Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Well, actually this was the day before the night before Christmas. Molly and I met Julie, Cheyenne and Carley for a pre-Christmas brunch.

Julie was our incredible travel agent the first time we went to China. Talk about customer service. She took care of us every step of the way. Julie’s daughter Cheyenne went to the school where I taught before adopting Molly. Cheyenne’s best friend, Carley, was one of my former students, and holds a very special place in my heart.

Our little group has been meeting for lunch periodically for the last year or so and it is always such an enjoyable time. Julie has such a kind heart and just loves the stuffing out of Molly.

It’s always fun to catch up with the girls, who are now in high school (I was Carley’s third grade teacher—how did they grow up so fast!).

And we always enjoy the food, no matter where we go. Today Molly has the best meal: Gingerbread pancakes with whipped cream. Oh my! Guess I should have rethought that egg white omelet before submitting my order.

Here is a picture of Julie actually loving the stuffing out of Molly!IMG_4187

Me and the girls. Everyone looks so much older. Especially me. And not in a good way. Ugh. The rest of the girls look great!IMG_4191

On the day of the night before Christmas, Molly and I assembled a gingerbread house. I bought this gingerbread house LAST Christmas, but time ran short and it never got put together. It has been on the bottom shelf of my pantry ever since.

Is there an expiration date on gingerbread houses? I mean it looked okay, relatively speaking. Some of the icing had hardened a bit and some of the candy gumdrop slices were a little slimy, but it really looked okay. Kind of.IMG_5265 I kept telling Molly that this stuff was old and should not be consumed. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen. Put a countertop full of frosting and candy in front of a four year old and tell her, “Don’t eat anything.” 

But she didn’t get sick, so everything must have been chocked full of nice healthy preservatives and chemicals to make its shelf life as long as that of a Twinkie. Ain’t science great?

Nothing says “yum” like a year old mini M&M!IMG_5267

Molly took her decorating job very seriously. She wanted her house to look exactly like the picture on the box. I was in charge of the icing. Pastry chef I am not, so the house only sort of resembled the picture on the box.IMG_5268

Here is Molly, thrilled with her M&M adorned roof (and tummy).IMG_5277

Now to add a few carefully placed candy canes…IMG_5278

And voila the house is done! I ran out of interest steam by the time we got to the trees and the gingerbread men. They look pretty weak, I know. Just focus on the house (and the cute kid), okay?IMG_5280

Later in the afternoon, I needed another activity to pump my child full of sugar celebrate the season so we made reindeer cookies for Santa. Molly,of course, sampled the goodies along the way.

We started with the most scrumptious peanut butter oatmeal cookies, and added chocolate frosting….IMG_5282

Mini Nilla wafers and red M&Ms formed a nose…IMG_5284

More M&Ms for the eyes, carefully nibbled pretzels form the antlers and voila: Reindeer Cookies! Now before you get too impressed with my cookie making skills, I completely stole this idea off of someone else's blog. IMG_5292

Molly posing with cookies and a little picture of Santa that she made.IMG_5291

Giddy with the holiday spirit, we embarked on another Christmas Eve tradition. Molly took her bath, put on her brand-spanking-new Christmas PJs and climbed into the van.

We cruised the neighborhoods, viewing everyone else's Christmas lights, because well, we didn’t put any up this year. Very Scrooge-like, I know, but cut us some slack. I had pneumonia and Tony was working out of town, remember?

Brrrr, it’s cold!IMG_5294

Enjoying the lights wrapped up in a blanket. Boy, that Snuggie Molly asked Santa for would sure come in handy right about now!IMG_5295

After we got home, Molly put Santa’s cookies on the hearth…IMG_5298

And posed for a picture, of course.IMG_5303

And our final tradition: Reading The Night Before Christmas, under the Christmas tree.IMG_5308Soon after this picture was taken, Molly was tucked into to bed and had visions of sugar plums dancing in her head (and digesting in her tummy).

Me, on the other hand, settled in for a long night of gift wrapping. At 10:30 pm on Christmas Eve, I wrapped my very first Christmas present. Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas to the procrastinator!

Everything eventually got wrapped and placed under the tree, and I got some sleep before the big day. But that’s for another post, which is coming soon. Unless I procrastinate some more!

Merry Christmas!

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