Written on 12/28
I’m on my flight from Dallas to Los Angeles (using an inflight wifi credit I purchased months ago and didn’t use until now) and I’m finally getting around to writing about the last few days. It’s been quite a whirlwind! When I’m at home I usually write my daily webpage post after I climb into bed for the night, but while I was in Tallahassee I was way too tired by the time I got there. I was staying up too late every night. Let me get started with the recap and maybe you’ll see why.
As soon as I got up on the morning of Christmas Eve I started cooking. I was making a vegetable lasagna for my family’s dinner that night and the sauce needed to cook for many hours before it would be ready. (I used the slow cooker marinara recipe I posted last month with some diced bell peppers, sliced baby carrots, and a can of drained diced tomatoes added to give it a little more bulk.) While I was practically still in my pajamas my mom helped me prepare the vegetables, I cooked them on the stove top a bit, and then everything went into the Crockpot so that it would be ready by 5 PM. It was raining that day so after the marinara sauce was simmering my parents and I went to the mall to walk around. Maybe not the best destination on Christmas Eve, but we did it anyway. We grabbed a quick lunch at Chick-Fil-A, I returned something to American Eagle, and I even got a couple of shirts on sale at The Limited. Nice! When we were back at home I picked up where I left off with dinner. Besides the veggie lasagna we were having green beans and salad as side dishes. I actually tried four new recipes while I was in Tallahassee, and the skillet green beans I made on Christmas Eve was the second. (Vegetable chili was the first on the 22nd – I’ll have to share that recipe sometime.) I had never simply stir fried green beans before and I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious they were. Everything turned out really well for dinner that night and I sat down to eat with my whole family. Later that evening my mom and I bundled up and headed out on our annual Christmas Eve neighborhood walk to see the Christmas lights. Some of the houses nearby are decorated beautifully, and one of the cul-de-sacs even puts luminaries up and down the street on Christmas Eve. It was lovely, but it was very cold that night and my hands and feet were frozen after an hour outside! After a showered I finally sat down to wrap my family’s Christmas presents. Do you think I procrastinated long enough? Fortunately I got to watch “A Christmas Story” with my dad while I worked (I just told him not to look while I was wrapping his gifts). What a hilarious movie, and a great Christmas Eve tradition.
Christmas Day dawned less rainy, but cold! (I had originally thought it would be warm the whole time I was in Florida, but I’m glad I packed a warm jacket at the last minute!) My brother was still asleep when I got up so my mom and I started making breakfast preparations. I mixed up a batch of buttermilk pancakes using a Martha Stewart recipe (my dad almost always makes us pancakes on Christmas morning – we even gave him an electric griddle many years ago to facilitate the tradition!) and she got some eggs ready to scramble. I added a teaspoon of cinnamon to the pancake batter (my third new recipe of the week) on a whim and they turned out excellent. When the whole household was awake and presentable we opened presents. For the last two years we have only gotten each other small gifts, but my brother and I both got iPad Minis so we did quite well! I asked for one to replace my aging Kindle that will no longer hold a charge for very long. I know I am going to enjoy using it for reading. My brother was flying back to San Francisco that afternoon because he had to work on the 26th so we took him to the airport after brunch. To avoid sadness due to my brother’s departure my parents and I immediately went to see “Saving Mr. Banks” after we left the airport. What a wonderful movie. I highly recommend it for anyone who’s a fan of Disney, or Mary Poppins, or Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks! Since we had quite an elaborate brunch that morning our dinner just consisted of some leftover chili which was really good (yet another recipe I need to post – I have quite the backlog), if I can say so without sounding immodest since I made it! After that we took a walk around the neighborhood and got back just in time for me to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special, “The Time of the Doctor,” at 9 PM. I can’t say it was the best episode I’ve ever seen, and I honestly think Matt Smith deserved a better send off as we said goodbye to the Eleventh Doctor, but I still enjoyed it. It was the perfect way to end Christmas Day.
Stay tuned for part 2 of my Christmas recap tomorrow!