Thursday, December 22, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

Wow, the holidays are exhausting! In a great way though.  Everyone knows I like to stay busy...very busy.  Mission accomplished the past two weeks! I have been too busy to blog but I'm finally getting a chance to share some pictures of our latest festivities. 

I am beginning to feel like I am writing a cooking blog sometimes! Be ready for a lot of pictures of food this week and not enough pictures of people.  All the cooking I have been doing just looks like a work of art in our festive Christmas serving dishes so I took lots of pictures. 

Two weekends ago we attended the Christmas party for the fighter pilots' squadron that Chris works for.  The theme was ugly Christmas sweaters, and we played dirty santa.  The party was a lot of fun.  After working for the figher pilot squadron all year, Chris has kind of started to consider whether he would enjoy pursuing that career path rather than some of the other planes he has considered.  Fighter pilots have a very...distinct culture.  Lots of hard working.  Lots of partying.  Lots of...confidence :)  It's an interesting mix of traits but, needless to say, Chris and I don't lack any of them entirely, so we both felt at home in the midst of the fighter-pilot crowd. Luckily, Chris has a very long time before he has to put in his preferences for planes...and even then, I'm not convinced that the Air Force really even considers them that much.   So, it's good to have an idea of some areas that you might fit in well, but it's probably not a good idea to get too hung up on what kind of pilot you want to be because, in the end, only Uncle Sam and God can determine that!

Here are some pictures from the party (they didn't turn out very good because they were taken with my phone and sometimes the iPhone doesn't take the best pictures in dark rooms)

Picture of the room while we took turns getting presents for Dirty Santa.  The party was held in a restuarant in West Point, MS called Anthonys.  West Point is it's own city, but it really doesn't take any longer for us to get there from base than it does to get to downtown Columbus.  The party started with a cocktail hour, followed by a 3 course meal and then ended with Dirty Santa.

Our final winnings (after picking a bunch of good presents and getting them all stolen from us!)...3 bottles of Muscadine wine...very "Mississippi".

I thought this was a creative way to present a 6 pack of Bud! I'm pretty sure whoever brought that gift had a wife...I don't really imagine a fighter pilot sitting around gluing red cotton balls and googly eyes to beer bottles, but I could be wrong!

Tammy donated us the sweaters...thanks, Tammy!
We really didn't accomplish anything else last weekend that I can think of.  It was actually pretty nice! Jon and Autumn are gone to Washington for a whole month, and I can tell that a lot of other families have taken leave for the holidays, too.  Things are pretty quiet on the base. We did a little cooking to warm up for our families' visits...a little bit of a Mexican theme.

This probably the fifth time I have made this is so easy and delicious!! Not to mention healthy.  If anyone is interested, here is the recipe:

We were improvising with the stockpile of groceries I had on hand from couponing...refried beans, cheesy mexican rice, and steak.  We decided the steak would go with it since I'm sure they have steak in Mexico (although I'm not sure if they have much filet...) Chris' favorite thing to gril is a steak, and we eat it a lot because we get such good deals at the commissary. 

Last week I attended another spouses' social in one of the old antebellum homes in Columbus.  Columbus isn't known for much (other than being the "possum town", I suppose), but it is known for all the beautiful Civil War era homes scattered among it's neighborhoods.  There is a community initiative to preserve and showcase the homes, so all of them have signs out front telling what year they were built and, in many cases, the original owners.  I, myself, have seen at least 20 but I know there are a lot more that I just don't drive by.  The one our social was in is decorated just like it would have been in Civil War times. It was just like stepping back in time...Gone With the Wind has always been one of my favorite books of all time, and so I think a lot about Scarlett O'Hara sitting in a house just like the ones in Columbus, waiting on one of her many suiters.... So in honor of my favorite book, I have elected (along with Autumn and some of the other wives) to volunteer to dress up just like Scarlett and give tours of some of the homes for the annual "Spring Pilgramage" this April.  Spring Pilgramage is this annual event in Columbus where people come from all over to tour all of the historic homes.   Dressing up and talking to a bunch of random people...sounds like fun to me!

I only get one day of vacation for Christmas and Chris and I aren't coming back to Auburn for New Years because we are going to the bowl game in Atlanta, and then Chris is leaving for Colorado for a month of training on January 4.  Since we weren't going to get much family time this year, we decided to have everyone up to visit last weekend.  My parents came on Friday night, followed by Tammy, Greg, and Warren on Saturday.  We had a good time just hanging out by the fire pit and playing with the kinect.  That whole crowd left Sunday morning, and Sunday evening, Chris Sr. and Lisa arrived to visit for a couple of days.  We stayed up half the night on Monday playing cards, which was also a lot of fun...unfortunately, the guys beat the girls, which probably had a lot to do with me not catching onto the rules as quickly as I probably should have.  The whole Friday-Tuesday could not have turned out more perfect, and I hope that as long as we are in Columbus, it can become a yearly tradition.  We really appreciated everyone taking the time to come up and see us...I esspecially enjoy entertaining family because they are always so complimentary of my cooking and decorating.  If something does go wrong, it's not as stressful.  And they never think badly of me for trying to show off! :) That makes it the perfect time to do just that...I really pulled out all the stops.  We had out every Christmas plate and serving peice, Christmas music, and Mason in his Christmas sweater and reindeer antlers.  Thanks to Tammy for taking the pictures of people (which I stole off of her Facebook), because the only thing in my pictures was food! woops!

Baked brie with cranberry relish...yum!

Steaks on my Auburn Christmas plate
Tomato mozzarella salad.

Twice baked potato casserole with shrimp, courtesy of my friend, Paula Deen.

Guys in front of the fire pit.

Warren holding Mason in his new Christmas digs!
Here are some pictures from Sunday morning brunch...

Broiled parmesan tomatoes and Spinach-cheese quiche

Cheddar cheese twists

Yummy coffee from the Keurig

Where I had all our plates and silverware set up for the buffet!

Other goodies (the basket contains pecan bread that Tammy and Greg brought us)
And here is our dinner on Monday night with Chris and Lisa...we tried grilling asparagus and it went pretty well.  Lisa made the Asian-inspired salad, which contained one of my favorite foods, Ramen noodles!

It is so hard to believe that this time next month, Chris will be gone to Colorado training.  We hope that the weather out there will not cause his class to be delayed.  The class that went during this time period last year took 6 weeks instead of the usual four because of delays.  I have a lot of things planned to keep me busy, so hopefully it will go by fast.  I think this is probably a lot harder for the wives who did not go four years living in the deep South while the husband was in Colorado, like Chris and I! I'm definitely going to miss him, but...lets face it, there were times that Chris and I didn't see eachother for 3 months, so I think 4 short weeks will fly by. Still, I realize that now I am used to seeing him every day and having him around the house.  I think I am probably going to get pretty lonely being there by myself, but I have my mom and some friends coming to town at different times to keep me company! I am also going to try to go to Atlanta for a weekend.

We are looking forward to our first Christmas far, this Christmas season has been so special, and I know it will only get better.  Mason has been so excited about Christmas, sometimes he starts acting a little crazy!

Case in point! :)

With that, I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

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