The Christmas Eve Dinner Fiasco — OMG!!! FIRE!!!

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This is just for effect

So, as we all know, the holiday came and went in a blink.  As I was shopping, cleaning and cooking this year, I continued to remind myself that I knew it would be over so fast.  And I tried to take it all in, to appreciate the moments, the smiles, the family.

Every year we host Christmas Eve at my house.  And, except for the year Nicholas was born, we have had the family over.  This was our 19th year (minus 1 for Nick).  Our largest sit down dinner that we hosted was 41 friends and family members.  This year was 22.

The stories range from the house almost getting set on fire because a napkin hit a candle, to dinner being raw and having to be microwaved, to eating ziti out of a colander in the kitchen sink because I ran out of time to mix up the baked ziti. 

This year didn’t disappoint.  We were good — a little behind schedule, but appetizers were being served.  I figured we would set up sternos to make it easier. 

15 (at least) adults were standing in a 4′ x 4′ area.  I tried to get them to go downstairs, but no one left.  In the crowdedness, someone leaned on the table where the sternos were set up.  The table fell over.  The tablecloth caught fire.  Luckily there was a full pitcher of water on the table, as well, which helped extinguish the flames due to the big puddle that had formed in the middle of the dining room floor.

And, the potatoes (wrapped with in foil in an aluminum pan in the sterno rack) went flying, too.  I heard myself yelling, “Oh, my God! Fire! Save the Potatoes!  We don’t have any more!”  My oldest son, Gregory, was the hero.  He stomped out the fire with the help of the water (luckily he had shoes on), threw the table cloth out the back door, and the dog proceeded to rip the extinguished fabrit off the deck and run around the back yard with it.

It was the usual crazy experience.  I always wonder how we can top the previous year’s calamitities.

After my sister calmed down from her heart palpitations, dinner preparation continued — the turkey thermometer popped a little behind schedule, but it was out and served (1/2 hour behind schedule – not so bad).  We did have potatoes, luckily they stayed wrapped and dry (no water or fire got to them).  Everyone ate and went home with Christmas hugs and wishes and a great story to tell.

Next year may be catered.  Or, we might do that barbecue we’ve talked about doing for years, but we’d probably have an ice storm and be unable to cook the hamburgers.

It’s all in a good story.  And something my children, and the rest of the family, will talk about for years to come.

*note — photo is just for effect.  Luckily the fire department didn’t have to come 🙂

Happy Holidays to Our Troops

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I attended a packing evening for Jacob’s Light Foundation Tuesday night.  Dorine Kenny is the founder of the foundation.  She lost her son 7 years ago in Iraq.  Before he was killed she would send him care packages.  She continued to send them to other soldiers after he died.  After all these years the whole operation has grown.  Eleven months a year she sends 285 care packages per month and has so far sent over 400,000 pounds  of supplies and goodies to the troops overseas. 

How did I find her?  The residents in a skilled nursing facility I work for wanted to do a fundraiser for our troops overseas.  I had heard of Jacob’s Light a few years ago during a news broadcast and searched her out.  Jacob’s Light is truly a grass roots organization run on private donations, fundraisers and some grants.  One grant will expire next year so she does need a funding source to keep this amazing organization going.

From socks to lotion, baby powder, to chapstick, pasta, peanut butter, and more, the volunteers — there must have been over 100 people there to help — pick and pack with love.  Tonight I brought 1,387 letters that had been collected as part of the fundraiser we did at the nursing home.  The letters were heartfelt expressions of thanks from some of our local school children.  A letter will be placed in each box that is shipped.

While there I met a gentleman who raises money to buy phone cards.  It is his goal to put a $5 phone card in each box shipped every month throughout the year, which will require $14,000 in donations.  A $5 phone card gives a soldier 2 hours of talk time to call home.

This was a wonderful event where people who could otherwise do nothing to help our soldiers came together to make our troops feel like they are not forgotten.  We do hear so little of what is going on overseas unless something happens to one of our men or women — our sons and daughters. 

It was amazing to be part of an organization that remembers our people — and, whether our soldiers are stationed here or oversees, to recognize the freedoms they help protect and allow us to enjoy.

It was noted that support for our troops shouldn’t only come at holiday time.  They need to know we support them year round.

Maybe one day there will be peace.

For more info on Jacob’s Light Foundation:

It is almost that time again…

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It is 4:00 pm- do you know where you are going after work? Come one people we can make it one more hour! Usually this tends to be the longest hour of day but lets all pull together and make the best of it!

I just posted all the Time to Play press releases that have recently been sent out to the media. Our Toys-for-Tots fundraiser is our most important release so far. Every child should be able to open a brand new toy this holiday season. This release was featured on the Madison Square Garden website as well. Please help get the word out. 30% of every “I Helped the Kids Play” t-shirt will go to the NYC Toys-for-Tots Chapter. For more information go to