Sunday, December 04, 2011

Hollying and jollying

It's early December, and Christmas has arrived at the Bradshaw house! Last weekend, we took down all of the fall decorations and brought out our garland and tree! We decorated the inside of the house, hung ornaments, and introduced Clay to our new Elf on the Shelf.

If you've never had an Elf on the Shelf, I'll tell you a bit about it. My younger sister gave it to Clay last Christmas, so this is our first season using it. Basically, it's a little stuffed elf that comes with a book. The book tells you that the elf watches the goings-on at your house every day and flies to the North Pole each night to report to Santa. Each morning, he's in a different spot, so you have to wake up and find him!

We named our elf Jingleshanks, and he's doing a ton more than just reporting to Santa. He's couriered letters to and from Santa back and forth from the North Pole, in addition to bringing out our Christmas decorations, stocking the Advent calendar, and more. I have tons of plans for this little guy before the season is through!

We introduced Clay to him over a special Christmasy breakfast with snowmen doughnuts, fruit and milk.

This weekend, we decorated the front porch with lights and garland. We also went light peeping! There are some houses that are really done up! I also volunteered with a couple of friends to ring the Salvation Army bell outside of a grocery store, which was really fun! We wore nutty Santa hats, brought a boom box and a Christmas CD, and danced and sang along to the carols as we rang our bells. If you gave both going into and coming out of the store, you got four high kicks, a la The Rockettes!!


We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving! Due to the kitchen renovation currently going on at Mom's house, we hosted the extended Thanksgiving celebration at the Bradshaw house this year. What fun! I had a great time decorating, cooking and enjoying the day!

Here's the menu:
Appetizers - I made a fun marinated goat cheese appetizer with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, rosemary, and chopped black olives. We served it with a loaf of sliced, toasted french bread. To go along with it, I had a fruit tray of sliced ripe red pear and purple grapes. As a finishing touch, I served a bowl of salted mixed nuts and some split dates, stuffed with whipped cream cheese and a half a pecan.

Main course - After some deliberation, I decided to make the same turkey recipe that I made last year. (The only change - I omitted the white wine in the gravy. One in our party is with child, and I felt it was better to be safe than sorry!)

For sides, my sweet sister Laura brought all kinds of delicious stuff. She made my grandmother's classic dressing, and she also made another stuffing with sausage and apple (a delicious meal in itself). Then, she made tender roasted brussels sprouts with prosciutto and a balsamic glaze. She also brought baked sweet potato rounds, dressed with a bit of red onion and bacon. YUM!!

We also had the now-traditional homemade cranberry sauce and Sister Schubert rolls.

Dessert - Here's the crazy thing - we had strawberry cake and sweet potato pie, but dang it if I could eat ANY of it!! I had a piece of cake a couple of days later at mom's house, and hubs ate some of the pie in the ensuing days, but I don't think anyone even ate dessert on Thanksgiving Day! We were all too stuffed from dinner!

At any rate, I really enjoyed hosting! Hubs and I found a sweet little wooden table (and matching chairs) at Target, and we dressed it up as the kids' table. It worked perfectly!