Saturday, January 2, 2016


On the 19th of December Mark and I had a lovely company dinner at Mario's in Downtown Riverside. There were four course's before the main course and then dessert. I love Mario's! We also ordered a side dish of their amazing mushroom risotto to take home to eat with our dinner on Sunday. 

It is right across the street from The Mission Inn in Riverside. Their lights are spectacular each year! 
Since I came down with a cold I lost a few days before Christmas so Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (Christmas Eve) I basically gave it my all working non-stop to finish up all the preparations for Christmas. 

On Christmas Eve Mark and I went to a church service. I have been to this church 3 years in a row now. Promised myself I wouldn't go back but I didn't find another Christmas Eve service to attend in the area and Mark enjoyed their service last year because it was all singing and a very small sermon.

The reason I didn't want to go back is because they never sing traditional Christmas Songs which is what I need on Christmas Eve:
O Come, All Ye Faithful
Joy To The World! The Lord Is Come
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Angels We Have Heard On High
Silent Night, Holy Night
O Holy Night!
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Go, Tell On The Mountain
The First Noel
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Away In A Manger
What Child Is This
Joy To The World (Unspeakable Joy)

Lets just say that we are not going back, third time was not a charm! Okay one man sang a solo of Silent Night but we didn't sing it. Also they didn't do a whole lot of singing this year, just a few song and the sermon went on for 45 minutes. 

It was a big sell for donations. I am all about giving and helping others but a Christmas Eve service to me is about the birth of Jesus and traditional music. (okay, stepping down from the soapbox)

We watched White Christmas when we got home and then I went to finish up on wrapping a few more gifts while I watched It's a Wonderful Life. I think I got into bed around 1 am! 

Click photos to enlarge.....

What I baked this year, all on Christmas Eve day! 
 Pecan Cresents
(made into balls because it's easier)
 Pecan Tassies
 Spritz Cookies (double batch)
 Bohemian Hoska
 Skye posing for a photo.....

Adam and Tristen arrived around noon. They had arrived in CA on the 20th, spent time staying with Tristen's mom and visiting with friends. It was so awesome to see them. I hate them living so far away but I have to admit that the times we are together are treasured in a whole new way. That I believe is a huge blessing in disguise. 

Adam and Tristen
Adam and Amber
Must be the angle because Mark looks short here! 
A different pose from the one I shared the other day.....
I goofed, had to go back and reset....
Skye resting after getting the heart out of the toy.
On Christmas Day we had a variety of appetizers. Meatballs, queso dip, onion dip & chips, cookies, veggies, chips & salsa, berries, nuts, etc., etc., etc. Then a little later in the day we had Lou Malnati's Deep Dish Pizza and garlic bread. We also had some ice cream sandwiches on pizzelle cookies! 

We spent a few hours opening up our gifts. Before we started I have to share that from the time Adam & Tristen arrived until the time we started to open gifts Skye sat by the tree waiting. She loves Christmas! I love buying and giving gift to my family. Most of them are requested items but it is still fun and I always find some awesome extra gifts too. 

With Adam and Tristen having to travel by plane back home they appreciate a lot of gift cards too. I will be shipping them a box of some of the items so they didn't have to carry them with them. Of course we all got our Christmas pajamas from Santa too....he never forgets! 

Adam and Tristen had a party to go to on Saturday night and spent the evening at his best friend Jason's house. So they were back here on Sunday early afternoon. We made a Prime Rib dinner with several other items that we all like.
 Adam baked bread....
 Sauteed Mushrooms
 Kale Salad
 Prime Rib
(forgot to take pictures after it came out!)
 Baked Potatoes
We hung around the house watching basketball and football and just enjoying each other's company. It was all so perfect. 

BBQ Country Style Pork Ribs for dinner Monday night with mashed potatoes, corn & green bean casserole.

It was truly the best of times.......


Mara said...

I love the goofy photo. Very funny indeed.

Your Christmas sounds like it was a lot more hectic than mine, but I am glad you enjoyed it. And the food looks amazing. Recipe for hoska?? Please!!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

What a fun time. Skye is always adorable. You all ate like kings!

TexWisGirl said...

good times, good food! good family. :) skye made me laugh. typical dog...

betty said...

It looked like the best of times :) Glad you guys could be together and enjoy those days :) You do put out a big effort for Christmas and I know it is much loved with what you do :)

Sorry about the church service; I think those that plan a Christmas Eve or a Easter service need to remember there will be people in the congregation that don't normally attend and I think they need to gear the service accordingly. I too like when the traditional songs are sung in the traditional keys that we are used to singing them in. Hubby plays on the worship team at church here and this year the worship leader did a lot of the traditional songs but in different keys that were hard sometimes to follow along. I did mention to hubby, who agreed he liked the more traditional, but he goes with the flow with what is expected of him when he plays on the team. Interestingly, the pastor made a comment that he liked the new arrangements of the song since year after year it was always the same old way sung. Many different perspectives out there.

Now slowly but surely I'm sure you'll be starting to take down Christmas for 2015 and plan ahead for 2016.


Chatty Crone said...

I agree that for Christmas you need to sing Christmas songs - I wonder why they don't. Your meal sounded delicious - the one you went to and the one you made. It was nice to see your family! The cookies yummy. And last but not least - Disco takes the heart out of toys like that - I wonder why they do that? Glad you had a nice Christmas and Happy New Year.

Karen Mortensen said...

So glad that you had a wonderful Christmas. Happy New year to you.Remember my niece that you sent a handkerchief too? Well she now has 2 kids. A 2 year old girl and a 3 month old little boy.

Mevely317 said...

Wow. I think I just gained 10 lbs. looking at your yummy, home-made goodies. Did you prepare all those dinners yourself?

We don't attend church services regularly; but I can empathize with your disappointment about the music. Last year's Christmas Eve services, the choir thought it a good idea to change the rhythm/tempo and key to "Oh, Holy Night." AAAARGH!!! (That's right up there in my book with those who take personal liberties with the Star Spangled Banner before sporting events.)

Cathy said...

It all sounds so wonderful and the food looks delicious! Love the family pics, especially the goofy one because everyone looks like they are having fun.

I agree with you on the Christmas Eve Service, although we don't typically go to one. Our Sunday night service before Christmas was like a Christmas Eve Service (which I loved by the way).

Little Penpen said...

Looks like a wonderful Christmas!!! I"m with you on the traditional Christmas hymns; I feel the same way about traditional hymns in church. Your food looks delicious! Happy New Year!

Carla from The River said...

I am ready to come eat at your house!! Yummy!
Happy New Year,

P.S. Did you go to the new Star Wars movie yet? We did and we all gave it a thumbs up. :-))

holli said...

Such great photos of the fam and of the food. Oh my I am starving after looking and reading about your meals. Happy New Year!!!

Stephanie said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas and that baking! Wowzers! Now I can't believe the church doesn't sing the "classics"! Sounds like you need to find a service with a children's choir?

Happy Holidays!

Alexis AKA MOM said...

What a wonderful time. I love all your photos my dear! I love the goofed one .. lol so me!

the sweets and the bread look amazing!! I so want to try pecan crescents, but I bet I'd eat them all!

Sharon said...

Debby, what a wonderful time! Your family is lovely, even when they're acting goofy for the camera! And I know how special this time must have been, because of Adam and Tristen's moving. But, we are never far in our hearts from the ones we love. And that is what makes us family...

My entire extended family, all 18 of us, gathered together two days after Christmas Day, which was also my mom's 83rd birthday. It was a special time, and my heart was full. I am grateful for each and every one of them - even when they drive me crazy!!

Looking forward to sharing the journey in 2016.


(P.S. You've made me sooo hungry. And I just love the pictures of Skye - especially the one in which he was exhausted by his winning battle against the squeaker - which is still right next to his nose!! Too cute!)

NanaNor's said...

What a wonderful Christmad; I'm sorry you were sick beforehand though. Also that is too bad about the Christmas Eve service-I haven't been to one since I was single. Sending hugs your way; that was a lot of impressive baking you did.

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