Friday, December 17, 2004

A flurry of preparations

So Advent is the season of preparation for Christmas, or, in Godly Play language, the time of getting ready to enter the mystery of Christmas. The church focus is that it's a time of reflection, quiet, simplicity. A sort of "clearing the decks" for the celebration of Christ coming as a human to be among us. For me this year that apparently means that I don't do any Christmas preparations!

Well, not quite, but I did realize yesterday that my reluctance to get the Christmas stuff out is because I have to declutter in order to add Stuff. OUT! go the magazines I've been meaning to recycle. OUT! go the newspapers that have piled up. PUT AWAY! go the various things that have found a resting place in the living room but really belong elsewhere. BACK! to the library go the neglected and finished books (to be replaced with fresh library book and our collection of books for and about Advent, Las Posadas, Christmas, Three Kings, and Epiphany). AWAY! go the papers to be filed. I also swept every nook and cranny, and will probably have the boys dustmop and also dust with our fun static dusters. AWAY! will also go the contents of some boxes I've been ignoring.

Then I'll be ready to put out various Christmas and winter decorations, and pin the stockings to the bedroom doors -- just like my parents did when I was little. Put the electric candles in the windows. Fix up the strands of multicolored lights along the tops of the kitchen cupboards (they're soooo pretty at night, lighting the lower edge of the cathedral ceiling that lifts away from the kitchen end of the main living area). Tomorrow we'll buy our tree, just a couple of days later than usual, and put it up on Sunday.

Right now, though, it's time to check on the bread I'm making for our parish Advent Quiet Day soup-and-bread lunch today. Most of today will be devoted to dropping in on the meditations, attending the Eucharist and lunch, taking Son2 to school a couple of blocks away, and returning for prayer stations based on the Great O Antiphons of Advent, and the final meditation time. A still, quiet break in the midst of busy-ness and deadlines (gotta order those gifts for the nieces and nephews TODAY) (gotta address the Christmas cards and make a decision on whether to write a Christmas letter) (etc.). Stillness. Quiet. Maybe the contrast is enough to be my Advent season.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Monday, December 06, 2004

Happy St Nicholas Day, and cookies

Today, December 6, is Saint Nicholas Day. I always want to put some sweets and cookies in my sons' shoes the night before (wrapped up or something of course -- eeew!), but don't actually do it. Today I'm planning to make cookies, though!

We already have some flour resident on the counter. I made biscuits last night to go with dinner, and yielded to the boys' request to have some flour to stir. They measured out a cup of flour each into their own bowls, commenced with stirring, and then began to request various additions. Cinnamon, ground cloves, salt, dry milk, baking powder, and I added some cardamom and ginger -- and we smelled everything before adding it to their bowls. They stirred their flour mixtures and played with it in the bowls... and after I got my biscuits in the oven they received permission to dump their flour on the counter. Woohoo! They spent the next 45 minutes, I think, pushing their flour around, making shapes, making roads, using their spoons and the biscuit cutter to do stuff. They got the okay to leave their flour until this afternoon; I amazed myself by being okay with that.

Son2 (nearly 5) has revisited his flour pile this morning. He spent some time filling the biscuit cutter to the handle, lifting the biscuit cutter, and declaring, "Volcano!" as the flour slumped down. Heeheehee! -- very fun. He even swept up a bit of a flour spill with our little brush and dustpan.

After school I hope to have a plan for making some cookies. Probably some sugar cookie recipe with spices added. Cookies are a lot easier when the kids make whatever they want and put it on the pans themselves -- and I put the dough in the fridge when I want to stop. Yay! The end of the tyranny of the multi-batch dough! Normally I completely avoid making cookies because the baking takes forever (whine, whine), but it seems doable this year. Maybe we can make shortbread sometime. We will definitely make biscotti for teacher gifts -- it's very easy and yummy, and went really well last year.

After today's cookie making, we will need to wipe up the (finished concrete) floor to actually get ALL of the flour up. Very easy for kids to do, so I am happy :)

MUSIC: Xmas music currently playing
A local radio station that's playing all Christmas music until Christmas. I can't find my Roches Christmas CD :(

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