Wow! It’s been a couple of weeks. As holiday season 2012 kicks off, I became an aunt, the favorite aunt (at least on this side of the Mississippi), I like to think. My beautiful niece was born last Tuesday and she is totally healthy and snuggly. The best kind of baby. I pretty much monopolized her on Thanksgiving as I was the only one there who hadn’t met her/ had a chance to hold her/ kiss her beautiful, soft, pink cheeks.
Our family, like most, likes to get together. and cook. and try new wines. and play ping pong. and laugh our butts off. and most of all, eat. Matter of fact, it seems as if we haven’t stopped eating since Thanksgiving Thursday morning. To that, I have to say:
My plan tonight was to eat a healthy, light dinner when we got home from our 5-day eating/drinking/family time/baby baptizing and baby snuggling excursion. Instead, we just finished a round of turkey, stuffing, and mashed potato leftovers, courtesy of my father in law. Not exactly light, but most definitely delicious. Healthy begins tomorrow, along with a serious wake up call (literally and figuratively) when my pre-sunrise alarm will sound. Eh. Not looking forward to that. Sleeping in until 8 (exciting, right?!) is definitely a holiday-time specialty, and one I truly enjoyed these past days – thanks to my sister and brother in law, who hosted us in their new house.
Driving back and forth to and from home (home is where… you hang your hat? your heart is? your mother is? everybody knows your name?) this past week has got me thinking about where and what and who we call home.
My home is where I can completely be myself. It’s where I can be creative and sometimes messy and make mistakes and also succeed. It’s where I can wear yogapants and no makeup. It’s knowing the difference between the silverware drawer and the pencils&pens&scissors&paperclips&stamps drawer. It usually smells like a family recipe (see below) and is full of hugs and belly laughs.
I’ve moved several times in the past four or five years. Therefore, I have had lots of practice at attempting to make a house (or apartment, condo, bedroom…etc) feel homey. Some essentials I think a house needs to be homey are as follows:
-music playing, preferably of the lady antebellum or norah jones sort and most definitely of the Christmas sort anytime after Thanksgiving.
-a remote basket, my keyholder, a cozy place to read (this includes blankets and pillows)
-pictures of us (any and all special places and people)
-candles in a cinnamony or vanilla cupcake scent. (alternately, freshly baked cookies are a great substitute for candles)
-cheesy jokes and making up songs as you do whatever it is you’re doing and love notes
-safety (in any and all forms. for me, it’s my husbands hugging arms and lights on)
My challenge for this Christmas season: making our new condo homey. You might argue that our place is already quite cozy. We finally turned on the heat tonight when we got here… bring on the MN winter!
Home is more a feeling, though, that anyone who visits or stays experiences the moment they walk in the door, and less a collection of objects in their “place.”
Here’s to being home for the holidays and making our homes homey. Wherever you are :).
I will leave you with my absolute favorite cookie recipe (bring on Christmas cookie season!) and it’s what I make whenever I want to feel a touch of home. Enjoy!
p.s. feel free to comment and add to my list of home-making essentials!
Great Great Grandma Amalia Albertina Wilhelmina Leder Krohn’s Molasses Cookies
3/4 cup shortening (I use butter if I don’t have shortening)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Melt shortening over low heat (I use the microwave). Let cool. Add sugar, molasses, and egg. Beat well. Sift together in a separate bowl: flour, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, salt and soda. Add to first mixture. Mix well and chill for 1-2 hours (I cheat and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes because I don’t like to wait). Form in 1 inch balls, roll in sugar, and place on parchment-covered cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Seriously spicy and sweet.