Happy New Year!

We here at A Perfect Day wish you, dear Reader, a wonderful, cozy and joyful New Year’s Eve and a very Happy New Year!

It is on a hopeful note that we ring in 2021. Maybe the roaring twenties will begin to simmer down to a contented purr. Michael just got his first dose of covid vaccine yesterday and we are sheltering together on this rainy weekend with the best of friends. We are so grateful to our friends, family and neighbors who made all the difference in 2020. The year that felt the seismic impact of covid-19. And gave the world several vaccines at the close. The year that gave us Lady Kitty. And yielded the fruits of new friendships.

And today, as every day, I can earnestly say if I pause to consider it with gratitude: A perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you!

Covid Christmas

Everything was a little upside down this year; a tad off kilter; a bit kattywampus; “unprecedented” was the descriptive refrain.

This year’s holidays, being no exception, progressed thusly encumbered. A little less festive, a lot less large gatherings (aka “parties”), and we must’ve forgone our Nutcracker ballet tradition.

It’s a covid Christmas!

Nonetheless, merrymakers we managed to be. In the stead of large gatherings we enjoyed a few of our traditions as well as a smattering of new whimsical and creative fêtes: a private symphony concert al Fresca, front yard bonfire etcetera. Holidays are often the highlights of childhood. It was Lady Kitty’s first Christmas after all! We commenced to withhold no efforts in introducing her to our very best version. And for Lake, at four years old, truly nothing can dampen the thrill of the advent, Santa, and Christmas coming. Lake was focused on the holiday like never before, his emotions running high. He was by turns devastated that Christmas wasn’t tomorrow yet, and devastated that Christmas would soon be over, and ecstatic that Christmas was coming and ecstatic that Christmas was finally here. (What joy!)

Like magic, a touch of “white Christmas” preceded the day.

Here and gone, like the gift of a white glazing of wet snow leading up to the final days before Christmas. The memories of time spent together, however, are not ephemeral. When the ribbons settle, and the wrapping paper is recycled, the friendships are the true gifts that remain.

Bringing the party to Jamma Julie— the Christmas Eve Birthday Girl!
Santa Tom came to play.
Best friends can only be kept apart so long.
Auntie Jessica finally meeting Lady Kitty
Nana wouldn’t miss it for the world. We were so blessed with her presence.

We are grateful we were able to see so many dear ones this holiday season whose friendships sustain us. We carried on, calmly I hope. Respectfully and prudently I trust. In shifts. Not all at once. Sometimes at a distance. Sometimes together. Some virtually. Some not at all. We kept up some play dates. We kept up the cheer. We spread love, not fear of Covid, this year.

Sweetness

Double Chocolate Cupcakes and Double Sweet Siblings

Baking cakes symbolizes the sweet love of family. Trouble was: I didn’t bake. And the idylics of motherhood left little time for learning baking. Inspired by The Great British Bake Off and the notion that confident capable well-adjsuted kids are formed while cakes are in the oven, I’m slowly building up my repertoir of gluten-free vegan cake recipes. There’s the six minute chocolate cake for a quick family celebration, that took me well over an hour to manage in the beginning. There’s the almond vanilla donut cake which scoffs at the recipe’s bake time (a meer 25 minutes), actually enjoying a full hour of bake time. There’s the double chococate cupcakes which disappear like hotcakes. They are sweet, they are fun and they are enjoyed by all.

I’ve traded my strict naturopathic diet and globetrotting adventures, in favor of something more subtle and richer: creating memories with my children.

My son, who used to think a bulb of garlic made a suitable snack, is now enthusiastic about sweets. Lake could open his mouth and point out to you his sweet tooth, except it’s hard to choose just one.

“They’re all a sweet teeth,” he proclaims.

The sweetest thing though, is not the cakes, of course. It’s the moments the cakes support. The memories the moments make. A visit with a neighbor. Lingering over dinner, the anticipation of dessert. Coffee with a friend. Sweetness appears in many forms.

Recently during an impromptu Friday night out at the neighborhood open-air fruit and vegetable stand, Lake surprised me by doing the shopping. In rapid success he procured two bags of whole carrots, two bags of baby carrots, a handsome bunch of celery, a fractalicious head of Romanesco broccoli, a tender fluffy head of lettuce, a gigantic ginger tuber, and three Bosc pears which he took care not to bruise. My heart swelled with joy and pride to see this confident, capable, well-adjusted kid leading the shop for veggies. I ask the young woman who is helping us check out to please add to our bill the two avacodos and a dozen eggs from the guy standing behind us in line.

I don’t want to rush this sweet experience with my son.

The after-work guy stops dancing from foot to foot, looks minorly surprised, then relieved as he peels off clutching his avacados and eggs in either hand, badge trailing behind him. Lake continued loading the items onto the counter one by one, oblivious to the cold, talking in between with the cute checker who was also wearing a huge puffy coat.
Rising Sun Produce

In this moment, my thirst for high adventure is sated by a Friday evening walk to Rising Sun with my children, where my son has a chance to do some shopping and flirt with the checker. What could be sweeter?

Maybe just afterwards coming home to a warm kitchen and a cake in the oven.

Try my recipes and let me know what you think!

Six-Minute Mocha Cake
375 ~35 min

1 1/2 c GF flour
1 t baking soda
1/3 c cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
1 c sugar

1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c cold coffee
2 t vanilla
2 T apple cider vinegar

Almond Vanilla Donut Cake

350 ~1 hour

2 c almond flour
2 c GF flour
1-1/2 c sugar
2 T baking powder
1 t salt

2 c soymilk
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T vanilla


Vegan Vanilla Icing
cream together
2 T sofened vegan buttery spread
3 C powdered sugar
2-3 T almond/soy milk
1 t vanilla
sprinkles!

Double Chocolate Cupcakes
350 ~20 minutes

1 1/2 c GF flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 c sugar
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

1/3 c coconut oil melted
2/3 c soymilk
1 t vanilla
1 t apple cider vinegar
3 T vanilla coconut milk yogurt

Chocolate Frosting
cream together
1/2 c vegan buttery spread
3 c powdered sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder
2 1/2 T soy milk

St. Nikolaus

Lake and Madeline woke up on December 6th to chocolates and oranges in their shoes. Lake said, “St. Nikolaus came in the night, and I didn’t hear him come!”

Nana also came, and there was not a chance she could be missed. A freshly cut 9’ Noble fir tree accompanied her—announcing her arrival. What a gorgeous tree and what delightful fun to have Nana visiting for the weekend. Nana had premade and brought along a beautiful gingerbread barn and gingerbread cookies to decorate.

Gingerbread barn and scene by Nana (with marzipan fruit in a cart)
Decorated by Lake and Nana

Hot chocolate was enjoyed, the tree was trimmed, and ornaments were broken. To assuage some of the pain, I told Lake that this was our tradition. We break a few ornaments decorating the tree and then we have a lovely Christmas season. It’s like “break a leg” for good luck on the stage. Break a glass ball (or two) for a lucky Christmas this year.

We enjoyed a few of the daylight hours out on the Salish Sea before Nana retuned to Aberdeen with Lake in tow for a visit with Baba.

Jousting at Carkeek Park

With Lake away it gets very quiet at home. And all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. We love this spot of restfulness and linger over our decadent fresh smelling tree on these long winter evenings.

Thank you, Nana! Thank you for bringing the Christmas cheer! You’re our favorite St. Nick, year after year!