- Christmas Eve baking was a ton of fun. This has actually become one of my favorite traditions of the holiday season. Mom and I hit the kitchen early Tuesday morning and started making desserts. This year's menu featured a Red Velvet Poke Cake (more on that later), chocolate eclairs, pretzel cookies, pecan pie, and pumpkin cookies. We finally closed the kitchen around 6 that evening; we were both tired, but we had thoroughly enjoyed our time together.
- Christmas Day was a great time with family. All 10 of us were together for lunch….and we were all ready to simply linger around the dining room table to talk and laugh. If the food had been horrible (which it never is), we still would have had a great celebration.
- While running some final errands on Monday, the check engine light came on my car. This always freaks me out. My car is nearly paid off (PTL!) and has over 220,000 miles. I would really love to be able to drive this car at least through the end of the school year. When I saw the light, I began to think the end was near. I got it to the shop on Thursday for an oil change and to find out what else was going on. Final outcome…..the light just needed to be reset! Total cost of this trip to the mechanic? $39! It's a Christmas miracle!
- I ventured out to the movies on Friday afternoon again. Rather than continuing my Golden Globes project, I departed from the list to check out The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I loved it! It had been a while since I read the second book of the series and had forgotten how much I enjoyed the adventures of Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. I'm already looking forward to the next movie arriving in theaters, but first I need to get a copy of the final book in the trilogy and get it read.
- Any time our holiday menu calls for a ham or turkey, I make a trek to Holiday Ham and Turkey to place an order. We love the flavor and it's so much easier to have a pre-cooked meat amid all the busyness. This year was rather frustrating. I ordered the ham several weeks ago and gave special instructions that I need an unglazed ham. (Mom is violently allergic to honey; even though there is very little natural honey in the glaze, we don't take any chances.) When I arrived to pick up the ham with my confirmation number, I was informed that they would have to slice a ham for me. In other words, they didn't have the product ready. People were walking into the store without calling in advance and left the counter long before me. I was frustrated and questioned the staff about the benefits of calling in if they aren't going to have the ham ready and set aside for me. I was glad that I maintained a level head (and I didn't create a scene), but I let them know that I was definitely not a happy customer.
- On Monday night, I went to meet a friend who was visiting family in Memphis over the holidays. We decided to meet at Tug's in Harbor Town since it was conveniently located to both of us. While the food was adequate and the conversation was nice, the food poisoning that I suffered for the rest of the night was not pleasant. Needless to say, I don't think I'll be visiting Tug's again.
- Christmas shopping is something I normally enjoy. What I don't enjoy is having to purchase gifts that someone else (e.g. Mom and Dad) are going to give to me. What's the point? On Christmas morning, I was going through the motions of ripping paper off of packages and taking out the contents, but I didn't have to look at a single item. Why? Because I had already shopped the racks and made the selections. Come on! Just make your own selection. If I don't like it, I'll do what every other person in the world does….I'll make a return after the holidays. All I'm asking is that you put a little thought into what you think I might like.
- The failure of the Christmas baking season was without a doubt the Red Velvet Poke Cake. I found this on Pinterest and thought it would be a lot easier than the standard red velvet. I couldn't have been more wrong. The pudding was too thick to pour and never went into the poked holes. The reason we decided against making a red velvet cake was the limited space in the refrigerator; this disaster also required refrigeration (a fact we didn't think about when we read the recipe ---DOH!) and simply was not good.