Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

I'm back after a three-week hiatus from blogging!

Nathan and I had a wonderful second Christmas together.  It's hard to believe how quickly life flies by, and that we've already been married for a year and a half.  Although, in some ways, it feels like our wedding was at least a decade ago.

We opened our presents from each other on Christmas Eve, between our church's service and the midnight mass I played for at a different church in town.  It was nice to have a restful four or five hours together to eat dinner, open gifts and watch a movie.  (I honestly can't remember what movie it was, or if it was even a Christmas movie.  I slept through most of it, trying to gear up for playing until 1:30 or 2 in the morning!) 

I think we will make this a tradition.  With both of our extended families close by, we attend five or six celebrations over the holidays, and it can start to feel crazy, even though we have a great time at each gathering.  So, we may just have to keep Christmas Eve for our own celebration together.  We had Christmas morning together too, but honestly, when you don't have excited kids pouncing on you to wake you up, it's not that fun to drag yourself out of bed to open presents at 6 in the morning!  We'll take opening presents the night before instead!


Nathan and I hosted a New Year's Eve party for our friends this year.  We had about 30 people and a lot of fun.  We borrowed his parent's foosball table and Nathan used his Christmas money to buy a ping-pong table.  Other friends loaned a PS3 and a Wii, and we had all kinds of board and card games.  I made too much food, so Nathan and I ate leftover chip dip and cocktail-sized meatballs the following week until we were sick of it!

One of our favorites is sausage dip.  It is delicious, easy and so yummy.  It is not healthy, at all, but I figure we only eat it a couple times a year.

Sausage Dip

1 Roll Original or Spicy-Flavored Sausage
2 Bricks Cream Cheese
2 Cans of Rotel Tomatoes, drained

Brown sausage in a pan; drain.  Add cream cheese to sausage and cook on low until cheese is melted.  Stir in tomatoes and heat until thoroughly warmed.  Serve with corn chips.

*After cooking, my mom puts the dip in a tiny crock-pot, which is great for parties where people will be snacking for a longer period of time.


We had a student recital at our house before Christmas and enjoyed hosting about 10 of my students and their families for the afternoon.  We love having this big house that can accommodate big groups of people.  

We're moving in March to the house that we own, which is almost half the size and doesn't have a usable basement.  I don't want that to stop us though from having guests and extending hospitality.  Maybe we can't have thirty people in our house at once anymore, but we can have five or ten.  There are going to be rooms that are not completely remodeled when we move in, but I don't want that to stop me either. It may bother me that my main-floor bathroom isn't finished, but I doubt that any guests would mind walking upstairs.  When I think about going to someone else's house, I know I wouldn't mind.  Spending time with friends and family and enjoying each other is the point of hospitality anyway- not a perfectly remodeled house, beautiful decorations and delicious food.


Holiday decor was even more fun in our second year of marriage, as I could add to what I had leftover from last year and do more decorating.  

I got a cheap garland ($5) from Walmart as the base of this fireplace arrangement.  Then I used a strand of lights left over from my tree last year and wrapped it around the garland twice to get the maximum "glow".  Finally, I added six sprigs of silver sparkly stuff purchased from Walmart for $3 each.  I added two stockings ($5 each) stuffed with tissue paper to make them look less flimsy and cheap, held by plain silver stocking holders that were also $5 each.  For just $43.00, I got a classic-looking fireplace decoration that I'll use for years to come.  In fact, after I took down the stockings, I decided to leave the garland and lights up as a winter decoration.

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