There's the new house, of course, and that's been the best part. We've gotten a lot done towards settling in and we're finally starting to feel at home. I like the house and the neighborhood more and more every day.
Friends near and far have made this holiday really special. First, there's my blog friends. I received the beautiful flower arrangement from Terra, then cards from as far away as Germany (danke, Meike!), lovely hand woven kitchen towels from Joanne that match the new kitchen perfectly, and on Christmas Eve a package arrived from Tucson for Ginger and George from Gayle! There were chicken treats for the dogs inside, and a letter from her Winston, and even a small pin of a Scottie dog and a homemade card for me (Gayle is an artist). I'm so grateful to each and every one of you for thinking of me!
My friends closer to home were wonderful, too. Marian from book club stopped by on Sunday afternoon to drop off a gift for us, a "new home" ornament for the tree that we'll cherish forever.
Sunday was a baking and cooking day. Since my parents were coming over to spend a few hours on Christmas Eve, I wanted to impress them and any other visitors we might have.
For savory foods we had brown sugar and pineapple baked ham, cocktail meatballs, hot sausage dip, deviled eggs, a cheese platter, vegetable crudites with sour cream dip, an assortment of good olives (that nobody touched but me), and rolls and crackers and chips.
For sweets I made dark chocolate rum balls (and believe me, those babies are potent), Raspberry, Blackberry, and Apricot Thumbprint cookies, and pretzel turtle candy.
I also made mulled wine in my biggest crockpot.
Was it a lot of food? Yes, it was probably a tiny bit excessive. I worked for two straight days to get it all done (three if you count the day I spent shopping for everything) but I felt like it was worth it considering it was our first Christmas in the new house. My mom and dad really seemed to enjoy themselves, and then when they left we had an unexpected visit from Marla and her husband and baby Carsen! I was so happy--things kept coming up over the last few weeks and so this was their first visit to the new house. I was really glad then that I had gone all out on food and decorations!
I couldn't get enough of holding this sweet little elfling. She was fascinated by the Christmas tree.
Gregg and I had bought her books for Christmas, the sturdy board books meant for babies. I read one of them aloud, a really funny one called "Toots". We all laughed really hard, including the baby.
It was a really fun Christmas Eve, and I was able to send Marla and her husband home with lots of food and goodies. I enjoyed showing them the new house while it was sparkling with all the Christmas lights and decorations, too. After they left Gregg and I took the dogs on nice starry night walk around the neighborhood, then settled in for a cozy night. Yesterday we lounged around in our pajamas until noon, ate leftovers, watched tv, and enjoyed a quiet and simple Christmas Day together.
And when I woke up this morning, one of the amaryllis bulbs my mom gave me had burst into bloom.
Merry Christmas, everyone! Although I haven't had much time in the past few days to visit blogs, I've been thinking about you all and wishing you all a wonderful holiday week and lots of happiness!