No cooking or baking this week, unless you count this little bun, whose been in the oven for ages and was ready to come out just in time for Christmas.
We named her Noelle Hikari. She loves to be held, to eat and to sleep. So yeah, she's perfect. Emmett and Isla love her to death (almost literally... they will not STOP TOUCHING HER, especially while she's sleeping!!!!) and Eve isn't crazy about her (to say the least). Now we have 4 kids under the age of 5, which sounds, perhaps IS, insane. But so far everything has been ok. Chaotic at times but not too different from before.
We've been very lucky to have our support system. My brother-in-law's willingness to spend the night more than once while we were figuring out whether or not "tonight was the night" I was going to deliver her; my sister-in-law's selflessness in driving two hours each way from Indiana just to wait in the car with Noelle so that I wouldn't have to miss the kids' school program; and a big pot of pozole on the stove ready to be devoured when we arrived home from the hospital, courtesy of our amazing babysitter. I'm not sure I could have thought of anything better to ask for, oh yeah, except a perfect, nearly painless labor, delivery and recovery, which I also had. And the best doctors ever (my doctor, who is incredible, was in Paul's high school class, which we found out a year and a half ago when she delivered Eve).
With everything that last week has brought, I've been overwhelmed with gratitude. On my due date, already home with Noelle for a few days, I was feeling especially grateful to have some time to think about what gifts to give Emmett and Isla's teachers. Teacher gifts are so, SO tough to think up. When your kids have great teachers nothing you can afford comes close to being enough. I know that the best thing to give is cash but I also like to make something homemade to show them how much we appreciate all that they do for our little ones. Plus, I think it's good for the kids to be able to give something tangible to their teachers as an expression of their gratitude, even better if they help with the baking and wrapping.
For the teacher gifts, I omitted the egg whites (not everyone likes it clumpy) and used a mix of butter and coconut oil instead of olive oil. For the fruit and nut portion, I used what I had in my pantry: pecan pieces, chopped walnuts, bran flakes, dried apricots, raisins and cranberries and coconut flakes. The recipe makes a ton, but after packing up the jars for the teachers, I wished there were more left over for me! I'll have to make another batch soon.
Merry, Merry Christmas to you and yours. Please shop the site for unique Irish Christmas gifts. If you are in the Chicago area, feel free to call the stores and they can set aside items for you to pick up. Traditional Irish and English foods are now stocked at Paddy's on the Square if you are looking for any additions to your Christmas spread. Thanks for reading and welcoming the new year with us!