Solstice Reflections 2012 is an online gathering of reflections by five lovely women on the spirit of winter. My hope is that this may offer you a momentary respite from a sometimes hectic season, allowing you to sit with your own reflections as you enter your personal winter. Click here for all posts to date.
THE SWEETNESS OF THE SEASON
'Mommy, Daddy, Santa came!'
'No way! It's not even Christmas!'
'Yes, yes it is! Look what I got!
And it's not even 5 am.
In our house, and it's a full one - along with myself, there's my husband, our 4 kids, a dog and a cat, the first winter snowfall immediately conjures up thoughts of hot chocolate, snow angels and candy canes.
There is also a feeling of anticipation and sentiment. The days are shorter and darker. This means I get to spend more time with my older kids, 'it's too cold to go outside, Mom...' and I get to get caught up on my reading list that got neglected during the warm, summer months.
It also means that I get to see the glow on my husband's face when he's asking me, 'What night do you want to go for our Christmas light tour?'
Every year for 15 years we've bundled up the kids and packed them into the truck. At first it was just 1, then 2, then 3 and then all 4 of them! We'd head to the nearest Tim Horton's and grabbed a double, double. We then drive all around the city, looking at the colourful lights on the houses, while listening to Christmas music. This sweet celebration is my husband's 'thing'.
Putting up our tree is also a wonderful time. We reminisce about who made what ornament and in what grade. We 'pretend argue' about why the burnt bulbs weren't replaced last year when we knew they were burnt and I take a ridiculous amount of photos the whole time! This time of year really brings out my inner photographer - so many beautiful moments and 'feelings' to capture.
As a family, we love food all year long. My daughter and I love to cook and bake and the holiday season brings out this primal urge in us both to spend countless days in the kitchen making treats for ourselves and any company that may pop in for a visit. Our favorites are Peanut Butter and Marshmallow fudge, Santa Bars, Nanaimo Bars and Butter tarts. The butter tarts began long before either of us were even born. My Dad's mom used to make the most delicious, right from scratch, butter tarts for her family at Christmas time. She continued to make them for my Dad and the rest of us for years until she got ill and couldn't cook anymore. I began to make them for my Dad. And when my daughter was old enough, she began to help me. Now, every year, without fail, we make copious amounts of butter tarts and devour every last one of them!
Here is the exact recipe that we use every year:
Golden Brown Butter Tarts
You will need:
12 tart shells (you can either make your own from scratch or, like myself, buy the Tenderflake ones and save a ton of time.)
1/2 cup of corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. vinegar
1/2 cup of raisins (we love the golden ones!)
Place the 12 tart shells on a cookie sheet. After that, whisk together the corn syrup with the brown sugar, egg, butter, vanilla and vinegar. Put about 10 raisins in the bottom of each tart shell. Now spoon about 2-3 tbsp. of the syrup mixture over top of the raisins so that they are about 2/3 full. Don't overfill them as they get bubbly and will overflow during cooking!
Bake until a deep, golden brown - about 20 minutes at 375*C. Let them cool down before enjoying as they will be hot inside. They will also be yummy and sticky! Please note that this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
The holiday season also means that, as adults, we will get a few extra evenings together, alone, thanks to various work parties and gathering with friends. Being surrounded by those people that are most important to us is, by far, one of the best things about this time of year. Catching up, laughing, making future plans...these all come together and give us a sense of hope for the coming year.
My daughter in her favorite striped socks - this shot was taken a few Christmases ago and it instantly became a family favorite! I've made cards out of it, I use it as my screen saver and this year, I used it to make the badge for one of my e-courses.
This year also brought in a new tradition. Christmas Yoga! My kids have all grown up with Yoga in their lives in one way or another and this year we did something completely different - we made a little video of Ethan and Emily demonstrating their favorite holiday-inspired poses. These can be enjoyed by children of all ages. They're so much fun, plus, you can't do them wrong! I now plan on making a version of this every year while the kids will still wear the antlers. Ha!
I wish you and your family all the best for the coming holidays,
Jodi is a Certified Holistic Life Coach and Yoga Instructor who specializes in teaching women and their families how to live actively, seasonally and creatively. Using the principles of Yoga, Ayurveda, Reiki, Coaching and Creativity, you will explore what it means to nurture yourself, and, in turn, how to nurture your family in a more heart-centred way.