Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christmas Break

Christmas break is one of my favorite times of the year. The college I go to gives us nearly 5 weeks off, so we've had plenty of time to spend with family and get some work done too. This is my last Christmas break - I graduate in May. Hooray!!! :) I'm ready to be done with school and at home hopefully long enough to finish a garden season, see the fall foliage, etc. In the meantime, my sister and I are enjoying the break before classes start up again. I've compiled a random assortment of activities from this break that will give you a small snapshot of our family's life.

1. Here's what I did as a Christmas present this year. I did a watercolor painting of our house and gave a print to each family member, framed. It was a nice gift that was fun to do and mostly only cost time rather than money.

2. We all love to visit the woods near our house. On Christmas day, most of us went for a long walk. We don't have snow to speak of, but there were a few good-sized patches of ice here and there. We spent most of our time sliding around, breaking holes in the ice and even sledding on it! Thankfully no one was hurt, though there were a couple spectacular wipeouts.

3. I attempted to capture "bokeh," which I understand is basically a pleasantly blurred background in a photo. This can be especially attractive with Christmas lights...obviously I need to keep working on this technique. :)

4. I annoyed the cat by taking flash photos - which is how you get the laser-eye effect. Try it - it's really fun! Have the person or animal stand some distance away in a fairly dark place. Then make sure they're looking at you while you snap the picture. This can lead to some hilariously spooky effects! :)

5. I made some ultra-spectacular Peanut Butter cake. You can get the recipe by looking at my previous post. (Try to ignore how many of my favorite recipes involve peanut butter!!!)

6. I ran the Nerf target-shooting booth at our church's New Year's Eve Fellowship. The targets were Haman, Pharoah, Jezebel and two others that I can't remember. We have some surprisingly good sharpshooters in our congregation! It was a time of great fun and fellowship! That's me with the wavy hair in the foreground, awaiting the next customer. The best game was "Speed Quest," which involved riding our chair lift. :)

7. Back to the ice! Some of us went on another walk and discovered that the little swamp in the woods was frozen over - complete with frozen tracks! We think they may be raccoon tracks, criss-crossed by dog pawprints. We skidded around on the ice for a while, and I stuck my foot through along the edge - twice! (Accidentally, I promise; that water is cold!) We've definitely proven many times over that you can have plenty of fun even when it's not snowy.

8. Finally, another peanut butter thing...this was part of my breakfast the other day. It's really easy - plop some peanut butter in a bowl, slice an apple, and dig in! Very yummy and (hopefully) more or less healthy. Another choice breakfast is a good old pb & j! :) We also made our favorite cookies yesterday, Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies - which, of course, rely heavily on peanut butter. We go through a lot of peanut butter in our house!

So overall it's been a pretty spectacular break. Of course, I've barely scratched the surface of describing everything we've done. I've played piano for church, cleaned houses, babysat, read some fiction (yay!!!) books, and helped haul firewood up to the porch. We squeezed reading a 200+ page story into the brief time my brother was home (he's visiting friends for the rest of break) and sat around with all the lights off throwing glow sticks at each other. You can't capture everything from break on film or in writing, but we've built some great memories. I love being home and am excited about another year to learn, grow and love God and my family more!

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