Season's greetings... and Christmas break!

Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas and an abundantly blessed beginning to 2017!

Merry Christmas card

In hopes of fully savoring the season, Grandma's Briefs is officially on break for Christmas and the New Year holiday. I'll be back Monday, January 2 with the very first GRAND Social link party of 2017! I hope you'll join me then.

In the meantime, I'll surely post now and then on social media and look forward to crossing virtual paths with you on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Cheers! See ya next year!

Saturday movie review: Bing Crosby Rediscovered

The holiday season is upon us, and no movie — or song — encapsulates Christmastime better than WHITE CHRISTMAS. This review isn't about that movie or song; it's about the man who brought both to life and placed them forever in our hearts: Bing Crosby.

Bing Crosby Rediscovered 

BING CROSBY REDISCOVERED, an American Masters presentation, premieres...

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Adventures in a new dimension

Not long after being laid off from the newspaper in 2008, I started a freelance gig I called Five Buck Bits. It was a source of news briefs (briefs being my theme for some time now) for regional parenting publications, bits they could purchase from my website for $5 per bit to add to their publications, online or in print.

One of the bits I wrote regarded the appropriateness of taking youngsters to 3-D movies. In part, here is the advice from that brief:

Parents planning on taking their children to see one of the season’s popular 3-D films need to know how to determine if the kids can see 3-D, then prepare them for what will happen during a 3-D movie if they have never seen one before.

Dr. Brad Habermehl, President of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, says many children may miss out on all the excitement if they can’t see 3-D. “Unfortunately, most parents have no idea how their children see their world, and children don’t complain if they can’t see 3-D.”

Consider the signs. Your child may not be able to see 3-D if he or she:
• is clumsy—spills milk when going down stairs, climbing play structures or avoids them all together;
• has difficulty hitting or catching pouring, trips while walking, bumps into things;
• is scared of escalators, a ball.

<snipped to shorten for this post>

If your child can see 3-D, it’s still best when a child has never seen a 3-D movie before to prepare him beforehand for what he will see. Explain to your child how with most movies the picture stays on the movie screen. But in 3-D movies, the picture will look as if it is filling the whole theater and viewers may feel like they can reach out and touch the characters. Also be sure to tell your child ahead of time that if he doesn’t like what he sees or he feels uncomfortable, he can close his eyes until he feels comfortable opening them again.

During the 3-D movie, keep an eye on your child, watching for any signs of a headache, nausea or dizziness during or shortly afterwards. ...

Because of that little brief written more than a year ago, I've been hesitant about taking Bubby to see a 3-D movie.

During his Thanksgiving visit to his paternal grandparents, though, Bubby was treated to the newest Happy Feet movie. In 3-D. And he did just fine! No headache, no nausea, no dizziness. (Although Megan did tell me that, for some reason, he decided to wear his 3-D glasses upside down the entire time.)

With the success of Bubby's first venture into 3-D, I now feel safe in taking my grandson—along with the rest of the family—to a 3-D movie while everyone is together for the Christmas holiday. This is what I'm planning for us to see:


Maybe we'll all wear our 3-D glasses upside down for the duration of the film, just to add yet another dimension to the adventure. (Except for Baby Mac, of course, whose eyes I'll likely be shielding for safety's sake.)

Today's question:

What is the first 3-D film you recall seeing?

Thanksgiving recipe swap

With Thanksgiving just one week away, I, like many, have food on the brain: What to make, what to buy, what to serve up to dazzle the guests.

Okay, the "dazzle" part is a bunch of hooey. At least for me. I'm not really looking to dazzle any of the family joining us on Turkey Day; I'm simply hoping to satisfy everyone's cravings for dishes tried and true. Which means I'll be serving up the basics, the goodies I've served up every Thanksgiving for countless years.

Which got me to thinking: Every family has certain foods that are tradition to their clan, often served up only on Thanksgiving. Today I want to discuss those here...including the swapping of the recipes for those so inclined.

So tell me: What dishes have a standing spot on your Thanksgiving table? Which are the family favorites? Which are your favorites? And which are on the table simply because they've always been there, always will be, regardless of the number of friends and family who actually eat them (I'm thinking specifically of cranberries...which I really do like and prefer whole over jellied).

I'll get the ball rolling by offering up a dish that has become tradition in my immediate family, a dish I first made 25 or so years ago and have served every Thanksgiving since, at least when I've been the one hosting the holiday meal. Megan now makes it for her Thankgsiving meals, which warms my heart to see one of my off-the-wall offerings on its way to becoming a recipe of Gramma's passed down through the generations.

The recipe likely once had an official name, but in my family it's known as Mom's Cheesy Corn Casserole. It's been posted in my Grandma's Recipe Box for quite some time, but I'd like to share it again here, for our just initiated (possibly to become annual) Grandma's Briefs Thanksgiving Recipe Swap:

Cheesy Corn Casserole

1 10-ounce package frozen corn, thawed and drained

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

6 slices white bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 eggs

2 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1-2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (yes, 300). Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle half the corn in the bottom, then sprinkle with half the cheddar cheese, then half the Monterey jack cheese. Cover with half the bread cubes. Repeat all layers. Beat together eggs, milk, salt and pepper and pour over all layers, pressing down the bread to be sure it's all moistened. Dot with butter. Bake uncovered for 90 minutes, or until puffed and dark golden on top.

Makes 8 servings.

(For big gatherings, you can double this recipe, using a 9X13 dish. Photo above is a doubled recipe.)

There you have it: My one and only out-of-the-ordinary, traditional-in-our-house Thanksgiving dish. The rest of the Thanksgiving spread is pretty much what you'd expect...including cranberries, that may or may not get eaten but without which it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving.

Now it's your turn! Let the recipe swapping begin!

Today's question:

What dish is a family tradition on your Thanksgiving table? (Sharing of recipes encouraged and appreciated! If you have the recipe posted on your blog, feel free to include the link. And yes, pie and dessert recipes are welcome!)