Sunday, December 31, 2017

Countdown to 2018: Most Popular Recipe of 2017

This will be my final post of this Countdown to 2018 event hosted by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes.  Some of the others will be sharing their choice of recipes with you tomorrow so make sure you stop by Sarah's blog to get the links to those posts.

Today's theme is Most Popular. The recipe I am sharing today was my most viewed of the past year.  It received over 1500 views since it was published on June 27, 2017.  Enjoy!!

Happy New Year 

May 2018 be filled with Good Health and Much Happiness

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Countdown to 2018: Crockpot~~My favorite Crockpot Recipe and the Weekly Menu

Today I am sharing only one recipe with you for our Crockpot category. I use my crockpot quite a bit and have already shared one slow cooker recipe with you during the Main Dish event, with my Beef Shank Pasta Sauce.

This recipe I'm sharing today is going to make your meal planning and thus your whole life much easier.  Many of you may pick up those precooked rotisserie chickens from your local grocer. I have to admit that I have done so myself but it grinds me to pay that much for a chicken.

This recipe not only gives you the meat from the chicken but also a lovely savory broth to be used in soups, stews, casseroles, etc.

I normally serve up the breast meat for dinner the first night I make it and then use the leftover breast meat and remainder of meat for one or 2 more dinners.  

Some of my favorite uses are quesadillaschicken and dumplingschicken enchiladas, and chicken pot pie.

You will find more terrific crockpot recipes at the bottom of this post but first I want to share my weekly menu with you.  
Tonight, John and Kirsten's family are joining us for dinner.  Kirsten's twin sister, Katrina, her husband, David, and their Mom, Caroline.  It should be a lot of fun.  David is gluten intolerant so our recipe reflects that.

Tomorrow night, for New Years Eve, we are watching our Little Miss Melody while her Mama goes out to celebrate.  I will be putting that Whole Chicken into the Crockpot. It will be turned into Chicken Noodle Soup, her very favorite.

On New Years Day we are going to Frank's brother's house for dinner. His wife, Rebecca, has a tradition of serving a Spaghetti dinner each year to herald in the New Year.

The rest of the week should see life getting back to normal.  Tingting is back to work so we will have Melody on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Choir practice resumes on Thursday.  

Our TC family arrives back in town sometime Friday evening.  I think it will be a pizza night since we aren't sure what time they will be getting in. 

Weekly Menu

Saturday-Dinner Party
Filet Mignon with Cabernet Jus
Baked Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli
Glazed Carrots
Tapioca Pudding Parfait

Sunday-New Years Eve
Chicken Noodle Soup
Homemade Bread Sticks

Monday-New Years Day
Dinner at Dan and Rebecca's

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe

Chicken Pot Pie


Pizza Night

More Creative Crockpot Recipes

Welcome to #RecipeRoundup and #Giveaway

Hi! Welcome to our new Monthly Recipe Round-Up! Every month myself, and several other bloggers, contribute our favorite recipes that go with the fun theme we set for that month. Every month we have a different theme and it's so much fun!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Countdown to 2018: Desserts

Here we are already to Day 4 of this Countdown to 2018 event, hosted by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes.  

As you can see on the graphic above, we have already shared Appetizers and Snacks. Breakfasts and Main Dishes.  

Today we are sharing our favorite desserts of the year.  Here were the desserts that were most popular in my household.

I hope you are having as much fun with this countdown as I.  I'm popping over to see what the others are sharing.  Please join me.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Countdown to 2018: Main Dish

Today, Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes, has asked us to share our favorite Main Dishes from the past year.  

I didn't even know where to begin so I decided to share entrees from each of the following categories.


This skillet seared filet mignon paired with roasted vegetables in a salad was a wonderful start to the New Year last January.  I think it may become a tradition since just looking at this is making me drool.


This Provencal Chicken, marinated in seasoned olive oil and then grilled was one of my personal favorite new poultry recipes.


OH MY YUM!!!!  This venison marinades in red wine for 3 days before it is braised to tender, juicy perfection.  I hope somebody gifts me some venison this year because I can't wait to make this again. This French Style Braised Venison Roast was to die for.


My favorite pork recipe was just published a couple of weeks ago.  I made this Pork Wellington for my first Christmas dinner party of 2017.


I had a lot of new seafood recipes last year but I finally had to settle on this Lobster Pot Pie that I served as a first course at a dinner party last January.

Meatless Entree

Noodles and Cabbage have long been a favorite around here.  I can't believe I had never shared them before this year.


If there is anything better than a slow braised, meaty, flavorful pasta sauce I certainly don't know what it is.  This delicious sauce is made with with Beef Shank in the Slow Cooker.  It doesn't get any easier than that.  

I hope you enjoy these recipes and I hope you stop by and see what the others are sharing today as well.  See you tomorrow.

More Main Dish Delights

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Ham. Broccoli and Cheese Corn Muffins #MuffinMonday

Here's a great way for you to use up some of those Christmas leftovers.  These muffins go together quickly and make a quick nutritious breakfast.

It is nice to be able to just sit and relax with one of these muffins and a cup of coffee now that there is a slight lull in the Holiday activities.

These muffins also freeze well so that when everyone goes back to work and school they can be taken out the night before and grabbed as people are running out the door, getting accustomed to real life once again.

Welcome to a late edition of Muffin Monday.  Since Christmas fell on our normally scheduled posting date, our leader, Stacy of Food Lust People Love, took a vote to see if we wanted to change  the date or skip this month.

I voted for changing it to today because I knew I would have leftovers and making muffins is a great foil for so many items.  I love repurposing leftovers into new dishes.

We had Ham for Christmas Dinner and a Broccoli Gratin. There was a lot of leftover ham and a small bit of the Gratin that contained blue cheese.  It was the perfect combination for these muffins.

Ham, Broccoli and Cheese Corn Muffins

1/2 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. flour
1 T. sugar
pinch of salt
2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. milk
2 T. olive oil
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. diced ham
1/2 c. broccoli/blue cheese gratin,chopped (or 1/2 c. steamed broccoli and 1 oz. blue cheese crumbles)

Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl.  Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Add egg, milk and olive oil into the hole.  Stir just until combined.  Fold in ham and broccoli gratin.  Divide between a six cup muffin tin that has been treated with cooking spray.  Bake in a preheated 450* oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted removes cleanly.  Print Recipe

More Magnificent Muffins

Perfect Harmony Cocktail #CocktailParty

We hosted our Choir Christmas Party last Thursday.  We have our final practice before Christmas at one of the members homes.  Everyone brings a dish, we eat, drink, socialize and practice the songs we will be singing before Mass when we have the carol sing along and during Mass when we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

It is always a good time and we love hosting.  Frank always tends bar.  His Milky Way Martinis are always the most requested at this party.  I think folks wait all year long to enjoy these dessert like drinks.

This year our friend, John, had Frank make him a drink that he had enjoyed at a party over the weekend.  This party had hired a bartender and he had prepared a drink using vodka, orange juice, cranberry juice and grenadine.  The bartender said he didn't know what the name of the drink was but John really enjoyed it.

Friday, we spent the day cleaning up after the party, finishing our Christmas shopping and running errands.  That evening, after dinner, Frank made up the cocktail he had been serving John and told me the story behind it.

The cocktail was delicious and I was thrilled because as I was sipping away I remembered that my friend Ellen, of Family Around the Table, was hosting a Cocktail Party today!!

I love when life works out like that.  I hadn't originally planned on attending this party.  I had the special edition of Muffin Monday posting going live today and it is Day 3 of Countdown to 2018.

I thought that was plenty enough on my plate, or in my glass as the case might be.  However, I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.  I enjoyed the cocktail with Frank and then put him to work making us another so that I could get photos.....well, actually, he took the photos too.  He is wonderful like that!

While we enjoyed our second cocktail we started trying to think of a name.  Frank thought of Harmony since it was discovered during the choir party....I added the Perfect and when you try  this cocktail you will see why.

Perfect Harmony Cocktail

1 jigger vodka
3 oz. orange juice
3 oz. cranberry juice
splash of grenadine
orange slice and maraschino cherry for garnish, if desired

Fill a shaker full of ice.  Add the vodka and both juices.  Shake to combine and strain into an ice cube filled glass.  Drizzle in the grenadine, it will sink to the bottom giving you the red layer.  Garnish and serve. Print Recipe

More Cocktails and Mocktails


Countdown to 2018; Breakfasts

Welcome to Day 2 of our Countdown where we are sharing our favorite recipes from categories chosen by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes.  

Sarah hosts this party each year and we all look forward to not only reviewing our own recipes but finding out whether our favorites that our friends posted make the list.

Today we are talking breakfast.........

These breakfasts were all amazing and well received.  My personal favorite was the Shakshuka.  I have made it twice more and can't get enough of it.

Here are the others favorite Breakfasts

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Countdown to 2018: Best Appetizer and Snacks

Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes, invites us each year to join her in sharing our favorite posts from the past year.  Each day we will be sharing our favorite recipes in each of seven categories.  

It is a fun way to look back at the past year.  We revisit and see what was successful and not so great.  We get an idea of what changes and goals we want to set for the New Year.  Most importantly we get to see what you, our readers, enjoyed the most of our posts from the previous year.

We are starting with Snacks and Appetizers.........

These were my personal favorites from last year.  I enjoyed serving them and I enjoyed eating them.  They are easy and impressive.  

Here are my friend's favorite Appetizers and Snacks from last year.


Friday, December 22, 2017

Menu for Christmas Week

Happy Friday everyone.  One short weekend and Christmas is upon us.  I haven't even finished my Christmas shopping yet!  So that is the second order of business today.  The first order of business is to make up and deliver a late Christmas Basket to a person who was late calling the food pantry.

Our choir party last night was a huge success.  The chicken marsala is always a popular dish.  I had made a ton and what didn't get eaten was taken home by guests.  It is going back on the menu for Christmas day.

Tomorrow will be spent finishing up anything left to do before the big day.  We will go to Mass at 4 pm.

Frank's brother and his wife are hosting Christmas Eve.  We will be singing at Midnight Mass.

Christmas Day dinner will be here.  I will be serving buffet style as I am not sure how many people will be showing up for the celebration.

When I went to the calendar to write this post I was absolutely thrilled to see that on Tuesday Frank had scheduled "sleep" for the entire day.  Sounds good to me.  Our Little Miss will be home enjoying time with Mama who has the week off from work.

Wednesday we are hosting a dinner party for our friends, Fr. Rooney, Sr. Maryann and Mary Agnes, who is my right hand at the food pantry.

No choir practice on Thursday so we have a free day.  I think maybe a date night.  There are several movies out that I want to see right now.

Friday we are hosting a Cocktail Party for our surrounding neighbors, some of whom have not yet met the others. I will be serving substantial appetizers.

Image result for wigilia

So here is my Weekly menu including Christmas Day.  I hope that your week is filled with merriment and love.......

Dinner out after Mass

Sunday-Christmas Eve
Dinner at Dan and Rebecca's

Monday-Christmas Day
Field Greens with Dijon Dressing
Apple and Fennel Slaw
Bourbon Glazed Ham
Chicken Marsala
Ginger Garlic Shrimp
Mashed Potatoes
Broccoli Gratin
Steamed Green Beans
Buttered Corn


Wednesday-Dinner with friends
Barszcz Wolyinski
Cucumber Salad with Dill
Hungarian Pancakes
Fresh Kielbasa
Steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower
Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

Out for dinner and a movie

Friday-Cocktail Party
Charcuterie Platter
Asst. Breads and Rolls
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Smoked Salmon Mousse
Chicken Strudel
Fresh Veggie Platter with Dill Dip
Fresh Fruit Platter
Asst. Desserts

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Pineapple Upside Down Bundt #BundtBakers

Our theme for Bundt Bakers this month, chosen by my friend, Sneha of Sneha's Recipe, is Christmas Bundts.

That pretty much leaves it wide open.  Thanks Sneha.  During this busy time of year, I appreciate not having to wrack my brain coming up with something specific.

We are a blended family.  We both came into this marriage with 2 children from previous unions and then we hosted 5 exchange students once our four were grown and gone.  Trying to all get together on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day is pretty much impossible as they all have other parents and in laws who are anxious to spend time with them.

So, we started having our family dinner, with as many of the kids as could be present, on a different day. This year we had our family dinner last Sunday.  Amy, Doug, Anthony, Nicole, Pierre, Tingting, Charlie and Melody were all able to attend.  Chuck isn't home for Christmas this year as he is using his leave for a trip to Europe to ring in the New Year.

We said grace before dinner and then toasted all of those that we love that could not be with us this year.

Then we pigged out.....We started with Mom Klik's Mushroom Soup.  One of her many legacy's that we enjoy each year.

That was followed by a pasta course that I will be sharing with you very soon.  Our entreé was Roast Pork Loin with Roasted Root Vegetables.  This was served with a White Bean Salad on the side.

For dessert, I made a Pineapple Upside Down Bundt.  Voila....a Christmas Bundt to share with you today.

The best thing about this bundt cake, besides the taste, is that it is made with a cake mix and took only moments to put together.  I was able to make the cake before leaving for Mass in the morning so that when I got home I could concentrate on the rest of the meal.  You can't ask for a better gift than that.

Merry Christmas.....I hope all your dreams and wishes come true.  Don't forget to stop by for more great dessert inspiration for your Holiday table.

Pineapple Upside Down Bundt
recipe adapted from Betty

2 T. butter, melted
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
6 canned pineapple rings
6 maraschino cherries
1 yellow cake mix
juice from canned pineapple + water (if needed) to equal 1 cup
1/2 c. oil of choice (I used olive oil)
3 eggs

Pour melted butter into bottom of a bundt pan.  Sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter.  Arrange the pineapple over the sugar and place a cherry in the center of each pineapple ring.  Spray the sides of the bundt pan with baking spray.  

Beat together the cake mix, juice, oil and eggs until smooth. Pour into the prepared bundt pan and bake in a preheated 350* oven for 40-45 minutes.  Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before turning onto a serving plate. Print Recipe

More Christmas Bundts


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Bacon and Cherry Studded French Toast Casserole #CrazyIngredientChallenge #FantasticalFoodFight

I cannot believe there is less than one week left before Christmas.  I still have shopping to do!!!

Frank has gone to get our Little Miss Melody this morning.  Today is going to be shopping day.  Fortunately, we have a Mall about an hour north of us that is relatively quiet, even during the holidays.  We will, hopefully, get the rest of our Christmas shopping finished.  We'll also stop to see Santa and ride the Carousel.

Luckily, it is a couple hour round trip to go and get our Princess, so that gives me time to make a good, hearty breakfast  that will sustain us during our shopping spree.

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I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to squeeze in another blogging event this month. Then I "opened my basket" and found some Bacon and Maraschino Cherries from Crazy Ingredient Challenge and some Eggnog from Fantastical Food Fight. I knew that not only would I be able to kick out one more event but I could take care of two in one post.  I love when that happens!

We had our friends, Kim and Kurt over for dinner last night.  When they left we took care of the dishes and I threw together a French Toast Casserole so it would be ready to go into the oven this morning.

I had served Hawaiian King dinner rolls with our soup and salad.  I used 4 of them for this recipe that made enough for 2 hearty servings or 3 servings if one of the diners is a toddler.

I cooked up a package of bacon.  Six slices were cut into large dice and added to this dish.  Four slices were crumbled and added to our salad last night.  Two slices found their way into my belly and the rest are in the refrigerator to be used another time.  My bacon comes in one pound packages so we often have leftovers now that there are only two of us.

Instead of making a custard, I added a couple of cups of eggnog to the mixture, turned it into a pie plate and let it refrigerate overnight.

Frank called to let me know he was on the way back home and into the oven it went.  When they walked into the door it was smelling pretty darn good in this house.

Breakfast was enjoyed by all and now we are heading out for the day.  Keep your fingers crossed that I find the perfect gift for everyone on my list.

More Bacon and Maraschino Cherry Creations

More Exciting Eggnog Recipes

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw #FoodnFlix

Our FoodnFlix selection this month was the teen comedy "Clueless", chosen by our illustrious leader, Heather, of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen.  Here is her invitation post.


This movie is supposed to be a modern day take on the novel "Emma" by Jane Austen.  I have never read the novel so I had no idea what to expect with this movie. 

Clueless stars Alicia Silverstone as Cher and Stacy Dash as Cher's best friend, Dionne.  Cher remarks that they were both named after singers who now are famous for doing infomercials. 

It is a story about teenage angst that occurs even when your parents are very wealthy and you are able to attend the best schools and own all the teenage "must haves".  The students still suffer tragedy, Cher's mother is not living and her father is too busy making money to give Cher anything other than material goods.

They still separate into cliques.  You have the jocks, the nerds, the stoners and the mean girls.  But as with all people, there is more to a person than meets the eye.

Cher is not just a spoiled rich bitch.  She has a huge heart.  She worries about her friends.  She takes the "new kid" on as her own personal project to help her fit in at their school.  She tries to take care of her father, coaxing him to eat properly, take time for himself and get some rest.

Cher prides herself on being a master matchmaker and Dionne is her willing assistant. 

There is quite a bit of food in the movie, predominantly salads of all sorts. I decided to share with you today a Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad that will be perfect for your Holiday table.  I served this at Thanksgiving and it was a hit with my family.  If your family are lovers of these "little cabbages" they will be a hit at your house too.

The Brussels Sprouts are shredded and then tossed into a warm sweet and sour bacon dressing just until coated and wilted.  It is a great take on sweet and sour cabbage.  

This recipe, as with many of my recipes, comes from Cuisine at Home.  I made this recipe nearly as written.

Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw
Very slightly adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue #108

1 1/2 lbs. Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and shredded (I used shredder on my food processor)
1 pkg. thick sliced bacon, diced
1 lg. shallot, diced
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. whole grain mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.  Drain pan reserving 2 tablespoons of the drippings.

Add the shallots to the drippings and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes.  Stir in the vinegar, scraping up an browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Whisk in the sugar and mustard.  Season with salt and pepper.  Return the bacon to the pan along with the shredded Brussels Sprouts.  Toss until wilted, about 2 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Print Recipe

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Pork Wellington #CooktheBooks

Our novel for this session of Cook the Books was chosen by Debra of Eliots Eat's.  It is the story of a slave from Ancient Rome who is coveted by many masters because of his skill in the kitchen.

Feast of Sorrow cover art

I listened to Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King on Audiobooks, narrated by Simon Vance.

It was my favorite novel assigned in our CTB to date.  I LOVED this historical fiction account of Thrasius, a slave who is acquired, at great cost, by gourmand, Marcus Gavius Apicius.

Apicius is very wealthy and obsessed with serving as culinary advisor to Caesar.  He purchases Thrasius believing that he is the best of the best and will get him this coveted position.  Thrasius, is an amazing cook and creates for Apicius the reputation of giving the best, most lavish parties in all of Rome.

Since Apicius own Thrasius all of Thrasius' talents then belong to Apicius who receives all the credit for every dish Thrasius makes.  Apicius loves to cook as well and has huge dreams and goals.  Apicius creates the first cookbook, starts the first culinary school and becomes a legacy in the Roman culinary world.

Thrasius, previously owned by a cruel taskmaster who didn't hesitate to beat him and use him for his sexual deviancy, wants very badly to impress and please Apicius.  The very first meal he serves him is Ham in Pastry.  You can learn more about this selection and how to join in this event by going to Debra's Announcement Post.

In my mind's eye, when I heard this dish spoken of, I saw Pork Wellington.  That is the dish that I decided to make, inspired by this novel.

I found this recipe for Pork Wellington by Alton Brown. It is pork tenderloin stuffed with dried apples, wrapped first in prosciutto and then in puff pastry. I served it at my first dinner party of the Christmas season.  

It was delicious and I'm sure Apicius would have allowed me to live one more day.......

I doubled this recipe, making two Wellingtons,  as we were having 6 for dinner.  This gave me plenty and allowed for leftovers.  I thought the best tip from Alton was cutting the tenderloin in half and then turning one so they lay tail to end on each side, so that they cook evenly.  Other than that I made the recipe exactly as written.

I am also linking this post to Foodies Read.  Stop by and see what the others are reading this month.

Pork Wellington
courtesy of Alton Brown

1 egg
1 T. water
1 oz. dried apple rings or chips
1 whole pork tenderloin
4 1/2 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 t. fresh thyme leaves
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed per package directions
1 T. whole grain mustard

Whisk together the egg and water.  Set aside.

Pulse the apple in a food processor, until they are the size of medium dice.

Trim the tenderloin of any extra fat and all silverskin.  Cut in half, lengthwise, then turn one of the halves so the tenderloin is laying tail to head, making them the same size on each end.

Place the prosciutto onto a piece of parchment paper a little longer than the tenderloin.  Top with a second piece of parchment and, using a rolling pin, roll over the parchment so the prosciutto adheres together.  Remove the top piece of parchment. Season the prosciutto with salt, pepper and thyme.

Place the tenderloin onto the prosciutto.  Place the diced apple in between both halves and press together.  Using the parchment paper on which the prosciutto lies, wrap the prosciutto around the pork tenderloin so that it is completely enclosed.  

Roll out the pastry to an approx. 12x14".  Spread the mustard down the center of the pastry. Lay the tenderloin on top of the mustard and fold the pastry up over the tenderloin, using the egg wash to seal the edges.  Place onto a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down.  Pinch the edges shut, using the egg wash to seal.  Brush the entire package with the remaining egg wash.

Bake in a preheated 400* oven for about half an hour, until an internal temperature reading is at least 140* and the pastry is golden brown.

Let rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.  Print Recipe

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Santa Claus Came to Town......

Santa Claus comes to visit us each year.  We gather all of the Dubrul Clan together during December so that we can spend time during the holidays.  Our parents had 6 children all of whom had children of our own.  We have grown quite large as you might imagine.

My brother, Larry, is the eldest.  He and his two sons, Scott and Chad,  live in California.  His grandchildren, Quinn, Jack and Molly were with us in our hearts.  We hope, one year to have them all here in person for our Santa party.

Next born was my brother, Gary.  He had two daughters, Stephanie and Denise.  Each of whom gave him a grandchild.

This is Gary's grandson, Gavin.  He belongs to Denise.

This is Sterling.  She belongs to Gary's daughter, Stephanie.

The third son is my brother, Dick.  He had 2 sons, Kevin and Jim. He and his wife also adopted their nephew and niece, Jack and Jennifer, when they were young and lost their Mom.  Jack recently married Maranda, who has 3 fine sons, unfortunately they were unable to join us today.

But we had Dylan, the eldest of my parent's great grandchildren, being a good sport about having his photo taken with Santa.

And our Abby-Girl who is becoming our Abby-Woman before our very eyes. 
She and Dylan belong to my niece, Jen.

Kevin's daughter, Breanna, is growing up fast as well.

Breanna's brother, Devin, was able to work up a smile for Santa even though he wasn't feeling very well for the party.

Jim's son, Carter, completes the family photos of Dick and Jackie's grand-kids.

My brother, Dan, was next in line.  Dan had 4 children.  His eldest, Dan Jr. is in heaven with his Dad. His second son, Doug, was able to attend the party.  His daughter, Amanda, is living in Texas and his son, David, was not able to attend.

This is Dan's granddaughter, MacKenzie, she belongs to my nephew, Doug.  She makes my heart sing each time I see her.

I am next in line in my family.  The second daughter of my parents.  The first child, a girl, born before my brother Larnzy, died shortly after birth.  I gave my parents Amy and Chuck.  Then I married Frank and gave them Anthony and Nicole.  Then we gave them Marina from Russia, Dian from Denmark, Tingting from China, Zoey from Denmark and Max from Germany.  I have been blessed with two grandchildren.  My Little Miss Melody whose Mama is Tingting and Jordan whose Daddy is Dian.  Jordan lives in Denmark.  Chuck is in Virginia.  Amy had another obligation today. Anthony and Nicole both had to work but........

My little Angel Face was here in all her glory.

The baby of the family, Dawn, has three boys, Jim, Jake and Ryan.  Jim has blessed her with 2 granddaughters.   Teaghyn was unable to spend the day with us and we missed her terribly.

Aurora wasn't sure about getting on Santa's lap but she was sure interested in the package he had for her.

It was a wonderful party.  It always is and it is always my favorite party of the Christmas season.  There is nothing I love more than a house full of kids.  It is what Christmas is all about and I am grateful that all of my nieces, nephews and children find time in their busy schedules to give me this day with their children.

They are all getting so big so fast. 
 I hope they never outgrow the magic of the Christmas spirit and that I am always blessed enough to spend one day with all of them each year.

Thank you Santa and Mrs. Claus.  May God bless and keep you.