Sunday, 23 December 2012

Family, friends and food

These seem to be the themes of Christmas this year.  (And also Lego.)

I have three things to host: a dinner with friends (last night), Christmas Eve brunch and our own Christmas dinner.  Plus there was holiday baking with my sister, and our new tradition of Christmas on New Years with my sisters and their families.

Lots of new recipes this year, which makes me recall just how much I love to cook and bake.  A turkey dinner is almost boring now, which is what my uncle (a fabulous chef) used to always complain about. Every year we asked for turkey and roast potatoes/carrots, dinner rolls and gravy.  As someone who always wanted to open his own restaurant, my uncle couldn't believe no one would go for his offers of something more elegant.  We're creatures of habit, I suppose.

Christmas baking was a success.  Well, five out of six recipes.  Turns out "chill dough for 30 minutes" really does mean half an hour, not three.  So much fun to do with my sister instead of on my own.  Definitely a new Christmas tradition.

Last night we had friends over for homemade pizza, then the kids watched "The Polar Express" while the adults played games.  (Last night was Euchre - guys against gals - and of course the ladies one :)  It was so nice to have adult time without the kids interrupting every second thought!  With our family complete, we are moving into the next phase of life, and it's exciting to have time to connect with friends.

Tomorrow will be the first brunch I've hosted.  I've got two overnight casseroles (one sweet french toast, one savoury ham and cheese), plus fruit and maybe some apple chimichangas.  Brunch is open to both mine and James' family, so we'll see who makes it up.

This is a year of new ideas, new events, trying things out, seeing what might stick as yearly traditions.  I'm a low key holiday person.  I like small gatherings of friends or family, without much pressure, and lots of time for everyone to enjoy the food and the company.  Anything that causes undue stress gets stricken from the list.  I want to enjoy each event as much as everyone else, so I don't want to be rushing around behind the scenes preparing and micro-managing instead of sitting back with everyone.

Also on the list for this year: Christmas Eve at Kaycee Gardens, a local park that is lit up in beautiful lights and displays.  Christmas day at home, playing games, building lego, and watching movies.  My first real turkey dinner at this house (my old oven couldn't cook a turkey for some reason, but I'm hoping my new one will do it beautifully).  Christmas on New Years Day with my sisters and their families.  I'm hoping that in a couple of years this will turn into a three day affair, where we rent a cabin and retreat into the beautiful Ontario winter to celebrate Christmas and New Years, a time for the cousins to play together and the adults to laugh and lounge late into the night instead of rushing off for bedtimes.  We also have a mini vacation planned down to Rochester to the museum of play and staying in the Hilton (yes, James and I are becoming a little bit of hotel snobs!  But we really love the luxury of a nice hotel, so we save that little bit extra to stay in something really nice while we're away.)  Plus as the kids get older they will want to spend some time with their friends, so I'm going to try and fit in a couple of play dates for them as well.

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