Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mom's Chili and Mom-Mow's Mississippi Corn Bread

I used the family cookbook that my mother put together that I spoke of in my last post.  It was great to be able to make some of the family dishes.  I decided since we are having some record cold weather down in Florida that I would make some chili and cornbread.  I usually use some other receipe, but then remembered the special cookbook that my mother gave me for Christmas. 

I looked through to find that my mother's chili was there and my mom-mow's cornbread was also there.  My mother is from Maine and my grandmother from the south.  So, north and south came together on our dinner table that evening.

The only thing that I did not take into account that my mother always made large portions because of having 5 girls and a husband.  I made the chili with all of the ingredients that it called for and added green pepper.  I did not even think of the size.  This is a chili that is cooked in a crockpot on low for several hours.  I have a very large crockpot.  This receipe was HUGE!  It went all the way to the rim of the crockpot.  We had chili for days.  It was very Yummy and David enjoyed the leftovers.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is a tradition that the "Lyons" family has had since I can remember.  It started with my Mom-Mow (grandmother) and after her passing it continued with my sisters and parents.  It is a very large group and we cannot seem find a house big enough to house us all; even though all of our houses are not that small.  It is a wonderful time and I love every minute of it.  There are a lot of activities and traditions.  We play the box game (this was a game my grandmother came up with), my dad reads the Christmas Story out of the bible, gifts for the kids, sister gifts, BIL gifts, mom/dad gifts and gifts from our mom/dad.  To say the least it is a busy night. 

This year was very cute for kids, they decided to put on a skit of the Story of the birth of Jesus (picture of skit to the right).  It was so cute and it was a little off, but the reason for the season was there.  Out of the mouth of babes.  I am so happy and blessed to have a family that truely knows the meaning of Christmas.

Just to explain a little of the activities.  The box game is a box full of small gifts for kids and adults.  Each family puts in 30 items (usually gifts are $1 or lower). We break up into teams.  Teams are matched with one child and one adult.  If we do not have enough kids to go with an adult then we will match the adults.  How do you get the gifts you may ask???? Well we a reader reads the "The Night Before Christmas" (or if we have enough gifts then we use Christmas carols )and then stops leaving the others to fill in the blank.  For example:  "It was the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a ______."   You are suppose to raise your hand and answer correctly.  However, most times that is not how it happens.  Anyways, whomever gets the answer correct then they get a gift for themselves and the partner.  The box game was created because our family is large and most of us would spend a fortune on gifts for every person in the family.  So my grandmother came up with the game so you still get something.  Since then the game is still in the family, but the sisters and the BILs do the $5 gifts to each other and the BILS to one another.  It is interesting to see what you can buy for $5.  You do have to be creative.  All of the adults do buy for all the nieces/nephews and each family does buy for our mom/dad.  We have told our mother not to bother buying the adults anything, but she does not listen.  Each daughter gets a box of gifts for herself and husband.  Each grandchild gets a box of gifts also.  She keeps telling us that she cuts back but we do not see it.

The best gift this year from my mother is the family cookbook.  It was a huge binder full of receipes from my dad's side of the family and my mother's side.  My mom-mow gave my mother the family "secret receipes" for Christmas years ago and then this year copied it and added my her mother's receipes.  There were also new receipes that she had and thought we would enjoy.  The most touching part of this book is the dedication page that explains the reason for the cookbook.  My mother also encourged to add to the cookbook with receipes from our husband's side of the family.

This year seem to be different.  Not that anything changed but for some reason the "air" was different.  All of the sisters are married and have their own families except for my sister Erica.  She has been dating Nick for almost a year and on Christmas Eve he popped the big question with ring in hand.  She said "yes" and all of us were happy to witness the start of engagement.  It was great.  We have a wedding in the October of this year and are happy to have an addition of not only Nick but his daughter Mykayla.  They both fit in our vast family very nicely.

It was a wonderful Christmas and one that will be remembered as one of the best; not because of the gifts, but for the simple memories of a family that is rich in love and dedication to one another.  It has taken me sometime to realize that my family is a large blessing.