Saturday, December 3, 2011


The other day, my husband turned on the Christmas music channel on our satellite while we worked around the house.  The baby was down for a nap, and I was in the kitchen cleaning up dishes.  I heard what sounded to me like the baby crying.  Except, this was a different high-pitched cry that I had never heard before.  Somewhat concerned by the sound of this cry, I started going to his room when I realized it wasn't the baby crying at all!

No, it was the weirdest version of a Christmas carol I had ever heard.  Cats were meowing to the tune of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."  I wondered what would drive a person to do this and came out with only a few answers.
1.) Somebody just loves cats THAT much
2.) Somebody is bored
3.) Somebody knows there must be a market somewhere for cats meowing Christmas carols.

And while I am a cat person myself, I prefer my Christmas carols sung by humans. 

If you are at all curious as to how this sounds, you can check out the clip below "Jingle Bells" apparently meowed by the Jingle Cats.

Somebody reading this may be very familiar with this concept.  It's not surprising that I hadn't heard of it.  But I can say this is by far the WEIRDEST Christmas music I have heard (if you can even call it music).  Anybody else heard anything weirder?

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Stocking

Starting yesterday, I decided I am going to write a blog every day.  I was originally going to try to follow a pattern.  For example, I'd share a Christmas memory on Mondays, recipe on Tuesdays, favorite song on Wednesdays, etc.  But I am just not that organized and I don't like locking myself into a "blogging schedule" where I have to write about a certain thing on a certain day even if I am more inspired to write about something else.  So, instead, I will share all of these, favorite/least favorite songs, memories and anecdotes, etc.  I'll just write them as they come to me. 

Yesterday, I was excited to share a memory, and today I am going to share another one.  This one is pertaining to my Christmas stocking.  As a family, we never did have uniform stockings.  Each of us simply had stockings from wherever or whenever we got them.  My mom had made my sister's stocking, my parents' stockings had been ordered out of a magazine.  And mine? Well...
I had a red and white knit snoopy stocking (the exact same as the one pictured above).  I liked my stocking.  I liked snoopy.  There was just ONE problem! Every Christmas morning, when I'd wake up and go downstairs, everyone ELSE's stocking looked like cute little boots stuffed with goodies.
And mine was a stretched-out, misshapen sack almost touching the ground.  I didn't get why my stocking looked so strange when stuffed full of goodies while all the others were so cute! I'd love to provide a visual of the stark contrast in the stockings, but I don't have the stocking here and can't seem to find a picture online.  Who would take a picture of such an odd-looking thing anyway?

So, one Christmas, I decided it was time to ask for a new stocking.  I think I was about 7 or 8 years old and I'd just had enough Christmases of seeing my weird stocking in comparison to all the other cute ones.  My mom didn't seem to understand why I wanted a new stocking.  And I suppose that I must have been having trouble communicating my reasoning to her at the time.  I think I said something along the lines of "My stocking is weird." And she probably thought I felt I had outgrown snoopy.

So, we went to the mall to get a new stocking.  We found a kiosk where I picked out a purple and pink one with an ornament on it.  They even embroidered my name at the top.  I was SO excited! I had my own new stocking that SURELY would look BEAUTIFUL stuffed with goodies on Christmas morning.

I woke up excited the next morning and ran down the stairs only to find all of the other stockings still looked like stuffed boots and mine was sagging AGAIN! It's like a tube almost reaching the floor.  WHAT? HOW? Clearly, at this age, I did not understand that it was the knit fabric of the stocking that made it lose its shape.  And so I was pretty disappointed.  This is why I don't think I communicated clearly to my mother why I wanted a new stocking.  Because if she really knew why, I doubt she would have let me get the same kind of stocking all over again in a different color!

I don't remember when this was, but at some age I was finally able to explain to her my issue with my stocking--how I hated it that mine looked like a misshapen tube while everyone else's held their shape.  We discovered the way she stuffed it was what made most of the difference.  She was putting the heavy things like a bag of M&Ms at the bottom and the light things on top.  My dad pointed out that my stocking was likely to hold its shape if she put the light things on the bottom and the heavy ones at top! What a breakthrough! That helped for the most part.

When I was in college, I decided to go buy myself a classic Christmas stocking.  Because I guess I just liked uniformity, and my stocking never did completely hold its shape no matter how she stuffed it.
From then on, I have had this kind of stocking.  I just find it funny it took us so long to communicate or figure out the reason my stocking seemed to have so much more trouble holding goodies than the rest did. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Year My Sister "Ruined" Christmas

I only have one memory of Santa Claus, and that is because that was the year my sister changed everything.  Being opposite in our views of the world as children, my sister and I had very different takes on the idea of Santa Claus.

My point of view was that this was a wonderful opportunity! I couldn't wait to get in line to sit on this nice man's lap at the mall and tell him what I wanted for Christmas.  I was 4 years old and I asked for a toy baby carriage to push my dolls around in.  My sister wanted nothing to do with Santa.  Her perspective was why should she sit on a strange, large man's lap just to get what she wanted for Christmas.  Her parents, with whom she was much more familiar, could probably do the trick.  She was also very uncomfortable with the idea of a stranger coming into her house at night while she was sleeping and eating her milk and cookies...never mind the fact that he is leaving you a present.  That is breaking and entering.

She really did not like strangers at all.  So, my sister did not WANT to believe in Santa.  All aspects of Santa were very intimidating to her, and she would rather prove he did not exist than accept having a stranger in her house at night.  If left to our own devices at that age, my sister's wisdom probably would have helped her survive in the world better. 

However, I was a whole-hearted Santa believer.  Santa was a great man to me.  Sure, come on in my house and eat my milk and cookies as long as you leave me my doll carriage.  

But shortly after my very first memory of sitting on Santa's lap and asking for my doll carriage, my Christmas was ruined.  It was ruined in the form of my well-meaning 6-year-old sister who woke me in the middle of the night. I will never forget this night as the devastation embedded the memory deep into my brain.
My sister waking me up and getting me out of bed,"Becky, there is no Santa Claus." 
"Oh really? Then whose lap did I sit on in the mall?" 
"A man dressed up in a Santa suit."
"Then who puts the gifts under the tree when we're all sleeping?"
"We are not all sleeping.  Mama and Papa get back up and put the presents under the tree."
Taking me by the hand, she led me down the stairs where we peaked around the stair rail to catch our parents putting presents under the tree.  I was so upset.  I'm not sure why.  I still got my doll carriage that I asked for.  I just wished that it had been Santa that got it for me.

I just asked my mother if she told Megan there was no Santa in order to ease her fears of him.  She doesn't think so.  She said my dad felt guilty for telling us a tale and would rather we experience reality.  But I know they did not reveal this information to me until I caught them.

Christmas was never the same since.  It was not worse. It was just different.  I went straight to my parents with my Christmas gift wishes.  I did miss sitting on Santa's lap in the mall.  And, though I knew he wasn't real, a part of me still wanted to sit on his lap and put in my Christmas requests.  

Whatever their take on Santa Claus is, parents have different reasons for making him a part of Christmas or not for their children.  Personally, I have settled on the idea that there was a Saint Nicholas, and Santa Claus a symbol.  He is a symbol of undying generosity.  And I like that even if he isn't "real."

By the way, I love my sister very much and I do not hold it against her that she pulled the mask off of Santa for me that one year.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grandma Toe

I find it fascinating to see how many different people from both sides of our families have traits that show up in our little man.  As soon as he was born, I noticed that he had my father-in-law's ears! He sometimes looks like his Aunt Candice, sometimes like his Aunt Megan, sometimes like me, and sometimes like his daddy (naming only a few).

But one trait in particular that it is impossible to deny where he got it from is the way he holds his big toe.  He has been doing this since he was born, and there is only ONE other person I know who does mother!

Sitting with her feet up in a recliner chair, my mom subconsciously holds her big toe erect or facing her while the rest are facing down.  It looks incredibly uncomfortable.  And, when I try it with my toes, it is very uncomfortable! I don't know how she does it and it used to bother me because it looked like it would hurt so much.  I'd be afraid her toes were going to get stuck that way.  So I'd say, "Stop holding your toe like that."  "Huh?" She was unaware of it.  She'd then consciously relax her foot only for that toe to spring back up in its previous position when she stopped paying attention.

I think God planned for my son to have this trait because of all of the times I told my mother to stop holding her toe that way! Now, I can clearly see through him that it is just the way his (and her) feet are!  They can't help it.

My mother takes great delight in this shared trait, and she always finds the toe whenever she can! She was the one to spot it in this picture.  I hadn't even paid attention to it, and that foot is almost not even in the picture!

I am glad that she has a way in which she feels she can identify with her grandson even if it is just through a toe!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole

I made a sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving this year that I just loved.  I got the recipe from Real Simple magazine (as I had said in the last post).  It had great reviews, so I really wanted to try it.  My mom said it didn't sound any different from her regular sweet potato casserole, and maybe it wasn't! I have had this dish in different variations on Thanksgiving throughout the years.  And I'm really not sure if there is anything different about this recipe, but it was so sweet and light and fluffy! I loved it!

My husband said he wasn't sure how he felt about a marshmallow top as he was used to a crunch top.  But judging by the fact that he returned to the refrigerator to help himself to more on several occasions, I'd say he also found it delightful!
(this is the professional photograph they took to get your mouth watering)

(That's mine..not nearly as visually appealing..but still tasted great!)


  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes 
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, divided
  • Cooking spray 
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows 


  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Place the sweet potatoes in a Dutch oven, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until very tender. Drain; cool slightly.
  • Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add sugar and next 3 ingredients (through vanilla). Mash sweet potato mixture with a potato masher. Fold in 1/4 cup pecans. Scrape potato mixture into an even layer in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pecans; top with marshmallows. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until golden.
I did not have a dutch oven.  I just boiled them in a regular pot and let them sit after that for 30 minutes.  

I also seasoned mine with some cinnamon.
The recipe was shared in Real Simple Magazine through