Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Preparing for Yule!

Erin came to visit on the weekend of Dec. 14, and helped me decorate the house for Yule.

Here's the "before" shot-- all boxes ready for unloading. I think the living room looks scared.

Erin hooked this rug a few years ago, while recovering from knee surgery.

On the 15th, Erin joined Valerie and I for Hoska Day. Hoska, for my newer readers, is a traditional Czech holiday bread. It has a rich eggy dough-- much like Challah-- but is flavored with almonds, mace, and lemon peel, studded with almonds and raisins, and decorate with candied fruits and poppy seed. The women on my mom's side of the family have made Hoska for generations, and it was time for me to teach the ropes to one of my kids. Valerie and I used to make Hoska with Mom, and for the last few years have gotten together here to make it. It was great to have Erin join us. (Katie and Scott? Next year, maybe?)

It begins with the miracle of the yeast....

Stirring it all together....

Valerie gives approval to Erin's first batch of dough....

Forming the loaves....


The pride of accomplishment-- and a new Hoska maker is born!

Fuel for the bakers: eggnog! (Pizza would follow....)

The gorgeous end result. We made sixteen loaves!)

Happy bakers!

The next day, we headed to our favorite nearby tree lot to pick out a tree. Erin is wearing dark glasses because she thinks she might have had too much wine last night.

We ended up with a lovely little Noble fir, which we stuffed into Xena (Warrior Car). And yes, those are Christmas lights inside my car-- that's one of my most fun traditions. This year I used multi-colored LED lights.

One the way home, how could it be Yule without a stop to see the Milwaukie Pig?

The finished tree-- with our Raven tree-topper!

On Tuesday, Dec. 18, my friend Amanda came over for more baking. She made Anadama bread and cinnamon rolls-- I did just cinnamon rolls. YUM!


On the 21st, a few Grey School friends came by to help celebrate the Winter Solstice. We shared food, did a candle project, and had a firelighting ceremony. It was a good time.

And then there was the Solstice 10:08 pm (Pacific) on Dec. 21. Rejoice in the return on the unconquered Sun-- sol invictus-- and the symbolic return of light and life to the earth!


Your Christmas is Most Like: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Each year, you really get into the spirit of Christmas.
Which is much more important to you than nifty presents.

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