I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, filled with family, friends, and fun! Just about everyone I talk to has told me they plan to start making gifts for next Christmas early--some of them plan to start right away and put things aside all year long. I've tried that before, and it doesn't seem to work for me, but I'm fairly optimistic so maybe I'll try it again. I really liked the way the picnic tote turned out and may make more for family gifts next year. Here's a photo of it stuffed with the rest of the things I made and bought to fill it for our son's girlfriend:
Besides the tote itself, I made two roll up placemats and two napkins. I bought a set of utensils and put two forks, two spoons, and two knives in the inside pockets. I added a bottle of wine and a Trader Joe's gift card. Sarah seemed pleased with it although winter's not the best time for a picnic!
We all had a wonderful Christmas here at our home. Our gathering was small--just me and my husband, our son and his girlfriend, and my sister-in-law Kathy. I made a crockpot full of cream of chicken and rice soup, and my husband baked up a batch of honey wheat rolls. Besides that, we had numerous other appetizers and finger foods--we started with these heated up veggie and cheese stuffed bits.
Because we just munched on food all day long, I was able to use one of my favorite sets of dishes--the 12 Days of Christmas plates you can see stacked in the photo above. Each salad-sized plate is different and represents each of the "gifts" from the popular Christmas song. I just love to get these out each year and look at the different pictures on each one while the song goes through my head.
We didn't skimp on sweet treats either. Here are a few of the things weighing down the table--and those don't even include the cheesecake I hadn't gotten out yet!
This morning, while my husband and I were doing some preparations in the kitchen, we heard a knock at the door. I went to answer it and found two strangers there--an adult man and a boy. The man introduced himself and said his family had moved in a couple houses down from us in November, and he was just coming around to introduce himself and his son and hand out Christmas cards and homemade peanut brittle. Isn't that a wonderful way to meet new neighbors? We were both pretty tickled to think a new neighbor would take the time to do that. Of course, the peanut brittle was added to our treat table and was greatly appreciated.
Truly, though, I don't think that any of us overate. I know that a nibble here and a nibble there adds up, but I think we ate less than we would have if I had served appetizers, a huge Christmas meal, and dessert.
On Christmas Eve, I had to make a last trip to the grocery store for a couple things. As I was driving there, I was thinking about what foods I had planned and what I might possibly need. As I thought about the different things I planned to serve, I realized I didn't have any soup bowls. Well, I DO have some simple white bowls, but they didn't seem very festive. Should I make a detour and stop at Kohl's to buy some bowls? Pretty quickly, though, I thought about how my husband would complain about more dishes--and justifiably so, because our storage is pretty limited. So I resigned myself to using my plain white bowls and continued on to the grocery store.
As I reached the end of one of the aisles at the grocery store, what did I see but a display of red dishes and the perfect red soup bowls! And when I saw that the store had marked all of it half off, I absolutely KNEW it was fate! So into my cart I happily placed four new red soup bowls, and life was good.
Before I got out of the parking lot, though, I started to think again about my husband's anticipated reaction. Thinking quickly, by the time I got home, I had worked out a plan!
Fast forward now to my family gathered around the Christmas tree today, opening gifts. Within reach of his recliner, my husband found a gift bag addressed "To Kim, From Santa." What could it be? He passed the bag over to me, and knowing HE hadn't placed it under the tree, he watched in puzzlement while I opened the bag. Now how did Santa know I needed four new red soup bowls?! I'm telling you, that guy is MAGIC!
Well, as I expected my husband--and the rest of the family--burst out laughing. He knew immediately what I had done and why. In the end, he told me that as long as Santa wasn't putting diamonds under the tree for me, who was he to be bothered by four red soup bowls?!
I hope your Christmas was merry! 364 days until next Christmas, I think--time to get busying making gifts and getting ready!