Friday, 13 December 2013

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 19

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Last year, when we moved out of our college accommodation, we donated/gave away a lot of our things, including all of our generic Christmas decorations. Now we’re in the position of having Christmas away from our families, so I’m trying to jolly up the house (and our moods) by making things here as nice as possible, without wanting to spend the cash we don’t have on replacing all the generic stuff we don’t want to keep. Solution – diy Christmas decor using things commonly found in the house (or: Kindergarten craft time). So far I’ve made 31 paper snowflakes to decorate the windows with and two popcorn strings for the tree. Making the popcorn strings, with Walter’s help, was the best. He kept raiding the bowl of popcorn, taking one piece, and going “mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm” very loudly as he ran away.

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I’m sure I’ve mentioned how much I dislike baking. So much about it bothers me – the mess, the finickyness, the patience required... of course I still bake things, but my preferred recipes are of the no fuss, little effort variety. Thus I thought I’d tackle Christmas baking this year as part of my regular weekly lot. In England people are more likely to have mince pies or Christmas pudding for company, and we haven’t many plans with friends over the season, so I don’t need a huge batch of dainties like I would back home. I picked three tried & tested recipes from my recipe folder. I’ve been baking one each week for the last three weeks, freezing half to make part of our Christmas stash (which we really only need for Tree Decorating Night and Christmas Eve). The choices? Lemon Snow Bars (because LEMON!!!), Boderkoek (a Mennonite Christmas tradition) & Chocolate Torte (in lieu of brownies. Chocolate overdose!).

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When I complain about baking, my best friend reminds me that she enjoys it but dislikes cooking, which I love. We work as a good team in the kitchen and whenever I bake with her it turns into an enjoyable experience. She even helped me make baklava one year and everyone survived! And it was delicious! And I didn’t explode from rage! She suggested that we try living in the same city again so that I can do the cooking and she can do the baking and, as I pointed out, our husbands can get very fat.

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Now that Emily’s three month’s old, she’s showing that her newborn sleepiness is wearing off and a pseudo-sleep-schedule is emerging. She’s a pretty good sleeper, at least compared to Walter, but there are a few evenings each week where she needs some aid to get sleepy. Those are exhausting evenings, because I usually don’t need to step in unless it’s past ten pm and she’s still awake, but at the same time they are what beautiful memories are made of. I’m loving being able to rock and sing to her for such a long time.

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It’s been a depressing few weeks, with bad weather and a sick family. To cheer us all up, among other reasons, David entered a contest on the Catholic Herald for the best English translation of an article they published in Latin. We were all thrilled to find out that he won! They sent him a book as a prize. It was a really nice bit of cheer and excitement to drive away the winter blues.

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This is the first Advent in two years when I haven’t been in the early stages of pregnancy. It is soooooooooooo nice.

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I was all set to write velvety happy nonsense feelings about babies and family size but then the children stopped acting like society’s view of the Well Brought-up Child and started acting like normal children (ie that moment when you glance at the clock and realise it’s 5am and you really have been up since before 3 mothering one after the other and why on earth does Walter have to go through yet another phase of screaming constantly all day long if he wants attention or is told “no” and is Emily’s colic returning andandand)... and I’m exhausted. But at least they’ve been compensating with lots of Emily smiles and Walter kiss-hug-attacks.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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