Sunday, December 25, 2022

Christmas morning

The stockings are all hung and filled. We have an abundance of presents under and around our tree. Creatures are stirring somewhere in the house. The sunrise this morning was beautiful with shades of orange, pink, and lavender. It's a new day, a Christmas morning. I'm thankful I no longer have to pull off the ruse of Santa for the children who are now full grown adults. 

We had a lovely Christmas Eve together. In the afternoon Kaylee, Sam, Greg and I made the trek to Waverly to see my mom and play a round of Spite and Malice with her. When we returned I got cooking. I did a lot of early preparations so I didn't have to spend long hours in the kitchen. I've also gained a sous chef in Kaylee's boyfriend Sam. I put him in charge of the Roasted Squash Salad, same salad we had at Thanksgiving and it was just as good the second time around. For dinner I made Thyme and White Bean Pot Pies. Earlier in the day I created the filling and then the dough so all I had to do was assemble them and slide them into the oven. I added small florets of cauliflower and spinach to this recipe because I could imagine the flavor mixing well. I owe our dinner spread to  Dana @Minimalist Baker. 

Does everybody have a routine for their holidays? We do thanks to the Holt side of the family. We open up stockings with everyone taking a turn. It's a calm way to start the day and after we eat breakfast. I am making a vegan scramble with sweet and gold potatoes, spinach, and vegan sausage with grits on the side. Then we get into the fun of opening up the presents under the tree. Again we take turns. Japhy used to wear the Santa hat to pass gifts around to each person. 

For dinner I've made two soups I've made before and all I have to do is reheat them. I will make bread to serve with the soups. Creamy Vegan Wild Rice Soup and Corn Chowder from Natasha's Kitchen.  I made the corn chowder vegan by omitting the whole bacon step and using a combination of creamy oat milk and coconut milk. I usually don't do the bacon step but the milk switch is new. I'm pretty confident it will taste similar.

My people are all still sleeping and I'm enjoying these last few minutes of quiet time. Our family is growing with the addition of Sam and Courtney, Tristan's girlfriend and I'm enjoying getting to know both of them as we play games (a hilarious round of Scattegories last night), cook together, and chat. today we will play a round of Spite and Malice, work on the music puzzle that is spread out on the dining room table. 

I hope you have a peaceful day whatever your plans.  Take care of yourself. Happy holidays from us to you.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Quick Best Books List

 If you are looking for last minute book ideas for this holiday season I have a couple of suggestions for you!

Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards
(2016) - while not a new release this book is all about the spirit of giving. Mrs. Goldman knits for all her friends and family and little Sophia loves to make the pom-poms to top off the hats Mrs. Goldman creates. When Mrs. Goldman gives her own hat away Sophie takes it upon herself to knit a hat for her. I've read it to many classes in the last week to remind students that a simple act of kindness is gift - worthy. Directions to knit your own hat are at the end of the book.

Other children's books:

Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury (2020) - Quick little zen lessons from Big Panda and Tiny Dragon arise from their simple conversations. Beautifully drawn illustrations.  Reminds me of Charlie Mackesy's book, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and the Horse. 

Maya and the Robot by Eve L. Ewing (2021) - Great chapter book for 3rd-5th grade filled with a long-lost robot, Maya, and an interesting cast of school characters getting ready for this year's science fair. I hope Ewing has more adventures planned for Maya! 

Alone by Megan E. Freeman (2021) - Dystopian chapter book story of a young girl left behind in her small town after a state of emergency is called and her entire community is relocated including her family. She has to learn to survive on her own with her neighbor's dog as her only companion. Written in verse with a strong female character. 

Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs (2019) - This is a fast-paced mystery that features a smart young person who is forced to use their code-breaking skills to outsmart Einstein. This book is a favorite at school right now with all upper elementary students. There are two more in the series with a fourth one in the works. 

Adult Choices:

We were Dreamers by Simu Liu (2022) - Simu played the son in Kim's Convenience and went on to star as superhero Shang-Chi. His story as a Chinese immigrant brought to Canada by his parents is fraught with problems and trauma but also uplifting and filled with a lot of truth. I read this in one weekend. 

The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson (2021) - I read this for book club and simply adored it. The story shares the struggle of a Dakota family attempt to preserve the old traditions. Rosalie is the last remaining relative in her family and raised by a foster family after her father dies. She learns later that she has living relatives and as she seeks them out she learns what she needs to about herself and her family. Beautiful written. 

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin (2017) - Years ago I read and loved The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by this same author and I wanted to read more of her books. This one has a lot to do with how women are treated by society, in social media, and the press. Jane Young is just trying to get beyond her past and a mistake she made years ago when the details slowly come out. Told through 5 different women each story connected and sharing with us the struggles we all face. I am currently reading her latest Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (2022) and two chapters in I know she's written another favorite of mine.

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid (2022) - Competitive and uncompromising Carrie is a force to be reckoned with as she comes back to professional tennis after a short retirement. I love every book I've read of Taylor Jenkins Reid's book with Daisy Jones and the Six another top choice.

Whether you buy this as gifts or get them from the library for yourself enjoy each of these titles as the weather here gets chilly and perfect for reading. Be merry and kind...