Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Report

Thank you Ruthie!
Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
Our Christmas was one of the best I can remember. I think the kids are old enough now that its not so much work keeping them going through a long celebration. Everyone was healthy and happy. All the gifts seemed to make sense and everyone was happy with them.

Some details . . .

Ruthie was bound and determined to sleep on the couch in order to catch Santa at work. Needless to say, we indulged this desire although it made things more difficult to me.

(Do I need to tell you how much I loved that my husband put on a Santa hat and his big red parka to put the presents under the tree in case she was faking it or woke up while he was at work?)

Christmas morning dawned but I was already awake. Like a kid myself, I woke up at 6 AM and could not get back to sleep. At 6:40, I stopped trying and got up to go be in the living room when the kids emerged. Gage came out first. He was looking for Ruthie but he saw the scooters under the tree. He took her stocking too her -- Santa leaves them at the foot of one's bed in our house but she had gone back to her bed about 3 AM. So, they did their stockings in their rooms which gave Greg time for a quick shower. Then they came out to the living room to see what Santa had brought them. Santa had brought them scooters. OH BOY!

Ruth & Gage and the Razors Santa Left

Then we opened our family gifts under the tree. That was so cool. Gage had made two gifts at school that he wanted to share with his dad. I love his look in this picture -- could he show how he feels anymore clearly???

Do you like it Daddy?

The answer to his unspoken question was a resounding, "Yes!"

Thank you, Gage!

Ruthie made me a sketchbook for drawing birds. The picture at the top of the post is my reaction to opening it. (And, need I say another reason why I love my new camera . . . it takes good pictures of ME!)

The kids gave Greg sweatshirts -- two for them and one for him. I love them in them. Gage's says "Little Guy". Awwwww!

Big Guy, Little Guy, and Daddy's Little Girl

My kids gave me a pair of Dansko clogs which was a wonderful treat for my feet and the Julie Zickefoose book which they wrapped all by themselves although I had purchased the book myself and told them they were giving it to me! :) Greg had already given me my amazing camera but he got me a little "something something" to open that morning . . . the man knows the way to my heart -- it was a bottle of Glenfiddich! Yum! Greg will be getting his gift from me at MacWorld in January -- a new iPod. He's THRILLED!

From there we went to my in-laws. My whole family and Greg's whole family came as well. What a party! We have to open gifts in shifts but we start off with mimosas and snacks -- gotta keep your strength up! Then the kids do their gift thing and we all watch and ooh and ahhh. Then when the kids are done, the grownups go. This whole process takes hours as we open gifts one at a time! Insane! Then we take a break for awhile and do some food prep for dinner, take walks, get more snacks to keep our strength up, etc. Finally, we reconvene and tackle the stockings. In years past, we did this in shifts as well but all the kids are old enough now that we did it as a group. So much fun. We don't try to take turns on the stocking stuffers we just have an opening frenzy with much oohing and ahhing and who put this in my stocking. Sometimes big gifts end up in the stockings and it's just so much fun!

When all the gifts are done, the serious food prep begins. So, the cooks get busy while others nap, walk, entertain kids, play with toys, read, talk, etc. This is when I took my walk and photo'd the Mergansers.

The Christmas Dinner is a true feast. We have smoked turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans almondine. We have prime rib, yorkshire pudding, and portobello mushrooms that are roasted along with the prime rib in the drippings with lots of garlic. We eat, drink, and make merry.

After we roll away from the table and lay around groaning for awhile, we find the energy to eat again and head in for dessert. The pumpkin pie is amazing and we also had rustic apple tart which was also amazing. Ouch! After dessert, we fill up bags of leftovers, pack up all our old and NEW belongings and head off into the night. I'm sure my inlaws fall down in a heap of gladness and relief that another year is over!

Here is my recipe for my version of green beans almondine . . .

Enough green beans for the number of guests you are serving
stick of butter
several cloves of fresh garlic
sliced almonds

The night before, cut the ends off the green beans and put them in a microwave safe container. Toast the almonds in a large frying pan (I prefer cast iron). When they are browning slightly, add the butter to the pan and press the garlic right into the butter. Stir until melted completely. Pour over the green beans, cover, and put in the fridge.

A few minutes before eating, put the container into the microwave and cook for about 2-1/2 minutes. The green beans should be cooked but very crunchy.
It's a very simple, very satisfying dish and a nice counterpoint to the rich, rich food served at a holiday meal. Way better than the traditional green bean casserole!

1 comment:

Mary said...

Thanks for sharing great moments and fun. Your day was action packed! Also, thank you for the green bean dish recipe. I printed it out.