Thursday, December 29, 2011

Grandma's Fudge

This is me with my wonderful grandmother.  I love her so much and I will treasure this picture for the rest of my life.  It is a pretty good indicator of what I will look like in my eighties!


Just before Christmas, our family went to see her.  She is a remarkable lady--and she makes wonderful fudge.  She made a batch of fudge while we were there, so I grabbed my camera and followed along.  This post is mostly for me, my siblings, my cousins, and all of our children, but if you want to learn how to make Grandma's Fudge, here you go.

First you need the right pan.  Grandma told me she got this pan when she was a newly-wed--from a woman who had just purchased a whole new set.  I wonder if the new set lasted longer than the sixty+ years this one has been going!

2 Cups of Sugar


2 Tablespoons of Baking Cocoa ("One tablespoon of cocoa per cup of sugar.")


Mix thoroughly.


Add 1 Cup of Milk.  ("Oh, any kind of milk will do.  I always use skim milk because that's the only kind I buy.")


Now, move to the stove and set it on High.


Grab a kid to stir.  Next time, cut his hair before you let him out the door.


You'll need to stir constantly until it starts to boil.  


Then, turn down the heat to about 7.


And let it really boil away.  It will grow a lot so make sure your pot is big enough at the beginning.  It will need to boil for "6 or 7 or 8 minutes."


In the meantime, gather the last of your ingredients:  vanilla, butter, peanut butter and walnuts (optional).  Grandma likes this foil pan and reuses it until it falls apart and then gets out another just like it.  


My grandparents served a mission in 1989 to Corpus Christi, Texas.  They bought all of the Mexican Vanilla they could and brought it home as souvenir.  She thought she had run out a couple of years ago, but found this last bottle at the back of the cabinet over the refrigerator.  It is the best vanilla.


Toward the end, Grandma says to really stick with your fudge.  She says it's easy to get to doing other things and not realize how much time has passed.  You'll need to get a cup of water for this last part (DO NOT dump the water in your fudge!).

You'll be dropping little drops of fudge into your water.  This is too soft.  She let it boil a little longer.


Try again.


It is getting closer, but there should be no tails.  Here is a better picture of the little tails that we don't want.


When they form a nice ball, remove the fudge.  This all happened really fast and I was in the road with my camera so I didn't get a picture of the perfect ball.  Sorry.

Next, you'll put 1 Tablespoon of Butter ("a pat about the size you would get at a restaurant"), a splash of vanilla, and a scoop of peanut butter (I would guess it was about 3/4 Cup of Peanut Butter).  "I never measure this part," said Grandma as she plopped in a heaping spoonful of peanut butter.  After it is all whipped together, toss in your walnuts.


Poor it into the pan and give the spoon to the kids.  

I'm telling you, it is wonderful and super easy--and there are no fancy ingredients or tools so you can make it any time of the year!

Thank you, Grandma.  

Grandma Anderson's Fudge
2 Cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cocoa
--Mix thoroughly--
Add:
1 Cup Milk

Cook on High, stirring constantly until fudge boils.  Turn the heat down to medium-high and let boil rapidly for about 6 or 7 minutes.  Test in water 'til at soft ball stage and remove from heat.

Stir in:
3/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Butter
Walnuts

Poor into pan.  Let set-up and cut into small bites.  Enjoy!  (And you will!!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

Santa "found" the ring she got for last Christmas, but that had fallen into a meat case at the grocery store--it slipped between a crack and was gone forever.

A piggy bank (Lucky) so she doesn't have to keep her money in a jar with a slot cut in the lid.

Excitedly watching her siblings open presents.

That poor sick one on the couch made aprons for all of the girls and a draw-string bag for the boys.  My mom was the tutor as she worked and worked and worked on these sweet gifts.  I was so proud of her.

I didn't get a picture of all of them, but my dear mother helped all of my girls make gifts this year.  One of the quiet pity parties I've had for myself over the years is that, as a home schooling mom, I never get home made gifts from my kids--unless I help them make it!  It was so wonderful to open home made candles from the 3 year old, a decoupaged "love letter" box from the 6 year old, a painted and decoupaged tray from the 8 year old and an apron from my 10 year old.  I will always treasure these gifts.

The big boy drew her name for Christmas.  I was so proud of him when we went shopping for her because he carried this VERY pink sequined purse all over the store!  Brave.

A book!

Family coloring time in our new pajamas.   

After many years of asking and wishing and hoping, we finally got the kids a wii for Christmas.  Since a new one is coming out this year, we got a super steal.  We are so behind the times that the kids don't even care that it is nearly outdated!  We played a Christmas Story trick on them and pulled the gift out last.  We had warned them that it was going to be a small Christmas--just a couple of gifts each.  After they were all opened, they were so happy with the small gifts.  I will never forget their positive attitudes and thankful hearts.  What good children.  But when we spotted the semi-hidden box, even the super sick sweethearts were clapping their hands and squealing.  After their sweet responses to the small Christmas, then the incredulous response to the wii, my heart nearly burst.

Snow White

Most of the girls received a Hogwarts' Christmas from Grandma.

We went to my parent's house after church--about 4 pm.  The big kids were feeling a bit better and could participate in the gifting a little more.

All of the girls got a stuffed magical pet.  Here she is opening Fluffy, the three-headed hound.

Pumpkin Juice, in her hand.  (Mixed reviews.  Most thought it was good, but I didn't like it much.)

Hogwarts' cousins.

All decked out--complete with wand carved by her grandmother.

Despite the sickness, we had a wonderful Christmas.  I was asked to sing a song at church, one my Papa always sang.  I was so nervous, I could literally feel my dress moving from my heartbeat.  But, Joette was at the piano, so that helped a lot.  Justin got a wonderful gift from his boss which brought great relief to us both.  We are near our families again and our windows look out over the most beautiful scenery the Lord has to offer.  Our kids were sick, but not in a life-threatening way.  Our advent tradition was a joy each night of December as we read about and discussed the miraculous events surrounding the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

It was indeed, a Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Christmas to Remember

This was how much of Christmas was spent:


A stomach flu attacked on Christmas Eve and spoiled the party a bit.


But, they will never forget this Christmas!


It stinks to be sick on Christmas, but they were such good sports.  Luckily, the bug seems to be a twelve hour one and since Justin and I got it today, it should be gone from the house by tomorrow.

And it will be the last sickness of this year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Insights

A one-man band--created by herself. 

This pod, age six, called for my attention from the back of the car tonight.

"Mom?  The Wise Men each only brought one present to Jesus and He was grateful for what He got.  If Jesus can be thankful for His gifts, then I can be thankful for the gifts I get."

Oh, bless her heart.  Sweet profundity from such a small person.

I got the attention of all of my pods and repeated her insight; I wanted to make sure they all heard her.

Then, this one piped up.


"Yeah!  And THEY were TWO YEARS late!!"

I love being a mother to these precious and hilarious souls.

Lights Cruise

We live in a lake-y area.  (Thirty lakes within thirty miles.)  One of the largest lakes has a fleet of cruise ships.  They are really just great big house boats, but they are cool.  My three little girls and I went on a cruise in the fall when the trees were showing off.  Even though my husband and I grew up here and had heard about the Christmas Lights cruises, we had never been before.  This year, we decided to go.


It was a cold night and it was even colder on the water.  


There was a semi-heated cabin, though, so we survived.


Actually, we didn't just survive.  We had a great time.




There was a fabulous display . . .


And across the lake, there was a surprise!


Now, my kids all know about Santa.  They know that he has workers that play Santa during this very busy time of year, but that they bring messages back to the North Pole.  

But, guess what!  This was the real Santa.  They all know that it was because he KNEW THEIR NAMES!


It was a magical night and will be a new tradition for our family.


As I look back over the year of pictures, I discovered that I am not in very many pictures.  I have decided to make sure that there is a record of me being involved in my life!  So, yes, I was on the cruise, too.


Merry Christmas, friends.