My husband, Joe, and son Benjamin are on a two-week holiday break from the factory. Son Kevin is also out of school for two weeks. Son Joseph works construction, so they take advantage of working every day the weather permits.

I don’t expect much quiet time in the next two weeks, but we are hoping to butcher beef and pork.

Dec. 17 was grandson Timothy’s (T.J’s.) first birthday. Our whole family went to daughter Elizabeth’s for supper in honor of his birthday. She made homemade pizza and had cake and ice cream. I took macaroni salad and chips. Daughter Susan brought a pudding.

Elizabeth’s pizza was very good, as usual. She had a little cake for T.J. to have fun with and then a bigger cake for the rest of us.

Elizabeth said T.J. recently pushed the stepstool up to the kitchen sink and was crawling in the sink. It's a good thing she got him before he turned on the faucets. He had fun tearing the wrapping off his birthday presents. He didn’t get the idea to blow out his single candle, though.

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After we ate, we played games and visited. Of course, the grandchildren enjoyed playing with T.J.’s new toys.

On Sunday, our church had our Christmas potluck. I made a breakfast casserole. I don’t have a recipe, but I put in eggs, potatoes, onions, bacon, ham, mushrooms, green peppers, cheese, then topped it with sausage gravy. It must have been good because it was gone before I went through the line. There were six casseroles, a variety of salads, pies, cakes, puddings, bars, cookies and so much more. By the time everyone brings something, it adds up to a lot of food.

On our way home, we stopped at sister Emma and Jacob’s to visit with Jacob Jr. He is doing well since his surgery on both his feet.

Yesterday, some of the children and I were gone all day for appointments. The drive was two hours, and we were halfway home when our driver, Beth, got a call from her sister, who had taken daughter Elizabeth to the doctor. Her blood pressure was dangerously high, so the doctor admitted her to the hospital. Son-in-law Tim wanted to bring the children over to our house, then go back to the hospital with Elizabeth. We went past Tim and Elizabeth’s house and brought Abigail and T.J. home with us.

We made a supper of spaghetti and ham and cheese sandwiches, since Joe and son Benjamin each got a 14-pound ham from their employer for Christmas.

Elizabeth was released from the hospital, but needs to go back for more tests. T.J. was so happy to see his dad and mom come back to get him. Both children were easy to have here because they are used to being here.

On Sunday, my husband, Joe, will be 51. The family is coming home for Christmas that day. Joe will get birthday and Christmas gifts the same day. Everyone plans to come Saturday night for supper and stay for the night. It's always so good to have the whole family under the same roof.

We want to make party mix for the holidays. I’ll share the recipe I use. I add more of the ingredients I like best.

Party Mix

3 cups Corn Chex

2 cups Rice Chex

3 cups Wheat Chex

1 cup Cheerios

1 cup Cheez-Its

1 cup garlic bagel chips

1 cup butter twist pretzels

Sauce:

6 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Melt butter in pan and add seasonings. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes. Optional: Sprinkle on more Worcestershire sauce during baking if you like a stronger flavor.