Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Gift of Friendship Loaf Starter

(my red sharpie pen remarks for the rest of the family)
A friend at work gave me this gift of friendship 10 day loaf starter today.

The recipe for the starter can be found here:
Amish Friendship Loaf Starter

My friends version adds a combination of 4 tea spoons of cinnamin and 1/2 a cup of brown sugar in layers at time of baking(day 10) making it a Cinnamin Loaf. There are many variations and I may try a cranberry orange version as well as it is a combination of ingredients I love.

I am on Day 1 and this gift is just what I needed to kickstart a somewhat lagging Christmas Spirit. Other than repairing my 10 lb wreath that was blown off the front door (50 km winds this week) with some of hubbys tile glue (all that I had on hand and it worked great) and watching a couple of Christmas movies I have done little to make Christmas at our house. I did manage to decorate the window sill but am still not sure where to put our little buddy screwy reindeer that hubby insisted I fish out of the Goodwill box this weekend. I think the sill could use a few cuts of pine boughs but I will wait to add those for a couple of weeks as our house will dry it out too fast and we don't want a fire hazard near the candles.

I have decided before this loaf is ready to bake(10 days) I will:

1. Mail all my Christmas cards to American and Canadian family members and friends

2. Put up Christmas tree (but wait on decorating until the kids weekend so they can put all the decorations on). The lights will help me get motivated. I think they are one of my favorite parts of Christmas. We don't have a "decorator tree". All our ornaments have some meaning including a few ornaments from the 1930s that were my grandmothers. Others are some that the kids (now 14, 16, 18 and 20) made when they were younger. There are even some I made as a teenager. I will also decorate my mantle and hang the Christmas balls in every window like I do every year.

3. Wrap the presents we already have purchased. We have done about 30% of the shopping so far. I have several wrapping sessions as we have a large family so like to spread it out plus like seeing some gifts under the Christmas tree. I have a few gift bags from stores that I need to alter into Christmas bags but in the spirit of the "no more Christmas Crap pledge" I promise not to purchase any crafting supplies and use only what I have in the house. Frugal habits often causes creativity as a side effect.

4. Do some baking including loafs from the above Starter. I don't do much Christmas baking, usually one batch of sugar cookies as the younger kids still enjoy decorating them and one batch of fudge. This year I will add a loaf or two to the mix.

5. Go shopping in my pantry for items to take to the food bank - I always buy on sale so this is a great way to give this time of year.

I like to have almost everything done by the 10th of December so I can relax and enjoy the Christmas spirit of the holidays. I have already recorded a bunch of television shows and movies (key PVR words: Christmas, holidays)to watch. My Mom is flying in from Vancouver Island late on the 23rd of December for a few days. We gather and have a no-meat Ukrainian Christmas Eve with hubby's family, my Mom and the kids(although the true Ukrainian Christmas is in the New Year) and then have an extremely quiet Christmas day - just me, hubby and my Mom as the kids are off to spend Christmas day with their Mom. We sit around in our robes, drink Baileys spiked tea and coffee, and smell the turkey cooking, stuff ourselves, and watch a movie after dinnerwards. Sounds nice, doesn't it?

My apologies for the quality of recent photos - but I go to work in the dark and come home to the dark therefore no great daylight shots with natural light for several months to come.

Happy Thanksgiving to all Our American Friends today - Plus I would like to say welcome to some recent followers of my blog - I am up to 9!

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