Sunday, December 23

Day 358: Cinnamon, Spice, and Everything Nice

'Twas the night before Christmas (eve) and all through the house, every creature was cooking like mad! Beet salad, celery root "ham", fake Christmas ham, orange sauce with fried Camembert cheese, caramels (that turned into rock hard toffee), a pause to cook a slightly complicated dinner in light of all of the other cooking going on, and then it was back to the madness. Later in the evening final accents and bows were being placed on gifts while outside the city was being quietly covered in a soft blanket of snow. All in hopes that Tomte (Santa) would soon be there.

Every year, despite my efforts to prepare ahead of time, there are always a hundred things left to do before the Christmas celebrating can begin. And every year I say to myself, "Next year I'll have all of this done in advance so we can relax and enjoy sitting in front of the tree with a mug of something warm and soul-quenching." Ah, if only, right? But in all honesty it wouldn't be Christmas without the positive stress to spur me on and help me sleep (through the nights leading up to Christmas) like a rock.

There is nothing so cozy and nice as falling sound to sleep nearly the moment my head touches the pillow. I snuggle into the covers, do my last minute scratching and adjusting, and find my serious sleep position. Then, like magic, I am out like a light. It is as if someone literally pushes my off button and I go directly into recharge mode. This morning was extra nice too because when I woke up I was completely headache free. Such a relief after waking up several days in a row with one. For those of you who suffer from headaches, you will understand and agree immediately how wonderful it is to wake up in the morning without that ice pick stabbing you in the eye or the back of your head. Not to sound so dramatic but it really does feel like that. So waking up and feeling refreshed and rested with no ice pick intruding on my day was especially nice.

'Twas the night before Christmas (eve) and all was well... Wishing you and yours a magical day filled with joy, wonder, and hot buttered spiced apple cider (and perfect caramels... they say three's a charm... Hopefully next time they'll turn out perfectly).

Pictured below: Cinnamon sticks and star anise are two lovely accompaniments to homemade hot buttered spiced apple cider (with spiced rum!). The heart-shaped gingerbread cookies were an excellent accent to our steaming mugs of goodness.

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