Last Tuesday, January 7, 2014 was Christmas Day in Ethiopia! And it was our very first Ethiopian Christmas to have our precious Ethiopian princess home with us!!! Melkam Gena!!! (That means "Merry Christmas" in Amharic!)
Last year, we just wished her "Melkam Gena!" not even knowing exactly where she was or even who she was! We now know that she was 5 months old and living at Hannah's Hope in Addis on her first Ethiopian Christmas. It's special knowing that she was actually still in Ethiopia on her very first Ethiopian Christmas!
And it's super special that she was home with us for her second Ethiopian Christmas, and we were so excited to celebrate with her!!! It has always been important to us for Caroline Faith to grow up learning about Ethiopian culture, holidays, etc. We are so proud of her Ethiopian heritage, and I hope that it's something that is always special for her. And after being in Ethiopia twice this summer, it became even more important to us. Of course, we fell in love with the country and the people, and we experienced firsthand the uniqueness and beauty of Ethiopia. I hope that baby girl will grow up to LOVE that she is Ethiopian!!!
Several days before the holiday, I started researching and asking advice on some simple, but fun ways that we could try to celebrate. We gathered some great ideas and good recipes, and went to work! We started preparing the day before, and I am so glad that we did! Just like American Christmas, there is much to be done to get ready for the big day!!! When the kids got home from school on Monday afternoon, we started to make our layered "Ethiopian flag cake"!
Here it is right before we finished the icing! The cake layers are just like the stripes of the Ethiopian flag!
And here it is after the girls decorated with their handmade cake toppers and LOTS of sprinkles! :)
Now we had our dessert ready for the next night! YAY! Then it was bedtime for the kids, and time for me to get the "chocolate candy tree" decorated! I went back up to the attic and got out one of our little trees, and our Ethiopian nativity set.
Here is the tree decorated and ready for the kids to wake up to!
The older ones were up first, and were super excited to be able to eat a piece of chocolate first thing in the morning! And I let them put a couple of pieces in their lunch box! :)
And a little later, baby girl was up and ready for her chocolate!
So excited about her candy!!! She was waving it around, hence the bluriness! haha!
YUM!!! She loved her chocolate!
Then it was time for Mommy to start trying to activate the yeast for the Ethiopian Honey Bread! Going to have to do a separate post with the bread recipe! It was sooooo good, and probably our favorite part of the meal! But yeast...oh my! I had not made anything with yeast in YEARS, so that was a fun experiece and all day affair! Kneading and rising and kneading and rising...long day with the bread! haha! :)
Later that morning, we went to her very first Kindermusic class, which she loved so much!
Then we went by the store to pick up a simple gift for each of the kids to open that night. All of this fun wore her out, and she slept so hard on the way home!!!
We got home and and got the injera out of the freezer! My friend, Jenni, had given us injera and Berbere spice to use for our Ethiopian Christmas meal. Injera is a sour, spongy, pancake-like bread that is a favorite in Ethiopia, and the Berbere spice goes in lots of Ethiopian foods!
Later that night after cheer practice and LOTS of baking and cooking, it was finally time for dinner!
Ready to celebrate their first Ethiopian Christmas!!! Yes, that's me in the mirror trying to get all 4 kids to smile at the same time! Not an easy task! :)
Here is the meal!!! Ethiopian Baked Chicken (which I made in the crock pot), Ethiopian Honey Bread (our favorite!), Ethiopian Spaghetti (so good, but really spicy!), injera, hard boiled eggs, green peas, and cake for dessert!
Love my little Ethiopian princess!!! :)
Sweet girl wouldn't really try any of the Ethiopian food, but she still had fun!!! She can be a picky eater, so it didn't surprise me too much. Although I was hoping she would at least like the injera! But her favorite was the hard boiled egg! :)
Then it was time to open presents! Each child got one simple gift...the older girls got cute bird banks, Carson got a basketball bank...
and Caroline Faith got a set of owl shakers! :)
Then we decided to take a break to get baths and pj's on before round 2...coffee and dessert!
We moved to the smaller kitchen table for our Ethiopian coffee ceremony with popcorn (a common after dinner treat in Ethiopia) and our cake!
Yummy!!! It tasted really good!
Caroline Faith loves sweets, and she loved eating her cake!!!
Daddy was in charge of pouring the coffee, and Catybug drank like 3 cups! She loves coffee! (Thankfully, we had made it decaf!) This was the coffee set that we brought the kids back on our first trip to Ethiopia.
And here is the "after" picture of the cake! :)
Then it was bedtime for all the kids, and clean up time for me and Jody! Our house was a wreck! I told Jody, "I think that Ethiopian Christmas is just as messy as American Christmas!" To this he replied, "Nope, it's messier!" Haha! :) The truth is that I am just a really messy cook, especially when I am trying out new recipes!
We were exhausted at the end of the day, but it was so much fun to start all these new traditions! I think we will try to do a lot of these same things every year, and maybe add some new dishes to our dinner too! It was really fun to have Caroline Faith finally home to celebrate with! I know our family will be looking forward to January 7th every year!
Melkam Gena, ya'll!!! :)
"But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord."