Ho Ho HO

Connealy Scalloped Corn

A Christmas Staple at the Connealy household


This is my kids’ absolute favorite

It’s more really fantastic macaroni and cheese than scalloped corn but whatever it is, it’s a Connealy Family Reunion staple.


1 can whole corn-drained


1 can creamed corn 

1 c. small macaroni-the kind isn’t important


1 cup butter cut up

1 cup Velveeta cubed


Dump in greased casserole dish


Bake 30 minutes-stir

Bake 30 more minutes


And a Christmas Memory


When my kids were growing up I was always really frugal at Christmas (okay call it cheap…BE THAT WAY!!!)


My Cowboy worked so hard! And I was a stay at home mom and I always tried to treat his hard work with respect…which extended to spending the money.


So inevitably I’d set a budget…maybe $25 dollars a kid…and shop sales and start early…work really hard to get them something nice without busting the budget.


And then very close to the big day I’d talk it all through with My Cowboy, what I’d gotten and if I needed to get them anything more, and he’d say, “Let’s get them all (fill in the blank…something big and fun and exciting).”

And we’d often go shopping together.


I remember the year, at the last minute, we went and bought them all sleds. All of a sudden my tidy Christmas plans were pretty extravagant and I had his blessing for that. And I could see he was having fun. And we could afford it, I was just hesitant to spend big.


An interesting fact about me and my cowboy. Our parents were ten years apart in age. I was one of the first of my parents eight children, third, and he was sixth of his parents seven children. 


His parents were like…wildly tight-fisted with money. My parents were pretty careless with it. But they both started out with NOTHING.

I mean seriously poor. And they both worked hard and bought farmland…hard to pay for…and ended up fairly rich (No money but valuable holdings).


My parents careless generosity meant little because they had nothing. So I grew up in a very poor household…eight kids in a three bedroom farmhouse. 


By the time my little brothers and sisters could remember there started to be some money but when I was growing up…nothing. I mean NOTHING. I remember coming upon my mom once crying…my mom was a ROCK I’m telling you. She did NOT cry…so this was shocking.

And I asked her what was wrong…I was scared to death…still pretty young. And she said, she wanted to write a letter to her mom…who lived about 90 minutes away but we rarely went to see them…gas cost money!

She wanted to write a letter to her mom but she couldn’t afford a stamp. 

A ten cent stamp.


I’ve always remembered that as a shocking example of just how absolutely poor my family was. An my folks didn’t burden us with worries about money which made this moment all the more shocking to me.


And his parents, by the time he came along were very well-to-do…in the context that they were always cheap. 


So we came into our marriage with very different attitudes about money. I just always knew that, by comparison to how I grew up, we were pretty well-off. He always felt poor.


I smile when I think of how he remembers our early years of marriage. Very desperate times to his way to his way of thinking. To me…I couldn’t believe we actually had some money in the bank!!! I felt rich but was so used to worrying about money I was careful not to spend much. He felt poor and was so used to his parents parsimony that he was careful not to spend much.


It worked because big picture, we agreed to be cheap…but for really different reasons.


That made his generosity with the kids at Christmas very special. And I still remember him ‘coming through’ with big gift ideas that I’d have never dared plan on. The sled year was a great example.


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Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

15 thoughts on “Ho Ho HO”

  1. Welcome Mary. I can remember similar situations growing up. I was the oldest of five so I saw more of this type of thing than my siblings. And I am the one that to this day saves my money. And my husband is a lot like yours. He had a great job a Motorola at the time and had a great salary, but my mindset was different than his. He loved to get gifts for our two kids that they would enjoy. Merry Christmas. Gods blessings are ours to claim.

  2. When my oldest was 3 and his little brother was a baby, I wanted to start the tradition of the Christmas Elf in our house, but couldn’t afford the $30+ one they sold at the store. Instead, I found a stuffed elf in the clearance bin at the dollar store (I paid 50 cents for him) and that became our elf. Now, 10 years later we can afford the “official” elf but we’ve never changed him since he’s part of our stories and traditions now. I hope someday my boys will remember him fondly!

  3. Oh Mary, you’ve touched my heart and opened up my memory bank! My parents started out with nothing also and through hard work and good money management they were able to own their own home. I was a sophmore in high school when we moved into our new house and I remember Daddy saying that, if he lived, he would be 70 before it was paid for. Their home loan was through FHA and he did live to get that letter and mortgage note stamped PAID. My mother believed in cooking from scratch and we didn’t have many convenience meals. Others may have thought we were poor but I never considered myself in that light. When my husband and I married, we were tenant farmers and we worked hard to purchase our own farm ten years later. We milked cows, raised tobacco and feed for our cattle, and I grew big gardens but we struggled each year to make our farm payment. When I applied for a part-time job in our library my husband wasn’t happy because he thought he was losing his farm-hand. It’s true that I wasn’t available all day but I still helped with the milking and my boss arranged for me to work around tobacco housing. One day became two; two went to three and they liked my and asked me to go full-time. Best thing ever because even though a public librarian doesn’t make a big salary, they do have some benefits down the road. I have been truly blessed by being raised by Christian parents who instilled in me the value of hard work and I have been married for almost 51 years to a Christian man who has the same work ethics. We aren’t rich but we have enough and best of all, I have the love of reading and the gifts that authors like you offer me.

    Our Christmas spending has always been pretty low-key, due to no money (Ha!) and now, it seems like Christmas almost every day as compared to what many others have. After all, Christmas should be about His birth!

    Merry Christmas! Thanks for using your incredible gift and sharing it with others!

  4. What a heartwarming blog. My dad was a pastor…we lived on love and whatever parishioners provided. We knew Jesus was the reason to celebrate Christmas. Am thankful for memories when we had little to give, because we spent more time on being together and not on things. Merry Christmas Mary. Thank you for sharing today.

  5. I can kinda relate. I never felt poor, I always had everything I needed, but not everything I wanted!! I never felt deprived or anything. However, my parents never had a savings account until I was either in high school or had graduated from high school. Thank you for sharing!

  6. I grew up in a farming family and we didn’t have extra either. We didn’t do presents for Christmas. My parents always said we would get them from relatives, so no need for them from our own family. I see now it saved them money! LOL. I don’t remember feeling deprived either. Happy memories!

  7. I remember those times of not having money for Christmas but God helped us through it. We must have done something right because the kids have never complained about their gifts.

  8. I am the oldest of 6 children and never realized where our family was financially. We had our own house, but my dad was a poor businessman and did not take good care of his money and credit. Mom was the one who had to try hard to balance him. We usually got a couple of gifts at Christmas, usually clothing we needed. One nice thing about a large family, even if you have few gifts per child, with so many children, it is always full under the tree. My husband’s father was in the Air Force and as a Sgt. didn’t make that much. My husband had a paper route on base and that is where he got his spending money. We both are frugal. I was careful with how I spent money. I bought gifts all year long when there was a good sale. There were months when we just barely squeaked by paying the bills at the end of the month. We automatically put a portion of his salary into savings every month. If you don’t see it, you are less likely to spend it. As we got older, I pushed extra money onto our mortgage payment every month and was able to pay it off early. My goal was to retire without having to worry about that expense. We are comfortable now, but still aren’t extravagant. I just can’t do or get anything without looking at the price tag.

  9. What a heartfelt story Mary and I know where you are coming from. We didn’t have a lot growing up either so I am frugal now. My husband family was the different they spent all their money on vacations every year, weather they had anything else they had their vacations. I can only remember going on one vacation as a child and I don’t care for traveling today either. I guess its all in how your were raised.

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