Rosca de Reyes

My rosca de reyes was hit with family and the lucky friends who got a bite. It was actually a cranberry and pistachio bread. I lined the bundt pan with pistachios and only mixed the cranberry into the batter. It was a delicious combination with a simple powdered sugar frosting that had the slightest touch of almond extract. I loved how it looked liked a rosca but was so much richer than the traditional egg bread. August and I took turns cutting into it through the days but it was Papi who found "the baby" and now needs to throw us a little party in February.

A recent estate sale provided us with two gorgeous vintage dresses. I couldn't resist and had to get them for August who was over the moon about them. They are both a champagne pink and so fancy. Valentine's day is looking like our next celebration. Tea cakes a punch bowl, a sweetly embroidered table cloth for a tiny table... There has been an idyllic celebration that has been swimming in my own imagination since I was a child. I might just capture it and make it happen.

Cozy Day, Cozy Night

In Texas. In the winter, in Texas, if you sit around waiting for an idyllic cozy night, one that you read about, one based on cozy nights in places like Vermont or Connecticut... You will never have a cozy night. You make do. 

August and I woke up to a dark morning this week. So dark we had to turn on the lights to play and cut out paper dolls. It rained all day and the floor was chilly. Our first cozy day, a day of soups and toasty drinks, sweaters and baking.

We played paper dolls and left incredible messes all over the house. We lounged in the living room the entire dreary day. We watched movies and musicals.  I introduced her to The Sonny and Cher show. I tried to bundle her up in comfortable clothing but she spent the day in her panties and layers of baby blankets. 

I didn't really have the desire to bake much. I wanted the oven on, I wanted cozy aromas. I created a very sorry, very sad berry pie. It was made using two frozen pie crusts and frozen berries with leftover organic, all natural cherry juice left from the organic and all natural maraschino cherries I bought for a fruitcake last month. It smelled great while baking and we gobbled up the warm cherry flavored pastry for dessert in the evening. It was flaky and light and really quite a surprise. However, it began to look weary and stale and all things ugly once it cooled. We had eaten more than enough so I tossed out the little that was left and felt slightly guilty. 

A chilly rainy night it was with a downpour around 6pm. I washed away the guilt with fresh wassail made from juicing a pineapple and an apple then squeezing juice from three types of oranges...some zest and spices and again the house smelled welcoming and wintry.  Should we watch a movie, cuddle under covers and read or play a game? Instead we sat at the couch and turned on the radio. 

August and I sipped on our sweet drinks and I asked her questions like: What was your favorite thing to do, so far, this week? She replied it was Monday's trip to the skating rink, her first. She was the youngest child there and had no helmet or padding of any kind. I only tip toed behind her surprised by my own reflexes. After an hour, she took a break and snacked on the bench while I skated for the first time in...years I guess. At least two. There was  that rink in Oklahoma when she was a year old. The warmest feeling all week has been the way she looked at me and smiled and waved as I skated by her. 

Our cozy day and night tapered off with storytime and Christmas songs. I dozed off and then got up to fetch a sweet music box, wooden you snake and some magnetic letters I had stashed high on the closet shelf. I put them around and in August's cowboy boots that were on the table near the nativity scene. Her Epiphany gifts. I checked the forecast for the day ahead and it had a big sunshine. Big sunshines for a long time. Our cozy day was well spent and I wish for more cold and dark, maybe icy days, so we can do this again. 

Christmasing through the twelve days...

When I was a little girl, seeing a Christmas tree, stripped of all it's festive magic, sitting at the curb was a sight that would bring me to tears. To this day it brings me down. But I remember this wonderful story my mother found in a set of supplementary storybooks that came with our encyclopedia set. It was called Christmas Everyday and by the end of the story it was easier to let Christmas go. Over the years I make it a point to enjoy the weeks leading up to Christmas because on December 26th, it all seems to come tumbling down around me. Lights in the neighborhood turn off, all Christmas ornaments and supplies are piled in one aisle at department stores and begin to look well worn as their values drop daily. I avoid the post holiday blues by carrying on through the twelve day. Much like the story Christmas Everyday, after The Epiphany, I am ready to give Christmas a kiss and send it on it's way.

This year our Christmas tree, a Douglas fir, barely made it to Christmas Day. By the second day of Christmas it started throwing ornaments and pushing garland off. It came down and was respectfully laid to rest by December 27th. Left without a tree so early made me promise myself that next year I will resume ordering my Christmas trees from Nova Scotia. I have missed receiving the seven foot long package at my door step and the fragrance of a Balsam and it's longevity. They just don't get crispy until February. With the tree gone, I also found myself wishing I had a large, plastic blow mold. Something vintage I could light up whenever I felt like I needed a little Christmas. I was relieved to find that all my plastic, vintage light up Santa's and electric candles still made everything cozy and kept me in the spirit.

I love celebrating the twelve days with August. I have the nativity prominantly displayed and I remind her that when she puts her cowgirl boots out on January 5th, she will find goodies and treats in them and near them on January 6th because the Three Kings will be visiting. Last year she had Mexican hot chocolate. This year I hope to make a rosca de  reyes, my own recipe and put the baby in it and celebrate the end of the holidays. I need a sweet and festive end to the season.

On the 8th Day of Christmas I threw a party for this little true love of mine.
 Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! May 2016 bring you joy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!