Christmas is over for another year, but the memories linger on. I didn't take as many photos as I would have liked because I was so busy cooking and enjoying our company. Here are a few from around the house as we prepared, and some from the holiday itself:
Washing the red glass,
and washing the green;
the table rearranged after your suggestions for improvements. The changes made it exactly what I was looking for. Here's a closer look:
A not so great photo of how we arranged the green pieces:
The tree continued to look like a Charlie Brown tree, but it seemed quite at home in the log room. I caught granddaughter Kate in a thoughtful moment:
as Cassidy played and Hannah, and Willie our new puppy listened:
Long-legged volleyball player Ally is now almost 5'10", I believe, while her cousin Hannah, who is a few month older, just reached 5'. The height certainly never came from me! Hannah and 9-year-old Michaela are the only granddaughters shorter than me and I expect both of them will be taller in the end.
Cooking dinner on Christmas day was such fun. I had the turkey in the oven early; it was 23 pounds so it needed some time. I started cooking the rest just before the first arrivals of the morning. Everyone jumped in to help: Jordan helped make the rice with mushrooms, onions and rosemary; Derek put together a cheese and cracker tray for before dinner snacking. Cassidy, Kate Ally, Haley, and Hannah made the salad--it was a mix of Romaine lettuce with dried cranberries, pecan pieces, chopped Granny Smith apples, and white beans. I made a mustard vinaigrette to put on it. I made the stir-fried fresh green beans with peanut-almond sauce, a recipe that my family said was a Thai recipe. I found it somewhere and just thought it sounded good. It was delicious. I also made the corn and the gravy for the turkey. Derek carved the turkey for us and Jennifer helped with setting the table and getting things organized. Larry, Tommy, Ethan and Jared stayed out of the way; they decided to go target shooting instead, a wise choice given the commotion in the kitchen!
Desserts were pumpkin pie, mincemeat tarts, pineapple-coconut balls, and a variety of cookies. I was very pleased that we had enough sweets but not too many; no one ate pie but everything else was pretty much gone at the end of the day. A blessing, that; usually we have tons of cookies left over and that's not good for our diets.
My gifts for family this year were all homemade. Each son received pretty much the same thing: a tin of homemade cookies, some white chocolate and chocolate dipped pretzels rolled in a variety of decorations, some lavender sachets and mulling spice mix that I put in resealable tea bags so they can be easily used and a sewing kit in a Mason jar with a pincushion top (I saw this in a magazine and loved the idea. The pincushion is two circles of fabric with cotton balls for filling, hot-glued together and put in the lid). Some got peppermint tea, rosemary oil or an Italian herb mix. Aaron didn't get the sewing kit because Jaime is a great seamstress and I figured they were well-stocked in that area so they got a couple other things instead. I loved making these gifts and plan to do the same next year--now to start looking for new ideas!
I'll have more photos tomorrow. It was a very good time for all of us, and I'm sorry to see it end. But isn't that always the way with holidays and family gatherings?