Summary Photo of a Shepherd's Pie

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Tonight I am making my first Fall/Winter meal of the year! A kind of Shepherd’s pie thing, but with beef. It’s perfect for cold weather, because it’s made with potatoes, and corn, and meat, and it fills you up nicely. I’ve also started my Christmas Cleaning Spree, where i clean and clean and clean, until the house looks just like the ones in commercials, and movies. I love the holidays, and will do anything to create the perfect one. Including clean. And you all know how I feel about cleaning. I hate it. I would rather die a trillion deaths, then clean. But i do it voluntarily every year, for Christmas. There are families that don’t ever see each other all at once until around Thanksgiving. My family is lucky in that we all live by each other, so every birthday, every minor holiday is turned into this big thing. But we go all out for Christmas. We all meet at my aunt and uncle’s Christmas Eve, and the house is always perfect. Cookies, and candy and good food lie around on every available surface, and the tree. Oh, the tree. We all bring our own decorations the week after Thanksgiving, and decorate it together, which means a lot to me, because then I can hang the ornaments that me and my birth mom made when i was little, and no one really likes them. They remind us of her, and I’m the only one who has any good memories of her, that are fairly recent. (We were kind of cut off from the rest of the family from the time my middle sister was born, until my 8th birthday.) And we all eat our Christmas dinner- Green chicken. It’s actually chicken pesto, but my sister called it the green chicken the first Christmas my uncle made it, and it stuck. After dinner, we sit by the fireplace and read Christmas stories. Always the same ones- The Polar Express, The Nativity Story, A Night before Christmas- plus a few random ones dug out of garages, and old bookcases. Then the kids each get to open one present. Almost always, it’s new jammies, so we all match for Christmas morning. Then the wee ones- anyone under 10- go to bed, and then it’s time to break out the peppermint schnapps and poker set. No, not really. We each get a special kind of hot cocoa, and starts setting out Santa gifts, and stuffing stockings. it sucks, being the youngest one up, because you’re then one who’s sent back and forth, relaying messages, like where a gift goes, who a gift goes to, “how many candy canes per stocking”, “do you want this wrapped”… it’s fun. But this year i won’t be the youngest, nor the second youngest. My cousin Chloe, who is nine, might be joining us this year, depending on whether my sister, who is ten, can handle going to sleep alone.

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