Sunday, December 30, 2012

Making Merry

Since it's almost impossible to buy decent gifts for the kids here, Christmas presents usually arrive via big yellow envelopes.  These particular ones were from our friends at FCC. 
Thank you to everyone who blesses us at Christmas!
Annual gingerbread house decorating with Caleb and Imani. 
My houses did not collapse this year, so I am improving.  However, as I was wrestling with these ridiculous contraptions, I declared rather loudly to anyone who would listen,
Next year I am buying a kit! 
Making glorious messes has always got to be a part of Christmas.

Skyping in the relatives.
Next year there will be no Skyping!

 More glorious messes:  Christmas morning.
And the benefit to hosting 14 additional people on Christmas afternoon?  It all gets cleaned up, lickety split.  

So Gil convinced his mom to purchase a zip line for the kids for Christmas.  (I don't think, actually, that Grandma realized that this particular gift means that her grandchildren will be whizzing across our yard at tremendous speeds and almost crashing into trees...with no helmet.)
Thanks to Grandma for purchasing it;
Carley's family for carting it over here;
and Tony and Devin for their help in putting it up.
It was a whiz-bang Christmas.

It was also a Claimjumper Christmas. 
It all started with the meat. 
My friends Alyssa and Lauren and I went to a day-long women's retreat in November.  A gift was given to each woman who attended:  a recipe and little bag of spices to make Claimjumper's Corned Beef.
We decided right then and there that we would make the beef for Christmas.  AND that therefore, we needed an entire Claimjumper's Christmas.  Logical conclusion, don't you think?
So we scoured the internet for recipes.  And oh my.  I have amazing friends. 
Bacon wrapped shrimp, citrus salad, Thai salad, BBQ salad, mozzarella cheese sticks, cheese-potato cakes, twice-baked potatoes with chicken.  And corned beef.  We should open our own Claimjumpers. 

Yes, those are Hershey's kiss cookies, made from kisses that have been at the bottom of my freezer since August.  However, they are not very well suited to Tanzania, since they could only be out of the freezer for about 10 minutes before they turned into Hershey's kiss puddles.  But that's okay, 10 minutes is enough! 

And of course, it would not be a Claimjumper's Christmas without
The Motherlode
Except mine was only 5 layers, instead of 6.  I couldn't fit six under my cake container. 

Heri ya Krismas! 
Next year.  Next year I will be home for Christmas!
But wait.  This is home too.  And I will miss it.
Be still, my divided heart. 
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