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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wishing You A Beautiful Christmas!....

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I want to wish everyone  a lovely Christmas from our house to yours!
I hope you find laughter, rest, and peace in your heart.
I especially want to thank all of my readers...You are ALL so special to me and I want to thank you for your time and attention and comments.
They mean the world to me and they make blogging a fun and rewarding hobby!
***
These are my 2 sweeties in our Christmas Card photo this year.
They started Christmas vacation from school yesterday.
I am so happy to have them home every day!
This afternoon we are going as a family to see this movie:
Then we are coming home to enjoy this simple, but delicious meal:
And just because I am a simple, country girl at heart....I {heart} this photo:

Peace out.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Gift of A Special Book at Christmas...

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I have always loved children's literature.
The stories revealed through words and combined with illustrations...the beauty of the rhythm of the words as they are read to bright little faces... I love all of it.
When my first child, Hunter, was born, I already had a library of children's books waiting for her.
I read to both my babies as young infants and story time at our house was a concrete bedtime ritual every night for years.
It was important to me for each child to have a bookcase in their bedroom filled with things that were interesting to them.
I wanted my children to love to read. I wanted reading to be part of their every day life.
And both my children have excelled in reading at school and read fluently in English & French.
***
When Hunter was 4 months old on her first Christmas, I decided to choose a special book for her as a keepsake for Christmas.
I have continued that tradition every year since...with the overall goal of building a library of Christmas books that would be keepsakes to be enjoyed from year to year.
The tradition has carried on with both children from birth.....choosing a special book for them each Christmas.
My criteria for choosing their special Christmas book is:
1-It should be newly published that year, if possible.

2-It should be something that reflects the child's interests that year.

Hunter now has 16 books in her collection.
This beautifully  & vibrantly illustrated book by Mary Engelbreit is her special book for 2011.
{She loves Mary Engelbreit. We used to read Mary Engelbreit's magazine when she was little and cut out the paper dolls. Remember the page of dolls in her magazine each month? We loved that page!}
So a Christmas book by ME is the perfect choice for her.
{I read on my friend Kathy's blog that she has an autographed copy of this book! Lucky!}
 And here is 2011's book with 2 other ME books she has received as her special Christmas book in previous years.
 Hunter loved fairies and angels as a little girl, so some of those themes have been encompassed in previous years special books too...
 And Jan Brett's fantastically illustrated books have been special books in years past as well...
{That Gingerbread Baby is a funny one....both my kids loved that story!}
 Sometimes her special books have been classics....re-interpreted through different illustrators...
 She got 'The Polar Express' the year the movie came out {as did her brother}.
And the 'Jillian Jiggs' was a favourite series when she first started school.
 'The House of Wooden Santas' is a classic in our house.... a wonderful story that takes place in Nova Scotia involving a family struggling with the Christmas season.
 The story is beautifully weaved around 24 carved wooden Santas by artist Imelda George.
Both my kids adore this story and they each have a copy.
The story unfolds through 25 short chapters...which makes a continuous story that can be read in a new chapter every day of December leading up to Christmas.
 And each of Hunter's special books are inscribed by me on the inside so that she knows what year and how old she was when she received the book.
 Tyler has his own special collection of books. Some are the same as his sister's, but many are different based on his interests.
Since he has quite a sense of humour and loves to laugh...this is his book for 2011, 'Bad Kitty'.
It's a funny read about a bad kitty.
The illustrations are hysterical!
 These are the special books that he shares in common with his sister:
 'Merry Christmas Big Hungry Bear' is such a wonderful book for young children.
He received this as his special book when he was a tiny toddler.
 The little mouse in this story is just dear.
 And "Here Comes Santa Claus'  as illustrated by Bruce Whatley is told through the eyes of a boy...
 which is not a perspective that is easy to find in a Christmas book.
Here are some of the other treasures in Tyler's collection. 
He has been interested in trains and animals over the years....so some of his special books  were chosen with those themes in mind.
Here is the adorable pig Pippin in 'Pippin The Christmas Pig'. 
And Moon the dog and Star the cat in "Moon & Star".... a really sweet little story.
 And again...some funny Christmas reads to reflect his love of laughter.

 For a few years now, he has loved the Peanuts comics, so 2 years ago, this book was his special book:
 And his books are all inscribed as well, so he will know what year he received each book.
 I am so happy that I started this tradition with my children as now they both have memories of these books being read to them as little people as part of their Christmas memories.
It has become a part of our family culture.
In fact, both children have asked me recently if I have chosen their 'special' Christmas book yet.
Sometimes they have a suggestion for me....which I always take!
***
And here are more of the Christmas books that we have in our home!
{We love reading!}
The children have received many Christmas books over the years as gifts from grandparents, aunts & uncles and from the Scholastic book orders.
 We have more than enough to wrap up as an advent calendar for December...but my kids were not interested in this activity this year.{Sniff. Sniff.}
***
I love that my children have a collection of special and meaningful Christmas books that will one day go with them to their own house and be read to their children...hopefully.
And I know that these books will also hold  memories of us reading together at Christmas time with warm hugs and smiles and laughter.




This post is linked to these parties:

The Girl Creative



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our Christmas Eve Dinner....Lobster Rolls...

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I don't know if it's the Maritime blood in me or whether it's my affinity for all seafood, but I am serving my family 'Lobster Rolls' for Christmas Eve dinner.
My mother started this tradition years ago in our little family and it works perfectly because it is yummy, easy and a good pre-cursor to the onslaught of turkey in the days that follow.
The traditional lobster roll is lobster meat mixed with mayo and a little diced celery served in a hot dog bun.
However, while in Florida last March, I learned that there is a 'Connecticut' version where the lobster meat is thrown into a frying pan with butter and then loaded into a hot dog bun.
Either way....both are delicious!
I will be serving our lobster rolls with coleslaw and chips on the side.
And a dill pickle.
Can't forget the dill pickle...dill pickles are a must with a sandwich.

What about you? What is your traditional Christmas Eve dinner?


Monday, December 19, 2011

Gingerbread Softies....

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With all of the Christmas baking I did for Christmas Cookie Week in November, you would think I would be tired of cookies.....but here's the thing...I NEVER get tired of cookies.
There is nothing better than a cookie and a glass of cold milk.
I have been on the search for a terrific ginger cookies recipe.
I found this recipe online, so I got busy in the kitchen to give it a whirl.
It turned out great....and the best part.....it made 7 dozen cookies!
Perfect for sharing!
And here is my 1 mantra for cookie making:

1-If you are going to make them....you may as well make a lot! With school lunches & after school snacks...they disappear like crazy!


Gingerbread Softies
{This recipe was found on the  blog MADE and you can find it here.}

These cookies flatten and crack as they cool. The secret in keeping them soft is to remove them from the oven as soon as they are set but before they start to brown.
2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cup shortening*

2 eggs

1/2 cup molasses



4 cups flour

4 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. ginger

l/2 tsp. cloves

l/2 tsp. salt



Cream together the sugar and shortening. Add eggs and beat until thick. Add the molasses and stir until combined.


Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Add to creamed mixture and stir just until blended. If the dough is very soft (hot day? warm kitchen?), wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.


Shape into 1” balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350º for 7 - 10 minutes or just until set but before they start to brown.


* This is a very old recipe and, like many cookie recipes from the 1950’s, and uses vegetable shortening instead of butter. You can substitute 1 1/2 cups melted and cooled butter for the shortening but you will have to increase the flour to 4 1/2 cups and definitely chill the dough before using.


I hope you enjoy these wonderful cookies!





This post is linked to these terrific parties:


The 36th Avenue













Saturday, December 17, 2011

Our Red & White Tree...

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Our tree is finally up & decorated...and this was no small feat!
It was really hard to find an evening where everyone was home so we could do this together as a family.
The children have hockey or skating almost every night of the week....so scheduling something is a little tricky.
This year, for the first time ever, we are having a red & white tree.
{We have had variations of  a blue tree for years.}
We love it as a fresh change.
And it didn't become a 'Dr. Seuss Who-ville Tree' as planned.
The director, Hunter, decide she liked lots of snowflakes on our little tree.


Today I am packaging gifts, making cookies and a homemade soup for a girlfriend who lost her mother this week.
{It is so sad to lose a loved one before Christmas}
I plan to deliver  a care package to her tomorrow that will include homemade soup, bread, brownies and a few other goodies.

Wishing you a wonderful Saturday!
xo





This post is linked to these terrific parties:


The 36th Avenue















UndertheTableandDreaming

Link Party

Jennifer Rizzo's party:






Weekend Bloggy Reading

















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