Lindsey wrote this post back in 2015, right after we first started this blog. She hadn't been home from her mission in France very long and she was excited to talk about the extension of the Christmas holiday that she got to know very well while there. You may have heard of 3 Kings Day, celebrated on January 6-7th. It is a holiday in Europe. In France it is called Epiphany. It has to do with the three wise men coming to see Jesus after he was born. Many people don't realize that the Wise Men didn't arrive to see the Christ child until much later than the shepherds, as they followed the new star that appeared in the heavens on the night of his birth.
So how do Europeans celebrate Epiphany? They bake a cake, with something inside it called a "feve" (because it used to be a fava bean.) After it is baked, someone hides under the table and tells you who to serve the slices to, everyone then eats their slice and the person who finds the feve gets to be king or queen for a day.
Basically it is an excuse to eat cake. There are a few different versions of king cake floating around France (and I am sure the rest of Europe, but here at Three Winks we only care about France.Ha Ha) My favorite is the brioche. Don't ask me to describe what the cake tastes like in English, because I can't. It is cake. What more do you need to know?
I got this King cake recipe from my favorite French super baker tartelette, and I just made a few adjustments, because I don't generally have orange blossom flower water lying around the house. (I know, I need to be better.) So I made it with a mixture of the pure vanilla extract that my sister in law's mother made and almond extract (to remind you of the other type of king cake, frangipane, that has almond paste in it.) If you are as cool as tartelette, use the orange blossom flower water. The woman is French after all so she knows what she is talking about.
Want to see some pictures?
After it was all baked... I went to bed because it was super late. The next day after my oldest niece and nephew got home from school I sliced it up. My niece Shyanne hid under the table and called out who got which piece. My sister in law Korina ended up with the feve and got to be queen for the day. She was happy because she asked if the queen gets a foot massage and I said yes, but not from me.
Good thing she has four kids and a husband to take care of that.
So, king cakes. They are a fun little tradition, and you get to eat cake!
Check out tartelette's blog for her king cake recipe and try it out! Happy belated Epiphany!
Here are some ideas for favors if you need them!
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Now that Thanksgiving is over it's time to start thinking about Christmas, and my favorite tradition is the Advent Calendar! I did a similar post to this last year where I shared the best printable advent calendars of 2018.
This year I'm just going to share some favorite advent calendars I've found.
And I'll remind you of these two we made and shared with you last year. A printable punch card with scriptures to read each day. And a reusable, felt, countdown chain.
Best Advent Calendars of 2018
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints makes this calendar each year to help us focus on the reason for the season, Jesus! It's always service oriented and this year is really cool because each week they have us focusing on a different way to light the world, starting with the world, then local community, then family, then yourself (self-care ya know!)! I love it and I'm excited to do it with my family.
And there you have it! my favorite advent calendars of this year! Do you do advent calendars? What are your favorites?
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I think I may have mentioned a time or two that I love Christmas. I love the magic and the decorations, the giving, the food and the fun. Most of all, I love the reason for the season, and that is to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Consequently, I love Nativity Scenes. I have a few of them that I put up each year, and some of them have special meaning for me. One ceramic set I have was painted for me by my sister. Another Nativity was painted for me by Maddy when she was very young. She had solicited help from her dad to make it a hinged piece that I absolutely love.
Because I want my children and grandchildren to remember and know the true reason that we celebrate Christmas, I gave each of my children’s families a Fisher Price Nativity last year. It was great to give them a set that they can touch and learn the true story from the New Testament and retell themselves. I know that some people make it a tradition to get a new Nativity each year, whether big or small, a stand-alone set or an ornament. I am toying with the idea of doing that for my grandchildren, just as a reminder that we can feel the Joy of Christmas, and joy and hope in every part of our lives because Jesus Christ was born.
Do any of you collect nativities? Which ones are your favorites?
I have come up with a list with links for you of some of the nicest Nativity Sets for 2018. Some are very reasonably priced and some are a little pricier. I hope that you find it useful as you prepare for Christmas with your family and if you are looking to add a beautiful reminder of whose birth we are celebrating.
Kid Friendly Nativities:
Melissa and Doug Wooden Set This is a colorful, durable wooden set with 11 figures and a 4 piece stable. On the package is a retelling of the Christmas story. (Or, you can turn to Luke 2 for any of the sets!)
Delton Felt Nativity in a bag I love the cute lamb in this set!
Fisher Price Nativity The LIttle People are always so cute and easy for kids to hold. This is a smaller set than the one I got for my grandchildren.
Another Fisher Price, This is the set I got for my grandchildren. It has a few more pieces. I love that the star lights up and it plays "Away in a Manger."
Wall hanging with moveable figure If you don't have a lot of table space, this could be a great solution. It has 18 figures and a pocket in the back to store them.
Peg Doll Nativity is from LittleBlackMarketCo on Etsy. It has 9 peg dolls in a stained box that has a stable scene on the inside.
Nativity Advent Calendar This instant download from TimeSavers on Etsy is a digital download advent and Christmas Story.
Snow Globe Nativities
Dollar Tree Snow Globe If you have a lot of people to give them to, you can't beat $1.00! If you order them online, there are 24 in a case.
This one Plays Little Drummer Boy I found it amusing that someone only gave it one star because they had never heard of the song!? Otherwise, it had high ratings.
San Francisco Music Box Company Beautiful work on this globe. It plays "Oh LIttle Town of Bethlehem."
Peanuts figures I have a soft spot for the Peanuts Christmas Special. I have always loved how Linus recites Luke 2 on the TV special. This snowglobe is a sweet reminder of that.
Precious Moments I am also a sucker for Precious Moments figurines. This one plays "Oh Holy NIght." (One of my favorite Christmas songs!)
Large Statement Nativities
This 17.5” 3 piece Nativity makes a beautiful display. It has excellent reviews and would definitly become a family keepsake.
The largest piece in this set is 5.5”. It comes with 11 figures.
I absolutely love this Thomas Kinkade Nativity Tree. It is a beautifully handcrafted 16" tree with over 40 figures on it. It plays Silent Night. This picture is too small to appreciate it. Click on it to see how beautiful it is.
Here is another Thomas Kincade Nativity. It moves and plays 4 songs!
Driftwood Creche 14”x8.5” This is another beautiful table top set.
Here is a cute pattern for a Crocheted Nativity pattern. It is from AmigurumiBarmy on Etsy. If you are a crocheter, it looks like something that wouldn't be too hard. What do you think? Do you think you can get it done by Christmas?
If you feel like you need something a little smaller, here is a smaller felt option I found on Craftgawker, who got it off of Wild Olive. .
If you really like the Peg Doll idea, here is one you can make yourself! It is called Made-by-Me Peg Doll Nativity.
This link will take you to the popsicle stick nativity figures I made for a 3 year old class at church! It was easy and fun to make and the kids loved the sets I made for them.
There's my list of favorites! Whether you buy or make a Nativity for your family, or have one that you already have passed down through the years, I hope the Christmas Story is a part of your Christmas every year!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to ten and counting! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, and my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!
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