Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Recap

A quick (or notsoquick) recap of a Ruff Christmas.

Christmas Eve is spent with the ILs, brother/sister ILs and all the first cousins. That puts the number at 22 (when all are there, one BIL was in the hospital). I try and get everything done for Christmas (at our house) on the morning of Christmas Eve. That includes, making my appetizers to take to Christmas Eve (this year my middle daughter wrapped 88 potstickers on Wed afternoon), making my dessert for Christmas dinner, usually a vanilla bean cheesecake (more on that later), cutting up fruit for Christmas breakfast and making homemade cinnamon rolls, also for Christmas morning. The cinnamon rolls I had done on Wed evening and chilling in the fridge. I made the cream cheese frosting, cut up my veggies, made shrimp salsa. I got a list made of everything we needed to bring...from clothes to change into after church, to gifts we need to bring and gifts that would travel with my ILs to their Christmas Day celebration. Then I have to rotate 4 children through showers. Then of course the husband and myself. OH...and I should mention...the snow. The lots and lots and lots and lots of snow we got...and were still getting.

So, I got my things done, my cheesecake in the oven, all was going well. The timer went off on the cheesecake and I opened the oven door and said those immortal words.."DO NOT let me forget to take the cheesecake out of the oven before we leave", preferring to let it cool in the oven. Slowly the kids rotated through the shower.

My oldest daughter had decided to straighten her hair, my middle daughter wanted hers in big bouncy curls, which my oldest willingly helped her accomplish. Beanie...she wanted hers curled as well but she wasn't willing to dry her hair so it could be curled. And I was not willing to fight with her over it, so I just said nothing. And of course, as I'm getting dressed to leave, she is following me around, with still wet hair, curling iron in her hand, wanting me to curl her hair. Uh, no.

We make it to the ILs and partake in th annual ritual of Tom and Jerry's. If you have never had a HOMEMADE Tom and Jerry, then you're missing out. It's something like a dozen eggs, whipped together with powdered sugar and some spices into a batter (those who are not OK with raw eggs should not partake). The batter is then placed in a mug with hot water brandy and rum (yes, I DO DO both!) Tom and Jerry's are a necessity for attending catholic service, with small children, and no place to sit. Seriously. They're like prozac without the RX.

Normally we take our Christmas picture after church but we broke tradition and did it before church. You'll note the carefully co-ordinated outfits. That is my doing. No, I don't make them match, but I do co-ordinate them. OH, and the outfits also cannot be a one time outfit. It must be something my children can wear again that won't scream..."I WAS A CHRISTMAS OUTFIT". This is not always an easy task (esp when I choose some bizarre color...like voilet as a main color).
After church appetizers appear, seemingly out of nowhere. And that's what we ate all evening. Potstickers were delicious, as was the shrimp salsa. Santa arrived and dropped of bags of gifts for the children. A "tied over" til they can get their hands on their exchanged gifts with the cousins and Grandma and Grandpa's gifts. They were all pleased with their gifts and ran off to play (or watch movies). The adults refortified and began our White Elephant. We have never done this before and I think this will become the new tradition. It worked out very well and we had lots of fun with it.

Surprisingly it was later than we expected when we started packing things up to head home. Because home is where Santa stops with the "real" gifts. We arrived home, got the kids all situated in bed, cookies and milk out for Santa. I got my jammies on, was checking my websites when someone mentioned just sliding a cake into the oven and I thought OH SH!T...my cheesecake. I raced the 3 steps to the oven and sure enough...there it was. Looking as if the San Andreas fault had taken up new residence down the center of my cheesecake. I won't mention how much in...creamcheese and vanilla beans went into that cheesecake because it would make you cry...it did me. Since it was 130am, and there was NOTHING I could do at that hour, I chose the Scarlett O'Hara route; I'll worry about it tomorrow (or more aptly, in the morning because technically it was tomorrow).

I know everyone's house is different, but here, Santa doesn't wrap. His gift (as it is only one per child unless it's a combined gift for all) is left by the tree with the child's filled stocking next to it. Yes, I know, it doesn't prolong the unwrapping but there is usually plenty of gifts to unwrap.
Santa brought the boy a new soccer ball and Madden '10, the oldest daughter a track suit from her dance studio, the middle daughter a new coat with matching hat and gloves and Beanie got her own rollerblades and a new helmet. Mom and Dad provided the "necessities"...the clothes, the new bedset, the new (second) camera, the Favre jersey, yadda, yadda, yadda. My favorite part is, though this was a pretty scaled back Christmas, EVERYONE was happy with ALL their gifts. So, no returns for ME!

Breakfast was scrambled eggs, maple smoked venison sausage, homemade cinnamon rolls w/cream cheese frosting and fresh fruit. Need a pic? Happy to oblige.
The rest of the day was spent preparing for dinner, for me. For the kids/husband it was playing in the 15 inches of freshly fallen snow, using the snow toys to build a snow fort (or half of one...we definitely suffer from attention deficit here). From the front door AND back door. (I had no desire to experience the snow first hand).Making Christmas dinner is all a matter of timing. The prime rib comes out of the oven (and needs to rest) and, unless you have two ovens, WHICH I DO NOT, then the popovers go in AFTER. My prime rib looked like this:My popovers looked like this:And the Christmas dessert? Well, I decided since the San Andreas Cheesecake was not worthy of the above, I would make ONE attempt to find an alternative and ran to Holiday (gas station) and what should my wondering eyes should appear? 6 half pints of heavy whipping cream! All the makings of Creme Brulee. And it was YUMMY!

So, the trees are still up, but I am exhausted. The thought of taking them all down and putting everything away makes me break out in a cold sweat. I may just change out the decorations and start a tradition of Valentine's Day Tree.

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