Most days the baby is up around 5:00 AM. Without turning on a single light I get him, put him in the cozy spot between Sam and me in bed, and try to cuddle him back to sleep. These early mornings are often tender moments between mother and child, but recently they’ve began to feel more like a wrestling match with my active, semi-mobile bundle of joy pushing away, pulling my hair, and squealing with joy or obstinance. Even when it is clear that he has given up on the notion of sleeping in, I still continue to try and sleep for an hour or so as 6:00 AM seems like a much more civil time to get up. This hour is peppered with moments of stillness when I drift a little and the baby just rests, staring off into the darkness of our bedroom, thinking long baby thoughts. Sometimes he does fall back to sleep (hence why this is a routine) and then I will lie there unable to sleep myself. For whatever reason, when the luxury of sleep is mine for the taking, I can’t grasp it. Anyway, on those days when I lie there awake thinking about all I need to get done in the day ahead, I dream up little things to do: recipes to make, outings with my three-year-old, craft projects. Then sometimes I just toss and turn and say a prayer of thanks for my blessings and linger there in the abyss of those predawn moments—I now truly understand what it means to be tired.
This month my morning daydreams have been of ways to celebrate the season with my children—things to make, bake, go see, and listen to. I wanted to have a handmade Christmas as much as possible. My preschooler and I have made clay ornaments, cookies, popcorn garland (which doubled as a practice in patience), and I’ve crocheted garlands and ornaments as well. The things I make by hand might not be the most beautiful, but I get so much joy out of surrounding myself with handmade things. These dried citrus slices were incredibly easy to make and they can be incorporated into Christmas decor in many different ways. The tradition of using foodstuff to decorate for Christmas (dried fruit, nuts, popcorn, cranberries etc.) is that it represented abundance. After all, if you had enough food to use it for ornamentation alone then you were doing alright. Heres to an abundant holiday season!
How to Dry Citrus Fruit
Slice citrus fruit into 1/4-inch slices (oranges and pink grapefruit are shown in these photos). Pat slices dry with a paper towel then arrange in an even layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 200°F for 4 hours or until dehydrated but not browned, flipping once halfway through. (You may need to remove thinner slices before the others. Once the citrus slices cool, use a yarn or tapestry needle and natural thread or floral wire to attach them onto wreaths or make garlands.