Friday, December 11, 2009

A Christmas Memory

One of my favorite memories of Christmas as a young girl is that of Baking Day. Yes, that is me at 12 years old and that is my mother, just as beautiful as ever. Baking Day was one day during December when we would bake over 500 cookies with Mom to give away to family, friends, neighbors, and church staff. It was always a day during the week, which was not a problem since we were home-schooled.

Now before you think that home-schooling in our family meant babysitting, remember who my mother/teacher was. Faye and I wore uniforms to "school". When we were in uniform, Mom was not our mother, she was our teacher. She was very serious about our schooling. We used a curriculum provided by an actual Christian school in Illinois, and we received report cards and had an actual high-school graduation. In addition to our academic subjects, Mom also taught us how to handle household duties (a very intense version of home economics).

So back to Baking Day. I loved Baking Day. We would start after devotions in the morning and end late in the afternoon. My most memorable Baking Day happened when we lived on Staten Island in New York (where the picture above was taken). I don't know why that one sticks out the most (probably because it the only one we actually have a picture for), but it is the one I remember. After we baked a batch of cookies (and we made lots of different varieties), we would take them to the dining room and put them on plates. After all of the cookies had been baked (and I believe Faye and I taste tested every one of them for Mom), we would wrap them up. Mom would make pretty little packages out of colored cellophane and curly ribbon so the presentation would be beautiful, or she would purchase boxes (pictured), put colorful tissue paper inside, and we would each walk around the table with a tray of cookies assembly line style and put a specified number of cookies inside each box.
As we got older, began college, began working, and I got married, Baking Day was no longer put into the schedule. Mom continued baking, but not as much as she used to when we were children. Never again did we reach the 500 cookie mark, but we used to talk about it with fond memories and a feeling of pride.
I want to have Baking Day with my children one day. As Addie gets older and more children join our family (again, not an announcement...when the time comes, I'll make sure the announcement is special for you), I look forward to our own little assembly line of cookies, taking a day off of school to create a memory, and letting my little elves taste test the cookies (they probably won't want dinner that night). Baking Day was not a stressful day. It was a break from the stress to enjoy each other, to watch the cookie dough become what we imagined, and to fill the house with all smells, feelings, and memories that are good.
Last year, we saw Paul Todd perform at our church. He is absolutely amazing! Most people have trouble chewing gum and walking, but Paul Todd can play five different keyboards, sing, and play a foot keyboard at the same time! That is a true talent. In this arrangement, I believe he is only playing the piano, but if you would like to see more videos of him, go to YouTube and enter the name Paul Todd. You will not be disappointed.


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