Saturday, 7 December 2019

Advent 1

































Here we are almost at the end of the first week of Advent. I always think it puzzling that the 4 weeks of Advent seem to fly by so very quickly and yet the Season of Lent is only 2 weeks longer but seems to move by at a snail’s pace. 
Advent is by far my favourite season. I enjoy Advent much more than Christmas and love the gentle and thought provoking  music, the lighting of the candles on the wreath and the quiet times of refection. Christmas Day can be challenging when one lives alone although some dear friends have made it a tradition to come for breakfast each year, which starts the day off on a happy note.
11 years ago, just after my father died, Alexander (a Day Camp Team alumnus) stopped by to bring me a card on Christmas morning on his way home from a night shift at the crisis centre where he then worked. Fast-forward 10 years and he is now married to Sarah (also a Day Camp Alum) with 8-month-old baby Serena and they live just a couple of blocks from my home. Every year he, and now his little family come on Christmas morning. It used to be just a cup of coffee and slice of Stöllen with Alexander but since he and Sarah married they now come for a proper breakfast before heading on to their families’ festivities and this year baby Serena will join the party.
I am deeply grateful that they choose to take this time out of their day to be with me, it is a special gift.
But I’m rushing ahead and Christmas morning is still 17 days away.
This week I completed the Registration Time Crafts section of the Program Manual (woo hoo!) and sent out a reminder to all the others involved in the production of the Manual. Emails have certainly slowed down as few people have time in Advent to think about summer Day Camps. Yesterday we were able to distribute the CTM Advent/Christmas newsletter. Thankfully this issue has gone out well before Christmas and will hopefully help to keep the world of summer camps in the minds of our readership 😊
Outside of office hours it has been a pretty crazy week. We have had more snow, which has called for a couple of intensive bouts of shovelling, I have been preparing a bunch of canapés for a neighbour’s Christmas Party, sewing and knitting has continued apace and Wednesday evening the house was overflowing with friends who came together for the Pod’s Advent Gathering.
16 people ages 8 months to over 70 years joined in a celebration of the Eucharist, and a Pot Trust meal. We sang Advent songs accompanied by Paul on electric guitar, made an Advent Calendar craft, lit the first candle on the Advent Wreath and shared the Lord’s Supper together.
It was beautiful and messy 😊. Everyone arrived shortly after 530pm and all were gone again by 715, it being a school night for the 7 children. By 830pm my house was back in order and no one would have known that the whirlwind had occurred 😊
Today I’m finishing up the last of the canapés for my neighbour. I’m making another batch of empanadas and also tiny toast cups that will be filled for the party with curried dhal. During the week I also made 3 dozen Mushroom Momos (Tibetan Dumplings), which are safely tucked in the freezer.
The baking list also includes Angel Biscuits, an apple crisp and the usual gluten free bread.
So it is time to sign off and get busy baking!
But before I go let's share a recipe. My contribution to the Pot Trust supper was a giant slow cooker of Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup. It goes down well on a snowy night 😊

Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 carrots, grated
3 beets, grated
1 28oz. tin diced tomatoes
2 Tbsps. tomato paste
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup raw cane sugar
8 cups chicken broth
2 lbs. thinly sliced green cabbage

Brown the beef and onions in large sauté pan until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and cook for anther 2 minutes. Transfer to a large slow cooker set on Low. Add all the other ingredients except the cabbage and cook for 5 hours. Stir in the cabbage and cook for 1 more hour.
Serves 8-10 and freezes well!

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