Friday, December 31, 2010

If I get Christmas Day pictures posted before New Years Day, it still counts, right?

Our Christmas Day traditions always start out with Jeremy reading the Christmas story to the family before the day really gets started.

Justus with my Grandma

Reading the Christmas story
Bella is enjoying her new bed!

 After we read, we open stocking gifts.  I usually kinda sit back and watch... it always confuses everyone why I'm so slow opening mine.  :)

Polly Pockets!   Colored Pencils!

A Rapunzel Doll from Granny.  BLONDIE!

Halo Legos from Nana & Papa!

A Collection of Barbie Disney Princesses from Uncle Ryan & Aunt Jill & BK (baby Kearns)

I adore this kid!

A RipStik from cool Uncle Ryan & Aunt Jill & BK

My Handyman gave me a Keurig.  He knows me and loves me lots!  Not to mention the Christmas jammies I had to have... I literally woke up thinking, these are soooooo cozy!

 After we finished opening gifts, always a long endeavor, Jeremy pulled the kids aside....

"You guys remember the scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie's dad asks him if he got everything he wanted for Christmas?"
"Did y'all get everything you wanted?"
"Well, I think we should go out in the backyard...
 Kids rapidly exit, stage right.

Awwwwwww, yeeeaaaaaahhhh!  Are you kidding me?!?

A trampoliiiiiiiiiinnnnnnneeee!

 Let the jumping begin!

They spent the whole day out there (and have pretty much spent every day since then out there)!  But,
they took a break when Rob doB and Whitney stopped by with Oliver, their new puppy.

Whitney, Lexi, and Oliver

Justus made Rob doB a sign out of his favorite medium, Duct Tape.  Rob's expression is priceless!

A door sign:  "Do Not Disturb.  I'm vicious!"

Money Oragami from Rob doB!  Cool!

About this time, I get a text message from Rob doB with a FedEx tracking link...

He gave no explanation.  This calendar he made from pics of and with our family came right on time!  Very thoughtful!

Lexi got Despicable Me.  The kids and I went to see it in the theatre with them this summer and laughed our heads off.  Hearing Lexi try to pronounce "despicable" is hysterical.  It's never the same twice!

Thank you, my Rob doB!

Rob's pretty excited about his gift... a Blu-Ray player.

 You had to know pause from the trampoline wouldn't last long...

 It was quite chilly out there, so we watched them from inside while we finished up Christmas Dinner.

My dad playing on his newest toy.  He upgraded to an iPhone 4.

But what is he doing?  Not straining his neck to watch the kids playing outside!  That's my dad!

After jumping, Rob came in and bear hugged Jeremy saying, "Thank you for the trampoline!  I love it!"

 Time for Christmas Dinner!  Dad brought a Standing Rib Roast... yum!  Also on the menu:  mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and dinner rolls.  Simple and delish!

This is my gift from Grandma.  She gave me this large platter, along with 16 matching dinner plates... I love them!  They are so "me"!

It was a very merry Christmas, indeed!  We are so blessed!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Insert [non-cheesy] Fondue Title Here

In lieu of calling this "Fondue: Hip to Dip" "Fondue Fever" or as suggested by Jeremy, "Fondues and Fon-dont's", I'm opting for nearly not naming this posting at all.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions that I've created for our family is our Christmas Eve Fondue Dinner.  I love doing this because everyone stays at the table for a while, which is just priceless.  We've been doing this one for five years (I think!?!)  And each year, I tweak the menu and the recipes.  This {Christmas Eve}, though.... even Lexi was saying, "This is wonderful!  Everything is wonderful!  All of you are very good at cooking!"  So, I decided to make sure that I get it written down.


Fondue Pot(s)
I have two.  This year, I used one for cheese and one for meat.

Fondue Skewers
This year, each person had two so they could cook the steak and dunk bread, too.

Be sure to cover it when it's not in use.  It evaporates!

Platter for Steak

Platter for Veggies

Small Bowls for Dipping Sauces

Small Chocolate Fondue Pot(s)

Tea Light Candle(s) for the Chocolate Fondue Pot(s)

We started earlier in the day by chopping the steak and veggies.  We also prepared the fondue broth in the crockpot.  Everything was covered and refrigerated until we left for our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service-which happens early in the evening, so this works out perfectly for us!
My guy can cook and I so appreciate that!
The first year we were married, we had some cheese fondue at my mom's house.  Unfortunately, Jeremy got sick the next day and the mere thought of cheese fondue has since caused his stomach to turn.  Maybe I shouldn't have done it, but I thought that, having refrained from the stuff for ten years.... maybe, just maybe we could try again.  So, I snuck in the recipe for {Parmesan Fondue}.  Luckily, he loved it!

I whipped this Parmesan Fondue up when we got home from church.

Served with some crusty French bread... delish!

 Jeremy tossed some zucchini, mushrooms, baby carrots, and red onions in a glass casserole dish with olive oil and basil, parsley, fresh ground garlic & sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and Mrs. Dash.  He also quartered some new potatoes in another casserole and tossed them with olive oil and roasted garlic & herb seasoning.  We put both pans in the oven on the delay start for 35 minutes at 375 degrees when we left for the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service.  They were just finishing up when we got home.  Perfect timing!  These could be dipped in the Parmesan Fondue or any of the sauces, if desired.
Roasted Potatoes
Roasted Vegetables

This was the basic recipe I used for the {Fondue Broth}.  I did add more wine and broth instead of the water.  It was quite flavorful and delicious.  I meant to put the crockpot on before church, but got distracted and forgot.  No worries, though, we just heated it on the stove before putting it in the fondue pot on the table.  Whew.. saved!

I nearly forgot the dipping sauces this year.  It's been a crazy month, in case I haven't mentioned that!  We threw open the refrigerator and used what was available:  Ranch dressing (a staple around here), Dijon Mustard, a homemade Polynesian sauce, and a homemade-on-the-spot barbeque sauce.

For dessert, we melted semisweet chocolate with heavy whipping cream and a little butter on the stove.  This was poured into the little chocolate fondue pots.  We put the little fondue pots on plates that had strawberries, bananas, angel food cake, marshmallows, and pretzels around them.  (Sorry, no photo of that amazingness!)  You can use other types of chocolate, but I think milk chocolate gets two sweet for my taste.  We didn't really go off of a recipe for our dessert, but if you like recipes (which I do!  Jeremy is the more adventurous one, in terms of tossing things together)... try one of {these}.

As always, it was a peaceful meal.  The perfect way to celebrate that one Silent Night!

Rudolph, The Play - My family's acting debut!

Mini-Elf (Lexi) hostessing the program with Kelly

Reindeer Games (Justus is on the right under the sign)
Mr. Donner (Jeremy) discusses flight school for Rudolph with Santa
Pesky red nose!

Save this Christmas!  That's my Elf (Justus) on the step in the center!

Big dance number to celebrate!

You'll go down in history!

Thanks to all of you who came out!
photos by Rob doB