Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas In Central Pennsylvania 2006

This was the scene outside the window during Christmas week - notice there was no snow. Usually, their bird feeder is full of birds and/or squirrels. That's probably because they feed them so well - with shelled sunflower seeds and peanuts!

Below you can see the results of my attempts to make Gam's Almond Cookies... Mind you, they are BAR cookies - but I pretty much had to spoon-drop them on the cookie sheet.

And, of course, they spread - unlike my grandmother's cookies, which stayed firm.

We've come to the conclusion that lard is an essential ingredient, having a different melting point than Crisco or butter. Adding more flour really makes the flavor fade into the blahs. While the cookies looked rather pathetic, my husband and I enjoyed them thoroughly - our daughter and her husband did not find them quite so delicious as we did. And the cookies that didn't really cook all the way through were put on the bird feeder - and totally ignored by squirrels and birds alike! O well, next time I'll get some lard from the Amish and try one more time to make Gam's Almond Cookies. Wish me luck!

Here is our daughter demonstrating how to use her fancy espresso machine... She had been to southern Italy for a chemistry meeting of some sort and was taught the true art of Italian espresso - or so she claims. Before she left, she didn't even drink regular coffee but now she has espresso nearly every day. Who ever would have guessed?!

Christmas morning - before opening anything.

Chris with Cookie Monster...

Followed by Chris with the Sesame Street story she's been alluding to for a few months: "The Monster at the End of This Book." For a university prof, the end of a semester often brings with it "the monster at the end of the semester." Or so we've been told. Chris loved this book when she was a child and she proceeded to read the entire book to us with all the inflections of a good story-teller.

Here is Frank with one of his Chicago Bears shirts.

Below: Frank and Chris at her computer with the planning map of Ireland on the wall behind them. Can you envision three smart, highly educated adults attempting to plan a joint vacation together in Ireland - especially when each of the three has a totally unique and independent way of researching, planning, and navigating???

While we three were planning our Ireland trip, Steve set to work putting together the Christmas rocker. Isn't it wonderful to have a handyman as part of the team? He's also smart and highly educated, teaching at Penn State along with Chris. He's smart enough to stay out of the way of the other three during their attempts to concretize plans!

We had a great time with Chris and Steve, despite our nasty head/chest colds. We're hoping that they don't catch what we had!


bopeep said...

Very interesting, Pat,
I especially love the attempts to make grandma's cookies.
We even call each other to see if our cookies capped.
Glad to hear you are traveling soon.

Alyssa Jean said...


I loved that book too. I dunno what happened to my copy =[ !!

Cookies look good, even if they are supposed to be bars.

I wanna go to Aunt Chris's house. I like her house.

Fruit Jar Nicky said...

That was one of my favorite books too! Gotta love Grover. I remember my parents reading it to me. I still have many of my old Golden books around here somewhere.

teri springer said...

I love that large platform feeder! Very nice. Unfortunately, I am having problems with a local cat who seems to think my feeders are here for HER. If I catch her out there she's gonna be one unhappy cat.

So when's the trip to Ireland?? I was supposed to go this past summer with my dad but the plans got put on hold when he remarried. Now we are discussing going as a family, including my new sister and her family (my new brother doesn't fly so I guess he's outta luck).


Little Sis said...

Hey, you can use Crisco and replace a little bit of the Crisco with butter to add buttery flavor. Wish I could do the peanut butter cookies but I can speak to chocolate chip cookies with a fair amount of baking experience, since they are one of the few things I make!

-- Sis