My first warm weather Christmas. Doesn't seem quite right not being cold while crunching through snow. But, I could get used to it ;-}. Matthew, one of the friends who celebrated with us, grew up in Sydney Australia. He shared that the "traditional" Northern Hemisphere version of Christmas is very alien to him. Christmas is time at the beach and bar-b-ques. So, as Mr Einstein would say - "it's all relative".
The celebrations here began Sunday - late afternoon. The aforementioned Matthew and his partner Nancy arrived around 4 PM while I was busy cooking. Seems Nancy was curious to see me running the kitchen? We chatted and drank some egg nog - for which Nancy brought nutmeg nuts to grate into the drink. With a splash of Rum (well perhaps a bit more than a splash) it was luscious.
|Our Christmas Eve Feast|
When in Guatemala City last Tuesday, Katie and Brandon found some very nice beef tenderloin. While the beef roasted in the oven, I put together garlic smashed potatoes. With the tenderloin resting, Katie roasted some broccoli, onion and red bell peppers. And I sautéed shrimp we'd bought at the market on Saturday.
While dinner prep was in full swing, landlord / upstairs neighbor Augie joined us. At 6 (just in time for dinner) friends Cruz, Christina and their two sons Christian and Lejandro arrived.
|L>R Matthew, Nancy, Katie, Brandon (Tuna hiding to right of Brandon, Cruz' Family & Augie|
We dined outside on the patio. Drank some nice wines that Nancy & Matthew contributed - a German white and some nice reds. Augie brought a couple bottles of another nice German white. A splendid time was had by all. For dessert, Nancy made a splendid cheesecake from scratch,. It was phenomenal.
|L>R Matthew, Nancy, Brandon, Christina, Lejandro, Christian, Cruz & Augie|
Having (at our insistence) consumed the Lion's share of the shrimp ;-} Augie left shortly after dessert.
The rest of us took part in the traditional obligatory photo session.
After the remaining guests made their way home, Brandon gave Charlie a bath. Then they joined Katie for she and Brandon to read a bedtime story. After good night kisses for all, Toon was off to sugar-plum faerie land. Katie wrapped the last few of her gifts. Magically, Santa arrived just as she finished.
Charlie was very kind in the AM and allowed grandpa to sleep until nearly 7!
I'm gettin' the hang of this! Toon gets his very own headphones
After the wanton destruction of wrapping paper, that I'd so carefully packed and brought from the states, we had a nice breakfast. Afterward we played with all the new stuff. Great fun!
|Let's try these out|
|Hot Wheels Fun|
Katie and Charlie took their afternoon naps. Brandon and I watched Episode 1 / Season 2 of Amazon's Grand Tour. Brandon wasn't familiar with the former Top Gear guys. But, I think he found it quite entertaining.
Nancy and Matthew returned around 3. They were followed by Chris, Eryne and their 4 year old son, Hugo. Rounding out the Christmas day group were Ryan and Angela accompanied by Angela's twin daughters aged 10
Chris is a great cook. He arrived toting a fabulous ham he had roasted that day with fine glaze of home made ginger syrup. The remainder of the glaze was served as a sauce for the ham. Chris also contributed some fantastic home-made egg nog. Katie made from scratch stuffing and mashed sweet potatoes. Ryan and Angela contributed a nice selection of cheeses, crackers and surprisingly good beet dip, (eaten with bread). Angela also made some very light and fluffy dinner rolls. More nice wines were contributed, Ryan was the guest mixologist and we again feasted like royalty on the patio.
|Chris's Excellent Ham - Taken After Everyone Had Been Served!|
|Angela's Dinner Rolls - Like Eating a Cloud|
|Katie's From Scratch Sage Stuffing|
|Katie's Sweet Potatoes - After They'd Been Pretty Much Devoured|
|Foregrund - Nancy's back ;-}|
Clockwise From There
Brandon, Chris, Ryan, Angela & Eryne
|Charlie Contributed the Centerpiece|
After dinner, we played a game Ryan and Angela brought along called "Catch Phrase". It's like trivial pursuit, played with an electronic "puck" that presents the challenges, keeps time and score. High energy and lots of fun.
|Welcome Rest After an Eventful Two Days|
By the time everyone headed off for home, KBT, Kirby, Jackson and I were happy for some calm.
Hope your Christmas was as great as ours.
Until next time...