Thursday, December 24, 2020

Happy Christmas Eve

Having Covid and 6 weeks of quarantine put a crimp in our Christmas time table.  I went to bed knowing  TODAY I would need to pick up more stocking stuffers, finish making gifts, take said gifts around, prepare for Christmas dinner, make a Happy Birthday Jesus cake, make a stable/star and such, attend communion and a candlelight service, and care for Dad. 

Silent Night....the memories

Stacia offered to make the cake - see previous post. 

Krista called me at about 6:30 a.m. and was at Fred Meyers. She picked up the few groceries and gift items I needed. Michael got up and offered to take me to all the stores I needed to visit. I told him that was done and set him to writing cards. 

I shared the kitchen with Stacia. We love to give a small gift to friends and neighbors...covid being what it is...our plan was to give out a small Advent devotional rather than homemade things. The problem is we were locked down tight when the books arrived, and by the time we were let was so late in the year no one would have appreciated the book. We are READY for NEXT year...don't buy this book if we typically give you a gift. LOL 

Photo via google images

I took stock of what I had in my pantry and what was on the shelves locally....We decided to make a couple kinds of drink mixes and some caramel corn. Even THAT was a challenge. The original plan was to find jars, cover the lids with fabric, ribbons and labels....couldn't find jars or tins...and then I needed tea to make Chai Tea mix....and I couldn't find all the tea we needed...but we got it popcorn in the tins, less drink than planned...Michael found these containers...filled with a a bag of Double Hot Chocolate mix and Chai Tea mix, topped with a water tower ornament we purchased from Carl's Creations and they were good to go.....CARDS....lovely, meaningful ones from Michael...and the ones I did were not quite so thoughtful - but all are HEART FELT. We love the community God has led us to join. 

Michael and Dad left to deliver gifts. They managed to get most of the gifts on this side of  town done...we'll have to deliver the next town over on the 26th. 

I filled Christmas stockings and wrapped a few gifts while they were gone. We got a LOT done - the essentials. 

They got back in time for us to make it to church. Pastor and Lindsey served communion to individual families in lieu of our usual Christmas Eve service.  None of our extended family were out this year, and Nolan was working, Krista was celebrating with Luke's family...and so...we were a small group - but it was meaningful. We did miss the service with all the grands and kids out.  

We headed over to Gateway Christian Fellowship/Sophia's Cafe for their candlelight service. We sang Christmas carols, watched kids in costumes, took communion,  and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.  It was a great way to end a busy day. 

BTW this is an odd angle of Dad. He's actually lost much weight....he is down from a size 40 to a size 36 waist....I am NOT starving him, but since he's moved here he isn't doing daily doughnuts, McDonald's Breakfasts and lunches at diners. ::snort:: Since I don't eat sugar (pre-diabetic) there are lots of sugar free options and treats for him to choose from instead of his typical doughnut. He'd lost 36 lbs before surgery and another 15 lbs after surgery. Post surgery his appetite is quite diminished. His mind TELLS him to load up, but he simply doesn't eat much. We all agree this is healthy for his blood sugars and heart,  he looks good and feels better.  It should level out soon - and if not there are always ensure shakes and fat bombs. 

Stacia is Developing Some Mad Skills Or There is FROSTING All Over My Kitchen

We've had  sheet cakes with block letters on it. There have been a couple of years I simply picked up a cake at Walmart and had them write "Happy Birthday Jesus," on top. We've had ice cream cakes  and even cupcakes, but  I am quite certain we've never had such an elaborate "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake.

Stacia volunteered to make the cake this year. I'm blown away. She combined gingerbread figures, cake, fondant, frosting and came up with this. 

Of course, BEFORE she reached this point my kitchen was COVERED with frosting...she DID clean up, but Michael stayed up and did a deep cleaning on the kitchen, picked up around the living room and told me to go get in bed. BEST Christmas gift ever. Y'all there was frosting on the back of my TOASTER. ::Snort:: 

I have learned to smile, nod, and say, "Yes, I think that will work. You can do it!," when Stacia starts talking cakes or desserts....

Sometimes, I wonder....but more often than not, things turn out great. I told her this is more a "panoramic" than a cake. The cake is the part with the stable, pig, hay bales and family....the rest is all decorated "things." 

For the past several years Stacia has wanted to own a coffee/tea shop/bakery. She envisions it being a hub of the community. Seriously, we have places like this we loved in Texas and California but they were always full of New Age/ Eastern Religion lit and advertisements. We often discussed how it would be nice to go into a spot and have our values and an entire community's values reflected and not just one slice of the community showcased....I think that was the start of her dream. 

When we moved here we discovered a church which operates in the midst of a cafe in the midst of our community. Cafe all week - and yet church all week - KWIM? We came to love it over a year ago when we began going out weekly for breakfast and study. We realized they NEVER rushed us to finish our study, the music was Christian or soothing, and we noted several other groups that come and do the same every week. 

One thing led to another and Stacia was offered a job at this cafe/church...two days a week.  Her schedule is full with Algebra 2, Chemistry, Culinary Arts AND working....but she is learning first hand what her dream may cost....she is learning skills that she thinks will complement the path she is on....

In the meantime, we are benefitting from her developing mad skills. She just started "studying" cake decorating in the past 6 months or so. I would love to find her a teacher - but haven't. We asked Autumn, the kitchen manager, at the cafe, if she gives lessons. She doesn't, but offered tips, began looking at what Stacia is doing...and those conversations led to Stacia's first job. 

If any of you are cake decorators or know someone locally who would love to meet with a homeschooler and give her lessons....please speak up! It may be summer before Stacia could fit another thing into her schedule, but we'd really like to find some real time lessons. We believe in her vision and dream. 

And, yes, she DOES love working at the Cafe. She is learning to be more out going, knows how to make fancy coffee drinks, washes lots of dishes, busses tables, takes orders and answers phones...she has been told when she is old enough they'll let her do more things. Meanwhile, she WATCHES and learns and comes home and practices. They have some great bakers at the cafe. Check out Sophia's Cafe if you haven't tried it.