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happy new year!

Happy 2010, everybody! I had no intention of taking a blog break, let alone such a long one… We just got back from a nice, long visit to (very) snowy Minneapolis, and between the holiday busy-ness and my mom’s i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.y. slow modem, all my good intentions for posts evaporated.

I hope you all had a great holiday, or winter break, or just three weeks in December! The holidays at my mom’s house are always a unique blend of old traditions and new ones, and a balance of rest and projects. This year there was a good dose of rest, thanks to a blizzard that started on the 23rd and kept up through Christmas night. The threats of record-breaking snowfall didn’t quite pan out, but it was still cozy and beautiful, and we took the opportunity to lie low and cook yummy food (and cookies!) and work on a jigsaw puzzle.

The puzzle is one of the new traditions, brought to us, along with Christmas Eve pierogies, by my (mostly) Polish husband Dave. About 10 years ago we added the tradition of a Solstice bonfire with a dinner of grilled steaks and rum cake. This year we overlooked the usual Christmas Eve tradition of singing carols around the tree, followed by glasses of brandy and an ancient recording of Dylan Thomas’s “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”. I miss that one, but I’m sure it’ll be back next year. Besides, I’m usually asleep before the end of the first side. The new ground this year was making a Christmas day snowman, but that one is going to be weather-dependent. Seeing the patchwork of tradition and history unfold every year is one of the great things about the holidays for me. I’d love to hear your Christmas/holiday/winter traditions – there’s always room to incorporate new ones next year!

Chilly string lights
Dave making pierogi
Cooked in butter and onion, these were amazing!
Our Christmas day snowman (looking a little melty – it started to sleet)
I’m hoping this is another new tradition – my brother picked up this pumpkin cheesecake at the Norse Nook on his way through Wisconsin… probably among the most decadent deserts in memory. They have the recipe posted on their website here.
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