My husband Joe is on a two week Christmas break from work.  And the children’s school has also closed its doors for two weeks for the holiday season so, needless to say, our house will not have too much peace and quiet for awhile. I guess that is what makes life interesting, though. The temperature has not gone much over 20 degrees this past week. Even though we have not had too much more snow the children are still enjoying sledding, usually our pony Stormy is doing the pulling.

We still have a big pile of dirt in the barnyard from when we built the house. Every morning Stormy is standing on top of that hill. From where he stands he can see straight into our kitchen through the window. It almost looks like he waits for the gaslights to be turned on in the morning. I think Stormy enjoys the extra attention over sledding season. 

Yesterday was our annual Christmas potluck after church services. Church was held in a home about 4 miles from here. The roads were still snow-covered and icy so it makes it an extra effort for the horses to pull the buggies through the snow. We took our "old faithful," our slow but sure horse named Diamond. He is 161⁄2 years old but he is a good, safe family horse. 

Once again we had a lot more food at the potluck than was needed. From casseroles to salads to desserts and fruits, there was a good variety. I took a big roaster of "pizza casserole" which I will share the recipe at the end of the column. My sister Emma, husband Jacob, and family spent the afternoon here. We played the board game Aggravation while the children bundled up and went sledding. We popped popcorn for a snack before Jacob’s left for home. Meanwhile, Elizabeth and her friend Timothy joined his family at his brother’s house for supper. 

I made eggs, fried potatoes, and fried pork for our supper. We have been getting a lot of eggs that the new chickens are all laying. I would like to make homemade noodles while we have the extra supply of eggs. With the coal-stove going in the basement I could dry the noodles down there. I know with the whole family being home for the next two weeks I know we will use more eggs than usual. 

The children’s Christmas program was held on Thursday evening at the school. The children did a wonderful job. Five-year-old Kevin stood up there and watched the audience and forgot all about helping to sing. I think his day had been too long and he was too tired to sing. He came off the bus at lunch at the place where lunch was served after the funeral of our neighbor. The deceased neighbor’s wife Ann asked if daughters Susan and Elizabeth would help prepare for the lunch served after the funeral. I attended the funeral and then helped the girls serve the meal. We were glad to do this for Ann and her family. Our sympathy goes to the family. Ken will be missed by many.

Tomorrow the calendar shows that winter officially begins. Then Wednesday, Dec. 22, is my husband Joe’s 42nd birthday. We are planning to take the day off and do some Christmas shopping. Let us always remember the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus our Savior. It is so hard to believe 2010 is almost over. 

Today we plan to do laundry. Joe is planning to do the drywall mudding in the one upstairs bedroom. We emptied out the room so he can work on the walls. He hopes to get enough time over the next two weeks to get that room ready for painting, but there are always so many odd and end jobs that come up that he sometimes can’t finish a project.

I will share the pizza casserole that I used for the potluck.

PIZZA CASSEROLE

2 pounds sausage

1 box 16 oz rigatoni pasta, cooked

1 pint pizza sauce

1 10.75 ounce can cream of mushroom soup

1 12 oz.can mushrooms

1 package pepperoni slices

1 medium onion, diced

1 16 ounce package of Mozzarella cheese

Brown sausage and onions in a skilletover medium heat. In a casserole dish, layer pasta, pizza sauce, cream of mushroom soup and mushrooms. Top with cheese and pepperoni slices. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated, 

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