Monday, December 1, 2014

It's Finally December!

So excited.  November took far too long!  Course I started decorating the house and setting up our smaller tree already.  In my family, it's tradition to set up the tree the day or weekend after Thanksgiving.  The tradition is not lost on me.  Winter decorations up!

You know, in the past, I was excited for Christmas.  I was excited for Yule, but not nearly as excited as I am now that I have children.  The holidays in my family have always been centered around the kids.  For as long as I can remember.  There's not much emphasis on Christ.  My family are a mixed faith, various Christians, Roman Catholics, Agnostics, Atheists, and Pagan.  Some folks focused on the religious aspects and some didn't.  Which I think it fine.

 If you want to keep Christ in Christmas, do your thing.  After all doesn't it roughly mean the mass of Christ, or something?  It's CHRISTmas.  If you celebrate Christmas out of tradition, and it has very little to do with Christ, do your thing.  People have their own reasons--hopefully it's not an obligation that you don't really enjoy.  Do what you enjoy.  Don't celebrate it if it makes you happy.  Celebrate life and family.  Too much drama this time of year.  Too much arguing, entitlement, and ignorance.

Not in this household!

In our house, we celebrate Yule/Winter Solstice.  We have a log, a tree, much of the same universal winter decorations, Pagan symbols associated with Yule (Stag, Wolf, Robin, Wren, Pentacles, Suns, Snow, etc).  We have a small feast with seasonal foods and beverages.  I make a Yule Log--not a traditional log, as I've yet to learn how to roll sponge cake.  Although I was watching Holiday...Baking Championship, or something, on Food Network (<3 that channel!), instead of watching The Walking Dead.  Season finale and I just didn't care, which is weird because I love that show and have watched every episode this season. Nope, I wanted to watch holiday baking.  I love those shows....I love artistic cakes, cupcakes, and all that.

Anyway, according to the show, Yule Logs are a staple of many winter feasts.  They weren't in my family.  Never knew about that type of cake until I started researching Yule more.  I basically make a 2 halves of a circular-ish cake with a filling (put the two halves together), then decorate it to look like a log or a stump, depending on which I'm in the mood for (made me happy when I saw two of the competitors making stumps last night).  But the show last night, gave me inspiration for my Yule Log this year.

This year, we're inviting family to our house for Yule.  On Christmas we normally have three stops.  This year, all of that running around isn't happening.  We're having Yule at our house on Sunday, December 21st, then having Christmas at my mom's.  It ain't easy with a toddler and a baby.  Especially a toddler who loves his grandparents and hates leaving them.  Not doing that three times in one day!  Just going to do the gift exchange and dinner at our house.

I plan on making a nice dinner.  I wanted deer, but weren't lucky enough to get any meat :/  .  I don't want to make turkey, chicken, or ham.  I really want lamb, but in the books that I've read, lamb's not associated with Yule.  I kinda want to make a stew with beans, potatoes, carrots, and leeks.  But I can't figure out the meat.  Maybe I'll see if I can get boar--I know, I know, I said I didn't want ham, but it's boar.  Slightly different, right?  ;-)

Course, now I'm leaning towards a rabbit stew....

I may need to crack open the ole family recipe book for this one.  See what my hillbillies ancestors got.  I want something simple and rustic this year.  I want this meal to be associated with Artemis because in my family, it's traditional to use the meat, fruit, and vegetables that you harvested for the fall and winter holidays.  It's a tradition that's unfortunately losing steam with this modern age, but I want to try to keep it going.  For me, Artemis is an important part of that.  I'll be decorating our table a deer antlers that I associate with Her, too.

Then I'm making an almond Yule Log or Stump (make it look like birch, for the non-chocolate/peppermint lovers in the family), and White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake.  A spinach, cranberry, raspberry, chicken, and goat cheese salad.  For the drinks, wine, peppermint hot chocolate, and blackberry cider.  Still have plenty of time to figure out this meat conundrum.


As for our tree, we weren't going to be able to afford an artificial tree, so I was going to do one of those abstract modern wall trees, made with a string of lights, some homemade ornaments, and a sun topper that Lycan was going to help me with.  Last night, my step mom surprised me with a 4 foot, prelit tree.  How awesome is that?  Effin sweet.  So we have our little 12 inch tree sitting on the kitchen table and now this 4 footer that I'm going to put on our coffee table  (it's pushed back against the wall).  I really want to put it in front of a window (tradition) but that might not happen....although I'm inspired, so maybe....  Nah, it's happening.

I'm going to get or make a beaded garland to look like red berries and make a Sun tree topper from a foam ball, feathers, and spray paint.  Already have a start on the ornaments.  Most of them are finished--just finished the 'First Yule' ornaments for Vin and Lycan last night.  Plus I have to make edible ornaments for the birds and squirrels (peanut butter seed logs; cheerio, popcorn, and dried berry garlands, etc).

For the grandparents 
Wasn't east getting these prints!  lol

The cousins are either getting toys or board books.  And everyone else are getting baked goods, which I don't really want to make.....I suck at baking cookies.  But I'm going to try tips from friends, so hopefully they'll actually be cookies this year, instead of melted puddles.  It's weird, i used to be a beast at baking cookies.  I don't know what happened?

The only thing Vin needs is his To Wear gift.  Then we're done with the boys, minus one more gift for Lycan's birthday.

After Yule and Christmas, comes Lycan's birthday, Sunday December 28th.  The big 0-2.  I'm so excited because it's going to be Paw Patrol themed!

I can understand why my mom bought us lots of gifts for Christmas now.  She's a giver.  And she loves to see our joy.  As of now, the kids are only getting 4 gifts for Yule: Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.  I'm so excited to see their reaction--well mainly Lycan because to Vin it's just going to be stuff, but he might be interested in the paper.  He loves textures and sounds right now.  Kept that in mind when we got his book and toy.

Most of my excitement comes from the anticipation of the boys opening their gifts.  Lycan's getting so many vehicles this year that he's not going to know what to do with himself!

Still have lots to plan and to do though.

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