We really had an amazing Christmas this year. It was such a happy day. I wonder if part of that is because Christmas is so much more fun when experienced through little kids. Brody and Autumn were just in awe of everything going on around them. I have to say I think it was a bit infectious.
I carried on my tradition of cooking on Christmas Eve for my parents and my Aunt Sue who lives just about an hour away. It basically Thanksgiving Part Deux, which is fine by me! Turkey, stuffing, potatoes... etc. I did things a bit differently, trying to replicate my sister in law Chelsey's turkey from Thanksgiving. As to be expected it came out nothing like hers. I don't usually like cooking my turkey in a bag - it's so moist that I kind of cringe eating it, wondering if it's done. My skin also didn't get crispy (if you know me, you know I LIVE for the skin) which has been my experience in the past using a bag, but Chelsey's was some of the most delicious skin I ever tasted. Ah well, figures! Even putting it back in the oven uncovered didn't really save it, but it was still delicious and received positive reviews! Leave it to the chef to be overly critical.
For my birthday, Adam got me a nice set of Bluetooth speakers. I keep them on top of the fridge, and use them with my iPad. It works great with Netflix or the FiOS app, which makes cooking and being in the kitchen so much more fun! While getting everything ready, I watched a little bit of Everybody Loves Raymond. I never truly appreciated this show for it's genius until I became a parent.
This year I brined my turkey for the first time. It's the Pioneer Woman recipe. It consisted of fancy shmancy ingredients, like peppercorns, orange peels, brown sugar and rosemary.
After our yummy dinner, it was time to get the kids ready for bed as they were already up a little late. We set out cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer, wrote him a list of all the goodies we wanted and said goodnight!
After the kids went to bed, Santa's helpers went into action! Santa picked out some really awesome things for the kids this year. A new table and chairs, trucks for Brody, a bigger dollhouse for Autumn, etc. Santa finds the best deals at the thrift store, so the kids got lots of fun goodies.
Brody is obsessed with my Kirby vacuum, and even the Shark we use in the kitchen. The Kirby is both bulky AND expensive. We previously had a toy vacuum, which lasted 15 years in the NC Mattingley household. We get it and it breaks in like 3 months. My kids are so hard on toys! Grandma and Grandpa (Adam's parents) helped us make Brody's Christmas by getting him a new vacuum. It was by far the highlight of his Christmas!
Brody's favorite show is Peppa Pig. This doll (that lights up and talks) arrived in the mail and we had no idea who it was from. Another surprise and treat from Grandma! Brody keeps it in his bed at night and recognized it immediately. Autumn sometimes tries to "borrow it".
This book was what I wanted for Christmas most of all. It's the paper version of a blog/Facebook that I've been following for a few years. It's amazing - if you don't already follow him on Facebook, you should. His pictures/captions have brought me to tears. It's amazing, the stories that lie behind a face and a photograph.
Autumn's big toy was the Octonaut "Octopod" playset. She loves the TV show and Santa was able to find an awesome deal on the playset on Groupon...
When I was in high school, one Christmas my mom really went above and beyond and made sausage egg mcmuffins (yes, you need the "mc" in there even if it's not technically AT McDonalds). I never forgot them, and ever since we've been married, I've made them every year. I don't really make them any other time, so I look forward to them after all the presents have been opened. This year I really spiced things up by making my own sausage patties. Eat your heart out Rachel Ray.
Part of the reason that Christmas was such a success is because the kids played so well all day.They were so excited about their new toys and were so occupied with one another. Brody, when not vacuuming, just sat in this position all day. Autumn loved her new "iPad" games on her Leapfrog and I was amazed at how long they kept her attention.
After we opened presents at our house and got showered and dressed, we headed over to Nana and Grandpa's just around the corner. We met up with my sister and her boys and had another fun round of present opening! I received some truly thoughtful and amazing presents this year. It just "just right".
One of the presents we got was a snow cone maker from my brother and his family. One of the ways we were able to get Autumn to leave Nana's was the promise of snow cones when we got home. Out of the two flavors, I was surprised that we preferred the green apple. Autumn, days later, still asks for more snow cones. It's okay, it's only 40 degrees out Autumn.
It was an amazing year. I can't wait to do it all over again!