Goodness, here the sun is going down and I'm just now getting the chance to blog one last time for 2009. And what a crazy year it's been! But before I embark on this next year's adventures, I'd like to share with you the final moments of the Christmas holiday in our house. And share those recipes I promised!
As you may recall, we spent Christmas Eve together in our home with Frieda, where Sophie got a brand new bike, Breanna and Sabrina each got some fun party-clothes, and Mike and I got about 18 garbage bags full of wrapping paper and spent bows. (Actually, I must let you know that Mike and Frieda both decided to combine the change they had in their pockets and couch cushions to get me a brand new Canon T1i!!)
Here are some snapshots of the present-unwrapping festivities in our home the following morning, Christmas Day.. This is what we call our "Christmas #2," and it's only slightly more raucous than Christmas #1 (Christmas Eve).
Here Sophie models her new eye mask from her favorite stuffed pig, Bonkers. (We love to label the gifts from not only ourselves, but from other "members" of the family, including the dogs, and sometimes Johnny Depp - if I'm lucky.)
What??!! A new ITouch for Bean!!?
The girls made me promise I wouldn't post any photos of them sans makeup and with that just-rolled-out-of-bed look, but I couldn't resist that photo of Sabrina. Breanna, however, would kill me and feed me to her least favorite sorority friends for breakfast if I dared to show her morning face. So out of respect for her, I give you this:
She got toe-socks from Sophie!
Mike got his PS3...
Love this photo... what kid doesn't crawl under the tree, looking for more? It's not so pretty when my mom does it, but we won't go there.
I have no earthly idea what I was looking at here, but isn't it a lovely picture? People say I look just like my mother in this one.
Sophie is trying on new slippers from Breanna...
And I'm laughing at Brea here, bc she got new Huskers slippers from her dad, and they're about 3 sizes too small. He forgot that she needs her shoes to come from the Men's Big and Tall Store (not really), and she was saying that her toes were curled up to her ankles in these...
I got a new scarf from my Sophie-Joon!
In the meantime, Papa Bear fell asleep...
After the hullaballoo of Christmas-Two, we headed over to Chez Kwaak to have our third celebration with my mom, dad, sister, brother, and niece. My brother in-law, Shaun, had to work this year, so he couldn't make the drive up with Audrey and Paul to be with us. We missed you, Shaun!
This was the only photo I got of my sister this year, and I'm so bummed bc it's blurry! What was I thinking?? Actually, I had borrowed Brea's camera to take pictures (mine was charging) and I had no idea how to use it properly. (I'm a Canon girl, she's a Nikon girl. I'm a PC, she's a Mac. Tomato, Tamato.)
Here's my sweet brother, Paul, who is single and available and adorable and kind and gentlemanly and clean and completely embarrassed now.
Oooh, a present for meeeee!!
My precious niece, Natalie, having a conversation with Cousin Brea...
Breanna showed up in her new pj pants from Aerie...
And Sabrina arrived wearing her new hoodie from Aerie (don't you just love that store?)
My dad and Soph, exchanging their gifts to each other...
And my mother, who will turn into a Christmas pirhana when she realizes I had the nerve to post a photograph of her without her permission. She had just gifted Brea with a new Vera laptop case!
We filled up on all the usual goodies while we were there.. Mom had made sugar cookies, dips, candies, meatballs, and the drink-it-til-you-get-sick orange-and-vanilla punch that everyone lives for each year. She did everything buffet-style again, and it was all absolutely fantastic! We left feeling full, happy, and loved. And my mom is probably still sitting in her family room, arms crossed and lower lip out, mad that there are no more presents for her to open. Her favorite saying each year, in her sweetest sing-song voice: "Don't forget! If you've still got money, then you didn't spend enough on me!"
Just kidding, Mom. You know I love you with all my heart. And Dad does too, even if he still had money left. Oops, wait. I don't think I was supposed to tell you that.
On with the recipes!
CHOCOLATE PEANUT CLUSTERS
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 oz. milk chocolate chips
24 oz. chocolate almond bark.
Melt in microwave and add:
2 pounds salted, dry-roasted peanuts (no skins)
Drop onto wax paper and let cool and harden. Makes lots!
REINDEER EYES (from my dear friend Chris)
Spread out lots and lots of circle pretzels onto wax paper. Melt a package of white almond bark, and drop melted bark by teaspoonful into the middle of each pretzel, adding a Christmas M&M on top before it cools and hardens. Voila!
Btw, the circle pretzels are a bit challenging to find each year. Sometimes you can find them at Wal-Mart, but this year I got mine at Target...
I won't give you the recipe for the gingerbread men I made bc I can't find it. All I know is that I printed it off of somewhere on the web. I hope to find it again, however, bc they were scrumptious! Unfortunately, I was the only one in the family who had this opinion of them, as evidenced by what I found the following morning:
When I interviewed the girls to find out who did such a heinous deed to the little Christmas man, Sabrina said, "It was Brea. She texted me when I was up in my room and told me to come downstairs and help her kill the gingerbread men with toothpicks."
So much for the season of peace and good will to all men. That's one man who needed to run, run, as fast as he can. Could. Whatever.
Until the New Year!