We are blessed to have a fabulous group of friends on the Island. We really enjoy our dinner parties and play dates with our friends and their kids. There are about six families with children close to Little One’s age (some a few years older and some a bit younger) and we have become somewhat of a big “family”. Being an Island “transplant”, this means a lot to me.
It is really important for me to have good friends with whom we can do things together, just hang out, be there for each other and include everyone’s kids and spouses/partners. The support, the friendship, the love, the laughter…these are all things I need living so far away from my friends and family in the city.
This year, our group of friends decided to have an “Olde Fashioned Christmas” and show the kids that Christmas is not all about the buying and receiving. It’s not about material things. It’s about love, family, friends, the Spirit of Christmas, the giving, and the doing things from the heart. Coming from varying degrees of Christianity, we didn’t get heavily into the explanation of Christmas and Jesus’ birth. Also, most of the kids are too young to understand still.
Anyway, we drew names and we had to give a handmade/homemade present to the child whose name we chose. Little One helped me make this for the friend whose name she drew:
Sand Art Brownies (in a jar)
1/2 c. all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. baking/unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. all purpose flour
2/3 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. white sugar
1 c. chocolate chips
Little One sprinkled oatmeal into the mix because she likes oatmeal in everything!
In a clean 1 quart/1 L mason jar, layer all the above ingredients in the order that they are listed.
On a decorative recipe card (we just used a Christmas card with Little One in a Santa’s hat), write the following:
Sand Art Brownies: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9×9 inch square baking pan. 2. Pour the contents of the jar into a large bowl, and mix well. 3. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2/3 cup vegetable oil, and 3 eggs. Beat until just combined. 4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
The little girl who received the gift from Little One was so excited! C’mon. What kid doesn’t love baking
errrr…make that EATING! brownies!!
I was amazed at some of the presents the kids made (or helped make!). One child received a “painting” that was made of crayons! The person who gave the gift hot glued different coloured crayons onto canvas and then used a hairdryer to melt the crayons. All of the colours melted into each other and made a rainbow. It was stunning!
Another child received a cricket house – complete with a live cricket and other insects for the cricket to eat!
There was a handmade Christmas stocking and a ballerina’s tutu. One child received a CD with children’s Christmas tunes. That brought me back to the days when I was a teenager and made mixed tapes for my friends. I’d sit for hours and “tape” my favourite songs off the radio. Ahhh…the memories! I guess essentially, this is what we are trying to share with our children. Building memories.
It was such a great gathering and it really touched my heart to see all of our kids playing so nicely together and the adults engaging in conversation. It makes being away from my hometown and family a lot easier. The Island is starting to feel like “home”.