Burl Ives...... my Christmas carol favourite.
Boy, it sure has been nice to get back to getting ready for a traditional Christmas .... the kind Derek and I experienced as kids. If you've been following us for a while you'll know that it's been many years since we've been in Canada for the holiday season. Let's see 5 years ago we were boondocking at Pilot Knob, Arizona, 4 years ago Venice, Florida, 3 years ago Valle de Juarez, Mexico, 2 years ago Tupelo, Mississippi, 1 year ago Zihuatanejo, Mexico and this year!?
Fintry Provincial Park, BC!
They've all been special and we've made the most at being away from home each year, but nothing can really compare to a white Christmas with a cozy home with a great smelling tree, lights and baking. Good food - family and friends. Sadly, we are short on family as they are on the Island and lower Mainland but we are closer to them then ever!
Here's how we've been getting ready for the next few days!
We couldn't wait to get our tree! We were ahead of the crowd a bit - picking this Fraser Fir up from Swan Lake Nursery on our way home from the airport way back on December 3rd! Too bad I didn't have the camera out at the lot - there were 100's to choose from. Good thing Derek was able to spot a good one - I swear I could have been there for hours! Also a good thing that they net the tress - it had to fit in our car with our luggage and groceries.
You can imagine Cassia's fascination - her first large tree experience - that she can remember that is. No more little fake trees sitting on the van's kitchen counter.
The chaos that is called decorating.
And the finished tree! We had ornaments collected over the years from when Derek and I were first married and from our parents, but we were missing something for the top. In the end we collected some yellow willow and I made a star. It doesn't glow but it does the trick.
Our stockings are on the right - 3 for us and 2 for our animals. On the left? Why stockings for Cassia's stuffed animal friends of course!
With all that travelling around this is the last time Cassia was in Canada for Christmas - and it was her first - she was 7 months old. One of my favourite pictures from that year. Yes, she has been my muse from the get go. I remember this day clearly. I took 100's of pictures of her here but none were quite right - she wouldn't smile!
Then Derek came to the door to watch and finally a smile - and I got it on film!
With the two bins of Christmas stuff I've managed to hang onto over the years, and a few other additions, we've been able to make our living room quite Christmasy.
Who knows what we would have done without our wood stove - it is going 24/7 - as is that brown box beside it - our infrared heater.
Derek was nice enough to make a cedar wreath for the front door for me!
With our non traditional lifestyle and living on the road we really couldn't hold to the Santa thing with Cassia - we didn't exactly have a chimney in the van. But that's ok - she's getting into it now even if she knows he's not real - a list is still a good thing. Thankfully she doesn't actually want a real horse, tractor and barn!
Since our Park Hosts, Penny and Kevin, were coming for dinner with their dog - Sam - Cassia and I decided to make dog cookies for Rufus and Sam. They turned out really well - here's the recipe we used from My Baking Addiction!
Next up - cookies for us and our guests! Cassia pointed this recipe out on Pinterest as we were looking for inspiration. I had never made these before - sugar cookies really - but super neat. Definitely to be repeated.
Unfortunately, I didn't take any more pictures of our cookie making adventure. Over last week we also made Almond Roca, and Shortbread, Chocolate Crackle, and Cranberry Orange Crackle cookies. Boy I've missed holiday baking!
Last Saturday, friends Rob and Jean came over for the afternoon. Jean's granddaughter Emily - who is also six - came along to visit with Cassia. It was the second time she has been over and the two of them have become fast friends. After spending a few hours running and exploring outside they enjoyed some maple syrup on snow.
And last but not least our gingerbread house! I bought a kit since - although I've made one from scratch, I knew Cassia would be most interested in the decorating - which was true.
Now she's most interested in the eating!
A fun thing to do for a couple of hours!
So - that's how the Wood Clan Christmas is going. Plus, we've been working on relearning our Christmas carols.....
Although our Christmas's have been unique we do have one tradition started - watching the Polar Express on Christmas Eve - we love that movie and so that's what we'll be doing tomorrow night. Plus Cas has learned in the meantime about opening one present - so that's what she'll be doing.
Other than that it should be an early morning for us on Friday - I'll share all of that with you next post!
Derek, Cassia and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!
And by the way - we'll be looking for Volunteer Park Hosts here at Fintry for the 2016 camping season. The term runs from April 1 to mid October. The hosts need their own RV but are provided with full hook ups. If you are interested or know someone shoot us an email - firstname.lastname@example.org! More info is at Kaloya.