December 18, 2013

Christmas Christmas Spectacular

"Crazy Christmas Spectacular" is a very popular Tumblr tag right now and ever since I saw it on my husband's blog I've fallen in love with it.

And that is what our life has been for the past three weeks: A Crazy Christmas Spectacular.

Eggnog, hot chocolate, making sugar cookies and decorating them with my bestie, Christmas movies, Christmas television specials (did you see the one with Lady Gaga and The Muppets?  It was incredible), Christmas singing and carols.  One night there was a Sunday school party, tonight there is caroling and a chili supper, last Sunday there was the Church Christmas pageant that Brandon directs, and this weekend there is Disney Christmas.  That's all before the actual event and Eve happens.

This weekend Brandon and I ran a Christmas race: the Reindeer Run in Thomasville.  I ran a 5K with a great time (34:48) and Brandon ran his first official half marathon (2:07).

This is us celebrating after the race.  We later went to Waffle House because nothing is quite as satisfying after a big race as copious amounts of breakfast food.

The other thing I've done a lot of this Christmas and Advent season is baking.  I love to bake, especially at this time of year because this is when you break out your best recipes.  

First is the gingerbread cake.

I made this recipe from Thibealt's Table.  I've already made this cake twice in a week.  The second time with dark brown sugar and I think that made it even better.  I made the caramel sauce from the recipe and felt like that was overkill.  I made fresh whipped cream both times and felt like that was a great compliment to this cake which is dark, moist, and very satisfying.  
The second thing I made were sugar cookies.  This recipe was great.  It requires a lot of butter but no chilling needed and the lines came out perfectly crisp and there was no spreading or bloating from the cut cookies to the cooked cookies.

These are just some of the ones I decorated yesterday with my friend, Jenn.  Look at the snowflake on the far left.  The lines are perfect.

This is a cookie of my dog, Jackson:

Last week I found a tick on him for the first time in our six year history.  This cookie commemorates that.  See the red hot candy near his tail?  It's supposed to be the tick.

Right now this just came out of the oven for tonight's chili dinner:

I used Nigella Lawson's Spruced Up Vanilla Cake.  My house smells incredible.  I'll you know how it tastes after tonight!  

December 1, 2013

The Season of Waiting

Today both at home and at church Brandon and I started celebrating Advent.

I did not grow up celebrating Advent but as an adult, I have learned to find it quite comforting.  Among all of the parties and decorating and final exams and work, this idea of Christmastime as a season of quiet, obedient waiting is both challenging and comforting.

It also feels appropriate as days grow shorter and the darkness extends.  One of the emphases of Advent is that Christmastime is about a "Silent Night."  Advent, for me, is about how in a world that is dark and still and silent- separated from God by sin- a world that doesn't even know that it is kept apart from its Creator, is in a place of waiting; a place of marking time, hoping for a Savior.  This time of Advent is a reflection of how Jewish communities before Christ were waiting and hoping for the return of their Messiah.

Christians once called the Christmas season a 'time of perpetual hope.'  Hope for a miracle, for a King who would bridge the gap between humanity and God.

I am looking forward to participating in this year's Advent.  I am looking forward to reflecting on what it must have been like to try and wait for the fulfillment of promises, of Scriptures, with hope instead of anxiety.