December Recap

by KT on January 6, 2012

Let’s do a quick December recap just so it is here…

  • December6 – Grandpa turns 81
  • December 6 – Cousin turns 21
  • December 8 – Mom celebrates another birthday
  • December 8 – Uncle celebrates another birthday
  • December 8 – Aunt celebrates another birthday
  • December 14 – Mother in Law celebrates another birthday
  • December 16 – Step sister in Law turns 30
  • December 22 – Cousin celebrates another birthday
  • December 22 – Cousin celebrates another birthday
  • December 24 – Uncle turns 50
  • December 28 – Mother in Law and Step Father in Law celebrate anniversary
  • December 28 – Grandparents celebrate 61st anniversay
  • December 29 – Brother in Law celebrates another birthday
  • December 30 – Dad celebrates another birthday

Oh, you thought I was talking about Christmas and New Years?  Well, here you go…

We hosted REF’s Dad, step mom, sister, brother in law, niece and step sister for dinner on Friday (December 23).  We both had to work the whole day & I was very organized to have the whole table set and ready to go by Wednesday.  While at work I got a frantic phone call from REF stating that we were getting two more guests, unexpectedly.  I rushed home, tore up my beautifully set table, moved the table to the living room, added a leaf to the table, moved the live Christmas tree, presents and two chairs & reset the table.  REF ran by my mom’s house to get two more plates as I had borrowed her Christmas china.  In the midst of this I didn’t get a chance to change from work, brush my hair or take a picture of the beautiful table I had worked so hard putting together.  So it goes.

This guy’s mom came over to help me do all of this before REF got home.  While I was in a panic this guy did some light reading.  I’m going to make a fan out of him yet.

The next morning we got up and headed to Concord for Christmas Eve morning with REF’s mom and stepdad.

I didn’t take many pictures and Christmas is still about this cute one.  She got some great stuff from her grandparents.

On Christmas Eve night REF, my parents and I met over at my high school where they have an alumni mass in the chapel.  It was a really great mass and we saw a TON of my old friends and their families.  We decided if we’re in town for Christmas eve in the future we’re definitely going to make that a tradition as it was nice to be with a small group.  After mass we headed to my parents’ house for dinner.  If you follow me on twitter you know I had a minor breakdown in between mass and dinner, but all was fine.

On Christmas morning REF and I organized our stuff, baked a breakfast casserole and relaxed.  When the casserole was ready we packed up and headed to my parents’ house for the day.

We didn’t do a very good job of patiently waiting for my sister, brother in law and nephews.  (Oh yea, I have a 21 year old step nephew.  A few of you asked about that a couple posts back)

This is basically how the waiting went.

My mom and I finished up the last minute items to prep for dinner & I snapped some pictures of her beautiful table.

My dad’s grandfather made this nativity.  That’s my great grandfather if you’re not too good at figuring out that kind of stuff.

Isn’t it cool? 

The below chair was my mom’s father’s chair as a child. That’s my grandpa. ;) Charlie was supposed to sit in it with us during dinner, but he fell asleep.

Here he is…

And just like that Christmas was over.

What?!  You’re over this post, because it was so long?  I haven’t even gotten to New Years!

Well, I didn’t take many pictures…

On the 30th REF’s niece and I hung out during the day doing girl things, like nail painting, playing the game of LIFE (on the ipad) and cooking.  Then that evening REF and I took her and my 3 teenage boy cousins (visiting from Birmingham) ice skating.  It was awesome, but a late night for everyone.

On NYE REF and I went with my uncle (the one who had a birthday on Christmas Eve) and his 3 boys to see Wide Spread Panic.  My uncle went to high school with the lead singer & has been to over 300 shows. We got really good seats because of this, but I can’t say it made me want to see another show.  5 hours of playing and getting home at 3:30am was enough for me for one lifetime.

Cheers to 2012!  REF and I have high hopes for this year!  



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Let the Celebrations Begin!

by KT on December 22, 2011

Today I’ll be counting down the minutes to 5:00pm a little bit more then normal, because my college roommates will reunited tonight for our annual Holiday Extravaganza!  My friend, MTV & her husband JM who live in Denver, CO. have been in North Carolina all week visiting with MTV’s family.  I don’t get to see them that often so I’m glad to have them here.  Heck, I’m glad to just have them on EST.  It’s been great to text & video message without the fears of waking someone up!

L to R: MTV, ME, KM & SW

It is also JM’s birthday, so my fellow Charlottean, KM & I thought it would be fun to head to Pacos Tacos for dinner.

SW, MTV & JM will be spending the night so REF & I whipped up a breakfast casserole to serve on Friday morning.  REF also offered to run out to Sbux to make sure everyone had coffee in the morning.  

On Friday my office closes at 11:30 & we have a big pot lunch together.  Then we do a dirty santa exchange.  Typically I leave the office around 2:00.  I’m crossing my fingers that is the case this year too, because I have REF’s dad, step mother, sister, bother in law and niece coming over for dinner around 5:30 or 6:00.  I’m really excited that his dad and step mom were so flexible to come to Charlotte to celebrate Christmas with us.  We put in a lot of miles driving back & forth from Concord & this really might be the best Christmas present I’ll receive from them! 

REF’s sister, brother in law & niece are spending the night with use & then we are all heading up to Concord on Saturday morning to celebrate with REF’s mom, step dad and grandmother.  We’re going to do a Christmas Eve brunch so that REF and I can make it back to Charlotte in time for Christmas Eve mass with my parents.

REF, Winston and I will be enjoying some alone time on Christmas Eve night & early Christmas morning. We plan to open 1 present on Christmas Eve together.  On Christmas morning we’re going to head to my parents for breakfast around 10 or so.  We still haven’t decided if we’ll open our presents by ourselves or bring them to my parents.  It’s kind of 6 one way 1/2 dozen the other for me.  

After lunch my sister, brother in law & two nephews will arrive at my parent’s house.  I’m so excited to see all of them & squeeze that little baby! 

I have a handful of presents left to wrap and a few last minute stocking stuffers to pick up.  Are you ready for the weekend?  


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Decorations around the House

by KT on December 21, 2011

I missed most of the link ups last week for decorating.  I showed you our tree and our exterior illuminations, but I thought I’d show you what the inside looks like.

This is my baker’s rack.  I just sort of fill it in with ornaments,  santas and angels.  I love the tartan tablecloth on my kitchen table & I leave that wreath on my laundry room door up well into January! 

Here’s a better picture of my table.  I fill the Juliska bowl that sits on that table year round with ornaments too.  Those snowmen are candle sticks.  I rarely have candles in any of my candlesticks, because I’m so OCD about them being straight that they end up driving me crazy.  My amaryllis is much bigger now and I THINK will bloom today or tomorrow!  Also, I have a candle (on a timer) in every window in the house.

This year I decided to put our cards on our cabinets.  I actually really like it!  It makes me so happy to see all our friends and family daily!  Our cabinets are almost totally full now, so I might have to put overflow on the fridge.  

The little train set that says “Noel” was REF’s when he was a kid.  We don’t have much from when he was a kid so I’m glad to have this!

My favorite aunt made this nativity scene when she was a teenager.   The cleaning ladies were at the house shortly after I had put this up and they moved baby Jesus next to the donkey.  The moment that I walked in the door from work I noticed it.  It just looked “off”.

REF’s mom and grandma gave me the angels that are on top of the china cabinet the first year we were dating.  I also have white lights up there too that look great at night.  I don’t do much to the cabinet, but I added some red glass wine glasses this year & I think they add a festive touch.

PS – Please do not judge me on the super ugly window coverings throughout the house (in particular this one that looks like a circus tent). they were here when we moved in & I haven’t settled on anything else.

This santa is right when you come into the front hall of our house.  My mom found him at a yard sale & thought we’d like having him.  He has seen better days, but I think it fun to have him greet our guest.

Last is our fireplace & mantle.  REF’s mom needle pointed my stocking and REF’s stocking, but since she’s not a dog lover she refused to make Winston one.  So, this year my mom surprised Winston with his very own stocking.  We didn’t realize his boot was facing the wrong direction! Oh well!  Speaking of REF’s mom she also needle pointed the nativity scene that is on the mantle.  She’s VERY talented & we get a new piece each year.  I think they are my favorite gifts from her.  The santa on the right was a hand me down from MIL and the Santa on the left was a hand me down from my mom.

Our tree has filled up as of last night, because I stayed up until 12:30 wrapping presents.  I have ALMOST everything wrapped.  I still need to get my dad’s Christmas and birthday gifts, but after that I’m FINISHED! 


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Thumbprint Cookies

by KT on December 20, 2011

There are a few things that make me think “Christmas”.  One of those is making Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies.   My mom started making these several years ago, but they aren’t something I remember having around as a kid.  They are a favorite of REF’s and they are definitely a labor of love.

The recipe is from Land O’ Lakes. You know they have to be good if the recipe is from a butter company.

There aren’t many ingredients, but there quite a few steps so you’ll need to allow yourself some time.  

First cream the butter and sugar together.

Then slowly add the flour.

Mix until your dough looks like this…

Then you need to refrigerate this for at least an hour.  If you’re really organized you can make the dough ahead of time, then keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to actually prep and bake.  If you’re like me…you just need to wait around for the hour.

Next you’ll need to roll the dough into small balls  (Getyourmindoutofthegutter).  I didn’t take pictures of the ball phase.  My hands were really buttery and my assistant is the furry four legged kind.

After you roll them all out, place them on a cookie sheet & press your thumb into them to create a “well” for the raspberry.  If you have large thumbs (ahem) you can also use the back of a teaspoon.

Then fill up each well with a 1/2 a teaspoon of preserves. 

Now, a sweet older lady at my office brought me homemade preserves to use.  For some reason they didn’t really work for this project.  I think you really need to use something from the store.

Next you bake the cookies for at 350 for about 15-18 minutes.  You just want the edges to be golden brown.  After the cookies cool you put the glaze on!  This is REF’s favorite part.

You’ll want the glaze consistency to look something like this: 

If you mess up and add too much water, just add more powdered sugar.  Easy Peasy.

Then you just sprinkle the glaze on the cookies…

Don’t they look AWESOME?!

I package them up in small bags or boxes (about 6 cookies) to give to friends.  Last year I used some of our duogram stickers on the bags, but this year I’m skipping that step.

I also have to bring a BIG batch to my office Christmas party on Friday.  I made the mistake of one year bringing a small tin of them.  I thought the ladies in the office were going to skin me for bringing such a small batch. Lesson Learned … homemade preserves received. 

What tasty treats are you baking this season?















by KT on December 19, 2011

With less then a week to Christmas I’m JUST starting to feel like it is finally the holidays.  Friday night I had some plans with girlfriends that got rescheduled to next Thursday so I actually had a “free” evening.  We ordered take out, REF played on the computer and I watched Christmas movies on Netflix.  It was actually just what I needed.

Saturday I spend the day finishing up my shopping.  Then I got home and realized I forgot to pick up my MIL’s Christmas gift.  She has a birthday in December & I always forget to get TWO gifts for her.  She’s actually hard to shop for so maybe I just put it off! Oh well, I’ll be heading back to the mall this week to get her gift.  Maybe it will just be a bunch of men there so I can zip in and out.  Wishful thinking? Probably.

Saturday night REF and I headed to our friend’s house for dinner.  We were actually quite shocked to be invited to this couple’s house.  They aren’t the best at reciprocating hospitality.  They are our dear friends, but I just don’t think that type of thing crosses their mind.  We had nice dinner and I got home before it was too late…which is my kind of dinner party.

Sunday we had a busy, but fun day.  We headed to Concord for lunch with REF’s mom, Grandma, Aunt & Cousin.  After lunch we all went to see REF’s niece in The Nutcracker!  She is a member of a Kannapolis dance troupe & every year they do The Nutcracker with the Salisbury Symphony.  It is quite beautiful, but a bit of drive for REF and me.

Abby was a mouse and a gum drop this year.  It was great to be able to see her more then once.  In years past she’s had smaller roles so we didn’t get to see her too much.  I hope that she continues with dance through out the years, because I do like seeing this performance year after year.

I do not know who the creeper is in the background.  :)

After the performance we raced home, I changed my clothes and hopped back in the car to head over to Rachel’s house for a (I hope) annual blogger ornament exchange!  I had such a nice time and finally got to meet some folks who I’ve “talked” to for over 6 months!  It really got me in the Christmas spirit.  i got the cutest ornament and had a chance to really catch up with people.  

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera at home for both the nutcracker and the ornament exchange.  Hopefully, folks will email out the pictures they took so that I can post them!  



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Christmas Decorations

by KT on December 13, 2011

When I first married REF our Christmas decorations were in my standard cute and sufficient, but REF grew up in a household where his family went “all out” for the holiday.  He still talks about how our first Christmas decorations were a bit sparse.  Looking back, they really were pretty pitiful.  Our tree was quite the “Charlie Brown” tree.

Since that first Christmas I’ve been snatching up decorations when I saw them on sale.  I’ve also started decorating earlier in the year so that I wouldn’t be too overwhelmed the responsibilities of decorating.  

I’m actually quite proud of our exterior illuminations which I did all by myself a little bit wine drunk at 10pm on Thanksgiving.  Don’t judge…I wanted to be able to relax on Friday.

If you remember from this post I talked about our village.   My in laws have had the tradition of setting up these villages for years.  While they are new to me  I think they do help you get in the Christmas spirit.  This was the first year that I set up the lights inside of the houses.  While I didn’t do THE BEST job, I can admit that I’m “into it” now. 


Please ignore both my bad photography & the crooked tablecloth.  I’ve fixed the tablecloth, but I can’t figure out how to take pictures in the dark.  Anyone have tips for this?

Now, with my new love of these Christmas villages I can promise that my love will never grow so large that my collection is as large as my father in law’s village.

Yes, that is a two tiered working train that goes through the village.  It stresses me out just looking at it.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a picture of our Christmas tree.  I hate being wrong and even more I hate admitting when I’m wrong, but I have to admit that I should have listened to REF when he told me to wait to string the lights on the tree.  I didn’t wait & I did it wrong.  I don’t really want to get into it too much, but REF was kind enough to just laugh at me & to un-string and then re-string all the lights while I was shopping with Rachel & Erin.  I’ve got a good man on my hand folks.

Our tree isn’t the fanciest tree, but I like the hodge podge look of our tree.  The tree skirt was made by my dad’s mother and I think I will always use it, because it makes me think of her every year when I pull it out of the attic.  

Merry Christmas, y’all!