The busy-ness all started on Sunday with the visit from my brother and his family. The living room was tidied (check out the table by my chair...it's been cleared of all of its clutter!) I set an extra chair, and brought out the ottoman to be used as a side table. The television played the yule log burning, while my Google mini in the kitchen was streaming holiday music.
In the kitchen, the island was laden with the goodies. My nephew K and his girlfriend S were first to arrive. We had a short vist before R, P, and L arrived, which was nice as S is very quiet and didn't talk much when the whole group was there. She is a kinesiology major, working towards her degree. A very nice girl and counterpoint to the boisterous nature of K!
We visited for an hour or so before they headed out to see the new Star Wars movie. I haven't asked how they liked it, but from other reviews I've read, it hasn't impressed many viewers. After they left, I tidied up and worked on my baby blanket.
I was up early the following day, in part because of two noisy and hungry cats, and partly to remind my son to take a container of cookies to work. Much of the day was spent cleaning, washing floors, bedding, and toddler proofing the house. (However, as I was to soon learn, he's quite capable of figuring out how to climb onto something to get what he wants!)
Although she had planned to drive up on Christmas Eve day, D and Eli arrived on the evening of the 23rd. She was feeling some anxiety over the installation of the flooring and needed to get away. There was a bit of excitement the next morning, as the contractor was unable to get into the house. She has two locks, a deadbolt and a lower push button doorknob and while she was certain she had tested both keys, he couldn't make it work. After a bit of discussion, he called a local locksmith who got him into the house. We'd gladly pay for that cost as the other option was for D to drive home and back (about 3 hours in total). As it turns out the contractor's son is a locksmith and explained to his dad how to get in.
My son had to work that morning, leaving D, Eli and I to enjoy one another's company. Eli was quite taken with G'ma's "kismas tee". He was a good boy and would point out the various ornaments, never touching the tree. C arrived home shortly after lunch, and D left to drop off some of Eli's clothing and toys to a local family. Eli was quite happy to hang out with his uncle, running circles in the basement, and paying close attention when I went down to clean the cat litter.
We had our traditional pub food dinner for Christmas Eve, chicken nuggets (buffalo for the adults, plain for Eli), fries, an M&M variety pak of hor doerves, and the vegetable tray from Sunday with dip. And of course, baking for dessert. D made me butter tarts! Several years ago, both my kids were living in Lethbridge, Alberta, and I had gone out for Christmas. We chose to have the pub dinner for our Christmas dinner as I wasn't about to cook a turkey in stove I didn't know and they didn't care. In the years since we transitioned it to Christmas Eve.
Eli was very busy that evening and not impressed with the idea of bedtime. He bounced out of bed several times, running out to visit with me, before finally crashing hard. D had lay down with him, and got up to help me set out the presents for the following morning. She also filled his stocking and hung it in the bedroom for the morning.
The large package on the right is a new duvet set for my son; I used garbage bags to wrap it, and the next morning, we used the garbage bag to gather up the wrapping paper from the gifts. However, I'm cheap/frugal and re-use the tissue paper and bags for several years, just put a new tag on the bag. It's far easier to package gifts too!
Christmas morning came early, about 6 a.m. when an excited little boy dashed out of the bedroom to show G'ma what Santa had left in his stocking. I must have been half asleep as I really don't remember what he was so excited about. His excitement built when he saw the presents under and around the tree, but when we told him he had to wait until Uncle C woke up, he left the pile alone. D made breakfast, French toast, for Eli and I. Then we relaxed and watched a bit of television before C appeared around 9 a.m. After a cup of coffee and a smoke, he was ready to join us in the living room.
Eli played Santa (not that he understood) and selected the presents from under the tree to be opened. It is tradition that one gift is opened at a time so that everyone can see who received what and from whom. When he opened the doctor's kit that his mom gave him, Eli was done with handing out the presents. Despite there were still several gifts remaining for him, his mom had to open them since he was busy. Sasha got quite the work-up and G'ma got a shot in the arm. D says it is one of his favorite toys at the indoor playground. G'ma says, maybe it is a sign of things to come?
My wonderful grandson, with the help of his mom and other grandmother gave me this pillow. J's mom has, as she says, talented friends, and one of them created this for me. I'll treasure it always!
The afternoon was relatively quiet. I had done a bit of prep work for Christmas dinner the day prior, par-boiling the potatoes to be roasted in the oven, and preparing a casserole of Brussel sprouts and bacon. This made our preparations for Christmas dinner a little easier. D was in charge of the pork loin roast, she seasoned and seared it before putting it in the oven. About an hour prior to dinner the potatoes seasoned with olive oil and spices, and with the Brussel sprout casserole went into the oven while the roast was finishing. On top of the stove, carrots were cooking, with a brown sugar in the water.
Meanwhile I set the table. You'll note we don't have a lot of cutlery or extra plates or glasses, but I still think it looks very festive. None of us drink wine, we don't have a salad or a dessert course. Thus, simple works for us.
About 10 minutes before we ate, the roast came out of the oven. I made the Stove Top stuffing (turkey) that my daughter has to have for holiday dinner, put the peas in the microwave for a few minutes, made a bit of gravy from the roast drippings, and homemade buns were set out on a plate. Seconds later, one of the buns was missing because a young man helped himself...and I don't mean my son!
My daughter helped me put everything into serving bowls, and then it was time to eat! We all agreed it was the best dinner we've had for Christmas in many years. My son is not a fan of turkey, and that doesn't make me unhappy as to make a big bird for the four of us seems a waste. The roast was juicy and delicious and everything else was too....even the Stove Top stuffing. Eli tried a Brussel sprout but wasn't impressed. Those were much enjoyed by his mother and G'ma. Carrots are a fave though of both Uncle C and Eli, while his mom doesn't care for them.
Clean-up was easy, as everything went into the dishwasher with the exception of a couple of glass roasting pans. I set them in the sink with some hot soapy water and walked away. Dessert came later, much later, a couple of baking pieces was all that needed. Well, not even needed but Christmas is definitely a time we tend to indulge.
That evening, Eli was not happy about bed time but like the night before within minutes of being in bed, he was fast asleep. He was up again by 6 a.m. the following morning, which was fine by me, as D and I had planned our Boxing Day shopping to start at 7 a.m. C was kind enough to get up early to keep Eli company while we were out.
This is another tradition for D and I, and has been for several years. The amount and variety of sales seem to have decreased over time but there were certainly bargains to be had. We'd gone through the flyers over the past couple of days, settled on a route (based on proximity and hours of operation). In just 2 1/2 hours we'd were done, though D had to run out to the drugstore a half hour later to pick up some medicine.
Our first stop was Walmart, where she picked up a 32" RCA television for under $100 (taxes included). She'll set it up in her bedroom. We made a stop at Michaels where I picked up a couple of balls of yarn to finish my latest baby blanket (not on sale). Superstore was next, where she purchased clothing for her and Eli. All were on sale, at 50% off, and she got bonus points worth $10 for her purchase. Next was our longest stop, at Staples for a new laptop for me. My current laptop is getting battered and making odd noises on occasion. I picked up a similar one with set-up, virus protection, Microsoft office package, and warranty for $700 total. Although D isn't working presently, she is an employee of Staples so I got her discount. I'll give her the old laptop to use as a word processor and photo storage. It took a bit of time to get the transaction completed, as the sales person was being very careful with the input in the store's system. D was paying closer attention than I, and she got the impression from hearing a conversation he was having with another salesperson that he'd incorrectly inputted a serial number on an earlier sale. All went well, and the laptop should be ready for pick up tomorrow.
Next up was Jysk, though we found nothing there - I'd hope to find pillows, then onto Pet Smart (for wet cat food), and Pet Valu (for cat litter), and finally we made our way to Tim Hortons for breakfast sandwiches and coffee. Time to go home and unload my car. After D ran out to the drugstore, she returned to load her car. Eli was excited to be heading home and we had a heck of a time trying to keep him from following her outside as she transferred presents, shopping, and duffel bag of clothing. I got him to sit down so I could put his boots on, put them on the wrong feet, and had to start again. Not on purpose but it did keep him inside briefly!
They've since arrive home safely. The installer is still at the house putting in the flooring though it is nearly complete. We've been texting back and forth, the kitchen is nearly complete with only the areas under the appliances, the front hall closet, and the small area below the stairs. He figures he'll be done today and D is hopeful, as she would like her house back.
Well, I'll wrap this up as I need to straighten out the house a bit. The bedding should be ready to go in the dryer. A little mister found the Finish Jet dry liquid under the sink and poured some of it out on my bed! The toys have been rounded up and are back in the toybox in the spare room, dishes are done, and the cat food put away. Since C is working tomorrow I'll wait until then to mop floors and vacuum. He's back in bed fast asleep!
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We certainly did!
Edit - I forgot to mention I bought myself an Instapot. Several of the blogs I read mentions using one. The sale was terrific, more than 50% off the regular price so I jumped. A new toy!