It's Christmas vacation, which means I've had both kiddos at home. Together. AllDayLong. I suspect that Christmas vacation was the original inspiration for spiked egg nog. (Although I do believe it was a stroke of genius that inspired us to get Ben a PSP and Olette a Leapster2 this year. They are more than happy to go outside in order to earn video game time!)
Christmas was the same as Christmas usually is around here, which isn't a bad thing at all. Except for the rain on Christmas Day. (Particularly because Olette got a bike that she had to wait a whole day to use!) Festivities lasted the entire month: Christmas program at Ben's school; Christmas Parade in town; Church Christmas Program; Ben's class party, and a little party hosted by one of Olette's buddies; Christmas cookie decorating with the cousins (my nephews and niece).
|Messy? Yes. Fun? Of course!|
I decided that everyone was getting homemade goodies from us-- no surprise there, it's what I do every year-- and that this years goodies would be fudge and chocolate truffles. I used a new, quicker and easier recipe for the fudge* and I was very pleased with the results. I made truffles** for the first time ever, and, despite the amount of time involved, I was surprised by how easy it was!
Christmas Eve was spent at my parents' house with all of my siblings and their families (and my baby [17-year-old] brother's girlfriend). We had pizza, of course (following a tradition that began when I was about 2 or 3, I think), and all kinds of other foods. We all overate and then enjoyed the whirlwind chaos that can only occur when 15 people (five of them aged 7-and-under) in a relatively small space start opening presents.
|Particularly when their Neena has packed their presents with loads and loads of tinsel!|
After Christmas at Mom and Dad's, we came home, checked the NORAD Santa tracker, and determined that if Santa was in Brazil, it wouldn't be long before he made it to Alabama! The kids went to bed. And after about an hour, finally went to sleep. Santa came and filled stockings and left a few bigger items under the tree to be discovered on Christmas morning. The kids waited until about 6:30 to wake us up (God bless them-- Ben had been talking about 4am before he went to bed!), and Christmas Day officially began.
Olette kicked things off by hopping on her bike (have I mentioned that we currently reside in a teeny, tiny trailer?) and riding across the living room, rolling over my bare foot in the process.
|But I forgave her-- how could you mind someone this cute riding over your foot?|
Just a few moments and a huge pile of ripped wrapping paper later, and they had worked their way through all the presents. I decided to make homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast (hey, it's a holiday!), and then settled for homemade cinnamon biscuits (less work, fewer dirty dishes, yay!) when I remembered what a mess my kitchen was after all the baking-and-making I had done the day before. (***Side note: I also learned that if you want to cut corners on your glaze by microwaving the butter and powdered sugar together, you need to set the microwave to a low time and stand right by it, watching it like a hawk. Moving to another room to check on something else and then forgetting about the microwave entirely results in billowing smoke and scorched black sugar.***)
After breakfast we headed next door to visit Hubby's parents, where Santa Claus had left a few things he forgot to drop off here, and where NaNa and PaPa had a big pile of presents waiting. We had Christmas lunch there as well, and it was delicious!
|Aren't they adorable?|
And now, here we are four days after Christmas. All of the decorations have been packed away already, in an effort to recover what little bit of spare space we had in the first place. The kids have been (mostly) entertained by all of their new toys, and I've managed to (mostly) get the house put back together. Mostly. I'm ready for school to start again so that we can all get back to our normal schedules, but otherwise, life has been great. Except for the whole applying-for-a-mortgage adventure. Tune in for regular updates (maybe). It's definitely been interesting.
1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 tbsp butter
Combine all ingredients in a double boiler and melt together. Pour into a greased 8x8 dish and refrigerate until firm. To serve, cut into 1" squares.
16 oz good, high quality chocolate, no less than 60% cacao, chopped
16 oz heavy cream
Combine chocolate and cream in a double boiler. As soon as it's all melted together, pour it into a bowl and chill for about 2 hours, or until firm. Scoop chocolate out into 2tsp-1tbsp sized chunks and place on a cookie sheet or large plate. Refrigerate another 10 minutes, or longer if it seems very soft. Roll chunks into balls and then roll them in the toppings of your choice. I used chopped pistachios, crushed candy cane, cocoa powder, and instant cappuccino powder.