I have been up since about 5 a.m. Slept pretty well...on the sofa after crashing from pasta and Martinelli's. Finished blogging from yesterday, took some pictures of this year's favorite/new ornaments, mopped the floor between the back door and the kitchen for the 3rd time in 12 hours thanks to the combination of recent rain and a dog, and then headed to the grocery store for the last minute groceries.
There was wet frost on the trucks windows this morning and it was a whopping 41 degrees when I left. It was quiet and calm and few vehicles on the road at 6:45 a.m. where normally the roads would be loaded. The store was also calm and business only started to pick up just as I was checking out. Kim, my favorite deli counter worker took care of me, and all of the meat and cheese looks great - unlike last year when it was all broken and smashed (I'd gone to a different location to buy it). It was so wonderful hearing people wish each other Merry Christmas rather than Happy Holidays. It warmed my heart so much!
I came home and got to visit with Bill from next door to wish him a Merry Christmas. Nancy was still in the house and apparently a couple of their daughters flew in from Illinois this week. Good for them! Melon Man soon arrived home with our new card table and a big box with a present in it for me. He must be outside working on putting it together because he hasn't come in the house since he got home. It is a bike for me! Now...you may say...he bought you a bike for Christmas a couple of years ago and you never used it - in fact, you gave it away later. Well, that was because I was just too large for it. This one is an adult trike. Yes, Fatty Girl needs a three-wheeler. Well, yes, I do...unfortunately. But, at least this way I will be able to get out, ride around, take the dogs with me - Doodles can ride in the basket on the back and Dog can run alongside - and maybe I'll finally be able to start getting some exercise so that eventually I'll be able to ride a normal bike. This is my new bike. It's even red - my favorite color!
So, now I'm off to set the other table, finish making the bed, make the platters for tonight, chop all the veggies for the chowder, and then hopefully relax until it's time to fulfill our Matthew 25:40 project and wait for our guests to arrive. I may even be able to watch "The Nativity Story" which I haven't been able to do yet this season. Today/tonight is the perfect time to watch it. It's so wonderful. If you haven't ever seen it, buy it. It's beautiful. It's making me tear up just thinking about it.
So, these are some of our new ornaments this year. I'll have to find my tripod to take some more since when I took them, they came out blurry. This first one is of the Whitefish Point Lighthouse on Lake Superior in Michigan and from our trip there in August. I have another one that is similar in style to this of a Great Lakes schooner ship - but it came out too blurry to post. I love the crystals in them!
This is from our trip to Las Vegas in February. I looked all over for a neat ornament, but couldn't ever find one, so I bought this brooch type pin and added a string to hang it. It's quite the glittery little thing - just like the city in the desert.
This next one is to remember our trip to "Canada" back in August when we went on our gumchomper boat ride and dinner cruise in Sault Ste Marie and over into Canadian waters. Love this Canadian maple leaf! Yes, it's glittery too.
A starfish from our trip to San Diego back in May. I was so protective of this little starfish while on our trip. I didn't want any of his arms to get broken. This was the trip where we saw the man die. That was a sad trip, but still relaxing.
This is one of my new favorites as well. It is a thin, carved ornament from Mackinac Island. I also had wanted to get one of the adirondack chair ornaments from the Mission Point Resort, but never got back to the gift shop to buy it.
Now, for a preview of our Christmas Eve table. Why is it that pictures never capture the gloriousness of something like the human eye does? This looks PHENOMENAL in person! It was kind of cruddy though...as I was taking these pictures, the timers on the white branches in the centerpiece turned off so you can't really see how beautiful they are in the centerpiece. Bummer. Maybe I'll have a few minutes tonight to take the picture again.
Well, I think that's about it for now. It's almost 9:30 and I want to get hopping on my task list while I am still feeling somewhat good. Plus, I need to grab a shower too.
I thought I'd post the recipe for our family clam chowder on here too. I went to print it for Holly yesterday and blamin'o'reilly, I couldn't believe I didn't have it blogged! This is THE BEST clam chowder I have ever eaten. It truly is my favorite.
BRATTEN'S CLAM CHOWDER aka CHRISTMAS EVE CLAM CHOWDER
1 quart half & half
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup margarine
3 ( 6 1/2 oz. ) cans minced clams
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup finely diced celery
2 cups diced potatoes
1 to 1-1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar
1. Dice the veggies and put in pot.
2. Open the cans of clams and pour juice over veggies. Set drained clams aside.
3. Put enough water in pot to slightly cover veggies.
4. Add salt and pepper and sugar from recipe.
5. Boil veggies until tender. The smaller you dice them, the quicker they will cook, but you don't want them so small that they turn into mush either.
6. While cooking veggies, melt the margarine in another pot. I like to use margarine instead of butter. It just makes the chowder taste better to me than butter.
7. Once the margarine is melted, shake up the half and half. Open the container and set off to the side.
8. Add the flour to the margarine, stirring quickly.
9. Pour in some of the half and half while stirring. It will thicken up quickly. Add more half and half, continuing to stir. Add the rest of the half and half, continuing to stir.
10. Stir until thick. I like to let it get quite thick because then it doesn't take so long to thicken again after adding the veggies.
11. When the half and half mixture is thick enough, slowly add the veggies and juice/water to the half and half by the ladle-full. DON'T ADD THE HALF AND HALF MIXTURE TO THE VEGGIES. THIS IS THE WRONG DIRECTION. Add all of it - but slowly - stirring constantly. Continue to stir until chowder is thickened again.
12. Add clams.
Let cool a little before serving. Yum. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
We wish you could join with us on this special night. Maybe next year. We love all of you and wish you a very wonderful, joyous Christmas Eve - the night of our Lord's birth so many, many years ago.