It seems that I have been planning food, buying food, and making food pretty much constantly for the last week or two. One reason is that baking is therapeutic and other forms of entertainment are few and far between (although I still have a couple of those to report on. But later...)
Another reason for the constant food-obsessing is that the finding and buying of food takes seven times longer than it does in the States. And I've never experienced trauma over cranberries that are not really cranberries like I did last week for Thanksgiving.
Our Thanksgiving was really quite nice, however, because we had a group of young women who are participating in an international language program and go to our church come over. There were nineteen people for dinner and they were so happy to have familiar American food, and I was so happy to bake and prepare and enjoy.
Aside from the masterfully brined and roasted turkey (courtesy of my husband), I was most pleased with this last minute centerpiece and place settings that I created. We had to borrow plates from the neighbors downstairs and I was able to create napkins out of some inexpensive dishtowels from the market and the mandarins look like little pumpkins, don't you think?
The holidays are upon us. We have no Christmas tree and the artificial ones they sell here are quite Charlie-Brownish, so we're trying to figure something else out. (I was convinced that the prelit artificial tree we own would be an electrical nightmare here, and so it is in storage. In D.C... Yeah.)
The boys think Santa will not come if there is no tree. Of course, Cal is testing the Santa theory this year anyway - "I don't need to tell anyone what I want. Santa will just know."
To his credit, Calvin also just asked for surprises for his birthday and when he opened one of the shot-in-the-dark gifts, he exclaimed, "This is what I've wanted my whole life!!!" Oh, really? Can you imagine? Six years of desperate dreaming for a magnetic marble run culminated in that one moment. I'm good, aren't' I?
Last year, my mom gave our boys this book and the accompanying elf on a shelf for the holiday season. Our elf is named Nivlac Yrneh. ("Calvin" backwards, "Henry" backwards. Yrneh is pronounced Ernay, rather French-like.)
Nivlac Yrneh came to our Thanksgiving get-together on the head of one of the guests, and has been at our house every day since. The deal is that he sits someplace in our house each day to watch the children and at night he makes quick trips to Santa to let him know how the boys are behaving. Then he comes back and sits in a different spot (that's how you know he went somewhere) for the next day's observations.
The kids started asking where Nivlac was right around Halloween and I was surprised that they remembered him after a whole year. Calvin and Henry were delighted that Nivlac found us in Ukraine. He worked a little better last year for behavior modification, but this year is most entertaining just to find where he is sitting.
The one rule is that the boys can talk to Nivlac but they can't touch or carry him anywhere - this helps preserve his magical qualities. One nice thing is that the boys have started tattling to Nivlac instead of me. Hmmmm.
But the second day he was here, Charlie got a hold of him and Calvin completely lost it because Nivlac had been touched by a human. Drama, drama, drama.
At any rate, we are enjoying our mystical little holiday guest. (And isn't that spice rack wonderful? Little joys, little joys...)
I really love December. As soon as I figure out how to deck the halls a bit, we'll really be rocking. I'm just not sure if it will be around the Christmas tree or not. We do have a gaping, unusable fireplace that may work as a nice gift receptacle. Could a wreath over the fireplace count as a tree?
Posted by Code Yellow Mom at 12:17 PM