Thanks & giving…

This past Thursday, we spent Thanksgiving with extended family & friends. 2 large meals and a whole table of pies and desserts made for some stuffed guests, not just stuffed turkey. Friday morning at 3:30am, our alarm rang. We threw some clothes on & hopped in the car. This year, our boys came with us for Black Friday shopping. Their eyes were wide yet sleepy while hundreds of people streamed into Fleet Farm on a chilly North Dakota morning. Some were just there for the free stuffed sloth. We made a couple more stops and didn’t have to wait in line too long. The reward? Some kid-approved Christmas gifts & Sandy’s donuts (one of the best donut shops around). We have lots to give thanks for.

We stayed in West Fargo with our friends. Our plans were to do our Christmas baking on Saturday. Since Black Friday shopping went smoothly, we started baking a few things early. Our annual baking day turned into baking days – plural. Most of our recipes were doubled or x6! A neighbor & her mom came over to join in the fun. From Friday afternoon through Saturday at 9pm, we went through more than 25lbs of sugar and flour, over 120 eggs. My husband packaged all of the treats into 3 separate tables of containers. Her husband did dishes for hours. We mixed, measured, scooped, baked, dipped and rolled until we smelled like sugar. Our aprons, the counters and the floors were covered in sugar & flour. Good thing my friend loves to sweep! Many of these goodies will be gifts. Some will be for piano open houses, some for bus drivers, teachers, neighbors and co-workers. Family gatherings and pot-luck events and a Relay for Life fundraiser will all benefit from our baking day. Our joy is in giving it away! (Of course some will be snacks at home too)

You know the saying that anything “baked with love” tastes better? I think that’s why people love our treats. They aren’t anything strange or necessarily special- but they are baked with love. While Christmas music plays in the background, we bake our treats and visit. There may have been a glass or two of wine included, but not too much – we need to make sure the measurements are accurate! We can’t exactly remember when it started, but it’s been about 9-10 yrs that we have baked together. I think we only missed the year we moved. Each year, one of us packs up half the kitchen and comes with recipes and “raw materials” to bake several dozen treats. I think we made 25 different kinds of treats this year, but we’ve been told to scale back next year, our our packaging department might protest.

Whatever your holiday traditions are, I hope they involve both thanks AND giving. Peace be with you on your journey of enough & may you enjoy a holiday treat or spend some time laughing and visiting with those you love.

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