Two things I enjoy in life are my grandchildren and a good story, especially if the story is humorous.  These two things often go hand-in-hand.

The day before Thanksgiving, I met my son, Adam, along with his two sons, for lunch.  The main purpose of this trip was to bring grandson Liam (6-1/2) home with me to stay all night.  Since much of the time would be spent cooking, I knew it would be too much to entertain 15-month-old Colton as well.   Liam is old enough to be a helper.

Although he did assist me quite a bit in the kitchen, Liam’s main reason for coming to Grammie’s house was to resume an embroidery project we had begun earlier in the year.    I had two shirts for him that we were going to decorate; we had finished one of them previously.   Liam loves to watch patterns “come to life” as my sewing machine stitches them out.  He was quite pleased with the finished product and wanted to wear it the next morning.

Candice (my daughter-in-law) had to work Thanksgiving morning.  When she arrived at my house, she asked her son, “What did you do all night?”  Liam replied, “Well, I slept most of it!”  I overheard this conversation from the kitchen and could not help chuckling at his matter-of-fact response.

A couple of days later, I could not stop laughing when I read Adam’s Facebook post:

Me: Liam, do you have on two pairs of underwear?
Liam: No.
Me: *Raises an eyebrow*
Liam: I have on more than that.
Me: Why are you wearing so many pairs?
Liam: I couldn’t get these new pants to stay up….

Now that Thanksgiving is over, many people are Christmas shopping in earnest.  Gifts in a jar are quite popular nowadays; here are a few ideas that you can prepare in your kitchen.


Christmas Cookies In A Jar

 1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup quick-cooking oats

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup white baking chips

Additional Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In 1-quart glass jar, layer sugar and brown sugar, packing well between each layer.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; spoon into jar.  Top with oats, cranberries, and chips.  Cover; store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

Give with preparation directions, plus a list of the additional ingredients.

To prepare cookies:  Pour cookie mix into large mixing bowl; stir to combine.  Beat in butter, egg, and vanilla.  Cover; refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Drop by tablespoonful 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until browned.  Remove to wire racks to cool.  Yield: 3 dozen.


Instant Brownie Mix

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups granulated sugar

1-1/2 cups baking cocoa

2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup shortening

Combine first five ingredients and mix well.  Using a pastry blender or two knives, thoroughly cut in shortening.  Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.  Give with the recipe for Brownies.

Yield: 8 cups of mix, enough for 4 batches of brownies.

Tip: Give a container of chocolate icing along with the mix.

To make brownies:

Combine 2 cups brownie mix, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup chopped nuts (if desired).  Stir just until all ingredients are moistened.  Spread in a lightly greased 8-inch square baking pan.  Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 20 to 25 minutes, or until set in center.  Cut into 2-inch squares.


Sweet and Tangy Mustard

 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)

1 cup prepared mustard

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (more or less, to taste)

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Stir all ingredients together; spoon into an airtight container.

Refrigerate up to 3 months.     Makes 3 cups.

Tip: give a bag of pretzels along with a jar of this dip.