Christmas Morning

This year, due to quarantine, the fam met briefly in my Aunt Pat’s garage so we could do stockings. This year, that meant putting things in a “stocking” that was really a bag with a name written on it. Then we brought our stockings home to unpack.

There were a lot of goodies in the stocking!

Plus, I had a fun present to open, so here’s another view of the spoils.

The stationary says, “Nobody writes letters anymore.” I love it!

These were my winners!

And check out this situation:

Though brief, it was nice to see everyone for a stocking exchange.

The 2020 Thanksgiving Pickup

Times being what they are, we can’t gather for Thanksgiving like we usually do. So we each made a food item and brought enough to share.

Linda and Matt demonstrate the physical distancing. Matt isn’t usually in Portland for Thanksgiving, so this was a treat.

More distancing.

Mom brought mashed potatoes and gravy. (I think.)

Chris made Spanish Rice to go with Matt’s enchiladas.

Aunt Carol made soup.

Linda made squash.

I made rolls, and burned some of them, alas.

Aunt Pat made turkey, pumpkin pie, and whipped cream.

Prepping for Thanksgiving 2020

The pandemic has meant we have to get creative for Thanksgiving this year. We’ll still meet up, but outside, and just to exchange food. Matt is prepping chicken enchiladas for his contribution.

And here is his final product.

I made rolls and they are done, but I also made a German Chocolate Roll for the feast at the Orange Door.

Vintage Photos of Me

With my birthday card, my mom sent along this picture of me with my Easter basket. When I posted it on social media, more than one person commented that they lived in a house with that exact same fireplace.

My Aunt Carol sent along these two phots from when we visited Molokai. I think that’s my Aunt Pat (since the photos came from Carol, I’m guessing she was behind the camera?) me, and my brother dodging the waves.

And here we are running into them. (Except Chris, who was still in dodging mode.) Molokai had the best waves.

That was a fun birthday surprise.

Matt Sells His Car

Matt’s mom offered him a great deal. He could sell his 2015 Honda Civic and keep the money, and then have her 2017 Honda Civic which she no longer drives.

Here his is with all his documents in order.

This was a great deal as his 2015 Civic was just under the 75,000-mile threshold. (Which works out to about 18,750 miles per year owned). His mom’s 2017 Civic had just under 10,000 miles on it. (Less than 5,000 miles per year.)

“Ten-thousand miles!” Matt exclaimed more than once.

The other good news is that Matt’s job that caused him to put so many miles on his car has ended. So hopefully this can stay a low-mileage car.

My first bombe

Mom wanted a white chocolate cheesecake for her birthday so I made it. The recipe said I could make a bombe, or a regular cheesecake and I went with bombe. It involved buying a stainless steel bowl, but that was probably the hardest part of the process.

Here it is before I added the white chocolate icing.

And here it is after icing and adorning with chocolate curls.

Christmas 2018

And so we gather to celebrate Christmas.

The tree, in all its splendor.

The meat pie, in all its splendor.

After breakfast and presents, we had a Fun Christmas Activity. This consisted of a variety of activities one could partake in. Here are some pictures of what we did.

Linda made a New Year’s scene from a purposefully limited supply of colored paper.

Matt’s scene

Matt attempts the blind Christmas tree tear.(After first cheating and folding a Christmas tree.)

His two results.

Linda’s blind Christmas tree.

Chris works away at the Christmas packet, consisting of trivia questions, a crossword, a word search, and a cryptogram. Aunt Pat cleaned the kitchen. (Cleaning up was a category, as was taking a nap.)

Mom made a New Year’s scene.

I attempted a Blind Christmas Tree tear, and was better at the Christmas tree then taking a picture of it.

Aunt Pat’s cat Roo takes a break.

Aunt Carol’s New Year’s scene.

One of our activities was reading a poem aloud. Inside one volume of the Book of Verse, I found my grandmother’s transcription of “Thanksgiving Day.” This was a great find. I so rarely come across her handwriting.

And here are the final standings of all who participated.

Christmas Eve Eve 2018

The MAunts and Matt’s mom Linda gathered to celebrate Christmas Eve Eve. (We celebrate Christmas Eve Eve not on 12/23, but on a random day in early December to kick off the holiday season.)

We ate the traditional Christmas Eve Eve meal of soup and bread and then we played a round of Uno. Aunt Pat won, with Matt being the first person to crest over 350 points.

We were playing Uno to kill time because the Miracle of a Million Lights didn’t open until 6 p.m. This Christmas lights display is just down the street from our house at an event rental space with a big old house. I’ve seen it for years, but this was the first year they put up a sign of what it was called. I could then Google it and find out information.

It was pouring. Though we were properly outfitted with umbrellas, I forgot my camera and didn’t bring my phone, so we have only these photos Matt took on his phone.

Here is everyone (Aunt Carol unfortunately in shadow on the right) amid the million lights.

We also got to tour the historical house. On the top floor were cutouts of many superhero cutouts including actual people portraying Shuri and Black Panther. Matt was very excited to get his picture taken with them.

We returned to the house to have gingerbread brownies and ice cream for dessert.

Turkey-shaped butter = holiday joy

My mom bought a turkey butter sculpture for Thanksgiving and she made the mistake of letting it soften before trying to remove it from the package.

We ended up with a headless turkey at our table which seemed rather appropriate and had me bent over laughing.

Lesson learned: take those butter sculptures from their packages when they are still cold!