Saturday, December 28, 2019

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day......

Catching up on the last few days is going to take more than one journal entry and I am going to try my best to not get behind in 2020!

I'll start with Christmas Eve.....
Before I went to bed on the Eve of Christmas Eve, I had browned 5 pounds of good ground beef and put together the biggest pot of chili I have ever made.

This is the new pot Louis Dean bought at HEB earlier this month - and then realized we didn't have a burner big enough to accommodate it! We only have a two burner hot plate at the ranch!
It worked great and I had it filled 3/4 full of chili that would go into large crock pots on Christmas Eve morning! Now, I'm going to confess to doing something really dumb. While I had a planned menu for the Christmas Eve Supper, I was cooking chili without a recipe. I thought, 'How hard could it be?'
Amber said she doesn't really use a recipe.......ground beef, beans, seasonings, diced tomatoes......sounds good to me. So I tried it! I  had a packet of chili seasonings I bought from a school fund raiser and a couple of chili starter packages from Chili's restaurant. I browned the beef with chopped onions and bell peppers.....adding the seasonings....and cans of pinto beans, Rotel tomatoes....and cans of diced petite tomatoes.....and then I added more seasonings. Chili pepper and cumin sounded about right. It started smelling good and I remembered a jar of salsa I bought recently at Aldi. Pam was over one day and we tried to eat it with chips and it was WAY too hot for us.
So.....I looked at the size of my huge pot.....and the size of my small jar of salsa. So I dumped the whole thing in there and stirred it up and put it in the fridge.....without tasting it.

Christmas Eve morning I was up early and divided the chili between two BIG crock pots, turned them on and went about my day. It smelled good and I was pretty proud of myself.
Cornbread muffins, Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad, pitchers of tea, appetizer table.....all was ready!
It was just about 4:00 - time for the family to start arriving - when I put a sample of the chili in a small bowl and took it to Louis Dean to taste test. Oops. He took one tiny bite and said, "Whew!! This is really HOT!!!" Oh, no!! WHY hadn't I tested it first? Did I mention the jar of salsa was GHOST PEPPER?? Need I say more??

Summer and Sabrina and Rayne arrived first and thank goodness Sabrina knew what to do!
I had already separated one of the pots into two and added regular cans of chili to try and tone it down. That didn't work. Sabrina told me to brew up some really strong coffee and add it to the chili along with a jar of my good honey!! You can't taste the honey or the coffee in it! But it was still hot.
Louis Dean went to the store for more canned chili. 
Bottom line, we added more tomato sauce and a whole big container of ketchup to the one pot we were working with - thus turning that one into two pots! I had one pot of truly hot chili outside to deal with later. As it turned out, the HOT chili was not as bad as I thought it would be. Jesse, Sam, and Levi loved it! They went home with a gallon bag of it!
I have a bag of HOT HOT chili minus the coffee and honey so it's REALLY hot!
This is in the freezer and I will take it to the ranch next month and see if Dean and Sherry like it!
I was so thankful I hadn't totally ruined the meal for Christmas Eve!
AND I was so thankful for Sabrina!! I did not know about the coffee and honey trick!

We opened gifts with Summer and Sabrina while we waited for the rest of the family to arrive.

Look what Summer gave Louis Dean!!!!

This is one remote he won't easily lose!!
Summer is going to program it for him as part of her gift.

Jesse and his family arrived next and they brought my sweet Grand dog Max!

He is the best little dog! He came last year as a puppy. Now he's a big boy one year old.
AND he doesn't shed!

Levi, Sam and Uncle Ben!!

The younger grands gathered around the table and played a game.
I had purposely taken all the place settings off all the tables so we could do games and such before dinner.

A little video tour on Christmas Eve......

Benjamin and Amber - my youngest two children.

Levi took the youngsters on for a game of tag while the rest of us played NUTS!

It was so much fun!
Pam played for the first time and held her own. I think she had a good time!
So did Sam! 
He is so laid back that he moved slowly and this was absolutely  opposite to the way the rest of us played!
Everyone who wanted to play got a chance as we would give up our seat and change out players.
I actually left them all playing and went in the guest room to lie down and rest for awhile.

I could hear Louis Dean and Leigh Ann in his music room singing together.
He was on Cloud Nine!!!

After all the fun and games, it was time to roll sugarplums.

The dough was divided up and was rolled into balls and then in the sprinkles and sugars.
ALL the sugarplums were sent home with everyone.

Levi played the piano for us, as did Faith.
We had plenty of music and entertainment.

We did have our chili supper and it was pronounced good! 
Thanks to Sabrina and Mike for doing the majority of the clean up.
Then it was time for the tree and that was a lot of fun, too!

It was a very merry Christmas Eve!!!

Louis Dean and I sat for awhile in the afterglow of having all my children and all my grandchildren here together. I only regret I didn't get a picture of all of us.

We joined the family on Christmas morning at Nita and Mike's house.
I wasn't entirely sure Louis Dean was going because when I woke up at 3:30 am - he was still working on his music! I was surprised he insisted on going but he ended up napping sitting straight up on the couch while the rest of us partied on!

I love Nita and Mike's Christmas House!

 Christmas Breakfast Feast!

My handsome son, Benjamin......
Nita takes such joy in feeding him and sending him home with Care packages!

Sister Deanie......she is looking especially beautiful! 

Leah and Patrick......Nita's daughter and son in law.

Winston is Deanie's grand dog!

But Winston belongs to Andie.

It was a small group this year -
Nita and Mike, Deanie and Charlie, Tish and Andie, Lonnie and Michele, Summer, Sabrina and Rayne, Leah and Patrick, Benjamin, Louis Dean and me.....16 in all.
We spent a good while eating and visiting before we all gathered  in the living room to do the Chinese Christmas Tree.

Andie was having fun!

Deanie opened the Santa at the Manger painting and, although it was stolen once, she went home with it!

This is a photo she sent us later of her Christmas decorations.
She has kept three of my paintings.
She wants to keep the smaller painting instead of trading it for the 16x20.
When we came back from the ranch we accidentally left the painting I was working on - so I wil be finishing this year's painting in 2020!

 I think Leah went home with the very gift she brought - 
a pressure cooker/air fryer.
I am late to the party with these new machines.
Louis Dean loves pressure cookers but we couldn't figure out the insta pot.

Deanie and Lonnie.......and Winston.
Lonnie doesn't smile a lot and is in constant pain but he can still make us all laugh!

Leah and her Mama.
I love the name 'Mama!' Nita is blessed that she still gets to hear her daughter call her that.
All my children went from Mommy to Mama to MOM in short order!

Michele is Lonnie's beloved wife.
He still calls her his bride and the new has never worn off!

Nita and our Trish!!
She's another one with a great sense of humor!

Charlie and Deanie.
This time last year Charlie was recovering from open heart surgery.
I just love this photo of them together!

Everyone loves Louis Dean!!
From the first time they met him, he has been a family favorite!

I have been off my game this Christmas and didn't take many pictures.
Thanks to Leah and Nita for sharing theirs.
I can't believe I didn't get any pics of Summer or Sabrina or Rayne.

Charlie, Mike and Louis Dean relaxed in the den....

We all enjoyed our time together Christmas morning.....
and it lasted into the afternoon.
While Summer, Sabrina, and Benjamin had other family to celebrate Christmas with, 
the rest of us were not in a hurry to leave.
As a matter of fact, Louis Dean and I were the last to go.
We all treasure the times all four of us siblings get to be together and, quite frankly, I wanted to savor every single moment.

Lillian's granddaughter had picked her up on Christmas Eve and she wasn't going to be back at the nursing home until later on Christmas evening so Louis Dean and I came on home.
I hope we get to visit again before my surgery and stock up her fridge and put in a supply of her A&W Creme Sodas. I was happy for her to get to spend time with her granddaughter.
She has a granddaughter and great granddaughter and a grandson and his family.

We went home and took naps!
Perfect Christmas afternoon thing to do!

I had dressed up for Christmas in a black velvet dress, black tights (which did not make my black knee brace noticeable) and a gold shawl and jewelry. I took it all off and wore my nightgown to nap in so when I got up - I put it all back on to go to one last Christmas celebration.

Amber and Mike hosted both sets of parents and Mike's brother, Mark, for a traditional Christmas dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, green bean and broccoli rice casseroles.
Once again, I didn't take many pics and the ones I did take didn't turn out.
Louis Dean and I are older than the Parent Bells and I guess we played the 'old people' card and left before they watched Home Alone!
Amber has been watching Home Alone every Christmas since she was 5 years old and I don't believe she has ever missed a year! They were on to Home Alone 2 that night.

Louis Dean and I are trying to respect our ages.
That's easier said than done because you don't want to miss out on fun things - but you pay a price when you get too tired.
So we went home and went to bed!

It was a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and Evening!
I'm grateful for family and these special times we can celebrate together.


Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Thank you Linda for sharing Christmas in your post.

Bluebird49 said...

So much love and fun!
Girl, I've never had to brown 5 lbs. of hamburger! And coffee and honey!? What a chili story you had there, but Dean and Sherry may just love that heat! <3

Sandra said...

You certainly had your share of celebration and I am so happy for you that you got to visit with all your huge loving family on the two holidays.. yowsa on the hot chili, when I make mine it is MILD. I made HOT by accident a few years ago and I could not eat it at all and Bob struggled with it so I finally tossed it. I will try to remember the honey/coffee thing. every photo is a priceless loving memory for the future... hope the hot chili doesn't burn your freezer. ha ha… waiting to hear if Dean and Sherry like it HOT.. you do have a truly beautiful family. all of them and you know I love the grand dogs

Laurie said...

That was an action packed couple of days! Beautiful celebrations! That chili adventure sounds like the very thing I would have happen lol, it all worked out in the end, happy days!

Arlene @Nanaland said...

So fun to see your big family enjoying each other Linda. What a funny store about the chili...I always use as recipe as I am not a confident cook!! I had been missing you so I was glad to see a post late last night after we watched the Clemson Ohio State Game. As someone stated on Facebook, We know the Tigers will win the championship...just which team of Tigers. I am pulling for LSU this year. It is a rainy Sunday here and we are off to church. Hope you and LD have a good Sunday.

Changes in the wind said...

That was some chili story and glad it worked out, would never thought of coffee and honey. Like you say there is nothing like family for the holidays and so glad you could enjoy yours.

Vee said...

That was some Christmas, which you “painted” very well in words and borrowed photos even if you didn’t take your usual number of pictures. I loved that closing sentiment because it is so true! You are beautiful; Louis Dean is handsome; and you have a beautiful family. Loved seeing most of them again. ☺️

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

What a very happy family Christmas. We won't do ours until the 31st and I'm making Lasagna, One of the kids favorites. I agree the best gift is a happy family around the tree.

Latane Barton said...

My, my... I am so thankful that you had help cooling that chili down! My grandson and a couple of the other men in the family would have loved it. We had a large gathering at my daughter's the day after Christmas which was noisy and fun. Happy New Year, dear friend. May it be a healthy and happy one.

Carla said...

OMG I love the chili story. David did that once and we were all on fire. The one thing I used to tame the heat is add sour cream to my bowl of chili. Too funny.
Looks like a beautiful Christmas Eve and Christmas. I'm as guilty as you I didn't take many pictures but thank goodness everyone else did. I hope to get caught up on my blogging before January 15th. LOL I won't make it by NYE. I have too much to share.
I will say my goal for 2020 is come visit you at the ranch at least once and I expect y'all to come to the Rock'n K. Hugs

Anonymous said...

Loved reading about your "Holly Jolly Christmas" and
send you good wishes for a wonderful New Year.
Love, Phyllis

photowannabe said...

Reading your journal has made me feel so warm and cozy.
what a beautiful family and I love the way you all celebrate together.
Games Food and Fun...Nothing better...
Love the chilli story too.
Its like my breakfast casserole story.
Suppose to slowly cook all night in the crock pot to be ready for breakfast in the morning.
P.U. burned around the edge and made the whole house stinky.
Fans on , doors opened and a bit of Fabreze thrown in.
The middle tasted fine and our son Steve came to the rescue with some Jimmy Dean breakfast croisants...we sure didn't starve. In fact we "grazed" all day.
Happy New and enjoy the last days of 2019.

Susie said...

Linda, Yikes on that chili saga...Ted love everything hot or spicy, but he got some chips made with ghost peppers and said he will probably be throwing them out. LOL. I do not think you will be able to do that chili over again. LOL. I loved seeing your family photos. Glad everyone had a fun time. Blessings to all of you. xoxo,love you, Susie

Carole said...

A great Christmas - and 16 is small! Hope the New Year is good to you. Cheers

Estelle's said...

I enjoyed reading about your Christmas celebration sounded as if it was festive and such a wonderful family time with good food and visiting! Wishing you a great 2020!

Ginny Hartzler said...

It seems like forever since I have seen you! I went back and checked your previous post, that must have been while I was on a break. I just loved that you took us to your party along with you, and let us mingle via video! Your house is big!! That remote is the perfect gift for Louis Dean!! You are so beautiful in the close-up picture. I don't know how you managed to awaken in time to go to Amber's! I am afraid that I would not be able to learn how to use an instant pot. I would like to get a new model pressure cooker though. I guess now would be the time, with all the sales.

Brenda said...

/thank you for the lovely card.
You are indeed a talented artist.

Brenda said...

Thank you for the lovely card. You are indeed a talented artist.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I’m glad you had such a great Christmas! Lots of family and friends who are family. We did, too.