Here's a real doozy of an entry - but I'm getting behind on posting pics, so this should suffice for awhile.
We shifted gears on Brett's family for Christmas a day or two before. Rather than just come for a mid-afternoon dinner, we convinced them to come for the entire day, offering not one but THREE meals... They showed up early, bringing more presents and goodies!
Even with some advance work, when you're providing meals all day long, there's a lot of kitchen work. Breakfast was hashbrown casserole, cinnamon swirl french toast, and clementines.
Santa doubled up on the stockings this year ("ours" and "theirs" - DEFINITELY no complaints!)
Moxie made a rare appearance to scope out the presents.
Part of the deal of getting folks over for the all day event was Brett and I had realized there weren't really any great pics for framing of all of us. (My mom makes us pose EVERY SINGLE TIME we're all together - frustrating, but great for picture frames!) So we got in some good photos, although none out in front of the decorated tree out front...bummer.
Tucker did the "I got a new catnip toy dance" all over the floor...
I missed the beginning of this - I've a feeling Blake got Linda the launchable pig. DEFINITELY a fun toy, as you can see here!
Linda included practical joke gifts, including these squishy rolly "just try and hold it - bet you can't!" toys...
I noticed that this black-capped chickadee and a tufted titmouse were sitting out there watching what was going on inside - odd! They weren't eating, or picking at seeds - they were just watching!
Tucker (now high on catnip) parked himself in the middle of the floor, where much of the wrapping paper was starting to pile up.
One of my gifts was the full series of The Greatest American Hero on DVD - the set included some extra fun stuff like the lost manual, a cape, and an iron-on decal. Here's me using my newfound super cooking powers thanks to the cape!
Yup, Tucker loves wrapping paper!
Ah ha! I found the manual!
Linda, Marty, and a growing pile of paper and boxes...
Wow - what a mess! Brett took a great picture to show just how bad it got...
The family that picks up together...
...gets to eat together! Lunch time!
Brett made a huge pot of chili a couple days before, which we served with rice and cheddar cheese. There was also summer sausage, beef stick, cheese, crackers, cocktail shrimp, fresh pineapple and, yes, more clementines! Ok, get hungry 'cause after this huge lunch, dinner's only a few hours away!
Dinner rolls after rising... Found a nifty trick that works great - put their pan on a plastic cutting board, which I hang out over the running dishwasher, cover the rolls in Pam'd plastic wrap and then hang a kitchen towel over them to catch more warmth from the dishwasher. Got a GREAT rise out of them!
Marty and Tucker were burnt out after lunch!
Almost time for dinner - that's a biiiiig 20lb turkey!
Hot hot hot!
The white bread 101 recipe from the King Arthur Flour cookbook made GREAT dinner rolls!
Since I didn't have the camera when Brett was making the mashed potatoes, I made him pose... ;-)
Looks painful, doesn't it!?
Scalloped brussels sprouts - mmm!
Stuffing. I made twice this much, baked off half, and sent the other half home with Blake (he loves it). Guaranteed it was gone within a couple days!
Mary Lovin's sweet potato casserole. With a cup each of brown sugar (in the topping) and granulated sugar, this amazing stuff should be classified as a dessert!
In addition to what you see above, we also had the 20lb turkey, a Honeybaked ham (spiral cut, bone-in), green bean casserole, cranberry orange relish, cranberry jelly from the can, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and gravy. MMM - I'm full again just thinking about all of that!
Hope you all had as wonderful a Christmas as we did, and hope you have a Happy New Year (and be careful if you're partying tonite!!!)