On to the holidays - we start on them each fall. The first thing you need in our cookie recipe is grandchildren for the thumbprints and a walnut tree. Well, maybe you can go buy some chopped nuts at the grocery store but if you have a walnut tree handy it's nice. Zoie and Cullin spent almost one whole gorgeous fall day cracking walnuts on the sidewalk by the barn, picking them out and putting them in a plastic jar for the cookies. And it's their idea every year.
Then I make some mint and cherry jelly each summer. The mint jelly, especially, is so much better if you make it yourself and it's really easy. The recipe is in my Betty Crocker cookbook - the one with the duct tape for binding because it's been used so much. Mint will grow anywhere. We have some right in front of the house - smells great when you hit it sweeping the walk or raking the leaves. If you don't happen to have mint by your front porch or a cherry tree by the driveway, you can buy both those at the grocery store too.
Here' the recipe. Also from my Betty Crocker cookbook. I can do cookies and cakes and always make a great pound cake to have with coffee in the wee hours of Christmas morning.
(Pep is a gourmet cook and whips up delicious meals from nothing. He does tastes the way we do color.) I, on the other hand always say that as a cook, I'm a great quilter.
And speaking of quilting, here's my project for the Holidays. I always try to make something new for the house and thought an angel pillow would be just the thing. It's made out of our new Classic Wovens line that will be in stores (my store too) in January.
(I want to thank my friend Michelle for figuring out how to fix it so you could download the pattern. She's a genius!) I hope you like it. I resized the block from the Primitive Primer to make an 18" pillow. Since the fabric won't be in until January, I can't sell kits now but we will offer them in January. You can preorder one from Tara by emailing her at email@example.com or calling 816-632-7632. I do have enough fabric, however to give one kit away today. Make a comment and we'll do a drawing tomorrow to see who wins.
If you want to make the Primitive Primer quilt to go with your pillow, I put the book on special for half price today.
Either this weekend or next, Pep and Jake will go out in the front pasture to find a tree. Missouri Red Cedars are kind of prickly but they fill the whole house with such a wonderful smell. That first day we just bring it in and get the lights on.
Zoie & Quinn, Jake and Cullin - last month in the back pasture. They are 4 of our 9
grandchildren and the 4 that live nearby. They're here on a regular basis. I put this
picture in because I was totally amazed at how much they've grown in a year. Too
fast - it can make a grandma's eyes leak.
Once the tree is in and up with lights on, we have cookies and milk or hot chocolate. And grandma usually puts the higher decorations on while the low ones go to the kids. Zoie always sits on Grandpa's shoulders to put the angel on top. We may have to rethink that this year :).
On Christmas Eve we go to church in Kansas City and come home to unwrap one present - always Christmas jammies. Then we're up early on Christmas morning if Cullin and Quinn are here and they will be this year. Stockings are a pretty big thing at our house. Pops is off Christmas night but not usually on Christmas Eve too so we have to wait until he gets home to start on presents. Stockings keep us busy until then. With Grandmas 2-tone pound cake to munch on we can make it until the presents all get opened. Then the kids go to the back of the house to play and the adults usually take a little nap.
We used to have a big Christmas sit down dinner but the last few years have toned it down a little. We get a ham from Burgers Smokehouse and have a buffet of sides that can be pretty well made in advance. The only thing we need to cook is Kelly's killer macaroni and cheese - sooo good.
Our oldest son, Brian, his wife and 4 kids live about 1 1/2 hours away. With little ones, they, of course, want Christmas morning at home. We always have our Christmas with
them on the weekend before or after that Pep is off work. We get to have lots of
Christmases that way.
When I first stopped working in the city years ago, I wanted to learn how to make a quilt and paint some Christmas dishes. I started with the quilt. I finally bought the dishes years ago :)
This is Christmas 101. Back to the Basics of Christmas and what it is all about. May the blessings of the God that loves each and every one of us be with you today, through the holiday season and the coming year.