Guest post from Jodi McKenna
We have three boys and one baby girl so when we sit down for dinner it is loud. To add to the slight bit of chaos is our dog, a dog that is taller than the table. We are constantly on guard as the Husband and I direct conversation towards meaningful ideas rather than who hit whom and how many changes of underwear my three-year old went through that day.
It can be a difficult task to remain calm, unruffled, polite and loving.
When we sit down for dinner, meals are intense. Voices race to tell Dad about the day as airplane forks float in front of my face with very loud propellers. I’ve decided to embrace the chaos rather the busyness but I manage how the busyness makes me feel.
Around 4:30 I begin to prepare (on a good day). David Nuveu on Pandora begins to filter out the clatter of Legos from the intimate conversation I am having with my 3-year old son over what I am doing and how he likes airplanes. My son wonders how peaceful music is wafting through the air as I am fluttering about unloading the dishwasher and moving the schoolbooks off of the kitchen table while trying to keep my pink polka-dot pajamas around my waist. They have been stretched to their limit with 4 pregnancies and countless washings.
Desperately desiring to order take-out, I pick up my apron strings and make a simple meal.
But I garnish it with love, beauty, and peace.
The table is quiet. The children linger. My husband finds rest in his home.
It is really quite simple. It costs about $5.50 depending on where you live. And it smells of Christmas.
- cutting board
- small cookie cutter in desired shape (optional)
- oranges (however many you wish to make)
- tea lights
- plate (for the finished product to sit on)
Slice orange in half.
Carefully use a serrated knife around the inside edge to separate it from the rind.
Take a spoon, and scoop out the flesh of the orange. Save this juicy fruit to make a smoothie!
Make sure there aren’t strings or extra flesh within the empty, concave rind. You are going to have a candle in there soon!
You have two options at this point. You can simply cut a whole in the top of the orange, like so.
That will look like this . . .
Or place the cookie cutter in the inside top of the orange.
Now, I found that simply pushing the cookie cutter down with my own muscle power simply didn’t cut it. So, I brought out the meat tenderizer. A simple hammer would have sufficed!
The cookie cutter will create an escape route for your hot flame once it thoroughly cuts through the orange rind.
You can be as creative as you like with the cloves. In fact, you don’t even have to use the cloves. I kept it simple, because I really just wanted something special for our meal.
You don’t need to pre-poke a hole for the cloves. Just press the longer end of the clove into the rind.
Duplicate the above actions for the desired amount of oranges you wish to have at your table. Note, you can also use the orange as a place-card holder by gluing the place card to the toothpick.
Insert your tea light.
When you are in attendance . . . enjoy your flickering orange.
All in all, it took me about 15 minutes to make the finished product. We used them for three days and the oranges still had a lot of life left in them, but we weren’t going to be around to enjoy them. So, I threw them in the compost pile.
However, they are so simple that I can make them again. Maybe I will make the kids’ initials with the cloves next time.
CHALLENGE: Find ways to create peace during dinnertime. What are your favorite ideas?
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