Christmas Traditions: Secret Elves

Snowflakes

I love our children’s library!

We bustled into it last night, deposited our customary 30-odd books from last week, and checked out the Christmas book displays. Momentary guilt hounds me if I take more than two or three of the featured holiday stories, but several titles snagged my attention…so I figured, it’s only for the next week!

Three year old daughter trotted over to the bird cage to say hello to “Alpha” (“Bet” died last year, and poor Alpha stands alone) and I thumbed through a sweet story…First Grade Elves by Joanne Ryder. Had a fleeting thought that this book might spark a new family tradition and tucked it into my canvas tote. I soon forgot all about it.

Today my two oldest daughters devoured most of the books we’d checked out, and I came from the laundry room to find them snipping out delicate snowflakes. You see, the first grade elves in Mrs. Lee’s classroom had the great idea to plant nice surprises for each other during the month of December…in celebration of Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. With the secret surprise, they also left a small paper snowflake…to show that the Christmas Elves were behind the treat.

So, I guess my girls and I think alike…and we now have a new secret “angel” (they preferred that over elves) December tradition. A fat stack of 4″ diameter snowflakes rests on the corner of one of my end tables…

I thought I’d share it here, because it would be a lovely tradition for anyone, especially those of you with many children. You could assign names or just bless randomly as we’re going to do.

I’d love to know what Christmas traditions you’ve got in the works…

Apple Pie

Doesn’t this just make you itch to bake? Mmm! Welcome to my blue and white kitchen by the way!apple-pie.jpg

The best apple pie I ever ate was in my Aunt Claire’s home on the West Coast. It was the summer before my wedding, and accumulating great recipes had just become appealing to me! Since then I’ve made at least a hundred pies, and good old-fashioned apple pie remains dh’s favorite, with my Peaches and Cream Pie a very close second. So here is my aunt’s recipe with a few modifications by yours truly!

Aunt Claire’s Apple Pie Filling

  • 7 cups thinly sliced apples (many people recommend using tart apples for pie, but we prefer not! I like layering several kinds in one pie, including a few red delicious!)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon allspice

My modifications to this recipe are simple. I switch the measurements for the white and brown sugars, putting 3/4-1 cup brown sugar and only half a cup of white. Since I use sweeter apples, I don’t bother with the apple juice. I pre-cook my filling on the stovetop about ten minutes before filling my pie crust. If you do go ahead and use the apple juice, just remember to place a pan beneath your pie to catch any excess juice bubbling up and over the sides!

Bake at 375*F for about 35 minutes.

Enjoy!

For a large batch of apple pie filling that freezes wonderfully go read Freezing Apple Pie Filling