I made an impromptu visit to California earlier this week. Greg and I had decided not to trek the family down for the Christmas holiday and I really wanted to see my Grandma. I was grateful to leave my girlies at home with Lulu and Daddy so I could focus on the time I had to spend with my Gram.
I flew into Sacramento on Monday evening and raced from the airport to Taro's in my tiny rental car to meet my girlfriend's for dinner. Staci, Janelle, Judy, Betsy, and Anne were able to make it. The sushi was great--the company was terrific! I spent the night at Staci's and had a quick breakfast (thanks Rusty!) with the Bills Family--then it was an hour drive to Manteca to see Gram.
Thankfully, it did not take much convincing to talk her into letting me bake her famous chocolate chip cookies with her careful supervision.
Everyone is always teasing Gram that she has a "secret" recipe--for which she absolutely denies. I can tell you this, they would not taste the same without her careful (but "tweaked") measurements, 30+ year-old baking sheets (which are coated with "love"), the mixing bowls she received from her girlfriends as a wedding gift (!), and her perfectly heated oven--from which every batch comes out.
Her recipe makes 80 small cookies--and those do not last long!
Pictured below is the "secret" recipe.
Can you believe she let me take it home??? Sadly, the cookies I make at home will never live up to the ones baked in Gram's kitchen.
Aunt Connie stopped by to visit Tuesday afternoon. Aunt Candy and Uncle Ron came for dinner. Felicity and Jackie switched their standing dinner-date with Grandma from Monday to Tuesday so they could join us as well. Fifteen year-old Jackie is taller than all of us now!
Grandma and I stayed up too late chatting. I was so happy to hear the romantic story of her elopement with my Grandfather again. We looked at pictures of my girls for a few hours on my laptop and she got to hear all about their funny lives and how we keep ourselves busy. At 8pm we were snuggled up in our chairs reading and visiting when the doorbell rang. It was several ladies from her church there to bring her a blanket they had made and sing us Christmas carols. It really was a special visit. We finally turned in at 10pm!
Wednesday morning, I had to get up early and get on my way. I stopped by my friend Kristen's house for a cup of tea before meeting my brother Bobby for breakfast in Sacramento. Kristen's son Liam is getting so big and he entertained us by being a cute as ever!
I was so happy when Billie called and asked to "crash" our breakfast! She couldn't make it Monday night for Girls' Dinner and so we got to catch up anyway during breakfast. Our dining experience at Cornerstone was comedy--horseraddish is not supposed to be brown!
This picture of Bobby and I would be so good if I were a little less excited about seeing him--then my smile would be a bit smaller and you might actually be able to see my upper lip!
After breakfast, it was back to the Bills household for another 30 minutes of visiting before racing to the airport. Norah and Natalie were funny and cuddly--who could ask for more?
It was easier to say good-bye to the Bills because we'll be seeing them up in Oregon in about 2 weeks! Yippee!