pegkerr: (Default)
I know I do this every year. Which is sort of silly, because our Christmas breakfasts really look quite the same. But I love them so much; they mean so much to our entire family, so humor me. I'm posting our Christmas breakfast yet again.

Table Christmas morning 2013

More pictures of the table )

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Fiona Christmas morning 2013

Delia Christmas morning 2013

We are each given four pastry stars. Of course, this is not enough for Fiona, and some swapping of bacon for pastry stars is usually traditional.

Passing a pastry star

Fiona reveling in pastry star

Om nom nom

One of the neatest gifts this year, I thought, was something that Fiona brought back from England. If you have ever read Regency Romances, you are familiar with Bath, which Fiona visited for the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austens' Pride and Prejudice. The town was built as a spa because of the mineral waters. The bottle she brought back has some of the famous waters of Bath, touted in prior centuries as being a cure-all for every conceivable ill. A funny and touching gift for her daddy with cancer. She had quite a time getting it through customs in her carry-on luggage, given that there are strictures on liquids. Finally, they passed it through on the same theory that they pass snow globes: an object meant as a gift.

Waters of Bath
pegkerr: (Default)
We started with some Pomegranate Punch. (The leftover champagne will be finished up with the mimosas tomorrow morning).

Christmas Eve with Pomagranate Punch

Christmas Eve 2013

Here was the finished plum pudding. I took pains with the presentation (and yes, I DID go out and fight the crowds to go to the grocery store just to buy a sprig of holly to put on the top).

Plum pudding

We may have not let it sit a day, but [ profile] naomikritzer's [ profile] notthatedburke's recipe for hard sauce still turned out wonderfully.

I attempted to light it with brandy, but I didn't use a high enough proof alcohol. We DID achieve a flame, but not long enough for me to capture it with the camera. We all agreed that we witnessed it, however!

Om nom nom

Verdict: I liked it and did not miss the sugar I forgot to add into the recipe. With the hard sauce and dried fruit, it was more than sweet enough for my taste. Rob and Fiona allowed as they were glad to have tried it and wouldn't mind it making an occasional appearance in the holiday rotation.

Delia tried it, too, but with her sensitivity to texture, she found it rather confounding. I was pleased that she tried it at least. Even if she didn't enjoy eating it, we sure had fun making it, and that's what I'll always remember about it. And at least it's something we can all say we've tried.

On its way to being demolished
pegkerr: (Default)
Cutting butter into the flour and spices:

Cutting butter into the flour and spices

Greasing the pudding mold
Greasing the pudding mold

Adding the dried fruit. So much dried fruit.

Adding the dried fruit. So much dried fruit

Adding the bread crumbs:

Adding the bread crumbs

A crucial ingredient!

A crucial ingredient

Ready to add the batter to the mold:

ready to add batter to mold

Ready to go into the pot:

ready to go into the pot

A rack is set in the bottom of the pot:

Rack in the bottom of the pot

Putting pudding in to steam:

Putting pudding to steam

Water is added up halfway the height of the pudding mold

Adding water to the pudding steam pot

We will let you know how it turns out!
pegkerr: (Family)
I am being brave and attempting to make a plum pudding for the very first time. I blame [ profile] minnehaha K and B, who invited me to their home for a wonderful live reading of A Christmas Carol. I plan to take some pictures to show you how it turns out.

We will be having a quiet Christmas at home by ourselves. Rob works today until 6 pm (curse you, retail America) and he is going into work at 4:00 am on December 26 and working for three hours, and then is heading to the doctor's, where we will get the results of the PET scan from last Friday and learn then if he has chemo that day. Consequently, it just wasn't convenient for us to travel anywhere to join the family (thinks of the rest of the family enjoying Christmas at my sister's cabin. Sigh). Oh well. We will have beef tenderloin and plum pudding to console ourselves!

Happy holidays to everyone near and far. Pictures (I hope) of plum pudding construction to follow.
pegkerr: (Default)
We had a pleasant holiday with both sides of the family. We ate dinner at Rob's brother's house (several relatives were there from out of town) and then went over to spend several more hours at my sister's house. We caught up with Fiona by Skype. Poor Rob had to go to work at 11:00 p.m. and work until 9:00 a.m. the next day.

I didn't do any Black Friday shopping. I've been troubled with a cold for a week and just didn't feel up to it, although I did go out today because it's supposed to snow and Delia needed snow boots. I went to the Mall of America, which just about killed me, but at least we got the boots.

We had a bat in our bedroom last night. I was quite indignant about this purely as it's December and we're not supposed to be troubled with them if it's not August. Rob got it out of the house.

Delia has been accepted by Coe College in Iowa. We're still waiting to hear back about several others.
pegkerr: (Fiona and Delia)
My pastor read the list below at church today, which is yet another reason why my church rocks. I was so impressed with it that when I came home I went hunting for the woman who originally wrote it, a blogger named Amy Young at her blog The Messy Middle. From her original post:

A few years ago I sat across from a woman who told me she doesn’t go to church on Mother’s Day because it is too hurtful. I’m not a mother, but I had never seen the day as hurtful. She had been married, had numerous miscarriages, divorced and was beyond child bearing years. It was like salt in mostly healed wounds to go to church on that day. This made me sad, but I understood.

Fast forward several years to Mother’s Day. A pastor asked all mothers to stand. On my immediate right, my mother stood and on my immediate left, a dear friend stood. I, a woman in her late 30s, sat. I don’t know how others saw me, but I felt dehumanized, gutted as a woman. Real women stood, empty shells sat. I do not normally feel this way. I do not like feeling this way. I want no woman to ever feel this way in church again.

Last year a friend from the States happened to visit on Mother’s Day and again the pastor (a different one) asked all mothers to stand. As a mother, she stood and I whispered to her, “I can’t take it, I’m standing.” She knows I’m not a mother yet she understood my standing / lie.

Here’s the thing, I believe we can honor mothers without alienating others. I want women to feel welcome, appreciated, seen, and needed here in our little neck of the body of Christ.

Do away with the standing. You mean well, but it’s just awkward. Does the woman who had a miscarriage stand? Does the mom whose children ran away stand? Does the single woman who is pregnant stand? A.w.k.w.a.r.d.

2. Acknowledge the wide continuum of mothering.

To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you

To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you

To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you

To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you

To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you

To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience

To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst

To those who have aborted children – we remember them and you on this day

To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be

To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths

To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren -yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you

To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart

And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
pegkerr: (Default)
Yesterday we celebrated Twelfth Night, our last Christmas hurrah, by having breakfast together with scones and cocoa. I have miniature stockings at the table, which I fill with after Christmas sale items. Rob was practically comatose, but we enjoyed this last, special tradition together. The recipe this year was for peanut butter chocolate scones. The girls settled for Swiss Miss cocoa (they honestly prefer it, go figure) but I had the real stuff, by god, made from scratch with a healthy dollop of both whipping cream and Bailey's Irish Cream. What the heck. Like I said, it's Christmas' final hurrah.

Twelfth Night 2012

Twelfth Night 2012

Twelfth Night 2012

The tree was taken down and the decorations put away today. It feels like Christmas is truly over. But it was a very good one this year. I hope your holidays were as merry and bright as ours.
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We had a very quiet Christmas. Rob had to work until 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and so we couldn't coordinate dinner plans with siblings on either side of the family, and so we just had Christmas Eve dinner at home, just the four of us. Flank steak and cheesy potatoes.

Christmas Eve 2012

The next morning, after stockings, we had our traditional Christmas breakfast. )

Fiona had a special package at her place setting. She was happy when she opened it! )

Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you!

Christmas morning 2012
pegkerr: (Default)
I know I need to catch up (for one thing, I haven't posted pictures from our Christmas breakfast, but I still intend to do that) but here's a song to start the New Year: Peter Mayer's "One More Circle Round the Sun."

2012, despite my Dad's death, was a much better year for my family. I hope things continue to look up for us.

pegkerr: (Default)
It's a good one for us this year, although we're sad about missing my Dad, of course. But we are REALLY thankful that Rob has been employed for a FULL YEAR! Depression is in remission, and we are digging our way out of debt. Both girls are doing great in school. I'm grateful for the results of the last election. I think our life is going as well as it ever has for, oh, the last decade or so. And we are thankful for our family and circle of friends, and that includes you, dear friends on DW and LJ.

We're going over to my sister's Cindy's for Thanksgiving, although we will probably drop over at Rob's brother Lance's house, too. I wish you all safe travels and tasty dinners. May all your football teams win, may you win all your turkey trot races, and I hope that no dishes get dropped and broken and no family fights break out over the pumpkin pie.
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Rob's at work right now, poor fellow. But he'll be home for dinner and we'll celebrate then. And the girls and I took my parents out for coffee this afternoon and had a great visit with them.

Happy Fathers Day to all on my friends/reading list who are fathers, or who act in a fatherly role. You are awesome, and we couldn't do it without you.
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We managed to snatch a half an hour in which we were all in the house at the same time to celebrate the end of the Christmas season. I used the very last of the whipping cream I had bought for our Christmas morning celebration for my cup of Twelfth Night coffee.

Delia helped me get the breakfast ready:

It was a lovely opportunity to bid farewell to the Christmas season )

Happy Twelfth Night, from my family to yours!

pegkerr: (Default)
but since there will be no point in the next 24 hours that my family will all be under the roof at one time, we have decided to declare this the year of


and celebrate Twelfth Night on the thirteenth day of Christmas. Accordingly, I will be posting pictures of our celebration a little later than usual, as it will be held on Saturday, rather than Friday.

Deal with it.
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I forgot to post this link yesterday, but you've ever seen and enjoyed Bill Murray's movie Groundhog Day, you may enjoy this article which dissects the underlying philosophy. Do you find it convincing?
pegkerr: (Default)
A holiday which I just coincidentally discovered today when looking up Burns' biography on Wikipedia (I was catching listening to the Irish and Celtic Music podcast which included a Rabbie Burns song.) Anyway, here's a nice collection of recipes to help you celebrate.
pegkerr: (Default)
Happy Twelfth night from my very sleepy family to yours:

More pictures under the cut )
pegkerr: (Default)
This is going to be a good year.

I don't know why I feel that way. I just do. I've been thinking over the past several New Year's days, and seeing a pattern. I usually feel depressed. The grip of seasonal affective disorder is usually pretty bad this time of year, and often on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day I feel lousy.

This year I don't.

I don't know why.

Sure our family is facing a lot of difficult things. But I feel curiously optimistic.

I hope this feeling last, and my conviction is borne out. It feels like a nice change.

We celebrated the New Year as we always do, gathering at my sister Cindy's house, eating hors d'oeuvres and Chinese food, playing the famous White Elephant game and watching movies. Fiona's boyfriend Mitch joined us as well as the boyfriend of one of my nieces, Leigh, and it was fun to introduce new people to our cherished family customs.

Here is my Decrease Worldsuck report for 2010. My commitment dropped away toward the end of the year. I'll try to be more consistent. Still, I think I did do my bit to make the world better place.

Love going out to my family and friends. May 2011 be a blessing to you and yours.
pegkerr: (Default)
I haven't posted since Christmas since, for all practical purposes, it's still going on for us. I have to go to work this week, but my family has been gathering every night in the evenings.

Here are some pictures from Christmas morning:

Christmas morning 2010
Christmas morning 2010

More Christmas pictures )

Here's a video showing Delia's reaction when we gave her her biggest gift )


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