Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Festivities

Merry Christmas!
I hope everyone has a very wonderful Christmas with family & friends! 

This past weekend has been a blur!  We have been to multiple gatherings with friends, played with ‘Christmas’ sparklers & shot of fireworks, baked savory sweets, and of course did some present giving and opening. 
Friday – The start of the holiday weekend. 
After working for what seemed like an eternity, we drove the six hours to my dad’s house on the lake near Knoxville, TN.  Sasha & Walden like to try to get in the front...Walden suceeded and sat on my lap for the last 2 hours of the ride.  He's so spoiled!
I am always hungry after a long ride and snacked on fresh pecans that came from my dad's friends house down the road!
We immediately settled in with some delicious wine, good conversation, and a game of Nines with my brother, who is in from Germany, along with my dad & his girlfriend.
I lost....Neal won...go figure!
Saturday – the Eve of Christmas Eve’s Eve
Kim, dad’s girlfriend, started the day off right by making some homemade monkey bread.  This stuff was delicious!

The remainder of the morning was dedicated to baking tasty treats to gift to friends.
I put together super cute containers of “Sybil Sugar Cookies”, Energy Bites, & Peppermint Brownie Cheesecake.  I gave these to some of my friends and saved to rest for our party we hosted at Dad’s house on Sunday. 

One day, I may share Sybil's Sugar Cookies recipie, it's very special to me as it was passed down just last year to me from my pesudo grandmother, Sybil. These were the cookies I grew up on in South Dakota while she babysat my brother and me.
Here's the link to the recipie for the Peppermint Brownie Cheescake Bars.
On Saturday night, we headed out to the Smoky Mountain Brewery to meet up with friends from high school. 
I love these girls!

The brewery had two seasonal beers, both of which were amazing!  I enjoyed Winter Warmer and Neal had a seasonal porter of sorts. 
I also enjoyed the MOST AMAZING warm chocolate drink!  When Neal brought it over to me, the drink was admired (and taste tested) by most of my friends. 

This is a Snickers in a Cup: Hot chocolate, frangelico, butterscotch schnapps, dark créme de cacao with whipped cream, chocolate and caramel swirls and a cookie bit!

Sunday – Christmas Eve Eve

On Sunday morning, I finished making some side dishes for our party later in the evening.  I made some tasty Sweet Potato Casserole & a savory Green Bean Casserole. 
These are not your typical casseroles.  The green beans are cold, not oven baked.  They are also fresh and crisp served with Dijon mustard, caramelized onions & garlic, not wimpy and flimsy baked with cream of something. 
The sweet potatoes are not mashed, rather grated, and baked with butter, sugar, and whiskey!
I was too busy to remember to take pictures of my dishes, but I took some of Kim's beautiful deviled eggs!  They looked awesome & tasted even better!

We had about 20 people at the house and enjoyed a festive meal of seasoned pork, my casseroles, grilled jalapeno poppers, bacon wrapped pork, and lots of appetizers.  Of course I was too busy to take pictures of all the tasty food!  But trust me it was great!

Kellie got a cute photo of Marlee, myself & her!
 The party continued with a sparkler and fireworks celebration.
It was epic!
Late on Sunday, we debated on opening opened presents after most of our guests left.  Dad posted a sign on the closet door so none of us would enter before Christmas. 

We decided to proceed with the gift giving since dad’s girlfriend Kim was headed up north to be with her family for a few days to celebrate Christmas.

Walden, aka brown dog, was wearing a doggy back pack our friends gave us.  We put some smaller presents in it and had him deliver them to our family!
Neal & I got dad & Kim a really great Wine Barrel from Cold Creek Brewing on Etsy.  It holds you boxed wine bags and is so beautiful!
We also got dad a sign so he could name his boat.  It's called "Floating Rib".  The boat went through Hurricane Andrew (yes, years ago) and he repaired it.  In doing the repairs, he bent over at one point and popped one of his floating ribs back into place!
 Neal received a police issued flashlight from my brother and posed up all gangsta.
My favorite present...Jingle the Husky Pup!  Yes, my favorite present was another puppy! Both of our dogs, Sasha & Walden, have been Christmas presents. This year, Neal got me a more hassle-free puppy; Jingle the Husky Pup! Yes, I am a child at heart and have been asking for this since last Christmas…come on, a stuffed animal husky that sings to you! Does it get any better? 
And of course, Walden got sleepy and Sasha played with her Christmas present.
Thank you Cameron & Matt for taking all of our Christmas pictures...ya'll are great friends!
Monday – Christmas Eve
After staying up far too late playing card games & opening presents, I was afraid I wouldn’t make it to my annual Christmas Eve Breakfast with the girls!  Thankfully, I was a little more chipper than I thought I would be and was actually the first to arrive! 
We enjoyed yummy biscuits, jelly, coffee and friendship as we dined at Cracker Barrel.

I was super sleepy after breakfast, but made it to the store to pick up one last gift for my dad's birthday, which is right after Christmas.
When I got home, I was feeling crafty, so I worked on an order I had received last night from the Etsy shop.

We posed for a family picture while we were all dressed up and ready for church!
The rest of the night, we spent enjoying each other’s company and playing card games!  I lost again...go figure!

Tuesday - Christmas Day!
As I am finishing this post, it's about 8 am and I am the only one up at the house.  Since we went to church and opened presents already, no one is in any hurry to awake!

I am enjoying my solidarity as I peel back some cuties and sip on my favorite morning drink, coffee with frothed milk and cinnamon sprinkle.

Once these boys wake up, we are watching "Elf" and making pancakes!  We normally make pancakes from scratch, but I couldn't pass up buying Cracker Barrel makings while I was out with the girls yesterday.

I hope you have a special and wonderful holiday!

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