Have you ever looked forward to a great holiday get-together only to have some of your expectations dashed? That happened to me this year. Nobody's fault. It just happened.
Let's begin with the positive. My son from Rockford, Illinois, Kevin, arrived on Wednesday afternoon with his three sons. The weather, which has been unseasonably cold, moderated to normal with high temps in the upper 50s. That's a good thing. On Thanksgiving day, I had the whole family together for the first time in a long while. Dinner went off without a hitch thanks to my youngest son, Brendan, who helped in the kitchen with some of the prep work.
I refuse to go anywhere on Black Friday, so that day was spent watching football games. It was fun cheering for our favorite teams even when they occasionally didn't match. LOL. The kids had brought their PlayStation and spent much of the day in the bonus room playing games and generally being on their best behavior.
Now for the downsides. I'm one of those people who always thinks guests will eat more than they do. So, this year I decided to curb my instincts and be sensible. My husband, oldest son, and I really don't care for turkey, so I bought ham for a change. A nice, boneless, 6 pound ham. I also decided to go rogue and make roasted potatoes with garlic and olive oil. Rockford son made corn with a twist--finely chopped red onion, garlic, and butter all done in a slow cooker. Everyone loved it and it's now on my list of veggies. I stuck to tradition with green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and rolls. And of course, pumpkin pie--my favorite. With 12 people for dinner, I figured I'd need two. Wrong! Nobody ate any pie until late in the afternoon. Plus, Kevin also brought a cherry/apple pie.
I totally underestimated on the ham. Apparently, I cooked it to perfection because the leftovers were slim and disappeared at lunch the next day. So much for that ham casserole on Saturday night. Neither the stuffing or roasted potatoes were much of a hit. I tossed a whole lot of stuffing into the garbage. (I never keep leftover stuffing. People get food poisoning from leftover stuffing more often than turkey.) The green bean casserole and cranberry sauce also had more left than I anticipated. Oh well. Add to that Brendan and his family were due for a second meal at my daughter-in-law's family celebration. We normally have the feast around five, but in order to see everyone, I shifted my dinner to one o'clock. My son's in-laws were serving theirs at six-thirty. To be honest, no one was all that hungry when I finally declared, "Dinner's ready." Except for the ham. They ate hearty on that.
Friday afternoon we were watching football when Kevin's weather alert went off on his cell phone. Rockford was under a Winter Storm Watch from 3 AM Sunday to 6 AM on Monday. Snow was predicted to accumulate anywhere from 4-6 inches with strong winds. He was planning on leaving Sunday morning. As the day and evening wore on, the Watch was upgraded to a Warning and the snow amounts to 8-12 inches. The winds also increased. This spells blizzard. So he had to leave for home on Saturday to beat the storm. I sent the remains of his cherry/apple pie and a whole pumpkin pie with him.
Saturday night I had no ham, no stuffing, no corn, and nothing much to make. We ordered in pizza.
Sunday I made soup and sandwiches. Long holiday weekends tend to confuse me as to what day of the week it is. It takes me a while to get my act back together. Unfortunately, this also includes my culinary skills which are limited to say the least.
And just to add to the downside, we woke up Monday morning to find the downstairs furnace had crapped out. Inside temp was 64, outside 34. Called a repairman who inspected the thing and declared it dead. Needed a new one immediately. Luckily, they were able to deliver and can now watch TV without wearing two hoodies, gloves, and a stocking cap. I guess it was just part of the holiday hangover.
However, I really don't have much to complain about. In spite of the pitfalls, I enjoyed seeing my family and had fun. Kevin will be back for New Years and the New Year's Eve dinner will be at a local Italian restaurant with him, other family members, and close friends.
So here's hoping you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family, too. Have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year.
Oh, and before I forget, book #3 of the Snoop Group series, A Taste of Death, was released in all formats on November 26th. It's available from www.thewildrosepress.com and over at amazon.com.
Here's a blurb and the cover.
Anne Jamieson and the rest of the Snoop Group are once again called into action when Fran Harrison, the former President of their writers' group, dies in front of dozens of witnesses during a luncheon. The death was no accident. Someone knew about the victim's severe peanut allergy. Now it's up to Anne and her friends to find a killer. But Fran was not a popular person and the list of suspects is long. Then Anne finds a second body. The more the women investigate, the more they put themselves in danger, and the killer will do anything to get away with murder.
Thanks for reading along and I'll see you next month.