It's been in the 20's when we've woken up the last several mornings and everything is covered with frost. It's beautiful! It also makes me very thankful for central heating. And insulation. Anybody ever read "The Long Winter" in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series? Talk about cold . . . I would have made a terrible pioneer.
It's so interesting how the spider webs are magnified by the frost. I thought I'd pretend to be a photographer and go outside and snap a few pics to share. I'd find a web, take a few shots then move to a different web and do the same. Then I took a good look around and realized there were spider webs ALL OVER THE PLACE. I'd never have noticed if the frost hadn't lit them up. Once I was aware of the sheer number of webs I quickly came inside.
Beautiful? Yes. Highly creepy? Double yes. Me and spiders don't get along so well. Even frozen spiders. Plus it was cold and it's a holiday - I've got things to do.
Yep, that's right - we're celebrating Sinterklaas Day today! It's a Dutch children's holiday, celebrated on the eve of St. Nicholas' Feast Day, a religious holiday in Europe.
Since I'm part Dutch, I decided to embrace this part of my heritage and start some new family traditions. From what I've read, it's a day for people to make good-natured fun of each other, eat special cookies and enjoy home-made gifts that are camouflaged, hidden and obtained by going on treasure hunts! You're also supposed to make poems to go along with the gifts but I blew that off.
Now, does any of that sound fun? I sure thought so, so I started planning a little somethin' for the family.
I started with the gifts. As a cardmaker, stamper and scrapbooker, I have LOADS of paper supplies and doodads from which to create wonderful homemade things. I settled upon bookmarks for Duane and the kids. Here they are . . .
It took me a couple of hours to make these.
Last week I asked all the kids what their favorite colors were, so I could be REALLY creative. Custom bookmarks. Who knew?
We started with the treasure hunt after lunch. What a ball! I wrote 13 clues and hid them around the house, primarily using our Christmas decorations. It was a blast, watching the kids figure out the clues. They'd read it, think about it, then the eyes would light up and they'd take off running, in search of the next clue. They were so smart - I thought some of the clues would be difficult but they had no problems at all. Next year I'll make the treasure hunt longer.
Can you read the bottom clue? That was my favorite one. It says, "He's making a list, checking it twice . . ."
And that sent the kids and Duane to this . . .
One of the many Santas that my artistic mother-in-law makes. We have around 50 of these Santas, all with a different theme and they are lovely, lovely works of art. She sells them, too, if anybody's interested.
See Santa's list? Whew - glad I made it on there. Every year I'm on pins and needles, wondering if my niceness can outweigh my naughtiness. Santa's a tolerant guy, isn't he?
And now, the final piece of the Sinterklaas celebration - cookies.
These are called speculaas. They're like a gingerbread cookie and are made in wooden molds in the Netherlands. I made two different recipes and dipped mine in melted white chocolate. So far the big winner between the two is the one on the right. Here's the link if you want to try it out!
I can see doing this holiday every year with my family. It's low-key, simple and fun. We could all use a little low-key and simple during the holidays, couldn't we?
Happy Sinterklaas Day!