Hello dear people. I have missed you, each! I know I have only posted once this past week, but I hope you will excuse me as I had several days of busy eating...o and socializing, but mostly eating:-) But now, on to our Christmas Time of Cheer!
With Thanksgiving behind us, the Christmas season has officially begun here in the heartland of the United States. I know many are reading this from different parts of the world; so wherever you are, I hope this winter is a time of cheer for you as well.
True to our little family's tradition, this Sunday after Thanksgiving, the Christmas tree and decor is out in the living room. We are officially 24 days, 13 hours and 28 minutes away from Christmas, so our Elf on the Shelf is back and has joined us for the season. I didn't grow up with the whole Elf on the Shelf thing in Egypt, but my four-year-old Hannah is soooo into it! She imagines that Santa has sent him to be with us for the holidays to provide fun, but more importantly, to watch if we've been bad or good! I'm not gonna lie, I like having Elfie (as she calls him) here. The whole idea of being "watched" keeps her better behaved. Notice that I said "better," not "best." We still have moments of defiance, many many moments of defiance 🙂
So our season of cheer begins with the ceremonial tree installation. Is "installation" the right term? And by ceremonial, I mean, we blast Christmas music; light up candles; and I let my hubby do all the work of putting the tree and decor up with the kids. I do, I "let" him because it goes way faster if I'm not involved. Also, because my job is to provide cheer! Yup, I cheer them on:-) And I bake the sweets, like my famous chocolate turtles with pistachio and Kahlua! Or simply make some hot chocolate to keep the sugar going:-) So, we each keep to our tasks.
This year, the decorating is going a bit easier since my little one is now four and can comprehend and follow instructions...well, if she wants to. Three years ago, we were brave enough to let her help. For some reason, my hubby and I were busy doing something else and we left one-year-old Hannah in the care of her then 9- year-old sister. The baby broke a few ornaments and proceeded to eat some of the shattered pieces. So note to the wise, Christmas decorating can be dangerous for little ones. Keep close supervision.
Once the tree is up today, we plan to watch some movies. I'll probably head to the kitchen and work on a few recipes to share with you soon. I love this time of the year so much, I know I am going to cook up a storm. Please be sure to leave me your e-mail here so I can send my recipes with step-by-step pictorial instructions right to your e-mail. I will be conducting an awesome holiday giveaway soon, so sign up!
If you follow me on facebook, you probably already saw my quick note about the fact that we surprised my in-laws in Michigan with a visit over Thanksgiving. I know, right! "Surprise," is probably the last word you want to hear when you have planned for x number of people around your holiday table, but now suddenly you have four more! O and four that plan to spend a couple of nights at your house! But for my mother-in-law, it was a very happy word. You see, the Karadshehs always have a generous table with food planned for perhaps an extra dozen people! And mom-in-law is a master homemaker and cook! Her joy is to have her kiddos around her, and she shows it in every way.
The drive to Grand Rapids, where my in-laws live, is about 10 hours away from us. I begged my husband to call and inform his family the day before or even the morning we left, but he did budge. In his mind, a surprise has got to come with a super last minute notice, and so the compromise was to call his mom half-way through our drive. In five short hours, my mom-in-law, the master homemaker and chef of the family, had everything prepared! She received us on Wednesday evening with a traditional Jordanian meal called Maglooba. I have yet to make that here on the blog, but I hope to soon. Maglooba is essentially a one-pot-wonder of chicken with fried cauliflower, eggplant, potatoes and rice. It is yummy!
The next day, the Thanksgiving feast included a dozen dishes from a Mediterranean-spiced fall-off-the-bone turkey to ham, and the usual suspects of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, beets etc. But in addition, my mother-in-law made her mini pizzas/pies with meat and Zataar. Out of this world! And of course small dishes like hummus and Mediterranean green salad were on the menu as well. There was food on the large table, in addition to a buffet of food filling the kitchen counters. Centerpieces and other decor were removed to make room!
It was truly a big feast that we concluded with umpteen desserts including my Greek baklava, which I will be sharing here with you in detail soon. And while the food was amazing, the company was what we craved most. The real treat for us was to be in the presence of family; and now that we are back to our quiet home, we have missed them all already (including Noodles, their little chihuahua)!
So what did you do for Thanksgiving? Dying to know if you overate as much as I did 🙂 And how do you kickoff Christmas at your house? Please leave me a comment below.