Thoughts of Calvin's special breakfast sandwiches have overcome any other thought in my mind.
High: Tomorrow we get to open presents!
Low: We're dead broke until the end of the month.
I'm less concerned about finding out what my presents are, than seeing my family's reaction to the presents I got them.
Marie camped out in our room last night (Michael spent the night at his aunt's), and now both she and Calvin are snoring in unison in the bed.
Nothing (trying to type quietly).
A Year Ago
More or less
Last year's Christmas party at our house.
Who I Read
|I've been having the best time off. Except for the fact that poor Marie got her braces on Thursday afternoon (and is therefore having a hard time enjoying all the gastronomical goodies that Christmas has to offer), the whole gang is in a good mood. That makes for some revelry in the Animal Planet household. Michael's friends and Marie's friends have come and gone and come back again. We've been eating our foolish heads off and sitting around groaning a lot. Michael's trance CD's have found their way back into the CD player (I confess I haven't missed them much - he plays them *constantly*). |
Friday I cooked pretty much all day - a roast, my soon-to-be-world-famous potato soup, and killer fudge. Then Friday night we went to AB and Mark's for a little party - we took the roast with us because the kids were going out, too, and it would have gone uneaten. And that would have been a crying shame.
AB made *pitchers* of Oatmeal Cookies - the drink, that is. Here's the recipe for the shot:
Oatmeal Cookie Shots0.25 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
0.25 oz Cinnamon Schnapps (we used Goldschlager)
0.25 oz Irish Cream (we used Bailey's, of course)
0.25 oz Jagermeister (Jagermeister! Oy! Oy! Oy!)
AB didn't use this precise recipe, she just made it up as she went along. The addition of a bunch of milk made them into excellent iced beverages, and very Christmassy. They tasted so good that I had, like, four cups of the stuff. The next morning I was groaning around the house and pleading with the kids to keep the noise down. Well, the best cure for a hangover is breakfast at Calvin's mom's restaurant!
Marie had brought home three of her friends to stay the night while we were out (surprise! a house full of kids! there will be no pleasantly quiet and hung over morning for Laura!), and we all piled in the truck and invaded the restaurant. Three cups of coffee and an order of corned beef hash and eggs later, I was feeling closer to normal.
As an aside, there is no better way to eat eggs than over-easy, covered with Worcestershire, with triangles of toast to smash into the yolk. I'm hungry...
After we got home, Marie's friends went back home and Calvin took Marie to get her nails done and finish up shopping for my stocking stuffers. Meanwhile, I cooked Jelly Tart Cookies and Magic Cookie Bars.
The recipes for the soup, fudge, and MC bars are here, if you want 'em.
Laura's Soon-To-Be World Famous Jelly Tart Cookies1/4 cup jelly, jam, or preserves (I used three different kinds of jams - strawberry, raspberry, and boysenberry)
1 cup butter - room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350F. Spoon jelly into small bowl, stir until smooth. In large bowl, blend together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. In separate bowl, mix together flour and salt. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and blend until a dough is formed. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on baking sheet 1-inch apart. Press fingertip into center of each cookie, making a little well. Fill with about 1/4 tsp. of jelly. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool.
Saturday night was our Christmas Lobster Dinner. The lobsters arrived at around 1:00 in the afternoon and hung out in the garage until we were ready for them. We certainly planned a feast - cornish game hens, lobster, rice pilaf, baked potato soup, and asparagus.
|Here's Michael, Marie, and Calvin, eagerly discussing how they will assassinate the lobsters.|
|Marie, pointing out the weird little pincher thingies on the underside of the lobster. She adopted this one and named him Lenny, yet willingly sacrificed him to the boiling waters for our dinner. After which he was enthusiastically consumed. Sorry, Lenny.|
|Solemn lobster inspection as we prepare for the Dirty Deed. (Done Dirt Cheap!)|
|Lenny's starting to sweat a little.|
|Ahem. Now Lenny's sweating a *lot*.|
|The other victims awaiting their fate.|
Our Christmas Feast, moments before consumption. I had to beat the gang back with a stick so they'd wait long enough for me to take a picture.
Good God, we eat well in this household.
I was in the bedroom surfing the net when Marie came wandering in, talking on the phone. She handed it to me, and it was two of the friends she'd had over the night before. They wanted to come back over, so I went out and picked them up, and we went driving to look at Christmas lights. We sang holiday songs at the top of our lungs, and Holly Jolly Christmassed our way through very elaborate neighborhood holiday displays.
This brings us to yesterday, Sunday. At 4:00 we all left to go to Calvin's sister's house for a family get-together. Marie and I drove up in the truck, and Michael and Calvin followed on the motorcycle. I'd brought the ingredients for Bruschetta, and everyone else brought finger foods and munchies for a low-key meal.
BruschettaSix roma tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp. Italian seasonings
salt and pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. water
Shredded mozzarella cheese
1 loaf crusty bread
Mix tomatoes, garlic, seasonings, salt and pepper, olive oil, and water in a small bowl. Slice bread into 1-inch thick slices, then cut each slice in half. Top each piece of bread with a sprinkling of mozzarella, and place under broiler until cheese is melted and bread is slightly browned. Remove from oven and top with tomato mixture.
To quote Michael - "Laura, this is so good! And it's tomatoes!"
Calvin's closest sister (I've gotta make up names for them if I'm going to talk about them) made her stuffed mushrooms and artichoke dip - last year she promised me the recipes, and I still don't have them! And I probably drank half of the spiced cider they made.
Calvin's sister, mother, and grandmother broke the "no presents for the adults" rule (like they do every year, and next year *I'm* gonna break it), and gave us coffee, a daily scriptures calendar, a Christmas music CD and some new ornaments for the tree.
We supervised the present opening for the kids, and listened to two of the cousins put on an impromptu flute concert of Christmas carols. Calvin's grandmother did the "Fishy Song", with all of us adults (the "original" grandchildren) and kids sitting at her feet. I was in tears, I was laughing so hard. A-boom boom dittem dattem wattem, CHOO!
We said our goodbyes at about 8:30 and headed back home. Calvin's youngest sister dropped by and visited for a while, and we all relaxed and had a few drinks and chatted while the kids played on the computers. She left, taking her kids and Michael, at about 11:30. Then Marie started a fire in the fireplace, and Calvin was roped into making grilled cheese sandwiches and Ramen noodles. We hung out together in front of the fire until after 1:00 in the morning, just talking and enjoying each other's company. Marie seemed so disappointed when we said we were going to bed, that we had her camp out with us for the night. She and Calvin, with me in the middle, piled into the bed. I fell asleep as they were watching "The Dawn of the Dead" on TV. At some point in the middle of the night I was foofed in the face by a blonde ponytail.
That brings me to this morning. Calvin and Marie are awake now. Michael should be home soon, then he and Marie will be going to their mom's for Christmas Eve, coming home tomorrow around noon to do the presents opening over here. Calvin and I will probably go to PF Chang's for dinner - the best chinese food you've ever had in your life. Last Thursday I went to happy hour with the team of folks I lead at AcronymCo, and they gave me a PF Chang's gift certificate as a thank-you for my work this year.
Tomorrow is The Presents, a dinner of (more!) potato soup, steak, shrimp, and salad. And Christmas is done for another year!
I hope you all are having as happy a Holiday as I am! Merry Christmas, everyone!