Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Winter Solstice

On December 21 - the shortest day of the year - we celebrated the Winter Solstice with our friends the Watts.  This is a long standing tradition of theirs but our first time to join in!

Originally I thought we were going to Mt. Tabor (just 30 minutes from our house) but it turns out I misunderstood and we were going to Mt. Hood - which ended up being almost 2 hours from our house!  I was just a little off.  Despite the long car ride we had a great time and are so glad we went.

We went to a "undisclosed location" up on Mt. Hood.  There was a nice covered picnic area where we set up dinner.  Clark got the fire going so we could roast hot dogs for dinner.
 Hannah came along for our adventure!
 The dinner buffet - everyone brought something to share.
 Merrill prepares the sacrificial tree with some help from Clark.

 Cali is the torch bearer.
 Heading out for the tree burning.
 Tradition has it that a tree must be burned on the winter solstice
 The “mighty oak” was the most sacred tree of Europe, representing the waxing sun, symbolized endurance, strength, protection, and good luck to people in the coming year. On the winter solstice, on the longest night of the year, people would place and set afire a giant oak log in a community fire pit or families would place a smaller oak log in their fireplace.

 Our mighty oak!
 We each had a newspaper ornament we we placed in the tree (for fuel) and shared something we were grateful for from the past year.
 2012 - the Year of the Dragon.  Merrill shared a few words, a poem and his wooden dragon to symbolize the Year of the Drago.

 Cali - ready to be sacrificed!

 Cali, Tessa, Hannah, Kelsi and Lindsey - pretty girls!

 The remains of the day!
Despite the long drive and the cold it was quite an adventure and so much fun!  It is always an adventure with the Watts!

Annual Cookie/Candy Making Day

We had a house full for our annual cookie and candy making day.

Grandma Best joined us as did Hannah and Debbie Osborne, Shari and Olivia Adams, Dyann and Calista Jellesed and Clark was our official taste tester!
 We made lots of different kinds of cookies and candy.

 And made a lot of messes!

 I so wish we had more than one oven!!

 Spending time with my girls and friends is the best part of all.

 Calista and Calista!

 We took a lunch break and had Yummy Bowls!

 A game break - Ticket to Ride
 And some knitting instruction.
 All the goodies!~

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beach Babe Holiday Tea

That afternoon, after our Breakfast with Santa I joined my Beach Babes for our annual holiday tea party and book exchange. Julie hosted it this year and Julie is always the hostess with the mostess!

Her house is decked out top to bottom!!

The food was scrumptious as always with everyone contributing something.  I brought puff pastry cups stuffed with chicken salad with sugared almonds on top.  I also brought cucumber sandwiches.
Patrice brought a yummy and beautiful Panzenella Salad
Shauna made her delicious roasted red pepper soup.

Julie, our hostess, prepared some delicious tea.
And there were these amazing peppermint meringues which I had to go right home and make!
We might be getting older but we're getting better!!

We each bring one of our favorite books from the year to exchange.  I brought Cutting for Stone.
I love these women and feel so blessed to have them in my life!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Breakfast with Santa

Three of the four kids arrived home on the Friday the 16th! 

Saturday morning, the next morning, was our annual neighborhood Breakfast with Santa.  We missed having Logan there but he is a big boy now with a job!!

We enjoyed a yummy breakfast of pancakes, little sausage, fruit, an egg casserole and of course hot chocolate.

 There was also a hot chocolate bar and a hot apple cider bar this year!

Everyone just has a great time hanging out together and visiting.

 After breakfast the kids all decorate gingerbread houses.

And then Santa paid a visit as usual!

Until next year Santa!