Christmas is officially underway!

Last night, Mom and I attended the Living Christmas Tree performance at my grandmother’s church.  This is always the official start of the Christmas season because we go at the beginning of the month and it’s (mostly) an upbeat, happy performance.


That’s just one of the two “trees” in the background.  Here’s (almost) the whole set.  My uncle is an “angel” at the tippy top of the left one!


I’m so proud that my grandfather designed and helped build these trees.  He worked on them each time they changed the set, and these particular trees were one of the last big projects he undertook before he passed away a few years ago.  I swear Mom and I didn’t plan to dress exactly the same.  A fact which is even funnier when you see the unplanned outfits of Mom, my aunt, and me. (Both of these pics are slightly fuzzy enough to give us a seriously wrinkled look.  Bleh.)


Right before we got to the church, we stopped at a McDonald’s (I don’t remember the last time I ate at one of those places) and each had a salad.  I was sooo hungry on the 1hr 15min drive and knew I’d get cranky and lightheaded if I sat through the performance without eating.  I had a southwestern salad with grilled chicken, and didn’t even think to bring my camera inside.  We already stuck out like sore thumbs as it was, being dressed up and alike.  I probably would’ve gotten knifed if I whipped out a camera and started taking pictures of food.

When Mam-ma, Mom, and I got back to Mam-ma’s house, I made us all hot chocolate (well, mine was a protein shake) and we got in our PJs to watch a movie.  I had seen Four Christmases once last year at the theater and couldn’t remember how racy it was.  There was only one part where I cringed a little, but I think I heard my grandmother chuckling.  Neither she nor Mom had seen it, and they both loved it.  Movie night success. 

This morning when we got up, we visited with Mam-ma a bit and then each went our separate ways – she had a luncheon to go to, and Mom and I had to get back home to do some stuff around the house.  On our way out of town, we stopped at Atlanta Bread Company and had salads – I had a Caesar with chicken (and only half a container of dressing), and it was SO GOOD. 


We walked through a local craft show where I found a little something for Christmas gifts (yay!) but nothing else (boo).  We actually discovered that there is a Starbucks in Mam-ma’s smallish town (albeit stuck in a grocery store, but it does the trick!).  I got a tall nonfat gingerbread latte, and it so wasn’t worth cheating for.  It was really watered-down-tasting.  I did some heavy yard work this afternoon to make up for it, though. 

So at home, we worked on adding more ornaments to the tree and putting up decorations outside.  Four of these on lampposts…


And two of these on the front porch (it’s totally appropriate to have pumpkins under Christmas topiaries, right?)…


…in addition to the icicle lights we hung on the back deck last week…


We even decked the dog with boughs of fleece…


…and had a good laugh over my awkward cat.


For dinner, I made us foil packet-baked chicken with dry onion soup mix as a dry rub.  With a pile of steamed broccoli and a too-big squirt of yogurt ranch dressing, it made a pretty goshdarned good meal.


Mom and I screamed our hearts out while watching our Clemson Tigers in the ACC championship tonight, but they just couldn’t pull off a win against GA Tech.  It was SUCH a good game, and CJ Spiller is an amazing football player and deserves his title of 2009 ACC Player of the Year (and the Heisman, IMHO).  I just wish our quarterback had a faster reaction time.  My heart was seriously broken at the end of that game, but it’s slowly being mended by The Holiday on TBS.  One of my all-time favorite movies.  I love the cast, I love the story, I love the sets, I love the score.  It’s frickin’ awesome.  Night, all!


  1. oooh! okay, tell me how to make that chicken. and then tell me about this yogurt ranch dressing? ...why don't i know things.

    you look great in the pictures!

  2. Seems like a really fun weekend-and even in matching outfits you all looked beautiful-haha.

  3. Laura - (nothin' like waiting half a week to get back to you on this) I think I used one packet of the dry onion soup mix for 3 chicken breasts. I tore off 3 pieces of foil about a foot long each and centered the chicken on each one then sprinkled each with the soup mix (one side, then flip it and do the other). Then I rolled up the foil on top and the sides and baked at 350*ish for like 25 min in the foil, then took it out of the foil and baked for like 10-15 more (just because if you keep it in the foil, it's a little too wet and it weirds me out). I like cooking this way because it makes it really flavorful and it's easy to experiment with other herbs, etc.

    Candace - Thanks! Wasn't that funny? I didn't even realize Mom and I were dressed alike until AFTER the show, and then someone so eloquently (not) pointed out my aunt was dressed like us, too...I felt like such a dork!


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