Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

Another Christmas has come and gone.  We celebrated in style, despite the snowy weather!

We spent Christmas Eve at the Simser's home in South St. Paul.
Haley,  Elizabeth and Mike's beautiful baby girl, experienced her first Christmas.  She was a good baby throughout the entire party.

We enjoyed our traditional hors d'oeuvres spread.

No one went away hungry, that's for sure!

We were able to get a few family groupings together for pictures.

There was bonding time between young cousins.  Clara is a great big cousin to Haley.

The elders had time to catch up with each other as well.

Everyone loved a chance to play with Haley.

And Uncle Joey had a spot on his lap for both of the little princesses.

Clara was very helpful opening gifts.

Haley was thrilled with her new toys.

And, she liked her daddy's new Viking's hat, too! 

Once again, we played our dice game and displayed our "white elephant" gifts.

Back home, we spent a quiet Christmas morning opening the family gifts.

Nick said "Great! Wool socks!" in true Minnesota fashion.

Nick's girlfriend, Ellen, joined us for the event.

Suzanne posed once again with the stocking in which she came home from the hospital two days before Christmas in 1983. There were a few years she wasn't so thrilled about this posed picture. She's resigned to it now.

After presents, Nick cooked brunch for the family,

while I set the table.

And Suzanne dreamed about getting some time to rest after her busy week.

Great food, Nick! This is a tradition I will encourage.

And, thanks, Paul, for capturing our family time with the camera.  Next year, maybe we will remember to take some pictures of you!

It was a great holiday. 

Next, we turn our thoughts towards our adventure to Florida! We'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chewy Date Pinwheels

This morning as I worry for Suzanne as she writes her Step 2 Clinical Knowledge Boards, I baked Mom's Chewy Date Pinwheel cookies.  I don't remember eating this cookie as a child,  but I do remember tasting them at the Reile's Acres house. If anyone else remembers them or has made them, would you please let me know? They turned out pretty well, although I don't think they'd win a blue ribbon at the 4-H Fair.  The taste and texture are excellent, but the appearance needs some work.  Especially in the batch I didn't picture!

If you do try these cookies, and I highly recommend you do, be sure to cool the date filling very well before you place it on the cookie dough.  On my first roll of the two the recipe makes, the filling was still too warm and the cookie dough started to melt as I rolled it. I think I might have heard Mom tsk-tsking me as I frantically tried to rectify the problem.  That batch doesn't look like pinwheels.  I would call them more of a "Chewy Date Mélange".  Taste good, but pretty darn ugly!

Well, back to worrying. She is three hours into the nine hour exam. I hope I make it! Whew!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Our Dinner Group

We had our dinner group here last night. 

Here is our menu with links to the recipes:


First Course

Podere Il Caio

Second Course

Fontana Candida Frascatti

Main Course


Assorted Liqueurs

I forgot the most important thing, though.  We didn't take any pictures of our friends, Dave and Pam Jaye and Joe and Char Koppi!  They're the best part!!!  I love them. We appreciate and support each other in our cooking efforts. And, one can always count on great conversation and happy evenings with this group. I learn something every time we are together! It is so wonderful to have these dear people in our lives. We get to have dinner at the Jaye's before we leave for Florida.  I can hardly wait!

Today is Suzanne's birthday and we are making her a gluten free poppy seed birthday cake we will deliver to her this afternoon. Back to the kitchen!! This will be a busy week, but one I am looking forward to immensely. Enjoy each day!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's All About Nick

Today is all about Nick. He is a college graduate. I have the pictures to prove it! 

He has had his degree from the University of St. Thomas since last summer.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and he has had his diploma for months now.

However,  I waited until today to write about it because I wanted a picture with him in his cap and gown. This was not high on Nick's priority list, trust me. He had absolutely no interest in attending his graduation ceremony.  As a result, the photo opportunity slipped away from us last spring when he would have walked.  We watched for the St. Thomas winter graduation ceremony to make a trip to the University book store and pick up a cap and gown to make old mom happy. Tomorrow is the ceremony, today was our day.

He was such a good sport about this. Nick is a great person and I love him so much.

He puts up with my constant worrying (for the most part).  And, he takes our demands in stride, like when we asked him to walk around campus for more pictures.  Oh, Nick over here by that pretty sculpture in front of the library!

And, let's take another shot in front of the mall.

Besides being a dear son, he also is a good brother to Suzanne and she loves him dearly.

And now, his future is wide open.

But, like many people his age, he is wondering what is out there for him.

The job market hasn't been welcoming to many of our young people who are ready to make a contribution.

All he needs is to get his foot in the door.

In the meantime, Nick works as a server at Longfellow Grill. And, he also keeps busy with his band, 

Hang onto your dreams!

There will be an opportunity soon for him, I just know. Thanks for today, Nick. You are a wonderful young man.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day!!

We are experiencing the first snowstorm of the winter.  A snow day is always a treat for kids (and their teachers.)  I'm retired and still am excited our district's students have the day off from their usual routine.

So, this will be my day:

First, I will spend the day worrying about Suzanne. She has to drive in this weather to several VERY important interviews today. I will be glad to touch base with her tonight.

So, in the meantime, I have to:

Watch the snow come down.

Keep on eye on the stock pot full of simmering homemade soup.

Keep the fire going in the woodstove.

And bake some dinner rolls.

Can I think of more comforting things?

Did I mention the Christmas trees are decorated? And, I think I'll  finish my cards today.

Be careful out there.