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4 days: I should have been a quarterback

December 22, 2014

This may or may not come as a shock to most readers: one season I played tackle football. It was the fall of my junior year in college for an all-girls league in intramurals. Our coaches were our classmates who just happened to be on our alma mater’s gridiron team. If my participation on a football team isn’t a surprise, the position I played probably will be. I was a lineman, or is that linewoman? The offensive line is somewhat of a family tradition as both my husband and I played there as did our sons. My specific role was center, snapping the ball to the quarterback and blocking defenders. I liked the grit of the action on the line, even though the coaches originally pegged me as a receiver. Pshaw!

The advent of football season sparks another season around here. In my mind, I refer to it as “Elf Workshop Season”, when I really get down to business in the creation of gifts for friends, family, and my children’s teachers. Just like I reinforce to all my children, “Champions are made in the off-season.” I spend the months leading up to August, planning (which is code for reading magazines and spending hours on Pinterest) and gathering supplies. Making lists and checking them twice, I am in top crafting shape when the lines are chalked onto the football field. Of course, my family might have a very different version of my season because they inevitably get invited roped into being assistant elves. They haven’t gone through rigorous training as dedicated to their sport as I have done, but let’s face it, I can’t afford to get picky. I do have a deadline after all!

teacher gifts 2014

To reach that finale, I keep a pretty detailed agenda of what needs to be accomplished when. Yesterday morning was no exception. I got up early to embroider a blanket. Okay, I actually just push a button and the machine does all the work, but there is a fair amount of prep work upfront. At some point, I said, “I love this season. I really enjoy making gifts for those I love. But in reality, I should have been a quarterback, because I would have stunk at being a receiver.” In only the way he can, my sweetie just smiled and nodded with a glimmer of understanding twinkling in his eyes.

As much as I would love, Love, LOVE to have a session of Show-N-Tell of all of this season’s final line of presents, I won’t spoil the fun for the gift recipients. I am providing below a sneak peek of one the recipes we made for teachers and school staff. This recipe is one my children have enjoyed as gifts and for breakfast at their adopted grandma’s house. It is delish! Enjoy!


Homemade Granola


8 cups oatmeal and 6 cups rolled wheat. (We use 14 cups of oats.)

1-1/2 cups chopped dates

2-1/2 – 3 cups of raw, large-flake raw coconut – no sugar added.

1-1/2 cups chopped almonds

1/2 cup or more of dried sunflower seeds.


1-1/2  cup brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

1-1/2 cup oil

2/3 cup powdered dry milk

2 tsp. salt

Add this blended mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Spread out in three cookie sheets with edges on them.  *Bake at 250 degrees for 40 minutes. Stir  granola.  Lower oven to 200 degrees and bake for 1 hour 15 min to 1 hour 40 minutes. (Here, again, you just have to judge how dark it is getting.)  Stir every 20 minutes  and don’t cook too brown.  (When done, add 1 or more cups of dried cranberries/raisins.) Store in air-tight containers.  Makes about 4 quarts.

*We have a very large enamelware bowl that we use to both mix the granola and bake the whole recipe.For that type of pan, we bake at 250 degrees for two hours, stirring every 20 minutes.

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