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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

What you don’t know about me is that I am a pretty paper and fabric FREAK. I don’t scrap, and I hardly ever find time to sew, but in the second half of my life, I know this is where I will be spending all of my time. While I don’t have time to do things now, I do have a habit of hoarding. I have rolls of beautiful fabric and stacks of gorgeous papers in my closet begging for attention. Every one of them seeming to say, “You paid for me. Use me. I’ve been in a dark closet for 5 years. Please pick me up.”

So with that background in mind, you might be able to understand how I had to be a part of this next Knucker Hatch Advent activity. You can do this activity with paper or fabric, and the results are quite cute. (From left to right, the work of: The Queen’s Grace, Mama Knucker Hatch, The Princess of Wails, and Sir Bugga-Lot).

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A special thanks to The Small Object for the original idea in fabric w/ a very useful template and to Bella Dia for the inspiration to try paper. The only modifications we made were to stick small wads of tissue inbetween each cone for lift. By the way, both aforementioned blogs are wonderful places to sit with a cup of coffee and dream about rescuing my hoards and hoards of lovelies.

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The Knucker Hatch Activity Advent Calendar continues to be an out of the ballpark hit. And the pressure is on to keep it running. So today, an easy craft to eat that my two year old “Do-er” adored: Holiday Pretzel Treats.

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Pretzels, chocolate kisses, and M&Ms. The Princess of Wails was hooked on unwrapping the individual kisses and sorting out green and red M&Ms from the others. It might have even been more of a treat than the occasional swipe of chocolate. And for this Mama, lots of fun and yumminess for very little effort.

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O.K., so it wasn’t a bajillion, but by midnight, after 10 hours of straight biscotti cooking, toasting, glazing and packing, you could have told me it was a bajillion and I would have believed you. The count was more like 900, and I’m pretty sure the smells of biscotti heaven were wafting into the next city. As I mentioned in my previous post, it has become a tradition for the wife of my husband’s business partner to bake biscotti for customers and employees in the company. She receives incredible compliments and the men joke that when they fly in to visit their clients and talk about their product, the first questions they are asked are about the biscotti.

The recipes are outstanding, and Rachel outdoes herself with new ones and tweaking old favorites every year. This year: Andies Mint Chocolate Biscotti w/ chocolate icing, Peppermint Biscotti w/ peppermint pieces inside and iced in white chocolate, Cranberry Chocolate Biscotti iced in white chocolate, and Gingerbread Biscotti iced in wonderful lemon flavored white chocolate. On top of it all, her biscotti comes out beautifully perfect.

This year, I had the privilege of opening up my kitchen, and being allowed inside the factory of “Willy Wonka” so to speak as I watched the master and tried my best to be a helpful oompa-loompa. Rachel had already premade all of the dough for weeks ahead of time and frozen every batch. So the first step was separating the biscotti and placing them in special biscotti pans.

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Here the biscotti is baking and rising in individual slots. These pans keep each and everyone looking perfect.

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Following baking, the biscotti is allowed to cool for a few minutes, and then they are slid on to hot tiles to slowly toast. The tiles, I am told, help to distribute the heat evenly. She’s right. I think we might have burned the edges of only 10 biscotti out of 900.  Simple floor tiles will do the trick nicely.

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After toasting, the biscotti is laid out on wax paper to await their glazes. This is where I would become a very confused oompa-loompa. Rachel was so patient with my inability to keep each icing with the right biscotti! Look at these beauties. Can anybody say “Etsy”???

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Once the icing had set, we were packing up gift bags of six, and preparing gift boxes for the customers. This is my dear friend Rachel looking beautiful as ever at midnight:

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At 12:30am I was biscotti toast myself, and she sent me to bed, only to cook for two more hours! We had a wonderful time together, even with the nine kids running underfoot. And now we get to eat extra biscotti for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which are scrumptious even with Faithie’s teeth tracks running over all of the iced tops.

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The Christmas Season is upon the Knucker Hatch household, and I do believe we are having the most memorable experiences to date. It has taken our family a good while to create our own traditions while striving to hold on to the old of family Christmas’ past. I remember in our first Christmas years as a new family, feeling frustrated that we hadn’t a single tradition of our own, and few to bring to the table from our own families. But this year, over a decade later, we have arrived.

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The fresh tree has yet to pass our threshold, and the storage boxes packed with the stockings and Christmas decorations have still not been pulled from the garage, but we are already knee deep in welcoming family traditions. The spirit of Christmas is finding its way into the kitchen, and on to the mantle, and into our hearts. Children are prancing around the house dancing to Christmas carols, determined to learn every song title by heart. While, little hands have been hard at work creating Christmas countdown paper chains, beaded pipe cleaner candy canes, felt holly wreath ornaments, and paper snowflakes. I’ve been inspired to do a family advent activity calendar, which keeps the children waking up happily with a “What’s the Christmas activity today, Mom?”.

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Tom Builder and I have spent and will spend many more nights perfecting his Grandma’s elusive fudge recipe. I think this year, we’ve almost cracked the fudge code (Grandma’s fudge was not creamy, but had a slight grainy hardness…in other words slightly off the mark, but what Tom Builder’s side of the family grew to know and love as Grandma’s treasured fudge). We will add to our new traditions of whipping up some killer addictive peanut brittle, and creating our famous Christmas cookie tree, with some new candies like peppermint bark to try this year. And tonight, the kitchen prepares for a gathering of friends tomorrow that will last all day and through the night – thousands of flavored biscotti will be baked, iced, and wrapped for company customers, as we assist with a lofty gift giving tradition started by the brave wife of Mr. Incredible’s business partner. Meanwhile, nine children will be weaving in and out of our baking with squeals of laughter and much hootin’ and hollerin’.

In the background, there are Christmas parties to attend and a company party to host (which scares me to death) and all of the Christmas shopping. But for some reason, this time, I’m not falling prey to the mad Christmas rush. To the dark bundles of stress, worry, and distraction that I so often carry around during December and almost seem to open my arms willingly to catch. This year, I am finding true joy in the season. Meaningfulness.

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Every December day. Shared with loved ones. Traditions treasured up and memories held close.

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The Good News – Part I

After tending to my sweeties for the last couple of days, I am mentally ready to draw up my remaining Christmas cheer and share the good news our family experienced this Christmas season. I’ll probably share it in bits and pieces, with weak writing skills, and as time allows…since I have two girls on the mend, and now one boy going down for the count.

Firstly, Santa Claus is still alive and well in the Knucker Hatch household. One of the blessings counted up this year was that we have an eight year old in the house who still deeply desires to hold onto the magic of Christmas. She can still hear the spirit of Christmas in Santa’s sleigh bell when she rings it.

Santa had packed his red Santa suit, his black boots, and red Santa bags for his Christmas visit to Georgia. (For kicks, he decided to get to Atlanta via an air jet from Colorado rather than a reindeer driven sleigh.) Last year, The Queen’s Grace had a lot of logistical questions to ask the man in the red suit. Because of this, Santa was concerned that Grace just might call him on the carpet if she heard his voice. So with some last minute late night scheming, the adults decided that Santa’s best course of action would be to avoid direct contact with the crumb cruncher society. (So as to preserve his existence for at least one more year).

It seemed only fitting, that in the age of multimedia, Santa should be caught on video tape dropping off his special toys for the children. Santa, did just that, and put on a fabulous act of jolly-ness.

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In the morning, the children were tremendously joyous over the piles of gifts under the tree. And perhaps more than a bit relieved, if you recall the early morning scandal of last Christmas. We played up the “Santa was caught on tape” bit, and Jack and Grace gathered in front of the television set to watch the evidence. Meanwhile, the parents and grandparents took video of the children watching Santa on tape. The kids were enthralled and tickled.

This year, there were no questions asked. When you’re caught red handed, or more red suited, what more can Santa say?

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