On Sunday we made Gingerbread Boys. I loved this tradition so much when I was a kid. My mom would put a hole in the top of the head before baking and then we would thread a bit of ribbon through and hang the finished ones on the tree. I have done away with that part of the tradition but the rest lives on, especially since I use the same recipe my mom used way back then. We invited friends over to bake and decorate with us, so I doubled this recipe.
Puddinghead Gingerbread Boys
1/2 cup butter, softened 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1 3.5 oz package butterscotch pudding mix 1 large egg 1 1/2 cups flour 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Cream butter and sugar. Add pudding mix. Add egg and mix well. Then add all dry ingredients. Roll out 1/8–1/4 inch thick, cut shapes and bake at 350° for 8–10 minutes. Decorate when cool.
Getting a tree always marks the official start of our Christmas season, and this year we did it in style by chopping our own! Before now, this seemd a little daunting because we thought the kids might not be able to tolerate being out in the cold and rain, (and we may not have been able to tolerate the whining and crying). But the weather lately has been delightfully dry and bright—and yesterday was especially so. We decided it would be a shame to waste such a gorgeous day at a tree-lot.
We went to Oxbow Rim Tree Farm, about a half hour’s drive from our house. They have a cafe there with treats and cider and cocoa, as well as a gift shop with the largest variety of ornaments I’ve ever seen in one place. At first I was a little bummed about there being so much commerce involved, but the kids loved it so I ended up loving it too. The fresh air felt amazing and the smell of the trees was wonderful. Lauren had a hilarious routine going where she’d say she found the perfect tree and when we all came running, she’d point to a stump. Brilliant. I though she was going to wet her pants from laughter.
After we loaded the tree on to the top of our car we went inside and the kids each chose an ornament. I probably took about 150 photos of ornaments. It was hard to stop.
I’ve got dresses on the brain. We’re going out for a fancy Christmas dinner with a group of friends next weekend, so of course I am thinking about my outfit. Some late-night browsing resulted in these finds—none of which I will actually be able to wear (buy). But aren’t they all pretty? I wish I had time to sew something special for myself. Hmm, velvet, silk…
I will probably go with a classic black sheath and black suede pumps which I already own and buy some bright red tights and sparkly earrings. That’ll do it.
We had a big group of friends over for dinner and music last weekend and it was so much fun! Music Night is one of the activities that helps us get through these long and dreary Portland winters and now that another is upon us, we’d best not forget.
I was reminded of how much I love the song Long Black Veil. It really is one of the most perfect songs ever written. Lots of people have sung and recorded it but the version by Neko Case and Carolyn Mark (as The Corn Sisters) is by far my favorite. Check it out. Neko Case is so cool. I wish I could sing like her. I wish I could sing, period.