Sunday, December 10, 2017

It's Christmastime!

Certain things for some people signal the Christmas season is here.  It might be their first sip of egg nog or Black Friday shopping, but for me, it's the annual cookie exchange.  
We have our tree trimmed, the shopping is done and most of the gifts are wrapped, Christmas has been in full swing in our home, but now it really feels like it. 

This was the 7th annual cookie exchange hosted by my friend's daughter.  She has the gift of hospitality and she makes it so festive - with a lovely light appetizer table, tasty beverages, and festive Christmas music.

Mary was THRILLED to have a treat that was gluten free!  

The way cookie exchanges work is each person brings 6 dozen of the same cookie.  
Depending on how many guests there are will determine how many cookies from each platter you can take. You repeat going through the line taking the instructed amount until all the platters are empty and your personal tray is full.  😋

We brought these. "Frosted Peppermint Brownie Cookies".  I found the recipe on Pinterst, of course, and the kids say they are delicious!  

Malory's cookie exchange has just one rule - from scratch (no mixes, no plain chocolate chip, no "no bakes", no meringues, or bars.)  The result is such a beautiful assortment of cookies.

It was a festive and fun afternoon of fellowship!  I brought my camera along to get a few shots so I don't get too rusty.  😏 

How about you?  Is there any particular thing that makes it feel like Christmas to you?

. . . . .

Hannah has inspired me to take up my camera again  She mentioned to me that she is challenging herself to take a photo every day.  I told her how difficult I found the 365 challenge, but she suggested that maybe I found it hard because I had to take a photo of something specific, but she was just proposing taking a photo every day.  She paid me the biggest compliment too.  She said she saw such improvement in my photos while doing the challenge (or because of it.) 
So...maybe I'll try again, but no pressure!

Friday, December 8, 2017

In the bleak mid-winter

Recently Hannah played an offratory with a friend at church.  Both girls sang.  Emma played the piano, while Hannah played her ukulele. 

I love this song and thought you would enjoy. 
(Please forgive the awful video skills - it's a feature I am playing with on my camera, but do not know well. )

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

I feel so thankful for so many things, and one of those things is you - who still read this blog despite it being so neglected!  
I hope you had a very blessed Thanksgiving!

One of the things we do in preparation is make a traditional Ukrainian dish called Varenyky.  It was a tradition that Eric grew up with and he has such fond memories associated with it.  

It's a recipe that was handed down by the Grammy's.  Four generations in the kitchen laughing and talking while making a delicious dish to fill thankful tummies.

Mixing by hand makes it extra fun for the kids.  Eric has made this for all the holidays each year with the kids since Sarah was little.
He has the recipe memorized, but we've written it down since for the children.  And now even, Caleb, who lives on his own in Portland, makes it!

It's a labor of love.  They take a long time to make, but they are well worth the wait!

And this is where the stories get told, and the fond memories made

and the good talks are had... and the lines of who we are as a family get drawn a little deeper for each one.

So Varenyky is made from a simple egg noodle dough and filled with mashed potatoes.  We make a double batch because leftovers are where it's at!   A double batch calls for a 10 lb. bag of potatoes.
Over the years, I've gotten smarter and I make the mashed potatoes the day before. 
The secret ingredient in my mashed potatoes is Boursin cheese. SO GOOD!

Eric, being the sweetest man alive also decided to try a gluten free version just for Mary and me.

"Two thumbs way up" 

Our actual Thanksgiving day we spent with friends.  It's been a tradition for eighteen years.  I decided though, that I would just enjoy the day and live in the moment instead of trying to capture it with a camera. 😌

I have so much to be thankful for.  Everything in my life (the messy and the beautiful) is all good.  There are blessings everywhere, if I just have eyes to see them. 

Hope your Thanksgiving was warm and wonderful. 

- Carol

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Some crazy fun

What skater wouldn't love to find some smooth cement to skate on with not a car or pedestrian to worry about?   

So there's this thing called a "garage race".   You have to know someone who knows someone who's on the inside to get the info on when and where.   They are usually impromptu without much notice.  

But guess what?  Eric, Hannah and I recently went to one.   It was kinda far away (an hour)
and it didn't start until 9:30 pm - which by then, I am definitely winding down - but I was intrigued and wanted the challenge of a night time shoot.
I was completely discouraged by my lack of ability and knowledge on how to trouble-shoot to get the lighting I wanted without using a flash, but I'm going to post the pictures I got anyway because it was a super fun night.

Hannah always wears her fairy wings.  You can read about that here.  Most of the skaters now know her as @thatskatefairy.

She was happy with the smooth, clear space to practice some longboard dancing.

He is just happy to skate period.

Hannah initially only planned to practice her longboard dancing, but she went down all six levels and by the look on her face... she is hooked!

These two have such an adventurous spirit.  Me - not so much.  Maybe it comes from being a mom, or maybe I just don't want to get hurt! or maybe God just made me the voice of reason in our marriage 😉 While I may not be an adrenaline junky, I do love to watch them...and take pictures.

- Carol