Even though I started decorating earlier than usual, I shopped later than usual. Sadly, I didn't get my family's gifts out in time for them to open them for Christmas. But since we're going to New Orleans in 3 weeks, we'll get to open gifts together, since 2 of the 3 families who live in New Orleans didn't get their gifts out either (ADD runs in the family).
We hosted Christmas dinner for Mr. C's family. A good time was had by all, with way too much eating and enjoyment of adult beverages. Now that Mr. C's nephews are morphing into adults, they are much more fun to hang with. His nephew, a DJ for a popular rock station here in town, is especially becoming an interesting guy, and decided to surprise us with his contribution to our feast....
Nasty on the half-shellYes, those are what you think they are. One of my least favorite "food" items ever - snot on a stick - escargots. I about died. He and his girlfriend learned how to make them just for this occasion and they had gone all out, even bringing their own itty-bitty snail forks. So what's a polite hostess to do? I am proud to say I stepped up to the challenge, and for the second (and please God, please the last?) time in my life, choked down 2 of the little snotballs WITH A SMILE ON MY FACE! And promptly washed them down with a huge glass of Pinot Grigio because a sip or two just wasn't enough to eradicate the memory.
I have to say that those slimy pieces of gristle were a huge party pleaser, as everyone, like it or not, was put to the challenge to eat at least one. Even Mr. C's other nephew, the one who literally ate only 5 foods during his entire childhood and adolescence, ate some. Good thing we all had such a great time with this, since the DJ announced this would now be an annual family tradition. You know, I have a real-life allergy to shellfish...snails live in shells...darn it, I think I'm highly allergic! I can't risk eating even one more, because I could go into anaphalactic shock! so I guess I'll have to forego the appetizers next year.
Weather-wise, we still had some residue from the ice storms, giving us a green/brown/white Christmas. One of my nieces arrived for a visit Christmas night and was delighted to see white stuff on the ground. In her honor, we had snow showers the day after Christmas and then more overnight, so she had a really nice 3" of snow to romp in. We did a lot of shopping, eating, and hanging out. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures because we were so busy. She also had the unique experience of going snow-skiing across the state line in Missouri, with a friend of hers. You read that right - I said snow-skiing in Missouri! Don't believe me? Check this out. I would have gone, except for the fact that I had a ruptured disk 3 years ago and don't care to repeat the experience.
The rest of the dinner involved real food, I am happy to say, with very few leftovers. everyone stayed and hung out by the fire for a long time afterwards, laughing, telling favorite childhood stories, listening to good music. It was great.
Finally, I received some really fun and creative gifts this year. I got some GC's, including one for some stash enhancement and some of the usual suspects (gloves, candles, DVD's). The best gifts I received, however, were handmade by some talented family members:
My brother made this beautiful fleur-de-lis cross and his 2007 limited edition ornament (the New Orleans lighthouse).
This was the year for the fleur-de-lis, as I also received some wine charms, a plaque made by his wife, and this adorable little tote - the perfect size for small knitting projects! (Not handmade, but I love it and wanted to show it off!).
And then my other sister-in-law, who is a talented potter, sent me not just one, but 2!!!! of her fantastic creations - a planter and a unique 3-tiered vase. She can be found selling her FrogPond creations at various art fairs in the Charlotte, NC area. I knitted her some pretty facecloths this year and hope she enjoys using them.
My niece went back to sunshine and warmth, while we're here in our winter wonderland, cleaning up, getting re-organized and starting to get ready to go to New Orleans! We're spending a quiet evening at home tonight, as the wind chill is plunging and there may be some ice glazing the roads. So we're cocooning, with lots of cooking, wine, movies, the fur-kids and my knitting. Can't think of a better way to greet the new year!