We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~Isaiah 64:8

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Twelve Days of Christmas







images of the Twelve Days on stamps around the world


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Friday, December 19, 2008

7 Quick Takes: Dec 19th

Join the fun at Jen's blog, Conversion Diary.

One
This past weekend I traveled to my mom's home in Virginia Beach and helped her move out. She and my dad are divorcing after over 40 years. That is weird, I must tell you. Without going into the details, I will say that life's hardships have taken a serious toll on their relationship. My Dad came over and helped with the move. They were more than cordial - friendly, actually. That is weird, too. But good. Many of my mom's friends came to help and quite a few of them mentioned how much happier she's been in the last few weeks (when the house sold and she found her new place)...happier than she's been over the past 4 years that this divorce has been coming.

Two
My house is STILL not decorated. I've got my St. Nick decorations up from that celebration, and some advent calendars...and an under-used Advent wreath...but nothing else. We won't be here for Christmas, so we aren't putting up a tree this year (not my choice). Usually I do lots of decorating on Gaudete Sunday - but I wasn't here, so it didn't get done. It wasn't really bugging me until now. I think I have to decorate...which seems silly when we won't even be here to enjoy it. What do you think - should I or shouldn't I?

Three
I've started some new crochet projects (a scarf to go with a cute hat I rediscovered and a hat/scarf set for my 6 year old daughter). I've still got some to finish, of course, but new is always so much fun. I love crocheting because it gives me something relaxing and productive to do during those "in between moments": when you have too much time to waste, but not enough to get a big job done.

Four
Today we met our Dear Neighbors (formerly neighbors, still dear) at the MALL for an "annual" Christmas trip. My friend, Dear Neighbor, informed me a couple of weeks ago, that we did not go last year (so this would be our first annual, when I thought it was our second annual at least)...I could swear we did, so either I'm losing it or she is. Do you think it is strange that our kids view a trip to the Mall as a wonderful event? Dear Neighbor and I do, but we are so glad they are "unplugged" enough that this is still a fascinating day for them. We had a nice lunch and saw Santa...this is where it gets really good...but wait, that is number five...

Five
You may remember that Dear Neighbor has a daughter, now 2 1/2, who was adopted from China about 18 months ago. Well, the Santa at the mall started speaking in Mandarin to her...and SHE UNDERSTOOD. She didn't reply (she's still a babbling toddler after all), but she responded directly to his request to "Come here" in Mandarin. So often Dear Neighbor laughs about people asking, "Does she speak Chinese?" Because, of course, she's growing up in America with an English-speaking family, so she speaks English. However, it seems her 9 months of life in China has cemented some Mandarin in her brain. It was almost eerie how clearly she responded to him. Amazing.

Six
So, are you wondering like we were - How does a "Santa's Helper" guy know Mandarin? Turns out he was missionary kid who grew up in Guangdong Province, China and lived in Hong King for years as an adult. I told Dear Neighbor that she should let her friends in the local China adoption community know about him - their kids might really enjoy meeting him. Her daughter seemed to really warm up to him after he spoke to her in Mandarin.

Seven
Not one to pass up a bookstore, before leaving the mall we made a trip through the Barnes and Noble. My two little Webkins addicts found another new crochet project for me...amigurumi. Have you heard of these? They are pretty darn cute...but thinking about making them kind of makes my head hurt. We bought the book, but I'm wondering about other patterns for these little creatures. If you have a good link, let me know!


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Friday, December 12, 2008

St. Lucia Bread

We enjoy celebrating the Swedish custom of St. Lucia (or St. Lucy) Day. One of my favorite parts is baking the delicious saffron buns that are traditionally served on St. Lucia's Day. I make mine using my breadmaker and then handshape and bake. They really aren't hard, want to give it a try?

The following recipe comes from The All New Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook:

Add the ingredients in the order specified in your bread machine's manual. (Mine is wet first, then dry, then yeast)


Liquids:
3/4 c. plus 2 T milk
1 lg. egg

Dry:
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1/3 c. granulated white sugar
1/4 tsp powdered saffron (if you can only find saffron in "threads", just pulverize these as best you can then measure out 1/4 tsp. A trick I just learned is to use a bit of sugar as you pulverize with your mortar and pestle.)
3 T unsalted butter

Yeast:
2 1/4 fast-rise yeast

Place all in a 2-cup capacity breadmaker and set on "dough". At the end of the rise, punch down the dough and let rest 5 minutes before hand-shaping.

To handshape:
Lightly sprinkle work surface with flour. Divide dough into equal peices: 2 for 2 large breads, 4 for small breads, 6 to 8 for smaller buns. Lightly sprinkle with flour. Dampen hands and roll each piece into a rope. (18 inches for the 2 large pieces, 9 inches for the 4 pieces, etc.)

Lay a rope on a lightly-greased baking sheet. Curl each end, toward the center, into a coil. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush bread with egg wash (1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water). Bake for approx. 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a rack.

This bread freezes well and is excellent served toasted with orange marmalade. (We serve small buns on St. Lucy's Day and freeze a larger bread for Christmas morning.)


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7 Quick Takes - Dec. 12th

Read other bloggers' "Quick Takes" at Jen's blog.

A glimpse of life this past week...

1. Yesterday, we spent the day rearranging my daughter's room to accommodate her new sister. We don't have the crib in yet (it's coming on loan from a friend), so instead we slipped a pack&play in it's spot. Cleared out half the closet and drawers (some of the clothes are being given away and some were moved to an under-the-bed bin), too. Moved a desk in to act as a "bedside table" for both girls...and as a desk.


2. Do you love moving furniture around like I do? My daughter is her mother's daughter...she said, "It just makes everything seem new!" My husband isn't so enthusiastic. Once I start in one room, I tend to keep moving rooms around until I've changed up the whole house. I do have my eye on some changes for the kitchen, study, and our bedroom.


3. Could this be nesting? I wondered yesterday if nesting is more an instinct based on situation than hormones. There is a certain satisfaction in seeing the closet fill up a bit with clothes, blankets, bottles, etc. It certainly helps as an adoptive mom when I can't see other evidence of our pending addition.


4. My cat is two-timing us - I think she has a second home! Yesterday, I saw a cat sitting in the window of a neighbor's house that looked exactly like her...and our cat was mysteriously missing ALL DAY. She's also getting fat (which will happen when you eat double your daily meals). But, she's back home this morning.... very interesting.





5. One of my favorite things to do to keep the kids occupied during the weeks before Christmas is to create a "craft box". My kids love to do crafts and all I have to do is keep the box handy and they'll go to town. After a quick trip to the Arts & Crafts store, I am armed and ready with glitter, foamies, felt, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, and such! Bring on the "I'm bored" comments!



6. Our Wednesday co-op (Classical Conversations) is over for the semester. It is tempting to just ditch school for the next few weeks and do fun Christmas stuff. But I'm trying not to entirely give in to that temptation. While I do want to do fun Christmas stuff, I also want to get some math and phonics/grammar done...and some history reading we are a bit behind in. I also have next semester's History and Science plans to complete.

7. Made croutons for Christmas gifts this year. I wasn't sure if it was odd to give croutons, what do you think? Would you think it odd to get a jar of homemade croutons? Well, anyway - the first batch was received with enthusiasm, so I guess if it is weird, it is also appreciated.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Russian Tea Mix

Looking for "Mix-in-a-jar" recipe for Christmas gifts? This one is always loved: Russian Tea Mix. The spicy-orangey flavor is delicious! My kids helped mix this and everyone who received it begged for more.

3 c sugar
2 c Tang (or other orange-flavored drink mix)
1 c unsweetened instant tea mix
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 envelope unsweetened lemonade mix

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container. Mason jars work well and make for nice gift-giving. To serve: put 1 1/2 to 2 rounded spoonfuls of mix into a cup and fill with boiling water. Stir well. (Don't forget to include the serving instructions on your gift jar!)


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Monday, December 8, 2008

Erikson's Glogg

Svenska Glogg (or Swedish Mulled Wine) is a traditional Swedish drink for the Christmas season and no wonder - boy, will it chase away the chilly weather! It is a very potent spiced wine - served warm.

There are many different recipes for Glogg. Hubby's family's version takes two types of port wine, brandy, and vodka - and of course lots of spices. This one (the one we used last year and decided we liked equally as well) is a bit less alcoholic, but every bit as wonderful! I'm calling it "Erikson's Glogg" - because my kids are Erik's sons...and someday perhaps this will be their family recipe for Glogg.

Erikson's Glogg
1 large bottle red wine
1 reg. bottle port wine
10 cardamom pods, gently cracked
small handful of cloves (10 or so)
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1 T whole allspice
1/2 c (or more) of sugar (more or less to taste - depending on your wine)
Handfuls of almonds and raisins.
1 orange cut in half

Place the spices (cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, allspice) in a loosely-tied cheesecloth bundle. Combine the wine and the spice bundle in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir in 1/2 c of the sugar, carefully tasting to determine if it needs more. Continue adding by 1/4 cup fulls until it the wine tannins are smoothed out, but not too sweet. Toss in almonds and raisins (one or two handfuls of each). Float the orange halves in the glogg. Continue simmering the mixture slowly for 15 minutes.

At this point you can cool it off and store it, or go ahead and serve.

Before serving it is traditional to put a splash of Aquavit in the pot (or vodka) (or more - depending on your perferences) and light the glogg. Be VERY CAREFUL doing this...we've never had a problem, but it is fire, people! The floating almonds will sizzle and the flamed glogg mellows. (It also reduces the alcohol content a bit.) We turn down the lights and everyone gathers around when the pot is lit. The kids think it is wonderful!

Serve this in mugs - and be sure each glass gets a few of the almonds and raisins. (We serve with a spoon so we can dig these out of the bottom of the glass.) This is perfect to enjoy after the kids are in bed on Christmas Eve...in a darkened room with just the Christmas tree lights on. Very relaxing!

Interested in more Christmas recipes? Come back tomorrow, I'll post more of my favorites! Also, check out Randi's Holiday Recipe Swapbox!

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Celebrating Saint Lucia Day

In the days of early Christian persecution, St. Lucia is said to have carried food to Christians hiding in dark underground tunnels. To light the way she wore a wreath of candles on her head. Spurning marriage and worldly goods, she vowed to remain a virgin in the tradition of St. Agatha. An angry suitor reported her to the local Roman authorities, she was sentenced to death, and subsequently she became a martyr.

St. Lucia Day is celebrated on December 13th. In Scandinavia, a young girl in each family is awakened early in the morning, dressed in a white robe with a red ribbon around the waist and crowned with a circle of candles. Her duty is to bring breakfast to her family. Special sweet buns flavored with saffron are served.

Because her name means “light”, she is a special saint to the Swedes who have a very long, dark winter. She is often called the “Queen of Light”.

We choose to honor her since she represents two of the heritages in our family: Italian and Swedish. (Since she is an Italian saint who is especially celebrated by the Swedes.) And she also represents how living a sacrificial life allows Christ’s light to shine through us.

Last year was the first FULL celebration of St. Lucy's Day with my daughter acting as St. Lucy by delivering goodies in the wee hours of the morning to her brothers and father.

Have you considered celebrating St. Lucy's day on December 13th? Last year I posted my favorite recipe for St. Lucy's Buns...here is a repost of that:

St. Lucy's Buns: saffron-scented buns in the shape of an "S".


Swedish Saffron bread (or Saint Lucy's Bread) is one of my favorite Christmas treats. I love the smell of the saffron and the gorgeous golden color! In fact, I've got this year's first batch in the breadmaker right now! So, I thought while I wait, I'd post the recipe I use. The dough is made in the breadmaker and then shaped and risen a second time on cookie sheets.

The following recipe comes from The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook :

Add the ingredients in the order specified in your bread machine's manual. (Mine is wet first, then dry, then yeast)

Liquids:
3/4 c. plus 2 T milk
1 lg. egg

Dry:
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1/3 c. granulated white sugar
1/4 tsp powdered saffron (if you can only find saffron in "threads", just pulverize these as best you can then measure out 1/4 tsp. A trick I just learned is to use a bit of sugar as you pulverize with your mortar and pestle.)
3 T unsalted butter

Yeast:
2 1/4 fast-rise yeast

Place all in a 2-cup capacity breadmaker and set on "dough". At the end of the rise, punch down the dough and let rest 5 minutes before hand-shaping.

To handshape:
Lightly sprinkle work surface with flour. Divide dough into equal peices: 2 for 2 large breads, 4 for small breads, 6 to 8 for smaller buns. Lightly sprinkle with flour. Dampen hands and roll each piece into a rope. (18 inches for the 2 large pieces, 9 inches for the 4 pieces, etc.)

Lay a rope on a lightly-greased baking sheet. Curl each end, toward the center, into a coil. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush bread with egg wash (1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water). Bake for approx. 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a rack.

This bread freezes well and is excellent served toasted with orange marmalade. (We serve small buns on St. Lucy's Day and freeze a larger bread for Christmas morning.)


Instead of using a wreath with real candles (or investing in an electric one), you may wish to substitute a lovely paper St. Lucy crown. No time to make the saffron buns? Subsitute muffins or another favorite breakfast bread.

Want to do more to celebrate St. Lucy's day? Consider an Italian feast for dinner (she was a Roman martyr). Traditional straw ornaments (St. Lucy is often associated with wheat and Scandinavians love to decorate with straw at Christmas) make a lovely addition to your tree - or on their own small tree. Here are some other ideas from various countries. A nice book to share more about these traditions is Kirsten's Surprise in the American Girls series.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rethinking the Christimas Craze

Sometimes I get irritated with the mad push for Christmas.

The local Christian radio station started playing Christmas music last week. The stores have pulled out all the holiday merchandise and the city decorations have begun to appear. Why can’t we wait for the holiday to arrive before we celebrate it?

This is a bit of a cliché gripe, I know. Everyone loves complaining about how early the Christmas rush begins. I love complaining about it, too. It is an easy shot to take and does make us feel a bit "superior". But there is something truly symptomatic in it, isn't there?

All this craziness seems to me to reflect the spiritual state of our culture. Despite what we may hear and read, I believe the Christmas Craze is evidence of the desire for spiritual fulfillment for believer and non-believer alike: the coming of the Savior. We are anxious for the future: both near (Christmas) and distant (Second Coming). It is so tempting to begin the celebrations early! This is not an altogether bad desire – it reveals the Christian's hope. However, it does become a distraction when it overshadows the work that must be done before both those long-awaited days of the Savior's appearance. Both of these events require seasons of preparation – Advent. To skip these might leave us unready to fully welcome the Savior.

In the past, I’ve found myself trying so hard to avoid all Christmas celebrations until Christmas was really here. I was determined to observe a good Advent season. Our culture makes this almost impossible – and in fact it was for me. But, now I’m not sure this is really necessary or preferable. I still maintain that a thoughtful Advent observance heightens the celebration of Christmas; however, Advent can be enhanced by appreciating a taste of the joy awaiting us. It awakens our hearts a bit and makes them yearn even more for the end of Advent, both the seasonal and the eternal!

My family will continue our usual Advent traditions, maintaining our focus on this season of preparation. However, we’ll also enjoy those moments of festivity knowing that the full celebration is yet to come and allowing the yearning for that celebration to grow! And instead of griping about the premature and over-the-top Christmas celebrations, I’m going to focus on being thankful for this proof of the desires deep in the hearts of us all.

Friday, December 5, 2008

7 Quick Takes

Jen at Et Tu? (Or Conversion Diary) has started a Friday Meme called "7 Quick Takes". I love the simplicity...the no-themed nature of it...the freedom!

1. My hubbie has quit drinking coffee. We used to share a nice pot of french-pressed coffee each morning and I miss that. However, he has started making a pot of 1/2 caf. on Friday mornings to share with me. Isn't that sweet?

2. Most days (now that we aren't sharing that pot of coffee - it is too big to make just one cup) I drink tea -Chai and Constant Comment are my favorite. I'm not sure which I love more coffee or tea.

3. Adoption is a funny thing. People you don't know tell you to fill out forms you don't understand. And you do it. And you give them money to go with those forms. And waiting becomes a way of life - even if you don't do it gracefully.

4. My morning habits have gotten ridiculously slack. I've determined that I am going to get my mornings in order. No more starting school at 9 or 10 nor starting it in my robe. No more reading emails and blogs until the kids wake and force me to feed them. Yes, I am making some changes, but probably not today.

5. I am starting to consider all those "new mommy" decision: which formula is best?, should I make baby food myself?, cloth or disposable? It is kind of odd making some of these, for example, I never had to choose a forumula before and boy, are there a LOT of choices. I think I'm going with Nature's Own brand called "Baby's Own". Last night I spent about an hour on Amazon looking at different baby food-making books my choices: Mommy Made and Daddy, too (I've used this one before) and Super Baby Food. Still haven't decided about cloth or disposable. I used a cloth diaper service with my first and then ditched them for disposable when I had my other two babies. I'm really not sure which I'll chose there - anyone have any words of advice?

6. Have you heard the news about the new Anglican Communion in North America? Wow! Amazing - I can hardly believe it is true. Can't wait to "get the skinny" from our priest (who attended the meeting and worship service).

7. Tomorrow is St. Nicholas Day. I can't wait to surprise my family with some fun gifts and a lovely breakfast. I have a few last little things to pick up - groceries to buy - decorations to put out. I'm so thankful that we have instituted this day of celebration...we get Santa out of the way early and that is a good thing. And it takes a bit of the edge off the excitement to have these little mini-celebrations during Advent. Are you celebrating St. Nick's day?

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A second photo, our travel shots, and an APPROVAL!

Well, it has been another banner week!

Friday, we went to Carolina Passport Health, which is a privately-operated clinic for travel health needs (vaccinations, medications, etc), to get all the immunizations we need for travel to Ghana. With my recent travel to China, I'd had many of the ones I'd need (Hep A, Hep B, Typhoid, Tetanus booster), but there were others I had to have and of course Erik needed some, too. We each got 5 shots (Me: Hep A & Hep B- had to finish the series and Erik: Hep A & Hep B -his first in the series; then we both had: Yellow Fever, Polio booster, Meningitis). OUCH! Erik is also taking Typhoid pills (last of 4 pills is taken tomorrow). We will both need to take Malarial medication before, during and after our travel.

Saturday, we got another photo of Lydia - this time awake (I'll post another "eyes" photo shortly). Wow - that was a wonderful surprise. I really didn't think we'd get another photo until we took one ourself. :)

And then today, we got an email that our i600a (Immigration pre-approval) approval is complete and in the mail! We were not expecting that for another couple of weeks at the least, so that is really wonderful news.

Now we just need to get her court date set. :) Still waiting on word from Ghana on that.... Pray for it to be set soon - and for a date in early to mid December! That would mean we could travel in early January for the first trip and possibly have her home by early Feb!

A second photo, our travel shots, and an APPROVAL!

Well, it has been another banner week!

Friday, we went to Carolina Passport Health, which is a privately-operated clinic for travel health needs (vaccinations, medications, etc), to get all the immunizations we need for travel to Ghana. With my recent travel to China, I'd had many of the ones I'd need (Hep A, Hep B, Typhoid, Tetanus booster), but there were others I had to have and of course Erik needed some, too. We each got 5 shots (Me: Hep A & Hep B- had to finish the series and Erik: Hep A & Hep B -his first in the series; then we both had: Yellow Fever, Polio booster, Meningitis). OUCH! Erik is also taking Typhoid pills (last of 4 pills is taken tomorrow). We will both need to take Malarial medication before, during and after our travel.

Saturday, we got another photo of Lydia - this time awake (I'll post another "eyes" photo shortly). Wow - that was a wonderful surprise. I really didn't think we'd get another photo until we took one ourself. :)

And then today, we got an email that our i600a (Immigration pre-approval) approval is complete and in the mail! We were not expecting that for another couple of weeks at the least, so that is really wonderful news.

Now we just need to get her court date set. :) Still waiting on word from Ghana on that.... Pray for it to be set soon - and for a date in early to mid December! That would mean we could travel in early January for the first trip and possibly have her home by early Feb!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook - December 1st

For today, December 1st, 2008:

Outside my Window... Still damp from weekend rain and very, very cold (for NC - in the 30s)

I am thinking... about whether or not to sign my eldest up for Drama. He loves it, but with my soon-to-be-adopted daughter coming home soon I'm not sure how that will all work.

From the learning rooms... I need to spend some time today and tomorrow working on my Advent lesson plans.

I am thankful for... a second photo of my daughter in Africa

From the kitchen... a large, large pot of Turkey-Barley Soup

I am wearing... still my robe!

I am reading... "Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child" and "The Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother". I'm feeling a little obsessed about taking in all the info I can!

I am hoping... that my family (especially my hubby) will feel better today (colds!)

I am hearing... my cat purring loudly on my lap

Around the house... pulling out some Advent items and moving the Christmas boxes out to the garage so I can get to them easily as I need them during Advent.

One of my favorite things... Chai - think I'll have a second cup!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...

  • Getting ready for our St. Nick's Day celebration on Saturday, Dec 6th.

  • Picking up a borrowed crib.

  • Arranging some playdates for the kids.

You can read more posts (and more about the Daybook) here.


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Celebrating St. Nicholas Day!

Do you celebrate St. Nicholas Day? Wonder how or why someone celebrates St. Nicholas Day? Would you like to? It's not too late to put together a nice celebration - St. Nicholas Day is on Dec. 6th. (See some excellent book recommendations at the bottom of this post.)

We've begun celebrating St. Nicholas instead of mingling Santa and Jesus on Christmas day. This allows us the fun of "Santa" without it getting confused with the Birth of Christ. Not that you can't enjoy "Santa" on Christmas, but for us it was getting hard to keep our kids focused on Christ on Christmas. And the whole Santa kneeling at the manger - bleh, no, not for me.

Here is how we celebrated last year:

On St. Nicholas Eve, the children excitedly and carefully laid out their shoes by the fireplace for St. Nick to fill. And they left out a small plate of cookies and crackers, also. In the morning they found their shoes filled with a couple small gifts, sweet treats, and a chocolate santa (a tradition at our house). Even DH and I found our shoes had been laid out for us (by an elf, I presume) and filled with goodies and gifts! St. Nicholas left a few "family" gifts: MadLibs "Christmas", Angela and the Baby Jesus (a lovely, sweet book by Frank McCourt), and some much needed tempera paint.

Our favorite tradition is a true "feast" breakfast! We eat in the dining room with silver and Christmas china. The kids especially love the hot cocoa with a peppermint stick! Who wouldn't love that?

I do some special decorating, too. (We don't have any other Christmas decorations up at this point, so this is really special for the kids.) There are also some extra goodies from Mom and Dad waiting for the kids on the table. A small craft set, chocolate coins, and a fun pencil.

The kids enjoyed breakfast while I read from a little pamphlet about St. Nicholas. I highly recommend these little pamphlets entitled, "St. Nicholas, a Saint for Advent and Christmas" from Creative Communications for the Parish. They are written by Amy Wellbourn and are very inexpensive. I'd love to to buy loads of these and give them out early in Advent. Even if people opt to continue a Christmas eve visit from Santa, they could still celebrate his feast day!

At each place, there is also a nice little postcard with a vintage Santa image. These are our "secret santa" good deed cards. A good deed is done and the postcard left behind. The card recipient then does a good deed for someone else and leaves a card behind. We have 5 cards roaming around the house right now, which may be a bit much. I think 1 or 2 cards might suffice. You could use any card - homemade or otherwise. And, it wouldn't even have to be a Santa postcard - anything seasonal you like would do well!

The rest of the morning was spent enjoying the new books/toys and trying to do secret good deeds!

We ended the day watching a special from ETWN that was a better introduction to St. Nicholas, than most of the clay-mation "St. Nick" shows (even though I love these). They were a little over-dramatic, but the kids liked it and got the message - that Santa was a real man, a kind and brave bishop who loved Jesus.

Do you celebrate St. Nicholas Day? I'd love to hear about it! If you blog it, let me know and I'll link to your post.

Here are some book recommendations (see more at HERE):


(My favorite)






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