Another year comes to an end this week. 2015 will be history. I find it surprising how quickly each year passes - each one faster than the one prior. Some attribute this to getting older but I refuse to believe that!
With each year that comes to a close, there's a "look back". What happened this year? What happening or experience was the most interesting, the most satisfying, the most surprising, the saddest, the most joyous? I think about them and then, like a banker with a key to the vault, I commit them to memory where they reside. From there, I can choose this memory or that one to "withdraw" for reminiscing when the need or desire strikes.
My 2015 found me in a new job for the first time in thirteen years, welcoming our older son and his family for an Easter visit, and celebrating our younger son's wedding. Then there was the usual stuff - making soap, knitting, spending time with Mom and Daddy, gardening, reading, etc. that fills the normal days.
Endings lead to beginnings. With 2016 on the doorstep, I envision what it will hold. Will it bring opportunity for travel? Meeting new people? Learning new things?
Traditions carry over from the old to the new - the endings to the beginnings. They continue across thresholds.
I especially love traditions associated with holidays. Once, we were going to make it easy on Mom (who always cooked our holiday meals) and go out to eat. The boys let us know quickly that we didn't need to do that again! And, woe is me if we try to switch up the dishes being cooked and served for a holiday meal! A holiday meal without Broccoli-Cheese-Rice Casserole is indeed an unforgivable sin!
Christmas morning traditions in my family started where all traditions begin - way back when! As a child, Mom and Daddy lit the Christmas tree, turned on the Christmas music, got the coffee going, and THEN I was allowed downstairs to see what Santa Claus left us. Oh, how the anticipation grew as I waited for the call to come down those stairs! Being an only child, there wasn't a lot of the chaos that many households had on Christmas morning. My Christmas mornings were always very civil and relatively quiet. Present opening was followed by Christmas breakfast and grandparents. That morning tradition continued into my adult life with my own children. My parents arrived at our house before the crack of dawn because they didn't want to miss one precious second of the boys' Christmas morning.
Christmas mornings are different now that our boys have grown up and have families of their own. They live in other states and are making traditions of their own. I miss them more than I can explain at this special time of year. FaceTime helps but it's not the same as being in the crush of the holiday with them and their wives and children. I long for a Christmas where they could all come here for a wild celebration of the season and a holiday family portrait. Oh, wouldn't that be fun! Grandchildren's squeals and laughter. Yes, that would be great! With that said, we are looking forward to a visit from Taylor, Rachael, Landen, and Raleigh in a couple of weeks. This will be the very first time we've had grandchildren in the house for a holiday and we'll be repeating Christmas right down to the Christmas breakfast casserole! We are sooooo excited!
Speaking of traditions - Cheese Snappy Wafers - Mom has made these for as long as I can remember. She keeps count now just to see how many she turns out each year. In 2015 (so far), the total is over 5,000! She always makes them with the Rice Krispies and calls them Cheese Snappy Wafers. I remember when she left them out and rolled the baked Cheese Balls in powdered sugar or pressed a half of a pecan into the top. Doesn't matter which route you take - they're always addictive and yummy!
Cheese Snappy Wafers
2 c. Rice Krispies, 8 oz. Kraft Extra Sharp Cheese, 1 c. Margarine, not Butter, 2 c. All-Purpose Flour, 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper, 1/2 tsp. Salt. (Cayenne Pepper and Salt my be adjusted per taste)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly toast the Rice Krispies and set aside. (Be careful and don't let them burn!) Grate cheese. Cut margarine into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in grated cheese, pepper and salt. Add Rice Krispies. Mix with hands. Pinch off small pieces and roll into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Dip tines of a fork into flour and flatten each ball into wafer. Bake 15-18 minutes, depending on your oven. Remove from cookie sheet and place on platter to cool. Store in airtight container. Yields 165-185 small wafers. Recipe Note: These freeze well.
You see where the recipe calls for pinching off SMALL pieces?? Mom totally means that and will fire you / ban you from helping if you pinch off too much. She likes them small - about the size of a quarter or so.
Somethings are a "given" for each and every year. Knitting is one of them for me and I always believe some of the best gifts are handmade.
Recently, I finished three projects for Christmas gifts - two shawls for Mom and a cardigan for my youngest granddaughter.
This is the Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West and it is a super easy knit. In Mom's I followed the M1L and M1R. I'm knitting one for me and doing YOs for the increases. Liberty Wool, with it's changing colors, makes a great yarn for this pattern.
I also finished this one for Mom but can't for the life of me remember the name! I finished it way back in July and just blocked it in time for Christmas. It's a lovely shade of periwinkle which suits her coloring.
Baby things are so much fun to knit! This little cardigan was no exception. The Provence Baby Cardigan was a fun knit for Miss H, our youngest granddaughter. I knit the 12-18 month size and she has some growing room. I used Ultra Pima cotton so this little sweater can be worn almost year-round in Virginia.
Well, it's raining cats and dogs here. Our pond is full with the water almost touching the underside of the dock. Andy and I, along with many others everywhere, are going to the movies today to see Star Wars. It's not really my kind of movie but it's kind of like a have-to-see film. I remember the original one and the industry's special effects have come an amazingly long way.
So, on an intergalactic note - May the Force be with you! Thanks for reading!!