Christmas Wrap Up

In addition to wonderful time spent with my family and lots of treats under the tree. 

Santa also gifted me with Acute Bronchitis and the flu.  "It's the gift that keeps giving all year long," name that Christmas movie...

This time that I wanted to spend packed full of family and friends, has been spent full of coughing, sleeping and doctors visits.  I've spent more time on my parent's and in-laws sofa's than lunching with my besties and seeing all the new baby's my friends have had since our last trip home.  I am more than disappointed, but the last thing I want to do is get anyone else sick (it's too late for Josh, he's already got the fever). 

We did have a wonderful until after the presents were unwrapped-perfect timing huh?
Our Christmas party before we left DC was a blast!  Full of
and fun
We also had a blast with my family at the Christmas Eve service at the church I grew up going to, my dad reading the Christmas Story to us from the family Bible and of course the Morgan 5 Meat Christmas Breakfast.
Hope y'all had a wonderful Christmas filled with lots of love!


Merry Christmas!

Hope this time is merry and bright, and that all your Christmas' are white...


Does that have sugar in it?

Lots and lots of baking has gone on in the Thompson home this December.  I thought it would be fun to bake at lease 1,000 cookies.  As you know, I like to challenge myself.  If we didn't do this we came fairly close.  All the cookie baking success is due largely in part to our friend Jamie, or as I like to refer to her, my Christmas Elf.  It was like sprinkles and sugar cookies followed where ever she walked. 

She also inspired me to change my Christmas List.  Forget the X3, Louboutins, and letter pressed stationary.  I want an Elf for Christmas.  Could you imagine a little helper full of joy and cheer around the year.  Folding laundry, cooking dinner, mopping the floors-oh Santa won't you bring me a Elf for Christmas?  I made you lots of cookies!!

On the Christmas Cookie list:
Crack Cookies
Inside Out Turtles
Russian Wedding Cookies
Oreo Balls
Salted Carmel Brownie Bites
Cowboy Cookies
Coconut Balls
Mint Brownies
Christmas Wreaths
Puppy Chow
Eggnog Cookies
Chocolate Espresso Snow caps
Peanut Butter Thumbprints
Seven Layer Bars
More Sugar Cookies than you can shake a stick at

We started our cookie baking with peppermintini's -whoa those suckers were good.
Salted Carmel Brownie Bites
That's chocolate covered goodness there folks.
How about a buckeye or 400?
Inside out turtle?  We couldn't bake them fast enough.
Cookie Madness Ingredients, after round 1 of cookie baking.
Magical Christmas Cookies, the reason for the season?  No, no that's baby Jesus!!

Lessons learned:
Don't drink peppermintini's if you plan to make more than a few dozen cookies.  This will take you days.
Drink peppermintini's if you want to accidentally make 400 buckeyes, and have a FAB time with your girlfriends.
Royal icing is beautiful.
Royal icing doesn't taste that great
Royal icing is a huge pain in the you-know-what.
Royal icing ended up in my garbage can.


Deck The Halls

There's no place like home for the holidays....
Josh said he decorated the tree, until I took every ornament off, added yards of ribbon and then put all the ornaments back on how I wanted them...
Christmas Cards, my absolute favorite part of the season.
I had a craft idea for this wreath form, but decorated with my loved one's faces couldn't be more beautiful!
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
The beautiful Christmas China from my Aunt AB!
Josh made this wreath, he was very proud of himself!
Candy Canes everywhere!!
In addition to our halls, we decked our shelves with glad tidings of JOY, oh, and Baby Jesus.  We love our Jim Shore nativity, and Josh likes to put anything important by Baby Jesus, his glasses, wallet, new flip camera-if it's important Baby Jesus has it.
Our Air Force Nutcracker in honor of Murphey!
I was inspired by a chandelier that had stars hanging from it at the bed and breakfast where I gave holiday home tours early in December .  I tried to get a little fancy, hanging stars and all from our chandelier, but it didn't have the same effect.  Maybe next year...
We are used to citrus being in season in December in Florida-this is our tribute to our home state.  The clementines have been just enough to keep us from getting homesick (the ever present Magnolia Lane Florida dishes don't hurt either).
Our home sweet home.


Tonight at DAR

This evening at our Daughters of the American Revolution meeting we had a presentation on this history of American cookbooks.

America and Cookbooks, two of my very favorite topics.  If the spiked peppermint ice cream punch didn't already have me in a jolly mood, the evenings presentation did. 

First, I just love to read cookbooks, look-up and try new recipes.  I loved my mom's cookbooks and recipe card collection growing up.  Thumbing through the cards and figuring out new things we could try for dinner was always a favorite pastime. When I babysat for families in college, I would love to read all their Junior League cookbooks.  As out speaker said tonight, cookbooks reflect the society and time period in which they were written.  They really are a piece of Americana.  I honestly enjoyed the stories and history that went along with the recipes as much as the recipes themselves.

Then, once I became a member of the Junior League of Tampa, I saw how the cookbooks really reflect the women of the league and the community as a whole.  I learned so much about entertaining and being a good hostess from my experiences with these women.  Always bring a nice spread and a bottle of wine to every committee meeting!  Part of the spread better be a recipe from one of the leagues cookbooks-we knew and recognized every one.  A general membership meeting just wouldn't be the same without a hamwich, I need to make those for my Christmas Party this year.  The whole league is invested in the production of the cookbook, whether providing the recipes, testing the recipes, helping with the creation and layout of the book or selling them in the community.  It brought us all together, and we were proud of what we had to share.  I'm looking forward for my set of cookbooks from the Culinary Collection to be complete this year with the final in the series, Capture the Coast!  It's on my Christmas list, and I'm sure hoping it's under the tree.
I just loved being a part of that in Tampa.  The DC League doesn't care for cookbooks the same way the women of Tampa did.  I was at a meeting facilitated by the Chair of the Steering Committee.  The discussion was about planning our centennial celebration, but we would NOT be making a cookbook.  Sad face for me.

At least there are more cookbooks out there than I could ever imagine.  I'm looking forward to reading more and adding to my collection after tonight's presentation.  Our guest speaker had lots of great information to share with us, and it lead to a very fun discussion.  On of my favorite moments was when the elderly lady sitting behind me (we're talking 70's) said Google was her favorite cookbook-I about died y'all.  I was just tickled to death!

I hope everyone is getting out their cookbooks and making family favorites this holiday season!



It's supposed to snow tonight, better hunker down and bake more cookies!!

We're a few hundred in and let me tell you I hope the salted caramel brownie bites taste as good as they look.  I'll let you know!



Christmas Spirit

The weather outside is frightful (30 degrees is too cold for this Florida girl)
But the fire is so delightful (only we put our Christmas tree next to the fire place so, no fire for use until after the holidays)
Since there's no place to go (yeah right it's the holidays, I'm double and triple booked)
Let it snow let it snow, let it snow (just wait until I'm in Florida, so I don't have to dig my car out).

Wow, maybe I'm not as in the Christmas spirit as I thought.  I'm keeping my Pandora set to Christmas music and have sent out my Party Invitations.

A cookie exchange with my JL small group
and everyone we know who lives in a semi drivable distance to our main affair- the save the date read a little something like this:
Josh and I will be hosting our Annual Holiday Party open house on Saturday, December 18, 2010 starting at 4 until we run out of food and drinks...

If you like your drinks spiked, sweets dipped in chocolate, cookies sprinkled with sugar, and everything else wrapped in bacon, then let me know your address, so we can get your invitation in the mail!!
Friday night is my preemptive cookie baking session, to be followed by two more next week.  I am bringing cookies to my DAR decorating and sorority alumni party on Saturday, then need to be ready to roll for two Junior League cookie exchanges and most importantly our Holiday Affair next week.  Josh's co-workers children have been talking about the cookies for over a month now.  Our Holiday Party may be right up there with Halloween for them-oh yes, it's that good!
We've invited some friends to join in the fun, and plan to sip on peppermint martini's-needless to say the royal icing may need to wait until next week-as I don't plan on being able to operate a decorating bag as the evening progresses-ha!
What are some of your favorite Christmas Cookies?  I'm looking to make at least 20 different varieties this year!  Pictures and popularity to follow!


Black Friday

So I thought I'd share my Black Friday Facebook posts with my blog buddies.  Yes, we are those people who get up at 4:00 am or in this year's case 3:00 am, and brave the cold and frantic crowds.  Josh wears a Santa hat and I wear glittery reindeer antlers.  It's pretty awesome to watch the crazies and get the bargains.
This year we drug my bestie Jen along and initiated her into our black Friday society at 3:15 am.

When we were leaving her house she was like, "ok, I'll follow you in my car."  To which we replied there would be no need, we were in the Xterra and never in our wildest imaginations did Josh and I think we could fill it up-but fill it up we did.

8:01 am Picture and Status Update : Black Friday 4 hours and $2,000 in. 
Did I mention in addition to wearing reindeer antler's and singing Christmas carols, we also sing patriotic songs?  We do this 1.  Because I love singing Patriotic Songs and 2. we are supporting the American economy by dropping a few g's to kick off the Christmas shopping season.  It 's fun.

9:22 Picture and Status Update : 5.5 hours in - not too much room left in the car
I mean the amount of store's we hit was amazing-we planned, we plotted, we bought!

10:32 am Picture and Status Update: Santa's sleigh is full. Time to go home boys and girls!
We couldn't even see Jen on the way home, she had a 4x4 block of space around her face and that is all.  We did hear from behind the comforter that she had managed to fog up the 4x4 piece on window-tres impressive Jen.  I think after all we got, I officially have a new and pretty amazing Black Friday shopping partner!


The first night of Hanukkah

At 4:15 this afternoon in an attempt to help my colleague in the Philly office track down one of our Canadian co-workers, I decided to check my desk calendar to see if there was some wacky Canadian holiday today.  I thought is could be a valid reason why no one in that northern nation was answering there phones -ey?  No wacky Canadian holiday, but was what I saw correct?  Hanukkah started tonight?  I knew the festival of lights was upon us, but I still felt I had time to get our Hanukkah cards out to our Jewish relatives.  Umm not so much.  I was prepared in the since that I had dedicated a shelf in our living room in honor of my husbands heritage.  It holds our menorah, candles, a few dreidels, and Harry the Hanukkah bear.  Don't worry he isn't some official mascot of Hanukkah that you didn't know about, just a beanie baby bear with a yamaka and sweater with a Star of David on his chest-like this little guy.

Our Hanukkah shelf found in a home who's halls are decked with Christmas decor, reminds me of the Hanukkah corner we had in the living room of the sorority house in college.  Ahh just thinking of that wonderful mish mash of blue and silver garland in a room filled with three Christmas tree's, brings back fond memories.  Good thing Josh's favorite Holiday is Christmas and my favorite Jew food is potato pancakes.  It makes for a happy marriage and lots of presents in the month of December.

Maybe we'll even make a trip to the National Menorah this weekend, bet you didn't know we had one huh?
Hope you and yours enjoy this holiday.  We'll be lighting our candles every night, but not the fancy beeswax one's I wanted to get.  Josh informed me that his people don't pay that much for Hanukkah candles...