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Pody's column: Just like that, it's time to get ready for Christmas

During the past week my arthritic joints reminded me fall is over and winter is here.  We live in Minnesota and know November brings this change with the white landscape, cooler temperatures and icy roads.

As we look in our rear view mirror, the high school volleyball and football tournaments are over, we relaxed and enjoyed Thanksgiving with family and friends and survived the madness of desperate retailers on Black Friday.

Now our thoughts turn to Christmas only five weeks away. We have concerts, programs, shopping, pageants, festivals, parties, Christmas cards, baking, decorating and entertaining to think of. It's the time to make lists for food, gifts, shopping and guests. 

My favorite Christmas activity when the children were growing up was decorating our memory tree. Now they have their own trees and traditions. Today for me it's baking or doing a little decorating while listening to Christmas tapes or watching a Hallmark movie on TV.

With only five weeks left until we celebrate, it's time to do a little every day so we can enjoy a stress free Christmas.

Cheesy potato soup

6 large russet potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled

6 strips bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped celery

4 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, dried rosemary, salt and black pepper

1 cup milk

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Saute onion and celery in bacon drippings. Puree potatoes. Add broth and spices. Add onion, celery and half the crumbled bacon.

Add the milk and cheese. Mix well and heat through. Garnish soup bowls with remaining bacon and cheese if desired. Yield: Four servings