Great. After all my thoughts on what Christmas should be about it was really a nice- if not incredibly emotional- holiday. But God provided and our kids got lots of great stuff. We had a nice dinner with the highlight being crab stuffed mushrooms, which only Travis and I will eat. The recipe for the mushrooms turned out a little bland and while I didn't follow the recipe exactly (I didn't have any white wine and Travis won't eat onions so I substituted fresh garlic and cooked them in mojo.) the substitutions should have been enough to flavor them nicely but wasn't. Some salt and lemon juice made them tasty enough. I think that the recipe is a good starting point though. Maybe a stronger cheese would help. Asiago perhaps? I'll work on it.
Travis was home for 3 whole days although we were so busy it didn't feel like it. The majority of Christmas Eve was spent with us trying to figure out what to get the girls. We always get them practical things with a couple of toys thrown in. But God was really putting it on my heart to get them what they wanted instead of what they needed. So we bought toys. And it was really fun because we never do that. During the year I sometimes I buy a Color Wonder book and markers for them and maybe for their birthday but not during the rest of the year. It's partly out of necessity and partly because they don't need any toys. So it was really a blessing for Travis and I to see how much enjoyment they were getting out of their new toys. And as an added bonus Target had already put a lot of their toys on clearance. I was very surprised but we got a robot dog for Chloe that was half price. And it was officially declared her favorite toy of the day! She also got an easel which is chalk board on one side and white board on the other with clips that you can attach a large piece of paper to for painting. It has survived the initial excitement (unlike the robot dog) and she and Halle play with it every day. We were planning on getting a bigger ticket item for Amanda but in talking to her she declared all of our ideas impractical (seriously) and said she just wanted clothes. And all the clothes I picked out for her were promptly taken back to the store. Just wait ladies, it's coming. I miss the days when my style was Amanda's style.
And for the first time in several years we were at home for Christmas. I have said that I don't want to travel for the holidays, that I want to establish our own traditions for our kids, that it's too stressful, etc. But I'm not completely sure about that now. Because Lakeland holds a lot of Christmas traditions and memories for Travis, Amanda and I. I know some families travel every Christmas and some rarely do and we've been the "every Christmas" family but maybe there's some happy medium there. Or maybe we should just go to FL for Christmas (especially if my parents end up moving back there because we could be with all of our family for Christmas) and that would leave the other times of the year for us to vacation somewhere else. It was nice but I did miss our families.
I have painted quite a bit lately since my present from my parents was an easel. I'll post some pictures later. This is a new computer though and I haven't taken the time to set everything up for picture posting. Two of the paintings are for people and one person hasn't seen hers yet so I can't post that one- which I hate because I'm really liking all three that I've painted lately. Thankfully one is not intended for anybody so I get to keep it! I just have a teensy bit of touch up left so I'm going to try to post that one soon.
OK, I'm done typing now.