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Enjoy family, even if it costs some sleep

Why is it when you get older you don’t sleep in or it seems you require less sleep? I had family in over the Thanksgiving holiday and I didn’t seem very sleep much. I love getting up early and having coffee with my mom before everyone wakes up. We were busy throughout the whole time they were here. I was either working, or shopping trying to finish up Christmas.

We had three-to-four coffees a day and would be up to 11 p.m. or later, then up by 6 a.m. This happened almost all week. I can tell you now I am exhausted. Put a fork in me. I am done. On a normal day, I do get up early but I am in bed by 9 p.m., and lights out by 10 p.m. I always have told people don’t call or text me after 8 p.m., unless it is an emergency. I may not answer.

I am a morning person. I would rather get up at the crack of dawn to get something done than stay up late. I am worthless after 9 p.m. most nights. I hit the ground running and have several irons in the fire each day, because I am a multitasker. By the end of the day, I am physically and mentally drained.

I am all about having family around for the holidays. I totally enjoyed my mom and dad for Thanksgiving. There was lots of shopping and playing card games. We don’t get to play cards much. So, when they come in, we play a game called Hand, Knee and Foot. You have to have partners. It also takes most of a night to play. If you haven’t played you need to. So there is another reason I was up late. But well worth it.

I addition cooked for everyone almost every night. They are also trying to eat better, so I was able to use some of my healthy recipes on them. They were surprisingly shocked how good a lot of it tasted. Yes, healthy and great taste — not missing out on anything. We eat healthy, and enjoy the taste, while losing weight.

As with any visit, there comes a time when everyone must go home. My parents left this week and it was bittersweet.

I adore having them here. I kind of wish they lived close by so we didn’t have to wait so long to see one another.

I have to be a hostess whenever anyone comes to our house and make sure they want for nothing. I want them to relax and enjoy themselves.

I do have the best mom around. She was right by my side the whole time wanting to help. When I had to work at the newspaper, I would come home to a clean house — the dishes would be all done and my laundry would be done. I could come home relax and visit.

My house is now quiet for a few more weeks. We are empty nesters once again. It is time to relax and get ready because I have more family coming in for Christmas.

I haven’t seen my brother in 2 1/2 years. He and his family will join us for a week of craziness. Enjoy your family while your can. You don’t know when God will call them home. So, for now, I will love a little harder, have grace where grace is needed, and forgive often. Let’s sit back and relax. Then, let the wildness begin. Afterall. It is only for a time. Then we will get back to what we call normal and it will be too quiet again.

This recipe was a favorite at Thanksgiving

Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

Ingredients
1 16 oz loaf of day-old French bread
2 and 1/2 cup milk
1 cup half & half see notes You can substitute whole milk or heavy cream
4 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter softened
1 and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup pecan chopped

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cube bread then place in a large bowl.
In another bowl, beat eggs, milk, half & half, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Pour over the bread and allow to sit 5 to 10 minutes
In another small bowl, combine with a fork, softened butter, brown sugar, and pecans. This mixture will have the consistency of wet sand.
Pour half of the bread mixture into a greased 8×8 inch pan. (Yes, 8×8-inch pan.)
Top with half of the pecan mixture.
Spoon remaining bread mixture over and top with remaining pecan mixture. Press down into pan slightly. Pan will be really full.
Top with remaining pecan mixture.
Place pan on a cookie sheet with a 1-inch edge to catch any mixture that may boil over.
Bake at 350 degrees F 45 to 55 minutes.
The center will be slightly jiggly but will set when cool.
Allow to cool 20 to 30 minutes before serving so that the slices will hold together.
It is a thick bread pudding and I cut into 16 equal servings. Obviously, you can cut larger slices.

Tina Specht is co-publisher of the Minden Press-Herald. She shares her thoughts and recipes each Thursday.