Tuesdays with Ana, New Year’s edition: Why are family relationships so darn hard?

Welcome back to the brave souls who have found their way back after the Advent Calendar, and hello again to faithful regulars who are a bit winded after the breathless month. Phew! I tell you, I’ve made enough food to feed a large family or a small army. Beef stew, potato and veggie bake, peanut brittle, vanilla caramels (turned out well, thanks to the new candy thermometer), and banana bread. Those are three of my specialties. I do enjoy cooking a real meal, but I love making desserts. Cake, cookies, sweet bread, candy…mm! One dessert I can’t make well, though, is pie. I have tried to get the pie crust right, but I usually end up resorting to the pre-made kind. There’s nothing wrong with pre-made pie crusts if that’s the way you like to bake, but it’s annoying if you’ve tried to do it from scratch.

One thing I’ve noticed this holiday season is the supreme skill family members have to drive each other crazy. I don’t mean a little irritated (although that certainly happens) but blow up, flare up, absolutely lose your cool and burst into tears kind of crazy.

Never had that happen in your family? Boy, are you lucky.

Family members love each other like no one else, and we hurt each other like no one else. A stray comment, a thoughtless gesture, a failure to notice or to receive messages in the way they were intended…our multiple life layers of self-protection, hurt, and coping mechanisms can make it difficult to treat our family members the way they should be treated.

Like any family, mine has its share of skeletons in the closet. (Ooh, kinky!) My parents’ culture of “Don’t say anything negative” shielded me from much when I was a child, but older cousins shared the salacious details no one else would acknowledge. Yet, in my family’s reserved manner, people made their displeasure known in a quiet but powerful way. One aunt never made a scene, but she also never spoke to another aunt even while they were in the same room. I appreciated being able to have my entire family at gatherings (how many people wish for warring family members to make peace for their wedding or other special occasion?), but still…it makes for odd celebrations.

What idiosyncracies does your family have? What drives you crazy at family gatherings for the holidays?

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75 thoughts on “Tuesdays with Ana, New Year’s edition: Why are family relationships so darn hard?

  1. joeyred51 says:

    Happy New Year Ana. I have also spent a couple of weeks busy with family. My MIL is very picky and difficult. She complains about too many sweet things after a meal, but is first to fill her plate with cookies and cakes.

    I hope you have a healthy and wonderful 2014. Thank you for doing so much for blogland.

    Hugs,
    joey

    Like

  2. abby says:

    The very first pie I made…for my parents when i was first married…years ago…was a lemon merang (sp). As I poured the filling into my first ever pie crust..it floated to the top….my last ever home made pie crust!
    Yes, some family members seem to think, that family means no need to be polite or even nice…UGH!
    Happy New Year….hope it is one of the best ever for you,
    hugs abby

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      The pie crust floated to the top? :-O How does that even happen? And yes about family. I guess we have to have a place where we feel safe, but I wish it didn’t have to mean hurting feelings.

      Hope you have a wonderful new year, too.

      Like

  3. Renee Meyer says:

    Good morning Ana, the thing I hate most is grudges. You know the refusal to let go of things that happened umpteen years previously. We are supposed to be adults and yet we can’t do what we teach our children… forgive, let go, and love.
    Do not feel bad about using pre-made crusts. I do not do homemade pie crusts either and the sad part is that I attended culinary school for three years. I should be able to make those silly crusts but they just elude me. Have a Happy New Year
    Renee

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Hello, Renee! Gosh, grudges and letting go can be hard. I think we hold grudges when we feel we aren’t heard or that our point of view hasn’t been respected. It takes a lot of work to settle things.

      Culinary school? Wow, I’d like to hear more! I’m glad even a graduate has difficulty. πŸ™‚

      Like

  4. pao says:

    Banana bread! Yummy πŸ™‚ Do you call it bread because it’s baked in loaves? Is it wrong to call it banana cake?

    My mom never got along well with my dad’s family. While my dad’s siblings can be annoying, the one person whom I truly despise will be his mother. She has the most insensitive, hurtful things to say about us (yet she chooses to live with us) and she loves pitting her children against each other. So now we have no more family gatherings because they’re all mad at each other and all my cousins have somewhat drifted from each other.

    Happy new year to you, Ana πŸ™‚

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      I think banana cake is a UK thing, but I may be wrong. I only know that my UK friends call it banana cake and I call it banana bread. And yes, I think it’s because it’s baked in loaf pans. πŸ™‚

      I think it’s so sad when family members have to make things hurtful. 😦 Of course there are sad things and hurt feelings, but there’s no reason to add to it. Yet, sometimes family means putting up with our bad things.

      Happy new year to you too…at least for now. We’ll celebrate again at the end of January. πŸ™‚

      Like

      • pao says:

        My housemate from the UK keeps on arguing with me about it being bread and not cake, though. So I bought a different pan to bake it in πŸ˜› I need to do a survey!

        I agree. I pity my dad’s mother. I used to hate her, now I sometimes forget she exists. Which is not nice, but I try to be nice to her.

        Uh huh, end of January πŸ˜€ Lots of gambling to do then!

        Like

        • Anastasia Vitsky says:

          Ha…will have to post about the gambling part.

          Hm, she is from the UK? Maybe it’s not necessarily a UK thing. To me, a cake would be something flatter than a loaf pan and usually sweeter, but it’s not a scientific definition.

          Like

          • pao says:

            It is a he. And he did not supply an explanation for it. Or I just tuned him out. Is banana bread not sweet? :O

            Oh yeah, the gambling. And the drinking. Sounds like a celebration of vices.

            Like

  5. terpsichore says:

    I love to bake, too. I am glad the candy thermometer worked well for you – I learned as you did with the trial and error method of putting it in ice water to see what stage of cooking it was in. The candy thermometer definitely helps (though I still often just use the ice method. My mom usually makes the caramel but someday soon I will learn with my daughter as she wants to know too. I like cooking okay…I love to bake. A dangerous hobby for someone with a sweet tooth. Never made a pie crust from scratch – yet…maybe someday… Okay, as for families I feel fortunate. Is there sometimes lack of communication resulting in misunderstandings or hurt feelings? yes, definitely Are there annoying habits and small irritations amongst family member? Of course But we recover quickly (though never forget) and at the end of the day we all love each other and are lucky that we mostly all get along. This holiday season as in most, we got together with my side of the family…then we got together with my hubby’s side of the family…both events were pleasant, comfy, and enjoyable…and ended with hugs and I love you’s. We don’t tend to have gatherings with both sides of the family together, but when we have they have been lovely as well. So I consider myself quite fortunate. Have a happy new year!

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    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      I think the candy thermometer is good for reducing the number of cold-water dips. πŸ™‚ But I still checked in the ice water to make sure. Besides, using the ice water check means I get to taste a bit. Yum.

      How great that your family gathering was enjoyable! Truly the most blessed part of the holidays. Some of my favorite memories of childhood are events I didn’t appreciate at the time…holiday celebrations when I would have rather been in my room reading a book. πŸ™‚

      Happy new year to you, too!

      Like

  6. Leigh Smith says:

    I love to cook but have never been a baker, so ready made roll out pie crusts are a must for me.

    Glad you got to enjoy your family over the holidays. A think the larger the group, the bigger the chance for an explosion of some sort. I think it’s a natural part of human nature that we find something in someone that we hate in ourselves. After all, it’s easier to fix them than to fix ourselves, isn’t it?

    Happy New Year girl – may it be filled with all your heart’s desires.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      You and I would make a good pair. I love to make desserts, and while I do make meals I find it a bit stressful. It would probably help if I could learn how to cook in smaller quantities. πŸ™‚

      Very true about finding what we dislike in ourselves in other people.

      Like

  7. nancygoldberglevine says:

    I wouldn’t even know where to start! Now my fake family, I can talk about…my fake brother has to have all of his money facing the same way in his wallet, all in order, and denominations in order, too and he hates to be late/My fake sister is very wise/I have other “brothers” and “sisters”, but these are all the quirks I can think of right now. Happy New Year to you and my “extended family”

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  8. Joelle Casteel says:

    My mother has a family member she’s most angry at. Often she’s polite to the face, but vents and criticizes etc when the person is not there. Usually that’s me, although my mother will say far more than is necessary to my face. This year, however, the most hated person was my niece-in-law. She shares a lot of things with my Master- neither is afraid of my mother (she doesn’t understand how anyone could not be), don’t value her opinions, won’t “make nice with her”- just to name a few. Sadly, when my mother decided she didn’t like NIL, she also decided I shouldn’t like the woman, so she tried to engineer my dislike. Although NIL and I ended up talking a few family meals ago and found that we have quite a few things in common, which meant I had to be silent through my mother’s vents this xmas, or the hate might move from NIL back to me.

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    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      It’s so much angst, isn’t it? We don’t have to pretend things are perfect when they’re not, but it’s nice if/when we can have some time as a family without all of the drama. I hope things are better than you hope.

      Like

      • Joelle Casteel says:

        thanks πŸ™‚ Just knowing that there’s no reason not to like NIL. And actually quite a few things about her that my mother dislikes are things about me that she dislikes. Like we enjoyed not eating Pizza Hut together because neither of us eat food like that ;D

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  9. Jade Cary says:

    I have been lucky. While idiosyncrasies abound, everyone still speaks to each other. Both Tom and I were raised in families where, for the most part, people open their mouths.

    Now, about that pie crust, my darling. Make sure your butter and the other ingredients are very cold. Cut the butter up into pieces and blend the rest just enough to get it blended. NO MORE THAN THAT. In fact, you should see little hunks of butter still in the mix. My grandmother baked the best pies. Her secret? She hated making crust and couldn’t wait to get it done, so she barely mixed it. Voila! Perfect crust. I’m not a baker, so please don’t ask me another thing.

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    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      I’ve gotten that advice, even to the point of chilling the mixing bowl and utensils. I can *make* pie crust, don’t get me wrong, but it never has that perfect puffy/flaky texture.

      When you’re not afraid to hide who you are, and you’re not afraid to love, you can make a lot of things work. I’m glad your family has been able to do that. πŸ™‚

      Like

  10. Jade Cary says:

    If you want to see an example, go on Food Network and find the Barefoot
    Contessa episode where she makes brunch for friends (I think), and she is making vegetable pot pies. She does her crust the right way.

    Like

  11. Michael says:

    Happy New Year, Ana, and to all the wonderful people I have met on your blog. Joining your Advent Calendar event has been the best Christmas present I could have ever imagined, Ana. I hope 2014 brings everybody what they most desire. πŸ™‚

    Like

  12. Irishey says:

    Happy New Year’s Eve! πŸ˜€

    Perhaps Banana LOAF? Lol! I’ve made banana bread (denser than regular cake, usually very moist, not overly sweet, baked in a loaf pan) and just as often call it banana loaf. I also have made banana cake (lighter, sweeter, also moist, baked in round cake pans and stacked, or baked in a sheet cake pan). Both recipes make good muffins or cupcakes. I like my loaves with walnuts and chocolate chips, and served with whipped cream cheese spread. πŸ˜‰ The cake is good with cream cheese filling or frosting or chocolate icing…or both!

    Jade is right about the pie crust. The less you work it as you cut in the butter, the better. Never kneed it. Just gather it up lightly into a ball, plop it out and roll it. I should use pastry cloth, but rarely bother getting it out. I miss my mom’s old marble countertop – it stayed cool and was perfect for laying out her really thin plastic pastry sheet we used for rolling pie crust and noodles. We also used her chilled crockery bowl to mix in. Pie crust is susceptible to heat and humidity. It’s a weird thing.

    I think I’ve rambled sufficiently to avoid the family issue. It’s been grueling. Hey! Does anybody need an ex-husband? I really need a drama break and would like to be done with him as an ex, too. Your life may never be uneventful again. Going once, going twice… πŸ˜‰

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    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Well, to be honest, it’s not as if banana bread is healthy or good for you. Truly. So “cake” is probably more accurate as it is a dessert rather than part of a meal.

      Gosh, countertops you could use for rolling things out…I’ve never had one. I grew up using pastry cloths to roll things out on, but clean up is a pain.

      Pie crust is a pain, period. πŸ™‚ I respect anyone who can make it well.

      Oof, drama sucks. I hope the new year will mean quiet(er) days for you free(er) from drama.

      Like

      • nancygoldberglevine says:

        And about the pie crust…my boss’s husband made the best apple pie that she brought in for us before the holidays (and the bleep!ing layoff). It was so good, but she didn’t know his secret. The crust was in layers like phyllo dough, but with pie crust.

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  13. Janey says:

    Oh, my family can love and hate with equal passion.
    Over the holidays we always play games, usually male versus female (in a bid to prove a point) but we laugh and joke our way through….except one family member who takes it all really seriously and starts getting annoyed if we laugh too much or talk for too long in between questions.
    I’ve just used the last of the ham and turkey to make a pie (with ready made crust!)

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  14. Leah says:

    My MIL can get under my skin like no one can. I spend the holidays muttering “she raised a wonderful son, the grandkids are so lucky to have her, …” but she makes me insane. And then I feel bad that I can’t get along with her. Makes me glad it’s almost a new year.

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  15. Sherilyn says:

    Oh, my goodness, it’s nice to be back here! My bunny (real, not that other kind of rabbit) chewed through my computer cord on Christmas, so I’ve been out of touch for nearly a week. I’m so glad to be able to wish everyone a Happy New Year!!

    I’ve never tried making pie crust. The Universe bequeathed me only so much time and making pie crust just never fit the bits of baking time I had, so I just use pre-made. Someday I may get around to feeling guilty about that, but there are so many other things that come first, like hating to cook but loving to bake! You’re right, Ana, they are two entirely different things!

    Oh, family! I was raised mostly away from my parents’ families, so I never saw much of the murderous family politics until I was an adult. It was a real shock, let me tell you! My father’s family largely believes my mother tricked him into marrying her because she was pregnant with me and that I’m not really his. When I went and had two kids without benefit of marriage, that pretty well put paid to any relationship with them! My mother’s family is all LDS and were very supportive of me, as long as I listened to their brand of religion without comment or argument. Not really hard; I only let “adopted” family know of my pagan ways! Of course, among the adopted lot, there’s plenty of bickering to make up for what I don’t see with the rest of the genetic family!

    Everyone have happy, healthy New Year’s!

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    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      LOL Sherilyn! Such a naughty comment for your first day back. πŸ™‚

      There’s no reason to feel guilty about pie crusts when pie probably isn’t that great for us, anyway.

      Baking for me means special occasions, celebrations, and enjoying a special treat. Cooking for me means having company and putting together a fairly significant amount of food and dishes to cater to everyone’s needs/whims. Plus, baking usually gets more praise. πŸ™‚ I wish I could learn more meals to cook, though.

      I’m glad you have two sets of families to support…and well, maybe drive a bit insane, too. It takes all kinds to make a family, doesn’t it?

      Like

      • Sherilyn says:

        Ah, now, Ana, does that mean I’ve earned the last swats of 2013? I’m feeling naughty! Probably because Mrs. Santa’s not around….

        Ah, meals. I hate cooking, although I love eating well enough. As far as pie is concerned, pumpkin pie is made with squash and sweet potato pie is made with sweet potatoes! And all those fruit pies are made with, well, fruit! Of course, they’re good for you.

        Definitely naughty. I won’t mention about dark chocolate being good for you.

        Off to drive adopted family nuts! Happy New Year!

        Like

  16. Holla Dean says:

    I just returned from my Christmas trip. I flew to Chicago but my brother, father, and I drove back so they could spend a few days with me. It was a very tiring trip and made me realize how old my father is. He has always seemed much younger than his years. Even now, at 86 he’s still working part time and is in good health. Still, this trip wore him out. He’s stiff, his back hurts, and he’s just plain old wiped out. And he’s developed a few quirky annoyances. He makes moaning noises and whines much more than he used to. He refuses to admit he has a hearing problem and often thinks I said something other than what I did. He interrupts conversations as if he doesn’t realize other people are talking. I catch myself running out of patience.
    I know I’m blessed to have a healthy father, so why can’t I just be patient and understanding?
    I guess I’m tired too from the trip. So we’ll relax for a few days, then go see some local sites before he flies home on Saturday. Until then, my writing is severely curtailed.
    Happy New Year!

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      It’s always easier to be patient and understanding when it’s not your own family. At least you were able to make the trip, irritating or not, and have that memory to cherish for later. 86 is pretty good for making a car trip!

      Many of us do have blessings but we’d really rather have just a little something else, too. It’s human nature. Hope you get to rest and have a good new year’s day.

      Like

  17. angieia says:

    Ana, I have a pie crust recipe that is really easy. It is from when I was in Weight Watchers, it is a low-points piecrust.
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 T. sugar
    3 T. reduced-calorie margarine, chilled and cut up (I use butter or margarine since I don’t have the reduced-calorie stuff)
    2 T. water or 3 T. (depending on dough)

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl or food processor. Add margarine and process, or mix together with your fingers, until mixtures resembles coarse meal. Add cold water, one tablespoon at a time and process or mix until a manageable dough forms; turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12-inch circle. Press dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan or removable bottom tart pan; prick the bottom all over with a fork, cover with foil and fill with dried beams or rice. Bake 10 minutes. Remove beans and foils and bake until crust is golden brown about 20 minutes more. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Yields 8 slice per crust.

    This is only for one crust, but I double it for a two-crust pie. You don’t need to pre-bake the crust just follow the instructions for the pie you are baking.

    Hope this helps!

    I stayed away from my family and had a good Christmas!

    Have a Happy New Year!!

    Angie

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Thanks, Angie! I will give this recipe a try. I haven’t had much luck so far, but it’s worth trying.

      I had to laugh at the rice or beans step. I read too fast the first time and wondered why I would need to bake beans for a pie crust. πŸ™‚

      Happy new year!

      Like

  18. Tracey Gramiak Horton says:

    I read somewhere this year, “Family the ties that bind…and gag!” Loved it! So true. When you have family that is large and chaotic, you can’t stand it and wish it was smaller, quiet, and less chaotic. Then some years later, when people die off, get sick, move away, etc. and family is smaller, quiet, and less chaotic—we are sad and wish for the noise and chaos again. I think it is the plight of many, in all situations of life, not just Christmas, we look forward to the next phase or when this is over… We need to live by the motto, “It is what it is!” We need to enjoy the present, embrace the crazy, be part of the crazy and ignore the rest. I missed many holidays by being angry or deciding to go on vacation to get away from family. Now that my mother is gone, I would like to have some of those crazy holidays again. Embrace and move on!

    As for pie crust—I excel at pie crust. I truly think it is a gift, some people can just do it. My mother we watch me in amazement. She never could make a pie crust and had all the right tools and implements. I was single, 22, and used a fork and a clean curtain rod, because I didn’t have a rolling pin. LOL Turned out perfect every time. LOL. However, do NOT ask me to make a cake. My two layer cakes are the same height as one layer. Pathetic. I would love to have a little coffee shop with homemade pies, raspberry, strawberry rhubarb, coconut cream, apple, etc.

    Happy New Year Ana!

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Gosh, absolutely true. Though for this crew, bind and gag might have different meanings. πŸ˜€ What you say reminds me of moms who throw fits about not having a clean house when her kids are young, and then later on she would give anything to have children around to mess up her house.

      Sometimes we do need to take a break from family, or family needs to take a break from us. I’ve learned not to judge when people can’t engage with their family because we never know what’s gone on before. There may have been abuse, theft, etc., and people distance themselves rather than air the dirty laundry.

      A clean curtain rod??? Wow.

      I have a chocolate cake I make that I love, but I have lost the recipe/measurements. It was a good cake, too! It took quite a long time to make, though.

      Happy new year!

      Like

      • octoberwoman says:

        You are so right about the not judging. When my grandfather was in a nursing home there were some other residents whose children/grandchildren never visited them, and we felt sorry for them. But at the same time we didn’t know what kind of parents they had been, and we knew their children may have valid reasons for not wanting to visit them.

        Like

  19. Sheila says:

    I don’t know about idiosyncrasies we have but sometimes there is such a thing as too much family. We know too much about one another and which buttons to push and we do just so we can be amused. Never mind how uncomfortable it may be for others watching. I try to limit my time around people because I know I can only handle family and others in small doses. I’m used to living alone and after the holidays I understand why. It is so peaceful.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Oh dear, that must be difficult. On the other hand, maybe people do that to remind themselves that they are close enough to do that? Never comfortable or easy to watch other people made uncomfortable.

      For some people, living alone is lonely..for others, it’s satisfying and peaceful. I am glad you are in the second category. πŸ™‚

      Like

  20. chickie says:

    I left a giant warehouse store sized bag of bananas in a stupid place where they went uneaten so just pulled my 3rd and 4th loaf out of the oven. The boy proclaimed it banana cake when he was three. So that’s what it is. All my “quick breads” are now cakes. Bread is for sandwiches. Otherwise it’s cake.

    Meant to comment the other day about your candy situation but got sidetracked. When I was baking for Christmas last year, my honey had crystallized just a little bit. I thought I hit the 10 second button on the microwave and wasn’t paying attention that I’d hit a couple minutes instead. The whole thing exploded all over my hand and arm. Honey hit the 10′ ceiling in my kitchen.

    My family was into drama so there was a nonstop venting of steam. Somebody was always in tears. None of that not talking to somebody business. Really, I don’t know what is more stressful.

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and happy new year!

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Hehe. I don’t mind if people call my quick/sweet breads “cake,” but I don’t dress them up like cake. To me, they’re not pretty enough (in a loaf pan) for cake, but hey. Why not?

      Oh, boy. I will be very careful microwaving honey. I didn’t know that honey could explode! Live and learn. I’ve also learned to be very careful because microwaves sometimes overcook things..I don’t know what it is, but they automatically add more time if you don’t take the food out right away. I’ve burnt more than one thing that way.

      I agree. Silent treatment and yelling are both unpleasant, but we have to have a way to get out negative stuff.

      Happy new year!

      Like

      • chickie says:

        You can microwave honey for 10 seconds and it melts those little crystals and it’s good as new. It’s a problem when you hit that 3-minute button right under the 10 second one. It was just fine until a couple steps away and then it blew up.

        I don’t dress up my quick breads like cake and I adore them covered in butter. But we still call them banana cake or pumpkin cake or applesauce cake or whatever. Just like all the other kid-isms that will never go away. Like the TV merote and murshamettels πŸ™‚

        Like

  21. catrouble says:

    Hey Ana…oh the stories I could tell…families…can’t live with ’em…can’t live without ’em! LOL

    Nothing wrong with a store bought crust but if you want to learn how to make a good homemade one, there are a few tricks I will be happy to walk you through if you want.

    Hope you are having a fun and happy new year. Wishing you an awesome 2014!

    Hugs and Blessings…
    Cat

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Sometimes it’s can’t live with ’em, can’t live with ’em. πŸ˜€ So we have a lot of lonely people in the US because we don’t have communities that support extended families as much.

      Grin. I am sure you will have a few tips for homemade pie crust! When I am ready to tackle that beast again, I will absolutely ask you.

      Happy new year!

      Like

  22. Roz says:

    Ooh banana bread! Can I have some … pretty please?? πŸ™‚ I’m afraid baking is not one of my fortes 😦

    We don’t have extended family in NZ, it is just the immediate family here so we don’t tend to have blow ups or irritations at family gatherings. Any blow ups tend to happen between individual family members outside of family gatherings and are usually fairly quickly resolved.

    Hugs,
    Roz

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      I wish you lived closer, Roz! I’d love to bake for you. πŸ™‚

      It’s sad not to have extended family close by, though. I hope you have good friends and neighbors to help fill in the gaps.

      Hugs back. Happy new year to you, too!

      Like

  23. Roz says:

    Goodness, pushed publish too quickly! Happy New Year Ana! Wishing you all the very best and continued success with your writing in 2014. I hope it is a wonderful year for you πŸ™‚

    Hugs,
    Roz

    Like

  24. octoberwoman says:

    My family has always gotten along well and holidays have always been good times. My ex-husband’s family, on the other hand, was totally dysfunctional, and I hated spending holidays with them. Although for several years I didn’t have to as his mother decided I was no longer welcome in their home, thanks to her son running to her whining whenever we had a fight or things weren’t going his way.

    We rarely have big family gatherings since my grandparents passed on. They, and my grandmother’s twin, were the glue that brought all the extended family together, and as each individual family unit has grown, the families mostly celebrate among themselves instead of all together.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      That’s one of the saddest things for me, remembering all gathering for Christmas as a child and now being separated into each family unit. I suppose it’s only natural, but it’s also natural to remember times when we had few enough people to gather. Plus, with families living so far apart these days travel becomes too expensive.

      How great your family has gotten along well. πŸ™‚

      Like

  25. Terry says:

    Hi Ana
    Belated Happy New Year to you and everyone.
    My Mom made the best pie crusts but I never got the hang of it so I buy pre-made also. As long as the pies taste good don’t feel bad. I’m glad your caramels turned out so well.

    I didn’t see this post until today because New Year’s Eve was crazy. I worked over-time so I came home late with carry-out food for a house full of people at our annual NewYear’s Eve party. It was fun seeing everyone but since I worked my husband did most of the set-up (even though my daughters said they would help) and he was a bit unhappy. When midnight came everyone went outside with noise makers, poppers and cans of silly string. It had snowed so my son-in-law threw blue colored safety salt on the deck so no one would fall. Well all the blue salt snow was tracked in on everyone’s shoes so today I had to mop up all the floors to get rid of the blue coating on the surfaces. Sigh. It was a great party so I’m not complaining but it is lots of work cleaning up.

    I agree with a comment from someone yesterday. The ones who are closest to you know the right buttons to push to cause problems if they want to. Also because we like to think that the people we love and care about love us back it even more hurts more when they do or say things mean.

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    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      At least the second batch of caramels meant no burning, right? πŸ™‚

      Blue salt? I have never heard of that. Is it blue so people can see where there is ice? What a pain to clean up. Actually I’ve heard that the salt is not good because it pollutes the water (melted ice and snow means water, plus salt makes saltwater, and it means less available freshwater).

      Loving people always means getting hurt, but it also getting hurt means we have allowed ourselves to love. It’s good to remember that, I think, even when the getting hurt part is so difficult.

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      • Terry says:

        Yes the blue is just a coloring so you can see it and know where there is still bare ice. This was safety “salt” so it is safe for pets, wooden decks and the environment. It was still a major pain when it was tracked into the house with the snow and melted all over my floors.

        Your comment about “Loving people always means getting hurt” is cliche but that doesn’t stop it from being true. I’m sure we have all taken risks in a relationship of any kind hoping that we would get love and acceptance in return. When that love and acceptance is returned past hurts can be easier to deal with.

        Like

  26. sassytwatter says:

    Great post and thankfully I read after the yummy snippet I read something to cool me down.

    Family you gotta love them but god do they know how to push your buttons.

    My family is loud crazy opinionated and open…….not subject taboo. From my grandmother telling me where to find the best hookers in Beverly Hills, she has friends apherently to my parents asking do I think my sister drives enough pleasure from sex. I see my husband cringe at some of the subject matters that pop up even after more than two decades. And if we ever want to talk about someone my poor sister brother in law & husband or left out while we switch in to Swedish which sometimes admittedly I do just to push my sisters buttons.

    But despite my family lack of boundaries and craziness I am very thankful and love them…..sowmtimes I have to remind myself of that….like this morning when my mother showed up unexpectedly with my sister……family is forever god love them even if sometimes you want to give them a good throttling.

    Like

    • sassytwatter says:

      Just read through all the comments I have tears from laughing so hard. Missed coming to check in this week but trying to stick to New Years resolutions has made it hard. Oh- share your recipes you made me hungry!

      Like

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