Saturday, 14 December 2013

Advent 3-2013


   Whoosh again! Another week has flown by at breakneck speed and here we are on the Eve of Advent 3, THREE!! Where did the week go??

    Mostly it went, for me, in the kitchen. Mixing chopping prepping and cooking for the 2 dinners for twenty as mentioned last week! Oh the shopping and compiling of detailed lists!

   Of course in between was the small matter of keeping abreast with all things “Day Camps”. Sending off the first reminder of the Team Gathering, making an Agenda for the Committee meeting which takes place this coming Monday Evening, answering a phone enquiry from a prospective host church (OOOHOO!) etc.

  Then there was “Crafts evening” on Monday, with Matthew. We had a successful session making Peppermint Lip Balm. You can find the recipe here, and it is really good! Of course the washing up and scraping beeswax off every surface in the kitchen was not so good, but never mind, the lip balm worked! 

Tuesday and Wednesday I did advance prep of various components for the catering, plus finishing my last Christmas gifts, wrapping ALL my gifts, packing tins and boxes of Christmas Cookies and generally squishing as much as possible into each day.

     However, in Advent, I NEVER miss out on reading all the special books and devotional materials and trying to squeeze in as much gorgeous Choral Music as possible. I also LOVE watching this Flash Mob, it is my total favourite.

    Thursday was really crazy busy as quite a while ago I had arranged to have my friend, Sarah, for an “early Supper in front of the fire” but then, last Sunday, I agreed to have the 2 sons of friends over for dinner and an evening of crafts to help out with the couple’s complex arrangements allowing them a night away at the family cabin in celebration of their wedding anniversary.

    Sarah had to come for early supper as she was then going on to a driving lesson, so that part was okay, as the boys were not coming until 6pm. But it turned out that the same evening the farmer was bringing meat deliveries which entailed a very cold walk over to a nearby church parking lot right in the middle of everything else!

 But it all worked out and, after the boys ate we all sat by the fire and made some cool fabric garlands. The boys are going to take theirs up to the cabin and I have hung mine across the Studio bay window.

   Yesterday was more grocery hauling (in -20C weather, ugh!!) and preparations for both Lunch and High Tea guests today. After dinner I sat down (finally) to check email and…EEK... there was a message from Brian, a dear kind family friend, saying he would be delivering my Christmas tree during the evening.

     I leapt from my cozy sofa (much to Wil and Mandu’s disgust) and began moving furniture, taking down a hanging lamp, positioning and filling the tree stand, unpacking ornaments etc. 
     One of my most favourite parts of Christmas preparation is the arrival of a live tree.  Nothing can match the smell of pine when coming downstairs on the first morning it is in the house, magical!

        Unfortunately, after all my rushing around, Brian was unable to deliver the tree so today’s luncheon guests got to sit in the living room with a lovely display of an empty tree stand and 2 boxes of ornaments.

      Now as evening draws in I am still waiting for the tree and also anticipating the imminent arrival of the High Tea Guests who will be treated to the same view of the empty stand!

     I think I shall wait and try to publish this post later this evening with the tree (hopefully!!) in all its glory.

     Despite a somewhat insanely packed schedule, I would not miss this time. Advent is so amazing and special and, yes, Holy, in a unique way. Unlike the solemn holiness of Lent, which has it’s own virtues; this is a Joyful holiness, so full of the sense of wonder and expectation.

If only it would not whiz by quite so FAST!!

    One of the desserts I was asked to make for my catering job is this frozen peppermint cheesecake. It is a really lovely Christmassy dessert. Since one pre-supposes that ALL my recipes are made with exclusively organic ingredients; please note that instructions for an organic substitute for canned condensed milk may be found here.

                                          Frozen Peppermint Cheesecake

1 ¼ cups chocolate cookie crumbs

2 Tbsps. melted butter or margarine

1 -250 gram package cream cheese

1 can condensed milk OR substitute

¾ cup crushed peppermint candy canes

¼ tsp. pure peppermint oil

2 cups heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks

Combine cookie crumbs and butter and press into a 9” springform pan, chill. In a large bowl, whip cream cheese until fluffy and then beat in condensed milk. Blend in candy and peppermint oil. Fold whipped cream into ream cheese mixture. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly and freeze. Serves 10-12.

And, yes! the tree arrived during High Tea, Brian stayed for a while and shared some of the tea goodies and after we had washed the dishes we all decorated the tree together and read the Christmas Tree Blessing, a lovely ending to the day.

 We never had lights on our tree but when my longtime neighbours moved away last Summer they gave me some boxes of tiny white lights so I’m giving them a try this year. What do you think?

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