Tag Archive | gunk

Merry Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas (belatedly) to you and yours! As usual I am behind on my reporting but I am making a real try to catch up… just you watch, November will spontaneously pop up one of these days! And then you will be in the know again!

Anyway… Christmas Day for the Reinsch-Johnson clan. It was a different one from our previous ones here in Minnesota. First off because we really did not have extended family beyond Nana and Baba here for the day or eve. In the previous years Christmas Eve was our time with Ken’s Uncle Moose, Aunt Colleen and their two kids. But this has been a rough year for Moose (Paul) and while he is on the mend they were really not able to come over for the traditional Ukrainian meal of potato soup and perogies. It was probably for the best as this December has been one of illness for the family. So many yucky colds! But thank goodness we were assured that he is better and home again.IMAG0894

Of course we DID enjoy our meal… and the company was wonderful as was.IMAG0903

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That evening we did put out our cookies and milk for Santa. In our new pj’s.IMAG0914

Echo and Ken spread Reindeer Food out on the lawn since we went to bed without a speck of snow to be seen really.IMAG0918

Christmas Day was just the household and it was wonderful. We did not manage to Skype with Gammie as she was having issues on her end but we did text back and forth and take some pictures of the openings.102_0204

102_0206Amazingly enough with two countries and multiple states we did not have any duplicate gifts this year! Each and every one was well received and I can honestly say I have not seen the kids happier.102_0207

102_0211102_0212We had calls with both sets of grandparents… Alberta and South Carolina. As well as a lovely chat with My brother James and his wife Holly… well mostly Holly. Even a peek in on Cousin Jimmie.102_0215

102_0214Dinner was a delicious turkey and trimmings thanks to the hard work of Nana and Baba. But for the most part after the excitement of the great toy opening it was a nice, quiet and relaxed day.102_0219

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Enjoy the overflow!!IMAG0947

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The Day Before the Day Before Christmas

While not a special day for the kids… but for Ken, very much so. With the cabbage rolls created the day before it was time to move onto potato soup and “gunk”… another Johnson family tradition. There are so many special things Ken has talked about EVERY year and things we truly could not recreate without the presence of his parents. It has been over a decade since Ken has last gotten to have Christmas with his parents, instead he has spent it with us and my family. Special, but definitely NOT the same.

Zander playing Candyland with Baba… somehow the instructions did NOT make it from Canada!

We have two days of family coming up… Christmas Eve will be spent with Ken’s mom’s brother and his family (they have two kids) here at the house with Christmas Eve dinner – the potato soup, cabbage rolls and gunk… we have not seen them since moving here as Ken’s uncle has been a little under the weather. Then on Christmas Day we have Ken’s brother and his family AND Ken’s dad’s sister and HER family. (Jim, Judy and kids) I think dinner will be ham! YUM!

Gunk… I am told it is “to go on top of everything”… trust me NOT healthy!

But YUM

The kids have expressed a little bit of sadness over missing some of the traditions and people we have left behind but we are so thankful to get to have these chances in Minnesota to really get to know and BE with the family from Ken’s side. We have been so lucky to be able to come here and live with Ken’s parents and take the time to find a real and stable life here in the USA. There is still lots to be done and hurdles to be jumped but we are starting to have a home again and that is a very precious gift.

Potato soup with unknown spelled Ukrainian name

The day before the day before Christmas has been a quiet one for the kids out of necessity. School stuff is put away, cleaning is being done… and most importantly to the kids — cookies are iced!! Butter icing on sugar cookies with sprinkles and M&M’s… though it was bemoaned that they are NOT the same as Smarties (Canadian, not those candy things).

Ice the cookies

In the meantime Ken and his mom had some bonding time on the iPads with a “jelly game.” It is looking like AFTER the new year these comfortable moments are going to be less often… at least during the week… for KEN… but I can’t say anything until January has begun so check back on that one!!

Gaming together

We sent most of the kids outside to play a bit in the afternoon but really I don’t think anyone is too motivated to do much more than wait for the Christmas festivities to begin, though the twins and I did vacuum the basement and tidy up toys and excess things that were out and in the way.

Front yard fun

A close up of the structure in the front yard

We ended the night with POLISH sausage (yum) and then some traditional Christmas movies for the kids (thanks again Sharon) and we are READY for Christmas Eve! 

A Santa out of Perler Beads… you can find the pattern on Activity Village