Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Few of my Favorite Things - A Wonderful Christmas! by Hilary

What a wonderful couple of days we've had!
Now that everyone is suffering from the Dreaded Christmas Hangover (kids from too much sugar and excitement and not enough sleep, and adults, obviously, from too much wine good food), I decided to spend a few minutes reflecting on my favorite things from Christmas.
First, let me tell you about the disasters. Because that's funny stuff. And I don't want you all thinking my Christmas was, you know, without disaster.
On Christmas Eve Day I worked for hours on making a pumpkin cheesecake. It's a Pioneer Woman recipe - the actual title has all of the following words in it: gingersnap, caramel, cheesecake, pumpkin, delicious and low-calorie. Okay, that's a lie.
Of course, I had help:

Anyway, on Christmas morning, I went to bake this fabulous cinnamon bread braid thing my mom brought over, and the oven started smoking like crazy (I think it happened because some cheesecake stuff leaked onto the bottom of the oven). The whole house was filled with smoke. So I had to turn off the oven, clean it, and start over.
Later on Christmas Day, while I was getting dressed to go to my brother and sis-in-law's house, my hubby loaded the cheesecake into a cardboard box with his beer and my wine. He stacked it in the back of our SUV, on top of the gifts we'd previously put back there.
When we got to my brother and sis-in-law's house - only about a 7-minute drive - I opened the back of the SUV and the cardboard box tipped over, throwing 3 out of his 4 beers AND my low-calorie cheesecake on the ground. The beers exploded! (It was pretty cool, actually - one of the bottles didn't even break - the lid blasted right off!) My cheesecake landed FACEDOWN. You knew it would, right?
Both my husband and I stood there staring at the mess for a full 10 seconds before we started picking up the big pieces of glass. We were able to salvage the cheesecake - it was covered in Saran Wrap so we carefully turned it back over.
After we got everything cleaned up, we went inside. I gave my kids some special Christmas soda, and my 5-year-old went to put his on the counter and knocked down my sis-in-law's ENTIRE GLASS of wine. Red Wine. All. Over. The. Tan. Carpet.
Earlier in the day, we'd brought our smoker over so my brother could start smoking the meat we were eating, but it kept blowing fuses. My brother and husband were listening all evening for the sound of the GFCI (or whatever order those initials go in) to pop so they could reset it. We'd planned on eating around 5 so we could take our time afterward opening gifts and stuff, but with the delay in getting the meat smoked, we didn't eat until after 6. It wasn't a huge deal, it was just later than we expected.
Anyway, back to my favorite things.
Christmas Eve Day was pretty much balmy, so I took my canine running pal for a quick run:
He loved it. :) 
Then, I did something I've wanted to do for years! I painted my nails and my daughter's nails matching Christmas Red. Actually the color is called something like Fast Red but I think Christmas Red is more appropriate for a 2-year-old. 
I thought it would be a fun tradition to let the kids crack whole nuts this year. They're all old enough to eat nuts now, and the boys can crack them. So I bought a bunch of whole nuts at the grocery store, and I bought one of those plain silver nutcrackers.
Well, a few days ago, I went to Ross and bought this giant Nutcracker doll. It's like 3.5 feet tall. So when the kids saw the whole nuts, they decided to use the doll Nutcracker instead of the silver nutcracker. This is what our front porch looks like: 


Nut shells everywhere. But I love that they learned how to crack whole nuts - and they got to see what a nut looks like before it ends up in those little bags in the baking aisle. 
On Christmas Eve while we were wrapping presents and putting them under the tree, my husband told me that the gift our 5-year-old chose for me may not be exactly what I'd choose for myself, but that our son had been insistent that this was the specific thing he wanted to get me. They'd looked all over the store, my husband pointing him toward stuff he thought I'd like, but our son kept coming back to this one. So on Christmas morning, my 5-year-old watched with lots of interest as I opened his present: 
It's a necklace. And I love it so much, mostly because our son had taken so much care in choosing it for me. Love him! 
My brother and sister-in-law got our daughter a vanity set with a little hairstyling set. The set comes with a hairdryer. We got my sons each a Darth Vader doll. 
You'd never guess how the 2 combine but here is now they came together this morning: 

I think Darth Vader might be saying something like, "You underestimate the power of the dark side of the Force. Stop using that Minnie Mouse hairdryer on me or you will become the next victim of my light saber." 
So while all of these - the disasters, the new recipe, the balmy-weather run, the fingernail painting, the nut cracking, and Darth Vader getting his hair styled - TOTALLY made my Christmas, my favorite thing of all was hanging with the fam. We're so lucky we're all in one place. 
We all get along (most of the time), and we have so much fun together! 
My brother is trying to talk my husband into buying one of these lame e-hookah thingies: 
Ooh, also I got a new lens for my camera - a zoom lens! I'm SO excited to use it more, and when I do I'll share some pictures!
I hope you all had great Christmases too! 
We'd love to hear from you - what did you do on Christmas? What are your favorite holiday traditions? Are your kids suffering from Christmas Hangover? 




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