1. I’m grateful for my husband who always knows what I need, whether it’s a hug, a break from the daily grind or whatever new bit of fascinating technology I’m currently drooling over.
2. I’m grateful for my eldest son who every Wednesday at noon gives me advice on plot holes or social media or computer issues.
3. I’m grateful for my youngest son, who makes my coffee before he heads off to work each morning and ensures there’s enough there to get me through the day.
4. I’m grateful for my family and our 2009 trip to Cuba. Not only was it the first time I’d ever been to a vacation resort, but it was the first time since I was a kid that my parents and siblings got together for a family vacation. I’m also grateful for this trip because it was the last vacation I would ever be able to take with my dad and I still cherish those wonderful moments we shared.
5. I’m grateful for the chance to spend more time with my mom. Having worked all of my adult life, visits with my parents were always rushed and fraught with stressors from a stressful day job. Now that I’m focused on writing full time, I call her every day or two, and manage to slip out of the house at least a couple of times a week to visit her and catch up on all the latest news.
6. I’m grateful for the bountiful table we are fortunate to have this Christmas and pray that others less fortunate have a local food bank in their area to supply their needs, as we have in our small town. If you haven’t yet done so, please donate.
7. I’m grateful for my many online friends, who come into my virtual house every day and share their life with me. It makes this huge world almost tiny and intimate, and I get to experience life through your eyes.
8. I’m grateful for the upcoming year. It always feels like a fresh start with infinite possibilities. May 2013 bring each one of you good health, much happiness, and fulfill your cherished dreams.
From my house to yours, may your holidays be filled with laughter and joy.
So now tell me, what are you grateful for today?
As a fun-filled holiday tradition, our family heads to Disney for their Very Merry Christmas Party. Fireworks, rollercoasters and this year, the new Fantasy Land. (Yes, that’s make-believe snow you see, falling from the sky.)
We go with about ten other families and make a long weekend of the festivities, corralling the troops within a span of “cabins.” Trailers in fact, but as with everything Disney does, the transformation is pretty decent.
The kids take over the street, throwing a football, playing cornpoke (??) and generally run non-stop. Saturday is our famous kickball game out on the field behind our cabins, serving up big fun for adults and kids alike. At night, it’s pot luck and this year, one of the families brought a projector and makeshift outdoor screen. We sat around our campfire and watched Elf, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas…
It was fun. And better yet, it was warm. But not because I’m worried about freezing at the park. Nope. I have three beds of green tomatoes hanging out back in my garden and last year, we had a hard freeze this time of year. Wiped me out completely.
Hello, Sunshine! It’s good to be home, decorate the tree and pick plump, juicy red ones.
How about you? What are you doing this time of year?
A few years ago, my husband decided it was time to decorate the house, you know, like regular folks do at Christmas, with more than just a Christmas tree. Since I’m not much of a decorator, he went out himself and bought a whole whack of Santa ornaments. When our youngest son came home from work that night and saw the house littered with Santa figures, he said, “Our house puked Santa.”
Since then, it’s been a running household joke. This year, when the boy removed Santa from his bathroom counter and stuck the figure on a shelf where we would be sure to find it, we decided to have a little fun. Every day, the boy would come home and find Santa in a different location.
The first day we tucked Santa into the boy’s bed. When the boy arrived home and found him, not a word was said.
The next day, we went looking for Santa. The boy had hidden him so well, we had to search the whole house. Finally, we found him on the top shelf of a book cabinet. This time, Santa got a note hung from his beard and we put him on the counter next to the fridge, where the boy usually leaves his lunch kit. The note said, “My darling boy, I missed you so much today, I cried while you were away. Your parents won’t play with me. Please take me to work with you tomorrow.”
Again, Santa was not mentioned but it was obvious the boy’s after-work mood was getting a much needed lift.
The next morning, we located Santa in our bathtub. Because this Santa was of Scottish heritage, we left the boy a note that said, “I’m Scottish and I like to go commando. I dare you to look under my skirt.”
And so the countdown to Christmas continued, with the boy hiding Santa every night and us finding fun ways to entertain him… or perhaps we were simply entertaining ourselves.
Do you have a holiday Grinch in your family and if so, what kind of tricks do you use to
beat humor the grinchiness out of him/her?
Following in Dianne’s awesome culinary footsteps…I thought I’d share what I will be making tomorrow night. My mother’s pecan tarts. I do not have a picture yet, but once I do, I’ll put this in the recipe tab.
Each year, my daughter and I go through my mother’s old recipe box that I confiscated (stole) after she passed away. We decide what we will attempt that season, out of her handwritten recipes.
So here you go, exactly how my mother wrote it…and fair warning…they are addictive.
1) 8oz pkg cream cheese
1 1/4c butter (stick)
2 1/2c flour
Blend softened cheese and butter. Stir in flour. Chill for 1 hour. Shape into 1″ balls. Place in ungreased muffin cups, and press dough to bottom and sides.
2c brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsp soft butter (stick)
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 2/3c chopped pecans
Dash of salt
Beat together till smooth, all except pecans. Divide half the pecans among cups, lining the bottoms, add the filling. Top with the rest of pecans.
Bake at 325 degrees, 28 mins. Cool then remove.
This week marks the second anniversary of my Dad’s passing so I’ve been thinking about him a lot. And thoughts of Dad always lead me to memories of his sweet tooth, which he kindly passed down to his kids. Inspired by Myndi Shafer’s recent blog, and in honour of my Dad’s memory, I’d like to share with you my recipe for Poppycock, which I used to give to him every Christmas.
Sheila’s Poppycock Recipe
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup whole un-blanched almonds
8 cups popped popcorn
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup margarine
1/2 cup golden corn syrup
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. vanilla
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Spread pecans and almonds on an ungreased cookie sheet and toast lightly. In a very large unbuttered bowl, mix nuts and popcorn together.
In a small heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, margarine, corn syrup and cream of tartar. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water, approximately four minutes. Note: if you like your poppycock less chewy, then cook until the mixture forms a hard ball when dropped into cold water, approximately five minutes.
Remove from stove and stir in the soda and vanilla. Be careful because the addition of the soda makes the mixture foam up.
Pour over the popcorn and nut mix. With a wooden spoon, stir until evenly coated. Leave in bowl until the poppycock is partially cooled but make sure you stir it once in a while to keep the mixture from forming into one hard ball.
When the popcorn and nuts have cooled some, dump it on to the countertop or on large cookie sheets and continue to stir occasionally until fully cooled. I usually leave it out overnight and every time I walk by, I stir it to break it apart. Someone will no doubt sneak a piece or two but that’s okay because it’s easy to make a second batch.
This makes a wonderful Christmas gift. I like to put it into jars and tins to give to family and friends. Enjoy!