The Time Capsule

The Time Capsule

“The more you celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

WOW!  Christmas is less than two weeks away.  Where did this year go?  It’s been so busy this year; I hardly noticed it whooshing by.  I guess its right what they say, that time seems to go exponentially faster when you have kids.  Lately my life seems like a runaway train and that I’m chasing behind it like Yosemite Sam on a hand powered cart. 

Every year, Marko and I argue over when to put out the Christmas decorations.   Me, like any other red-blooded American, wants to put them out the day after Thanksgiving.  However, he is steadfast in saying that they should not be put out until after Sinter Klaas (December 5th).   So we usually meet in the middle and I end up putting out some non-obtrusive Christmas decorations here and there the last week in November and then properly decking the halls December 6th.   Usually every December 7th, my house looks like Santa’s workshop exploded with decorations everywhere. 

I don’t know what’s wrong with me this year, but I realized just yesterday that I don’t have any decorations up except for the sparse notions that I put up at the end of November.   Am I so busy that I don’t have time to haul out the holly this year?  It’s time for a remedy.  Rallying the kids together, we trudge to the attic and drag down boxes of decorations.  

Excitedly, the kids begin unpacking as if it were their own Christmas presents, inspecting every item and asking details about every one of them.  “Gee, Mom, I never saw this one”, says my youngest daughter, Lara, as she holds up a ceramic snowman.  “That was given to me years ago by my Aunt Luci.  You never met her but she passed away this year.” I explain to her as I suddenly remember my dearly departed aunt.  Understanding, she takes the snowman carefully between her two hands and puts it in a place of honor on the shelf.  Our reverence is broken by a squeal from Rebecca, “This is mine!” she says as she holds up a brass rocking horse ornament with her name on it. “Baby’s First Christmas 2001” is inscribed on it.  Yes, it is.  It’s hard to believe that it was 9 years ago already that we celebrated her very first Christmas. I remember that time, her at 6 weeks old, the first grandchild, being passed around between family members and friends, all gazing at her with admiration. I think of how our family has changed since then.  I feel thankful for my loved ones still on this earth and suddenly miss those no longer with us. 

This year, unwrapping our Christmas decorations was like opening up a time capsule.  Mere trinkets of nearly no monetary value offering invaluable memories that I can share with my own children.  Gifts from treasured people in our lives and reminders that marked special occasions.  Even an ancient box of faded and cracked ornaments left to us years ago had its own stories to tell.  Each piece wrapped in the local newspaper  from 1977.  Smoothing the crumpled paper, I  scan the news of that day. Even though the news is hardly noteworthy,  I think of how fun it is to read about what happened  33 years ago.  A spot in time. 

I’m content to have spent this time reminiscing with my kids.  I think it will be a tradition for us from now on.  It will be a time for us to stop and remember.  It all goes by so fast.

This weeks recipe is the favorite Christmas cookie of my mom. 

Sonia Henie (Thumbprints) Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup fruit preserves, such as raspberry or apricot

1. Position the racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F.

2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter until creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat until light in color and textur. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix in the flour to make a soft dough. Chill dough for 1 hour. Using a scant tablespoon, roll the dough into 1-inch balls.  
4. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until foamy. Pour about one-third of the chopped walnut mixture into a shallow bowl. Dip each ball of dough in the egg whites, roll in the walnut mixture to coat, and place 1 inch apart on nonstick cookie sheets. Press an indent about ½ inch and about 1/4 inch deep. Repeat with the rest of the balls.  Spoon about ½ teaspoon of preserves into the indent. You can also use maraschino cherries instead. 
5. Bake until the cookies are set and slightly browned, about 12-15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire cooling racks to cool completely. The cookies can be prepared up to 1 week ahead, stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Can be frozen too. 

 Happy Holidays with Love from the Hoven Family!

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