Wednesday, December 7, 2011

'Tis the Season

I was sick with a bad flu the last two weeks of November. I came down with it immediately after giving a workshop on kitchen cabinet medicine, talking about which common herbs and spices we can use for illness and first aid. Over the last couple of weeks I put to use everything I talked about in that workshop and then some! I drank dozens of pots of tea. Tea for my fever and chills, tea for my chest congestion, tea for my aches and pains, tea to help me sleep, tea to keep my hydrated and nourished when I couldn't eat. I made herbal steams. I flushed my sinuses with my neti pot and I used garlic oil in my ears when the infection moved in there.

I must confess that I resorted to NSAIDs twice during the worst of it, on the insistence of a naturopathic doctor friend. I was too sick to argue with her. But it was the resting and herbs that pulled me through and help me mend.

I watched a ton of movies and got a few hundred pages into book 5 of the Song of Ice and Fire series. Now I'm well again and my energy is returning. With a few short weeks before Christmas its time to get busy with crafting gifts. This year I plan to make elderberry syrup, a few jams, some herbal salves and lotions and a crochet project for friends and loved ones. To help get me in the spirit of the season I started with a little decorating.

This little Christmas tree keeps company with a basil plant, a remnant of summer.
All of my decorations are hand-me-downs from family. I don't buy anything new. Some things are newer than others. But many decorations have been in the family for years.

I love this sweet, sleeping Santa in a shoe. My aunt made it for me when I was a little girl and our family celebrated Sankt Nikolaus Tag. It was so exciting waking up in the morning and seeing the shoe filled with oranges, chocolate and marzipan in the shape of animals. I am just as enchanted with it now as I was when I was five, even though it is no longer filled with candy.

Since it's just me on my urban homestead and I travel over the holidays, I don't put up a Christmas tree. But I have a little collection of trees on display.

My mom passed on these ceramic carolers to me last year. I was happy to give them a home.

Here's Santa hanging out in the Garden of Earthly Delights!

This advent ring has been in my family for many, many years. The star is missing a couple of 'star beams', and the whole thing is rather wobbly, but I love this piece of my family history and all the memories associated with it. With special care, I hope to have it for decades more.

I'm really enjoying my cozy evenings, doing a little crafting, surrounded by these decorations that are filled with personal history and warm memories. They remind me that the things that matter most can't be purchased in a store. My hope for this holiday season is to keep things simple, to not rush anywhere and to be truly present to everyone I spend time with.

Whatever your traditions, however you celebrate, I wish the same for all of you!


wendyytb said...

Thank you, Amber. Wise words from a wise lady! All the best to you too. May your home, and the homes you visit, be filled with light, warmth and love. wishes for good health, happiness, and, and in the coming year!

Amber said...

All the best to you and yours Wendy! I hope you have a wonderful holiday in your new home and that 2012 is filled with beauty and loved ones.

Designer: Jen Valberg said...

Those fruit roll-ups look yummy! What is the 'special' paper that you use? I reluctantly used parchment from the grocery store after my google search warned me that it might have heavy metals in it. eek!

Amber said...

The sheets are from the Excalibur company and they're called ParaFlexx. Sadly they are made with teflon, which I loathe. But apparently the process is different than the one used for cookware and they aren't supposed to off-gas at higher temperatures. I'm not fully comfortable using them, but it seems to be what the homesteaders and raw foodies all use. So I'm using them for the time being. I heard that silicone baking sheets are more stable, but they are very expensive.