Advent Activities for 2013!!

Our advent activities are looked on as the most serious of traditions.  My kids wait for the calendar to be put out almost as much as they wait for Christmas morning.  It is a signal for the countdown to Christmas, but it is also a month where we only do basics for school and concentrate on doing crafts, elaborate baking projects, and enjoying lots of family time together!

This year is filled with fun things to do that are a little more subdued than in some years past (2011 comes to mind), but I am so looking forward to being able to watch my kids eyes widen on the days when we do things like Journey to Bethlehem and Breakfast with Santa at the PD.  These are the things memories are made of, and everyone (including me!) look forward to this month each year.  I highly encourage everyone to make this time of year as personal and family based as possible.  As my kids get older I am quickly realizing that my time with them is finite and it won’t be long before I have a few less people to make December plans for, although I hope they have such fond memories of the time that they still come from far and near to enjoy ‘chocolate dipping day’ or ‘family game night’. 

Links where applicable for the most inspiration possible.

  1. Christmas Movie with Caramel Popcorn
  2. Pomander Oranges
  3. Dreidel for Hanukkah with friends
  4. Paper Snowflakes and Stars Crafts
  5. Journey to Bethlehem
  6. St Nickolas day
  7. Breakfast with Santa at the Station
  8. Family Game Night!
  9. Get Christmas Tree
  10. Teasel Hedgehog Crafts
  11. Going to see Santa scuba diving with some sharks at Zoo Lights
  12. Cards and Gifts for Friends
  13. Going to see Paradosi Ballet Company
  14. St Lucia Day (make St Lucia Bread)  (Technically yesterday, but it’s where I can fit it)
  15. Go find some snow at Mt Rainier!
  16. Shopping for Mommy with Daddy
  17. Chocolate dipped treats
  18. Make peg doll nativities
  19. Make gifts for our feathered friends
  20. Christmas Cookies for Neighbors
  21. Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt with fresh hot cider
  22. Ice Skating Today!!
  23. Fantasy lights at Sprinker Park
  24. Light a fire and roast s’mores
  25. Open your stocking!!

Advent Activities 2009

Advent Activities 2010

Advent Activities 2011 

(2011 is the year we ‘traveled’ around the world for Advent)

Advent Activities 2012

Wondermill’s Grain Mill Wagon Challenge!

Late this summer I got the opportunity to join in the Grain Mill Challenge.  I got a free, amazing Wondermill out of the deal and I had to develop a few good recipes using it and post them to their blog to encourage others to try new things with their grain mill.  It didn’t take long to figure out that most every recipe I developed with the fresh ground wheat and spelt was more amazing and delicious! 

Here is the latest installment for the Grain Mill Wagon blog that I thought I would share before “pumpkin everything” season was over.  

Light & Fluffy, Spelt Pumpkin Muffins

Click on picture for link to the recipe.  Enjoy!

All the fall color is now on the ground

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Sigh…  my aunt sent me a picture earlier this month.  It was a beautiful shot with trees and a pond filled with their color.  It said “My favorite color is October”. 

I couldn’t agree more.  November is going to be very grey in comparison.

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Yay for hoop houses!

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It was late August, I had just gotten done with 4 boxes of peaches and was setting up for the waterfall of squash that was to happen at any moment.  And I was planting kale, lettuce, and chard.

Two weeks later, my lettuce mix was doing great!  I got my first harvest only 3 1/2 weeks after I planted… and it also started to rain. 

The thunder storms this year were beyond anything I can compare living here.  Back to back, for over a week, September came in like a lion (isn’t that supposed to be March?) that roared incessantly through the night as Fall hit us like a punch in the face. 

I knew that these storms would be too much for my little seedlings, so I decided to put my hoop houses back up.  I am so glad I did!  That first bed I planted was soon joined by two more.  I was trying hard to hold on to whatever heat we had left so I could get just one more salad bed from my garden.  Now I have three hoop houses, one that holds that first lettuce mix crop,

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one that holds lettuce and spinach

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and a third that is growing two different types of kale and some volunteer dill, of all things! 

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I have enjoyed MANY salads since that first major weather turn. 

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Everything but the tomatoes in this amazing salad is from my garden on Nov 2nd after three frosts.  The violets and borage flowers and parsley. 

(The tomatoes are from Trader Joes… I wish hoop houses worked that well.  Winking smile )

I have used them often for getting a jump on the spring season and putting tomatoes in way too early for my ‘zone’, but I haven’t used them regularly for extending the season on the Autumn end of things.  It has worked amazingly well and I will be doing it again!

{this moment}

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{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}

Soup Season - Slow cooker French Onion soup

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There are only a few downsides to growing your own onions.  One of those is sprouting.  I do not have a root cellar.  I do the best I can with my garage and some burlap and baskets, and it generally works very well, but every now and again I go to get an onion or potato and I will find that they have started to sprout and will need to be used right away.  This time I had four onions that sprouted and I decided that a nice pot of French onion soup and some fresh made crusty bread would be the perfect way to use them!  Both take about 10 hours to get to tasting their best, so I put them in as I was making breakfast for the kids and by dinner it was perfect!

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Slow-cooker French Onion Soup

  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 4 Med onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2 cubes vegetable or beef bullion
  • 64 oz vegetable or beef broth

Sauté the onions and garlic in the butter until the onions go clear.

Now is the hardest part, caramelize the onions for about 25 minutes on med-low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure they do not burn.  This is where most of the flavor comes from.  So it isn’t a step to skip. 

After they are good and carmely (they will be soft and many will be broken down so they break up when you mix them with a spoon) then add them to the slow-cooker. 

Add in thyme, pepper, brown sugar, vinegar, bullion, and broth. 

Let cook for 8-10 hours on low. 

(If you like a thicker French onion soup, about 25 minutes before serving, mix 2 Tbs flour with a cup of water or broth and add that into the slow-cooker.)

For serving - it is customary for a piece of French bread to be placed on the top of the soup and then a slice of cheese (provolone or gruyere) to be broiled on top, creating a delicious crust that your spoon breaks through to get to the yummy sweet and yet tangy onion soup beneath.  I did not do that because my bread was not finished cooking and I didn’t want to wait that long.  I just dug my spoon into the soup and enjoyed.  lol!  But for a even nicer finished product, I do highly suggest it! 

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Halloween 2013 at the Rose Homestead

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In the Rose household we have been learning about the ‘wild west’ and the pioneer days for about 5 years now.  No joke.  My daughter (below) is obsessed with the Little House series in all forms.  She knows the books by heart and we own the pilot and the first 4 seasons of the show which we watch in darker seasons of the year (like Nov). 

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To go along with this obsession, Logan wanted to be in character.  So he picked a sheriff from long ago, and I added the mustache… instant Wyatt Earp. 

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Then there are those outfits that just evolve…  this one evolved from this cute coon skin cap.

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It worked out like this… “I have a coon skin cap, the other two are going as ‘frontier characters’, I think Luke knows the Davy Crocket song… therefore, he has to be Davy Crocket!”  Leaps in parenting genius are born under suck trains of thought. 

Luke had a wonderful time his first ever trick-or-treating trip, even if it was just up and down two blocks and (as always) we got tons of candy that we do not need.

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Alex stayed home and handed out candy as a psycho rockstar… he had a great time changing costumes between ‘customers’. 

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All in all, it was a great time!

{this moment}

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{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}

© Collecting the Moments

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