Tag Archives: Family Christmas

Christmas with My In-Laws and Then a Blizzard

Our family had a terrific Christmas Day at my sister-in-law Betsy and her husband Phil’s home; that’s Uncle Phil to all you folks in the know! We arrived mid-afternoon at their home in South Jersey; as we were the last family to arrive, gift opening commenced soon thereafter. Paper flew! Thanks were exchanged! Ohhhs and Ahhhs were exclaimed!

Poppop, with his usual generous nature, provided his grandchildren with their heart’s desires:

Max received a Kindle!

Pat received a rugby jacket; he's an awesome player himself and has his favorite teams.

Katie received some high-end designer boots that she loves!

Tory received a Nakona softball glove; oh yeah!!

Andrew and his Poppop gift somehow escaped my camera’s lens! Help! Some help here, family! What did Andrew receive?!

It’s fun spending time with my sisters-in-law and their families; they are funny, chatty and always ready to debate and discuss anything and everything. The back-and-forths can get lively and we always laugh, a lot. This year was the first time Betsy and Phil hosted Christmas and we had such a great time that I’ve already asked if we can return for Christmas 2011!

A home brew with a subtle but sincere kick!

As the afternoon wore on into the evening, I watched Uncle Phil sip the lemoncello I made for him and my brother-in-law Joe. I loved that when I asked his opinion of this year’s batch that Phil gave me his honest opinion; he’s dependable that way. I enjoyed watching the movie Elf with my nephew Andrew, son of Betsy and Uncle Phil. I’d never seen the movie before and Andrew made some wry observations that made it that much more enjoyable. Then all of us sat and watched a political comedienne. Wow! Opinions and catcalls and abuse flew thick and fast in our crowd.

All too soon we went to bed (except my son Max, who, according to his sister, finally turned off the TV at 3 a.m. and then proceeded to snore at a high decibel level until we woke them both at 9 a.m.) and woke up to bad weather news. Both my husband Mike and his sister Betsy are weather junkies. As we drank our first cups of coffee and tea, Mike and Betsy talked weather; Uncle Phil jumped in with his opinion. He has a huge right to his weather opinions, I think, since he works for a large Central NJ township and one of his many jobs, in addition to keeping his employees in line, is to plow the miles and miles of snow-covered roads in the event of a big storm. I’d bet Uncle Phil is still out plowing, making the roads safe for those who venture out tomorrow.

When we heard the forecast, we jumped in our car and headed North to home. The weather deteriorated and this morning we woke up to this:

The front porch drifts were 3 feet high! Sunny, Tory's beloved VW Bug, is freezing her butt off!!



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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Christmas, Family, Food, Lemoncello, New Jersey, Snow and Snowstorms, weather

Tales of Lemoncello: One Year Later

It’s been almost a year since I shared the story about the grain alcohol that tasted like water when I opened the bottle; and for those of you who read that tale (https://adventuresofamiddleagemom.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/tales-of-lemoncello/) you know that my son Max did replace the grain alcohol with water and I did have to begin at the beginning to make my Italian girlfriend Anna’s much-coveted, much-praised lemoncello.


This year I didn’t have any problem with the Everclear grain alcohol I purchased (and promptly hid in a deep, dark, obscure spot where neither the 19- nor 16-year-old could find it. I took it out of safe keeping today and finished the brewing process. The lemon skins had marinated in grain alcohol for two weeks (more than the recipe recommends, which I think Anna told me was the bare minimum of time).

The Real Deal, not a vodka-based imitation!

Today I cooked up a simple syrup, let it cool, fished the by-now-pickled lemon skins out of the now-yellow grain alcohol, added some more grain alcohol per the recipe Anna had given me and bottled the whole mixed-up shebang together.

I’m a little sticky from the bottling process since I can never keep the funnel balanced perfectly as I pour. It’s too early in the day for me to be licking my fingers clean either. . .unless I want to go to bed really early. . .and wake up late, possibly with a dire hangover. Moderation is key in so many things, especially drinking this lemoncello!

Double the recipe and share with family and friends. You hear that Joe and Phil?

And an Early Christmas Celebration

My extended family celebrates Christmas together the Sunday before Christmas. So yesterday, as usual, we travelled to Central Jersey to my sister Cindy’s home. I look forward to the gathering of adults (my generation), teens and young adults (my kids are still teens and their cousins are in their late 20s/early 30s) and little kids (two great-nephews, babe in arms and kindergartener).

It’s always fun. Football frequently takes center stage with lots of teasing back and forth between the True Blue Giants fans and the Gang Green Jets fans. It’s lively and, well, family. My sister put out a fine spread of food from appetizers to main course, side dishes and desserts. Most of us eat too much and have to rest our eyes for a little while after we eat! It’s part of the tradition, I guess!

The newest member of our clan, Baby Nathaniel, was fascinated with the hubbub and his friendly cousins. It was wonderful to watch his eyes widen in delight, his attempts to “talk,” and his wriggling to get a better view of his world.

Welcome, Nathaniel!

Baby Nathaniel with His Mom and Great Aunt



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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Baby Nathaniel, Christmas, Everclear Grain Alcohol, Family, Food, Football, Lemoncello, New Baby, recipes