presents

Christmas Joys

On Christmas morning I woke up earlier than I was expecting. Michael and had a small snack and opened presents. Bella was super excited about her Santa hat! She got a new squeak toy from her foster mom Jen and Michael got her a new rope to chew on.

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After all that was done, I had some time to kill before my parents were going to arrive.  Michael was in the shower so I figured I’d go for a quick run. It was chilly out but not raining. I had about 30 minutes and that was really all I wanted to do. I just wanted to get a little exercise in to offset some of the calories I’d be eating for the holiday.

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My parents drove down from Seattle and the four of us went to Gracie’s for brunch. It’s our tradition and I enjoy going there. It’s a nice treat and the place is so classy. If you’re ever looking for a really nice meal and want to spend some time surrounded by old world decadence, The Hotel deLuxe is the place to be!

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I love that place. It’s always such a nice experience and everyone is always happy with the food. I was glad we made reservations because the place was packed. We got there a few minutes early and wandered around the lobby while we waited. It’s always decorated nicely.

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I got some coffee and agonized over the menu. There were so many good sounding things! I ended up getting the Belgian Waffle. I never eat stuff like that and it just sounded so good. It came with toasted pecans and banana slices on it. It was so good!

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Michael and my mom both got the Huevos Rancheros (per usual) and I had a bite of Michael’s. Once again I thought I should have gotten that! So next year I will definitely get it. I kick myself every year. My dad got the whole wheat pancakes and said they were fantastic.

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We had a lovely brunch–relaxing and fun. Caught up on things, talked about our honeymoon. After brunch we went back to the house and opened gifts and spent some time together. They were on their way to the beach and we had to get to Michael’s mom’s house. It felt a little rushed this year but I was really glad I was able to see everyone.

We went to Michael’s mom’s house for dinner. She did a roast. She just seasoned it with salt, pepper and garlic but it was so amazing. It was absolutely delicious! She made a salad with pears, walnuts, craisins and goat cheese. There was steamed broccoli and then mashed potatoes with green onions, cheese and bacon mixed into it.

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Everything tasted so great and pretty healthy. It was a nice balance of splurging and healthy food. Michael’s stepsister made her famous deviled eggs (adding some hot pepper flakes to it this time which were fantastic and spicy!!).

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We relaxed and then opened gifts. Michael’s mom gave me new running shoes that I desperately needed! Bella also got some treats and a new bed! My mom got Bella a little lighted key chain thing for when we go on walks in the dark.

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It was so nice to spend time with everyone. Quality time, laid back, socializing and eating and drinking. After opening gifts we all just lounged around a bit before heading home. I missed Bell. I hate leaving her alone at home! Especially on a holiday. But she was so spoiled and she LOVED her new deluxe bed from “Grandma”. 😉 It was a lovely holiday and our first married Christmas! <3

Christmas Salmon

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Michael and I had a lovely Christmas! I slept in and awoke to the sounds of him bustling around making a fire in the fireplace. We kind of chilled out for a little bit and then opened presents together. You get a gold star if you can guess the movie that was on in the background in the above photo.

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Michael did a great job! Lots of goodies: snowshoeing scarf, a necklace and earring set, a new water bottle for hiking, a huge insulated growler (basically for both of us) AND a fancy new flash attachment for my camera! I spent most of the day playing with that and learning how to use it. I could just read the instruction manual but…I’m more of a hands-on kind of person. I got Michael lots of goodies that he asked for, mostly practical things like a rolling tool chest, a new magnetic knife holder for the kitchen (I’ll share pictures once it’s up) and some other things.

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The rest of the day was very low-key. We stayed in our pajamas for most of the day watching TV shows that had been on our DVR for weeks. Neither of us felt like moving off the couch much! Michael made a smoked salmon and cream cheese omelette for us to split for breakfast. Eventually we had to get our lazy butts off the couch and get ready for the trip to his mom’s house.

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It was a really, really nice Christmas! Michael’s mom is an excellent cook and she made salmon for dinner. She spread some dijon mustard on it, seasoned it with salt and pepper, drizzled some olive oil on it, cut up fresh dill, topped it with minced garlic, lemon zest and then sliced up two lemons to go on top of the salmon. It was simple but perfect and delicious. I’m going to steal her idea for the next time I make salmon!

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There were also veggies, salad and creamy mashed potatoes. I had a few glasses of wine as well.

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We lounged around and then opened presents. Michael’s mom is awesome! She got me a new pair of running shoes!!! YAY! I desperately needed a new pair, too. I also got some nifty kitchen gadgets that I will write about soon. She got Michael the Kitchen-aid mixer attachment to make pasta. He’s excited to experiment with that.

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Michael’s brother Doug made his amazing apple pie for dessert and then the evening was winding down. I think everyone was tired from the holidays and falling into a food coma. We called it a night and went home. I wanted to stay up late to play with my camera but I just could not keep my eyes open. It was a really nice holiday and I was so glad we planned some fun things for it.

QUESTION: What was your favorite Christmas present?