The story really starts on Saturday. I spent part of the day transporting cats for The Animal Rescue Alliance (T.A.R.A.) and then settled in at home to make dinner.
We decided it was time to give our cats their gifts: a new scratching pad that looks like a DJ turntable and three toy mice that I'd been holding back from the last package I bought.
I woke up early on Christmas Day with thoughts of the foods I needed to prepare in the morning swirling in my head. Since gifts are no longer the focus of our Christmases, food has stepped up in importance, and I was in charge of quite a few dishes this year.
By the time I was ready to leave for my sister's house, I had made pomegranate salsa and the dough for dinner rolls and gathered up the ingredients for baked brie with pecans and brown sugar and a pot roast. Oh, and the spicy saltines and Harvey Wallbanger cake I'd made the day before.
I packed everything into my little car along with six folding chairs, the wrapped gifts for my niece and nephew, and Toby's bed and blanket. Last but not least, I put Toby himself in a carrying crate and we set off on the 30 minute drive.
As usual, Toby whined the entire time we were in the car, but I just cranked up the heavy metal Christmas songs on House of Hair as I drove. When we arrived, Toby was a little clingy for the first hour or so, but he settled down eventually. I was glad I'd brought his bedding.
We got there right in the middle of the kids' ferocious gift-opening extravaganza. I procured a pecan cinnamon roll and a cup of coffee and sat back to watch the whirlwind. Both kids loved the gifts I got them. I bought each of them a cool kite: a pteranodon-shaped one for my nephew and a koi for my niece. I got my nephew a knitted hat that looks like a sock monkey and my niece a selection of patterned knee-socks.
My nephew also got a lot of Star Wars stuff this year. It's his favorite right now.
I also splurged on some Shatto butter to serve with the rolls and it was worth every penny. I actually forgot to bring the butter with me, but I texted my husband and he retrieved it from our fridge before he came over.
We snacked all day long in lieu of lunch and my sister made me one bellini after another. Fortunately, she was serving them in small glasses. I started preparations for the pot roast about five hours in advance and it cooked for four hours.
There was a big concern that their oven might not make it all day long. It has a thermostat problem, but fortunately it did not seem to mind the 275°F temperature that the roast required. Later on it did shut off while we were trying to warm up some casseroles, but we made do with the gas grill and the microwave.
For some reason I stopped taking photos after the rolls came out of the oven, but it was a lovely, relaxing day filled with pleasant conversation and delicious foods.
After dinner, I played a game of Munchkin with my aunt and cousin. I think I'm going to need to own a copy of that game now. The hard part would be deciding which version.
True to form, Toby whined all the way home. We were asleep by 10:30 p.m. and stayed that way well past 7:00 a.m. this morning except for a 4:30 a.m. potty break for Toby.
I should have most of this week and next Monday off work, so I'm looking forward to reading, getting my home office cleaned up, but mostly taking it easy.
Hope you had a great holiday as well!