Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Christmas was wonderful! We had Christmas at our house on Christmas Eve, blending some traditions, creating new ones. We have a "new" Christmas tree this year. Instead of hunting for a "real" tree, we were blessed to find a beautiful artificial tree. You couldn’t tell that it's artificial unless you really looked closely at the needles. You'll laugh when I tell you that I found it at our nearby dumpster back in September, packed neatly in it's own immaculate and original box! It came from Wal-Mart in 1989 and at that time cost $139!!  I love it because now I don’t have to be in a hurry to take it down!

Christmas Eve, all of the kids came (adult children and grandchildren) and we had cookies and eggnog and watched the little ones open presents. Each child had 3 presents, one of which was a new pair of heavy mittens (handmade by Grandma!), a bag of their favorite cookies to take home and a handmade ornament for their tree at home.

We did not buy presents for the adult children, but we did give them food gifts. Everyone brought something for the little ones. We all had cookies & eggnog before presents…

Notice the little hand making it's way toward the Peanut Butter Blossoms! That is my grandson Robbie, who loves peanut butter and chocolate combinations of any kind.

At the end of the evening, when people started going home, we gave the adults their presents to take home. Each package had a jar of homemade chili, banana bread in a jar, a bottle of homemade eggnog, a tin of homemade cookies & 1 other present – red zinger tea for dauhter Laura, saffron rice pilaf for Becca, hand lotions & soaps for Meredith and hens and chickens for Will to plant by the walk at his new house.


On Christmas Day, Cliff & I had a wonderful breakfast together of scrambled eggs (from our hens - look for an entry on home-grown eggs in the next day or so), bacon, toasted homemade bread & some of our homemade eggnog. Our own children were having Christmas in their homes with their kids and other family members, so we attended the large extended Hall Family Christmas Dinner at Cliff's Mom's house. It is nothing to see 30-50 people come to Mom's for Christmas. We all opened presents and Cliff gave several jars of apple butter away for Christmas presents, which reminded me that I had LEFT all the banana bread in jars at home! Fortunately, we see everyone regularly, so we'll just deliver them as late, but well-intentioned gifts!

I keep a journal of each Christmas, with photos and recipes, detailing what went well, how we decorated, what was happening then and what we could do to improve things. This year, I was actually knitting the finishing touches on Sarah's mittens when she was HERE, waiting for the rest of the family to arrive. So, I would certainly say that I need to get started earlier and finish a little earlier! My goal this year is to have everything done and WRAPPED by Oct 31st! If I start right now, I can do that and make sweaters instead of mittens!

I was in such a rush, having not yet recovered from nursing Cliff through shingles and everyone and everything else through 2 feet of snow and 3 solid days of plowing (18-20 hr days), that I forgot a lot of pretty basic things. I left out 6 of the 18 eggs for the eggnog, forgot to make labels for the banana bread in jars and then even forgot to take the banana bread in jars to the big family Christmas dinner to give them out! But we all had fun, no one noticed my faux pas and we'll do better next year!!!

If you like eggnog, here is the recipe for ours (with the RIGHT amount of eggs!) - you can still have it for New Year's Eve! Enjoy and hope you all had a very blessed & Merry Christmas!

Kristen's Eggnog Recipe
 3 quarts whole milk
1 c heavy cream
18 fresh eggs (homegrown if possible)
1½ c sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp nutmeg

Beat eggs, vanilla & nutmeg in food processor. Pour sugar through dry funnel into gallon milk jug. Add eggs & milk & shake well. This makes about 1 gallon.

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