Thursday, December 25, 2008

A New Tradition & Disaster Averted!

Some of the hundreds of finches that found their way to Grammy's backyard on Christmas Eve Day

Hey, where are you goin'?

Even though it was 75 degrees, with torrential tropical rain and high humidity, we really got into the Christmas spirit this year (this only works if you crank up the air conditioning and ignore how easy it is to break into a sweat).

Land of plenty

We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, much to Rich's chagrin, as he came from an early morning Christmas family. Unfortunately, when you present children with the option of opening presents on Christmas Eve, or on Christmas Day, they choose the earlier time every time. It also coordinates well with Brandi's family. They celebrate Christmas on Christmas Day. I'm just sayin'.

Some of James & Daniel's handmade ornaments

Christmas Eve Dinner is a tradition we inherited from the Swedes at the farm. They would nap in the afternoon, have a late dinner, and then Santa Claus would visit the children with his bag of gifts after midnight. We don't make it to the midnight hour -- Daniel and James could never have waited that long and Rich and I don't want to stay up that late-- but we maintain that Swedish celebration.

Our table with our good wedding china and Brandi's place cards

This year, we started a new tradition -- everyone was assigned a dish or more to cook. Actually, I tried to "assign" dishes to them, but the kids did a lot of trading, altering and bartering. It used to be that Grammy, Pappa and I would cook the dinner, but Pappa's gone and Grammy and I are old and tired. So, Daniel cooked my Aunt Eileen's BBQ beans, Brandi made her cheddar cheese green salad, James took over for Pappa and made the all-day-to-prepare giblet stuffing, Grammy made her favorite fresh cranberry salad, and pumpkin pie, I made the mustard sauce for the ham, and the sweet potato casserole, and Rich made a broccoli souffle with hollandaise sauce. We do the Honey Baked Ham thing.

A whole lota cookin' goin' on

James and Daniel working in tandem

Performing the intricate hip-hop-ballet of the Vlosky cooking brothers

The dashing younger brother

Older brother's commentary on younger brother's dressing

Rich'd rather be playing with Kellan than cooking... maybe that's what happened?

Mom at her house making cranberry salad

Me trying to smile at Rich after sweating in the kitchen.. or maybe I'm just sweating period

This year, the afternoon of Christmas Eve was probably the most entertaining precursor to our dinner ever! I was finished with my jobs at about 3:00 (including setting the table) and I spent the next few hours listening to the boys, mostly, run around in the kitchen chopping, blending and saute'ing and shouting questions at each other. The conversations went something like this:

Rich: "How do you turn this on? (referring to the blender).
Brandi: Presses the "on" button.

Rich: "What's a ring mold?"
No answer.
Rich: (Googles it on the internet) "Oh!"
Me: Laughing in the bedroom.
Rich: "Did you already know what one was?"
Me: (still laughing) "Yes, but you don't have to worry about finding one of those, just put it in a casserole dish."
Rich: "Do we have a casserole dish?.."
Me: More laughing.

James: "Mom, I think I made a mistake. I put red wine in the dressing instead of white wine."
Me: (thinking, ewww, doesn't sound good) "That's okay James it'll be fine."
Later -- turns out it was.

Rich: (looking at a watery, eggy, hollandaise sauce) "This doesn't look right."
Daniel: (wrinkling his nose) "I think we ought to throw it out."
Me: "Did you follow the directions?"
Rich: "I followed everything that the directions said to do, except we didn't have enough lemons."
Me: Pointing to the fruit bowl full of lemons.
Rich: "Well, what are they doing in there?"
Me: "It'll be alright once it sets."

Later... turns out it wasn't.

...After opening presents, I felt a little queasy and went to lay down on the bed....

James: "Dad, I think you killed Mom!"
Daniel: "You gave her Salmonella poisoning!"

Kellan really liked his dad's beans

I'm needling Rich, as my father would say, but Rich was so great he even cleaned the whole post-cooking-extravaganza kitchen! Wow. The kitchen stove is still soaking with cleaner -- I hope I don't have to buy a new stove top. But, if I do, it will have been worth it.

I can't believe they really got me this black (workout) powder!

Kellan finally has a real bat and ball to smack around!

There was only one slight glitch the morning after. Rich accidentally threw out all of my mustard sauce. I love my Aunt Lucy's mustard sauce. So, he volunteered to make some more for me (even though he can't stomach it). So, I went into the pantry to look for the sheet of hand scribbled family recipes that I've had for 25 years folded in the Family Farmer Cookbook, and they were gone! This triggered near hysteria, running around the kitchen, shaking of cookbooks, and rummaging through the garbage. Mom saved the day by bringing over her family recipes, that I was sure she "lost" the year before. So, I typed them all and they are posted in my * Google Documents (thank you Google).

Kellan looking for Nena's recipes?

* Again documents only appear to those with permission. If you would like to see them, write me, let me know your E-mail address and I'll put you on the list.


  1. Just found your blog.
    Merry Christmas :-)

  2. Merry Christmas to you too. Another Norwegian!


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