Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas à deux

This year, we celebrated our first Christmas in our home and miles away from the family. Well, we did have one furry little friend who got a special tuna dinner but that mostly resulted in him begging for more fish non-stop...

We were able to Skype for three separate events which was really nice. The first time we Skyped to my parents' house, I heard my dad's power tools going and my brother made the most of his camera time with some funny, um, gestures. I also got to say hi to my niece and see my new nephew; so sweet. Later I watched the traditional Christmas Eve party unfold and got to see lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was great. On Christmas Day, we were able to do a gift opening with Austin's family and watch nephew Conner's excitement with all his presents. It wasn't perfect but it was much, much better than just getting passed around on a phone call.
Later we made tons of snow crab for our dinner and it was fantastic. I also made a lemon risotto. A soup and salad were planned but turned into lunch the next day since the two courses were more than enough for dinner. It was quiet and low key and really nice, in its only little way, Christmas à deux.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Deck the Halls

We have a holly shrub in front of our house and it decided to don some festive red berries. We may not have snow but there is some cooperation by the fauna. We're just trying to get through the four day work-week until we are officially allowed to make merry.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Shipping and Receiving Department

After endless ticket shopping, we made the difficult decision to stay in Texas for Christmas. One of my favorite things about the holidays, however, is wrapping presents. We finished our shopping on Wednesday night and I wrapped everything (using sub-standard bows but anyway...) while Austin packaged it to send across the country--no way would I ship unadorned gifts. For awhile, it looked like our living room was a corporate mailing center.

We also got a lovely gift basket from Austin's brother and sister-in-law. Stinky was very concerned because for a few minutes, a box and basket were in his space. He circled the items several times and mewed disdainfully.

We plan on Skyping home during the gift opening and making a nice Christmas dinner. I'm open to veg/pescatarian menu ideas if anyone has any. We mostly will spend time in front of the fireplace, eating good things, sipping wine, and hanging out. The only thing missing is everyone.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Julbord at Ikea

So as hinted previously, we went to the Ikea Swedish Christmas feast, or Julbord, on Friday evening. To be honest, it was sort of like this: Ikea particle board furniture is to hand-crafted, imported fancy-schmancy furniture as Ikea Julbord is to chef-prepared, fancy-schmancy upscale restaurant dinner. It just wasn't that good. But. But! The spirit of the whole affair was lovely and cheerful; the meal sold out, there were folks in traditional Swedish apparel (sadly, no one with a wreath of candles on her head as I so often had dreamed of donning as a girl), and live music. Much of the meal came from the frozen Swedish staples from the Food Store in Ikea. It was nice to get to try many of them. It turns out the potato gratin is deceptively tasty but has a permeating herring flavor on the finish (disagreeable to some, embraced by others?). The smoked salmon was delicious and the accompanying sauce was a wake-you-up horseradish number. The bottom line: it was fun to check out, very affordable, but probably not a do-again event.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quiet Weekend

We had a quiet weekend at home. On Saturday, we hit the Farmers Market but it was rainy and our favorite hummus stand wasn't there so we didn't end up getting anything. We ran some errands and decided to have some comfort food for dinner--green bean casserole. We watched Super 8 which we found to be a bit of a let-down.

On Sunday, Austin did some work on the cars and I enjoyed baking the best cookies ever (theseohmygodmakethemnow), working on cards, and watching the Packers game. It was pretty much a perfect day of simple pleasures.

It's been very chilly here with overnight lows dipping before freezing and our high today was around 38°. I'm a bit embarrassed at just how cold it feels to me but I embrace it with some of my favorite things- scarves, sweaters, lots of tea, soup, candles, fires... We have a running spreadsheet of features we love/hate in a home for future house shopping and Austin, observing my love of the fireplace, added that one near the top of the must-haves.

We're off and running with another busy week. I'm doing lots of writing, Austin is doing lots of writing, but Friday we'll get done a little early to hit up our Julbord Swedish feast.

Friday, December 2, 2011


What happens when you go to Ikea for a frying pan on a quiet Thursday night?

You end up buying tickets to next week's Swedish Christmas Dinner. Yes, Swedish food served in the awesome Ikea cafeteria, hello?! Couldn't pass it up. We plan for spontaneity around here, after all. Stay tuned for the review...