Saturday, December 30, 2023

Winding Down

 2023 is winding down.

My family went to Whidbey Island for the week. 

I had lunch in Ballard with my cousins Dan and Kris and her partner Charlie. 

A new child was born to our family, another grand nephew, named Milo. He was born on my mother's 102nd birthday. They live near Boston. 

We had our last Friday breakfast of the year.

I confirmed some medical appointments for 2024 and filled out my new appointment calendar for January. I will continue the quest to find out why I am losing my mobility.

Gifts have been tried on, used, and/or put away. 

The turkey went into the soup pot yesterday and the turkey noodle soup will supply several evening meals. 

We finally took down the dining table this morning.

We will take our time undecorating because there is no need to hurry and it's hard work. Jake will come by sometime next week to help take down house lights and install Tom's new weather station on the roof. 

I made banana/cherry muffins this morning using some of the left over candied cherries. They are left over because I didn't make fruit cake this year. The muffins will be a little healthier. We tested one and the rest are going into the freezer. 

 I hope to lose some weight in the new year. Don't I always. The supply of chocolate we have stashed in the pantry won't help. Everything in moderation, even moderation. 

2023 has been an adventure, with too many medical appointments, but only one surgery for me this year! Tom had one too, cataract surgery. We took no trips, did spend a little time at both Rockaway and Whidbey, and a lot of time just being here at home. 

Now as the rain drip drips off the roof, I welcome a quiet winter in the Northwest. 

Happy New Year. May happiness be a part of each of your days. We can find it if we look for it. 

Monday, December 25, 2023

Christmas 2023


It was a good Christmas at the Reeder Homestead on Christmas Eve and at Jill's home for Christmas Day. 

Jan sampled the "snacks' in the afternoon. All of this food just appeared when Jan and the "kids" arrived.
Irene and I and sometimes others watched "Christmas on Sesame Street", our favorite since the grands were little, and even before that, when the "kids" were young. 
Jan caught up on our Christmas cards and letters. 
Jake and Isaac built LEGO race cars that Isaac brought. 
Jill did some chillin'

while Tom did some grillin'.
The table was set for our Christmas Eve candlelight dinner. 
Cooking was a group effort. I held it together and coped with the noise and business, giving over control of much, as my family created our Christmas feast. And then we ate, and ate, and talked, and shared and just enjoyed each other's company. 

Eventually it was time for clean up, and that was a group effort too. After I helped store the leftovers, I just sat and watched and listened. 

I don't know if everything got put where I usually put it, but it was close, and it doesn't matter. I am learning to let go. It's not always easy, but it is wonderful to be able to. 

With all of the clean up done, Jake and Isaac finished their LEGO projects. 

The rest of us enjoyed old favorites, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "How The Grinch  Stole Christmas".
And we almost forgot to eat cookies! But we did manage. 
The offspring departed about 9:00 and Jan and Tom and I settled down to some quiet visiting before bedtime.

Christmas morning we gathered at Jill's house to open stockings, eat a wonderful breakfast, and then spend a long time slowly opening gifts we had given each other. It was lovely. 

The kitties were pretty cute too. 

There was a lot more eating. Jill and Jan prepared some wonderful food. Jill in into charcuterie, and does it up well. We never got to the turkey left overs we had brought along, so we divided then up before we headed home. 

Now I have made it through the photos and the editing and the narrative and am ready to sign off.

And I think we might even be ready to consider eating a bit more. But just a little bit.

It was another great Christmas. We are all feeling very fortunate. 

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Fatigmand and Lefse

 We're winding down to the big day. Christmas is not far away.

It's quiet here today, as Tom and I put some finishing touches on a few things, but on Thursday the flour was flying. 

My mother was of German ancestry, but my dad came from Scandinavian stock. I don't know what special foods his mother made, but there must have been potato lefse, because he asked my mother to make it for him. She complained about getting flour all over the kitchen.

On Thursday afternoon Irene and Isaac were here to make fatigmand and lefse. Isaac brought his friend Shayla along to experience a little of what we do for Christmas. She is first generation Bosnian American.

Fatigmand  translates to "poor man's cake", and is basically fried dough flavored with cardomom and rolled in powdered sugar. 

The dough is very elastic and hard to roll out, since it keeps springing back.

The dough is cut into strips, then shorter pieces, and a slit is cut in it. The tail of the strip is pulled through the slit to make a knot. Then it is fried. 

Irene is an expert now. Shayla caught on quickly.

Isaac does the frying.

With the fatigmand done and sugared, it was time to make lefse. 
Rolling out the soft potatoey dough is tricky. It requires a lot of flour to keep it from sticking and has to be rolled very thin. I usually guarded that job for myself, but it was time to let others try. 

Isaac happily turned the job over to Shayla, and prepared some warm lefse to eat right then, with butter and cinnamon sugar. I hoovered. 
Irene will not relinquish her favorite job to any newcomer. She is the master of the lefse stick. 
Shayla wanted to try everything and she caught on well, with only one mess up. That happens to me too. 
Tom does the clean up. He was so fast that I hardly had time to show the mess, the flour all over the kitchen. You can see it all over his shirt though. 

We did a little sampling of our product before they left. It was all good. Another tradition carried on for another year.

Today Tom and I are enjoying sunshine and a little down time. The table is set for Christmas Eve dinner with the family. The turkey stuffing will be made this evening, and the turkey will go into the brine. The BBQ grill will be prepped for cooking and smoking  it tomorrow.

The food is all gathered, the assignments are given. The gifts are all wrapped. Santa  will come. With a lot of help I will once again find myself seated at the head of my family table, sharing a candlelight Christmas dinner with my loved ones. 

Peace and Joy be with you. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2023


 It may be the shortest day of daylight of the year, but it certainly wasn't the darkest as I went out to get the newspaper this morning. 

The weak winter sun has been working hard to burn through the fog but the sky is full of light as the blue peeks through.

Winter begins today, but even as it does, flowers bloom. It is never really the dead of winter here.

Happy Winter Solstice!

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Christmas Cookie Fest, 2023

 My whole family was here: my two "kids", Jill and Jake, and my two grandkids, Isaac and Irene, and this year for the first time, a girlfriend. Isaac's friend Shayla is very sweet, and participated as if she was a regular. Maybe she will be.

Grandma and Grandpa are getting older, and my kids are recognizing that, so they really stepped up to help. I actually got to sit and watch, and listen, much of the time.

During the baking, Jake was the keeper of the oven timing. He said his oven mitt needed eyes. Yes, there was silliness. 
Sugar cookies are decorated with sprinkles. Precision sprinkling. 
Tom tried a few. Irene spent a lot of time on her phone. Just home from college, she had a lot of catching up to do with her high school friends. 

Jill is great at running the show, and I am happy to let her do it now. 

There was some discussion about how could we make a Swedish design without yellow, and what did the Norway flag look like. Heritage, don't ya know. 

Before the sugar cookies were made, we had cut out and baked the gingerbread. Now it was time to decorate them with royal icing. 

I did a few until Jake was ready to take my place.

They started about 11:00 and worked through lunch time but I got by with feeding them popcorn and apple slices. They helped with the clean up.

It was a very successful Cookie Fest 2023. I was very happy to host it once again. Doing this at Grandma's house is still an essential. 

We'll keep it up as long as we can. 

Friday, December 15, 2023

Catching Up


I seem to have gotten way behind in posting and reading blogs. I'm sort of catching up. We have been having some great weather, and some lovely sunrises, from what little I can see of them , what with our trees and the neighbor's big houses.

I've had two medical appointments this week. On Monday I got a steroid injection in my spine. On Wednesday I saw my hip surgeon and reported that the injection did not have the desired effect.  Dr. Chen apologized, but I told him he was the bone doctor and my hip replacements were fine. He had done all he could do and he was dismissed. I'll pursue PT and just keep moving.

Today I got back outside and walked a little over a mile. I need to do that as often as I can. 

On Thursday we drove south to Chehalis, about an hour and a quarter away, to spend time with my sister Laurie. She fixed us a delicious lunch and we had a good time catching up, sharing family news (gossip?) and being together.

This morning we had our Friday breakfast, then we took Dede to do a little shopping. Grocery shopping was next, then after lunch we had a short shopping trip before going for our walk. Now it's already getting dark and I'm behind again. I 'll go work my Wordle and then get dinner started.

I have a busy weekend ahead of me.

I'll catch you later. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Field Trip

 Along with our friend Jan we continued the annual tradition of our Christmas field trip, now only to special places in Ballard. 

As you can see, the sun was shining and the sky was blue.

First stop was the Scandinavian Specialty Shop, where we shopped for special stuff. With our Nordic heritage we enjoy looking at all of the goods and goodies from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Jan buys a lot, we buy a little, and we all have fun looking. 

Gnomes are everywhere these days. 

The next stop was Larsen's Bakery, where you come to get your Kringle, don't ya know. We shopped for some goodies for our friend Dede, who at 96 has ended her field tripping days, and then bought pastry and coffee for us to have there. The Almond croissants are huge and amazing. I brought part of mine home. 

I felt like a true Scandinavian as I sat outside soaking up the sun while I waited for the others. 

Our final stop was Swanson's Nursery. The pots and plants and the greens in the wreaths and swags are always so pretty and so Northwest. 

Indoors and outdoors, there is plant beauty all around. 

I found a bench by the Koi pond, and then this little fellow found them too. Too bad we can't all experience the wonder that a small child does.  

We went inside to shop the Christmas decor and I forgot to take any more photos. We found a few treasures. 

It was already 2:00 by the time we finished here and since we still had bakery goodies in our tummies, we decided to postpone lunch and get out of town before the traffic heated up. When we got out to our neighborhood we stopped at a Subway shop and picked up sandwiches to take to our house for a late lunch and more visiting. 

It was a fun day, just what I needed.