I remember walking into a neighbor’s house at Christmas time a few years back. The house smelled of cinnamon and the decor looked as though it came from a magazine. At the kitchen table several of her grandchildren were busy putting together a Christmas puzzle. It was an iconic holiday picture.
It reminded me of my own grandmother’s house growing up that had a puzzle on a card table set up at Christmas time – the same puzzle year after year.
Since then, I’ve wanted a Christmas puzzle on our table. This week I finally made it happen. We’ve had a few casualties with Briggs stealing pieces, but I think we’ve recovered all of them!
We’re still not finished, but we’re close. All the kids have taken time to sit down and put some pieces on. We’ve watched several Christmas movies and listened to Christmas music while sitting at that table. It’s Christmas and I love it! (and the house smells like cinnamon!)
The Bass Pro Shop has to be my favorite santa year after year. He’s funny. He’s animated. And even though he never actually asks what the kids want for Christmas – they love to visit him. He throws broken candy canes out of his bag and yells “Broken”. And he poses for pictures like this when I’m testing lighting. He’s a winner!
We actually found ourselves at Bass Pro two times this week. The first time we showed up late afternoon and they were done passing out picture tickets for the entire day. It was anti-climatic to say the least.
Today, Steve picked up passes this morning on his way from a meeting which meant we returned this afternoon for another shot at Santa. Briggs had no idea what was going on and although he was really unsure – he never cried. He cries if I leave him with other family members. But Santa was just different enough that he sat mesmerized – no facial expressions.
Cannon was excited but not entirely sure what was going on. The whole Santa concept isn’t something he’s quite caught on to. He doesn’t ask questions or make comments about Santa – he was just happy to get a candy cane.
Bennett was by far the most excited. He’s at the best age and I wanted to bottle his excitement about the whole experience. “This is the best day ever, I can’t believe I get to see Santa.” He recounted that his friend visited the North Pole last week and he wished so badly that he could go to the North Pole as well. He wrote a letter to santa while waiting in line – he wants a red locker to lock up his legos so Hunter doesn’t steal his and Cannon doesn’t break things he’s built.
Hunter and Hallie determined they were too old to sit on Santa’s lap. In fact Hallie didn’t even join us the first time we attempted photos because she had an invite to go to a friend’s house. I realized our kids were getting old and growing out of some of the aspects of Christmas that were so exciting when they were younger. Luckily, they are great sports and still play it up real well for the younger ones. It made my mom heart happy when she joined us today and even more happy when Santa called her out for being too old – he was generous and still gave her a candy cane!
The Christmas spirit is thick already and I love it. I know it can get chaotic with all the things we “need” to do and all the things we want to see. But Christmas is simple. There is a spirit about this season that seems so fleeting. One day it’s with me and it causes me to pause and the next I’m grasping at it. But one thing is for sure – it is a magical season. Everything Christmas touches is better, especially within the walls of our home. Makes me wish the season was just a little bit longer.
I was walking in the grocery isle picking up some other ice cream tonight and from the corner of my eye, I spotted it: Peppermint ice cream. It has arrived in the stores and we can all rejoice! Here’s a favorite recipe from a few years back. Also, hit up Trader Joes for candy cane oreos before they’re out!
One of our family’s favorite treat is “Frozen Oreo Delight” (That may or may not be a family assigned name to the dessert!). But the minute peppermint ice cream hits the grocery freezer our family’s favorite dessert gets a holiday makeover. This takes just a few minutes to throw together and it will have everyone begging for more!
Here’s what you need:
Candy Cane Joe Joes
Peppermint Ice Cream (Blue Bell is my absolute favorite)
1 stick of butter
Crush or blend a box of Candy Cane Joe-Joes in a food processor or blender. (You can substitute regular Oreos if you don’t have a Trader Joes close). Typically we make Oreo Delight in a 9×13 glass pan, but part of the holiday makeover is making it a little more fancy by creating layers in a springform pan. Divide the crushed cookies into two bowls. Melt 1/4 butter and mix with one bowl of Oreos. Press Oreos into a greased springform pan.
Put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes until firm. Soften 1/2 of the container of peppermint ice cream. You can leave it at room temperature to soften or you can be impatient like myself and pop it in the microwave for just a bit, stir, microwave, stir. Spread over the Oreo mixture and freeze until firm.
Create another Oreo layer with the second bowl of crushed Oreos and 1/4 cup of butter. Freeze. Use the second half of the peppermint ice-cream and press into the pan. Freeze for 2-3 hours.
Once your ready to serve, run a warm wash cloth along the outside of the pan and release the spring. Top with softened cool whip, drizzle with chocolate syrup and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
Now just try and contain yourself from licking every plate as you hand them to your guests!
It’s time to take the cards down. I enjoy the space they take up on our wall and in our hearts every single year. All these people hold a special place for one reason or another – my fingers are crossed that the digital age doesn’t kill the Christmas card!!