Every year, for the past few years, my sisters-in-law and I have gathered together before Christmas to make candy. It's one of my favorite Christmas traditions.
Saturday morning, at the crack of dawn (9 am), Rachel, Audree, and I gathered at Audree's to continue the tradition. Acutally, I was late because I decided to shower before heading out, so I didn't get there 'til 9:15, but that's irrelevant. I was pleasantly surprised that my mother had decided to go, too, since we invite her every year, but she has never joined us. She says she doesn't like making candy. It was nice to chat with her while we made candy, and she helped us A LOT by helping form the centers of one of the candies and especially by periodically washing our pots and pans for us. After she left, we had to interrupt our candy making to wash dishes, and it was such a pain. So...THANKS, MOM! I hope you come again next year!
This year, we decided that each of us should just make two items and make lots of those two items. It worked out so much better than previous years. For example: last year we started at noon and ended after 9 pm, and Rachel and I didn't stay to help Audree clean up (she sent us home and cleaned up by herself the next day). In comparison, this time, we started around 9:30 am (once we got everything ready to go) and finished around 5:30 pm, AND we helped Audree clean up. Much, much better. We made:
Almond joys (Mom helped form these centers)
Peanut butter "cups"
Chocolate covered pretzels
I made the divinity. Years and years ago, when I first began to get into cooking (while living in SLC), I decided to try making divinity. Aly, were you living with me when I made my first ever batch? It was horrible. I used a hand mixer and thought it couldn't possibly need to be mixed this long! It did, and even longer. The divinity ended up settling into little mud puddles instead of being yummy cloud puffs. To make things worse, my roommate's cat, Mickey, got on the counter over night and stepped in the divinity, and we awoke to divinity paw prints throughout the apartment. The next time I attempted divinity, I over-beat the mixture and it was dry and crumbly. Thankfully, the third time was the charm, and the divinity was...well... divine. I've been great (humbly) at making it ever since. Don't get me wrong, I still over- or under- beat the mixture on occassion, but when I get it right, I get it really right.
Please forgive the blatant boasting. I have so few things to boast about that I feel a compulsion to boast whenever I can actually get away with it.
Anyhoo, last night I took around plates of candy to my friends. This is my favorite part of candy making. I started a little before 7 pm and made it home a little before 1 am. I chatted with friends I haven't chatted with for awhile and found out that one friend recently broke up with her boyfriend, another friend's husband thinks his wife is beautiful (heart melting), and that no matter how often I see one friend, I still enjoy talking to her 'til the wee hours of the morning.
I have amazing people in my life; it is the blessing for which I am the most grateful. No matter what else happens in life, if you have good people surrounding you, everything will be okay eventually. Yes, I recently watched "It's A Wonderful Life", and I love it every time I see it. I just pray that I can bless the people around me as much as they bless me.
Okay, this is turning a little sappy, so I'm nipping it in the bud. (What an expression!)
May your days and nights be filled to the brim with yummy, miraculously calorie-free candy!