Thursday, November 29, 2012

Whirlwind Weeks & Holiday Planning

I can’t believe it has been almost two weeks since I posted anything.  As usual, the time has flown by, and I’m not quite sure where it all went. 

Did you all have a good Thanksgiving?  As I posted earlier, we had ours much earlier this month, due to Nick’s work schedule, so we didn’t have any kind of Thanksgiving at home on the actual holiday.  I think, if he’s working on Thanksgiving next year and we have the early celebration, I will still make us a small Thanksgiving-type meal on the actual day.  It’s a little weird not having the traditional meal that day. 

I did get to get together with two friends, Crystal and Alex, the night before Thanksgiving.  Crystal works in retail and had to go in at 11:00 pm Thanksgiving night, so was trying to stay up all night Wednesday.  Alex’s plans to go out of town to visit family changed at the last minute, so we had a girl’s night in at my house.  Nick doesn’t eat any seafood, so since he was at work that was a perfect opportunity was us to feast on shrimp pasta.  It’s delicious; shrimp sautéed in copious amounts of butter and garlic, with pepper, basil, parsley and diced tomatoes, served over angel hair pasta.  Yum!

We went to my parents the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Their 38th anniversary was the week before, and since anniversaries are the only thing they celebrate we usually make a big deal out of it.  We grilled steaks, and made mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, and a berry crunch for dessert.  We somehow managed to pick out really good steaks and concocted a fabulous marinade.  It was garlic infused olive oil, lots of fresh minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, pepper, fresh cilantro, and a little bit of melted butter.  Unfortunately, we didn’t measure anything, so I really hope we’ll be able to duplicate it.  Nick and my dad grilled the steaks for a long time over very low heat.  They were delicious and so tender! 

My parents really liked their gifts, Emma was happy to run around in their back yard, and we had a good time visiting and playing board games.  We didn’t get home until almost 1:00 Sunday morning.

Somehow, in the midst of everything else, we didn’t get the Christmas tree put up.  We’re hoping to find time to put it up this weekend.  We usually put it up the weekend of Thanksgiving, so it’s a little odd not having it up right now.  We have plans to see The Nutcracker on Saturday afternoon, but hopefully we can get the tree put up Saturday night.  I am so excited about The Nutcracker.  I’ve never seen it, and now that it’s so close, it feels like Saturday will never come. 

I’m also in the midst of planning Nick’s 30th birthday party.  He’s a Christmas Eve baby, so his birthday is easily overlooked.  I usually have a chili lunch (and a non-Christmas themed birthday cake) at our house that day and family and close friends come over.  Since this is his 30th, and we’ve agreed to no more birthday parties for either of us except for milestone birthdays, we’ve decided to do something a little bigger.  We’re having it the following Saturday at a local pizza restaurant.  I have found a cake (not at all Christmas themed) that I love, and that has been approved by my friend Crystal.  She has great taste, and is honest enough to tell me when my great ideas aren’t so great.  Nick reads my blog, so I can’t go into much detail, but it’s going to be good. 

How many of you are the people who are already finished with your Christmas shopping?  I wish I could say I am, but I’m not.  I’m in awe of my friend Lorie who was finished by September.  I can only dream of being that organized!  We don’t have very many people to shop for, so it’s not a terribly daunting task.  The only downside is that most of the people I shop for are very, very difficult to shop for.  I really appreciate Amazon and eBay this time of year. 

It’s also about time for my annual bake-a-thon.  We like to take Christmas goodies (usually cakes, because I don’t make very good cookies) to people we see a lot through out the year like all of the different departments at work, our chiropractor, my acupuncturist, etc.  We also exchange baked goods with our neighbors.  It’s a lot of fun, and every year I vow that I will do little bits at a time, but so far it hasn’t happened.  Usually a few days before Christmas I’m up until 2:00 in the morning baking lots of cakes, and then we have a carload of cakes to deliver the next day.  I keep telling myself that this year I will do better.  We’ll see.  The past few weeks have felt like an endless session of running around trying to catch everything up and still falling further behind with everything.  Any suggestions about how to organize your holiday baking?

So how about all of you?  How was your Thanksgiving?  And how are your Christmas, or other holiday, plans coming along?  Feel free to share any organization tips you have with the rest of us!  

1 comment:

  1. That food over your parents for their anniversary sounded delicious!! Especially the sweet potato casserole! I'm the only one in our family that like sweet potatoes so they rarely (if ever) get made.

    Does sound like a lot of fun planning your hubby's birthday party! I'm a very close to Christmas baby but not a Christmas Eve one (four days before). My mom always made sure I had a cake that didn't have a Christmas theme and my presents were always wrapped in birthday wrapping; she didn't want me overlooked since I really didn't have any choice on when I was born :)

    My sister and my mom used to bake a lot when I was growing up. Lots of cookies and breads to exchange with friends. All I know was it was a whirlwind time, always dirty dishes in the sink and schedules of when this or that would be made. Also my sister would knock herself out so much baking that she would always be sick for Christmas. I didn't get the baking gene so we rarely bake for the holidays.

    We did have wonderful friends when we lived in Montana that she would make a rum cake for special people on their Christmas list. She would start after Thanksgiving and you'd get your cake sometime between that and Christmas. It was always neat to be on their list and once on it you didn't get off it unless you moved. It was her "secret" recipe but she shared it with us before we moved with the caveat that we didn't share it with others.

    I only have four people to buy for so my shopping is pretty darn easy especially since I buy lots of gift cards :)



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