Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Part 3

Finally, the conclusion of Christmas for one more year!  And we sent this season out with a bang.

Once more, Mike and Mary Jane hosted us all for a Christmas feast.  People came from near and far to celebrate as a family.

Before dinner, everyone was just catching up, the kids were all playing and the adults were snitching pieces of ham as fast as it was cut.  That's family time.

Of course, no candid photos would be complete without a good photobomb.  This is me and Mary Jane, with my favorite niece and nephew providing the photobombing!

Lots of family, lots of noise, lots of food.  And not necessarily in that order.

We had most of the family together.  I'm proud that our family, while dysfunctional at times, can come together as a family.  So many families that I know that want nothing to do with each other.  I don't know what I'd do without the craziness and love of these people!


Yes, I know I'm in a lot of shots!  When you write the blog, you get to be in as many shots as you like.  So there!

So that was Christmas dinner # 3.  While we were able to come together as a family, we are now scattered to the winds.  Cathie is still in California.  JoBeth and her family are back in New York.  Jim is back in Pennsylvania (as is Phil right now) and tomorrow Michael heads back to China.  We are scattered, but we're still family, like it or not.

And we have an addition to our family!  Mike and Mary Jane have recently added a couple of finches to their home.  The finches have gotten busy and added three babies to the family!!  Here are mom and dad finch as well as two of the babies!  The third baby was staying in the nest, away from all of the noise and my picture taking.

Gotta love babies, even bird babies.

Another Christmas season is in the books.  Here's looking forward to a safe, happy, healthy and prosperous New Year for us all.

Keep watching!  Exciting new news is coming tomorrow!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Part 2

I know, it's been awhile.  I told you the cats made it better, but that doesn't mean that the holidays are still no longer unbearably bad.  But, it was better.

So let's get back to blogging!

The last you heard from me, we had Ron's family Christmas party.  Last night, it was the three of us, Ron, Phil and I, for dinner.   I figured since I'm so totally off of my diet this week, I'm trying to eat everything I usually try to watch.  While I knew I was making chicken for yesterday, I really wanted stuffing to go with it.

When we had Thanksgiving at Mike and Mary Jane's, I learned something new.  Mary Jane made the extra stuffing in muffin tins rather than in a regular 9x13 pan or whatever.  Individual stuffing muffins, or "stuffins" as I have been calling them.  They actually turned out great!  Some times, only the tops get nice and cooked while the insides stay kinda raw and mushy.  Putting them in the muffin tins makes more of the crunchy part and so much left of the soft part inside.

Here is what I'm talking about.



This was a fabulous idea.  Not only did they taste better since they were all cooked all the way through, it would be much easier for portion control (for if I ever go back on my diet!) plus, the little muffins just went right into a container after dinner and I can reheat just one at a time.  Freakin' awesome!  Here is the bowl full of Stuffins.

This was just the perfect compliment to a great chicken dinner.   We had chicken done on my George Foreman grill (I LOVE that grill!), some Stuffins and some baked beans.  That's just the way we roll on Christmas at this house.

Keep watching!  I have Christmas part 3 coming up on Wednesday which should finally be the end of this year's Christmas season.  I also have some surprises coming up in January!  Exciting, huh?  In the mean time, from our house to yours . . . Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Merry Christmas Part 1

Yesterday, we celebrated Christmas with Ron's family at the Sand Run Metro Park.  The family rented this cabin for the party.

This was the third year in this cabin and it seems to really work well for everyone.  The cabin is beautiful with the wood burning stove it's also pretty warm.  The cabin also comes with bathrooms and a full kitchen plus all of the tables and chairs we need.  You can't ask for more than that!

Phil even puts on the suit and comes as Santa for the party.  Here is Santa showing up, brought of course, by his eight reindeer.  (see them on the dash??!)

The kids are always thrilled when Santa shows up!  He handed out the Christmas stockings which means that the party had begun.

This year, Bev and her daughter Amy and her daughter-in-law Amy cooked all of the food.  That was a crazy amount of work but the food was absolutely fantastic.  From the lasagna to the rigatoni and meatballs, I don't think there was much left.  We won't even talk about the dessert table!  That's what holidays are for - no diets and way too much great food.

The other thing holidays are good for is visiting with family. 

Then, there was Georgia, trying to convince Santa that she really WAS good all year!

And more family.

The day couldn't have gone better.  HUGE thanks go out to Bev, Amy and Amy for all the hard work they put in making this party such a success.  They showed up at the cabin early to get it decorated and get to work on the feast we enjoyed.

The weather was milder than it had been other years so that made the travel time a bit easier.  Everyone made it to the cabin and there was time for catching up and hugs and stories.  Like any good party, the place got pretty quiet once the food was set out!  Hey, we were too busy stuffing ourselves to make much noise!

A big hit of the party is always the white elephant gift.  This is where you regift something that you have that you don't want, or something that you have around the house, or something inexpensive.  We draw numbers and then in turn, you go to the table to choose a gift.  The next person in line then has the option to take a gift that has already been opened, or they go to the table to choose their own gift.  Some gifts show up year after year for the white elephant gift!

One yearly favorite is the butt/face towel.  One side is brown with "butt" written on it and the other side is white with "face" written on it.  For those people that get confused when they get out of the shower!  

You can receive a board like Tom did.  Here he is, taking it around to a few people trying to get ideas on what in the heck he's supposed to do with THIS!  I have a feeling it will be rewrapped and will show up at next year's white elephant gift exchange!

To Amy, who was lucky enough to get these crazy glasses!

It was a good day all around.  Too much fun and too much food.  No diets on Christmas, for sure!  We came home with a huge bounty of homemade goods and I plan on enjoying as much of it as I can. 

So, from our house to yours, Merry Christmas to all, and to all . . .  a good night.