Thanksgiving Family Pics

Ok, so, my Thanksgiving post is a leeeeetle late…  Better late than never though.  J and I headed over to Orlando to have dinner with his family.  J’s parents, brother, aunt, uncle and cousins were all there.  We always have a great time together!  The day is all about eating and watching National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation”.

This is the obligatory “family around the feast” shot that we take annually.  Gotta love tradition!

My dad, his wife and my step-sister came into town at the last minute for Thanksgiving this year too.  I had very mixed emotions about seeing them since they have not made an effort to see me since my wedding 11 years ago.  My dad had never met his grandchildren.  He stood us up three years ago on Christmas and I just was not sure I wanted to face all the drama when my grandmother invited us over for dinner on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  But I knew it was very important to my grandmother that she have as many of her family members present as possible.  So, I did what I felt was right by her.  We went and it was good.

My dad greeted me with the biggest, longest hug and apologized profusely for all that has (or hasn’t) happened in our broken relationship.  I’m not ready to delve into my real feelings on this topic yet.  I’m still pretty numb when it comes to him.  But I will say that the evening was good.  Everyone was pleasant and had a great time.  That’s the best I could hope for really.

I even brought my camera to take a big family portrait.  My uncle was in town from Alabama too.  So, my grandmother had all four of her children under one roof that night.  We were missing only two cousins and a baby to round out the family picture.  I’d say that’s pretty good considering the size of the group!


Five Days to Go!

This is our Christmas forecast, people:

*sigh* Looks like we’ll be sporting shorts on Christmas again this year…

Last night our dear friends, B and F, host their annual Pre-Christmas dinner party for our family and my cousin’s family. There were 6 kids and 6 adults. B decided to let everyone create their own pizzas this year! What a fabulous idea! The outcome was an inventive array of wonderful cheesy goodness. Her selection of toppings was quite creative. She had everything from your usual pepperoni and mozzarella to some different choices like cucumber, carrots and feta cheese. After dinner we let the kiddos exchange gifts and then we all ate homemade chocolate cake. It was almost 11 PM by the time we left. It was a lot of fun and I greatly appreciate B and F’s hospitality! Nothing beats good friends and good food!

Today, my project is to work on birthday cakes. I decided to go homemade this year and put my Wilton Cake Decorating Class skillz to good use. Friday is Wildman’s actual birthday and I’m hosting a family get-together to celebrate both his 3rd and my youngest cousin’s 25th birthdays. I’m making 2 cakes. Wildman’s will be a white cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. It will be decorated with various candies including M&M’s (his ultimate favorite) and gummy worms! My cousin’s cake will be strawberry with chocolate buttercream frosting. Her cake will be decorated with these adorable, over-sized sprinkles. They look like pastel polka dots. I really hope these cakes turn out well. The first nerve-wracking stage is done. I’ve baked the cakes and gotten them out of the pans intact. Whew! I hate that part. I’m always afraid they’re going to break in two. Next, I need to level the cakes with a bread knife. We don’t need wobbly layers! Then, I’m going to frost those bad boys with the “crumb catching” layer of frosting. This step consists of applying a coat of watered-down frosting to the naked cakes and allowing it to dry. Ideally, this layer of frosting seals in the tiny crumbs and creates a nice surface to work up some buttercream magic. I’ll take some photos of the final product. Hopefully, they’ll look semi-professional!

Wildman’s preschool holiday party is tomorrow too. I volunteered to help out. Note to self: don’t volunteer for this next year. It’s too darn busy this time of year with all the holidays and birthdays and stuff. Anyway, I’m bringing the goody bags and snacks. Since I brought in cupcakes for Wildman’s class on Wednesday for a little class celebration of his birthday, I decided to bring a healthier snack for tomorrow. I’m bringing applesauce and chewy granola bars. I hope the kids aren’t too pissed I’m not bringing in more cupcakes or cookies. I did sneak some candy canes and chocolate coins into the goody bags though. That should help give them a nice sugar buzz when they get home 🙂

Busy times!