The other day I heard someone on the radio reading Christmas Wishlists from 1913 and 2013. The list from 1913 included items like: oranges, nuts, candy, mittens, books, etc. The radio show hosts were laughing trying to imagine their children’s responses if they received items from the 1913 list. I found this rather interesting because the things mentioned on the 1913 list were very similar to what our children were getting for Christmas this year. Most years David and I make a majority of our gifts, but this year was even more similar to a 1913 Christmas because of our food allergies, fabric allergies, and just all of the medical expenses we had this year.
We started out our holiday season by getting out our Christmas decorations. I had recently gone through them and gotten rid of quite a few in an effort to avoid allergens and to be a little bit more of a minimalist (less to store, etc), so we got out the tree and ornaments (many homemade or handed down from older relatives), the small Christmas village Jessica enjoys playing with, and a few special decorations.
Lots of good memories on that tree!
Throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas, the kids and I made some homemade Christmas ornaments using some branches from a tree David had cut down in our yard, a woodburning kit David got for Christmas one year, and a few pieces of leather string leftover from making moccasins. I think they turned out rather traditional….and very cute!
and a couple presents! (the pinecone to the left with glitter and ribbon was one of the ornaments the kids and I made the year before last…..David contributed last year with some wooden ornaments he turned)
We also made some gingersnap cookies! Usually we make gingerbread boys, but last year we couldn’t make any cookies with our allowed foods. This year we used this paleo recipe (which was EXCELLENT), but we had to make some adjustments…. I had to replace the almond meal with homemade walnut meal. I’ve made walnut meal before, and I did the same exact thing that I did last time. But this time, I ended up with walnut butter….oops! So I didn’t add the oil, mixed the walnut butter with the molasses, and added more arrowroot starch….the dough still looked rather odd….but they turned out REALLY good (even David approved)!!!! We are thinking about making another batch (this time making them into gingerbread men and icing them with homemade powdered maple sugar icing) when we go see my parents!
Jessica helping me make the cookies in the apron her great-grandmother gave her!
The finished product!
Definitely passed the taste test!!
Last night, we had our Christmas Eve (we always do it early so the kids can have time to stay home and play before we start traveling to see family), and we started a new tradition this year! We made each other a gift! David made both of the kids a wooden sword. I made the kids a Raggedy Anne and Raggedy Andy doll to go with a book I had picked up for them, and Jessica made everyone a beautiful picture and paper sack puppet! I think next year we will all make gifts to exchange with each other.
Opening their Raggedy Anne and Raggedy Andy book
Jessica opening her Raggedy Anne doll!
Jessica checking out her wooden sword (John is a little slower at unwrapping)
John trying out his wooden sword! “Arrrggghhh!!!!”
David was pleased with his safety razor (although we later realized I bought the wrong one so we’ll have to send it back…)
The gifts Jessica made for everyone <3
The best picture I could get of John and Jessica dragging their Raggedy dolls and swords through the house!
A close up of Raggedy Anne and Raggedy Andy….The dolls are 100% cotton. Their clothes are clothes the kids wore as babies, and I painted their faces on (the rosy cheeks are powdered hibiscus flowers so it actually rubs off).
And a close up of the kids’ swords!
Then the kids threw some duck feed out for Santa’s reindeer, laid out some gingersnaps and coconut water (that’s all we had in the fridge), and went to bed in John’s room listening to Patrick Stewart’s performance of A Christmas Carol (Jessica has been quite captured with the story of Scrooge this year…I think she’s seen/heard 3-4 different versions of A Christmas Carol this season). <3
This morning we woke up to see what Santa had brought them! John was over the moon about his tin Curious George tea set complete with little wooden tea bags and little wooden tea cookies! Jessica seems to have enjoyed her little wooden stable with horses, and we all ate LOTS of oranges this morning from their stockings!! Santa also left the kids a nice note with a package of candy he had found that the kids could eat!
What Santa brought :-)
This was followed by some Sweet Potato Pie Pancakes! These are grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free pancakes! I got my inspiration from several websites sharing recipes for plantain pancakes. I experimented with several different methods before settling on this recipe. I tried yellow and black plantains. They had a nice flavor, but they cooked to be rather dark (which my ultra rigid child on the spectrum didn’t like) and were too gooey. I tried green plantains, and their texture was almost exactly what I was going for except the flavor tasted very strongly of plantains…so I borrowed some ideas from my mom’s regular pancake recipe and my regular pumpkin pancake recipe. They turned out really well, except Jessica can’t handle the pumpkin due to her Fructose Malabsorption, so I switched it to sweet potatoes! Even David liked them (although for some reason he didn’t like them with syrup…we still haven’t figured that one out yet)….not bad for my veggie despising husband (he’s actually gotten much much much better over the last 10 years)! The only thing I am dissatisfied with is that the texture turns gritty after being in the fridge for a bit. You can leave them out for hours without messing up the texture, but if you stick them in the fridge over night and then try to reheat them, they are kind of gritty… Need to work on that…..if you have any ideas, let me know!! This would make a great cheap and on the go breakfast idea for us as opposed to meat, meat, or meat!
Sweet Potato Pie Pancakes
Makes 6 cups of batter and at least 20-25 pancakes
6 Green Plantains
1/2 cup mashed Sweet Potato (canned pumpkin is ok if you don’t have Fructose Malabsorption but you might need a bit more sugar)
.5 cup of maple sugar (that’s about 1 tsp of sugar per pancake…not bad….)
1.5 tsp cinnamon
.5 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp distilled vinegar (activates the baking soda instead of using baking powder)
Peel plantains (see this video if you have never peeled a plantain). Cut plantains into chunks (I use a mandolin). Blend (I use a vitamix, but a stick blender or some other high power blender would work fine). Add sweet potato puree and remaining ingredients, and continue blending. You will want to cook these pancakes a slightly lower temperature than you would cook grain pancakes. Take a spoon and place a dollup of batter in a circular shape (or as close as you can get). Flip once the bottom is lightly browned (if you cook them too fast the bottom will the brown and the top will make a mess when turning). When both sides are brown you are ready to serve plain or with your favorite syrup or topping!
All that was left!
Overall, I think they ended up having a pretty nice Christmas, and I managed to only spend about $20, not counting David’s present. David and I haven’t exchanged gifts for the past 2 years (mostly because of all of our medical bills), but last year he got me a bracelet as his way of saying how much he appreciated all of my hard work. This year, I returned the favor, and got him a safety razor (he’s been wanting to try using one for a while). Next up is going to see all of the relatives…..who are all getting gifts I found in our closet….hopefully they like them!