Remember the Saturday Chico Farmers Market is open on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve this year. Go support your local farmers!
Thoughts about Christmas
I didn't go to the farmers market last weekend. Usually we go through a dozen eggs in a week, but last Saturday morning there were still eight eggs in the carton. There was still a head of napa cabbage, half a head of green cabbage, a bunch of carrots and a large head of broccoli in my fridge's crisper, so, as my husband and kids left town for two days, I decided not to go to the market. Instead I stayed home and de-cluttered. Boy, was the house overdo! I spent all weekend decluttering, with a couple breaks to make candy for Christmas gifts, watch "Psych" on Netflix (while wrapping candies, of course) and to eat a burrito from a taco truck. It was pretty great.
Oh, and I went with my mother and grandfather to Bidwell Pres for church on Sunday. I grew up going to that church. As a kid I loved playing hide-and-seek with my friends in all the Sunday School classrooms. As I got older, my theology got a little more 'charismatic' and 'evangelical' and I tired of the 'traditional' style of worship. Throughout our marriage my husband and I have attended multiple non-denominational churches, and we've been fairly content at each one of them, but, my goodness! I was humbled and unimaginably refreshed by singing Christmas carols at church Sunday. I can't help buy consider why: 1) Has the theology or worship style of the church changed? 2) Has my theology or preferred worship style changed? 3) Does it feel 'normal' and 'right' to me simply because it is what I grew up with?
And why don't non-denominational churches sing Christmas carols during Advent? A lot of churches seem to mix modern worship songs with a couple of Christmas carols. I like modern worship songs, but I would so much prefer to sing Christmas carols exclusively during Advent, and not just the first verse either. But I digress...
I think all three answers are correct (but feel free to chime in if you have an opinion on that)... The next logical question is, "Am I raising my kid in an (home or church) environment that I want her to think is 'normal' and 'right?'
My favorite parts of Christmas are the Christmas carols that celebrate the birth of Christ and the smell of pine. Let me re-phrase that: they are the two elements of Christmas that I miss most when Christmas gets busy with picking out perfect gifts on a budget, preparing gifts, working 40 hours a week when it seems like at least half of my Facebook friends are on vacation, watching Santa Claus movies, and carving out time for big holiday meals with family. It's not that I don't like the other elements. I just really want time to ponder the lyrics to 'O Holy Night,' and to sing with my kids (at least the first three verses of) 'Away in a Manager.'
Some Cool Photos of the Market in November
Anyhow, I skipped the farmers market last week. The farmers market is such a part of who I am that I kind of need that experience every week. Thinking about the market this week, I googled "Chico Farmers Market" and discovered a really cool blog post by a blogger from Oregon who visited the market in November. There are a lot of good photos in the post and it's just nice to see someone celebrate the wonderful variety we have at the Chico Farmers Market. So, if all the hustle and bustle of the holidays have kept you away from the market, check out her post and get your fix. I'm already looking forward to what I plan to buy this weekend: some local honey, because we're almost out; some cabbage or kale to put into a post-Christmas soup, some carrots, celery (if I can find some), and a big bag of mandarins to keep the kids happy.
The Organic Pastures Milk Recall
Organic Pastures was out of business for a month due to the recent raw milk recall, but government inspectors did not find any indication that the E. coli outbreak which sickened five children was a result of drinking raw milk. Raw milk enthusiasts certainly are not surprised.
Homemade Ice Cream Notes - a new page on the blog
I recently consolidated my homemade ice cream experimentation on one page. I've really enjoyed finding new homemade ice cream flavors that my family likes, but I don't want to muddy up a blog that is supposed to be all about celebrating farmers market produce with recipes containing store-bought peppermint cookies and root beer extract. You can find my most recent ice cream adventures, as well as links to recipes posted previously, here.
Re: Edible Gifts
I've gotten a lot of feedback on my recent "10 Tips for Edible Gifts" post. Most of it goes something like this, "Oh no, just before I read this I delivered six plastic-wrapped paper plates full of homemade cookies to all my co-workers!"
I feel like I should clarify.
When I wrote that post, I wasn't just ripping on former co-workers, some of my tips are from personal experience. I am not a crafty person and I am not the kind of person who just loves to give gifts, so I hope you don't think I went crazy-Martha-Stewart on you.
1.) I had a bad experience with a plate of Christmas cookies as a child, so my opinions about Christmas cookies may not reflect other people's opinions about Christmas cookies. I don't actually remember the experience. I've blocked it out. But I think I was about ten years old and the cookies were brought to us by the kid who lived just north of us. I can only assume that he and his mother had wrapped peppermint cookies with non-peppermint cookies, because, to this day, that is my biggest food-related pet peeve.
2.) Fancy packaging is more important in situations where you need to make a good impression (ie: a gift to a client or a brand-new sister-in-law) and less important in situations where you're close to recipient or when you've experienced some type of medical hardship. My grandmother, who is nearly 90 years old, is giving most people on her Christmas list this year homemade Chex Mix. From experience, I can tell you that she's packaged it in plastic bags, the ones marked "bread bags" with the twist ties. She figured out years ago that they were the perfect size and shape to funnel in Chex Mix using a piece of waxed paper. And she's way too frugal to ever buy a ziplock bag. She'll pass out bags of Chex Mix without any adornment and all her grandchildren (and some friends at her retirement community) will munch on it happily in the days to come. We know her and we've come to except that holiday Chex Mix.
Merry Christmas, all!
I hope that coming week is filled with whatever it is that you like most about Christmas.