I have some catching up to do! Well, Thanksgiving was a success despite me being under the weather. I penned down alot of my recipes ahead of time and Papa Smurf was able to help hold it down in the kitchen. The latest vlog will be from our 2nd annual visit to Symphony in Lights at Wiregrass Mall (back in November). As of 3 weeks ago our tree was up and the Christmas shopping for the kiddos was done! What!? For us it just never happens this early but we really wanted to get things out of the way and have them already set up while we had the chance. Baby Jay and I are both healthy and he growing like a champ. God is GOOD! I don't want to force him on you but he's GOOD! Because this time last year it was a totally different story.
I feel like people aren't transparent enough during this time of year and people really go through some things. This time last year, like I said, it was a totally different story for us. Papa Smurf was working at two different jobs, one was a restaurant. Though everyone had done their part on site to get things over to central payroll in time, his check as well as the rest of the staff at his level on location had their checks withheld until after the holiday. So, we had our tree but weren't able to get our kids gifts. Things were pretty tight therefore we also did not have the gas money to make the 1 hour and 15 minute trip to see my sister in law (Papa Smurf's sister) who was in Orlando with her girls during that time.
We had a 'REAL Christmas' as Papa Smurf coined it. You know the ones you see on your favorite old 90s sitcoms or other childhood movies. The ones where everything goes wrong, or doesn't go according to plan, or there are no presents/ commercial Christmas. Anyways, Christmas Eve night we went to church for the special performance and service being held. They really put on a show so that was a gift in and of itself. We left out feeling refreshed and in good spirits. Christmas Day we woke up and watched the Macy's parade and all of the Disney specials. Then we watched Hallmark and Family Channel Christmas movies all day while letting the kids pig out on cookies and popcorn. The kids were content. We didn't let on to them that anything was wrong (they were 3 & 5) or had not gone according to plan at the time. They had a good time. We went out the next day and got gifts and 'staged' commercial Christmas the following morning and they never questioned a thing.
I have both heard and read (through blogs and forums) that the first two years of a relocation can be the hardest but to hang in there for both. It's like getting over a hump of sorts but too many tap out early only to regret it. This year has gone alot better, better jobs, better schedules, and opportunities. So, for anyone in the same boat, hang in there! And to any parents going through a Christmas not going according to plan, you are not alone! It happens to all of us. Just remember what Christmas is really all about ;-)
I leave you all with a recipe for a delicacy rooted in soul food tradition that my family and I only prepare for New Year's Eve or Thanksgiving. It's very hard to find recipes for these/ this online and I have only found like maybe a good 2-3 online. This time I prepared them in the crockpot. So I present to you....
6-8 split pigs' feet (I like to use split but you can use whole)
4 stalks of celery (trimmed and cut down like appetizer sticks)
1 large yellow onion halved
1-2 tspns of crushed red pepper
1-2 tblspns of Kosher salt
Fill one large crockpot with all of the ingredients. Fill with enough water to cover the pigs feet. Set your crockpot to high and cook for at least 4 hours. You will know that the pigs' feet are done as they become very tender and fall off the bones. If your pigs feet are tough and allow them additional time to cook.
Serve hot with your favorite sides (like potato salad and collard greens) and your favorite hot sauce.