Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tamale Making 2014

Almost immediately after my parents left I decided I absolutely had to have homemade tamales. I've made them a couple of times before and it's a LOT of work! I wish I'd decided to make them while they were still here.  

Cooking/shredding the meat and making the masa is pretty much a day's work. Spreading the masa and rolling the tamales really needs to happen on the second day if you want to walk upright to bed (vs. crawl) . That's the way it is for me, anyway. I'm sure there are plenty of people who can do it all in one day but not me. When I grew up tamale making happened at my Grandmother's (we grandkids call her "Mom") house and there were usually 6-8 people around the table working together. Fortunately, I was able to enlist Dave's help this year. I spread the masa and he filled, rolled, and tied them. Solana actually spread a few, too, but then decided she had better things to do. She did about 3, I think. Maybe next year she'll do a whole half dozen :-)

We made about 11 dozen of mostly pork and also some bean/jalapeno tamales. They came out pretty good but I think I overcooked them just a bit.

I love tamales! They're especially good with a nice big guacamole salad and maybe some refried beans with Spanish rice. Yum! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Grammy and Grampy Visit!

We were supposed to travel to Texas for Christmas but we decided at the last minute to stay in Ohio. Grammy and Grampy decided to visit us! We had a lovely visit and here are some of the highlights:

We're all dressed up and heading out to dinner! Unfortunately, I had to set up the camera on the counter, which isn't high enough, so the picture is sort of looking up all our noses. :-)

Dave and the girls always put out cookies and then read the Night Before Christmas. 


We went to the zoo one day. It.was.cold.But it was nice to get out of the house for a bit. It wasn't so bad after we had been walking around, either. The only bad part was eating lunch outside as soon as we got there. Maybe we should have packed hot soup instead of sandwiches…
My parents were so cold! They're not used to the Ohio cold weather. I sewed them some fleece pajama bottoms and I think they loved them!
 Grammy reading to the girls.

We spent a lot of time hanging around the house. There's not too much else to do in such cold weather. I was worried that my parents might be too bored but I think they enjoyed the relaxation. We had time for a few selfies, at least.

More relaxation at home. Grampy even dozed on the couch a few times!
 Cooking with my mom. We made my favorite soup, Tomato, Kale, and Barley. And after all the healthy vegetarian meals, my Dad even said he slept better at night!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Gingerbread Houses!

I wanted to try something new this year - homemade gingerbread houses! I was a little nervous but did my research and picked out a gingerbread house recipe and template from the web. The only problem is that I'm now writing this blog post 6 months later and realize that I didn't save the recipe! Woe is me! I have no idea which one I picked and I know that I picked the dough, icing, and templates all from different websites. LOL! Ahhhh! Ah well. Holiday craziness strikes again! 

My friend, Donna, came over to help us build them. She and Solana worked on one house while Chloe and I worked on another. Our competitive spirits kicked in and we decided to make it a contest with Daddy voting on the best house when he arrived home. It was all very exciting.
We all worked hard and loaded down those houses with as much fancy candy as possible. A few pieces didn't quite make it onto the houses and ended up in little mouths, instead...

Donna and Solana made the house with the brick work. That won it for them. 
We'll have a re-match next year. :-)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Woodland Lights 2013

We seem to have a lot of family holiday traditions. Apple picking, pumpkin patch, cookies for Santa… It's pretty cool. I hope all these traditions give the girls warm cozy feelings inside and that they will remember our traditions fondly. It makes blogging a little difficult, though, since I just write about the same stuff every year! But it will be fun to look back and see how the girls have changed/grown since our last adventure! Here are our pictures from last year! 2012 Woodland Lights