Happy Halloween! Ian has had a busy week and has a busy night planned for Halloween.
Earlier this week he spent the day with his Great-Grandmother. While Brinn and Preston had to run some errands in Knoxville, they left Ian with Grandma-Cross for the day. I greatly enjoyed the time I spent at Grandma’s as a kid, so I’m delighted that Ian can also get to know her and spend time at her house. Grandma taught me times tables before we learned them in school, tried many times (unsuccessfully) to teach me to sew as well as she does, and helped Preston and I with all of our seed/leaf collections we had to do for science classes at school. Grandma is a walking/talking guidebook when it comes to the local flora and fauna. She can recognize almost any kind of tree pretty much any time of year. She can find seeds on the ground and tell what kind of tree it came from, as well as identifying flowering plants even when they’re not flowering. When I was younger, Grandma often took me on the nature hikes at Frozen Head State Park and would supplement the park ranger’s explanations with her own information she’d learned as a young girl.
Grandma is an exceptional quilter. She’s made some of the most amazing quilts throughout my lifetime. All of her grandkids get a quilt for a high school graduation present, and two Christmases ago she made ALL of her kids (4) and grandkids (6) a quilt. That was a busy year for her! She also made a gorgeous double wedding ring quilt as a wedding gift for Brinn and I. This year she’s made Ian a quilt for his crib (which will hang on the wall instead so it can’t get ruined), and is working on another for when he moves into a twin bed in a few years. At the same time, Grandma’s also working on a Civil War Tribute Quilt. This is a big deal quilt in the quilting community, and is taking her some time to complete. As she finishes with a quilt block, she passes that part of the pattern on to her sister, who’s making the same quilt, just one block behind Grandma and with slightly different colors.
Grandma’s sister, Aunt Wanda is also a fantastic quilter. In fact, when the two of them compete in local quilting contests, they always win the top placings. Usually Grandma and Aunt Wanda trade out first place from year to year, and they frequently enter more than one quilt a piece, so they often win first, second, and third between them. Other quilters dread to see their names entered.
As a child, I spent every Sunday morning in church. Towards the end of each sermon, I would get in trouble for whispering. I was busy trying to plan my Sunday afternoon. Preston and I would beg to go home with Grandma every Sunday afternoon. And we couldn’t let our parents take us home to change first; Grandma had to be the one to take us home to get play clothes for the day. We spent almost every Sunday of our childhoods running in Grandma’s woods or watching cartoons from her living room floor. When I was 10, Grandma moved into the house she’d just finished having built and we had a new set of woods to play in. Later she had a fence, barn, and riding ring built on her property so that my horses could live there. After I moved away to college, I’d come home every weekend and stay with Grandma and my horses.
Grandma is one of the best grandparents a kid (or adult for that matter) could have, but she’s not big on cooking. Some of the few things she cooks are: macaroni and tomato juice, the best grilled cheese sandwich on the planet, broccoli soup, and chili. While Grandma doesn’t spend much time in the kitchen, there are two things that she is absolutely fabulous at making: cornbread dressing and punch. Her cornbread dressing comes out perfect every time, but it’s her punch recipe that everyone begs for.
- 1 package strawberry kool-aid
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 can frozen orange juice concentrate (thawed)
- 1 tub frozen pineapple sherbet
- 2 2Liter Bottles of Ginger Ale
- Fresh or Frozen Strawberries
- Mix Kool-Aid with sugar and 1 quart of water.
- Mix in vanilla and orange juice concentrate.
- Place frozen sherbet in strawberry/orange juice mixture and pour ginger ale over to fill bowl.
- float strawberries on top.
- Enjoy the frothy, foamy mess!
*Pineapple rum mixes in really well for a grown-up version 😉
I don’t have a single family event memory that doesn’t include this punch. It’s a sweet, fruity punch, and so much better than the green stuff you get in the jug!