Anyone who has seen my Pinterest account knows I love miniatures and our tree is a clear example of that. I'm bringing this all up because, as usual, I thought about redoing the tree this year. I was sitting looking at it the day I took the picture and realized that I love the way it looks. We are an eclectic mix of people in this family and the tree reflects this. As much as I love blues, purples and greens the thought of a tree perfectly colour coordinated with what I think are giant ornaments, in the end doesn't appeal. We talk about each ornament as it comes out of the box, the wooden polka dot ones always go at the bottom for the cats, breakable at the top and decide where it's going to go. I always want the whole tree decorated and tend to put the least favourite one at the back. This way I'm not neglecting them just not looking at them constantly, it works for me. This year Greg did most of the decorating and he didn't get it. Sadly the back of my tree that sits in a corner did not get decorated. This is also the first year that no new ornaments were added. I think we're finally full. Jenn and Theo got their first tree so I contented my self with getting ornaments for their tree. I picked up what I thought was just the right amount. Apparently they have an even more minimalist approach than me because I was informed that they had 'way too many' ornaments and had only used about half.

As the kids were born I made each of them a stocking. I'm pretty proud of the work I did on them so you're getting a picture of the group of stockings as well. I added three new ones this year. My sons-in-law don't have stockings with our family so I had the time to add theirs finally. The third was for our fifth son, Arif. we've inherited him from Jenn's college days. He liked his so much he took it home to take care of it so you won't see that on here. When I'm creating the cuffs I try to find motifs that I think represent the person for which it's being made.  I hope you can see the detail.

With  more time on my hands I've been having fun cooking and baking. This morning I decided to make a coffee cake for breakfast. We're low on milk but I had some greek yogurt on hand so I looked up a recipe that used this. Then the fun started, not quite enough yogurt but look there's still some applesauce left! Perfect, this let's me hide healthy stuff in the cake. Ok, 1 1/2 tspns vanilla, got it but wait there's that ginger extract I love. so, 1 tspn vanilla and 1/4 tspn ginger, yumm. Batter made on to the streusel. Back to the fridge for the butter, ooh look there's that delicious pumpkin butter Dayle made. If I use this I won't have to add spices. The final product is delicious! Pippin, one of our cats, loves ginger so he was all over us while we were eating. Jeff, the big softy, gave him some and I therefore got the seal of approval from all members of the family. I've written this one down so that I can repeat the greatness another time. Oops, chipped plate, oh well that's how we live!

The Christmas decorations are down, we've rearranged the furniture and are now eagerly awaiting the unfolding of 2015. We're missing Jasper and Angie but are grateful that we still have my brother-in-law Greg. Love, laughter and health to everyone. The door is always open, figuratively speaking, and we can always add another potato to the pot.

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