Monday, December 17, 2012

Arends Family Christmas...Part 1

Friday morning at the break of dawn we headed out for Chicago to our annual Arends family Christmas. It used to be a Christmas Eve event when I was young but over the years the date changed to meet the changing ages of us, our children and now our grandchildren. The venue then was my parents home. As my sibs got married each would take turns hosting it at their home. I remember having it at our  tiny apartment when Jack was in college and our newborn son was still in the NICU as a preemie.  After moving to Ohio we weren't able to make it home for Christmas until my boys were in high school and even then it usually was just me and my two younger sons because the older boys played varsity b-ball and heaven forbid that they would miss practice or games.  Over the years we have been able to make the get together since it's not done on Christmas Eve. Many times I would have my whole gang there, other times maybe just a couple of them could attend. This year it was just Jack and I and we had a good time seeing everyone and spending time with my Mom.  We are blessed to still have her here, and healthy.  I call her the family magnet...she draws all of together and keeps our compass pointing the direction of unity and love. Friday Mom and I went over to get a few items from the store and met this guy:
That started the weekend off!  Then we came home so I could have a tutorial on my Sister's outdoor oven she made herself.  She had some help from my Brother Greg and her son Bill and of course Mom!
 The bread goes in there after the temp is just right...
On goes the door (with peep hole!).
TADA! Delish finished product!  So good! We also made pizzas but somehow I forgot to click a pic...I must have been too busy..hehehe!

Saturday afternoon we dressed up for party with family. I thought Mom looked smashing standing by her tree.
My Niece Katie was hosting this year.  She and her hubby just bought a beautiful new home with a lovely, big kitchen. Perfect place for buffet line!
We started out with h'orderves and moved into lasagna, salad and garlic bread.  We wanted to keep it simple.
Simple until the desserts and cookies for the cookie exchange showed up! My other Niece made a wonderful hot chocolate bar also that was simply too good to be true. Yummo!
With everyone fed, my Niece's husband (Eric) sat all the kiddies down for a Christmas story. They loved it. Then a surprise:
Santa! I know him! He made his entrance and I need to cut this post short and continue with the saga tomorrow....too many pics for one day!


Munir said...

Your mom indeed looks smashing:) against the tree. The both of you look very nice with the big guy.
One of our neighbors used to dress up as Santa until he retired and moved to Florida. We still miss him even though our kids are all grown up.
The cookies look yummy,

Cindy said...

How nice!! I was just getting into it, but will stay tuned for Part 2!!

Julia said...

Yaya, you really know how to have fun. The outdoor oven looks so interesting. I bet that the food that comes out of there is special.

Fancy you and your mother running into such a handsome Santa.

My, would you look at all the food and you call that keeping it simple? I bet that it was the yummiest ever and yes, you are so very fortunate to have your mom still with you and she looks like a million dollars, well even better than that.

I love this quiet time to listen to a Christmas story with all the kids gathered around the story teller. That is so nice.

I wis you a beautiful Christmas.

Julia said...

I wish you a beautiful Christmas.

Stacy Crawford said...

That's where you get the food spread from...

How fun.

acorn hollow said...

what great genes you have! Your mom looks wonderful. I love oven I want to quit my job a bake bread but since that is not going to happen I will have to be happy with the few breads I do bake.

Kim said...

I love you calling your Mom the family magnet. Very sweet. And yes, she does look fabulous by that tree.

Cheltz said...

I'd love to have that outdoor oven! Your Mom looks great!

Darlene said...

Oh Kathy, it was so good to read your post tonight. I have been baking again all day. Darn! I wish I could send you some of my goodies, but by the time they reached Ohio, I'm afraid they would be pretty stale. Maybe after the first of the year I could try to send you something yummy.

I really loved reading about your family amd the get togethers you have experienced over the years. I am so glad that you went to your Mom's this last weekend, even if only you and Jack could go. It was nice that so many of you were able to get together at Katies. I do envy her big kitchen. It's just a great place for entertaining.

All of those cookies looked so yummy. My kitchen is small, but we put a work table in the middle of it anyway, and I don't know how we got along so many years without it. I almost always serve buffet now. It is so much easier for everyone. I do it even if there are just four of us for dinner. I use it for everything now and can't imagine how I could go back to doing everything on my counter tops.

I just can't imagine your sister making an outdoor oven. I can't even imagine baking anything in one. It looks like is is a great success though. That bread looks very good. I am going to bake four loaves of oatmeal bread to take with us(among a lot of other things) to Sue's this year. Our poor freezer(and it is a large one) is jam- packed full. I don't know how I am going to get another thing in there. Today I baked four single layers of my choco brownie cake, and four layers of my carrot pianapple cake and I am really tired tonight. I did it all in one bowl and I got so tired washing that sucker out so many times. I also had to use the same two cake tins for all eight, so it seemed like I was continually washing them out and preparing them. I think I will be busy every day before we leave. I have so many friends locally that I have to bake something for.

Do you know that none of my girls bake at all!!! I wish they would all bake for me. My taste buds are mostly gone and so is my sense of smell. I only have taste buds on the bottom of my tongue so don't taste much except for salt and sugar. All of my blood tests show I am low in sodium. I hate to eat salt because it hurts my tongue. I do love sweets though. Maybe because I can actually taste them.

I really loved the picture of you and your mom with the good looking Santa. I'm glad you had your picture taken with him. You are so good at taking pictures every where you go and of everything for that matter. I love all of your pictures and wish we could have a few. I keep forgetting to have Dick take pictures of all my baking, and then it is even harder to get them transferred to my post. Maybe some day I'll learn.

This is getting pretty rambling and disjointed so I'd just better sign off.

Kay G. said...

Your Mom does look great!
And it sounds like a good time was had by all!
Wishing you peace and happiness this Christmas.

Life 101 said...

Dang, bread cooked in an outdoor oven. What could be better than that?
Beautiful pics.

Donna said...

The pic with you and your mom is wonderful. I'm glad to see her looking so good! Midge's oven is! I can smell it from here. I bet it was fantastic food from it. (Love California Pizza Kit.) All the party food looked amazing too. And that Jack! A Kindle Fire 2! Can't wait to see it and see how it compares to an I-pad.

Sue said...

Your mom looks wonderful. And so does that food!


PS. I want to amend my mom's statement to say that I do know how to bake, I just don't like to! ;)