First of all, Merry Christmas! Yes, I’m a day late, but I think you have until New Years to give a “Happy Holidays” greeting, right?
In silly random-ness, don’t you love how the holidays give you a nice excuse to get out of a normally awkard situation by just saying “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year”? I found myself relieved to have something appropriate to say during hellos and goodbyes that made sense and just seemed like I was being festive and not just standing there being weird and seeming antisocial, which is my usual way
So this season is a blur, as I guess it always is. I participated in three different cookie swaps, which was a bit excessive, and maybe I’ll remember to do less next year. My first swap was with one of my MOPS groups, and I brought my old standby (and still my #1 most popular post) Lemon Cookies. I followed one commenters’ suggestion and upped the butter just a bit (to 1 and 3/4 sticks) and it was perfect. My second swap was held by my friend Sandy, who always has such a nice setup in her house. We played games, she gives awards for things like “best tasting” or “best packaging” (which I won, booyea!) and I brought Andes Mint Thumbprints this year. They were okay. The actual green cookie was a bit dry for my taste, but they looked awesome and the dark chocolate center was yummy. My last swap was just less than a week ago and I made Crackled Crescents from a retro cookie book I swiped from my Mom’s house. The closest recipe I can find from them is here, except mine didn’t have almond or coconut extract & I didn’t use the 1 T of shortening. They were dipped in chocolate and then pistachios and coconut, and they were probably my least favorite. I feel like nothing lives up to the lemon!
Another fun thing I got to do this month was see Million Dollar Quartet at The Forrest Theatre. I won tickets to the show at the PSMM Holiday Party & I was super stoked to go. You may recall me mentioning that we have a subscription to the Walnut Street Theater, and we love it! But this year’s production of The Music Man left us wanting something more. Our favorite show at WST so far was Buddy, the Buddy Holly story, and we were hoping that Million Dollar Quartet was going to be similar. It was, and it was a really fun show! I can’t believe that it was also my first time at The Forrest Theatre, which was such a beautiful venue.
This year, I tried to involve Rayna in picking out a Christmas gift for big Marc. I knew that he needed a new pair of sunglasses, so I kind of guided her into thinking the idea was hers and we could go shopping for a new pair of sunglasses together. At first it was harder than I thought it would be to find good sunglasses, but we finally found a pair and brought them home. Once we bought them & wrapped them, Rayna was doing a really good job keeping it a secret, and I was impressed. That is, until she almost mentioned them to Marc, and I interrupted her to remind her to not tell him what his present would be. Now, I was in the kitchen doing dishes while Marc and Rayna were in the living room watching TV. So Rayna puts her hand up to her mouth, so that Marc can’t see, and she “whispers” in pretty much full volume: “Mommy!! I didn’t say “SUNGLASSES!!” Oh man, it was the cutest/saddest thing. She realized that he must have heard because we both started laughing, and then she tried to play it off. But, oh my, was it so cute!
Fast forward to Christmas morning, where my little kiddies were so wiped out from Christmas Eve with my in-laws (which had us coming home around midnight), that they didn’t even wake up until around 8:30. When we finally did start opening gifts, I was amazed at just how fast Rayna was at mowing through the wrapping. She was ripping through the gifts at light speed!
What she didn’t know, was that there was one more special gift from Santa hiding in the basement. A while back (at Blogher) I was introduced to a company called “Your Santa Story” that makes personalized DVD messages from Santa to your child. I was given a copy to review, and lo & behold, my DVD player was busted. By the time I got a new cord for it (isn’t that weird? Why would a RCA cable go bad?) time before Christmas was slipping away. We absolutely loved it though, and Marc & I were excited to see Rayna’s reaction to it.
Well after all of the gifts were open, we showed her how Santa had left a special DVD at the plate of cookies. We put it in, and it was priceless. Santa says that “Buddie didn’t even wake up” when he came through the house, and you can have Santa bring up whatever accomplishments you want. At the end of the video, Santa says that he “has one more surprise hiding” and you have him mention where to look. We bought a Servin Surprises Kitchen Table for the two kids (Rayna had asked for it) and had it in the basement all assembled and ready to go. It was very exciting to get that last secret present! Like the Red Ryder BB Gun from “The Christmas Story” I know that we’ll definitely order this again next year. It seems like such a special touch that “proves” that Santa really knows something about them, unlike the mall Santa who can be so uninspired!
Marc also did really well this year and bought me lots of nice and useful things. If you’re familiar with the story of the pink golf clubs (I must remember to write that one up here on the blog), he didn’t make any large mistakes like that this year
I hope you had a joyous holiday and that your New Year’s celebration is safe and happy, too!