My Christmas Pajama tradition started here, at maryjanesfarm.com and led me this year to a very interesting place. A place that I need your help with. Big time. But before we talk about that, let's talk about our own childhood Christmases. Do you remember the way you felt as a kid on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning? Do you remember the excitement and joy and hope that filled your heart? Do you still feel that? Do you remember the first time you enjoyed the GIVING more than the GETTING?
Christmas is such a special time. I've always loved the whole season and quite frankly, celebrate what Christmas means all year long.
But I never really considered traditions and rituals until I had a child of my own 10 years ago. That’s when I realized that it was up to us to create our own traditions. I don’t remember the year I discovered MaryJane and her Farmgirl Connection, but being a part of that group of wonderful women helped me find traditions for my own family. (Whoa, I just found where you can look up when you joined the Farmgirl Connection. It was 2005! Time does indeed fly when you’re having fun!)
Jenny, known as “Aunt Jenny “ on the Farmgirl Connection, was the one who first inspired me to do “Christmas Pajamas.” I remember seeing a group picture of her children on Christmas morning, dressed in their pretty red pajamas THAT SHE HAD MADE FOR THEM. Floored me. What a wonderful gift for her kids. Aunt Jenny had made them with her own hands, in complete love. Wow.
Now, believe me, I didn’t think I could ever attain that (ever!), making pajamas for my daughter, but I knew I could start a Christmas Pajama tradition anyway. I’d just have to buy them.
And so it began. Ever since I read about that tradition, my daughter opens up a box on Christmas Eve. And in that box are special Christmas Pajamas. They are always red or pink. They are plaid or polka-dotted or have pictures of Christmas kittens or puppies or trees or packages on them. She loves this tradition. I just bought this year’s; they are stashed away, waiting to be boxed and wrapped. Here, take a peek:
That reminds me. My Mom recently found an old nightgown from my childhood. Red plaid flannel, with eyelet lace. You know what? I should return those cute kitty pajamas and give my daughter this 40ish year old gown instead. I wonder what she'd think? Wrapped in a pretty box, with beautiful tissue and this old thing. I bet she'd LOVE it!
So I mentioned that the Christmas Pajama Tradition had led me somewhere that I need your help with. It’s a long story and I won’t go into it all (I’ll post all the stories and details at www.rebekahteal.com) but the short version goes like this:
Our Christmas Pajama tradition recently inspired me and my daughter to start a charity project called Sweet Dreams Kenyan Orphans. We want every orphan girl at St. Clare’s orphanage in Kenya to know that warm, loved feeling that new, cozy, GIFTED pajamas somehow magically give children. We want to provide the 340 orphan girls who live there the hope of sweet dreams....
St. Clare’s is the orphanage and school where Sister Kathryn Cliatt is working. Do you remember Sister Kathryn? I wrote about her in my column for the "Sister Act" Issue of maryjanesfarm Magazine. I wanted to interview her for that column, but when I went to find the then retired Sister Kathryn, I learned that she was in Kenya working with orphan girls. She was 75 at the time! Knowing her, I shouldn't have been surprised. Instead of kicking back, drinking hot tea, and writing her memoirs, she's off saving orphan girls in Africa.
Sister Kathryn is an inspiration.
Sister Kathryn is a do-er.
Sister Kathryn is someone who makes things happen.
You see, when I came up with this idea, I thought it would be easy enough. We'd collect the pj's and ship them right over to the girls. I soon learned that we couldn't simply collect pajamas here, ship them to the orphans in Kenya AND THE GIRLS ACTUALLY RECEIVE THEM. That just doesn't happen. Packages don't arrive.
Bud Ozar, the founder of Friends of Kenyan Orphans, came up with the idea to have the gowns made there, in Africa. Brilliant! I loved that idea right away. This was even better! Not only would the girls get gowns, but we'd be putting the money into the pockets of women seamstresses in Kenya.
But how would I possibly pull that off? Sister Kathryn, that's how!
Sister Kathryn is taking care of The Sweet Dreams Kenyan Orphans Nightgown Project on the Kenyan side. That's no small feat. We are collecting the money HERE in order to hire local Kenyan seamstresses THERE.
Sister Kathryn has already located the fabric and the local seamstresses. Now all we need to do is raise the funds.
Here are the details:
Your tax deductible gift of $10 per gown gives 4 times. Here's what happens with each $10 donation:
FIRST You make the donation for a nightgown in honor of your family member or friend as a gift to them.
SECOND A local seamstress in Kenya earns the money as income; she is then able to buy food or clothes or medicine for her family.
THIRD The gown is given to an orphan with love and in love, an orphan who has never in her life received special pajamas made just for her.
FOURTH You receive the tax deduction.
See? Four times: your friend or family member; the seamstresses in Kenya; the orphan girls themselves; and your tax deduction.
And here’s another important thing to know.
100% of your donation goes to have these special nightgowns made. Yes, 100 pennies of every single dollar of this project will go for fabric and labor. No other costs. Nothing hidden. It’s all done under the umbrella of the organization that helps these children, Friends of Kenyan Orphans. http://www.friendsofkenyanorphans.org/. This is a small and lean organization that is operated by volunteers. To make a donation through PayPal, go to this page on the site and follow their link to PayPal. http://www.friendsofkenyanorphans.org/?page_id=199
And, if you'd rather send a check here is their address:
FRIENDS OF KENYAN ORPHANS, 920 Berkshire Road, Grosse Pointe, MI 48230 Attn: Sweet Dreams
In order to contribute to this project, it is very important to SPECIFY THAT YOUR DONATION IS FOR SWEET DREAMS KENYAN ORPHANS. Just make a note OF SWEET DREAMS in the message/notes section or write it on your check.
Then, make sure to email me email@example.com and let me know so that I can send you a special and personal thank you note. Just tell me the names of the people you are giving each gown in. Each $10 can be a separate gift for you to give, or maybe you want to give several gowns in someone's name. It is your choice, just let me know when you email me. I’ll send you a special email back for you to print out and wrap up for Christmas gift giving. Feel free to email me with questions as well. Thank you so much for your generosity. This is a great way to help the world be a better place.
Over the next few days, I'll put up details, details, details on my blog at www.rebekahteal.com.
Now here's another family tradition that also originated on the Farmgirl Connection. It's our Christmas morning breakfast. It is so yummy and easy. It actually bakes while we open our presents. I can’t remember who posted this recipe years ago, and my search to find it on the site came up empty. But thank you to some Farmgirl for adding this tradition to our Christmas morning. It’s Christmas Morning Puffy Pancake. A delicious start to a delicious day.
Christmas Morning Puffy Pancake
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk
2 TBSP. Butter
1 tsp. each cinnamon
1-2 tsp. vanilla extract
FRUIT FOR TOPPING
2 cups sliced strawberries and blueberries OR
2 cups apples, peeled and sliced, sautéed in 1 TBSP. butter with 1 tsp. each of cinnamon, allspice and ginger.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place eggs, flour, milk, vanilla, and 1 tsp. cinnamon in a blender and blend. (Or whisk vigorously in a bowl.)
Melt butter in an oven proof round skillet. (Either in the pre-heating oven or on stovetop.)
Pour batter into the skillet.
Bake on middle rack of oven for 20 minutes until puffy and golden.
Slice as you would a pie.
Serve topped with fruit and then whipped topping.
Wishing you a Christmas filled with Joy and Hope and Love.
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!
Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah