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 Our family never locked the door to our home.  My mom and dad both grew up in the town of Atlantic Highlands N.J.  My grandfather still lived in the house he raised his family in, just a few blocks down the street from us.  It was a 2 story Victorian. 

We spent every Thanksgiving and Christmas with him. (my grandmother was in California with my dad, one of those deals!)  I just loved to go to my grandfathers house.  I guess at 11 years old, there wasn’t really much for me to do there, but there were always amazing smells coming from the kitchen!  And, the dining room table had a white sheet on it with miles of home made noodles of all shapes and sizes drying on it. 

We had a special cut of meat (beef) that my grandfather would roll up with lots of cheese and herbs inside it and tie it all up with string.  Then he would pop this meat roll into his home made tomato sauce and let it simmer until it was so tender it pretty much melted in your mouth!! Braciole, that’s it!  There was wine (for the adults) and homemade bread and many different kinds of cheeses and crackers, and fruit and……..

OMG, I am really missing that time in my life and at the same time I am very grateful for it.

Braciole was browned and then simmered in the giant pot of sauce!

And don’t forget the homemade ravioli with spinach and cheese.

My contribution to dinner was prepared at home the day before…a homemade apple pie.

As a child, I loved to bake.  One of the ways I make a living today is through baking.  I have a cottage industry bakery in my home. 

Christmas was the same, my grandfather and his girl friend must have prepared food for a week before we came to share the holiday with them. 

I would always look forward to getting a new activity book to play with including crayons and lots of paper to write and create with, while the adults were chatting, cooking and preparing dinner, I would make the name cards for the table.  My favorite books were the Little Golden Books to read, so I would also try to copy the pictures on the inside cover.  I was pretty good actually, if I do say so myself!

and the Little Red Riding Hood Golden book, went with me everywhere I went.

I loved my sticker books, and mazes, too.  No T.V., just good food, family and lots of love.  Come to think of it, I do remember putting up a stink when it was time to go to my grandfather’s house, but I always enjoyed myself and left satisfied in more ways than one…

We all did!

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