I cannot believe that 2012 is already 3 days old! It seems that each year of my life goes by much quicker than the previous one. At the same time, I have never been happier than I am now. I have a wonderful husband, a marvelously mischievous little boy, a comfortable home, a loving extended family, and a great group of close friends. As we said goodbye to 2011, Paul and I reflected on all that had happened over the past year and could not help but feel so incredibly blessed. We look forward to all the adventures that God has in store for our little family in this upcoming year!
Our Christmas Day festivities were a little interrupted this year by illness. As I have mentioned earlier, our whole family (well, minus Matthew) was attacked by a horrible bug that just continued to linger and fester for most of December! Poor Paul could not seem to get rid of his nasty cough and was also suffering from some debilitating headaches. Shortly before Christmas, he decided to make an appointment with our family doctor. I took Matthew to run some errands while he went to the appointment. Upon arriving home, I found Paul sitting at our kitchen table with a large glass of water staring at seven various bottles and vials all lined up in a row. Apparently, he only had a sinus infection but was instructed to take additional medication to treat the symptoms of lethargy and head pain. Unfortunately, the compound effect of all the drugs made him quite giggly and silly. I was making the beds upstairs and could hear him chuckling to himself in the kitchen. It was slightly disturbing. At least he was happy and feeling better - and it did make him quite jolly on Christmas morning.
We attended midnight mass, a Christmas tradition for both of our families. We put Matthew down like normal around 8pm on Christmas eve and then woke him around 11:30pm, stuffed him into a suit, and then wrestled him into his car seat. He screamed so loud that we began to doubt our sanity for choosing such a late Mass time. Nevertheless, we persevered and arrived at Mass right on time. Matthew ended up cheering up once he saw how beautiful the Church looked adorned with all the Christmas ornaments. He was very quiet for 95% of the Mass, choosing to issue a bloodcurdling scream in the middle of the consecration because he pinned his foot between the kneeler and the pew. At the very end of Mass, the priest asked the congregation to reflect for a few moments on the true meaning of Christmas. Of course, Matthew chose that time to begin chatting animatedly about the lit Christmas tree behind our pew. Paul and I immediately began stuffing Cheerios into his mouth to keep him quiet. Crisis averted!
After returning home from Mass, we enjoyed a toast of eggnog and a few Christmas cookies before shuffling off to bed. Paul and I could not quite fall asleep, so we simply chatted and enjoyed one another's company by our beautiful Christmas tree until about 4:00am.
This proved to be a huge mistake in the morning.
Paul and I were both so tired when Matthew started chanting from his crib around half past seven, that we almost took a tumble down the stairs. Once Matthew saw the presents under the tree, he was so excited that we both immediately perked up. The mug of coffee did not hurt either.
Matthew was sweet about each and every one of his gifts. He would carefully unwrap each toy and play with it for a while before moving on to the next gift. We actually did not completely finish unwrapping his gifts until that evening because he would take such long play breaks between gifts. He did love his coffeemaker. He's been violently pouring us coffee every 10 minutes ever since.
He even took a nap with it when he finally tuckered out...
My favorite gift this Christmas? Kind of dorky, but I really wanted one...
A scale for my kitchen! Paul actually ordered me the exact same scale that I used to use in the chemistry labs. Super, super precise! It really is...we performed a few experiments to test it.
The recipe I am going to share with you is a Christmas Eve tradition for Paul and I. We always make this hot crab dip in between our other preparations that day. My Mom used to make a crab dip appetizer before Thanksgiving that I used to love. This particular recipe actually belongs to Paul and I. A couple years ago, we made a list of flavors and seasonings that we liked with crab (while eating snow crab legs) and added them to taste to a basic dip base. If you are not an Old Bay lover, you can definitely reduce the amount you add to the cream cheese. Paul and I are really big fans of the spiciness. This recipe makes a lot of dip, but the leftovers are just as marvelous so we always make a full batch! Unfortunately, it does not photograph well - but trust me, it really is quite tasty!
Hot Crab Dip
A Nistler Family Original
1 tablespoon butter
1 large shallot, chopped fine
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. sour cream
2 tablespoons mayo
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound lump crabmeat (claw meat if possible - We get ours from GFS)
3 dashes of hot sauce (we like Frank's)
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped shallot and saute until tender (1 minute). Add the dried parsley to the shallots and cook an additional 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, Worcestershire, mustard, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the shredded cheese. Mix until smooth. Fold in the crabmeat, hot sauce, shallots, and 2 tablespoons of Old Bay.
Transfer to a baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.
Sprinkle with chopped green onions and serve hot with toasted baguette slices and crackers.