Day 8: "Gingerbread" House
I made Ry a cardboard house and glued on some Velcro so we could 'decorate' the house with felt, pipe cleaners, and pom-pom decorations. I think Ry had more fun 'un-decorating' the house than he did decorating the house. Such is the nature of toddler-hood.
Day 9: Painted Paper Plate Wreath
This was fun! To prep for this activity, I cut a hole in the center of a paper plate to make it look like a wreath. Then, we pulled out the fingerpaints and Ry went crazy. When the plate was dry, I punched two holes in the top, and threaded through some dark red yarn to make a bow and hanger loop.
Day 10: Snowman
The plan was to go outdoors and build a snowman. But, since we have no snow, we did a snowman craft instead.
I found out that I was out of glue, so I cut out the inside of my snowman shape and used some clear contact paper to provide a sticky base for my cotton ball "snow".
Ry seemed to enjoy throwing cotton balls on the floor and sticking the eyes on Mr. Snowman's belly. With a little help from Mom, we got it sort of put together and looking like a proper snowman.
Day 11: Address and Mail Christmas Cards
Not a lot of explanation needed on this one... We put stamps on postcards and walked them down to the mailbox. Ry loves to check the mail!
Day 12: Church Dinner and Gift Exchange
We had a casserole cook-off this year and I entered. Got to represent for the food allergy/special diet peeps! I just wanted to prove that a dish can be made without gluten, eggs, dairy, and soy, but still be full of flavor and enjoyed by everyone, even those who can eat whatever they want.
I brought a Yankee Sweet Potato Casserole. I'm calling it a Yankee casserole, because this is nothing at all similar to the marshmallow-topped, sweet, almost dessert-like sweet potato casserole you often find in the southern United States. That is entirely it's own category and I'm not messing with it. (In my neck of the woods, even people who can eat whatever they want rarely make or eat the southern style sweet potato casserole, it's just not a Yankee thing.)
Turns out, my casserole won the cook-off. Yay! See the end of this post for the recipe.
Day 13: Date Night
For the grown-ups! Check out Project Date Night: December here.
Day 14: Magnetic Bow Activity
This was fun. I wrapped a pizza pan in wrapping paper and taped button magnets to the backs of several gift bows.
Ry had a blast putting bows on and taking them off the 'gift'. Over and over again. I told him it's his present to decorate as much as he wants. He even puts the 'gift' away under the tree. It's pretty cute.
Yankee Sweet Potato Casserole
Cook Time: 1 hour + 15 minutes
Keywords: bake side dairy-free egg-free gluten-free grain-free paleo refined sugar free soy-free vegetarian vegan Christmas Thanksgiving fall winter
Ingredients (6 servings)
- About 3 lb sweet potatoes (4 large)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 2/3 c. milk (dairy or your favorite non-dairy milk)
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil or butter
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1-1/4 c. chopped pecans
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp coconut oil or butter
- 1/4 c. almond flour or meal (or additional pecans ground very fine in a coffee or spice grinder)
- Roast sweet potatoes in a baking dish at 400*F until tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour (may be less depending on the size of each sweet potato)
- When tender, remove from the oven and cut open to release the steam.
- Prepare topping: In a small mixing bowl, combine all filling ingredients. I use clean fingers to mix! Set aside.
- By now, the sweet potatoes should be cooled enough to handle without burning yourself. Carefully scoop out the roasted sweet potato flesh into a large mixing bowl. Add salt, orange zest, coconut oil (or butter), 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg.
- Using a hand mixer (or potato masher), combine filling ingredients while gradually adding the milk. When filling has reached a fairly smooth consistency, scoop the filling mixture into a 2 quart baking dish and smooth the top.
- Crumble the topping mixture as evenly over the filling as you can.
- Bake at 400*F for about 15 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned and crisp.
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