wan-na find something?

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

rough start to a great christmas

for christmas eve we went over to my cousin's house like we did last year, to celebrate the holiday with my family and participate in the annual secret santa gift exchange.  it's always done potluck-style, and this year i got the bug up my butt to try something new (shocker, i know).  instead of bringing something sweet, i wanted to try making one of those savory charcuterie chalets i'd seen all over instagram and social media last year.  

it seemed like it would be pretty simple, especially if i made a cardboard base that was covered in foil.

i'd bought tubs of boursin cheese to use as glue for the crackers on the house.  

and used mini mozzarella balls to make a snowman:

by the time i was attaching the roof and covering it with slices of salami and prosciutto, the rest of the family had come over to watch and offer lots of...commentary.

once i was done, it all stayed in place - for about ten minutes.  and before our very eyes, it all started to fall apart, starting with one side of the roof caving in. UGH.

and just a few minutes later, it was all over.

luckily, i had enough goodies left to throw together a small charcuterie board.  it was kind of sad looking, but it was better than notting.  and i also had a good selection of cookies from the bean's baking spree to bring, so we weren't coming empty-handed.  not to mention, i'd mixed up a little jug of sugar cookie cocktail, which i packed up with the appropriate garnishes.  when we got to the house, i assembled a couple of cups and got started on drinking my troubles away.

christmas eve selfie time!

as always, there were fun games to play.  all three of my kids got in on the saran wrap ball game, which was comical.

and then there was the one where the player gets blindfolded with a spatula in one hand, and you have 30 seconds to try and scoop up as much cash from the table as you can using the spatula.  even more hilarity ensued.

there was, of course, the white elephant gift exchange as well as the secret santa one.  and before everyone went their separate ways, i managed to snag a four generations photo.

and when we got home, after the bean put out cookies and milk for santa and went to bed, the rest of us pulled out all of the gifts from the gym and placed them under the tree.  i snapped this last photo and then the rest of us went to bed, leaving the living room clear for santa's arrival.

the next morning, i gathered everyone around for our annual family christmas day photo before we dove into that pile of presents.

the dogs all got fun stuff to play with while we pulled out goodies from our stockings and yanked wrapping paper off of our gifts.

we finally got to give the bean a pair of custom nikes we'd originally ordered on etsy for their birthday.  the seller was in florida, and you might remember a little something called hurricane ian that hit right around that time.  when i checked in with her she said that she'd sustained some damage and so of course, i just told her to stay safe and let me know when she thought she'd be able to get the order done (or if she needed to cancel).  anyway, the shoes arrived mid-november and so we just added them to the pile of gifts for christmas morning.

the hub is in a black chucks phase of life right now and his big wish list item was for 12 new pairs so that he can pull out a fresh pair every month or so.  he's hard on his shoes and they're pretty busted and sad after a few weeks, so he was a happy camper when he started unwrapping boxes and found that his wish had been granted.

the bean's number one wish on their list was for "a big plate of salmon sushi for breakfast on christmas morning," and santa delivered:

later that evening, we gathered at the old man's sister's house to celebrate with his family.  the bean was pretty excited to cuddle with their two new cats:

i got to bond with lucy, their sweet german shepherd.

and dinner was super delicious - a full prime rib feast, capped off with a nutella board with all kinds of fun stuff to dip in.

ah, christmas.  always over far too soon.  boo.

Monday, January 30, 2023

soaking up all the christmas

the rest of the christmas season went by in a flash, as it always does.  we tried to enjoy it as much as possible while it lasted.  and while we'd actually put the tree up on november 1st, we didn't get around to actually decorating the thing until a full month later.

this is random...on our way home from vegas after wan-niversary, we made a pitstop to charge the car and stumbled across what used to be the very first del taco.  hahahaha:

i signed up for a booth at a christmas boutique for the bean's old school and decided to add a couple of new items to the inventory.  i'd seen these from other cookiers before - cookie decorating kits that include plain sugar cookies, disposable piping bags with different colors of icing and sprinkles.  i'd never done them before, but thought they might be a good seller:

and then i made some mini cookies and buttercream frosting dip and packaged them in these cute cups:

speaking of cookies and the boutique, i was torn between amused and horrified when i went to the box where i keep stuff like the cash box and business cards and leftover inventory and found the cookie samples i'd made a full year ago to be displayed for presale orders:

on the morning of the boutique, i brought a bunch of the dipper cups to the bean's school for the monthly class meeting and handed them out to all of their classmates.

and then the bean and the old lady both came with me that evening to the boutique.  while the bean went off to shop and find snacks with a bunch of their friends who'd also returned to school for the event, the old lady stayed with me to man the table.  she does an awesome job in a retail setting and somehow is in her element when working with the public.

and just like last year, on the last day of school before winter break the bean busted out the santa costume and wore it as they handed out gifts to all of their teachers.  i love this new tradition.

and while i'm usually up till after midnight on christmas eve wrapping presents, i decided to be smart about it this time and started the task while the bean was still in school.  and so this year, instead of stacking the shipping boxes in the gym as they arrived, they were placed in there wrapped and ready to go.

after sitting on my desk for a full three weeks, i finally got the stack of christmas cards out in the mail.

thanks to my friend dailygluttony during one of our saturday breakfast club meetups, i found one of my favorite comfy sweatshirts for the season:

we went to hollywood to celebrate the old man's birthday.

with a couple of dinners coming up with our friends, the bean and i spent some time in the kitchen making batches of cookies to box up and give as gifts.  they actually did the majority of the work while i acted as the sous chef, pulling out ingredients and measuring them out to make things easy.  we made peanut butter blossoms, lemon ricotta cookies, chocolate crinkles, cosmic brownie cookies and tiny chocolate chip microcookies.

we had a really fun afternoon with lilcee and mini cee, going to our favorite sushi spot and piling up the empty plates before dropping them into the slot at the table.

and then we met up with our longtime BFFs for dinner another night, and had so much fun that we were the very last to leave the restaurant at the end of the night.

the cookies were a big hit, and everyone loved all of the different flavors.  i made sure that everyone knew that the bean was the one who had made them all, which made them even more special.  

the christmas season is always so much fun.  i wish it didn't go by so quickly, although every year it seems to go faster and faster.  i guess that's what happens when you get old.  heh.

squeezing in all the sightseeing

this was our NYC home for a whole week: it was one of only a few hotels that i could find that offered two beds in a room rather than, say, ...