It's my favorite time of the year! Between Christmas, our "anniversary", and New Years Eve, we spend a lot of time in December decorating, baking, having delicious meals and spending a lot of quality time with the people who matter.
And as much as I miss Arkansas, living in Virginia has made the quality time part of that so much easier!
Our Christmas this year was wonderful! Lots of family time, and we received and gave gifts that were loved.
The unseasonal weather kind of put a damper on things for me (it should not be nearly 80 degrees the days leading up to Christmas!!!), but we made the most of it & took Hermione to go see Christmas lights one night.
We were home for two days for Christmas. And we ate. We ate so much. So, so much.
I made the same dessert for both of our families dinners: a white chocolate cheesecake with a cranberry topping. It was completely decadent & delicious.
I didn't take a picture of my 2nd Christmas meal (the one with G's family), but I think it's funny how similar my 1st & 3rd meals are. The first was the one my mom & I made on Christmas Eve & the second was at my cousin's home on Christmas Day. As a child, we always had dinner at my grandmother's house, and we always had the same thing: ham, potato salad, macaroni & cheese, deviled eggs, etc. I found it pretty cool that you can see that tradition in both of our dinners. My grandmother is no longer with us, but I loved that both my cousin & I still do holiday meals the way she did.
Technically, not a holiday meal, but the day after Christmas I met my sweet friend Kelli for lunch at Skyland. LIVERMUSH! Definitely something we both miss not living in NC. It was so great to see her and spend a few hours catching up.
As for the gifts I received... let's just say I'm very, very lucky t have such awesome family & friends. My BFF Britt gave me an adorable dog bone keychain, a locally made candle that smelled AMAZING, an adorable box sign from Primitives by Kathy & chocolate. Another friend, Kelly, gave me a Duck Dynasty cup (as a gag gift...), a beautiful blue pashmina & a ThirtyOne insulated bag. I can't wait to take it to the beach =)
Graham got me the Land's End vest I wanted (funny story, so did his parents =)), the scarf from Paisley I've been coveting & an Etsy giftcard to go towards a camera strap or an iPad case.
Other than the vest, his family also gave us giftcards to Best Buy & PetSmart (although, that was actually to the animals from 'Uncle Garrett'... so cute I could die) and they gave me one of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. I already have about ten recipes bookmarked!
My mom's generosity was a little extreme... she gave G & I substantial amounts of money (enough that I was able to finally give in & buy a DSLR!!!), a few sweaters I asked for from Old Navy, an adorable snowflake cake stand and a stocking full of candy =)
I received a lot of amazing stuff, but the gift I was the most excited about was the gift we gave my mom: we're remodeling her bathroom! She moved into her house almost three years ago, but hasn't had the time (or my excellent taste ;) to do much of anything to it. We bought a new light fixture, mirror, counter top, faucet, shower curtain, towels, you name it! We're going to be in town till Saturday and are going to spend a day putting it all together for her. I hope it turns out as beautiful in reality as it is in my head!
I was super excited to send my favorite Arkie, my former boss Frances, a box of cupcakes in jars. I bake cake in jars a lot when Graham is deployed, so I knew these would travel there, and still taste good when they did. She received them quickly & enjoyed them with her family.
The other gift I was excited about were my cute boxes of homemade treats.
Each one contained a cute dishtowel from Homegoods, a jar of homemade strawberry jam, some biscotti & a loaf of cinnamon bread (FYI: If you accidentally leave out two cups of flour, you end up with an equally delicious cinnamon cake...)
I'm still tweaking the recipes, but I'll post them once we're back home next week.
So, I'm leaving you with these adorable pictures of my husband & animals, and my wishes that everyone has a wonderful & safe 2014.
We found that antler while we were out walking. If I could have gotten it to stay on her head, this totally would have been next years Christmas card.