This will be my final column for 2009. Another year has come and gone. It seems like every year goes faster than the one before.


This will be my final column for 2009. Another year has come and gone. It seems like every year goes faster than the one before.

We are enjoying our days during the holidays. With the children off school, we are sleeping later and have no schedule to follow. It is enjoyable, but it is also good to be back to a normal schedule once the holidays are over.

On Dec. 22, my husband Joe turned another year older. He is now 41 years old. He had to work on his birthday, so we didn’t do anything special. I still would like to do something soon for his birthday, but it always seems to get run-in with the holidays.

Meanwhile, the girls and I made peanut butter balls, chocolate-covered pretzels, long john rolls and some more goodies for Christmas. The girls and I also enjoyed making Christmas cut-out cookies and frosting them. Another thing we enjoy around the holidays is peanuts, which we enjoy taking out of their shells. And also, oranges, although our children seem to eat the smaller clementines more than the oranges. These fruits are a healthy snack to have around.

We had a very nice Christmas Day with our family. The children were very happy with the gifts we gave to them. Daughter Elizabeth, 15, likes anything with wolves on it, so we gave her a clock and a throw with wolves. Susan, 13, likes horses, so we got her the same as Elizabeth, only with horses. Verena, 12, and Loretta, 9, needed new bikes and were quite excited to see them as their Christmas presents.

I think that Benjamin,10, was almost the most surprised of all the children when we gave him his first bow and arrow. It is a youth bow for age 10 and older. Benjamin has been pretty occupied just doing target practice. We want to let him take hunter safety classes next year so he can try his luck deer hunting.

Lovina, 5, enjoyed her doll and the games we got her. And Joseph, 7, and Kevin, 4, were pretty excited about their truck and horse-trailer outfit. They have filled the trailers with horses and keep taking them from one end of the house to the next.

Along with giving gifts, it is also important to remind the children about the true meaning of Christmas. They never get tired of hearing about the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. It was touching to hear the children singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus while we were getting everyone together to open presents on Christmas morning. We are thankful we were able to get them gifts this year. I still remember how considerate the children were the one year we couldn’t get them gifts while we were building the new house. The new house was enough of a gift to us all.

Our church Christmas potluck dinner was well attended, and once again the women from our church made a lot of good-tasting food. We have received quite a few inches of snow, and it is still snowing. I am sure our pony Stormy will be glad once sledding season is over. He gets the chore of pulling the children on the sled through the fields.

Joe is ice-fishing today, the first time he has ever done this. Joe and a friend have an ice shanty, so maybe this 20-degree weather won’t be too bad. With a portable propane heater, I imagine they can keep it quite cozy in there.

We hope all of you readers had a blessed Christmas and best wishes for all of the coming year 2010.

Lots of people like to enjoy sauerkraut on New Year’s, so try this favorite recipe.

Sauerkraut Balls

2 pounds ground pork

2 pounds ground beef

1 medium minced onion

1 (16-ounce) can sauerkraut (undrained)

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons horseradish

2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons garlic salt

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 cup saltine cracker crumbs

Combine all ingredients for meat mixture in large bowl and mix well. Roll into 1-inch balls.

Breading

3 eggs

3 cups milk

1 cup (or more) dry bread crumbs

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

Oil for deep frying

Combine bread crumbs and poultry seasoning. Dip sauerkraut balls into egg mixture, then roll lightly in bread crumbs. Deep fry in hot oil (370 degrees) for 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked completely through. Makes 60 to 70 sauerkraut balls.