Sunday Column and a Holiday Re-Cap

I just had a sugar cookie for breakfast.

Ok. Two sugar cookies. And I’m contemplating a third.

But they were relatively small–little green and red churches–so like two equals one.

Anyway, don’t judge me. I am working on coming down from a whirlwind of Christmas festivities that started ten days ago with prime rib and presents at the in-laws and carried on with the eating and merriment until last night when Husband and I crawled into the house around 11 PM under the falling snow after a quick trip to Arizona to celebrate one of our best friend’s marriage.

Yeah, we get fancy when we need to…

There was still frosting on the counter from the sugar cookie and crafting debacle that ensued on Christmas Eve.

There was wrapping paper stuck to chairs, stale Chex Mix on the table, crusty pancake bowls in the sink and undelivered presents for the neighbors waiting to be unwrapped under our un-lit and lean-y Christmas tree. 

We dropped our bags at the door and trudged up the steps, swept the remains of our day-after-Christmas whirlwind packing episode off the bed and on to the floor and proceeded to fall into a Christmas Coma.

Seriously.

I have pillow lines on my face that will take weeks to fade, just like the dents in my feet from the heels I wore to dance the night away on Saturday.

But oh, we had fun for Christmas…




photo-51

photo-53

And then…the extraction of a runaway remote control helicopter from the chandelier…

And oh, we have such great people in our lives. Between our Thanksgiving Disney Adventure,  my little Christmas concert tour in mid-December, Christmas with the family and wedding festivities with my best friends under the Arizona sun, we got to see and squeeze so many people we love this holiday season.

View More: http://thelivephotobooth.pass.us/131228-biltmoreAnd it’s that kind of squeezing, that kind of love and celebration that gets us through the deep-freeze of December and helps propel us and thaw us out a enough to bear with optimism the upcoming North Dakota January.

Unfinished houses and all…

That and an occasional glass of whiskey.

And so, while the snow is falling outside my window today in quiet little swirls, I am sipping coffee from my holiday mug, planning our New Year’s meal and warming up with memories of a holiday well spent.

View More: http://thelivephotobooth.pass.us/131228-biltmore

Because in a few days I will go on missing summer, but today I couldn’t be warmer.

Sunday Column:
Horses weather winter better than their human counterparts
by Jessie Veeder
12/29/13
Fargo Forum
http://www.inforum.com

Sunday Column: Oh Christmas Tree, spindly Christmas Tree

Husband and I don’t have many traditions. Unless you count paddlefishing in May, sending him off to pheasant hunt in October and sometimes remembering our own anniversary enough in advance to buy a bottle of Champaign, I would call us sort of go with the flow type people.

Unless it comes to Christmas. We have traditions at Christmas. We eat pancakes and prime rib. I dip pretzels in chocolate and make a holiday shaped cheese ball.  I dress the pug in a Santa suit.  And we cut our own Christmas tree.

That Christmas tree thing, that’s my favorite one.

And since we moved back to the ranch we have held true to it being a magical sort of process, one that starts with a dreamy vision of the perfect cedar waiting lonely in the coulees of our favorite pasture in the sparkling snow and ends with us laughing and smiling under its boughs covered in twinkling glitter and lights.

And that’s how we remember it no matter the snow drifts, the chill or the one time when we got stuck miles from home and big brown dog puked in the pickup.

We remember it that way because our hunts usually end with a great tree. A tree that spoke to us under a beam of light. One that whispered “pick me, pick me” as we slowly walked toward its light shining down from the prairie sky. One that reached out its arms and asked to be ours, filled our house with the scent of holiday and became the backdrop to many nearly perfect Christmases spent on the ranch.

That didn’t happen this year.

No.

This year we had one day. One hour on one frickin’ freezing Sunday before the sun went down to head out into the -25 degree sunset and find our Christmas centerpiece.

Because in the middle of a life that we seem to insist on overbooking, Christmas seemed to have snuck up and bit us in the ass.

So we had no plan. We had no direction. We just had our coveralls, a saw, each other and one mission.

To fulfill our Christmas tradition.

And what we brought home isn’t pretty.

No, not really.

It’s sort of twisted and it leans and turns to the left. The branches are spindly, they gap and sag and have grown so accustomed to the relentless prairie wind that they have yet to relax so that while it is perfectly calm in the little house we’ve built, that tree, safe and sound under our roof, seems to make us believe that the wind is still blowing.

But you know what else it makes me believe? That Charley Brown, Grinchy little cedar covered in bulb and lights?

That it doesn’t matter.

That it’s sort of perfect for us, really.  Perfect for us and this year we’ve spent muddling through plans that just don’t quite turn out right.  Perfect for a man who falls of ladders and a woman who falls of ledges into snow banks in the middle of Main Street.

Perfect for a couple that doesn’t make time to keep up with the laundry or the dishes and spends way to much time eating noodles and not enough time doing sit-ups.

So when I reached for the 175th Christmas bulb, that carbohydrate loving, overly ambitious carpenter husband of mine told me to stop.

No more bulbs.

The tree is good.

The tree is his favorite.

Because it’s like us.

Just happy to be here and trying its best.

Coming Home: A perfect Christmas includes plenty of imperfections
12/20/13
By Jessie Veeder
Fargo Forum
http://www.inforum.com

The Pug: A Christmas Montage

Well, it’s official.

Chug the Pug has outgrown his Santa Suit.

He’s full grown now after all.

An old man.

Five years old.

As you can see it hasn’t stopped me from forcing him to wear it.

No.

For all of the times I’ve chased his ass out into Prairie Dog Town, down the road to a rig, over to Mom and Pops where he’s visiting his girlfriend, for all the barf I’ve cleaned up and farts I’ve endured, and for that unmentionable time, you know, with the cat… this is his yearly penance.

Oh, take it like a man…

That and the Halloween Pirate Hat.

So I suppose it’s no wonder his chest got a little too broad, his belly a solid barrel of meaty muscle pushing the hem of that funny little suit I bought when he was much younger, cuter, had two whole eyeballs and was less defiant.

It’s all that damn running around. Those hills and coulees.  All that death defying has created quite a physique.

So stand still pug. Don’t look at me like that. This is the least you can do for me for all the trouble you’ve caused.

For all the leftover bacon I fed you.

For pug sized muddy footprints you leave on my newly mopped floor, miraculously in the middle of winter where there’s no mud in sight.

For that weird, unidentifiable animal you drug to my doorstep just in time for the UPS man’s delivery.

So smile.

Because this is your Christmas suit montage.

Christmas Pug

Pug in glasses

You’re welcome world.

Peace, Love and Christmas Pugs!

Jessie

Smile, it’s Christmas.

Christmas

‘Tis the season.

The season to deck the halls.

To troll the ancient Yule tide carol.

To don we now our gay apparel.

The season to be jolly.

And ’tis the season to stand in front of the Christmas tree and smile.

It’s a Very Veeder Family tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. That weirdly adorable kid in the checkered suit up there, that’s Pops. He’s known as the Godfather of the awkward Christmas smile.

You will see it carried out on various family members’ faces as we continue through the archives of the most noteworthy Veeder Christmas Tree portraits of all time.

(You’re welcome Aunt K.)

Anyway, don’t we all want to remember what we looked like on Christmas Eve 1993 when we just opened our kick-ass cow pajamas with matching slippers.

Falala-lalala-la-la-la.

These are fashion memories worth re-living and my hope is that they might give you inspiration for this year’s Christmas Tree shot.

Because if you find that you and your little sister are in matching sweatsuits, by all means, snuggle up under a quilt and get a picture of that shit.

Because it’s adorable.

Same goes when you and your cousins are forced to wear matching “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner” sweatshirts on Christmas morning.

Pay attention here. This is a classic.

But not as classic as tablecloth dresses, big red bows, red-eye and eighties hair.

If only I could still pull off white tights, mary-janes…and big-ass fluffy tutus.

Because nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a pouty ballerina and her big sister in even bigger glasses.

And now for Exhibit B, this time with excessive makeup, braces, forced smiles and more bows. Lots and lots of bows.

Because bows are cute as hell.

And so are puppies.

If you want to spice up a boring Christmas tree shot, go out and find yourself a puppy.

Sweet Baby Jesus that’s adorable.

And if you can’t find a puppy, a teddy bear dressed as an elf works too. 

You can thank me later for the tip.

And here’s another. If you find that you want a switch from the typical Christmas tree photo, I recommend sitting on a couch and placing a big poinsettia in front of your subjects. And also, at least one of you should be wearing a pirate shirt.

You can never go wrong with a pirate shirt.

Here’s to the holiday my sweet, sweet friends. May everything you’ve ever wanted be waiting for you under that Christmas tree!

A quick Christmas Recap…

Christmas finally arrived at the Veeder Ranch, leaving behind a wake of wrapping, boxes, bows, leftovers, a pretty severe sugar crash and one particularly annoyed pug.

It was our first Christmas in the new house and we were happy to put away the hammers and take some time to make a pie…

wrap some presents…

unwrap some presents…

and, well, torture the pug.

We broke some traditions this year, but unfortunately for that dog his Santa-suit-runway-walk will never be passed over.

Neither will the snowman cheeseball, even though it’s the same recipe I made just a month before for Thanksgiving, just, you know, it’s not shaped as a turkey this time.

No one ever tires of it. Every one loves it. Trust me.

Trust me.

Yes, it was a peaceful,

memorable,


delicious,

freezing cold,

super cute,

lovely Christmas

that began with a beautiful and thoughtful gift…

and ended with, well…this sexy little number.

Merry Christmas lovelies. I hope your holiday was better than his.

Nice try, really pathetic, but she ain’t gonna save you…

A Christmas Eve Eve Winner and your beautiful, winter photos!

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!
It is snowing here at the ranch and we’re hunkered down, working on checking off the construction and pie making projects on our list. Between the hammering and measuring and baking, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who shared your favorite winter photos as part of my little holiday contest.

The world is truly a beautiful place, even in the chilly, snowy temperatures of late December (or tropical temps for some!) and you’ve proved it to be true all over the place! Being transported to your backyards through your photos has been a wonderful Christmas gift.

It was a difficult task, but Husband and I have chosen our favorite winter scene. I will tell you, this decision was thought out over a cup of coffee, discussed, narrowed and determined with the most serious consideration. We almost had a tie. We almost had an argument. Things got heated, but we were able to narrow it down.

Little Drummer Boy, will you please take a moment out of your “Par rum pu pu pumming” to roll that drum!?

Thank you.

And the winner is: Sybil Nun for bringing Husband and I to the coast of Nova Scotia!

Photo submitted by Sybil Nunn. “Winter at Peggy’s Cove.” Nova Scotia.

Sybil, your photo is so exotic. You brought us to a world so similarly frozen and so full of wonder. We could imagine standing on those snowy rocks feeling the cold damp air blowing off of the water, freezing our eyelashes and flushing our cheeks. We love it!

You’ll be receiving a signed copy of my new album “Nothing’s Forever” and a matted print of one of my favorite winter scenes!

To honor the time each of the participants and the beauty of our winter world, I decided to post the submitted photos here for the rest of you to see in case you missed them on Facebook.

Thank you everyone for playing along and sharing your frosty world with us. Thank you for reading. Thank you for showing up here week after week with your encouraging words, relatable stories and positivity.

Merry Christmas! May your holiday be filled with love and obnoxious sweaters, family and friends who are like family, beauty and laughter and delicious food and drink on colorful holiday themed platters!

Peace to you and yours, now enjoy the show!

Photo submitted by Faye Baker “Merry Christmas from Mercer County!”

Photo submitted by Vicki Overvold

Photo submitted by Barb Grover “Children and the wonders of winter” Oslo-Norway

Photo submitted by Jeanne Ramsay “Merry Christmas from Denver”

Photo submitted by Christie Jaeger “Winter photo of our cows” Esmond, ND

Photo submitted by Susan Price Slehofer “Winter from just across the border in Montana”

Photo submitted by Karen Grosz “My favorite calming photo.”

Photo submitted by Hugh Long “Merry Christmas from beautiful Key West!

Photo submitted by Lillian Crook “Buffaloberry Bushes, Painted Canyon, c, December 16, 2012″

Photo submitted by Dan Grogan. “Southwest Virginia, two seasons ago. Happy Holidays!”

Photo submitted by Annika G. Plummer. “Merry Christmas!”

Photo submitted by Rory Guenther. “Merry Christmas!”

Photo submitted by Rachel Dwyer. “Frozen cattails :) Merry Christmas!”

Photo submitted by Rebekah Engebretson. “Fog’s friend left behind last week in Watford City.”

Photo submitted by Ed Barth.

Photo submitted by Robin Wahl. “Merry Christmas to you and yours. God bless.”

Submitted via email.

Photo submitted by Holly Mossberg. “This is my mare Elly and her offspring Dreamer in Feb. of 06 after they were pent up in the barn for two days.”

Photo submitted by Jess James.

Photo submitted by Jess James.

So many gifts.

Last Christmas Husband and I were planning the arrival of our new home. Husband worked during the coldest weeks of the year alongside his dad, Pops and our neighbor hammering nails with gloved hands, storing the air-compressor inside the heated truck so it wouldn’t freeze, climbing ladders and creating the walls to a foundation that our house was scheduled to sit on as soon as it arrived from Wisconsin.

I remember wondering what it would look like, having only seen what was to be our forever home in my head or on a blue print. I remember worrying that we wouldn’t meet our deadline, wondering how a house can possibly travel all of those miles and wind up in a place along a gravel road where a house has never been before and offering the guys a couple shots of Peppermint Schnapps as a celebration that the first step was done.

It was cold and frosty and the deadline was approaching with each passing moment, but right on schedule our house came rolling slowly down the freshly laid road and we could do nothing more but stand out of the way and watch as the crane lifted it and placed it on the concrete and wooden walls that were so carefully constructed during the depth of winter and into some long nights.

I will never forget what it felt like witnessing our home arrive out of thin air. Husband and I watched in silence with our hands in our pockets before admitting we were chilled to the bones and moving into the heated pickup where we did more of the silence thing, more of the watching. And although we knew when the roof was on and the men were gone there would be more work to be done, we were choked up at the sight of the start of it all.

That was one year ago. It was our sixth Christmas together as husband and wife and we were watching our dreams come true.

One year and I’ll have to say, nail by nail, scary ladder project by scary ladder project, and day by day it has been a test of our skills and our patience and a wonderful hand-made spectacle to watch it all slowly come together.

Two weeks ago they came to pour concrete in that basement.

Last week Husband built us some stairs.

This week we will put rock on our fireplace…

and last weekend we brought our Christmas tree home.

I have to tell you when we made plans for this house we thought out our specific needs. We wanted a lofted bedroom, an open floor plan, a giant mud room and a hardwood floor.

And we wanted to create a perfect space for a big and beautiful Christmas tree.

Oh, we still have so much to do, and realistically we should have been doing it. We should have been wiring that basement, putting doors on the closets or picking out carpet for our master bedroom. I should have been wiping saw dust off of things or washing our socks, but after our breakfast was cleaned up and all our coffee was gone on Saturday morning, my husband and I looked at each other, pulled on our Carharts and went out to find the tree we’ve had in mind since the beginning of it all.

I don’t know how to explain the magic I feel every winter I’m lucky enough to trudge behind that man in the snow on a hunt for our tree. It’s like the world goes calm and quiet, the wind stops blowing and my toes and fingers warm up.

It’s my favorite moment of the season, finding myself alone out here on the snowy acres my family has kept for almost a hundred years alongside a man I have known since we were children, searching for a little piece of our world we can bring inside and give a new life.




I remember every Christmas tree we’ve had together. I remember the first year’s drive out into the east pasture with a pickup and a small puppy. I remember how my new husband drug it up the hill with a rope. I remember the sun going down and the tires spinning as we backed up off the hill and got stuck.

I remember the puppy puke and the laughter and thinking about the long, dark walk home.

I remember getting unstuck and falling in love again as we pulled that oversized tree through the door of our tiny house and found a spot for it. I remember how it smelled.

Fast forward to the second Christmas spent tucked between mountains in eastern Montana, so far away from the familiar but together in a small apartment on the edge of town. There was no extra money that year and no Christmas tree, just a pretty centerpiece sitting on our table as a reminder of the season before we packed up and headed toward home for the holiday.

The third tree was purchased in the dark in a parking lot in a town a little closer to home and brought back to a house we were tearing apart and putting back together, the first house we purchased together. The tree had long pine needles and it didn’t smell like cedar or anything really. There was a fight about candy canes and tinsel and I cried while I put up the lights. I was unhappy, I think…or lonesome or out of place and something about that tree reminded me. There was no tree in that house the next year and after that I vowed I would never cry over Christmas again.

And I never did. We pointed our car north toward the ranch and moved back into that little house where we brought our first cedar tree in from the cold and promised one another that each Christmas we would do the same, no matter what.

We put lights on one more cedar in that little house while we planned for our future. We bundled up against the elements and fulfilled our promise to one another, speaking quietly into the hills that hold us all so close together.

I want to stand on top of those hills and scream that I take none of this for granted.

I want to open my arms and praise this life and the family who helped build it.

I want to say it out loud as if saying it will protect me from all there is that could lift this feeling of peace from my heart and set it adrift.

But for today, for this Christmas season, I will hold that feeling close. I will sit beneathe the cedar tree standing ten feet tall under the roof of our new forever home, its branches heavy with bulbs and lights and Christmas spirit, and I will breathe in its scent be grateful for today, for this life while I’m here.

Because we are not promised anything on this earth but a chance.

And I have been given so many gifts.

An inflatable Christmas miracle.

winter

Well folks, the countdown to Christmas is on and I have to say my Christmas spirit has been looking a little less like Santas and snowflakes and snowmen and a little more like procrastination.

I have approximately ten days before Chris Kringle comes down my fake chimney and I haven’t so much as hung a stocking.

I had the best of intentions last weekend. I swept up the floor, moved the remnants of the tiling project out of the way, cleared the table of the leftover Thanksgiving decorative gourds and had a long talk with my wild cat about leaving the Christmas tree alone or else.

I even had the husband bring in the three boxes of Tupperware totes filled with all of my holiday cheer.

I was ready for a tree. I was ready for the lights. I was ready for Christmas to throw up all over this house.

I was ready to put the pug in the Santa Suit.

I even unwrapped a decorative dish.

And then I got distracted by a holiday prank that has been years in the making. And I’m telling you that it may go down as the only way to properly celebrate the holiday.

I’m not sure my mother would agree.

Ok, so here’s the deal. My mother is the Christmas queen. We’ve talked about this before. She decks the halls with boughs of holly, beautiful wreathes, hand-made wooden cowboy Santas,twinkling white lights, matching Christmas bulbs, beaded garland and a tree that stands upright, symmetrical and perfect in the corner of a family room glowing in the light of the subtle cinnamon candles flickering and highlighting the decor neatly placed on every surface.

My mother loves Christmas indeed. But it’s her own kind of Christmas. It’s a Christmas that blends in nicely with the season surrounding her outside. It’s kind of like how she only takes one bite of a fun-sized Snickers bar and wraps the other half back up and puts it in the fridge for later.

The woman has the self-control necessary to understand when enough is just perfect enough. She’s classy and soft and graceful and delicate and beautiful and she likes her Christmases that way.

Visit her house on the holidays and you will find fudge cut in perfectly bite sized squares on a simple red platter.

You will see white lights wrapped neatly along the cedar rail fence outside.

You will see mini pine trees lining her walkway and a wreathe on the door. You will hear Mannheim Steamroller music coming from within.

You will see and smell and taste all of these things and it will feel like Christmas. My mother’s Christmas.

And there won’t be an inflatable Santa in sight.

Because for as much love as my mother has for her holiday, she has an equal amount of passionate hate for Christmas decorations with faces that blow up and glow and wave and eclipse the perfectly lit and perfectly beautiful house behind them.

I mean, the woman can’t drive by an adorable puffy, air-filled Frosty without the uncontrollable urge to smack the thing across the face.

Or pop it with her keys.

Or shoot it with her nonexistent B.B. Gun.

Photo courtesy of karlfrankowski on Flickr, because I’m too busy dealing with my mother’s reaction to inflatables to take my own photo.

Seriously. Once we were strolling along a street in a quaint and peaceful small town, admiring the lights and feeling warm and fuzzy about the season and we came across a giant snow globe blowing air and styrofoam over an inflatable baby Jesus sleeping peacefully inside and I had to hold the woman back.

Her hatred is palpable and hilarious and a constant topic of holiday dinnertime discussion.

So as her loving family who have endured years of helping our dear mother trim the immaculate tree of her dreams while being denied tinsel, colored lights, battery operated ornaments and the Chipmunks Christmas album, we decided it was time to rebel.

But don’t blame me. No, don’t you dare. I’ve had the idea, but never the guts to put in place. Blame my Little Big Sister and her prankster husband. Blame their trip to the big town and the adorable, inflatable and giant cow wearing a Santa hat sitting next to the adorable, inflatable and giant pig wearing a Santa hat they found in one of those big box stores.

It had to be done.

And so it was. On December, 8  2012 the four of us put a plan into place that would finally give the inflatables a chance and leave my mother helpless to stop it.

Step 1: Get mom out of the house. Tell her you’re making chicken noodle soup. Tell her Big Little Sister, her husband and Little Man will be there. Tell her it will be fun.

Step 2: Distract the woman with wine and cheese and food and the grandkid.

Step 3: Make up a story about how the guys have to go out to the quonset to get the rest of your Big Little Sister’s Christmas decorations, a task that anyone who has ever seen the quonset knows could take up to one to thirty-seven hours, depending on the location of the desired item in the towering pile of junk that’s accumulated in there over the years.

Step 4: Try to keep a straight face as the boys put on their winter gear and head to your mother’s house to place that inflatable, adorable and  giant cow wearing a Santa hat next to the adorable, inflatable and giant pig wearing a Santa hat on the roof of your mother’s house.

Step 5: Try to keep a straight face as the boys return, say it’s time to go and your Big Little Sister makes up an excuse to stop over at her mother’s house on the way out so that she might catch a glimpse of her reaction to this prank.

Step 6: Wait until she leaves the driveway to follow them out so that you might catch it too.

Step 7: Laugh your ass off as you witness your Christmas Queen mother get out of the pickup, put her fists in the air and yell to the heaven’s “Whhyyy?! Whyyyyy?! Wwwhhhyyyyyy!?” before she turns toward your husband and brother-in-law and runs after them with those fists.

Step 8: Bwwwaahahahahahaha!

Inflatable prank

photo courtesy of Pops’ camera phone…

Step 9: Make no offer to remove them (and hide all the guns).

Hmm. Perhaps I have a little holiday spirit in me this year after all, but I guess that will happen when you witness a Christmas miracle.

Happy holidays. I hope your Christmas is shaping up to be exactly how you like, inflatable or no-inflatables.

But I hope there’s inflatables.

And a pug in a Santa suit.

A Very Veeder Christmas

A very merry first day back to work after Christmas to you all. I hope you all had a lovely time working on polishing off those sugar cookies and have packed a turkey sandwich, a leftover noodle salad, a piece of prime rib, some chocolate kisses, peanut brittle and maybe a holiday orange or two to get you through a full day away from the kitchen.

We celebrated in Veeder style out here at the ranch beginning with mimosa and husband’s famous caramel rolls in the morning and ending with our first attempt at homemade pie for dessert.

Yup, I (helped) make this

And so I would like to present to you some of the highlights of our big day in my 2nd Annual Very Veeder Christmas Re-cap.  It must be done. Because, as always, it was a holiday to remember at the ranch, filled to the brim with traditions that have warmed our souls and lifted our spirits year after year…

Traditions like the holiday themed cheeseball:

I know it's hard to believe he's edible considering how absolutely life-like he is, but it's true. And he was delicious.

The “quick, take a picture of the cat under the tree with the presents isn’t that so cuuutteee oh my gaawwdddd” photo:

The beautiful tree:

The forced, awkward holiday photo shoot, under the direction of yours truly…which never works when she who is to be directed is my annoying, shutter happy little sister:

Let's do this people...

I hope that wasn’t as painful for you as it was for me.

Let’s cleanse our pallets now with an explosion of cute…


And one of our newest and most favorite traditions yet: watching Little Man take in the holiday while Pops follows him around helping him open presents, pry into the fourteen layers of plastic packaging then disappear in a full out investigative search in the garage for the appropriate sized batteries, assemble the toys and proceed with his instructional session with the one-year-old on how to scootch a toy truck along the floor while making “vrroommminnng” noises as the rest of the family watches in anticipation of Little Man following suit…

It must be a grandpa thing.

Awww. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without adorable little children playing at your feet and… well…the annual presentation of the pug in his Santa suit…

Load him up Cowboy

Don't look at me like that...this is your Christmas duty...

Ta Da!

Nothing spreads holiday cheer like the glare of hatred coming from the one-eyed pug who refuses to move on account of the outfit.

I’m not positive, but I think might be the only one in our family who finds this type of pet humiliation utterly hilarious….

bwahahahahaaa…(tap, tap, is this thing on?)

Yes, it was a holiday to remember at our house filled with love and laughter, snuggles and eating, just the right amount of humiliation and maybe one Christmas cookie dough fight. But in all of the familiarity of the season, there are some traditions that just couldn’t be fulfilled, and this year it was snow.

Ah well, I don’t hear anyone complaining really, considering last year at this time we were trudging our way through snow drifts up over our heads to get down the road to Mom’s and Pop’s for Christmas morning.

But the lack of snow isn’t the only thing that’s changed around here since we celebrated Christmas 2010…

What a difference a year makes!

Cheers to a wonderful new one ahead, filled with beautiful memories and at least one less than embarrassing photo to match.

Or, you know, you could just go with it…

Momma’s Mouth Watering Fudge-A Christmas Gift

The Merriest Christmas to all of you. I hope you’re reading this and looking forward to a weekend filled with friends and family and laughter and delicious food. To honor your friendship and support I am giving you a gift that has been enjoyed by many families around the countryside here Christmas after Christmas, courtesy of my Momma. You remember her? My Momma, the woman who has Santa Clause’s cell phone number on speed dial and continues to make Christmas the most magical time of the year. Every year.

There she is, buried under presents and squished between a couple other holly, jolly family members...

And one of the ways she does this is by whipping up this recipe and distributing it in fancy little green and red containers adorned with bows to every person who has touched her family’s life or made her laugh or brought her a bottle of wine at the perfect moment a bottle of wine was necessary throughout the year.

Men drool over this. Women hide it in places their families won’t find it. Kids sneak pieces of this heartfelt delicacy while their parent’s have their backs turned. It’s a little bit of heaven in your mouth.

It’s my momma’s fudge..and I’m going to give you the recipe.  A recipe that is sure to put you on the top of the “Nice” list year after year.

Make this and even the family members who’ve disowned you will be knocking at your door, apologizing for their wrong doing with a bottle of champaign begging you to forgive them…and please, can I have a piece of that fudge.

It’s that easy.

Really.

I can even make  it…all by myself!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 12 oz package milk chocolate chips
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 pound of butter (No worries, I’ll post my Momma’s instructional aerobic video after Christmas)
  • 1 can evaporated milk

Got it?

Ok, onward.

  • Butter an 8×12 baking dish
  • Bring sugar and evaporated milk to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to stir and boil for 7 minutes.
  • Remove pot from heat and stir chocolate chips, vanilla and butter.

  • Stir until smooth and pour into the buttered baking dish
  • Refrigerate until set
  • Ask your hubby or the woman in your life with incredible strength to help you cut the fudge into squares
  • Serve up on a cute platter and stand back and smile as you experience that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with spreading holiday cheer.


If you’re looking for me and this fudge, we are more than likely shamefully hiding out somewhere.

Merry Christmas friends. Much love from our house to yours!