It's been a few days since the last post and needless to say, it's been busy around here. It's gonna be a long post b/c there is a lot to catch up on. :)
Hubs and I spent most of the day recovering from our party the night before. We both had some lovely hangovers, hence the yummy peruvian food for lunch and then takeout pizza for dinner. We watched the Bruins in the Las Vegas bowl at night and that was just sad. Missed a last minute field goal attempt and that was the ballgame. :( Let's hope our season is better next year.
Time to gear up for the holidays again! After a relaxing brunch outside at the Farm, Jim and I headed back to the apartment for him to get some work done and for me to get started on my day of baking. Over the next few hours I made another batch of snickerdoodles, rum cake and salty chocolate-pecan candy.
My mom came over that night and we had garlic chicken from Versailles restaurant for dinner and chatted while we watched some TV.
We decided to do Christmas Eve at our apartment this year and to change it up even more, instead of our usual cold cut meal, I decided to make a ham dinner. Hubs thought I was crazy, but I figure that one day it's going to be us in charge of all the holiday stuff and I might as well start getting some practice doing the big dinner early. I was so busy cooking and prepping that I totally forgot to take pictures, but the dinner went over quite well. The menu consisted of the following:
Baked Ham with Bourbon Glaze
Lemon-and-Herb Roasted New Potatoes
Glazed Butternut Squash
Green Bean Casserole
Rum Cake and Salty Chocolate-Pecan candy for dessert
The only thing that really missed the mark was the squash. It was overcooked (ew to mushy vegetables) and I think the sage really didn't add anything to the dish. I'd like to try it again, but Jim informed me that he isn't even a big butternut squash fan in the first place, so I may just leave it alone. We'll see. My brother got sent home with leftover ham, much to his delight and we still have enough leftovers to eat on for several days.
After dinner, we opened presents with my family. Santa was very good to everyone this year, bringing a slew of gift cards to all of us. My family hung out with us for a little while after dessert and we watched the end of the Chargers game. After everyone left, we straightened up the kitchen a bit and then Jim and I opened our presents to one another. We were again overly generous with each other and we both had a very merry christmas eve. One of my favorite gifts was a new necklace from that great little store with the blue boxes and Jim loves his new flying monkey toy! [Obviously he got more exciting gifts than that, but the monkey has been a huge hit]
We woke up early, got ready and then headed to Jim's family home to spend Christmas morning with them. We shared a huge breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, hashbrown casserole and muffins washed down with lots of coffee and juice. So good! Then, it was time to move to the livingroom for more gift-opening. Again, Santa was good to everyone and by the time we were done, the room was a mess of fun presents, torn wrapping paper and empty boxes. The big gifts were a 2 week trip the east coast from my FIL to my MIL, a really nice watch from my MIL to my FIL, a Wii for my BIL, headphones and new luggage for my other BIL, a cricut for me and a bluetooth device for his car for Jim. See, I told you Santa was good to us!
Around 2pm, it was time to pack up and head to his aunt's house who was hosting the big Christmas dinner for everyone. My family was meeting us there, bringing the total guest count to somewhere around 35ish people. so. much. fun. There was lots of eating and drinking before the main meal was ever served, putting the entire group in a merry mood right from the get-go. 2 families even shared a limo up from OC just so no one would have to drive --- such a great idea and it looked like they were already filled with holiday cheer before they ever stepped foot in the door!
Dinner was delicious as always and I ate too much, as always. After dinner it was time for dessert and to start the grab bag gift exchanges. The women's exchange is much more tame and laid back with very little stealing and mayhem. The men's exchange, on the other hand, is complete chaos, with different families trying to work together to get the more popular items (i.e. booze) and steal it from each other so that it becomes "dead" and thus stays within the family. This led to my dad, who doesn't drink at all, actually stealing the Patron from my husband so that it would secure it's position with our family unit. Hilarious, I tell you!
Because the gift exchange is really for the adults, several of us also bring small gifts for the little kids that are at Christmas (this year there were only 3). The youngest boy (at 2 1/2 years old) passed out before dessert was ever served but his little sisters (8 and 5 years old) were still up and ready for presents. I bought books for all of them and while the 8 year old was speechless in a good way over her present (she let me know she is collecting the whole set and that she didn't have these particular titles yet), the 5 year old looked like I had just given her coal. Her mom apologized profusely, but really, it was hilarious. I guess to her, I was a real scrooge this year. ha!
After much pleading on my part, I was able to convince Jim to take the day off and we headed to Disneyland. Granted, since it was still a work day, a lot of the time he looked like this:
Um, the park was freaking crowded!! Nevertheless, we still had a great time running around both parks and managed to still get on almost all of the big ticket rides without too much of a wait (thank you fastpass). We also realized that yesterday was the official day for the Rose Bowl teams -- USC and Illinois -- to visit the park. We saw several groups of very large guys wandering around in the park in their team warm-ups stopping to take pictures with people and sign autographs. We were really impressed at how patient the guys seemed to be with everyone. We also got a kick out of the little kids looking up at these guys with a real look of awe and amazement on their face. While waiting in line for the Tower of Terror ride, one group of Illinois players were seated on the ride and then a small group of little boys were seated with them. They looked like they had just won the lottery. Too funny!
At one shop in California Adventure I found this little gem. Of course, it reminded me of my favorite tater!
In the evening it got COLD! Poor Jim had only worn a sweatshirt and hadn't brought a jacket and he was freezing most of the night. We didn't stay too late though, but I still felt bad for him at how cold he was. Poor guy! :(
All in all, it was a great day and we had a lot of fun! It was a great way to wrap up the Christmas break!