Friday, December 7, 2012

Traditions: Grandma's Treasures

This is hands down one of my favorite traditions.

It goes back for YEARS.
And I'm grateful that it has been passed down.


(VERY important "Mom tip" at the end)


Ever since I can remember, Christmas has meant homemade candy.
It's just what we did in our home.

But, growing up, it usually meant homemade candy 
for EVERYONE else!
(just kidding...a wee bit)

It was something we loved giving and it created so many happy memories.
I have very tender memories of standing at my mother's side being taught how to make different kinds of candies.
We would make caramels, truffles, toffee, cashew coconut brittle, peanut brittle, caramel nougats, etc. 
You name it, I'm sure we've made it!

I think one of the reasons I love this tradition so much is that making candy is one of those things that you can't always just sit down and read a recipe and make it. 
We didn't grow up using candy thermometers.
We were taught to watch the candy cooking in the pan to learn how to tell when it's done.
And because of that, we've always gotten together, not just to make it, but to keep learning.

My mom has her "secrets" of making things easier, quicker and better, which I have been very grateful for.
When it comes to making candy, I think she's absolutely brilliant.
I do have to admit, though, that I am using a candy thermometer for the first time.
It's been hard to trust it, so I find myself still checking the old-fashioned way.

Anyone who has had these caramels, will know why we love making them so much.
I've been asked for the recipe, but have been sworn to absolute secrecy by a pack of sisters.

Sorry in advance to anyone who wants it.
When it comes to this one recipe, they mean business.
The pack would be CRAZY if I told you.

I've been asked what the secret ingredients are, and I can't even tell you that. :)

But, I will tell you that this lovely looking ingredient on the left is one of them!


Now that we're all grown, we have brought our children in on this tradition.
It's hard to explain why this means so much to all of us.

There's something that happens when you make candy with your kids.

We laugh.
We tell stories.
We listen to Noah's weird jokes.
And we eat a lot of caramels.

It started with Hannah and Moses, but the younger ones have taken over.
I love this time with them.

The hardest thing is knowing that I live so far away and that on the other side of the United States, my mom and sisters are having their annual Candy Making Day.....without me. :(

But, I'm thankful for those memories.
I'm thankful for a mom who took time to TEACH us how to do these fun things.
I'm grateful for sisters who were all willing to learn.
I'm grateful for the Christmas season that always has brought us together, and still does no matter where we all are.

And I'm grateful for a very old, very yummy and much treasured recipe.
It is a joyful treasure.

Just leave me a message on Facebook.
They are ready to go!

 "Mom" Tip

When making a GAZILLION caramels, choose wisely who will help you.

In my home, I choose Charity every time.

Otherwise, I have him.....
 NOTICE the strange wrap job.



Oh Israel.

But, then again you could have HIM.
NOTICE how PERFECT his wrapping is.
LOOK at the concentration on his face.
SEE how exact the wrapper lines up.

I believe it seriously may take him 5 minutes to wrap ONE.


Wow Noah.

Again, I say.....



Samantha Jade Minor said...

I stumbled on your blog and I love it! I've got 6 kids of my own. It does my heart good to see someone with a big, happy family. Happy Holidays to all of you.

Mom said...

I do love me some fun candy making time. It touches my heart to know tht miles away across the United States, I have a sweet daughter making caramels, right when I might be doing the same thing in my kitchen. It helps the miles to seem a little less daunting. I miss you even more during the Christmas seasons, but it is in sharing memories and activities like these that make it more bearable. I love you my sweet daughter.

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