family picture

Gingerbread house and more

This has been one of the better Christmas holidays in recent years. Both my brother and sister were in town, which is rare these days. Kara (upper left in picture) lived in the St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, for six years as a boat captain until Hurricane Irma swept mass destruction across the island, knocking out all power and cutting food supplies down to mere canned goods and occasional produce. She is now a refugee in Arkansas rebuilding her life and dreaming big dreams. Jeff (striped shirt) is a meteorologist in South Carolina and lives there with his wife, Shanna (green shirt), who is a doctor of internal medicine.

My parents recently moved to northwest Arkansas and have really enjoyed all the opportunities it provides in dining, social outings and outdoor fun. It is a great place to live!

The theme for Christmas this year was SUGAR! I was unaware of this until Ginny started a storm of epic baking proportions on Christmas Eve’s Eve and we ended up with two loaves of delicious pumpkin bread, gingerbread cookies with dazzling decorations and a mini gingerbread village.

gingerbread house done

She made the village from a kit she found at Walgreens for 50% off….on a whim, of course. It took several hours to decorate the houses and she first had to melt down an entire package of peppermints to make the base.

melted peppermints

Then she added the houses and began to decorate.

gingerbread house side

gingerbread house top

I helped by making sure the entire bottle of Cabernet we had purchased did not go to waste. At one point, I asked Ginny if she could take a quick funny video break and she responded with a curt, “No.” Her hands were covered with homemade icing. I went back to my wine.

Meanwhile, I decided to make some ham and beans. As soon as I got the ham into the Instant Pot, Kitty came into the kitchen making loud noises of cat protest because I had not already given her a portion of the pork. Below you will see her sitting impatiently at her seat at the kitchen table, waiting for either a piece of ham or breakfast sausage. These, along with cat food, make up the bulk of her diet. Don’t judge me.

kitty at table

Kitty was initially optimistic about meat portions, but she became irate as she watched me put all the ham hocks into the Instant Pot. kitty at table waiting

Kitty does actually have a real name, but we call her Kitty and she abides. Here real name is Mia Hudson-Taylor. We prefer to call her Kitty Rogers. This came about after we realized that she, like Kenny Rogers, never won the Dairy Challenge. If you have not seen this video (Dairy Challenge with Kenny Rogers), YouTube it at your own risk. I hope your holiday season is warm, delicious and filled with humor!




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