Tonight, we'll celebrate the Solstice. There will be a feast, and a bonfire. And there will be wishes for the future and rememberances of the past.
Most importantly, the longest night of the year means that the turning of the earth will bring us back to the days of light.
If you haven't yet, you should give this book a read. It's full of legends, stories and traditions from around the world, all celebrating the sun and the winter solstice.
When you live in the north, whether it's the far north, or just above of the 49th parallel, the light becomes the clock by which you await the seasons. I, for one, love this midwinter day, because if we made it to here, we can surely make it to another spring.
Our foster kitty, Byron, is still looking for a new home. If you or someone you know could open your home and your heart, please contact me through the comments or contact People For Animals for more information.
It was a great evening, with some knowledgeable and passionate speakers, a couple of wonderful local bands, petitions to sign, greeting cards to write to prisoners of conscience, a silent auction, a concession stand, and more.
Callum enjoyed the music, and he spent quite a bit of time working on his own letters and writing on his face. Today he is enamoured of pencils and I think that's awesome.
And David didn't want to leave. He was signing petitions, listening to the speakers, swaying to the music and enjoying his time with the group. It was his first Write for Rights event and he is hooked. My husband is an amazing man who embraces new things, learning and loving as he goes. Yay for me and my boy to have such a man in our lives! Gush.
If you haven't had a chance to attend an Amnesty event, we highly recommend them.
My amazing friend, Verna, made them for Callum. I nearly cried when I saw them.
I know from my time in the far north that each bead is individually stitched on to the leather. Then the upper is sewn to the body of the slipper and the slipper stitched up. The final step is adding the beaver fur.
It's a process that takes a huge investment of time and dedication. And while some people make them for commercial gain, most people are like Verna and do it for love. Imagine how touched I was to receive them for my son.
A lengthy and long overdue phonecall followed, and two old friends caught up on the daily happenings of each other's lives. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful friend. I hope you can say the same.
Another food post? Well, that's probably because Mama forgot to take pictures of the festivities at the library last night. Each of the branches in town is hosting a holiday open house during December. Since we super-love our local library system, we wanted to show our support.
They had a children's entertainer, cookies, hot chocolate and a bunch of kids. Callum was quite besotted with all the dancing children and kept trying to crawl in the middle of them. Fortunately, the dancers were obviously used to little ones crawling around because no one stepped on him. :)
But alas no pictures.
So instead, I thought I'd share a bit about one of our favourite meals during these first cold days of winter. (And they have been very cold and very early for this area this year.)
These lovely winter feasts of ours usually start because I get a hankering to make tea biscuits. I taught myself to make these this year in my quest to make pastry. Kind of like a pastry substitute, if you will, that is also good for dumplings for stew. Yum!
Then we fill the table with warming soup, butter, slices of cheese, cucumber and tomatoes, and ham/salami/pepperoni. Mostly it's whatever we have on hand at the time but it usually looks something like this:
Everyone can graze as much or as little as they like, and nobody ever complains that there wasn't enough. Delicious!
If you live in Canada, you've probably heard of the Canadian Pacific Railway's Holiday Train. I didn't realize until just now that it goes through the northern United States, too, which makes it even cooler that we share it with our southern cousins.
The best part about the train is that it has raised nearly $5 million and over 2 million pounds of food for food banks in it's eleven years of operations so far. Those are staggering and awe-inspiring numbers, especially since the event is free, so everyone can participate.
The fact that it runs through Regina just two blocks from my house makes it a must-see event through the holidays. It only stays for 45 minutes before moving on to Moose Jaw and other points west. There are bins for food donations set up all over the railyard and everyone is encouraged to bring what they can in support of the cause.
This year the entertainers on the Canadian leg are Odds, a group of rocking guys who do between two and eight shows a day for three weeks, all from the freezing cold stage car. Brrrr.
We walked down the block with Callum and soaked up the energy. It's fun and festive and if you have a chance to go in your community, don't miss it!
Last night's mitten held a new book for the holiday season.
Callum loves this series of books. That's Not My Frog has been one of his favourites since he was three months old. We start reading it and he stops whatever he's doing to join us. (And don't think for a minute that we haven't used that to our advantage now and again! lol)
I think he might like this one just as much!
The links I've provided take you back to the publisher's page but these books are also available locally and online at the usual book-buying places. There are many titles to interest just about any young reader.
Remember my bread quest post from earlier this year, outlining my struggles to learn to make bread? In it, I stated that my next kitchen quest would be to pursue pastry making.
Well, today I can tell you that I am very happy to be a pastry maker. I attribute my succes to this book:
That and my mom being around when it came time to roll it out. Great recipe + motherly intervention = winning combination. The results were delicious and met with much approval.
Our meal included this yummy salmon quiche:
And this mouth-watering apple tart:
I have to say that I adore this cookbook. I got it out of the library six weeks ago and I've made several recipes from it that have been amazing. And when I read her pastry tips, my pastry-making hopes reignited.
It's a great book, easy to read with tons of hearty, simple recipes that will be favourites at our house for years to come. I highly recommend it and it will be on my wish list, for sure.
For our holiday celebrations this year, I have knitted many mini mittens from the Knitpicks Smitten Garland pattern. Not quite an advent calendar, ours will go all the way to the 31st of the month.
And instead of chocolate or candy, there is a little card inside, each with suggestions for activities or gifts for the day.
Last night, the card read "It's December. Let's light up some trees!" And off we went to the tree lighting ceremony at city hall. There was singing, a reindeer, a red-suited guy to hand out gifts, and lots of people enjoying hot chocolate.
Callum is unimpressed with the winter gear he is required to wear in these parts so he is reserving his opinion on this whole holiday celebration thing. :)
I'm sure he'll warm up to the idea once he gets the hang of it all!
I get my craftiness from my mother. . . and my aunts . . . and my grandmother. I have many childhood memories involving knitting, crocheting, sewing, rug hooking, needlepoint . . . you get the picture. It's a gift I hope to be able to pass on.
My mom made this adorable baby quilt for Callum. She cross-stitched thousands of little hatches on it. It's the making of an heirloom.
Even those people who don't appreciate handmade items, have to admire the dedication it takes to complete a piece of this magnitude.
For those of us who know what it is to invest this much of ourselves into something, it's already precious. More so because it comes from Callum's Granny.