Friday, December 19, 2008

Getting Ready for Christmas

The picture to start off this post is our Christmas cactus, which is blooming so nicely this year. This year when we have put it in the corner of the sunroom and left it alone. We had tried following the directions we read in a book that said to put them in dark room a month or so before Christmas, and to do this and that to the plant. We tried to be good about following the directions, and nothing happened-no blossoms. So now when we leave the plant alone, it does great.

Bob and I spent Thanksgiving in Salt Lake City with our daughter and son-in-law and their two children, Jack and Katie Jane. The time spent there was enjoyable. We drove up on Wednesday and counted 15 state highway patrol or sheriff vehicles on the road, along with the cloudy, somewhat rainy weather.

Wednesday night was spent catching up on gossip and watching Carlee work on some of the food preparation for the next day, but she had everything pretty much under control already. We brought the pies and cranberry sauce, and some small gifts to keep Jack and Kate entertained.

Thanksgiving Day after breakfast and Starbucks coffee I started ripping up bread for the dressing, while Carlee started messing with the turkeys. Tom was in charge of the turkeys, one was going to be grilled and one was going to be cooked traditionally in the oven. Jack helped me finish ripping up the three loaves of bread into two huge bowls. One for dressing with meat and one for the meatless dressing, mainly for the vegetarian Grandpa Bobby.

The evening meal was huge with Tom’s family and Carlee’s family and an invited couple and their two year old. Dustin, Erin, and Paige had changed their plans on coming up from Las Vegas as Erin’s step dad had become ill unexpectedly and was in the hospital. So we ended up taking a package of turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes back to them, so they wouldn’t miss out completely. Especially Dustin who looks forward to my mom dressing recipe every year.

Talk about traditional family foods, one year I made the dressing out of whole wheat bread instead of the usual white bread, and did I hear the complaints from the kids. So Carlee carries on our family traditions by serving Bob’s mother’s 24-hour fruit salad recipe that I’ve always used, and a lime Jell-O, with pineapple and cream cheese salad, that is my addition. And we have to have cooked cranberries not the ones from the can. At least we’re not locked into green beans and mushroom soup, we usually have asparagus. Grandpa Bobby has to have sweet potatoes, preferably candied, and mincemeat pie, that’s why I usually get stuck bringing the pies. No one else wants to deal with mincemeat pie, let alone eat it. He usually gets the whole pie to himself, unless there is a brave, adventurous soul willing to try something different.

The day after Thanksgiving is when the mother learns from the daughter. For the second year in a row Carlee and I got out of the house around 7, not terribly early as Christmas shoppers go but not bad for us. She had her yellow pad with the list of stores to hit and what toys/gifts were on sale there. When a person has a plan of attack it really isn’t too bad. We were in and out of stores without too much of a hassle and the bargains were amazing. We were done by about 11:30, picked up lunch and bombed on home.

That afternoon Jack and I spent doing some painting on an Advent calendar. He loves art and painting, and we had a good time sharing the painting on the project. We finished up the next day, and you can see that he was pretty proud of the results.

Katie Jane at two doesn’t have the same powers of concentration, but now she is sitting still for longer periods of time. Sometimes that is not always good news. Her painting skills tends towards body painting rather than on the paper, but she does seem to “get into” her projects. But it is fun to watch them interact. Thanksgiving morning while the cooking was going on both Kate and Jack were working on a Christmas sticker project, and that actually went pretty well. So I can tell that Katie is growing up.

I’ve started a sewing project for Katie and Paige for Christmas. It’s a corduroy outfit, pants and pinafore top-shorter version, green for Kate and red for Paige. If I don’t get moving on it, it will be an Easter outfit.


Peg in South Carolina said...

What lovely grandchildren! We have a wonderful grandson, so I am not tempted to sew for him as I would for a granddaughter. But I do knit for him. For the last few years I have used whole wheat bread for stuffing and everyone has liked it. I grew up on whole wheat bread and thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I went to college where they only had Sunbeam white bread. But my mother clearly had an effect on me for I am back to whole grains with a vengeance!

LV weaver said...

I'm surprised that you don't have cornbread for stuffing, which was pretty common when we lived in central Florida. It was not a particularly tourist part, cattle ranching and citrus growing rural area northeast of Tampa. Thanks for the nice words about the little red heads in SLC. Katie Jane is going to keep her parents jumping until she is married. She has been to the emergency room twice in the past two months! Hope you have Merry Christmas Season, Peg