Tag Archives: family

Recent Events

Hello all.

I had meant to write earlier today but it’s been a busy weekend, and really, a busy month for me. Most of all though, my mind has been on other things, besides updating here and writing anything at all, really. If you watch the news, you may have seen something of the recent events here in Southern Alberta. I know not everywhere will have coverage of what’s going on, but as I know people in the eastern and southern US states, I do know the news has been getting around.

Southern Alberta, parts of the B.C. Interior and now east and north of us, there are massive floods occurring, due to heavy rainfall over the past several days, combined with the late snow melt flowing down the rivers from the mountains. It’s had a devastating effect on Calgary and a community just south of us, High River. I don’t even know what to compare it to because I’ve never seen anything like this in this part of the world. Ever. Tens of thousands of people are without homes or power. The entire downtown core of Calgary has been shut down, all bridges to and from blocked off to prevent anyone but essential emergency personnel from going there. High River is all but empty with the Canadian military lending assistance to make sure people are still getting out safely, though I believe now that most people have been removed to safe locations. As far as I know, no one has been injured or killed though I did see a report that some people are unaccounted for, which is never a good sign. All in all though, considering the number of people affected, this could have been so much worse. I just thank God that it wasn’t. Yes, this is horrible, and yes, some will have lost everything but the lives of those displaced and the lives of their loved ones are so much more important than all the rest.

I’ve been trying to limit my intake of news coverage. I’m lucky enough to not have just moved to an area that was flooded – though I’m closer than many of my friends or family – but it’s upsetting to see the devestation. I don’t mean I’m just burying my head in the sand. Rather, watching the images over and over again aren’t going to change anything. Also, checking on-line coverage and articles just makes me angry when I get to the comments sections. There are some cold-blooded people out there, making insensitive and ignorant remarks.

OT: Why do people believe they can say or do anything, so long as they’re on-line? It’s a sad comment on humanity these days that you can look at the destruction of a place that’s home to over a million people and make a crack about the Calgary Flames being extinguished by all the water. Or make a comment that we somehow deserve this as a province because of the oil sands in the north. You just come off as a stupid, sad individual with no heart, no compassion. I’d like to know how you’d handle the same sort of disaster in your own community.

End rant. Sorry, but it’s bothersome to me all the time, these sorts of comments in the on-line community. Not just because this is a tragedy occurring in my home town, but any time something awful happens, anywhere, these people come out of the wood work and they think it’s OK to share these poisonous thoughts.

Ok. Moving on for real now…

As I mentioned above, I did just move back to the city but I’m fine. My neighbourhood was thankfully unaffected. My family, south and west of the city, are also fine. I’m thankful for that, as I am every day. I’ll do what I can over the coming weeks, even if that’s something as minor as staying out of the way of the professionals. If you’re interested in helping, in any way, I believe you can visit the Red Cross website or the City of Calgary website. Don’t take me at my word though – beyond knowing the basics as any average citizen would, I haven’t done any research. I’m sure there are links everywhere but I have heard The Canadian Red Cross mentioned a few times, so start there. News coverage is everywhere as well.

Anyway, I’ve got to get back to my Sunday chores. I hope you’re all safe and happy at home this weekend. If this past week has taught me anything it’s that you need to count your blessings, no matter how small. And I’ve written this before – but I’ll write this again! – hug your loved ones. If they live far from you, call them on the phone and tell them that you love them. Don’t ever let them wonder if you do.

Do take care, and happy reading.

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I am Woman, You are Man

I’ve been lucky over the past couple of years that I’ve been living close enough with my family to see my niece and nephew as regularly as once a week, or more sometimes. I’m sure most people would agree that the early years of a child’s life are the most impressive. You never realize how much an individual can grow and change and learn until you see it happening in those first few years. Of course, over time, our growth process slows.

I’m sure I’ve written about my niece and nephew enough for you to know how much I love and adore them. Living so close allows me to see all the changes in their personalities and learning, as I said, and to see how different they are, as a boy and a girl. Make no mistake about it, girls and boys are different and they develop differently. I’m not saying that that means they’ll always have different interests or limited in their life’s options. It’s just an evolutionary fact, that the two sexes are different.

There are many reasons for it, and I don’t care about the reasons really. I find it fascinating to watch though. Who wouldn’t? Kids are awesome!

The very first book we ever read and discussed in my old book club was “The Female Brain”, by Louann Brizendine, M.D. She’s a neuropsychiatrist and the subject of the book is the basic differences between men and women, from birth to old age. I’m not saying I’m an expert or that I can confirm or deny any of what she’s written, but I found it a very interesting book and study. Brizendine discusses her findings with regards to the patients she’s had over the years – their identities protected of course. As a writer, I found this a useful book in some ways, as well as a good read, period. And you know me, I’m not a fan of non-fiction, so that’s saying something.

It’s not just children I find interesting when thinking of the difference between men and women. As we grow too, the differences remain obvious. I don’t just mean physically. Men and women have different thought processes and reactions to the same events and memories. No, don’t argue with me. It’s true. 😉 I’m not saying all women have the same thoughts or reactions, or all men, but you can’t deny it. I have enough men in my life and enough discussions with them that I can see and hear the differences. I’ve had enough arguments and long talks with all the women in my life to get the same from them.

I know what you might be thinking. Some of that is due to individual personalities, and you’d be right. I never form opinions about men or women simply based on their sex. Actually, I try not to form opinions about anyone, at any time until something settles it for me, in some way. 🙂

As a writer, I love to observe the differences around me, in personalities and the sexes. Speech patterns and turns of phrases are different. The way a man relates a story is different from the way a woman will. Think about the men and women in your life. When you talk to them next time, and I don’t just mean a ‘hi, how are ya’ in passing, just keep it in the back of your mind.

When I write, I try not to rely solely on the stereotypical differences between men and women. I think women can be just as inclined to be commitment-phobics as men, and men can be just as emotional as women. I remember having discussions – or debates, if you like – with a friendly reader at one time about the conversations I wrote between some of my male characters, the hockey players, to be specific. Not only were they all men in this case, but they were athletes, or ‘men’s men’ if you’ll forgive the generalization. I had written them having a certain kind of discussion, about a woman, and the reader – a man – said that conversation would never happen between two men. I had a hard time buying that. He argued endlessly with me over it and I did end up altering the conversation somewhat, to make it more believable that two men were talking about relationships. But I still had a hard time believing men would never discuss relationships with each other. Wrong or not, I disliked pigeon-holing my male characters as the kind that never discussed their relationships with friends. Who else would they talk to about it? Their mothers??? 🙂 I also don’t like to write my female characters in the same manner. I don’t want to make them only emotional basketcases or the ones constantly talking about their feelings. I hope I strike enough balance between my male and female leads to keep them interesting… and believable. What do you think?

As we’re getting ready to sit down to Easter dinner together, and with my 4 year old nephew and 18 month old niece, I wonder how they’re going to turn out in a few years. They’re constantly surprising me, every time I see them. I can’t wait to see how they continue to grow. Then again, I love them and just can’t wait to see them all the time. 😀

I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend. Take care and happy reading.

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Sharing Recipes #7 – Chocolate Crinkles

When I was a younger and still living at home, my maternal grandmother used to come from Winnipeg to visit at Christmas, every other year. She’d come a couple weeks before Christmas and leave before New Year’s, and in the time leading up to the holiday, she’d fill the house with baking. Everything from butter tarts to shortbread to pies. I can remember sitting in the kitchen with her on many occasions, desperate to try a warm cookie or tart, fresh from the oven, only to have my knuckles rapped for the attempt. The treats were for Christmas, I was told.

It’s difficult to recall those days, not just because they were so long ago, but because she’s so different now. She suffered a stroke about ten years back and her health and energy have been deteriorating steadily since then. She can’t travel as easily, and chooses not to, for the most part, and I’m certain she doesn’t bake at all anymore. Considering that so many of my memories of her involve the warmth of the kitchen, I have trouble with that most of all. Maybe that seems trivial but to me, it isn’t.

One recipe that comes to mind every time I think of my Grandma baking at Christmastime are these cookies. They’re nothing special and they’re probably one of the easiest cookie recipes I’ve ever done. They’re a bit messy but kids would probably have a wonderful time ‘helping.’ I hope you let them and that one day, their memories of Christmas and baking are as wrapped up in you as mine are with my family.

Enjoy.

 

Chocolate Crinkles

1/4 cup – butter or margarine

2 cups – white/granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 tsp – vanilla

4 x 1oz (4 x 28g) – UNsweetened chocolate squares, melted

(Tip: when melting chocolate, if you can, use a double boiler pan/pot. You can use a regular saucepan too, but either way, ALWAYS melt over low heat and stir occasionally. Otherwise, you risk burning the chocolate and wasting the lot.)

2-1/2 cups – all-purpose flour

2 tsp – baking powder

1/2 tsp – salt

Approx. 1 cup – Icing/confectioner’s sugar

(The icing sugar is for garnishing the cookies. Put some into a wide bowl or on a plate and set aside until dough is mixed.)

 

Cream butter and white sugar together.

crinkles 1

Beat in eggs, one at a time.

crinkles 3

Add vanilla and chocolate. Mix well.

crinkles 2crinkles 9

Mix flour, powder and salt together. Add to chocolate mixture and mix well.

crinkles 12crinkles 14

Shape dough into 1″ balls. (If you make the balls a little larger, that’s fine, you’ll just have to bake for a couple extra minutes. If you keep them to around 1″ though, you should end up with around 6 dozen cookies.) Roll cookie balls in icing sugar until coated.

crinkles 15

Place on greased cookie sheets. (I cover the cookie sheets with parchment paper. Saves having to spray or grease the pans and there’s minimal clean-up! :D)

crinkles 16

Bake at 350F (175C) for 8-12 minutes. Cookies should be soft when cooled. If you leave them in the oven too long, they harden and become roughly the texture of small rocks.

crinkles 17 crinkles 18

And here we are, at the end – almost – of another month of baking. I’m all baked out. 😉 Well, maybe not. I might do another cookie recipe that requires cream cheese since my mother thawed out a couple extra packages and we have to find some use for them. Any suggestions?

I hope that you’re all having a wonderful weekend and that no one in your house is too stressed or overworked to enjoy the holidays. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Take care and happy reading/eating.

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What Happened to the Love Letter?

Do you send birthday cards? Anniversary or Christmas cards? Valentine’s Day, Easter or Labour Day cards? 🙂 I know you send some or all of those. Who doesn’t? When was the last time you actually sent a non-holiday or special occasion card or letter – a real one! Not an e-card or email!! – to someone in your life? Not just your lover or spouse. It could be for a friend, family member or even an old college buddy.

When my best friend went off to university in another city – two hours away but at the time it felt like we’d never see each other again – we used to send each other cards all the time. Just plain ones, saying ‘hi, what’s up?’ or funny ones to make each other laugh. I used to have an actual pen pal, in England, I believe. I couldn’t even tell you her name now. We corresponded for about a year when I was maybe eight or nine years old. My cousins and much of my extended family live in Winnipeg, so my cousin, Sarah, and I used to write letters to each other, sending pictures of things we thought the other would like. I still like to send cards and packages with hand-written notes in them to my friends in far-off places.

So what happened? Why doesn’t anybody do that anymore? The obvious answer is that we do still write to each other, but it’s via the internet. Facebook, emails, Twitter and a slew of other methods I wouldn’t have a clue about. I’m not saying I don’t use those outlets as well, because I do. I’ll send a quick text to my brother or friends to figure out a plan for the weekend. I’ll facebook someone or write on their wall when I think about them. There’s nothing wrong with using those outlets. It’s easy, free – except for texting, depending on your mobile plan – and often, you get the instant response we all crave.

What about just writing something just for the sake of writing? In the olden days, people wrote to each other just to catch up and let them know what was going on. In today’s world, our closest friends are often physically our closest friends. We can pick up a phone and call them, send a text or walk down the street and drop in for a cup of coffee. What if your closest friends weren’t so close? What if you had to save separately just to talk to someone long distance on the phone? What if you could only facebook them and chat on-line? Would you be more inclined to write a card or letter to them? Maybe not that often, I suspect.

But… what if that person was the love of your life?

I’ll tell you something, I love to write letters. I love to write emails too, come to think of it. I am practical and it costs nothing to send an email, while sending a card or letter via snail mail costs money. I love just sitting down and writing a letter to someone, sharing what’s new and asking how things are where they are. I love being able to edit an email before I send it, correcting any spelling errors and whatnot. 😉 But even hand-writing a card or letter is a wonderful thing, errors and all. I think seeing the smudge of a finger or scratched out word is so personal, you can almost feel the person writing to you.

I especially love the idea of a love letter. How amazing would it feel if you were seeing someone, even someone who lived two blocks away, and one day in the mail, between stacks of bills and flyers, you see an envelope hand-addressed to you. Do you wait to open it after the bills? Of course not! You tear into it, thinking it might be a card and check from Grandma, or a thank you note from your girlfriend after a baby shower. Instead, it’s a love note, written in choppy printing or angled cursive expressing how much you are thought of, desired and loved.

*sigh*

Doesn’t that just make you melt? That someone thought enough of you to take the time to pick a card, uncap a pen, and write what they think of you? My goodness. If you knew something so simple could get such a reaction, would you do it more often?

As much as I love to receive those sorts of letters, I also love to send them. And not because of any desire or need to get a letter in response. I just love sending them.

Is it a dying habit? Probably. I’ll do my part to keep it going, as often as I can afford to. I love putting together packages to send to my friends. I love writing what I’m thinking about someone into a card and imagining their reaction when they receive it. If I could afford to keep a PO box, I’d list the mailing address here and wish that my readers would send postcards from all over the place!

For now, I’ll leave for the week, wondering and hoping that you’ll reach out to someone in your life like this. It’s never, ever, a bad thing to let your loved ones, near and far, know that they are in your thoughts and cherished.

Take care and happy reading.

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Love and Loss

I had written another blog entry for this week, but something has changed my mind on subjects. This is tough to write and if it was hand-written, the ink would be smudged by many tears.

It’s been a difficult week this week. A very good friend of mine since high school lost her mother. While not a loss within my own family, it sure feels like it. As teenagers, there was a small group of us who were closer friends than the rest and our parents were more than familiar with all of us. I’d known her mother since I was fifteen years old, just as my friends have known my family. I was incredibly sad not only because my friend was going through such a difficult time, but also because I was going to miss her mother. Someone doesn’t become a part of your life for so long to just fade out without noticing. She will be missed by more than just her family, if her funeral service yesterday was any indication.

Also, I’m reminded of the sad fact that I am reaching an age where many friends might start losing parents or watching them suffer through illness. Only it’s not just age that dictates that. As I’m sure you’re aware, disease and accidents can strike anyone, at any age. There’s no preparing for it, even if you know it’s coming and as a friend, all you can do is hold a hand or offer a shoulder, as insignificant as it might feel.

I’d be lying if I said I was solely focused on my friend’s loss this week. It has been on my mind, obviously and I’m sure making my coworkers wonder why sudden waterworks were the thing every day since I heard the news. It got me thinking also, as so many things do, how I try to write realism into every story. With something like this coming along, I can’t help but be affected by it and wonder about it in relation to my stories. Gosh, that makes me sound incredibly selfish but I suppose it’s a coping mechanism for me with many things. If you’ll stick with me, I might eventually make some sense today. :–\

Losing someone you love is never easy. It doesn’t matter if it’s a break-up, death or a move. You don’t want to see the person go but so many times, it’s out of your hands and out of your control. Does this make the loss easier or harder? Who’s to say? I’ve experienced loss of both kinds and I couldn’t pinpoint which was more difficult for me. Any kind of loss requires a period of recovery and mourning. I don’t just mean the loss of someone to death. Don’t tell me you’ve just been able to bounce back the day after your boyfriend broke your heart. All these break-ups and losses need time to deal with, mourn and eventually, accept.

Maybe you’d think someone who’d lost someone close to them wouldn’t want to ever feel that way again. Maybe the fear that you’d lose more and more of yourself would keep you from ever feeling anything for anyone again. Sure, that’s true. If you don’t care about anyone, you can’t care about losing them.

I can’t imagine living life like that. Yes, I’ve been hurt and I’ve been sad. I’ve been so torn up that it literally makes me sick to my stomach and I can barely move. I’ve also never been so hurt that I haven’t been able to love and be happy again.

I don’t just mean romantic love. From something as minor as loving a pet – and a lot of you will say that’s not minor – to loving and being willing to die for my family. I can’t imagine holding a newborn ‘niece’ or ‘nephew’, the children of my closest friends, and not feel my heart expand to fit them in. I can’t imagine not feeling the need to comfort, laugh and share my heart with someone special, no matter how badly I’d been hurt in the past.

It’s frightening to me how many people might pass up the opportunity to love and be loved. I often think about how every single great romance or love story would have never happened if one or both people in the relationship had been too scared to take the chance again. Some people don’t want to be hurt by someone breaking their heart. Others don’t want to face the harsh reality of a long illness and still end up losing their loved ones.

In relation to my own stories, I’ve never written something so serious as the loss of a loved one affecting a current relationship. Maybe because it would be such a sensitive topic and getting it just right is a challenge I’m not up for yet. That’s not to say I’ll never address it and I know for a fact that people can overcome those fears and fall in love again.

I suppose all I really want to say or convey is that I hope no one ever keeps themselves from feeling and experiencing all the different forms of love. Yes, it will be sad to see that person go, or to watch them walk away, but all the time in between far outweighs the loss. At least, it does in my opinion. I don’t pretend to know how everyone feels on this subject but I know myself, and I know my own heart. I won’t stop loving and letting my heart grow. I don’t know how to be any other way. I have loved and do love with everything in me, otherwise, what’s the point?

Now, go and hug your nearest loved one, be they four-legged, family or significant other. You never know what tomorrow will bring and it’s the easiest thing in the world to share a hug, a quiet moment and those three little words.

I’ll leave you with this quote, from Barbara DeAngelis. I’ve always loved it and found it to be true.

“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.”

Do take care, and happy reading.

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Sharing Recipes #2 – Chocolate Oh Henry Squares

This week I’m bringing you another old favourite of mine. They’re called Chocolate Oh Henry Squares – no relation to the Oh Henry chocolate bars you find in the stores. 🙂 These are another popular one with friends and family alike. They’re also a non-bake recipe. You do part of it on the stovetop but you don’t have to worry about burning anything in a pan in the oven. It’d be a good one to try for those of you who aren’t all that experienced with baking.

Just like the cookies, I have memories associated with these squares. When I was younger, and learning how to cook and bake different things, my parents would let me try just about anything. My mom always told me that as long as I know how to read, I can bake. So I would. I’d sit in the kitchen on weekends and thumb through the recipe books my parents had. I’d look at the pictures and find the recipes that go with them. Some would have some pretty far out ingredients but every once in a while, I’d find a recipe that we had all the components for.

I still remember the exact day I tried this square recipe for the first time. I think I was about ten or eleven at the time. My dad was home from work, which was a rare treat in those days – he used to work all different shifts. He sat with me at the kitchen table as I flipped through the beat-up old recipe book. I suggested this one and he read the ingredients to make sure we had everything. Then we got it all out and made the squares together. They turned out so well that they became an immediate staple of holiday gatherings and family dinners. And every time I make these squares, or see them on the dessert trays at my family’s house after dinner, I’m reminded of the time my dad spent with me, testing out a new recipe for the very first time.

Even now, as I make these squares, my mother and my nephew – her grandson – have been watching Christmas shows and now they’re decorating the Christmas tree. My nephew is asking ‘why’ about every. Single. Ornament. And yet, I can’t help but smile. It’s all a new memory and I’m going to remember it every time I have these squares. Also, it’s a wonderful time of year and I’m so very lucky to have my family close by.

So I pass this recipe on to all of you, in the hopes that you also get the chance to make some memories with your families this holiday season. And if, at the same time, you manage to make some tasty Chocolate Oh Henry Squares, I hope you can control yourself long enough to share. 😀

Chocolate Oh Henry Squares

(As a side note, you can easily make this recipe dairy and/or gluten-free. You just need to buy gluten-free graham wafers, and wafer crumbs, and dairy-free chocolate. It’s also made without eggs, and you can choose to leave out the nuts if you really want or need to.)

You will need a 9″x9″ square baking pan. It’s best to use a flat-bottom pan, like Baker’s Secret brand, rather than a glass pan. You need to line the bottom of the pan with graham wafers and the slightly rounded bottom of glass pans won’t work as well.

Ingredients:

Graham wafers – you won’t even need a whole box

Filling:

3/4 cup – butter or margarine

2/3 cup – packed brown sugar

1/2 cup – milk (use almond or soy milk as a substitute if desired)

1/3 cup – chocolate chips

1-1/4 cups – graham wafer crumbs

1 cup – chopped nuts (I prefer pecans, but you can use walnuts, filberts or peanuts if you really wanted.)

Icing:

1-1/4 cups – icing or confectioner’s sugar

3 tbsp – butter or margarine

1/4 cup – cocoa

1 tbsp, plus 2 tsp – hot coffee (for this, I add extra coffee to make the icing more smooth and easier to spread on the squares. When you get to the icing stage, make a pot of coffee and relax for a few minutes, 😉 then save at least a cup for this.)

First, cover the bottom of the pan with the whole graham wafer cookies. Cut them to fit where necessary.

Next, measure out each of the first bunch of ingredients before doing anything else. In a medium-sized saucepan, add the butter/margarine, brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat, and add the chocolate chips. Stir until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Use a whisk if needed. I find that the brown sugar doesn’t always melt as easily, especially if it’s lumpy when you measure it out.

Add the nuts and graham wafer crumbs. Mix together.

Pour into the pan, over the graham wafers. Spread evenly, as best as you can. The filling should be relatively runny so you shouldn’t need to spread much. It should just expand on its own.

Now put another layer of the whole graham wafer cookies over the filling, again cutting extra pieces to fit where necessary.

You’ll want to leave the pan to sit for a little bit now. The mixture in the middle needs to cool and harden some before you can spread the icing over the top. So go make that pot of coffee and grab a magazine – or your ereader! – and relax for a while.

For the icing, put the icing sugar, cocoa, butter and first tablespoon of coffee together in a small mixing bowl. Mix together, adding a teaspoon at a time of more coffee until you get the icing to a smooth, spreadable consistency. Don’t add too much coffee at once, or you’ll end up making it too runny. Although, if you do, don’t panic. Just add some more icing sugar back to the mix to thicken it up again.

Spread the icing over the top layer of graham wafers, spreading evenly until every wafer is covered.

Finally, put the pan into the fridge and leave for a couple hours to allow the cookies to soften and the whole thing to set.

And you’re done. Congratulations on another stellar treat. 🙂

Take care and happy reading.

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How to Make Apple Pie.

In Canada, it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow. It’s a nice long weekend for me, no work until Tuesday. 🙂 I’m spending the weekend at my family’s home. An aunt and uncle are here, visiting from Winnipeg, and we’ve all been spending the days and nights enjoying each other’s company.

Every year around this time, I do a weekend of baking. I bake during the rest of the year – cookies, brownies, cupcakes, etc. – but earlier this week, a friend gave me a box of apples from the tree in his yard. So, yesterday, I baked apple pies.

Have you ever baked an apple pie? It’s really one of the most simple desserts to make. (Assuming you don’t make your own pastry, which I don’t. I just never learned.) It takes time, to peel, core and cut the apples, but in the end, it’s still a very basic recipe. I start by cooking all the apple slices in a big pot on the stove, with a random mixture of white and brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. I cook them until the apples are soft and the scent of the mixture is all I can smell. Then I scoop the apples into the pie crusts and bake until they’re done. See? Simple.

Yesterday, I started peeling the apples before noon and my nephew – he’s 3 – helped for a bit. By help, I mean that he told me which apple to peel next. 😉 Once he was bored with that, I was on my own for a bit. Then my mom sat down to help me. I kept peeling while she started coring and cutting the apples in half. It didn’t take long to finish that bunch of apples between the two of us and a short while later, we had the fantastic smell of apples and cinnamon all through the house. When it came time for more apples and pies, my sister-in-law gave me the extra pot and tools I needed to cut down on my prep time. My aunt helped me with covering the pies once the crusts were filled. After all that, my mom kicked me out of the kitchen so that she could do the clean up with my aunt helping her.

Later, after dinner, I sat on the sofa with my family around me, and they were all eating the pie they said I’d baked and thanking me for the effort. I don’t know about that. I had help from everyone at some point or another. Tomorrow, I’ll be making a couple more pies, some tarts, and my dad will be making his favourite apple dessert, Apple Brown Betty. I’ll have the same people helping me and talking with me and laughing with me all day long.

Because it’s Thanksgiving, I guess I just wanted to let you all know what I’m thankful for. I am blessed to have the family that I do. I’m lucky that they’re so helpful and fun to spend time with. I’m thankful for them, end of story.

Do you really want to know how to make an apple pie? Take one box of apples, stir in a family’s love, bake until warm and golden, then serve with a smile.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Take care and happy reading.

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