Last year around this time I approached each holiday party as if it was our last in the States for a while, nostalgic and doing my best to soak it all in. Even though we still hadn’t gotten “the call” from the State Department at that point, I was beginning to view things through that lens. This year, with diplomatic passports and travel orders in hand, I’d say it’s more certain we’ll be abroad for the holidays next year.  On our drive back to Michigan, I decided that I would do a series of holiday posts. More for myself than anyone, a reminder of the blustering sparkle of a western Michigan Christmas and the ease, abundance and availability of most everything here in the states. Good Lord, I am humbled by our good fortune.

I spent Tuesday baking and taking care of last minute studio projects, which I can’t really talk about because one is a gift for Snakes. I’ll write more about it later since it turned out so lovely and merits a little blurb. Oh! but the baking…I decided to make coffee toffee, per special request of my sister, and to try my hand at baking kiffles solo. On both fronts I ran into some potentially major snafus (totally scorched first double batch of toffee due to a faulty thermometer! ***Always calibrate with a pot of boiling water before a project like this!****ARRRRG! And instead of my pastry rounds chilling and resting in fridge, 3 hours later I discovered they were rising and fermenting under the glow of the lightbulb that fails to shut off when you close the poorly hung refrigerator door, solving the mystery of why the yogurt keeps going south before its time. Extra guttural double ARGGGG!) Anyway, after cursing like a sailor and shaking my clenched fists skyward, demanding justice, I renewed my determination and pressed on. I made a fresh batch of toffee and my kiffles turned out impressively flaky and very tasty after all. Whew. Christmas miracle number one, check.

I’m doing my best to not let any detail slip by unnoticed, from the paved super highways to the heated seats on the rental car. I hate that it’s so easy for us to take our blessings for granted and I appreciate the season for this simple reminder. I know Luanda is going to delight and inspire me in ways I can’t imagine possible right now, sitting surrounded by the limitless abundance of an American Christmas.


4 thoughts on “preparation

  1. We will have to try the kiffle recipe soon, as it sounds amazing! I love the home-made Christmas…I aspire to do something similar every year and haven’t quite made it yet (other than some baking). Love the photos and safe travels!

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