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love and peanut brittle

Not too long ago, sometime before the chaos of the holidays set in, I packed the twins up one day and headed east.  My grandpa and grandma live just far enough away that we don’t get to see them as much as we’d like, but not too far for a day trip visit.  To some it may sound silly, but before I got pregnant one of the things I was extremely excited about at the thought of having a baby was giving my grandpa and grandma their first great-grandchild.  And the day we told them there was a baby on the way was up there on my list of best moments.

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So not only did I want to take the twins for a fun visit, I had something else in mind as well.  To me, my grandpa has been known for many things.  Among them are working on planes at Tinker Air Force Base for most of his life, loving snickers bars, being able to fix any problem on a car, and making the best peanut brittle you’ve ever tasted.

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As far back as I can remember, every year as the weather starts to turn cold and festive decorations begin to appear, everyone who knows my grandpa begins to anticipate the day they’ll receive their package of peanut brittle.  And believe me, it’s not just any peanut brittle.  It’s a recipe that was passed down from my great-grandma Loise.  Super thick, light, and fluffy – it really is in a league of its own.  But it’s not just the taste that makes it so special.  With my grandma overseeing and hopping in to help when needed, my grandpa spends hours in the kitchen watching the sweet, peanutty mixture begin to brown, dumping in the special ingredient, and then “stirring the fire out of it” before dumping it onto a baking sheet.  He makes nearly 20 batches a season, with each batch taking about 45 minutes…it truly is a work of love.

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While the peanut brittle tradition is something I’ll always think of when I think of my grandpa George, I had never actually seen him make it.  This year when the time drew near I realized what an injustice it is that I’ve never had the chance to see how it’s done.  Helping him was every bit as interesting and fun as I knew it would be; seeing him work and having him teach me each step of the process was far better than just reading it on the recipe card.

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While I told my grandpa he should hide away his recipe so that no one can ever make peanut brittle just like his, he insists that the recipe should be shared with anyone who wants it.  But I have a hunch that it’s not just about following the recipe, rather it’s about the perfect peanuts, the special pot that he uses, the certain way he stirs it and how he knows just the perfect moment to take it off the fire before it burns.

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Our visit was a highlight of the holiday season for me, and as the twins get older I can’t wait to take them out to help their great-grandpa.  And it’s always a bonus to get cuddled by great-grandma in between batches.

 

Peanut Brittle

  •  1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup white karo syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups raw peanuts
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking soda

 

Boil together sugar, karo syrup and water. Stir constantly until it spins a thread (about 12-15 minutes) (see spoon photo above). Be sure it spins a good thread. Add 2 cups raw peanuts and 1 cube margarine. Continue to cook and sitr until it turns the color of peanut brittle and peanuts begin to pop (about 10-15 minutes). Add one heaping teaspoon baking soda and stir rapidly. Let it foam up, then pour into a greased 9X15 inch pan while it is still foaming. Don’t press it down. Just let it roll into the pan and settle on its own.

 

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over the weekend…

   I’m not sure if it was because we haven’t just stayed home for a weekend in awhile or what, but this was one of the best weekends I’ve had in awhile.  We just hung around the house, had lots of photo shoots and play time, tried some new restaurants and cleaned out and rearranged our bedroom. (more…)

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little things i’m loving this week

Happy Friday!  I was feeling a little melancholy last weekend about the holidays being over, but once we got back home and got the Christmas decorations put away, I was more than ready to move on with the New Year.  We spent a lot of time at home this week recovering from holiday travel and getting the little ones back on their routine and rested up.  It was just what we needed.  And while the house seems bare, it also seems full of possibility and the opportunity for a new start.

Since Jon worked from home today, I took advantage of naptime this morning to go get a huge load of groceries.  Our fridge was so bare after being gone so much, so it feels glorious to have it freshly stocked with healthy food.  There’s nothing better than having trouble deciding which meal sounds best for dinner! I’m so thankful.

I thought I’d kick off the weekend with a list of all the little things that are making me smile this week.

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This book I started reading en route to south Texas is captivating.  The Entertainment Weekly description makes me feel like it was written just for me.

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This little basket we finally purchased after months of disarray around the bathtub brings a sense of calm to the bathroom that I’ve really been missing.

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When we first built our house, our closet seemed so spacious, but now, a year and a half later it has become so cluttered.  We’d been eying this ironing board/laundry sorter for a long time and finally bit the bullet.  Laundry day is so much more simple now.

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Jon surprised me with this little rocking bird for Christmas.  Every time I see him sitting on our mantle it makes me happy, and I love to walk by, tip his little tail and then watch him go back and forth.

 What little things are making you smile this week?

By the way, I wanted to note that last week my blog was infected with Malware.  If you came by you may have seen a red banner at the top that said my site was a risk.  We contacted these kind folks, and they have taken care of it for us.  There shouldn’t be any more problems, but please let me know if you stop by and notice anything unusual.  And now for my public service message of the day: make sure your passwords are strong!

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the most wonderful time of the year. part II

Christmas has been more fun this year than it has in a long time.  It has gone by way way too fast…but there were so many times where I stopped and tried to seal the moment in my mind forever because it was so special and sweet. Having Viv and Linc in our lives has made everything just a touch sweeter, but when I held each of them in my arms on Christmas morning….seeing them look at gifts, lights, glittery decorations with wide eyes…it was just the best.  More than anything I used the day of our Savior’s birth to focus on everything we have to be thankful for – Jesus himself, and our sweet precious babies he has given us.

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It’s crazy how Christmas is no longer just Christmas Eve and Christmas morning – we’ve had Christmas in Duncan, Christmas in south Texas, and this week we’ll have Christmas in Harrah.  I have to admit, despite how worn out I am from traveling and whatnot, I’m pretty stoked that we get to draw it all out for so long.

Linc and Viv experienced their first flight on Sunday as we headed down for Christmas with Jon’s extended family in south Texas, and they did so great.  I think the pressure during landing bothered Linc a little bit, and I ended up having to feed him right as we landed, but otherwise everything went perfectly. After being picked up at the airport, we went straight to Grandma McCoy’s house.  Jon’s aunts, uncles and cousins were there, all waiting on pins and needles to meet our sweet babies.  My heart soared seeing them surrounded by so much love.

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We stayed with Jon’s Grammy and Aunt Karen that night, and the babies slept like angels.  In the morning the babies opened gifts from Grammy, Aunt Karen, and Jon’s Aunt Bev.  Lincoln just kind of sat back and took everything in, while Vivi really got after the gifts.  She loved tearing the paper, and then attacking the gift and trying to eat it.  It was precious how excited she was!

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The rest of the day brought with it warm, humid weather, and a trip back over to Grandma McCoy’s for more time hanging out.  I worked really hard to keep the babies on their normal routine as much as possible, and it really paid off.  They napped fairly well, and therefore were happy babies when they were awake! Later Christmas Eve night, the adults did our gift exchange and had the traditional Christmas Eve seafood dinner.  And as usual we ended the night with games around the table – a favorite McCoy family tradition.

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Christmas morning, we felt so much joy hearing our babies start “talking” in their bed and getting to pull them over into our bed and cuddle for a little while.  By far our favorite part of the day these days.  After feeding them and getting everybody ready we headed over to Jon’s Aunt Brenda and Uncle Ronny’s.  The McCoy family traditionally gathers there on Christmas morning to start the day off with hugs, lots of hanging out and pancakes.  The family has grown to be rather large over the years, and there is an element of comfort that comes with the chaos of Christmas morning.  After pancakes (which the twins slept through), everybody piled into the living room to open gifts.  This time Linc gave Viv a run for her money and did a little paper ripping of his own:)

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We spent the rest of the day just hanging out – passing the babies around, eating tons of food and even taking a little nap in the afternoon.  What a great first Christmas for the Lincoln and Vivian.  They won’t remember it, but they’ll be able to see in the pictures and videos how much love they were surrounded by.

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the first thanksgiving

Thanksgiving had a double special meaning for us this year as it was the 1 year anniversary of the week we found out we were having a baby!  That’s right a baby.  We didn’t see our elusive little baby b on the first ultrasound.  On the night before Thanksgiving we announced to my mom that we were pregnant and the next day we told the rest of my family by giving my grandparent’s a new Christmas ornament.

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Later that week we shared the news with Jon’s side of the family.  A perfect weekend for sure.

And 2 weeks later we discovered tiny baby #2.

This was our year to go to my family’s Thanksgiving celebration, so on Wednesday night we packed up the car and headed to my mom’s.  This wasn’t technically the twin’s first time to go to Grandma’s house, but it was the first time that they stayed for very long.  Bright and early Thursday morning we were up cooking, loving on the babies and getting everything ready to go over to my grandparent’s house.

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For as far back as I can remember, we’ve gone to my grandpa and grandma’s for Thanksgiving Day.  While the food is amazing, it’s really not about the food (well, okay, it’s a little about the food).  I’m just so thankful that I still get to go to my Grandparent’s house every year.  Just being in their home is so special to me.  I was smitten at getting to take the twin’s this year, and I hope we’ll go for many years to come.

Later in the week we stopped by my Aunt Terri’s to see my dad and his family.  We don’t see them very often, so it was great to introduce the twins to everyone and of course great to see my dad.  So much to be thankful for.

 

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