Wednesday, December 17, 2008

From Rain to Sun Shine


The rain has been non stop and we have not seen a blue sky since Sunday, but just a few minutes ago, the rain stopped, the clouds moved away and this bright sun shine seeped through. I don't know whether to be happy or annoyed LOL

I was enjoying all the rain though it does make it a bit of a hassle taking the kids to school and picking them up when you're soaking wet.....but all that balances out the fact that for the whole year it's usually cloudless and hot as heck around here.

Just as I am sitting here typing this, the clouds have moved on in again and it looks like by this afternoon we will be hearing the pitter patter on the roof.

This week has been all about baking for me, there has been shortbread and chocolate peppermint cookies and toffee and there will still be more to come, I'll add the recipes to the food blog as I go.

I'm also FINALLY ready for the holidays, I'm done people, I'm completely done with all the gifts both bought and homemade. It feels wonderful to be able to sit back now and just wait for the day to arrive, which for us is December 24th at midnight. It's always been our tradition to wait up until that time and then open the presents and of course when I brought that up to the children, they were only too happy to follow the Portuguese way of doing things LOL Wouldn't you?

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How do you celebrate Christmas at your house? Do you also open the gifts on Christmas Eve or on Christmas morning? What about the stockings, do you have them ready the night before or the next morning and what about gifts from Santa, do you wrap them or leave them unwrapped under the tree. Let's talk traditions shall we?

I'll tell you about ours, like I said it's all about Christmas Eve, I don't cook a dinner that night, we have a bunch of small things on the table, usually one or two desserts, there's Shrimp Rissoles and Cod Fish Cakes, there's Beer Shrimp and pan fried chicken pieces and Beef Croquets etc.

This year our menu will consists of:

Rissois de Camarao (Shrimp Turnovers)
Fried Chicken
Bola de Carne (Savory Meat Bread)
Chips and Dip
Chocolate Cake
Portuguese Cookie Cake

We eat and then hang out and have fun until it's time to open the presents, after that the kids will go to bed and we set up the stockings and the gifts from Santa, now some years I wrap them and others I don't, it just depends on what mood I'm in I guess LOL

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I cover the table with a big table cloth and leave all the yummy stuff under there for the next day, so throughout the day you can just go by the table and help yourself to whatever you want. Dinner on Christmas night is usually Cod Fish, so I'm making Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa. This great cod fish recipe with onions and garlic and potatoes, it's SO GOOD.

On Christmas morning, I make christmas tree shaped pancakes while the kids open the stockings and Santa's gifts, then we eat and then everyone gets to play with their new toys and enjoy their gifts. There's also the LONG phone call from home, the one where I get to sit down and talk to like 12 or 13 people in one sitting, we always laugh because the phone just gets passed around from one person to another LOL

And can I be honest with you all? As much as I love the holidays, I can NOT wait until they're over so things can go back to normal. Maybe I'm getting old but all the noise and traffic and crowds just make me cringe, I am quite positive I may have been a hermit in a previous life LOL

Let me quickly show you the teacher gift boxes I made, there's nothing spectacular in there, there's that small little bag with mints, there's toffee and then there are homemade shortbread cookies and Chocolate Peppermint Cookies which are SO good, there's crushed candy canes inside and on top. YUM!



I also found these round little boxes at the dollar store and got 3 of those, one for Curt and one for each of the kids, they are also getting the shortbread and the chocolate peppermint cookies.


And now I feel like I've babbled enough for one day so I'm heading out. I'm actually going to go check out all the Husband MeMe's you ladies did, I can't wait to read.

I thought it was so funny that so many of you seemed shocked that Curt doesn't watch sports LOL but it's true, he does not like sports ATT.ALL. Guess I'm lucky LOL

Anyway, have a great Wednesday!


  1. Those are beautiful boxes!! I am sure all will enjoy them. Happy holiday's and I, too, can't wait for it to be over, as the traffic is CRAZY!!

  2. Tridition past and present are so different.. when the kids were small my hub and I would wait till they went to bed them wrap all the gifts and at that time we put up and decorated the tree. So the next morning was a totally different sight for them to find the tree and gifts.
    Now that their all grown up we have only one adult daughter still living at home. The 3 of us either spend Christmas Eve at the casino or go out with other adult relatives for dinner and some drinks. The next morning we pass our gifts back and forth across the breakfast table. Then we get dressed and head to the youngest daughters house to spend the day with them and her hub's parents. I always look forward to that because it's her turn to cook and entertain since I'm the one that cooks and serves the Thanksgiving meal.
    Then New Years Eve we return to Jo's house for soup/chili and snack foods and spend the evening playing board games with several friends.

  3. The teachers will love those boxes! We usually have a Christmas Eve service at church. We then come home and have supper, which is lots of little things and sweets. We read the Christmas story from Luke them we open stockings and presents. Christmas day is spent with either Bob's or my family. I think opening presents at midnight sounds like fun!

  4. I blogged our traditions.. I hope you will stop by and read them. My kids would love to open their gifts Christmas Eve too. :)

  5. We dont do Christmas dinner, we do a MASSIVE Christmas breakfast. With everything from ham,and sweet rolls, to fruit salad. Then through out the day we have munchies..much like you. This year I am making some of my childhood favs. Orange balls,baby ruth bars and herbed oyster crackers.Plus the usual veggie tray,finger foods...
    As far as gifts, we do Christmas morning. The girls are allowed to get into their stockings first thing,but no presents until after breakfast.
    The best part of our plan is that I am not tied to the kitchen all day..I wanna play too! :)

  6. Oh those peppermint cookies look so good. The boxes were very cute!

  7. The teacher boxes turned out fantastic - they'll love them. I'm ready too!

    We do a 'buffet', usually sandwich makings or fried chicken and potato salad with a cake of some sort on Christmas Eve. When I was a kid it was all about Christmas Eve for presents so the whole family could be together and then be at their own homes for the kids and stockings & santa gifts on Christmas morning and then we'd all get back together later that afternoon for a big family meal. Nowadays we do gifts on Christmas morning while the Christmas Morning casserole is baking and then a medium meal around 4 with lots o snacking before and after while we hang out.

    You and I must have had side by side caves in that previous life LOL. On January 1st, my ritual is to take down the tree, put away the decorations and clean the house from top to bottom to start the new year fresh!

  8. Sandra:
    I posted the hubby list today. I loved your blog except the part where you are all done... see green envy right here....My great-grandmother was born in the Azores and you will often describe recipes I remember eating as a child. Thank you. You Christmas traditions sound lovely.
    Roberta Anne

  9. Your packages for the teachers look great...I would love one if I was them, you are a great mom Sandra..Merry Christmas.

  10. Woohoo!! You have been cooking hard! Wow!! How fun!

    I love love the pic of the sun coming out...well peaking out. :)
    What beauty the rain brings... clear skies...washing away all the brown yuck that hangs refreshing!

    Bless you, my bloggy friend!


  11. What great teacher boxes - they are going to love them!

    We used to have a cold buffet on Christmas Eve when I was growing up and then my Mum would make a traditional roast dinner for Christmas Day. The first year my husband and I were together, we celebrated Filipino style - stay up until midnight to go to Mass, then gather with friends (family was all too far away) for a huge meal. By the time we went to bed it was after 3am so we slept until after noon and Christmas was over! I didn't care for that style of celebrating at all.

    I tried my Mum's way for about the first two years after that but it was such a huge production to cook a big meal on Christmas Day and we had a toddler and were missing all the fun. So, it's evolved into the cold buffet on Christmas Eve and eating the leftovers on Christmas Day - sort of like your covering everything with a tablecloth, Sandra, and having it all there to snack on.

    We have always opened our gifts on Christmas morning, even the one year we did Christmas Filipino-style, we still opened our gifts on the 25th (although it was afternoon by the time we got to it)! Stockings, too, are opened on Christmas morning and well, Santa has never really been a big deal in this house. My husband was adamantly opposed to lying to our daughter about the guy in the red suit so it's been a case of telling her the history of St. Nicholas and how the concept of Santa evolved but that he and the reindeer coming out on Christmas Eve to deliver gifts is a fairy tale. We do leave really big things unwrapped and set them out after she's gone to bed.

    I always go overboard and it drives my husband nuts. Talk about the joining of the man who celebrated Christmas purely as a religious celebration (translation: no decorations, no tree)and the woman known as the Queen of Christmas (every flat surface covered with something green or red) and you had some major compromising the first few years of our marriage. We've worked it out, though, and I love the whole holiday season. We do it all - the calendar is jam-packed, we decorate, we entertain, we do things for charity, we shop, go to a holiday show, carol, bake, you name it and we do it. It's five fun-filled weeks and we look forward to it all year. I agree, Sandra, as much as I love it all, I do yearn for the normalcy to return! I'm pooped!

  12. Your Christmas presents for the teachers look delicious!

    We open presents on Christmas Day first thing. We go to church. Afterwards we either go to my Mum's (she sometimes does Christmas on Boxing Day) or go home and have a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

    It's raining here, I long for more snow.


  13. The boxes look wonderful! They will be enjoyed for sure.

    Growing up we had meal on Christmas Eve, always had ham and some fixings. Then we opened up our gifts. Santa gifts were unwrapped under the tree on Christmas morning, and the stockings were filled with all sorts of goodies! We always had a big meal later that day. As a small child, we would go to my Grandparents for Christmas dinner that afternoon. But that changed, and they started coming to our home for Christmas dinner. So we were always home with open arms for anyone to come and eat and enjoy some desserts with us! It was the BEST feeling in the world!

    Now we always have a early dinner at my parents home on Christmas Eve. Then them and my immediate family attend Christmas Eve Service at Church. Then we go to a wonderful Christmas Light Drive through Park. We arrive back to my parents and we all open a a few little gifts. The kids go to bed. Mom and I watch a Christmas Movie and do some baking or candy making. Then we have Unwrapped Santa gifts for the little ones. Santa always leaves them some sort of gift about Jesus, as it is his Birthday we are celebrating. We have our Christmas with all my familly mid day to early afternoon, we exchange gifts and eat our dinner, and just have lots of fun!

    Hugs and Blessings,


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