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Hello! My name is Shannon Taylor. I'm a long-time writer and editor from Minnesota surprised to find myself on an island in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, three younger children (the oldest is attending college in Chicago), and two dogs.


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Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
+ Robert Fulghum

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Winter Fun

Christmas Favorites

Lily gingerbread city

Happy Epiphany! Since it’s still officially the Christmas season (for a few more minutes, anyway), is it all right if I share some of our favorite things from Christmas this year?

First up are these Gingerbread Cities from Better Homes and Gardens. We made one for ourselves and a few to give away. They took some time, but since Lily’s always looking for something to do, it worked out well. A fun note: the recipe is from Gesine Bullock, sister of Sandra Bullock.

Here’s how they turned out:

Gingerbread City

The fifth graders at our school make gingerbread houses every year. We loved Will’s twist: a cabin tank!

Will gingerbread cannon

Only two-thirds of us are partly Swedish, but at this time of year that little bit takes over! We devoured Trine Hahneman’s book, Scandinavian Christmas, with all its gorgeous photos and recipes. Trine’s quote sums up our Wisconsin winters perfectly: “I love the cold and the way the world turns silent when covered in snow.”

I ran out of time this year, but next Christmas I want to try to make the pine bough snowflake. Do you see it down there on the left? Beautiful!

Scandinavian Christmas

Okay, I feel a little sheepish about this next photo. Yes, we bought an Elf on the Shelf. I really hadn’t planned to. I mean, it’s just a big marketing ploy, right? But so many of our older traditions have sort of petered out with the older kids being so busy, and Lily asked so nicely. So I figured, why not try something new?

And here’s the crazy thing: I love the elf! Delfina, actually. We established right away that she is a good elf and not one of those leprechaun wannabe’s. And we had fun! Lexie and I did a few cool scenarios when we had the time and energy. And other days Delfina just joined the nativity scene or took the angel’s place on top of the tree. Nothing crazy, just fun.

Delfina the Elf on a Shelf

We gave roasting chestnuts on an open fire a try. They were okay, but I feel like we were missing something. I think we need to buy roasted chestnuts from a proper New York City street vendor before making any final judgments. Do vendors still sell roasted chestnuts in New York City? I hope so!

Roasting Chestnuts

Lily made reindeer food, of course.

Reindeer Food

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s! Can’t wait to see what 2014 holds.

the family

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Comments

  1. Marilyn says:

    What a lovely, lovely family photo! (Belated) Merry Christmas!

  2. Judy Lawrence says:

    Great picture!! Is that a dash of red I see in Andrew’s hair? I am glad you and Lexie are back at the blog. Such a treat each morning. (How do you think Alexandra is handling the -8 degrees in Atlanta????)

  3. Shannon says:

    Thank you, Marilyn!

  4. Shannon says:

    Thank you, Judy, I’m always happier when I’m writing. Andrew’s so tall, I can’t even see what his hair looks like from down here. But I think the red you’re seeing is a reflection from all the Santas!

    I had no idea it’s so cold in Atlanta! Although that explains what Alexandra meant when she said the scarf I sent is the only thing keeping her warm. Maybe I should make her a nice thick wool hat, too. Hah!

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