Christmas Day 2021

Dear Liza,

Once noon came around, it was time to get moving. Katie and the kids were on their way! As they came through the door, the first thing we saw was Jasper carrying the Buche de Noel, a wonderful rolled up cake that looks like a frosted log. We have seen folks make them on The British Bake Off, and know how tricky they are. This one, made by Katie and Kestrel, even had meringue mushrooms and a caterpillar named Jeffrey.

But before we got to the delicious dessert, we played games. Jasper had brought his video game and he and Grandpa Nelson had on-the-couch-guy time.

Kestrel found some dice in the cupboard and made up a new game we called Three Blind Dice, where you close your eyes and choose one of the different colored dice, roll it, and do some complicated math to see who wins. It was fun and got everyone on the floor to play.

There were also sugar cookies (thanks to Auntie Katie’s dough) to roll, bake and decorate. Kestrel used a stool to be tall enough to roll and cut them. She has a delicate touch and a lot of patience. It was fun seeing her and Katie working together!

Lots of coming and going in our small kitchen made for a few traffic jams, but it all worked out.

Auntie Bridgett and Kestrel set the table with all our pretty Christmas plates, and when the pork and veggies were ready, we feasted. My challah came out so pretty.

And when we were full of happiness and food, delicious cake and pretty cookies, we watched a really fun and interesting movie called ”The Hogfather”, based on books by the late, great Terry Pratchett. Like all of Sir Terry’s work, it was odd and ironic and wise. Everyone enjoyed it.

When we were all ready for bed, we packed everything up and walked Katie and family to their car in the near freezing night.

Merry Christmas to all!


Grandma Judy

Hanukkah Evening

Dear Liza,

Two kids, two menorahs…

We finally got to spend a Hanukkah evening with Auntie Katie, Jasper and Kestrel!

Last Thursday evening was the Winter Music Performance at Hosford-Abernethy School. The sun was just going down as we all walked from their house to the school, about two blocks. It was already very cold, but we were properly bundled up.

I love old school buildings! They have high ceilings, which at Abernethy, means beautiful soaring murals of kids doing art, geography, gardening, and music.

Abernethy’s murals

The program, put on by Ms Lannigan’s and Ms Logan’s Second Grade classes, was directed and partly written by the school’s music teacher, Mr. Hall. There were six songs, some of which, like “Frere Jacques”, “There’s a Hole in the Bucket” and ” Zum Gali Gali”, I sang when I was little!

Mr. Hall wrote “The World Greeting Song” and ” I Am We”. The first is a fun call and response song about ways of saying hello in different languages. The audience did a fine job repeating ‘hola’ and even ‘nihao’, but we got lost in some of the other greetings. “I am We” is about the different winter holidays and how many days each is celebrated.

Mr. Hall and his performers

After the show, we walked back to Auntie Katie’s house. It was very cold and dark, and not even 6:00 yet. We made latkes (Kestrel broke the eggs nearly perfectly) and enjoyed them with applesauce and chicken, lit candles and opened presents. Kestrel had made Katie a pretty coaster out of a tile. The silliest gift was the Marvel comics printed leggings I had found for Katie at a vintage shop!

After dinner, Grandpa Nelson played video games with Jasper while we ladies made cookies. The recipe is from Auntie Bridgett’s Momma, Donna Spicer, and worked very well.

Cracking with Care

Since the evening was running late, we decided to used broken up chocolate gelt for decorations instead of frosting the cookies. There were squirrels and acorns, kestrels (the bird), owls and octopi. They were delicious!

We left before bedtime, full of latkes, cookies and the love of family.


Grandma Judy