Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Legacy Lives On!

Every Christmas Eve since I can remember my Dad baked a big ham for us to eat on Christmas Day.  My Dad is a great cook, meaning he spends lots of time laboring over his food.  We all marvel over the savory smells and the taste is better than anything I have ever tasted.  In fact we would moan on Christmas Eve because it would make everyone hungry.  I knew my Mom always bought an Esskay Silver Label Ham and my Dad used a spicy mustard, but I never took the time to learn more, until now.  Right before Thanksgiving I saw they had these special hams on sale and I had a coupon (one in recent paper too) plus $6 off my order.  I got a free 18 lb. turkey and a 9 lb. ham for $7.87.  Great deal!  I put the ham in the freezer and Monday took it out to thaw and called my dad for his recipe.  Let's just say my dad has a way with words and it isn't always pretty.  Honestly you should see my directions with arrows and then he was just giving me steps out of order, but it was all worth it last night as my family sat down for a delicious ham, fresh green beans from our summer garden and fresh mashed potatoes also from our garden.  My family awoke from napping they way I would on Christmas Day smelling a delicious ham cooking in the oven that would make your mouth water.  I was so proud of my meal that I sent my parents some ham and fresh baked cookies.   Thanks Dad may your ham recipe live on through our family and maybe even some others too.

Here is Joseph's Mouth Watering Ham Recipe:

1 Esskay Silver Label Ham
Apple cider vinegar
Gulden's Spicy Mustard
1 c. Brown Sugar + some for on top of ham (step 4)
Whole brown cloves (take them out when eating they are very spicy)

1.  Spray roaster with cooking spray and add some water to bottom (this is prevent scrubbing your pan for days...which I am now doing)
2.  Put ham on rack and rub or pour some apple cider vinegar on top of ham.
3.  Score ham and place whole cloves at each intersection.
4.  Sprinkle top with brown sugar.
5.  Put in oven at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours (for 9 lb. ham)
6.  After an hour and half of baking pour mixture of 1 cup brown sugar mixed with 1/3 cup spicy mustard.  I used a spoon to make sure ham was well coated. 
7.  Continue to bake for a 1/2 hour
8.  Last 10-15 minutes turn your oven to broil to make top a little crispy.  Now I didn't do this step because I cooked mine for 2 hours and it was slightly crispy.

Can you smell it?

Christmas Parade

Back in November, yes before Thanksgiving our town had a Christmas Parade.  We had great weather and kids enjoyed watching the parade and loved getting candy.  In fact Mommy brought a small Ziploc for the candy it was overflowing!  We were excited to see our friends Ellie and Kate (and Aunt Holly) walking for their dance studio.  Thanks Mom for coming along with us, it was a nice morning treat.

This was the highlight for Blake, Thomas!

Baking the Traditional Sugar Cookie

This year I had two little helpers for the traditional cookie baking!  I started the day with look with your eyes not your hands until Mommy needs help.  That didn't last long.  We certainly had a mess, but it was fun.  They each took turns cutting out designs they liked.  Blake frequently selected the "choo-choo" and Ava like the "glove" it was actually a mitten, but she is too cute to correct.  I let them each decorate a cookie and then eat it (yes, before lunch and this is one of those times that it's important to let things slide).  To my amazement they did a great job with some help and they were perfectly content (this year) to let Mommy do the decorating!  Please notice there are NO pictures of them cutting out the shapes:)

Our decorating supplies

Blake's choo choo with the #3 on it.

Ava really preferred the icing then eating the cookie!


Brunch with Santa

We took a family trip to have brunch with Santa!  We had a great time and lots of wonderful food.  We started with a story with Mrs. Claus where she read about Curious George's Christmas and after the story she gave the kids cookies.  Then we ate an array of food, but the kids had a hard time eating with so much to look at.  While Ed filled up, I took the kids around the room to look at different displays.  Next we headed over to see Santa on his sleigh.  Blake was not thrilled about getting his picture taken and Ava didn't want to sit with Santa.  So Mommy sat with Santa in his sleigh and held Ava, while Daddy stood next to Santa holding Blake.  I'm not sure if they were smiling or not, I will have to wait until I get the picture in the mail.  Santa asked the kids what they wanted, Ava said a baby and Blake said a leaf blower.  Santa chuckled and said no one has ever asked for a leaf blower and that Dad must be ready to put him to work.  I told Blake Santa would certainly remember him, which made him proud.  Santa gave the kids a treat bag: jet, pig, apple and candy.  They also had ornament making and gingerbread houses to decorate, but they were a little advanced for Blake and Ava.  We had a great time and enjoyed the Christmas spirit that filled the room.

I think she's upset because Daddy's beard is giving her hair the "static" look:)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nuk, pacifier, binky, bippy, etc.

Ava is getting bigger too and has given up her pacifier, affectionately called her "Nuk".  Last Tuesday she was having some cold symptoms and didn't want her Nuk when she went to bed.  In fact the few days preceding she only chewed on it...I had to toss two.  She is cutting her eye teeth, which is probably why she had the cold symptoms.  It has been good to break her of this because I knew she needed to give it up eventually, but I fretted on how and when.  Luckily she lead me and decided it was time.  I just love when my kids do things like this, it makes my job so much easier.  Now it hasn't been smooth sailing.  Even though she has only asked for it one night  and my response was they are "all gone" and she was satisfied with this answer.  The other side is that she has been waking a lot in the middle of the night.  In fact the week of Thanksgiving I slept about 15 hours that whole week!  When we went shopping on Black Friday, my mom couldn't get over how bad my eyes looked and yes I had on makeup!  I looked like I should be playing football since I had the black under my eyes already.  I am so proud of Ava for conquering this difficult item of comfort to give up.