Winter Break 2014, Part 1: Solstice

Happy Solstice, everyone!

Our Solstice celebration this year was lovely and simple. The day before, I had M help me gather some pebbles (from our garden) to fill up leftover jelly jars…

Filling her jar, pebble by pebble.

…so that we could turn them into holders for the candles we hand-dipped at our friend’s house the previous weekend:

Candles. (We'll light them "for real" on the Solstice tomorrow, but someone was very insistent that we "test" them first.)

In future years, I’d love to do something with little handwritten paper messages that we feed to the little flames, but we decided that M would be much more ready for that in a year or so than she is now. So for this year, the candles just gave us light as we ate our meals together on the Solstice (and the night before, since a certain someone was very insistent that we “test” our candles before the big day!).

In the morning, we opened gifts, both from each other, and from extended family who’d sent them. M’s favorite gift was probably the (real, working) accordion that my mom’s parents sent her!

Her favorite Soltice gift came from my grandparents - a REAL (toddler-sized) accordion. Oh my!

We have a rule that we won’t have noisemaking toys in our house unless they are actual instruments that M has to work to play – so this fits the bill! (I don’t judge folks who have talking/noisy toys or anything like that – I just have sensory-integration issues, so noisy/flashy toys wreck me a bit. It’s self-preservation, is all!) I’m really excited for her, because she LOVES music and it makes me so happy that she’s starting to get a little instrument collection of her very own.

She also really loved the toys that came in the Little Pnuts subscription box that my brother and his wife got for her.

Working with the farm puzzle/playset that was part of her Little Pnuts shipment (thanks, Uncle Ryan and Aunt Jenny!)

The boxes are timed to arrive basically at each turn of the seasons, which is perfect for our season-celebrating little family. Such a thoughtful gift for her!

This was such a thoughtful gift to M from my brother and his family - an eco-friendly toy service that delivers a package each season (pretty much perfectly timed for our seasonal celebrations).

We also made cookies together. M got to use her new rolling pin (which she got for her birthday) and our snowflake-shaped cookie cutters (which she insisted were “star-shaped” – ok kiddo, that’s fine too!).

Making gingerbread snowflakes. #solstice

We dusted them with powdered sugar to make them a bit more “snow”-like (or “star”-like, for that matter):

First batch of gingerbread snowflakes. #solstice

We brought a whole bunch of these along with us to Ohio to share with family. We use this recipe, which gives a lovely intense gingerbread (and molasses) flavor, with a nice bite from the pepper. So good!

I hope you and your families had peaceful, joyful holidays!

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