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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Things I Love: The Christmas Vacation Edition

1. Any Christmas book by Robert Sabuda. I wish I could have one tenth of his talent. I collect pop-up books and his are the best. (And his Christmas ones are better than the best.) Love, love, love.

2. The first taste of the first home-made Scottish Shortbread of the year. Easiest (and best) cookie ever. I still remember the recipe (which I had to copy out of a book when I was in sixth grade and I did a report on Scotland and we all had to make a food from our country.)

Here it is:

2 cups flour
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar

Seriously. Does it get any easier than that? Oven at 300. Roll out the dough, cut into shapes (I like to cut mine into Scotty dogs usually, but I couldn't find the right cutter so we have stars...lots and lots of stars.) Cook until they are that lovely shade of golden.

3. Listening for the sound of that last drop of rain on the skylight. (I think...yes...last drop! No, wait...still one more......) It's been raining for days on end. Can't wait to hear the last drop.

4. The loveliness of an uncluttered brain. Sure, I've relatives coming and cooking to do and presents to wrap, but my brain has that lovely time to flit away and imagine stuff about the story I am revising and, wow, it's just so nice to be able to do that. Having time to think is the best, people, the best!

5. Getting to go to the bathroom whenever I want to. Ah, the simple pleasures. You know, I read somewhere that teachers have more UTI's than most people because they can never get to the bathroom....I know, TMI. (But sometimes I just go when I am home not because I NEED to, but just because I can...whenever I worries about if it's recess or not.)

6. Lights on the tree late at night.

7. Lights on the tree first thing in the morning.

8. The knowledge that I'll have time to clean up any mess that anybody (including myself) makes.

9. Making menus for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Christmas Eve:

Red chile enchiladas
Green chile enchiladas
Lettuce, tomato for garnish
(Don't you love all the red and green!)

Christmas Day

Appetizers: The Thomas Girl Cheese Ball (an old family recipe...naaahh...I really just invented it a few years ago with my girls and now it's a tradition.)
Shrimp cocktail

Prime Rib with cabernet sauce (if I remember to make it this year!)
Mormon Potatoes (Not a Mormon myself, but the recipe is courtesy of my brother, who is.)
Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
Artichoke and mushroom salad
Clementine, pomegranate, bleu cheese and pecan salad over baby greens
Sauteed Spinach (Ewwww...but other people like it and Sean will make it, so who am I to ruin their holiday spinach eating fun....but really? gross.)

Trifle (with angel-food cake, in honor of the birthday boy....Baby Jesus.) Okay, it's not really trifle, but it's in a big trifle bowl, with cake bits and whipped heavy cream and strawberries and raspberries....and it looks so pretty.! Yum.

10. I love that I have time to read blogs and catch up. Yeah, I know...perfect timing....just when everyone else is going on blog holiday!!! But at least I can catch up a bit.

Wishing you the happiest Christmas ever!



Laura Marcella said...

Have a wonderful holiday, Shelley! Many blessings to you and your family this Christmas and in the new year!!!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, wow! I'm going to try those shortbread cookies! My husband always makes a pot of chili and a pot of seafood chowder on Christmas eve. We have his family over for dinner and then go to the Christmas eve service at church together.
Merry Christmas, Shelley! :-)

Solvang Sherrie said...

Thanks for the shortbread recipe! I LOVE shortbread and that recipe sounds super easy.

And btw, I totally relate to #5. It wouldn't surprise me if it's totally true!

Janet Johnson said...

Yum! You make menu planning sound fun!

And I'm in awe with the shortbread recipe. Amazing! I'll have to try them, too. :)

Also, I was reading "A Cold Winter's Knight" to my joyschool group last week . . . you are a master! So perfect. The kids were hanging on your words. PLUS the lessons on manners were well-put to use at lunch. Just wanted to tell you. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Shelly! Thanks for sharing the recipe for the Scottish Shortbread. I'm going to make some of those.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Stasia said...

SO want to eat at your house on Christmas. Yum! What a happy post. So glad I stopped by today since you made me feel very Christmasy.

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss shelly! that was a really nice post. i like that you shared out what your christmas is gonna be like and how you got time for some neat stuff. my mom use to make those yummy shortbread cookies. yikes for sure i miss them. im gonna give my brother that recipe and maybe he could do some of those cookies. :)
...hugs from lenny

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks for that shortbread recipe. I always loved the ones in the tin but never had them fresh. I bet they're amazing.
I'm so happy you're happy to be chill for the holiday--sounds like you are totally into it and that's wonderful. And what a yummy menu!
I woke up this morning to a leak from all the rain. *pout* But I've got a bucket in place and it'll get fixed next week probably.
As for that #5, I know of people in other professions who also suffer that deprivation. Believe it or not, film editing practically chains people to their benches. grrrr.
But we are happy today with the prospect of sun soon and merry times. Happy days to you, my friend.

Madeleine said...

Sounds perfect. HAPPY CHRISTMAS :O)

Lydia K said...

That shortbread recipe is awesome! I have to do it!

Rebecca said...

I think I'll bake cookies today. How could I not try such a seemingly simple recipe?

Merry Christmas!

Corey Schwartz said...

Ha, ha on #5. I think that's why I left teaching! :)

How could that cookie recipe be so easy??? No eggs? I can't believe it. We'll have to give it a try!

Kelly H-Y said...

#5 cracked me up! Love your list. Your Christmas Eve menu made my mouth water!!

Katie said...

Oh my gosh, that sounds divine!!!! Merry Christmas Shelley!!!

storyqueen said...

Laura-Thank you. And wishing you lovely holidays as well!

Shannon-I love seafood chowder...have never made it myself, but I would love to try it sometime. I kind of have a fear of cooking with fish....?

Sherrie-I know! #5 is the absolute truth! Let me know if the shortbread works for you.

Janet-Aw, thanks for the kind words about my book. I am thrilled to know that the kids liked it:)

Susanne-Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well!

Stasia-thank you. And I love the new profile pic. Very nice.

Lenny-The cookie recipe is so easy that nobody, even a brother, can mess it up, haha. Merry Christmas, Lenny!

Tricia-You have to try the is very easy, and the cookies are more crisp and tender than the tin ones.

Madeline-Thank you for stopping by, and a Merry Christmas to you!

Lydia-Let me know how the recipe works for you! Happy Christmas!

Rebecca-I know, right? It is soooo easy. And yummy.

Corey-Well, #5 hasn't been enough to make me quit....yet! But there are days.....and I would be lying if I didn't say how much I enjoy the freedom to pee whenever I want!

Kelly-Thank you. The food was all good, except for the spinach, which somehow neglected to get prepared...oops.

Katie-Merry Christmas to you, too!! I miss you! Hoping the new year finds you blogging again!

Jackee said...

What a happy Christmas! :o) I hope your day was lovely, my friend.

You are a true southwestern girl--mexican food for Christmas Eve! Then the Irish/British sets in... LOL. Our dinner was the same, but it consisted of fish tacos, chile con queso, and posole.

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!