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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Our Very Merry Christmas

Christmas.  The most wonderful time of the year indeed!  We always have a special Christmas, but there was just something about this one.  Something I can't put words to.
But before we get to Christmas, let's talk about Christmas Eve.  My favorite part of the day was definitely church.  But it, too, was another beautiful celebration all the day long.  We began with brunch.  I have such sweet memories of brunch as a child.

Every Christmas morning, Granddaddy, MeMama, Pa and Grandmother would all come to our house to see what Rob and I got for Christmas.  And they would stay and eat brunch with us.  Since we have church on Christmas morning, we have brunch on Christmas Eve morning.  Our menu this year was several of our tried-and-true favorites along with a new dish I've wanted to try for a couple of years now.  Hannah Kate absolutely loves Mimi's sausage balls so I always make those.  But this year Hannah Kate made them for us.  We also had a breakfast casserole, sweet potato biscuits and spiced curried fruit.  The new recipe this year was a bacon and cheddar grits quiche.  Let's just say I won't be doing that again.  It was a near disaster!  But I salvaged it, and it was good.  I'd rather just have me a big ole bowl of cheesy grits!  PawPaw and MawMaw came over and ate with us.
After we ate we opened all of the Georgia gifts.  We had such a good time doing this in the middle of the day because it gave the children the rest of the day to play with and explore their gifts.
When Hannah Kate unwrapped this gift and someone (who shall remain nameless) saw the box, said person flipped out . . . "Why does Hannah Kate get a TV?  I mean, I'm pretty sure mine isn't a TV.  That's not fair.  Why does she get a TV in her room, and I don't?  THAT'S NOT FAIR!"  I think even Hannah Kate was a little stunned because she knew she hadn't asked for a TV.  She also knew a TV in her room is something that will never happen.
So we learned a good lesson (again!) about not judging a book by its cover.  Or a gift by its wrappings!  Needless to say, Hannah Kate was so excited.  She's never had a big lego set before, and this was at the top of her list.  She's already assembled a little over half of it, and it is just the cutest thing ever!  I mean, these aren't the legos of my childhood for sure!
This makes me laugh.  It looks like Mason has horns!
He, too, asked for a lot of legos.  Lots of legos.  And Star Wars.  Every spare minute he's had since he opened his gifts has been at the table putting his lego sets together.  As a matter of fact, he's sitting there right now assembling the last one of the four he received.  (And I already have a stellar plan in place for lego storage!) 
I think Aunt Kristi must love shopping for the girls.  And we love that it's always monogrammed and girlie and pink!

Personality plus here.  You'll see what I'm talking about in a minute.
Ellie really enjoyed opening all of her gifts.  She's at the age where everything seems and feels like a surprise.
She was excited about her new jewelry box.  Especially the "dancing" ballerina.
Whatever time hasn't been spent putting legos together has been spent playing games together.  I think their favorite game is this Finding Dory one.
I really should've counted how many legos came into this house, but I didn't.  I'm pretty sure I don't want to.  I just know this has constantly been my view.

After we got home from church that evening, I spent a little more time in my kitchen.  I made Seth's favorite pralines, and I put the finishing touches on my mint brownie pops.  These sure were a lot of fun!
I was up early Christmas morning to assemble and bake the homemade cinnamon rolls.  Yes.  Yeast and all.  I put the dough together two days earlier so all I had to do Christmas morning was roll it out, sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar, roll it up, slice it and bake it.  Even if you are scared of yeast and don't bake (like me!), I can't recommend these cinnamon rolls enough!  They come out perfectly every single time, and they are so good! The recipe really isn't hard at all, and it is so yummy that it is so worth it!  You just have to ignore the sheer amount of sugar and butter this recipe calls for!  I use Pioneer Woman's recipe, but I half it because it makes such a huge amount.  And this is only half of the halved recipe!
And then when they come out of the oven, you drizzle (or, in my case, generously pour) the homemade icing over the top.  I mean, have you ever seen a more perfect pan of cinnamon rolls?  I think not!
And they just taste so divine!  I can think of no better Christmas morning breakfast treat than this (including my nutcracker plate and mug)!
Now, can we just take a minute to notice that the girls are wearing sleeveless dresses?  On Christmas Day.  Y'all.  It is so. hot. here.  So. hot.  I fell in love a couple of months ago with the little dress Ellie is wearing, but I debated a lot before I bought it because it was sleeveless.  I convinced myself that we wouldn't be outside.  We'd be inside.  And she could wear tights.  So it would be fine for "cold weather."  Let's just say she didn't wear tights.  And the weather definitely wasn't cold or anything close to even cool.  Hannah Kate didn't even wear the dress I bought her for Christmas because it was just too hot.  Her dress was long sleeves and had a little fur vest with it.  So we pulled a new dress out of her closet that we were saving for spring.  We ditched Mason's sweater vest, rolled up his sleeves and put him in shorts.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Christmas in Louisiana.
After we got home from church, we opened our gifts from each other.  Again, did I mention that Mason asked for legos?  And that was it.  So I had to be a little creative this year.  He's hard to shop for these days.  But an idea came to mind so I went with it.  
I did my research, read all the reviews.  And I was assured this would be the perfect telescope for a "beginner" and one that would be easy to assemble and use.  I wanted to hopefully spot some planets and see the rings around Saturn.  So this was most recommended.  But when it arrived, and I saw the box, I began to think I bit off a little more than I could chew.  And perhaps I did.  Seth got it put together tonight, but it's very cloudy so we haven't put it to the test yet.
And, of course . . . (If I had it my way, that shirt would be red and black with a bulldog on it!)
The girls opened a lot of these purple boxes.  Their American Girls dolls are definitely the most played with toys in our house.  (Although these legos are giving them a run for their money now!)



As with Mason, I had to get a little creative with Hannah Kate.  I needed one more gift for her, and I really had no idea.  But something popped up on my Amazon feed that caught my eye.  I thought she might enjoy it so I got it.  Needless to say, when I saw her reaction, I was pleasantly surprised.  I'd never heard of it before, but she had.  I asked her when and how, and she said she saw it on a TV commercial.  They don't often get what they see on TV so this was obviously a real treat for her.
And stockings.  We LOVE stockings over here!  Especially when they have baseballs and basketball socks and candy and all the Axe body care products in the world . . .
. . . and books and bath fizzies and fuzzy socks and DVDs and monogrammed notepads . . .
. . . and more bath toys and DVDs and . . . fun stuff!
And then things started getting silly.  Real silly.  This girl has so much more personality than you could ever imagine.  She hides it so well, but it's always a treat when she opens up.  She went all kinds of crazy on us!
And then I look up, and she's here.  I just don't even know.  I'm so glad I was able to quickly capture it with my phone because when I look at this picture, I think it sums up our Christmas so perfectly.
And then it was time for Seth and I to open our gifts.  Of course, Ellie had to help Daddy unwrap his.
Of all the gifts I received, these are the most priceless.  The kids each made both of us cards.  Both of these are just so special and mean so much.  I mean, it just melts my heart.
And Ellie joined in, too.  She drew our little family and a few friends.
After we opened gifts, we got ready for lunch.  Since Troy and April didn't arrive until later in the day, we were having our big turkey and dressing meal for supper.  We (meaning the sisters-in-law and I) tried to change it up this year and do something different.  You know, like lasagna or shrimp and grits.  Man, I'm really craving shrimp and grits right now!  But, anyway, that didn't go over very well.  So Ashley and I volunteered to take care of lunch.  We did "heavy" appetizers.  But, first, I assembled my little treat plate.  This right here is my Mama all the way.  I think this would make her proud.
The appetizer I was most excited about was my apple slice wreath with toffee caramel cream cheese dip.  So pretty, so easy.  And so not original.  So don't be to impressed.  Give me a recipe or a picture, and I'm your girl.  Ask me to come up with something of my own, and you might need to go to the drive through.  But how fun is this?!  
Ashley made a cheeseball and a couple of dips, Barry made jacked up oysters and I made the apple wreath, dogs in a blanket (for my picky eaters), Christmas pinwheels (cream cheese, turkey, spinach and craisins) and little smokies.  I also made a cranberry tea that I also thought was really good.
We spent the rest of the day with the family, opened gifts, ate again.  I took all of two pictures the rest of the day.  But we also managed to get this one of MawMaw Mac with all of her great-grands (and the deer).
And that was our very Merry Christmas!

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