A Picture Perfect Christmas

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This year, our Christmas holiday was quiet, peaceful, and full of family and friends. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer time and a better staycation. Unfortunately, after our guests left, the girls and I got horribly sick with influenza, and I’m just now catching up with work, home and play. But for those few Christmas days, pre-sickness, it really was divine.

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Part of the joy of the holidays is having family visit. My sister Ena and her hubby Uncle M staked out the foldout bed, while my parents stayed at our generous friend’s vacant house, a short drive away. Spreading out the relatives, and dividing up the meals between us really helped ease the stress of hosting. I highly recommend it. Each adult couple was in charge of a specific meals, and those same meals they cleaned up after. Which meant, that two thirds of the time, you just got to eat and enjoy.

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One of the highlights of the holidays was our Christmas Eve dinner. Ena and Uncle M had a Ukrainian feast from scratch… Perogies, sausages, perushkey, and more. Ukrainian blood flows on M’s side of the family, as well as ours, so it was a nice heritage dinner for us, evoking my memories of making perogies with my great aunts when I was little.

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Our extended Ethiopian family, Haile and Menbi, always come over at Christmas, but this year ended up being at our house on Christmas Eve. They had never had Ukrainian food before… “I just can’t stop eating, it’s so good!” Was the compliment of the night, from a delighted Menbi. We had bison sausages and bacon on the side, just for her.

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In our family, big presents are really the norm; however carefully selected or home crafted little gifts are really appreciated. So we don’t power through Christmas morning… We savour it.

The girls first woke and opened their Santa gifts at 3am (hello, next year an alarm clock rule!) but then went back to bed and slept until 9am. Mom and dad arrived just in time to cook us a huge breakfast pancakes and bacon, of course. Dad always makes shaped pancakes for the kids… This year they had dog pancakes. Then we leisurely opened our gifts.

Some of the documented, fun gifts this year were Uncle M’ Uncle peanut butter beer…

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… Sugar and Spice’s science kit, complete with protective eyewear…

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… And the Mocha Mix, lovingly made by Sugar and Spice for their Daddy. He has been blissfully caffeinated ever since.

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The most exciting day surprise of all, however, was the announcement from my brother up north. He and his girlfriend skyped in to tell us that they got engaged! And will be married this summer. So that was wonderful to hear. I know they will be very happy.

Jason and I planned a super simple Christmas dinner, with just turkey, stuffing, and a yam / carrot bake. Here is my super helper, Sugar, chopping happily away. It looks like I’m stabbing her, but I’m not.

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Ok, well it was almost a super simple feast, because my mom is currently gluten free and dairy free, and one important kitchen appliance gave out mid-cooking. I baked the gluten free bread for the stuffing from scratch (yum) and dessert was the darkest, most delicious gluten and dairy free gingerbread cake with whiskey sauce. The bread and cake baking went swimmingly; however, after baking the bread, the oven gave out! So our turkey ended up being baked, hours late, in the veterinary clinic oven a couple of blocks away, and we ate hours later than expected. But whatever… It was delectable.

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Boxing Day, we played games, went out for poutine and took the kids skating.

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And the day after, we had a few friends over for roasted hotdogs and marshmallows outside. It was fun to hang out in the snow, drink gluhwein (double yummy!) and warm up around the fire… And I was reminded that sometimes the simplest of parties are the best.

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After Christmas, two memorable events… First, the plague. Sugar and Spice were both ill… Poor babes. Sugar had a raging fever for about a week. This is her passed out in front of a heater. Sometimes I have no idea how kids can sleep.

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Then while my subsequent fever was raging (dang, I don’t think I’ve EVER been that sick before…) we had the snowiest day in a generation. It was supposed to be the first day back to school, but instead, Kelowna has its first, and second, snow days in 35 years.

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Not only were the cars completely snowed in… You should have seen the chicken coop! Note the faint light from the coop’s window on the left.

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Jason walked to work anyways (picture below) but of course, almost no one came. So he got the course he was working on finished up, which was a hidden blessing. Now he’s asking clients about their pets energetics, and checking patients’ tongues… A very useful course in traditional Chinese medicine!

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And meanwhile, I was curled up in bed for 10 days. Seriously… 10 days. Thanks to my mom, who braved that very same snow day on the greyhound, and traveled from Creston to take care of me for a week. Thank you thank you Mom.

Now that I’ve caught you all up form our picturesque Christmas, the big news is that I get to pick up my puppy next week! So you can expect lots of gratuitous puppy pics. Lots of puppy pics.

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