Christmas 2011

(photo of the nativity set my daughter made this year)

I hope everyone out there has enjoyed their holiday celebrations!  We had a nice Christmas at home this year.  We started early, I suppose, by watching The Polar Express with the kiddos on Friday evening.  It’s sort of magical.   After the kids were in bed, my husband I watched Rocky.  Maybe not the most Christmasy movie, but so good.  It took him years to talk me into watching it, but once I did, I just loved it.  I fantasize about going to Philadelphia someday to run up the stairs like Rocky.  😉

On Saturday morning, I went out for a lovely 7 mile run.  I normally take it indoors in the winter.  I run at an indoor track, mainly because I worry about slipping on ice and snow.  Oddly enough, that is not an issue right now.  White Christmases are pretty standard here in Minnesota, but we did not get one this year.  Clear trails meant that I could run outside without worrying about slipping.  I really enjoyed myself!  I’ve already grown accustomed to the artificial always-flat-always-55-degrees conditions of the track, so the real-world conditions of hills, wind and cold were a bit challenging.  I loved it!

On Saturday afternoon, the whole family headed outside to set up our luminaries, so they would be all ready to light when dusk arrived (my hubby went to light them when the time came), and I headed in to start cooking our Christmas Eve dinner.  Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing and carrots.  We had an early dinner to allow time to get ready and head to church.  My husband’s parents met us at the Christmas Eve candlelight service.  I didn’t grow up going to church very often, so this is a relatively new tradition for me (11 years, I believe).  I just love it.  Singing “Silent Night” by candlelight nearly gives me chills.

We all headed back to our house after church, and everyone opened one gift.  We stayed up to play together, perhaps a little too long, but it was nice.  On Christmas morning, my daughter and son were ready to open their remaining gifts and peek in their stockings.  As I’ve mentioned, one of our traditions is to give our children three gifts for Christmas, which reminds of of the three gifts that the Wise Men brought to baby Jesus.  We headed out to church again for our Christmas morning service.

When we got home, we immediately began cooking.  My daughter wanted to make Shepherd’s Pie with a recipe from her cooking class.  She especially wanted to make it while Grandma & Grandpa were visiting.  We ended up with four of us working in the kitchen.  There were many jobs to do, and many hands made the work lighter.  My mother-in-law and father-in-law both got in on the Shepherd’s Pie action, helping with peeling and chopping, melting and mixing.  Little M. was head chef, and the three of us carried out our various tasks to help her put it all together.  I also threw together a salad, a relish tray, and a new batch of Cranberry Avocado Salsa.  It was an eclectic meal, you might say, but the Shepherd’s Pie was great, and it was nice having some lighter foods on the side to go with such a filling main dish.

As I told my father-in-law, part of me wanted to tell them they shouldn’t have to be doing all that work in the kitchen.  They should go relax.  But the part of me that won out saw that this was a memory in the making.  I think my daughter will always remember the year that she cooked Christmas dinner with the help of not only her mom, but also Grandma and Grandpa.  What a special memory that is!

Meanwhile, my son was also enjoying himself, having daddy all to himself.  They played while all the meal preparations took place, while occasionally wandering over to check the progress.  Once Christmas dinner was eaten and cleaned up, we spent the afternoon watching a movie and playing games.  Oh, and enjoying some cookies and pumpkin pie, which my mother-in-law and father-in-law had brought.  Supper consisted of a batch of Chicken and Rice Soup, along with veggie leftovers from earlier in the day.  The soup came from my son’s recipe and some of last night’s roast chicken.

It was a nice Christmas.  Oh, and if you’re wondering, I did get my Christmas wish.  I don’t think I will have time to try it out today (I’ve got running on the docket today), but I do look forward to trying my new Bob Harper workout.  🙂
I hope you had a nice weekend!

(Can you believe that another year is nearly gone?  Where does the time go??)


An Educational Experience, Indeed

Last weekend, we gathered with my husband’s family to celebrate Christmas together.  We had a very nice time – cooking and eating, playing games, exchanging gifts, and just being together.  If I’ve never mentioned it, I’ll tell you right now:  my husband has a really great family! 

We added a new activity to the agenda this year – a wine tasting.  Those participating were to bring a wine that he or she likes and prepare a presentation on that wine – what type of grapes, where the grapes were grown, what aromas and tastes the wine has, what foods the wine pairs well with, etc.  We each had a scoresheet to record our observations about each wine and make note of our preferences as we tasted each selection. 

You can see the prices of the wines on my notes, but we didn’t reveal prices until after we had tried them all.  An expensive wine isn’t necessarily better.   🙂 

We had a fun time with it, and I think we all learned something! I know I did, but I am not a wine connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination.  I jotted down some notes about a few that I would like to try again. 

I think I’ll try my favorites with the types of meals recommended.  Sometimes the right food and drink pairing brings out the best in both.

There was also some talk of a sit-up challenge in February.  By mentioning it here:

1)I may be more likely to remember to set a goal and do it, and

2)I am making myself accountable to those of you reading.  Now I better do it, right?

Anyone want to join us for a sit-up challenge?