And a Happy 8th Day of Christmas! The mister is almost ready to begin the preparations for our New Year's Day feast. He went to the store and shopped for our feast - said he would surprise me and he did! He came home with QUAIL! CRAB! And Black-eyed peas - he's wanting a real Southern meal for New Year's so we'll have good luck for 365 days. (Quail and black-eyed peas are said to bring good luck...and we've never had quail before so maybe this year will be our year!) The mister will be on his own in the kitchen because I'm laid up from yet another surgery...this makes 5 in the last 1 1/2 years - I should get a badge or something. I imagine the smoke alarm will be going off over the course of the evening...good times ahead! The mister has been my slave for 4 days now and he is getting a lot of on-the-job-training...but he just can't get the part about no talking back down...I'll ask him to get me ice water and he'll ask when I want it...ummmm, now! So he'll get water with two ice cubes - apparently we're on an ice-austerity program. And because I'm loaded with drugs and in pain I cannot help myself so I'll ask for more ice and then it starts - why? Why do you need more ice? Two is enough, in Vietnam they don't serve ice and they don't serve it in Paris either! Are we IN Vietnam or PARIS?!??! I will happily go ICE FREE when I'm in Paris but NOT at home! Oy vey. For the most part the mister has been okay about waiting on me - I have been deposited in the recliner in the family room in front of the TV where the sound of my brain cells being destroyed can almost be heard over the whirl of the mister's beloved leaf blower, when, every 20 minutes, he runs out onto the deck in the hopes that another one or two pine needles have fallen! I do feel sorry for my neighbors, they have to listen to the mister and his blower every day, maybe I should buy them earplugs?
Santa's reindeer are all back at the North Pole, I'm sure resting comfortably after their long journey. I was lucky enough to catch a picture of Blitzen right before Christmas...he looked into my eyes and I into his and we had a moment. Reindeer are real. And magical. I feel like I had a pretty magical Christmas over all...not only spying Blitzen but, well, here, let me show you...
And Elf paid us a visit - he was quite jolly, thanks to his good friend Jack, who practically forced him to appear! He didn't stay around too long, just long enough to ask Max and Elsa what they really wanted for Christmas - it's good to have an "in" with Santa!
After Max and Elsa left us and went home to their house to wait for Santa, we set about making merry as best as we could...We saw Holiday Inn at The 5th Avenue Theater, a treat for sure and we made our annual pilgrimage to the giant Gingerbread houses...this year I was disappointed...they weren't as creatively displayed and not at The Sheraton Hotel, so maybe that's why they didn't seem as grand...hopefully next year they'll regain their sparkle! No trip to Seattle is complete without a drive-by of the Space Needle - all decorated with a tree on top!
There was no shortage of presents, both sent and received - it was an abundance of riches I tell you! The girl gave me this framed picture of our Rosie...she has not left my side since my surgery...now that's loyalty! The mister could learn a thing or two from her! The girl also gave us a sign that says No Humbugging...as if we'd stand for any of that!
My friend Rui kindly came and helped me bake and decorate 75 Gingerbread men...Santa couldn't come until they were all done! I love the way the house smells when they're in the oven...or really, when any Christmas goodie is baking - Christmas spices are the best!
This is an Eggnog Cake. I first saw it on Pinterest last year and it sounded pretty good...but I didn't get around to making it then - maybe that's why I made TWO this year! One for Katie's birthday and because they all loved it so much, I made another one for a Christmas Eve party...it's different with a sweet hint of eggnog and nutmeg, Christmas spices, white chocolate and a rich eggnog buttercream...it's had it all goin' on! You can find the original recipe by clicking here. (This cake was featured as one of the best Christmas desserts on MSN's home page this year...I think they finally got something right!)
I got to go and visit my parents in Salt Lake City right before Christmas - being in their home is like being in a Christmas snow globe - everywhere you look there is something fanciful and fun, just like them. They just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on December 18th...oh my time flies!
While in SLC I was able to go with the kidlets to see the lights at Temple Square - they have like 50 million lights or something ridiculously wonderful like that. It was very fun, but biting cold! I also got to help Max and Elsa put up a few more ornaments on their tree and delight in the excitement in their eyes...nothing like being a kid at Christmas!
My sisters and I hand-dipped about 400 pieces of chocolate-covered nuts...which is what we were by the time we were done, chocolate-covered-nuts! It was very fun, especially when they got into it about Trump...I've never laughed so hard in all my life...there wasn't enough chocolate to keep them calm and I thoroughly enjoyed it all...even if they did call me a sheep...baaaaaa..and a snowflake...
The young women from our church came for a Christmas tea party - I think most of them left with stomach-aches because there were a lot of goodies and most of them got eaten! That's when I know it's been a good party - when the guests complain they ate to much as they walk out the door.
With a lot of help - (Thank you Diane, Joella, Shelly, Jacqueline, Karen and Sherie!!!) 75 Stove-Simmer were assembled as Christmas gifts for our church ladies...they smelled SO good! I had them in my dining room for about a week and every time I walked by I could smell them...best gift ever, if I do say so myself! Our church ladies did deserve a gift - wish we could have given them each a car! Or a Hawaiian vacation!!! They pulled off a pretty big Christmas miracle this year... they purchased, wrapped and delivered gifts for 17 needy families in the Seattle area!! They are a pretty amazing bunch of gals - generous, loving and caring...and full of the Christmas Spirit!
Speaking of the Christmas Spirit...take a look at this horrible picture of my leeeetle friend Sophie. Sophie and her mom came to our church Christmas dinner and when the little kids got up to do their Christmas Pageant, little Sophie wanted to be a part of it so she walked up to the stage, climbed up and when the kids sat, she sat and when they stood, she stood...and even though her mom was very worried Sophie would do something, (every kid on that stage was doing something!) Sophie did not and it couldn't have been more perfect. One of the highlights of my Christmas for sure!
These hooligans came to make gingerbread houses...all was going so well...and then when it was time to leave - disaster struck! I love the looks on Bonnie's and Katie's faces - while Dexter remained calm under pressure!
I'll stop now...but I've barely scratched the surface - Christmas was Christmas - the way it should always be, full of family, friends and fun with a hefty sprinkling of magic. And Christmas should always end with a nice-size serving of my Grandma's Steamed Christmas Pudding. It's Ahhh-MAZ-ing! 4 more days of merry making (translation: drugs and Netflix!) and then it will all be tucked away until next year! I'd like to thank you, my dear blog readers...we've now been together TEN years!!! It's been ten years of fun for me - ten years of recipes, quilts, bad pictures, love, laughter and sarcasm...not necessarily in that order! I love your comments, your ideas and suggestions and I love that I've gotten to "know" a few of you over the years - so I'm sending you my best wishes for a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!