Traditions are a fun way to continue family connections.  It’s a way to experience your heritage and keep it alive.  Part of my heritage is Norwegian and Swedish.  When our daughter was little, my mom suggested that celebrate St. Lucia Day (commonly know as St. Lucy).  Here’s what it’s all about!

“Saint Lucy’s Day, also called the Feast of Saint Lucy, is a Christian feast day celebrated on 13 December in Advent, commemorating Saint Lucy, who according to legend brought “food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs” using a candle-lit wreath to “light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible”.[1] Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, so her feast day has become a Christian festival of light.”

We dressed our little angel up in a white robe with a red sash, the traditional costume for St. Lucy.  She carried cardamom buns in her basket for about 2 minutes until she decided she’d had enough.  Then she and her brothers would sit on the stairs and eat them.  I love thinking back to those days when Christmas was magical.  The anticipation of the big guy coming down the chimney was almost more than they could handle.  The twinkle in their eyes when they came down the stairs in the morning and saw that Santa had eaten a couple cookies and the carrots we left for the reindeer were all gone.


Christmas is still magical, but in a different way.  With our children becoming adults, it’s not so much about Santa and more about family.  I know the day is coming where I will have to share them on this day.  Nothing really stays the same.  It’s ever changing.  Keep up the old traditions, and create new ones.  Staying connected to family…

This recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens.  I know you have that cookbook!  It is a recipe for a Cardamom Braid, (which I also love to make), but for this I bake 12 small braids.


Find comfort…


My heart breaks a little every time I say goodbye to them.  It’s not that I want them to stay small or even stay at home.  I know its time for them to go on their own adventures and start their lives separate from us.  I know that eventually they will have homes and spouses of their own.  I know this in my mind…but my heart still breaks a little when they leave.  Pema Chodron said “When we protect ourselves, so we won’t feel pain, that protection becomes like armor, like armor that imprisons the softness of the heart.”  So, I let myself feel the pain, feel the emptiness and I know that my heart will recover…

We had about 18 hours that we were all together this Thanksgiving.  We have to make the most of the time we have.  Same goes for all things in life.  We take for granted that there will always be time for things tomorrow, or next month or year.  It doesn’t always work out like that.  Find comfort with your family or with friends.  Especially this time of year when we are racing about to get ready for the holidays.  We are scaling back this year to focus on the important things.  Find comfort in the little things, the things in life that bring you joy.

To me, soup is my favorite comfort food this time of year.  A good soup starts with a good stock.  I keep chicken pieces (the bones from previous meals) in my freezer until I have enough to make a good stock.  Usually about a 1-gallon Ziploc bag full.  Click on the recipe tab for the full stock recipe.  I use what I have.  If I have a red onion or a couple pieces of onion, that’s what I use.  If I have a shallot, I use that too.

Chicken Tortilla Soup is an easy, yummy, hearty soup.  You can spice it up or down as you like.  Be creative with the toppings!

So, snuggle up with a steaming bowl of  Chicken Tortilla Soup and the ones you love.  Find comfort when and where you can.


It smells amazing in here!

Andrea kiddo

My brother and I used to sit on the counter and watch my mom cook.  I think we even pretended to be “fancy” drinking our juice out of the “only for company” cups.  My mom taught me so much about cooking and raising kids.  Teaching skills and then little by little letting us do it on our own.  Such is life…

Kitchens are really the heart of the home.  It’s where we gather to talk, cook and eat.  I tried for some time to encourage my guests to gather in the living room, but eventually everyone ends up in the kitchen cause that’s where all the yumminess is happening!!  Now I keep everyone close.  Appetizers are served in the kitchen, and friends are often asked to help stir a pot or take something out of the oven.  This is the place where connections are made over a glass wine and some delicious food.

When my kids were young, they would come home from school and often I would be  baking.  My oldest, in particular, would stop in his tracks just inside the front door…take a big smell…and say “I smell cookies” or whatever happened to be baking that day.  He still does the same thing when he’s home for a visit.  Last Christmas when he was home, I was baking cinnamon bread for french toast and he said, “it smells amazing in here Mom”…I guess it keeps him coming home.

One of our family traditions is Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning.  I’ve tried many iterations over the years, but this one is my favorite (so far).  This recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen Bread Illustrated.

Click on the recipe tab at the top of the page for this and many other recipes!