Thursday, December 13, 2007

Nearly Christmas!

An inch of snow on Monday brought traffic to a halt all over the valley. I'm so glad I have a job that lets me to choose when and where I go. I was able to stay home until the snow had melted off the roads. It’s been very cold this week, not getting much above 32F. So even though Monday’s snow melted off the roads and sunnier areas, it’s still hanging around in the shadows, including on our front deck. More fell tonight, but only a sugar-dusting.

We’re getting ready for our big Solstice party next weekend. It could be a big crowd this year – eek! So this weekend I’m cleaning and baking. Hubby is playing a music gig on Saturday night, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to go, unless I get most of the cleaning done. On Sunday morning we’ll put up the tree, then I plan to spend at least half the day baking cookies. These are a family favorite, Kourabeides. They’re like Mexican Wedding Cakes, but take 45 minutes in the oven, which makes them really melt-in-your-mouth. The long baking time also means it takes a while to do a double batch, which is usually what I need.

Last Saturday I made two evergreen wreaths, one for us and another for my sister. I cut three kinds of juniper and some wild rose hips, and wired them onto dried grapevine wreath forms. One juniper grows wild in the area. It has lots of bluish berries on spreading stems, so I use that around the edge. Another is darker green with berries, so I put that in the middle, then fronds of a grayish-blue low-growing one as an inner ring. The rose hips I put at intervals around the ring. I hadn’t used the dried grapevine forms before this year, but they worked well. I also bought fake cardinal birds to wire on as an accent. They turned out pretty nice, if I do say so! For ours, I bought a set of battery-powered LED white lights to wrap around it.

My sister and I spent most of last Sunday at her house, baking the other favorite family cookie, date-walnut-spice cutouts. Hubby came along and watched a movie while keeping my sister’s 2 ½ year old busy. We enjoy making them, but the process can be a bit fraught. As soon as you’ve got the cookies off the baking sheet, one person has to be ready to spread the icing, and someone else has to shake the colored sprinkles on before the icing sets. At least those cookies only take 8-10 minutes in the oven, so you get through a double batch pretty quickly.

Our last Scottish Country Dance class of 2007 was Monday night. Everyone brought goodies and we danced to Christmas carols played by an accordion band on a new CD I bought. It was lots of fun. I think the class is doing really well. We’ve added some great new folks this Fall, and I hope they continue to come to class. It seems a long time until we start up again – January 28! That’s because most of January is taken up with rehearsals for the big Burns Night dinner we perform at every year. This year it’s at the Riverside Doubletree Inn, where hubby and I spent our wedding night. They have a wonderful ballroom – so it should be quite a special evening – I hope!

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