Saturday, December 22, 2012

Candy canes, Christmas lights, Chex Mix and a shipping container

Been kinda busy....but a good busy.

I read The Candymaker's Gift by David and Helen Haidle to the kids on day 19.  We also made little "candy cane" ornaments using red pipe cleaners and red and white pony beads.  Abbie really enjoyed making them. 

Thursday night {day 20} we drove around looking at Christmas lights. It was such fun. There are now a lot of round-abouts on the roadways in Washington. Eric had our heads spinning 'round and 'round as he went 'round and 'round.
There is a house that goes all out with lights and Trans-Siberian Orchestra playing, but we couldn't find that house this year.  There were lots of other houses to oooh and ahhh over.

Friday nights in our home are often our family movie night. We thought we'd watch a Christmas movie for our day 21.  We couldn't decide between White Christmas or It's a Wonderful Life, {neither would hold the attention of the Littles} so we decided to watch a few episodes of Get Smart. {oddly enough, that does hold the Littles' attention.} Not very Christmasy, but very funny.  We laughed out loud and enjoyed munching on Chex Mix and having a cozy fire to warm the downstairs! {It's a chilly 40º.}

Today we gave a bit of ourselves.  A sweet family in our church has moved here from Germany.  Their shipping container with ALL of their belongings was to arrive yesterday afternoon.   They boys drove to their house and waited with others to help unload it.  This huge 40' container must be unloaded in only 2 hours.  After that time, they are charged by the hour.   However, the truck was stuck in traffic so it didn't arrive until late last night.  Since that was no fault of our friends, they were allowed to have it through the weekend with no extra fees.  All the helpers headed home and returned early this morning.  They hustled and unloaded it within 3 hours amidst rain drops.  Our family also provided a simple, but satisfying meal for them.  I remember how hairy moving day can be.  A homemade meal is such a blessing.  One can only handle so much take-out pizza!

Tomorrow, after church, we are making gifts for the neighbors for our day 23 Advent activity.  I found a recipe for Cardamom Cake and it is really yummy.  We will make mini bundts, place them on a small, red paper plate and wrap with cute Christmas cellophane.   I will also be making lots of mashed potatoes for Varenyky!

Here's the recipe for the Orange Cardamom Cake

3 cups + 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1-3/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
2/3 cup oil
1 Tbsp. grated orange rind
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs

1 c. powdered sugar
4-1/2 tsp. fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. To prepare cake, coat a 10" tube or Bundt pan with Pam spray; dust with 1 Tbsp. flour. Set aside.

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in center of mixture. Add 3/4 c. orange juice, oil, orange rind, lemon rind, vanilla and eggs to flour mixture, beat with a mixer at low speed until well combined, scrapping sides of bowl.

4. Spoon batter into prepared cake pan, spreading evenly. Bake at 350º for 55 minutes or until tests done with toothpick. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan.
Cool completely on a wire rack.

5. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, orange juice, and lemon juice in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.   Place the cake on your desired serving plate or cake stand;
Drizzle glaze over warm cake.


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