It was a lovely weekend all in all, but I feel a bit like Archie today:
Half in the bag, and in need of a nap!
No, no, I'm kidding, of course. It was a really great time start to finish, and I hope you all had a nice Christmas, too. :) We so enjoyed celebrating our family and a very special day in our Faith, and we did a lot of entertaining. Needless to say, I took a lot of pictures - so I have some things share with, you all.
Now, the above picture was actually taken on Christmas eve, as Bill and I were just finishing up all our "parental preparations." Ahem. At first, the cats were quite intrigued by all the wrapping chaos - the packages and paper and ribbons and whatnot - but eventually, as it neared midnight, they just exhausted themselves.
At least they left the tree alone, which looked very pretty ... just before Santa arrived.
But speaking of Christmas Eve, I have to back up a little, because our celebrating actually began on Saturday afternoon, when we hosted Bill's family for a holiday ham dinner.
I thought the dining table came out rather nicely ...
(I never did add the holly sprigs to the vases though!)
Our menu included ~ the aforementioned ham, macaroni and cheese, rice, baked beans, rolls, a delicious holiday relish that Bill made, as well as the usual "nibbley" starters.
Here's Crackerjack looking quite pleased with the spread (not a green vegetable in sight!) as well as his aunt (and godmother) Ami, along with her boyfriend, Eric.
Once we were done eating, we set into opening presents ...
(Earlybird and his hugs!)
After gifts, it was dessert time ...
I made my mother's "Butter-and-Whisky Cake" for the first time on my own and it came out pretty well!
My folks and my brother, Matt, also joined us for coffee and dessert. In addition to the cake we had ice cream as well as assorted Christmas cookies.
Fyi: I stopped counting calories on Friday.
After a very late night, the morning came all too quickly ... thanks in part to Earlybird, who woke his folks at 4 a.m.!
Fortunately, it didn't take too much convincing to get the older two up around five - they may be 16 and 12, but they still get very excited for Christmas morning!
(Don't we all?)
Archie just CANNOT miss out on a thing ...
He simply MUST be in the middle of it all.
And speaking of middle - EB loves to sit on "his" couch with "his" loved ones. Here he is between his Nana and Papa, opening a new Brio train set.
While my folks and my brother Matt enjoyed a little breakfast with us ... Archie kept a close eye on the coolers.
The "shifting" ice inside kept him on edge. Lol.
Around 4 p.m. we hosted one more gathering! A Christmas afternoon "open house" for my side of the family ...
My Aunt Marcia gave me this lovely hostess gift:
I have a thing for night lights, you know - kind of like magazines, tote bags and mugs! I'll have to show you the lovely "rainbow angel" night light we have in the bathroom right now. (Future post. ;))
Part of the dinner spread ...
My mum made most of this delicious buffet - baked brie, meatballs (Italian *and* sweet and sour), cold cut tray, so many yummy appetizers ... My Aunt Marcia brought Nana Riley's stewed tomato casserole and I made a simple baked ziti because I knew EB could eat it and would enjoy it. :)
Because my mum works so hard, and does so much, I am able to pull off all this entertaining. And because we share so much of the work, I'm also able to relax and enjoy myself. Here I am with my brother - my "little" brother, mind you:
These are some of my cousins, my cousin's Mike's wife, Krista, my Aunt Marcia and Mum. The two lovely little girls in the middle are Mike and Krista's darling daughters. It's always a joy to catch up with them - and admire their beautiful holiday dresses!
My cousin Mark's son, Christopher - spending time with EB:
And here's the whole lot of us!
Actually - Bill was taking the picture, and EB refused to get in the picture, so they'll be "photoshopped" in after the fact. As will be Mike, Krista and their girls, and Kate's boyfriend Paul who all arrived after the "group" picture.
(A large family is such a blessing, but especially so at Christmas!)
And after presents and pictures, there were, of course, plenty of desserts (and a fresh pot of coffee) ...
A few shown here, more still to be put out ...
This is the gingerbread house the boys made with my mum:
They make one every year with their Nana, and it's become a cherished tradition. And apparently, it tastes pretty good too, because as of this post, the house is half gone!
A few last photos, from today, the day after ...
Bill with what just might be his favorite present this year:
A Cuisinart Griddler, which he received from my parents. He's having so much fun with it!
This morning's dish:
Leftover ham, rice and relish - all wrapped up in a crispy tortilla.
(His breakfast, not mine. Lol.)
And one last shot of the cats ... just because:
I think they enjoyed their first Christmas!
Well, my friends, I hope you all had a nice weekend, and if you were celebrating, a very nice Christmas. I also thank you, as always, for stopping by. :)
I'll be back tomorrow afternoon with my "Tuesday Tea" post. If you have the time and inclination to "take tea," I'd love to have you join me!
Either way - tea or no - I will see all you again very soon!