But I thought I'd give a recap (notice the lack of descriptive adjective "brief") of our Christmas break. I think that with Thanksgiving falling so early this year, it offset my timeline and threw me off my game. I never really got into the TRUE holiday spirit. Except for Christmas Eve at the family service. You can't NOT get into the spirit there. Plus, you can't NOT laugh at the antics of at least ONE kid on stage who might not in fact BE the star of the show, but decides to make himself the star. Yes, there's always one.
My oldest daughter ended up having a Gingerbread House Building night with 15 friends (who apparently ALL own Uggs and my front entryway looked alike an explosion of them). We saw that they had food (walking tacos), some apps, and all the space they needed in the kitchen then left them to it. I don't get OCD about many things but this would be one I would. I would need for them to all look PERFECT. So my lack of presence was a good thing. For them.
Christmas Eve morning started out with a small amount of snow, which meant that both the boy and I were into work in the very early am. He shoveled. I worked back at the office timing in crews whose phones weren't working or switching routes to other crews. Luckily, the small amount of snow meant that we were done by noon with plenty of time to get home and get ready for the evening at the ILs.
No Christmas Eve is complete without a family picture:
The rest of the day went pretty much as it usually does. Tom and Jerry's (recipe here) , food, church, food, more Tom and Jerry's, kids opening gifts, adult White Elephant, clean up and home. I think we were home by 11. The White Elephant went well IMNSHO. This was the boy's first time in and he bought his own gift to give. I think he learned a lesson on that one. All in all the gifts were pretty interesting but in the end, we ended up with: a box of hot pepper sauces, a cutco fisherman's solution, and a Louis Vitton purse (it's MINE and *I'M* going with it's real even though my BIL DID just return from China).
As for the rest...
Cookies...I only made two varieties this year: a new one for me, almond raspberry thumbprint (which were DELICIOUS) and chocolate crinkles. Oh, and peppermint bark. I ended up throwing more than half of the chocolate crinkles away, a few of the thumbprint and a bit of the bark. For which I am glad I didn't invest MORE time in baking, but sad that so much went to waste.
Gifts...still in dial'er back mode on the presents and I think everyone was happy with what they received. Thank heaven for pinterest as my oldest daughter pins EVERYTHING she likes. I needed only look there to put together similar style outfits then repeated the same type for my middle daughter. A few things didn't work but on the whole it all worked out well. Even brought the husband into the 21st century with his Rock & Republic jeans, although I doubt he'll ever bid his Levi's adieu completely. The boy had a fairly short list and was easy. Beanie was also easy. I was treated to a new point and shoot camera as my other one never survived its Caribbean dunking.
Dinner...we had a full house (both friends and family) for dinner and that was good because eating a 16 lb Prime Rib isn't something one wants to attempt on their own. It was my "standard", Prime Rib, the Gravy®*, mashed yukon golds, drunken mushrooms, roasted asparagus and , of course, popovers. My SIL brought a wonderful salad as well. Dessert was Crème Brûlée made by none other than the HUSBAND. Yes. I'll give you a minute to pick yourself up off the floor. As I was called into work that morning and would normally have made it then, it fell to him to make it. And really, it's not THAT difficult. If you have vanilla beans on hand (we didn't) and know how to temper eggs (he doesn't). Even so, I give the man major kudos as he did it (albeit with a phone call to me about every 93 seconds) and it was DELICIOUS! And yes, we remembered to take them from the oven before heading to the ILs. You only do that once.
For New Years, we went another route. We attempted a progressive with two other families. Our house was the main course. At the first house we had an Autumn Chopped Salad, Avocado and Goat Cheese with Lime on Toast and Marinated Shrimp and Artichoke Hearts. Main course was Coffee Marinated Pork Tenderloin, Oven Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, and Green Beans with Bacon in a Soy Garlic Sauce. Final stop was for dessert which included Chocolate Martinis (that was for the chicks) and Bananas Foster with Homemade Vanilla Ice-Cream. We had SO.MUCH.FUN. The time seemed to fly by and before I knew it, it was 2am. An awesome evening spent with wonderful friends.
So, my tree is down and most of my Christmas stuff is packed away. The card wreath (that daily reminder of my first failure in 20 years to get out Christmas cards) is still up, even though we have already chosen the card we will be framing this year. A few ornaments still hang from my dining room chandelier. They get replaced with Valentine's Day ornaments and I'm just not ready to be there yet.
My resolution for this New Year it to attack our laundry room and get the buckets of overflowing clothes that the kids have outgrown GONE. And to clean out the closets. And cabinets. And if I get around to doing all this that means that I'll have less time for blogging. Yes, this is quite the conundrum.
Whatever shall I do?
* Yes, the gravy is officially trademarked. "The Gravy®". It has earned the right.