Our Christmas Week 2014

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I hope that everyone who celebrates the holiday had a good Christmas.

I surprised myself and put the camera down for most of the week. While I did enjoy the break I am a bit disappointed now for not having capturing some of the moments I missed.

I do have one file of fun shots that I’ll post next week, that were taken the Saturday before Christmas, when I went out with Meghan.

So, in lieu of photos, here is what we did in writing …

On Sunday, Nick and I joined Andrea and her friend Rian, who was visiting from Montreal, for a dinner of Sushi at To-Ne (which I wrote about here).

On Monday, I made these Cranberry and Pistachio Cookies (putting half the dough into the freezer to be enjoyed some other time) and followed this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Almond Clusters. I did actually do a full staging and photo-shoot of this delicious treat, but then accidentally deleted the pictures before downloading to my computer. Doh.

I also finished a really fun game I’d been playing on XBox, called Assassin’s Creed Black Flag (which is the pirate one, for any other gamers reading.)

On Tuesday, I met two (of the four) ladies I had lived with while away at university, Laurie and Cyndy. Cyndy lives in California so we hadn’t seen her in a long time so that was a very nice visit indeed. We went to The Queen Mother Cafe (which I wrote about here). After lunch Cyndy and I did a bit of last minute Christmas shopping on Queen Street West.

On Wednesday (Christmas Eve), Nick and I had homemade pea soup, (using this recipe, for dinner and I had some Rum and Eggnog, while Nick had some Jagermeister. (He’s not an eggnog guy.) We watched the classic 1938 version (albeit colourized) of The Christmas Carol. I’ve missed seeing it in recent years so was glad to have caught the entire thing, with my beloved on Christmas eve.

During the movie we took a break to serve up some Christmas Pudding that Nick made. This year was his first time tackling the dish, which his mother has made as long as he can remember, and which several generations used to make before that. He did a great job! In this picture, you see it on fire – you pour some brandy on it and light it up. Then it is served warm with a dollop of brandy butter, which is butter mixed with icing sugar, and of course, brandy.

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On Christmas day, we spent the morning opening gifts we got for one another. We are relatively frugal shoppers most of the year, but do enjoy exchanging presents at Christmas, that range from the luxurious to the practical.

We also bought ourselves a new ebox console (the Xbox One) to replace our outdated model. In fact, it was delivered only minutes ago, and as I type this Nick is on his way to the game store! We’ll see you in a month, lol.

Nick made (these) burritos for brunch … not a common Christmas day meal, but delicious none the less.

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I reused the laminated tags I made and posted about a couple of years ago here. They’re very handy and I love anything that can be reused. (This year I finally forced myself to toss to recycling, the smaller, worn out pieces of gift wrap that we’ve been using for one another year after year. But honestly, it was hard to do, because with the years of use, come years of memories attached. But it was time!)

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Here are some pictures of some of our decorations. This year we put up our small table top tree, rather than the big tree that we use when we are hosting.

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I like how this garland turned out. These vintage Christmas balls are huge! I bought them on ebay some years ago, and the vendor thought they had been originally used to decorate a department store tree. I’ve actually only ever displayed them one other time, because I wasn’t quite sure how to show them safely. Aside: When Nick saw me take them out, he earnestly advised me not to put them on the small tree. “Oh, really?!” lol. Anyway, I ended up hanging them on the twine chain, that I had used to make this Autumn display with the pressed leaves.

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At about 3 we headed out to my sister and brother in law’s place. They live in the northern end of the city and we took the streetcar, so there was no worries about drinking and driving. Which was a good thing, because there was some imbibing to come … my brother in law is a mixologist-in-training, so we had some nice cocktails to sample, (my favourite being a Sloe Gin and Spicy Ginger Beer combo, which surprised me because I’m not usually a fan of Gin), in addition to red wine.

The family and friends gathering found my whole family (2 brothers, 1 sister, and parents) together for the first time in years. All together we were a party of 12, including my nephew and his girlfriend, who I was meeting for the first time, the in-law husbands and a couple of friends, including our pal Isabel.

While we socialized before dinner, we had some hors d’eouvres that included this dip that I made. The delicious meal was turkey, stuffing, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mashed potatoes and gravy.

After dinner we had a Secret Santa gift exchange (which we decided on this year, rather than buying gifts for everyone. We set a limit of $20, which actually goes a pretty long way and the gifts were quite decent). Everyone got a number and then number 1 picked something under the tree. Then number 2 could either ‘steal’ that gift or go for a wrapped one under the tree, and so on. If the gift you had received was stolen, then you could either ‘steal’ from someone else, or go back to the tree. It was quite hilarious. I brought home a beautiful wooden serving board that was given by my nephews girlfriend. (Those who have been reading along, know that I love things like that!)

Dessert was served after the gift exchange, and was an amazing cake made by my sister’s friend, Christine. It was a perfect Yule Log Cake, complete with meringue mushrooms. I was sad because for some reason I wasn’t around when it was taken out so I missed seeing it before it was cut :(

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There was also a tray of cookies my mother made … she made 4 different ones that she has made since we were kids, and of course, I had to sample one of each. It’s a good thing they were small.

Nick, Isabel and I headed out at about 12:30, leaving the very merry party still going on. I can’t say what happened after that, but I don’t imagine heads hit the pillow until well into the early morning hours.

Isabel snapped a quick shot of us at the door as we were leaving …

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On Boxing Day (Friday), Nick and I just hung out at home (thankfully with no hangovers … I guess we had spaced the drinks out well, and had partaken mostly with food). We lounged, read, and watched the first few episodes of the series ‘Broadchurch’, and now we’re hooked. How we love British serial programs and are so happy that so many of them get shown on Netflix. While on that subject, I’ve also recently finished the second season of Mr. Selfridge, and I absolutely loved it. I do like my period pieces.

In contrast to the ice storm that we had last year during Christmas week, (pictures of which I posted here), the weather has been quite nice here this holiday season. There was no snow at all, but I am fine with that.

Thanks very much for taking a look,
xo loulou

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