We've been up to our ears in Christmas fun these past few days.
We had a family photo session and actually have a family photo with everyone in it for Christmas this year!
(This one's for you Becky...although you'll get one in the mail soon!)
We hosted a grown-ups only Christmas party on Friday night, which was a blast. Clearly we all don't get out too much because the overwhelming response was, "We shouldn't wait until Christmas to do this again!" Maybe over the summer?
We also hosted a Christmas Tea Party for Beulah and Hannah's friends this afternoon. Such fun. We played the Left-Right Christmas Nativity Story Game and Christmas Carol charades. We also found some great games here--although we only used the Candy Cane Pass. Then, while we listened to the Nativity soundtrack, each girl recounted her favorite Christmas memory. What a joy it was to hear all of their special remembrances! I even shared a favorite Christmas memory from when I was their age. After each person shared their memory, they lit a little tea light, which they then took home with them to remember this Christmas memory.
Tomorrow morning, we are gathering with several other families for the culmination of a special sort of "secret Santa". Throughout the Advent season, families were given the name of another participating family to pray for and tomorrow we are all meeting for a potluck-style brunch and the big "reveal" to meet our secret "Advent Family". Each family will present the family they prayed for with an ornament. We can't wait--although I was just informed that The Boy has wrestling practice smack dab through the whole thing. Sigh.
We're also preparing our menus for Christmas. We traditionally don't cook on Christmas Eve, but eat only an assortment of appetizers and other fun finger foods. Christmas morning we always do a brunch after presents are opened and I like the ease of make ahead breakfast dishes. Our two favorites are Paula Deen's Baked French Toast (although we omit the nuts in the topping) and my mother-in-law's Cheese and Egg Bake (commonly referred to as 'the egg dish').
Paula Deen's recipe (and all its sinful, rich, fattening goodness) can be found here and the egg dish recipe follows:
Cheese and Egg Bake
1 1/2 lbs sausage (either links or ground--but you'll have to brown the ground kind ahead of time)
3 c. milk
1 t. salt
6 slices bread, cubed
1 1/2 t. dry mustard
1 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
Mix egg, milk, mustard and salt in a large bowl. Stir in bread cubes, cheese and sausage. Pour into a sprayed 13 x 9 inch pan. Cover. Refrigerate overnight.
On Christmas morning, uncover and bake for 1 hour at 350F.
Hope you are all enjoying these last few days of Advent!