Thursday, December 29, 2011

Annual Christmas Gift Exchange

In addition to the numerous holiday festivities, my mom, sister, and I, all have birthdays in December.  My plan was to post each event as they happened,  but time got away from me.  So since there's still a few days left in December, I'm doing it now, starting with my sister and brother-in-law's annual gift exchange party.  The gift rule is, bring something either homemade, something you already own that you're re-gifting, or a certificate for a service.  For example, I walked away with 2 hours worth of babysitting OR a bottle of wine from the giver's stash.  :o)

I made Infused Vodka.  I finally found lavender at Cost Plus, so I was able to give that flavor a go.  My brother-in-law walked away with it and brought it over Tuesday night for my mom's birthday (more on that later).  Um, OMG good.  My sister mixed up Simply Lemonade with the Lavender Vodka and served it in a martini glass with a sugared rim and a lemon twist.  Seriously delicious. 

The Dad made homemade cheese - I know, right?! - and my sister ended up with THAT living at her house too.  She brought that over on Tuesday as well, and we all got to dig in.  SO GOOD.  Nice work Chach!

They had the party the day before her birthday this year, so we threw in a birthday cake to celebrate.  Friends of ours also surprised everyone by getting engaged at the party, so it was a fun-filled night.

The party is always potluck, so I took along a Rosemary Wreath Appetizer and Baked Ricotta.  The Baked Ricotta was nummy - at least for someone who gets excited about hot cheese with a side of bread.  You can get the recipe here.  The wreath app was inspired by all the ones floating around Pinterest this month.  You can see a good example of one here.

Here are mine:

And I may or may not have been hovering around my sister's nibble platter.

Yes, those are bacon-wrapped dates.
And yes, I could eat my weight in them.

I offered to donate the birthday cake, so I made the Crackly Pear Cake, since my sister had been talking about it ever since the first time I made it.  My original post for that is here.  It's all kinds of good, people.  I also made the Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Squares, which were delicious as well.  Figure friendly, not so much.  But I've never been one to care much about overdoing it.

My brother-in-law organizes a boys-against-girls Jeopardy game every year that, without fail, brings out the nasty in people.  Bragging rights are a big deal in our group.  In the past, it has been 3 x 5 cards on poster board.  This year, he took it up a notch and busted out the Power Point.

Oh yeah, it's serious business.  During the last category, Final Jeopardy, each couple had to do a sensory test.  One was blindfolded while the other one had them touch, smell, or taste something.  The gender who was blindfolded, earned the points for their respective team with a correct answer.  The last couple ended up being a marriage proposal.  My brother-in-law was in on it, but the rest of us were like, what the what?!

It was pretty cool.  You can read the whole story with more pictures, including a pregnant chick on the floor in the background, on Makaila's blog here.

'Twas a fun night all the way around.

Next up, ya know, if all goes according to plan (ha ha), I'll get some birthday pics on here.


  1. Looks like a fun month of celebrations!

  2. Gosh, what a great family you have!

    I just found this website and immediately thought of you.

    I just checked out all the cakes; every single one looks fabulous. So glad your sister likes the pear cake. Recipe is from a blogger here in Santa Cruz, CA. Her house was destroyed by a falling tree, but she's rebuilding.

    After I get over all the "sweetness" of the holidays, I'll start with some of the recipes on the site above.

    Best wishes for you, your family and the new baby.


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