Friday, November 29, 2013

25 Days of Christmas

I love this holiday tradition, started by Andrea from A Peek Inside the Fishbowl. This is like an advent calendar, but instead of eating chocolate, you get to do a fun activity each day (and by the way, we of COURSE have our regular chocolate advent calendar - Fair Trade! The girls were also given 2 other advent calendars by our cousin, so I think the whole family will enjoy a daily dose of chocolate this holiday season).

This is a bit tougher for me, as I'm not home with the girls all day. We'll have to sneak in some small activities during the week, and bigger activities on the weekend.

So here we go...

1. Decorate for Christmas

2. Read "Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus"

3. Write a letter to Santa

4. Movie Night!

5. Listen to Christmas songs

6. Holiday Mini Lights Session

7. Make Christmas cookies

8. Tobogganing (if there's snow!)

9. Christmas craft

10. Make our charitable donation to Plan Canada

11. Make a paper snowflake

12. Make a Christmas tree ornament

13. Visit to Cumberland Heritage Village

14.  Annual Stacey-Pratt Christmas Chocolate Making

15.Visit the Ottawa Farmer's Market Christmas Market

16. Wrap some gifts

17. Paint a homemade Christmas card

18. Sing some carols

19. Make hot cocoa and a bowl of popcorn

20. Christmas dinner out with friends!

21. Go and cut down our Christmas tree! Decorate tree.

22. Christmas potluck with good friends

23. Family arrives. Share an eggnog (mixed with rum for the older kiddies?)

24. Prepare snacks for Santa and the reindeer; Christmas Eve service at church

25. Celebrate family, love, happiness and peace

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Here Piggy, Piggy, Piggy

Is there anything better than pork? Honestly, I'm not sure. Maybe butter.

In my vegetarian days, I tried my best to shun the salty, fatty breakfasts of yore, reassuring myself that I was changing my diet for the greater good of our planet and food system.

Until I realized that it's not the pig I'm opposed to eating; it's actually the system in which the pig is raised. Our modern industrial farmlands (if you can call them "lands") raise pigs in a completely unnatural environment. The more I hear, the less I'm inclined to have anything to do with participating as a consumer in that system.

Which is why we purchase our piggie from Donegal Heritage Farms. The meat tastes far superior to anything I've ever tried from the grocery store. We also buy lamb and the occasional dozen eggs from Donegal - oh my little lamb, where have you been all my life?

To use up some ham we ate the other night, I threw together this lovely soup. Not surprisingly, the whole family gobbled it up!

Creamy Ham and Rice Soup

2 tbsp butter (or pork fat...mmmmm)
1 shallot, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of carrots, chopped thinly
1/2 tsp dried dill (or fresh if it's available)
1 cup chopped cooked ham
2 cups cooked rice
4 cups stock (anything but beef)
1 cup heavy cream (to lighten this up, I used 1/4 cup heavy cream and 3/4 cup milk)
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in large saucepan. Saute shallot and garlic for 5 minutes until soft. Throw in carrots, dill, ham and rice. Stir and coat. Add the stock. Bring the whole thing to a boil, and then let simmer for 25-30 minutes. Add 1 cup of cream and season with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh bread!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Just Write

When you're staring at a blank page with serious writer's block, the best advice given is usually:

Just write. Write about anything. What's your dog doing right now? How messy is your kitchen? What's the weather like outside?

It's windy, actually. Sometimes I worry about the giant tree in our front yard uprooting in the wind and crushing us in our beds. Just, you know....the normal, everyday worries we have as mothers. Oh, and fires. I worry a lot about fires. And what about Radon? Apparently we should all be testing our house for radon levels, but do you think I've managed to get out at any point in the last two years to purchase a testing kit?

So there you have it. Writer's block banished by anxiety-ridden commentary.

I haven't written anything of significance in over a year on this blog, mainly because I think I've lost my mojo. I often feel as though bloggers write for attention (look at me! I'm special! And my house is clean!!), but I've recently been reminded that the majority of us write because we love to write. To share, to tell stories, and to reach out to others in this lonely world. And given that all of my other creative hobbies are sitting in dust (my piano, guitar, paints, canvases), the least I can do is write. There's always something left to say.

So I'm coming back. I don't know what you'll find on this blog, but I hope it will be a welcome creative outlet for a frazzled mama.

Which reminds me of a song....