Monday, December 31, 2012

Final Photos of 2012

"Frobisher Says" - a fun game for everyone!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Those Sweet Packages Revealed

Those sweet packages from my sweet boy have been opened.
Take a peek at what he gave me.
He had me open this package early so that I could use the juicer on Christmas morn.
See the little wax warmer plugged in to the outlet? That was my gift. It came with Frosty Peppermint Snow wax cubes. It smells wonderful.
A new mug and some Earl Grey tea - a perfect combo and a perfect gift.
And the warmest fluffy-lined gloves - so thoughtful.
There was another package for me as well, one that wasn't under the tree but was from all the boys.  I found those two Bengals stocking caps tucked inside a shoebox.  My boys definitely have helped fortify me against the cold winter weather.  And, I think that I have worn my Bengals-wear every day since Christmas so that my outfit will match my stocking cap when I go out.  (Now I must go do laundry so that I have clean Bengals clothes to wear for the final game of the NFL season tomorrow.)

Aren't my boys so sweet?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas...ah, Blessed Christmas

Blessed Christmas has arrived.
We began the day early, sitting together quietly in a darkness that was only lit by the lights of the Christmas tree and the glow of the fire.
Taking a moment just to 'be'.
Taking a moment just to be together.
Taking a moment just to quietly rejoice in the birth of our Savior.
Then we enjoyed the emptying of the stocking and the opening of the gifts.
Herb even joined us via Skype
Maceo did receive the much-wanted Tarheels snapback!
Christian received some vintage political pins that seemed to surprise yet please him!

A day of rejoicing, revealing, and just being together!

A Day of Feasting

As it is with many other families, food is an integral part of our family's celebrations.
We had a breakfast buffet replete with fruit and sausages, french toast casserole, eggnog pound cake, cranberry muffins, chocolate chip dip, hot chocolate bar and fresh squeezed orange juice.
The buffet was tweaked for lunch by removing the french toast and adding crackers and a platter of summer sausages and a variety of cheeses.  For our meat and cheese platters, white cheddar and pepper jack cheeses are a staple but then I like to throw in something new.  For this meal I added a sampler of Spanish cheeses - Iberico, Cabra al Vino, and Manchego.  We really enjoyed the Manchego (we must get that again).
Ah, my sweet family around the dining table.  I love images such as these.
The dinner menu was ham, apple-cranberry chutney, broccoli with cheese sauce, our favorite fresh green beans, homemade macaroni and cheese.  The chutney and the mac-n-cheese were both new additions to our Christmas menu and, I imagine, they will be on the menu in the future.  The kiddos loved the mac-n-cheese and I loved the chutney.

Apple-Cranberry Chutney
2 c. peeled and chopped apple
1c. fresh cranberries
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar (I used the apple peel vinegar that I made this past summer)
1/3 . brown sugar
1 Tbsp. orange zest (I used chopped dried orange peel that I had processed for my pantry)
1 Tbsp. grated ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
small pinch of ground clove

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to low simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes, uncover and cook to reduce liquid.
Easy and yummy!
(I think that I am going to try to can some of this to place in my pantry.)
After a full day of feasting there was no need for dessert.  We just finished off dinner with a smidge of chocolate (well, the smidge of chocolate was optional and most opted not to indulge).

It was a day of culinary triumphs - satisfied taste buds and full bellies.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Awaiting Christmas

Christmas Eve - preparations continue and anticipation is mounting!
For dinner we have our traditional posole, tortillas, and chips and salsa.

Then we open gifts of pajamas and books.

We munch on s'mores
and await the arrival of Christmas day!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Five Guys and Football Fun

The much-acclaimed and long-awaited Five Guys, Burgers and Fries is here.
Also, the long-anticipated Superbowl of our fantasy football league has arrived.
So we decided to go by Five Guys before we settled down to watch some football.

The burgers were very good and those fries with the hot sauce were fantastic!

On the football front, my favorite team, the Bengals, clinched a playoff berth. Yay!
And Maceo won the Superbowl of the CWFL!
Congratulations, Maceo!

Such a Sweet Sight

I love every package beneath the tree.
Their brightly colored wrapping is beautiful.
There is such mystery and anticipation surrounding them.
As they are handled, squeezed and shook, theories are formulated as to what is in them.
They are exciting.
But, for me, these gifts wrapped in brown paper bags and pink and green tissue are particularly exciting.
They are particularly special.
Bishop went shopping for these gifts for me; taking his time selecting gifts that he hopes I will enjoy while staying within his budget, having to make choices, putting some things back, switching some items for others all while trying to conceal them from me.
He then wrapped them completely on his own according to his own vision.
They are perfection!
They are a sight to behold!
They are such sweet packages!

A Bit of Christmas Cheer

There is truly something special about the Christmas tree.
I love the beauty of the lights and the glittering ornaments.
I love the memories, the experiences and the relationships, represented by each ornament dangling from its branches.
I love the presents stacked beneath the tree representing love shared and new memories to be made.
I love watching the kids pull out each ornament, review the associated memory and find its special place on our tree.

As Christian is placing this ornament on the tree he is declaring it to be the best ornament as it is a 49ers ornament.
I love how my kiddos look forward to revealing each ornament regardless, maybe particularly because, of how old and familiar each ornament is.
Here are some familiar ornaments given to them by Grandmama throughout the years.
 There are purchased ones, painted ones and even those that have been handed down.
The patriotic Santa was given to Maceo last year, the painted donkey and the painted lamb were given years before, the football clown was given to Christian's father by Grandmama many years ago and I gifted it to him last year.

And others have been crafted in different ways.  The circular ornament in the top photo is made from the metal top of frozen orange juice concentrate.  When the boys were young they declared them to be medals. 
 It is the round orange ball that is of particular interest in the middle photo.  The orange fabric is actually Broncos fabric making a fabulous gift for the Broncos fan of the family, Bishop.
All the ornaments in the bottom photo are from Grandmama.  She stitched the heart ornament, it is spectacularly beautiful.
My mother is a gifted and thoughtful mother and grandmother.
We love all the ornaments you have gifted us with, Grandmama, and thank you for bringing us some Christmas cheer!

Our tree and all that it represents always brings me a bit (or more than a bit) of Christmas cheer!