Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Christmas around the world - Italy (feast of seven fishes)

Christmas around the world - Germany gingerbread making

On Sunday I asked the boys what they're favourite things that we do at Christmas are.  Decorating cookies and going to Canada were top on the list.  We decided to make some gingerbread cookies and decorate them during the LDS Christmas Devotional.  Rai is my little helper in the kitchen and wore his arms our trying to hold the molasses jar upside down to get every drop.

Luke told me that he had an all new respect for me because he was trying really hard and his still looked like a child had made them.  

Gingerbread was thought to have been invented in Germany and all kinds of gingerbread are popular at Christmas.  I would love to try my hand at some Pfeffernüsse one of these days.


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Christmas around the world - German Christkindlmarket Trip

Tracen was at a birthday party on the weekend and we promised Rai we would go do something fun.  This was so fun for me, and he enjoyed his pretzel!  

It made me want to travel the world and go and experience more of other cultures and traditions.  And the ornaments and decorations they were selling were all so beautiful.  

Christmas around the world - Scandinavia (feeding the birds)

When learning about Scandinavia I read a few places that they always remember to feed the birds and other animals during the Christmas season.  Often they even have a meatless meal (sometimes Christmas Eve) to help honor the animals.  

We read "Message of the Birds" by Kate Westerlund and I was surprisingly touched by this simple book.  I think it was because of the reminder that the heart knows all languages and that we should be more like children.  

 We decided to make some birdseed ornaments to feed the birds.  The whole process of feeding the birds did take 24 hours as we had to let our ornaments firm up over night. 

As there aren't too many birds around our house this time of year, we went to golden gate canyon road and to mt Galbraith to hang our ornaments.  As we walked down the trail to find some trees to hang them on we could hear the creek and that was about it. 

As we were walking back to the creek to throw some rocks, Rai noticed that there were lots of birds singing and chirping and flying around.  it felt pretty magical and Rai is convinced that they were coming for the food we brought, he yelled to them over and over "Birds, we brought you yummy food!"

And then we spent a good amount of time throwing rocks into the little creek.  Rai was "teaching" Mylo how to do it. 

I definitely think that I want to make this a yearly tradition. 

Birdseed ornament recipe

Christmas around the world - Scandinavia (baking and some simple crafts)

Scandinavia is thought to be where Santa acquired his sleigh and reindeer because Santa's horse could not make it through the deep snow.  Here a Gnome or Elf helps to deliver gifts to the children.  

We started the week with "Swedish" meatballs for dinner, talking about how people celebrate Christmas all over the world and we are going to try to explore and see what they do. 

Rai and I weaved some hearts (I remember doing this in elementary).  My hearts are little baskets that we will fill with goodies for our neighbors, and Rai's are his decorations. 

Next we baked up some skolleboller, which is vanilla custard filled filled buns.  I have found that in baking in Scandinavia uses less sugar than we are used to.  

We read "The Christmas Wish" by Lori Evert and also crafted some simple Straw ornaments (we used rafia in place of straw.  I still want to get Tracen to help me make some straw star ornaments.  

It was a bit like The Great British Bake off and I should have googled pictures of them before I made them, but I am happy with how they turned out.  

I decided to make some Brunkager, Danish Brown Cookies.  The special sugar they use I didn't have, but it sounded a lot like it added a molasses type flavor, so I subbed in a bit of molasses. 

 And lastly I made some Risgrot, Norwegian rice pudding.  I was tempted to make Rømmegrøt and perhaps I will still, but I thought there would be a better chance of my kids helping me to eat the rice pudding than that.  

We made a simple tomten ornament and want to try to make a few more, perhaps some different ones.  

We also need to make our advent wreath today which is still a part of many countries celebrations and the mark of the start of the Christmas season.