Celebrating Christmas 2012 - Celebrating Life with Paula Blog at Allrecipes.com - 293040

Celebrating Life with Paula

Celebrating Christmas 2012 
Dec. 25, 2012 11:27 am 
Updated: Jan. 9, 2013 7:30 pm

Christmas Eve - a whirlwind of a day. I wish I could have fully engaged in it and totally enjoyed it. Perhaps that just comes with the territory of being the one who coordinates and cooks it all. We had fourteen people total, including two 2-year olds, two 4-year olds, a 7 year old, and a 9 year old. That probably explains much of it :) Lots of squealing, screaming, laughing...and crying! 

Our family has been on a roller coaster that won't end since the end of October when we found out that our 4-year old granddaughter had a malignant brain tumor. She had surgery and within no time was having radiation and oral chemo Monday through Friday at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I've done whatever was needed, mostly helping take care of baby brother. 

Christmas shopping just didn't happen this year. My daughter bought gifts for her four children for me, and at the last minute, I bought gifts for my son's two children. The adult kids got money, which is always great for them, but I hate it. I just really prefer tangible presents. But it is what it is...my new motto as of late. I'm trying not to stress over things that aren't important. And believe me, I'm learning what is and isn't important. 

Our family celebration this year was on Christmas Eve. While we waited for one side of the family to get back from the radiation treatment, we munched on Holiday Sausage Ballsoyster crackersEasy Cheese Ball II shaped like a snowman, assorted home-made cookies, and Apple Orchard Punch. I had made most of the cookies in advance and had frozen them. And frankly, this year, I just didn't take the time to make the traditional family butterscotch pie. My daughter, quite the traditionalist, complained about it. So she, with her grandmother's tutoring, made it! It turned into a wonderful time together and one which she later told me will always be a memory she cherishes.

Once the entire family was gathered we opened presents. Our tradition is to open them one at a time, making the occasion last as long as possible and enjoying watching every single person respond to the gift. The youngest loved his airplanes and the oldest his Wii game. 

I realized this year that I don't want to be in the kitchen so much in the future. I had too many things that needed putting together and cooking. My future menus will consist of foods I can make in advance and cook at the last minute...or better yet, just take out of the refrigerator. Live and learn, I guess! We had ham and biscuits, green bean bundles, mac and cheese, a fruit tray with fruit dip, a salsa dip with chips, deviled eggs, brown sugar smokies, and cinnamon roll-ups. So much was going on that I didn't get photos of my beautiful and delicious food.

Every year, I try to do some kind of "craft" with the grandkids. This year we made a gingerbread house. It was quite a challenge letting 6 pairs of hands all help at the same time! The funny thing is that the two youngest boy cousins seemed to enjoy it the most.

While not everything went the way I would have preferred, I am going to choose to be grateful for the blessings I have:

1) My daughter made a wonderful memory with her grandmother and learned to make a pie that's been in the family for generations.

2) Both my mother and my husband's mother (both 85 years old) are still living and were able to be with us.

3) Both children and their families were able to celebrate with us (since my son and his family moved back to this area this year).

4) We have jobs that provide money to buy food, clothing, a roof over our heads, and Christmas presents.

5) Our granddaughter may have lost half her hair, but she hasn't lost her life. I am grateful for her precious little life and the joy she brings us.

6) And finally, I am grateful for the baby in the manger who grew up to pay the penalty for my sins and is interceding for me even now. 


Dec. 25, 2012 12:57 pm
My prayers will include your granddaughter from now until she is declared clear. Things certainly can (and do) change in an instant. I am so happy you all were able to celebrate together. My DH used to try to make me see that while they all loved the food it wasn't worth it if I was too tired to enjoy the event. We have started turning the work over to the next generation and I was happily surprised by how much they had absorbed from my SILs and me. They do a very nice job and we get to sit a visit. Enjoy the rest of your holidays.
Dec. 25, 2012 1:24 pm
Paula,i will pray for your granddaughter,i don't have a grandchild,but a good friend of mine is going through kemo,also.You never know what's around the corner,hopefully all will work out,as i'm sure it will.Merry Christmas Paula,and a wonderful 2013.
Dec. 25, 2012 1:26 pm
Thank you, BSM. Prayers are the best thing people can do for us.
Dec. 25, 2012 1:27 pm
And thanks for your prayers, too, manella. Merry Christmas to you too!
Dec. 25, 2012 1:47 pm
Paula-Merry Christmas-Being thankful for all that is going well in our family. May your family enjoy peace and good health in the coming year.
Dec. 25, 2012 2:03 pm
It's an attitude of gratitude, Lela. Merry Christmas to you!
Dec. 25, 2012 2:18 pm
Ahhh - Paula, thank you for sharing your Christmas with us. You have the best present of all, family all together to celebrate life. Puts everything in perspective, doesn't it? Blessings to you and yours. Merry Christmas!
Dec. 25, 2012 3:14 pm
What a wonderful gift you received... having the family together surrounded by love and making lasting memories for each of you. Prayers for your family to have the strength to endure what the future holds. Wishing you a Happy, Healthy New Year. Bless you!!
Dec. 25, 2012 3:15 pm
I love your blog and photos Paula! It looks like everyone had a wonderful time, and I completely agree about making things ahead! That's what I did this year, and I was able to enjoy everything so much more. Blessings to you and your family!
Dec. 25, 2012 3:44 pm
Merry Christmas, Paula! Look at all the smiles in those photos. You made some happy memories, and what a beautiful family you have! Wishing you and your family a Happy Healthy New Year. Your granddaughter will be in our prayers. Take care.
Dec. 25, 2012 3:50 pm
Thank you for writing such a heartfelt blog allowing me a glimpse at your beautiful, loving and caring family! It is a fact that I don't know what the future holds, but I know, personally, the one that holds my future. Paula, may His blessings and mercy be bestowed upon you and your family in 2013.
Dec. 25, 2012 4:06 pm
Baking Nana and Misty, you're right about family. I love being with my family!
Dec. 25, 2012 4:08 pm
jrbaker, so good to know that with a little planning I can have a more relaxed day. I'm already looking forward to next year's easier menu.
Dec. 25, 2012 4:08 pm
As soon as I saw your post on the buzz I had to hurry over and read your blog. The time together and the memories they bring really are what is important, isn't it? How nice that your daughter learned to make the butterscotch pie from her grandmother. You see, something good can come from something bad, just like Jesus' death bringing us eternal life. God bless you, Paula, and your dear Ava. Merry Christmas. I hope 2013 brings everything wonderful for you and your family.
Dec. 25, 2012 4:16 pm
Cookie Momster, thank you for your prayers. They really encourage and strengthen us. And, Shearone, yes, I DO know Who holds our future. We are in His loving hands and know that His plan is to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us hope and a future. Jer. 29:11
Dec. 25, 2012 4:20 pm
Oh, Janet, thank you so much for such sincere, warm thoughts toward us. Merry Christmas!
Dec. 25, 2012 5:13 pm
I am so happy you were able to be together during this special time. Faith in God is what makes difficult times bearable. Kind thoughts and prayers for your entire family.
Dec. 25, 2012 8:04 pm
Thank you so very much, Marie.
Dec. 26, 2012 5:17 am
Paula - Your beautiful granddaughter will be in my prayers. This is a beautiful blog that many can learn from. It sounds as if your holiday was beautiful and some great family bonding time happened. How wonderful that your daughter and her grandmother were able to create a great memory. I'll bet that pie was the best pie ever! Isn't it funny (yet wonderful) how our kids truly do appreciate and come to expect the family traditions? When they're young and growing up it doesn't even seem like they notice; yet as they mature it becomes obvious how much they treasure them. May 2013 be a year filled with good news and happiness for your family!
Dec. 26, 2012 7:38 am
Thank you for your prayers, Mother Ann. They truly are appreciated. It IS funny how our children change from that immature, self-centered teenager to a responsible, loving, mature adult! My daughter is one who LOVES tradition now! She understood why I didn't have the butterscotch pie at Thanksgiving, but she just wasn't going to accept it not being on the table for Christmas! Ha! The good thing - now she can make it for all the future celebrations :)
Dec. 26, 2012 5:25 pm
Peggy, thank you sharing just how wonderful Christmas can be without the focus being on presents. Family IS everything isn't it? And, the gift we all want for our family is good health. I'll be thinking about your precious GD and praying for her to get well.
Dec. 27, 2012 6:15 am
What a beautiful story it allowed me to share in your wonderful evening as if I was there.
Dec. 27, 2012 8:09 am
Candice and Joey Joan, thanks for stopping by and sharing my Christmas with me.
J. Dub 
Dec. 27, 2012 8:38 am
Beautiful blog Paula!
Dec. 27, 2012 3:23 pm
Oh, Paula..we just never know other people's trials. Great blog, beautiful memories made. Prayers to your clan.
Dec. 28, 2012 1:44 pm
Great blog! Keep us updated on that baby girl! Hope 2013 brings lots of healing and joy for you and yours!!!!!! Love, Shan
Dec. 29, 2012 7:22 am
Thanks, J. Dub and Maggie and Shanon K. Ava finished her 6 1/2 weeks of radiation this past Friday and celebrated with a sleepover at the cousins' house. She will begin IV chemo sometime after the first of the year. Not sure yet how often but it is supposed to last for a year. Thanks for your interest, concern, and prayers, Everyone.
Dec. 29, 2012 12:39 pm
Yes, Paula, we want to keep abreast of Ava's progress! So glad she was able spend a little time with the family during Christmas. Thanks for sharing!
Dec. 30, 2012 8:43 am
It is all about family...wonderful photos of all the generations, just wonderful. Wishing a happy, healthy full of love and peace New Year to you and yours.
Dec. 30, 2012 11:40 am
Beautiful, esp. #6.
Dec. 30, 2012 5:39 pm
May god bless you and your wonderful family this coming year. My prayers are with you all and especially with your grand-daughter.
Dec. 30, 2012 9:13 pm
Prayers for your sweet granddaughter and family!
Dec. 31, 2012 4:07 am
Beautiful blog, Paula! Very touching, heartfelt and inspirational. Thoughts and prayers with you and your family. Wishing you a "kind" 2013 and more blessings to count! :)
nana mae 
Dec. 31, 2012 6:56 am
My thoughts are with you. My granddaughter was diagnosed with cancer at 16 months exactly 7 years ago today. She has since recovered fully. I wish the same for your granddaughter!
Jan. 1, 2013 7:34 am
Beautiful, Paula. You have so many blessings and so much to be thankful for. Happy New Year to you and your lovely family and prayers that your sweet granddaughter heals quickly and completely.
Jan. 1, 2013 8:11 am
Thank you all for such sweet, kind, thoughtful comments. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers for my family.
Jan. 1, 2013 5:24 pm
God bless you Paula. We will be praying for your granddaughter. So glad she has a praying and a loving family.
Jan. 4, 2013 9:28 am
Great blog, I will keep your grandaughter in my prayers. I can sure relate to your Christmas experience this year. My husband is very ill and some of normal traditions had to be altered this year.
Jan. 9, 2013 7:30 pm
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About Me
I'm a wife, mother of 2, and grandmother of 6. I love to cook. I especially like to cook new and different recipes. I don't like to have the same meals week after week. My husband has decided it really doesn't matter whether he likes a new recipe or not because he won't see it again for a very long time anyway!
My favorite things to cook
I like to cook entrees and desserts. I like preparing good, down-to-earth cooking. I also decorate cakes, mostly for the grandchildren now.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Holidays bring out the traditions: chocolate chip cheese ball; crockpot chicken and dressing; and broccoli salad, sweet potatoes and butterscotch pie handed down from past generations. Another thing that must be tradition in my family: we all make new recipes when we have company! My mother, sister, daughter, and I all do this. My daddy never understood why we would risk making something we had never made before. Actually, none of us has ever served company a new recipe that didn't taste good.
My cooking triumphs
Cake decorating: wedding cakes, bridal and baby shower cakes, birthday cakes: Little Pirate, Cinderella, Elmo, Strawberry Shortcake. My friends call me Betty Crocker. When my daughter got married, she had a bridal shower where the guests were asked to write something on an apron. My best friend told her if she needed a recipe or help in the kitchen to ask her mother. If she needed a good place to eat out, ask her.
My cooking tragedies
A 4 tier huge wedding cake that fell apart at 2:00am. Thankfully, I still had time to salvage the cake.
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