nativity {crèche} thoughts

The designer and I enjoyed hosting again at the Midway crèche exhibit last weekend.  Though it shouldn’t, it still surprises me each year, how a building we frequent each week can become so transformed that you feel it upon entering it’s doors.  That special feeling is a wonderful way to begin the season. {And a fabulous date night to share}.

The following evening we took the kiddos to the crèche exhibit and the other events within the Midway Christmas…though we spent so much time at the crèche that there really wasn’t much time for the others…perhaps the way it should be though right?  :)

On the way to the exhibit, we went over appropriate behavior and what they should expect.  During the first half of the exhibit, the explorer kept us all in line, “shush-ing”us dutifully as we would talk about a piece.

There was quite a wait to dress up in nativity costumes for a portrait and the designer was all about moving on…but something within the builder so desired to be a part: he was so happy to be a king, the dancer an angel, and the explorer a “bad guy.”

Another week has passed, the gifts are done {yes, I’ve been painting…gifts, mostly, and will post them after the big day as not to ruin any surprises}, Christmas cards nearly finished, and just a few more things to check off the list.

And yet, I’m so grateful for Sunday to recommit to the Spirit of the Season.

Sharolyn gave a beautiful lesson on the Gift of the Holy Ghost in Relief Society yesterday. {Thx Sharolyn!} While watching Luke 2, I couldn’t help but think of Mary, in labor, jostled upon a donkey and just hoping for a peaceful place to welcome the Savior of the World.

After several stops at full to-the-brink inns, loud, boisterous travelers and visitors, the couple-in-need was offered a stable on the edge of Bethlehem.

Yes, we talk and celebrate that our King was born in a lowly stable. A humbling example to be sure.

And yet, if I had been in Mary’s shoes, {or sandals}, I would have welcomed the stable. Birthing a child is the most exquisite event of which I have been taken part, and I appreciated the simple, the few attendants, and quiet moments involved with each welcoming.

A loud and bustling inn would not have been my first pick.

Would it have been more difficult for the shepherds to come and celebrate, welcome our King in an overcrowded inn? Would they have still come? Would there have been room for visitors?

More importantly, as we know, our Father in Heaven has meaning in all things. Obviously the stable was hand-picked to be the birthing place of our Lord. I contemplate the simplicity, the serene scene where the Holy Ghost could so easily accompany the event and welcome those awaiting the birth of the Savior.

In those first moments of our Savior’s life, we are given an example of the way, His way. That apart from the world…from the hustle and bustle, we can invite the Holy Ghost to dwell with us, with our loved ones.

Many events in our lives, simple or great, that will offer most meaning will most likely occur in the walls of our own homes, out in nature, places of peace and serenity. Places where the Sprit may accompany us, bring us light and truth, comfort, guidance, love of our Heavenly Father.

Not in the clubs, most likely not in the grocery store or market. Away from the world, from worldliness, those simple and beautiful moments will occur where there is peace and love.

That is where we will find Him still.

This Christmas, I see the Nativity a little clearer.

I’m not sure where the cattle and oxen would lie, but if it brought our lil’ family closer to the Savior by continually welcoming the Holy Ghost into our home, than it would be well worth their stay.

Click here to watch the Luke II version of the Nativity with Amy Grant’s Breath of Heaven that Sharolyn shared yesterday. xoxo ~ katrina

showing at soldier hollow this month!

I’m excited to share that our art gallery, the wasatch back artists is currently showing at Soldier Hollow Resort in the clubhouse, which offers exquisite views overlooking Heber Valley.

The show will be up until just after New Years, so if you get a chance, go enjoy a hot meal or cup of hot chocolate, the views, and of course the artwork!

Soldier Hollow is nearer to my heart this year than ever before as our oldest, the builder, is attending all-day kindergarten there at Soldier Hollow’s Charter School with Ms. Kaara {she’s fantastic btw}.  He loves his school, his teacher, his classmates, is learning much, and having the time of his life.

Soldier Hollow is a unique venue…the Olympic arena for cross-country skiing, the Sheep Dog Championships, Winter Tubing, and Spring-Summer weather golfing.  It is a beautiful setting all year round.  Special thanks to Glen Van Wagoner for inviting our group to show again in their beautiful building! ~ katrina

and then there were prints :)

I’m so happy to announce that I now have giclée prints in my etsy shop!  There are a couple open-edition prints, a limited edition print {run of 36}, and they are all done on high quality matte finish, watercolor-type, cotton rag paper (Epsom Somerset Velvet to be exact).

So if you’re looking for something special and affordable this holiday season, check them out!  xoxo ~ katrina

orange rolls for thanksgiving: 3 versions of the classic recipe

Gosh I love holiday cooking and holiday eating!  A first this year, we’re practicing Thanksgiving.  After all, why do we only have to eat Thanksgiving goodness once a year?  So today, the kiddos helped me alter Mom’s Orange Roll recipe creating a whole wheat & honey version.

I called her this morning to verify a few measurements and told her we were practicing today.  When I asked about rising times, she surprisingly exclaimed, you’re not going to refrigerate the rolls over night?  No, I responded, because we want to eat them today. :)

You see, my Mom is a recipe follower and bless her soul we had many good meals thanks to her exactness and honor for the recipe goddess.  But seriously, sometimes the rules need to be broken right?  :)

As we began altering the ingredients, Annie and Carla arrived to visit and shared with us a fabulous thought on President Uchtdorf’s talk, Of Things that Matter Most.  {on a little side note, I’m so grateful for inspired friends…I was thinking this past week that I needed to reread that talk and here was another reminder}.

Strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light…It comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most.

Let us simplify our lives a little. Let us make the changes necessary to refocus our lives on the sublime beauty of the simple, humble path of Christian discipleship—the path that leads always toward a life of meaning, gladness, and peace.

After they left, and the kiddos had raced off for the moment to “climb a mountain” {We read Listen to the Wind this morning during preschool…you know: in gratitude for friendship, learning, etc.}, I finished prepping the rolls and thought about that first Thanksgiving Dinner.

A celebration of journey and safe arrival.  That we eat and gather with those we love most each year in gratitude for courage, for religion, for freedom, and for friendship.  I twisted and turned each roll, thinking about President Monson’s reminder in Finding Joy the Journey.

Thanksgiving can be so busy.  Frenzies of cooking, cleaning, preparing and, yes, let’s admit it, stress, oh…and more cleaning. :)

But this next week, this Thanksgiving, I want to find joy in the journey.  To take the time to share this special tradition of orange roll making with the kiddos.  To talk more with them about traditions, celebrations, and why we do them.

I’m wondering if the best way to celebrate that wondrous journey so long ago is to truly find joy in our own journey, and to recommit to focusing on those things that really matter most.

A merriest of Thanksgiving and Life Journeys to us all, may you find yourselves surrounded by those that you love and may your journey, though turbulent at times, find safety, peace and joy!  xoxo ~ katrina

Orange Rolls 3 ways:

{I asked mom where she got it, and she said, her bff Susan Sessions, who she thinks found it in the Lion House Cookbook.  Yes, you could simply buy a box from most Utah grocery establishments, but if you want some real and true rolls, here are a few versions to try out…}

Orange Rolls (Mom’s recipe)

Ingredients
2 pkg yeast {4 1/2 tsp}
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 well beaten eggs
4 1/2 cups flour

Orange Butter
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 grated orange rind

  1. First dissolve yeast in warm water.  Then mix all ingredients (except orange butter) until smooth.  Let rise one hour.
  2. Refrigerate covered, over night.
  3. In the morning or a couple hours before the dinner, divide dough into thirds.  Roll out dough and paint on orange butter.  Cut dough into strips.
  4. Fold and roll and twist strips of dough and place on a greased cookie sheet or muffin tin.  {My mom also paints a little extra orange butter on the top after we form them…she usually makes another batch of orange butter to do this}
  5. Let rise one hour.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 4-6 minutes {my mom always does 6 min. in So. California}

makes about 4 dozen rolls

our whole wheat & honey version
{I halved it for our practice version}

ingredients
2  1/4 tsp yeast
3/4 cups warm water
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tbs raw honey
3/4 tsp salt
2 well beaten eggs
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

Orange Butter
2 1/2 tbs melted butter
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 grated orange rind

  1. Mix all ingredients (except orange butter) until smooth.
  2. Roll out dough onto a greased cookie sheet.  {I greased the sheets and muffin tins with coconut oil}.  Paint on orange butter and cut dough into strips or any other shape you desire.
  3. Fold and roll and twist strips of dough and place on a greased cookie sheet or muffin tin.  {paint more orange butter on top of your creations…you may need another batch of orange butter}
  4. Cover and let rise one hour at room temperature.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 4-6 minutes {6 minutes was perfect for us in the Wasatch Mountains}

Our practice recipe made 2 dozen delicious and I mean, amazing orange rolls.

Gluten-Free Orange Rolls:

Follow the above recipes using a gluten-free mix for your flour.

Here’s one of my favorites:

3 c brown rice flour
1 1/2 c sweet rice flour
1 1/3 c tapioca starch
2/3 c cornstarch
1/2 c navy bean flour (i used garbanzo bean)
1/2 c almond flour (meal)
1/2 c sorghum flour
1/2 c potato starch (not flour)

(the mix makes 8 1/2 cups of gluten free flours, Simply take what you need and save the rest for another baking adventure)

They probably won’t rise, so I don’t think you need to worry about that.  Roll them out, make some fun shapes and bake them.  Let me know what you think!

kiddo art on the easel

I love watching the kiddos paint…especially when they decide to collaborate:

A two sided easel was one of the best gifts we’ve given them.  Now that there are 3 kiddo artists, we go to the table when they are all painting at the same time.  I didn’t get one of the dancer before she moved to paint with the explorer, but here it is hanging proudly on the studio door:

What’s on your easel?  Have a great week! xoxo, katrina

christmas delectables {original oil}

christmas delectables by katrina berg, 16×16 oil on cradled masonite, 1 1/2″ sides painted red to match, no need to frame

purchase this piece on Zatista

The joyous, sometimes quiet moments after the dinner has been served…kitchen cleaned merrily with more than needed hands…carols are played in the background, and everyone gathers once more to taste from the Christmas desserts and delectables.

My mother had a tradition when we were young, of making a special treat or two everyday for a week or so.  By the end of our making and baking frenzies, we’d end up with a large load of treats to disperse between several plates.  We’d use these as we caroled with friends all over town.  We’d save some special plates for our seven neighbors on our cul-de-sac.  Sometimes we didn’t pass these out until Christmas Eve.  The more we passed out, the more that seemed to arrive.  It was an exciting time for we children.

It was almost like Halloween was a precurser to this amazing phenomenon that we couldn’t understand or attempt to explain…but we knew it was magic!

The tradition ended upbruptly when my mother began having difficulties with sugar.  I laugh as I think of fairly recent Christmases, watching my disappointed younger brothers desperately searching for the must-be-hidden treats that had arrived earlier that day…now disappeared.  As soon as a treat would arrive, my mother would find someone else to gift it away to.  {I hope I’m not divulging a great secret here}.  And yes, if you want to leave treats, just put my brothers’ names on it so they can enjoy it.  :)

Anyways, she couldn’t bear the temptation, almost like a game: she would pass it on to someone else who could eat them.  Later, I too would have a difficult time with sugar.   Not wanting my children to miss out on “the magic” we discovered at holiday times, I’ve tried each season since the kiddos were very small to find ways rectify some of my favorite treats by making them with whole grains, raw sugar, honey, coconut milk, coconut oil, no preservatives…well you get the idea.

Just this week, the builder asked me to make a special treat and then warned me that I have to follow the recipe.  And I thought to myself, this sweet boy doesn’t know his momma yet?  Hmm…follow a recipe?  :)  We’ll see.

We’re making our updated version of the orange rolls I mentioned in my previous painting, this week..a little whole wheat practice for the big dinner.  Stay tuned for the  recipe and photos.   As the Holidays commence, I’ll be sure to share our baking adventures.

What are some of your favorite Holiday treats?