I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.
I've just returned to work after taking a well deserved two-week vacation. I tell you, it was hard for me to come back. I didn't sleep a wink last night, much as I tried. For two weeks I sat up late until the wheee hours in the morning and slept until 12 or 1 in the afternoon. It was great!
Let me tell you all about my time off. It was my last week before the holidays and I had just left work. I was on my way to pick up a few things for my Christmas Eve family dinner when I got a call that my boyfriend was in a car accident. He was hit by a SUV which caused him to cross the medium strip and get hit by a tractor trailer. I was beside myself. Thank God he was able to walk away from the wreckage with only a sore arm and back. Needless to say the car was totaled. He only had the car for two months. He's hoping to get a new one in the next few weeks.
The days leading up to Christmas Eve were very busy, exciting and a little painful. I spent all day Saturday baking. I made several different kinds of cookies: chocolate chip, eggnog, sugar, gingerbread, oatmeal/raisin, butter cookies with chopped pecans, peanut butter, thumbprint with the chocolate bells in the center and chocolate cookies from the Martha Stewart cake mix I received as a gift from one of my co-workers. The mix turned out great! I followed the instructions another co-worker gave me and added white chocolate and peanut butter chips to the dough. The cookies were so moist and great with a cold glass of milk. I didn't get a chance to make more Oreo Balls and none of my guest seemed to noticed. Sunday I was able to sleep in til about noon. Once up I ran through my preparation checklist and got a head start on cooking my vegetables in the crock pot, setting the table, getting out the serving trays and such. I went into the hall closet to grab another cookie tin from a box that was sitting on the top shelf when all of a sudden I was hit dead center in the nose by a falling object. It was candle plate which I had forgotten I had sat on top of the box when I put it in the closet. Talking about pain! The plate hit my nose so hard that it made a dent. I never even saw it coming - it happened so fast. I thought I had broken my nose and was going to have to spend hours in the emergency room. I just knew I'd be walking around with a big bandage across my face Christmas Eve. I quickly filled a plastic bag with ice and placed it on my nose to keep it from swelling. The soreness lasted for days. Fortunately it was not broken and no bleeding occurred.
Christmas Eve I woke up very early to finish the last bit of cooking. Then I had to head out to pick up my uncle and the Bruce Lee wings from Cross Street Market. Once back home I managed to get in a little time to relax before my guests arrived.
It was a great night! Everyone enjoyed the food I prepared. So much so that there were no leftovers for me to put away. They especially like the Bruce Lee Wings. For most of the guests it was their first time eating them. I was happy about that. This year instead of everyone opening their gifts one by one (which takes a long time as I have about 40 guests). I had everyone open their gifts at the same time and recorded them opening their gifts with my digital camera. I think everyone was happy with their gifts. The kids kept themselves occupied in the guest room playing the games that I put out for them. The only times they came out of that room was to eat and open gifts. Next year I think I will set up the dvd player so that they can watch movies if they like. Before the night ended I got everyone around the tree for the group picture.
Christmas day I laid in bed the entire day. I was wiped out. I watched movies, took lots of naps and occasionally got up to use the bathroom. I didn't get an appetite until very late Christmas night. After all of that cooking I could not eat Christmas Eve. Fortunately my best friend made me a plate, wrapped it up and put in the fridge for me.
The day after Christmas I was up and out early hitting the stores for those sales. The deals were fantastic. Not only did I get superb bargains on decorations but I already have a few gifts for next year. One store I went to, Michael's was selling items at 50 - 70% off. I found a really large wreath for only $8 and holiday picks to decorate the wreath for $.17 each. The wreath will hang from my balcony next year. I found berry and pine cone garland for $2.99 (originally $9.99). Of course I had to check out my favorite store - Dollar Tree - where everything was $.50. I also checked out Walmart where I picked up woodland ornaments (to add to the tree for the balcony) at half off, gift boxes and bags, tissue paper, pine garland for $1.50 (will mix them with the berry and pine cone garland) and a 12" Santa for $5. At Walgreens all of their Christmas stuff was marked 75% off. There I picked up of couple boxes of 100 ct. lights for $1. All-in-all I spent about $150 for everything. Love a sale.