Every year I make sure there's Heavenly Hash. I actually used Grandma's sponge cake recipe this year. It's a big hit with the Klopfenstein men, male in-laws, and a boyfriend. I made it on Saturday night at Mom and Dad's which is why this picture is first.
Lindsey, Mark's second daughter, set the tables. She is very meticulous and arranged and re-arranged the settings and placecards.
Mark eating one of Grandma's chocolate cookies. I love making springerles and the chocolate cookies. It seems to be the men in the family that like these. I think I'm the only female who likes both. This year I made both kinds cookies at Dad and Mom's at Thanksgiving and put them in the freezer. Dad frosted the chocolate ones for me. Before leaving at Thanksgiving I gave a bit of a stern warning that I expected to have both cookies in the freezer when I returned 3 weeks later! The first day back we pulled out the chocolate cookies and Dad confessed "I allowed myself one chocolate cookie a day. Sometimes two." No worries, there were plenty for all who like them.
Renae and I moved homes the weekend before Christmas so my life has been a bit disjointed for awhile. We typically get an envelope from Dad and Mom at the end of the gifts. This year I asked to give my gifts first and reminded everyone how much we enjoy Dad and Mom's envelope. I had my own envelopes this year for Dad, Ann, Mary, Molly, and my nieces. This is what they received in the envelope. The message is below if you can't read it from the picture.
Forget the past, you can't change it.
Forget about your future, God has it in His hands.
Forget about your present, I left it in Dallas.
Check your mail next week.
Lindsey included holiday poppers or crackers at each place setting. Here is a video of Dad opening his. Each one had a joke and several other conversation starters. Near the end of the meal Mike started a fun Who Am I game with his cracker contents.
The poppers/crackers all included paper crowns we all wore for the picture at least. Around the table l-r: Lindsey (Mark), Jeffrey (Mark's youngest child), Dad, Andrew (Ann's son), Teah (Andrew's wife), Mom
This table was set up beside the one above. L-R: Mike, Mary, Brett (Lauren's boyfriend), Lauren (Mark's older daughter), Ann, Molly
Table set up in the family room. L-R: Mark, Alex, Mary Lee's boyfriend, Mary Lee (Ann's daughter), Joey, John Michael (Mark's older son), Haley (Mary's youngest)
Mom with the gift Mike was so happy to find for her. If you've been around her much, surely she's asked for "half a cup" of coffee.
Ann really enjoyed finding and giving Dad this gift in honor of the Cubs victory in the World Series. My ringtone is Go, Cubs, Go! Andrew called me just as Dad finished opening the gift and could see what it was. Does anyone see Uncle Jay in this picture?
After gifts I had prepared a game for us to play. Lindsey is holding a ball of saran wrap that I had wrapped with candy and money. One person unrolls as much of the ball and gets to keep anything that comes out of it while the person on the left rolls dice. When the roller gets double, he/she passes the dice to the left and then begins unwrapping the ball. FYI, my ball was made up of 300 ft. of saran wrap, two bags of candy--thin mints because Mary likes those and Werther's because I always think of Aunt Alice when I see them. Oh, there was also 1s, 5s, and a 10 wrapped in there as well. The ball was the size of a medium soccer ball and went around the room just over two times. Mom walked away with $9, Andrew and Teah got $8, and Lauren's boyfriend got the $10. Ann was so good at rolling doubles that Lauren may have gotten a piece of candy or two.
Many of you know that my tradition is to give an ornament to each of my nieces and nephews. Andrew got his 28th rocking horse type ornament this year. (It was actually a horse with a covered wagon because I couldn't find a rocking horse. Mary Lee gets an angel every year, and so forth. Here are six of the nieces and nephews holding all 10 ornaments from this year.
I'd make heavenly hash if this boy were the only one who liked it because he likes it that much.
Dad likes Heavenly Hash so much he finished his plate before I could get a picture.