Whoosh again! Another week has flown by at breakneck speed and here we
are on the Eve of Advent 3, THREE!! Where did the week go??

   
Mostly it went, for me, in the kitchen. Mixing chopping prepping and
cooking for the 2 dinners for twenty as mentioned last week! Oh the shopping
and compiling of detailed lists!

   Of
course in between was the small matter of keeping abreast with all things “Day
Camps”. Sending off the first reminder of the Team Gathering, making an Agenda
for the Committee meeting which takes place this coming Monday Evening,
answering a phone enquiry from a prospective host church (OOOHOO!) etc.

 
Then there was “Crafts evening” on Monday, with Matthew. We had a
successful session making Peppermint Lip Balm. You can find the recipe here,
and it is really good! Of course the washing up and scraping beeswax off every
surface in the kitchen was not so good, but never mind, the lip balm
worked! 

 

Tuesday and Wednesday I did advance prep of various components for the
catering, plus finishing my last Christmas gifts, wrapping ALL my gifts,
packing tins and boxes of Christmas Cookies and generally squishing as much as
possible into each day.

     However, in Advent, I NEVER miss out on
reading all the special books and devotional materials and trying to squeeze in
as much gorgeous Choral Music as possible. I also LOVE watching this Flash Mob,
it is my total favourite.

    Thursday was really crazy busy as quite a while
ago I had arranged to have my friend, Sarah, for an “early Supper in front of
the fire” but then, last Sunday, I agreed to have the 2 sons of friends over
for dinner and an evening of crafts to help out with the couple’s complex
arrangements allowing them a night away at the family cabin in celebration of
their wedding anniversary.

    Sarah
had to come for early supper as she was then going on to a driving lesson, so that
part was okay, as the boys were not coming until 6pm. But it turned out that
the same evening the farmer was bringing meat deliveries which entailed a very
cold walk over to a nearby church parking lot right in the middle of everything
else!

 But
it all worked out and, after the boys ate we all sat by the fire and made some
cool fabric garlands. The boys are going to take theirs up to the cabin and I
have hung mine across the Studio bay window.

  
Yesterday was more grocery hauling (in -20C weather, ugh!!) and
preparations for both Lunch and High Tea guests today. After dinner I sat down
(finally) to check email and…EEK… there was a message from Brian, a dear kind family friend,
saying he would be delivering my Christmas tree during the evening.

     I
leapt from my cozy sofa (much to Wil and Mandu’s disgust) and began moving
furniture, taking down a hanging lamp, positioning and filling the tree stand,
unpacking ornaments etc. 

     One of my most favourite
parts of Christmas preparation is the arrival of a live tree.  Nothing can match the smell of pine when coming
downstairs on the first morning it is in the house, magical!

       
Unfortunately, after all my rushing around, Brian was unable to
deliver the tree so today’s luncheon guests got to sit in the living room with
a lovely display of an empty tree stand and 2 boxes of ornaments.

     
Now as evening draws in I am still waiting for the tree and also anticipating the
imminent arrival of the High Tea Guests who will be treated to the
same view of the empty stand!

     I think I shall wait and try to publish this post
later this evening with the tree (hopefully!!) in all its glory.

     Despite
a somewhat insanely packed schedule, I would not miss this time. Advent is so
amazing and special and, yes, Holy, in a unique way. Unlike the solemn holiness
of Lent, which has it’s own virtues; this is a Joyful holiness, so full of the
sense of wonder and expectation.

If only it would not whiz by quite so FAST!!

    One
of the desserts I was asked to make for my catering job is this frozen
peppermint cheesecake. It is a really lovely Christmassy dessert. Since one
pre-supposes that ALL my recipes are made with exclusively organic ingredients;
please note that instructions for an organic substitute for canned condensed milk
may be found here.

                                          Frozen
Peppermint Cheesecake

1 ¼ cups chocolate cookie crumbs

2 Tbsps. melted butter or margarine

1 -250 gram package cream cheese

1 can condensed milk OR substitute

¾ cup crushed peppermint candy canes

¼ tsp. pure peppermint oil

2 cups heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks

Combine cookie crumbs and butter and press
into a 9” springform pan, chill. In a large bowl, whip cream cheese until
fluffy and then beat in condensed milk. Blend in candy and peppermint oil. Fold
whipped cream into ream cheese mixture. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly
and freeze. Serves 10-12.

And, yes! the tree arrived during High Tea,
Brian stayed for a while and shared some of the tea goodies and after we had
washed the dishes we all decorated the tree together and read the Christmas
Tree Blessing, a lovely ending to the day.

 We
never had lights on our tree but when my longtime neighbours moved away last
Summer they gave me some boxes of tiny white lights so I’m giving them a try
this year. What do you think?