We've had a nice Christmas celebration.
Our Christmas always starts on Christmas Eve. It is m-in-law's birthday. She married into a family that celebrated the German way - on Christmas Eve - so her birthday was always a bit overlooked. Many years ago, her two d's-in-law and then granddaughters as well started taking her to high tea at the Ritz Carlton to make sure SHE felt celebrated. It's been over twenty years now! We've seen a definite change in the Christmas decor and attention to detail at the hotel. This year things were really tawdry (dishes not clean, service pretty marginal), but the guest of honor was happy, so we just paid the bill and smiled. My mother was with us and that was really nice for my daughter.
Later we went to Christmas Candlelight service at church.
Yesterday morning the kids stayed in bed as requested until 7 am (another thing that has changed!). I had prepared an overnight breakfast to pop in the oven. Here's the recipe:
French Toast Casserole
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs Real maple syrup
1 loaf hearty white bread, crusts removed
1 1/2 cup Half-N-Half
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Grand Marnier (optional)
Combine the butter, brown sugar and syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth, then pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Layer the slices of bread across the top of the mixture, two slices high. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl, and then pour across the top of the bread slices. Try to make sure each piece gets a wetting. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
In the morning, take the dish out of the refrigerator and let it warm up while you warm the oven up to 350 degrees. Bake the dish for 35 to 40 minutes until puffy. Yum!
And then the gift-opening began. I will say for my family who reads the blog - everyone was very loving and generous!
Mom and I worked on the dinner and finally, around 1:30, we sat down to a family feast. Mom cooking her cornbread dressing was what made the difference! It was delicious! Thank goodness there are left-overs!
Later in the afternoon we went to the in-laws for more presents and dessert. A lovely day enjoyed by all.
When we returned home we ate popcorn and watched the movie "UP" on the new big HDTV.