... and there are LOTS of them!
Christmas plates stacked on the buffet table, shiny in the late day sun. I had the table up midweek and slowly added serving pieces and decorations as we neared the holiday.
We spent Christmas eve (afternoon) with Bill's family. As per tradition, we had Chinese food ~ such a treat! We also snacked on this beautiful fruit bouquet (though usually we keep melon away from EB as he tends to react to this kind of fruit).
You can't see it in this picture, but EB is playing with his new Hess jet plane. My father-in-law gets the boys the new Hess vehicle every year.
The older boys looking over a rock and gem collection.
When presents are being opened, you can usually find me on the floor in the midst of it all, managing turn-taking, tossed paper and thank-you's, etc. :)
Shhhh ... this is how our tree looked just before Bill and I went to bed Christmas eve. ;) Santa brought EB his much-hoped-for Easy Bake Oven, as you can see.
Crackerjack took this picture - it's a "minion" from Despicable Me (really cute movie, btw).
Christmas morning sunrise - so pretty.
We attended Mass on Christmas eve, so we were able to enjoy a leisurely morning with my folks and brother, Matt. They came over around 8 ~ but we'd been up since 4 a.m.! (No, really. EB woke especially early - thanks to all that melon - and CJ followed suit around 5. He then dragged out a rather grumpy-looking Bookworm who mumbled something about, "I thought we agreed on 6 a.m.?")
We enjoyed a raspberry danish ring, a kielbasa-pineapple dish, scrambled eggs (plain and with cheddar cheese), roasted onion-thyme potatoes, orange-cranberry punch and crescent rolls (and coffee).
I've had these snowman mugs since before I was married! I remember buying *tons* of them at Crate & Barrel years ago.
And on to the gifts! EB loved this monster truck from his Uncle Matt. (Yes, that's tin foil you see in the foreground - my brother's wrapping paper of choice.)
The buffet table slowly filling in ...
... and the family room looking cleaner than it has in some time, lol! I've so enjoyed the lighted garlands above the windows this holiday season - they make the nights feel so cozy. I may have to keep those up all winter long.
The Advent Tree calendar, all filled with all those sweet apples. (I already have an idea for next year's Advent calendar - it involves tiny envelopes and clothespins lol.)
Every year, late on Christmas afternoon we hold a family dinner buffet. It's usually a pretty big crowd - aunts, uncles, cousins and cousins' kids! The kitchen island held the hors d'oeuvres ~ crackers, cream cheese with pepper jelly, cheese ball, hummus, a *delicious* shrimp dip my cousins Kate and Kara make every year (which reminds me, girls, I'd love that recipe!), a simple veggie and (dill) dip tray, and that's a hot nacho dip in the crockpot.
See the drink perched there at the end of the buffet? That would be our "signature" Christmas cocktail this year ...
The lovely Candy Cane Cosmo:
I saw the recipe for this in People magazine and knew at once we'd have to try it. And I'm so glad we did - it was a hit!
Dinner included maple baked beans, honey ham, tossed salad, baked macaroni and cheese, my Nana's stewed tomato casserole, rolls (onion and knotted), pickles and condiments etc.
And there were lots and lots of desserts, natch ...
A birthday cake for my Uncle Karl (a Lady Bird Johnson lemon cake - so yummy!), Mums fudge and old fashioned ribbon candy (which nobody ate but it looked pretty), assorted cookies, Matt's brownies, my peppermint cupcakes, cousin Sue's peanut butter thumbprints, etc. ...
And yes, there was more coffee!
One last picture ...
As busy as our holiday sounds (and it was, pretty busy) it also brought me a lot of peace. I love spending the holiday with our family and creating a special day - happy memories - for our boys. You can be sure when we hit the pillows that night, our bodies were weary, but our hearts (and our tummies) were quite full.
Thanks so much for stopping by today, and for sharing in our holiday joy. I hope you are all having a nice week. Did I mention Bill is off work this week? Yes, it's been very nice having him home ... I could get all too used to these lazy mornings, (late-ish) movie nights and afternoon espresso breaks (Bill makes a mean cappucino!).
See you all again very soon!