things that make me go hmm... #5

This is a follow-up to Mom's recent guest post on my blog, so if you haven't read that yet, please start there.

When she told me over the phone that she had written a new guest post, I thought that was awesome. She sent it to me in the mail with a couple of pictures, so I was excited when it came and opened it right away to read it... and after reading (and digesting for a moment), I decided almost immediately I needed to post a response, so here it is:

I had no idea that I didn't believe in Santa until I read Mom's blog post. Seriously! My brother was sitting across the room when I read it, and I looked at him confused. It went something like this...
Me: Did you remember that we grew up not believing in Santa and Mom telling us he was make-believe?

Brother: Kind of...

Me: Really?

Brother: Yeah.

Me: Hmm... I didn't believe in Santa?

How is it possible I didn't know/realize this? So, I thought about it some more.

I don't really remember not believing in Santa.

On the other hand, I don't really remember believing in him, either.

I do remember seeing Santa at the community center and doing normal kid things... I told mom that we have a picture of a family friend holding me near Santa at one of these events and that I remember being told that I was scared and didn't want to sit on his lap. Perhaps because I thought he was make-believe and didn't want to sit on the strange man's lap? ... Well, that's plausible.

I also remember, as she said, that we did have our presents under the tree before Christmas. We usually opened one at home on Christmas eve and the rest on Christmas day.

But, "Santa" did put stuff in our stockings on Christmas eve... though sometimes he had forgotten until we said something to Mom on Christmas morning, so "he came back" and did it when we went upstairs to do something. Again, though, I don't remember ever really thinking it was Santa who did that. I do, however, remember joking about it... "Moooommm... Santa didn't fill our stockings, yet!" (snicker, snicker). I also remember that we were always very pleasant, not at all sarcastic children. (ha ha)

But I digress... back to the topic at hand....

The story about Grandma hearing Santa wasn't real and being so upset is not one I remember, so I'm guessing no one ever told me. I find this interesting that she questioned her faith over this, because Grandma was the most faithful person I've ever met. But, I do remember Mom having the focus of the holiday in mind, often saying "Jesus is the reason for the season."

I guess the bottom line here is: I hadn't really thought about it before, so apparently I didn't notice one way or another. None of the normal kid stuff seems to be missing from my memory, and Santa was still around at events, but he isn't a huge focus in my memories since I thought he was make-believe, anyway. And, I lived to tell the story, so I guess it didn't ruin me for life. :)

Based on the comments on Mom's post, a bunch of my cousins were told the same thing by their parents (mom's siblings) - and others were not. Grandma's experience sure had an impact on future generations, I guess! I wonder if the cousins remember this better than I do... and I wonder what their doing with their kids? Well, I guess we'll have something to talk about Christmas eve...

On the bright side, maybe this is why I don't have that traumatic memory so many others do when they hear for the first time that Santa may not be real.

Do you have that traumatic memory? What happened?

More follow-up to come on other points in Mom's post soon...


guest post from mom! -- Growing up with Santa? And other Christmas memories.

Mom was so popular last time she guest posted on my blog that she surprised me with another one! I'm planning to do a response to this in a couple of days. :) I hope the picture quality is OK... if anyone else is interested in guest posting with their Christmas memories, let me know!

When my children were old enough to get presents and understand Santa, my decision of what to tell them was made years earlier. We tend to believe what we learn as children and I remember my Mom telling us that when she was little, her parents had her believe in Santa. When she found out that Santa did not exist, she was so disappointed that she began to wonder... if Santa doesn't exist, then maybe the other story about Jesus being born in Bethlehem and being the Savior of the world wasn't true either. She did not want her own children to question the birth of Christ, so – no Santa for us.

Did I mind? No.

Our presents were up under the Christmas tree ahead of time and many fun times were made when we would shake, rattle, and roll our gifts trying to figure out what we were getting. I remember one year I got a baton for Christmas, and wrapped, it looked like a baton. I twirled this wrapped baton around before Christmas and my uncle Leslie, who was living with us at the time, said to me “maybe that is not a baton, but something else.” I remember looking at him and thinking, “Yeah... right...” :)

One Christmas when this backfired on my brother, being the hunter he still is today, was when he wanted a BB gun so badly for Christmas. Under the tree (ahead of time, as usual) was a present wrapped up looking just like a BB gun. My brother walked around the house pretending to shoot everything. Unbeknownst to him, our Dad had cut out a shape from a board and had Mom wrap it up for him. Come that magic hour on Christmas eve at our house when we all opened presents when we got home from church... the look on my brother's face when he opened a gun-shaped board – oh my! But then Dad told him to go in the basement to find his real present. Of course, a brand new BB gun was waiting for him. I think the story of the barn windows being shot out will wait for another day...

We all laugh and tease my brother, too, about the time he was about 9 or 10 and he went out into the woods to cut down our Christmas tree by himself. He dragged it all the way home and was quite happy with it. We sisters thought it was a rather ugly cedar tree, but after much trimming so it would fit in the corner, Mom said we had to use it. That was one of many Charlie Brown trees from the woods. He is a picture of one of our Christmas trees from my childhood:

So, this leads to “Did my children believe in Santa?” I followed my Mom's beliefs and didn't want my kids to wonder how much I was telling them about Christmas was true, so the answer is no. Probably a mixed message, because I did write “from Santa” on some of the gifts, but also at the same time said he was make-believe. Presents were under the tree ahead of time and the kids got to guess what they were, just like me and my siblings did. Although, they tell me in recent years that when their dad and I were out milking cows, sometimes they did a little more than guess... my kids wouldn't peek would they??? (Editors note: more to come on that subject).

Glenn and I took our kids out to the woods to cut our Christmas trees some years, too. We also went to Burg's farm in the valley and would cut down a tree from their lot for one or two dollars. We also had our share of Charlie Brown trees! In later years, when I would buy one at the lot in town, Glenn always complained that I picked out the most crooked tree possible, and so we eventually moved on to the artificial tree.

Here is a pic of my family around our Christmas tree one year:

I think, like in any other child-raising decision, the parents have the right to make the decisions – and I'm curious about your feedback?? Did you believe in Santa? Do your kids?

Merry Christmas to all from our household to yours!


thanksgiving salad

I love Thanksgiving because it means we get to spend time with our family, of course, but also because the food is GREAT because we have some pretty awesome cooks in the family. For the last couple of years, I've offered to bring salads. I looked back, and I don't think I posted about the one I made last year, but it was pretty good. This year, though, the recipe I used was awesome, so I wanted to share!

I didn't really change much, so I'm linking to it here - it was Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing and I found it on allrecipes.com (shocking, I know... I find tons of stuff, there).

If you're looking for a great salad recipe, I highly recommend this one. I doubled the recipe and used two bags of romaine lettuce mix instead of buying heads of romaine. And I didn't quite use all of the cheese. I had leftover dressing because there was too much for the amount of lettuce,  but that's OK because it's great to use later on a different salad!

Give it a try!

What did you make/bring for your Thanksgiving?

more eggs

So, over the last few days, there's been some new activity (thanks, Nel - haha!) on an old post that Mom did as a guest post about Home Comfort Foods. In that post, Mom shared a couple of egg dishes she grew up on and that I, subsequently, grew up on. And still make sometimes as an adult.

In the spirit of home foods and to follow-up on the flurry of activity and comments on that other post, I thought I'd share another egg dish I grew up on. As you probably know, I grew up on a farm and so when Mom went to work during the day, we stayed home with Dad on the farm. One of our regular breakfasts that he made for us was Eggs and Crackers. Apparently this is something that Grandma K. made when he was growing up.

This morning, we had this for breakfast - I sauteed some onions in butter, and then poured in some beaten eggs (with about 1 Tbsp. of milk). When it was about half done, I added some coarsely crushed saltine crackers and folded it in as we finished the eggs. Salt and pepper. It was delicious, with some toast and the apple butter my brother made this fall. Mmm....

You might be saying "crackers in eggs??" And you might be giving me a virtual "weirdo" look. But, it's good.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

What are the foods you remember most from growing up that you still make today?