Thursday, December 11, 2008

Our Holiday Traditions

On Monday afternoon, I was so frustrated with the kids. How many times does one have to say, "please stop jumping on and off of the couch," and "please stop swinging your sister around before she crashes into the glass paneled doors of the wall unit/the TV/the sharp corners of the furniture"? I was ready for a drink or two, only then I wouldn't be able to drive them to the ER after the inevitable accident we were heading toward... so I was very glad and exhausted when they all fell asleep that evening.



And then I remembered, it's crazy season! Remember last year?



Visions of Santy Claus makes the kiddos nuts! It's funny how it takes me a few days of complete nuttiness before I remember this fact. Now I'm moving into survival mode here, which means these little crazies are gonna be making Christmas crafts and watching Christmas movies until the big man himself has come and gone. I gotta keep them focused on something, otherwise they just go bananas! It's one of our Holiday Traditions!



And in keeping with that theme, I thought I'd share a few more of our traditions.



When the kids were born, I bought an ornament for each of them. My grand idea was that I'd buy each kid an ornament every year, and when they were grown, they could take them. I had to stop this because the tree was going to be overrun with kiddie ornaments! Now I just get one for the tree, usually from our summer vacation. This year, we've added Lucy the elephant. We went to visit Lucy the Elephant in Margate, New Jersey during our week in Cape May. Lucy is breakalie, so she's up high!

2000 was a big year in terms of trying to start traditions, since that's the year Caroline was born. That year, I made this tree skirt out of felt. I then made Caroline's handprint on another scrap of felt (not easy to do with a six-month-old) and sewed it to the skirt. I think we've only missed one year on the tree skirt tradition. After I took this picture, the kids added their handprints for 2008. One of these years Rob and I will add our hands. This was the first year I had the kids do the handprint directly on the skirt. I was nervous, but it went well. It's fun to see how those little hands have grown.


The last tradition I'll share with you today is what we have come to call our Christmas Morning Casserole. I found this recipe in one of those Christmas with Southern Living books, and I have made it for the last five years or so. Rob has strong feelings about this casserole--one year I told him I was going to skip it, and he said, "no, it's a tradition, you have to make it!" So there you have it. I make it ahead on Christmas Eve. The most labor intensive part is shredding the cheese. I suppose you could buy pre-shredded cheese, but we loves us some extra-extra-sharp Cheddar around here, so I shred it myself. Pop it in the oven, open some presents, and then sit down to yummy deliciousness!
I have tried to put in a link to a pdf that I created, but I can't figure out how to make that happen. So I'll just copy the whole thing below:

Christmas Morning Casserole
Originally published in Christmas with Southern Living 1999
2 pounds mild ground pork sausage (or you can use 1 pound mild, 1 pound hot)
4 cups water
1 ¼ cups quick-cooking grits, uncooked
4 cups (1 pound) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Paprika
Garnish: fresh parsley sprigs
Brown sausage in a large skillet, stirring until it crumbles. Drain well, and set aside.
Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan (I use a Dutch oven), and stir in grits. Return to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat; add cheese and next 3 ingredients, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in sausage and eggs.
Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13: x 9: x 2. baking dish; sprinkle with paprika.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 1 hour until golden and heated. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish, if desired.
Yield: 10 servings.
Make-ahead: Prepare grits mixture as directed above, but do not bake. Cover and chill overnight. Remove from refrigerator; let stand, covered, 30 minutes. Uncover and bake as directed.
This recipe can be halved easily. I put it in an 8"square baking dish.




3 comments:

Meredith said...

Just catching up with you! Oh giver of wonderful gifts!! (I LOVE my wonderful package Miss Meg!)

Anyhoo...LOVE the Christmas picture of the kiddos, love the tree skirt, and the boots KICK ASS!

Hope you have a great weekend!!

Meredith said...

Just catching up with you! Oh giver of wonderful gifts!! (I LOVE my wonderful package Miss Meg!)

Anyhoo...LOVE the Christmas picture of the kiddos, love the tree skirt, and the boots KICK ASS!

Hope you have a great weekend!!

Susan said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Susan

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