Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

A Wonderful Christmastime December 26, 2012

Christmas Day went better than expected. I’d stayed up until 5:30am on Christmas morning assembling the girls’ dollhouse.

The dollhouse has an elevator! It is taller than our Christmas tree. Hopefully they'll let me play with them!

The dollhouse has an elevator! It is taller than our Christmas tree. Hopefully they’ll let me play with them!

I’m sure that it would’ve taken less time if I’d a) had an electric screwdriver b) had gotten more than three hours of sleep the night before and didn’t have such a hard time comprehending the instructions c) had time and space to start working on the dollhouse before Christmas Eve and/or d) had a husband helping. It took me six hours, two calloused hands, and one more sleepless night to get it done, but I did it! I was proud of myself, but I was totally drained on Christmas.

I must have stared at these directions for 2 of the six hours it took me to assemble the dollhouse

I must have stared at these instructions for 2 of the six hours it took me to assemble the dollhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Christmas Eve we’d attempted to make sugar cookies for Santa. The girls always love helping me in the kitchen so I let them pour ingredients and do some mixing. Just as I was about to scoop the flour I noticed mealybugs. Great. Another all day project of cleaning the cupboards is ahead, but at that moment I just tossed the bag and used an unopened box of gluten free flour instead.

 

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The recipe I was using for the cookies didn’t call for gluten free flour. Sometimes the gluten free all-purpose flour is interchangeable with regular all-purpose flour, but for this recipe the dough was not holding together enough to be rolled and cut into cutesy Christmas shapes. I opted to add chocolate baking powder to half of our dough and convinced the girls that Santa would love our uniquely layered cookies. They were easier and faster than decorating  shaped cookies, they got the job done, and the girls gloated that they were probably the only children in the world who’d left Santa the type of cookies we’d made. Probably so. They tasted a bit chalky.

 

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On Christmas morning the girls divvied up the gifts. I’d only written their names on a few of them. They opened and oohed and ahhed and thanked the gift givers. I told them that some of their gifts were donations from people in the community. I want them to understand that people can do great things for those they don’t even know. They were quite pleased, and they’ve vowed to help me go through their toys so that we can give things that they no longer play with to less fortunate children.

 

Santa stuffed stockings and left fairy costumes

Santa stuffed stockings and left fairy costumes

Santa and his reindeer enjoyed our cookies and carrots

Santa and his reindeer enjoyed our cookies and carrots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided early in the day that I wasn’t going to make the Christmas feast I’d intended to make. The turkey and homemade everything else can wait. I was far too exhausted and needed to rest my feet. I spent a good portion of Christmas lying down. The girls played with their new toys and enjoyed themselves without much need for my help.

 

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My mother and sister know that I rely on maps and printed directions. Their gifts should keep my eyes on the road and the girls' tantrums under control!

My mother and sister know that I rely on maps and printed directions. Their gifts should keep my eyes on the road and the girls’ tantrums under control!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mother and sister and the girls got me presents. I was also given numerous gift cards from classmates, my landlord, donors to my support group, and friends. The girls made me their presents at school; I absolutely love them!

 

Terra made a Christmas tree out of her hand prints!

Terra made a Christmas tree out of her hand prints!

Amara made me an ornament with our family on it!

Amara made me an ornament with our family on it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before bed we played several games of Uno. Amara is surprisingly good already and Terra (she played with her cards face up on the table so that I could help her make choices) won twice! It was a lot of fun. I didn’t have much time to stress and think about what I was missing. I tried to just enjoy my daughters’ joy. Seeing them happy and carefree and being able to relax for a moment was the greatest part of Christmas.

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Pumpkin Cookie Recipe October 24, 2012

We attended the girl’s school Halloween party tonight. To my delight they looked alright. It was a good test run for the actual trick-or-treat; certain elements of their costumes need tweaking, but for approximately ten hours of work I am pleased with the results.

Amara was a red squirrel, Terra was Pocahontas

Since we were running late (as always) we weren’t able to make the pumpkin cookies we’d signed up to bring to the party. We love our pumpkin cookie recipe and make it every autumn. I will probably make them next week and bring them as a treat for the girls’ classmates anyway. The cookies are too good not to share (plus, no one ate our crackers and hummus offering tonight and I feel slightly guilty)! Here’s the recipe (we adapted it from a recipe we found years ago on Cooks.com):

Pumpkin Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

4 Cups flour

2 Cups oatmeal

2 Tsp baking soda

2 Tsp cinnamon

1 Tsp salt

1 1/2 Cups coconut oil

1/2 Cup white sugar

2 Cups brown sugar

1 egg

1 Tsp vanilla

1 1/2 Cups canned pumpkin

1/2 Cup walnuts

1/2 Cup raisins

1/2 Cup shredded coconut

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, walnuts, raisins, and shredded coconut. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine the oil, white sugar, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla . Whisk the contents of the smaller bowl thoroughly. Add the pumpkin to the smaller bowl in 1/2 cup increments, mixing thoroughly with each addition. Combine all the ingredients in the large mixing bowl and stir together with a spoon (it gets very thick, you may have to clear your spoon and start in different places of the bowl to ensure an even mixture). Drop small spoonfuls of dough onto greased baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350F (or until lightly browned).

Yields: A LOT! 4 dozen or so, depending on how big your spoonfuls of dough.

Substitution FYI: These cookies taste wonderful with butternut squash in place of pumpkin.

Enjoy!