So this pretty much sums up the month of December…. frenzied, funny and a lot of fun!  And I can’t believe it’s over!  We started preparing the weekend of Thanksgiving and haven’t stopped until yesterday.  It has been a whirlwind but a season filled with lots of singing, present making, cookie making, cooking, story telling, snuggling, and remembering my childhood.  Every year I get that warm fuzzy feeling, but for some reason this year seemed like I was really warmed to the soul.  Maybe it’s because Ryder is even more aware and into it and he loves singing with me and making cookies and reading all my favorite Christmas stories and seasonal books.  And Saige is older now and we have our newest addition, Milo – but whatever it was – my heart seemed to melt a little more each day.  And I tried hard to take those mental snapshots as to not forget a moment. 

Usually every year we head back to Chicago sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this year we didn’t get that chance.  And part of our tradition in Chicago is to eat lunch under the ginormous tree at Macy’s and see Santa and look at all the windows decorated on Michigan Ave (mind you, it’s usually in the teens and below zero with the windchill).  But that adds to the whole experience. 

So this year we headed to San Fran to start our own tradition.  We took Ryder ice skating at Union Square and went to see Santa and look in the windows at Macy’s.  Now, this was supposed to be the “coldest” day – the meteorologists had us thinking people were going to be dying in the streets because of the cold.  Well I was a bit excited because now it would be even MORE like being in Chicago.  Well as you can see by the picture- it was beautiful.  A little nip in the air but sunny and perfect (people from the Midwest or the East Coast would have been in shorts and tshirts!)  We went to Macy’s, after skating, to see Santa (1 1/2 hour wait!) now I know what my parents went through all those years.  Well we didn’t stay- someone told us about another Santa at the shopping plaza a couple blocks away.  So Ryder was stoked to see Santa- Saige, not so much.

 

 My jams and jellies that I worked on during the summer were wrapped up and given away to friends around town.  We made some homemade Kahlua to give out too.  And I had a couple custom orders for shirts.  Somehow it was suddenly the week of Christmas – what happend. 

The excitement was mounting in our house and then the grandparents arrived the day before Christmas Eve- which got the kids even more wound up!    We all had a wonderful time.  I just love sitting around all day in jammies, playing with their new treasures, reading new stories that will soon become favorites, snuggling, eating cookies and drinking my warm coffee (it should be tea- but I’ve recently went back on caffine- Saige is only nursing once or twice a day so I don’t feel so bad).  And then the next couple days were spent going to the park and running into friends – boy do I love a small town.

So here we are on New Year’s Eve…. looking back on the year and looking forward to what’s to come.  We have  had a great year, we’ve watched our baby turn into a little girl, our little boy become a big independent boy, we’ve welcomed a new family member to our household, we’ve welcomed some new babies into our extended family, we’ve expanded our family of friends, so many blessings – too many to list.  There have also been some sadness (may the circle be unbroken).  I look forward to the new year and the new adventures we will be embarking on and what will be around the next corner.

I have many ideas for this blog in the New Year.  I am resolving to attend to it more, but also to not let it consume me.  I would like to get more information out to families re: cloth diapering, baby wearing, raising kids green, crafting with kids, and more.  I will be doing giveaways and continue giving you the blow by blows on The Adventures in The Calhoun’s Life.  So stay tuned…..

Peace to you and your family in The New Year!

Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, mind and soul have been freed to fulfil themselves. Nelson Mandela

Well, the weather finally cooled off a bit so I was able to turn on the oven yesterday and Ryder and I got busy baking. 

 

I tried out the recipe for zucchini chocolate chip cookies from AVMand they are awesome!  The whole fam loves them.  I even brought some to my co-workers to try and they too liked them.  For those of you who have tons of zucchini this is a great way to use them up- and who can ever get tired of chocolate chip cookies!?

I was in the baking mood yesterday (which isn’t normal b/c I like to cook more- you know a little bit of this, a little bit of that.  I’m not into measuring). 

But I have been wanting to try this recipe for Honey wheat flax seed and sunflower seed bread (minus the sunflower seeds b/c I didn’t have any).  Well it was fabulous!  I recently dusted off my bread machine – which was sitting on the pantry floor for the last 5 years, if not more, and have been loving it.   Ryder and I love to make bread now.  It’s so easy, the house smells great when there is fresh bread baking.  And say what you want about the bread machines, but I think it’s wonderful, you can have fresh bread all the time.  I know it’s not quite the same as getting your hands in there and kneading the bread yourself- but when you have 2 kids, a job, lots of hobbies, etc, this makes it easy to have fresh, healthy bread with no preservatives.  And talk about cheap.  A loaf of bread costs you pennies when you break it all down.

So go dig out the bread maker that you haven’t touched for years, dust it off and watch how excited everyone is when there is a fresh loaf of bread baking.  I use it too for pizza dough (which I must say is the best pizza dough recipe- thanks Kendra.  It’s also great for kids – it’s easy and fun for them to watch – Ryder loves to check the status of the bread. 

  Here are a couple of my faves I’ve found, hope you and your family enjoy them too.

Flax and sunflower seed bread

Pizza Dough (adapted from the Bread Machine Cookbook)

       1 1/3 C. Water

       2T olive oil

       1 1/2 t. salt

       4C. flour

      1 1/2 t. yeast

set on dough cycle. Makes 4 thin crust medium pizzas.  Bake @ 500 degree F. for 10 – 15 minutes.

if you want thicker crust let rise for 30 minutes after rolling out dough.