Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas, Christmas, Christmas

The 23rd began the craziness that was our vacation in Florida. Jonathan did some last-minute shopping while I wrapped all of the gifts. We had lunch at Siam Orchid (sushi all the way!), and then we started making our way to Fort Pierce. But of course we had car problems. Nothing big, just spark plugs. But enough it had me worried for a few hours. And now I know what it's like when a spark plug goes bad, so I won't freak out next time, haha.

That night we did Christmas at my mom's with Jon and Kyla. There were some awesome wrapping jobs (between Kyla's ultra-glitter paper - seen to the right - and Stacie's awesome ribbon work, I don't know which was my favorite!), and Jonathan and I opened up birthday gifts from most of my family as well, so the car ended up being more full than we expected when we reloaded!

After gifts and dinner (Hurricane wings), we went over to Jon and Stacie's for some games. Stacie couldn't play (she had work to do), but we had a good time. We tried one of Kyla's new games, which was kinda different. It got late fast, and we headed out of there around 1am.

Christmas Eve began with the changing of the spark plugs and then lunch with Heather at Shindig, a new Irish Pub in PSL. It was great to see Heather, but the place wasn't impressive. We only saw one employee the entire time, so service was a bit slow. Said employee also seemed to be trying an Irish accent, but it came off as Swedish, so it was really weird. The food was nothing special for the most part... I had a chicken wrap (flavorless) with steak fries (boring and not recommended), Heather had the Shepherd's Pie (not the best she's had, but okay), and Jonathan had the Corned Beef and Cabbage (the cabbage was actually very good). Word to the wise: the menu reads as if there are multiple items qualifying for the "lunch special" but there's only one dish per day that counts.

Then we went grocery shopping because we started a new potential tradition for Christmas Dinner. Jonathan's uncle had the idea for each person to make a dish or two, then there would be voting for the best dish, and that person would get out of dishes, hehe. Jonathan and I ended up doing a combination of four dishes, so we had to brave Walmart on Christmas Eve for ingredients. It was a mess, as it always is. And I had forgotten how difficult it can be to buy some items there... like they only carried the buttery flake and grand size crescent rolls... reduced fat were nowhere to be found, and there was only one can of regular left. In the end there was only one item they were out of, and we had to drive to another place to get it, but that's not bad, considering.

Christmas Eve service shortly followed, and then we popped over to an open-house drop-in for about an hour. Jonathan and I began two of our dishes: Cranberry Coffee Cake and Caramel Apple Cheesecake. Each needed to bake for an hour, so we had some time for last-minute wrapping.

In the morning, the cooking continued. We put together some Cherry-Brie Tarts as an appetizer and a Green Bean Casserole as a side. The kitchen was a hubbub of activity, and it was fortunate that there was plenty of space! Three ovens, a crockpot, a stovetop, and an infrared turkey cooker were all being utilized... and not everything was going at the same time! It all made for a fantastic lunch, and Alta was declared the winner (there was a three-way tie on dishes, but two of the dishes were hers).

It all went by pretty fast, and Jonathan and I made our way over to my aunt and uncle's place to see everyone there. We didn't make the Christmas meal over there like we had planned, but that was okay since we made dessert! The chocolate cheesecake there was very good, and my grandmother especially enjoyed some of our cheesecake that we brought.

Christmas ended with Jonathan's parents and uncle joining us in seeing Avatar in 3D at the local movie theater (movies on Christmas Day are becoming a standard it seems... we saw Marley and Me last year). I was really glad that I had read a good bit about the movie. I knew to expect a junky story and bad writing, but I was still amazed at the great visual effects!

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