Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Cheer

Over the last few days it's finally really started to feel like the holidays around here. We always decorate the house right after Thanksgiving, but it doesn't ever really feel like Christmas to me until the cookie jar is full, Christmas cards are hanging around the doorway and presents are prettily wrapped and sitting under the tree. And of course, when big dinners start to become the norm day after day. Work finally calmed down this week and it all started to come together.  It's been the 5 days of holiday cheer!

Day 1: It's all about Riker.

Matt and I spent the whole day doting on Riker for his first birthday. We took him to the Philly zoo and to the Christmas Village, gave him all kinds of treats while we drank Starbucks peppermint mochas and walked through the city. It was such a great day. We followed it up with a Christmas/30th birthday dinner for our friend Vanessa at one of our favorite Italian restaurants. Nothing like spending an entire day with family and good friends to get you in the holiday spirit!

Day 2: Cookies!

I filled our Christmas cookie jar with classic holiday cookies from MomMom's recipe box, and tried a few new recipes as well. Nutella bites are my new fave! We definitely have eaten a fair amount ourselves, but I always bring a batch to work and give tins to our neighbors, so that cookie jar damage looks worse than it really is. ;-)

Day 3: Giving back.

I always spend a day volunteering with my friend Lindsay at Christmastime, but this year I felt compelled do help out some more children in need, with all that's happened here and around the country the past few weeks. Matt and I adopted two children who were victims of Hurricane Sandy and lost all their toys and belongings, and whose parents have more than enough on their plates without wondering how to give their kids a Christmas. Look at all those gifts for our town kids! And that was only at 9 am. It's so nice to see a community come together like that.

Day 4: Hello, office party.

Wednesday night I had my company holiday party, which always makes it feel like the end of the year has finally come. We did a gift exchange before meeting up with our significant others and heading over to Carmine's for a huge feast. Carmine's was decorated so beautifully, with garland and lights everywhere. Loved it! And the food, well that was no joke either.

I didn't snap pictures of the appetizer and pasta courses, but they were top notch, especially the fried zucchini with lemon. Ooooh my god, so good.

I filled up on salad, zucchini, garlic mussels and penne vodka before the main course even came, so I was stuffed by the time these platters came out. I did have to try a bit of the shrimp scampi, escarole and eggplant parm, though. Amazing! Carmine's serves family style, so these portions were ginormous.

The dessert platter was pretty wow-ing as well. I had some of the chocolate flourless brownie, which went perfectly with my red wine.

Matt and I didn't get home until after midnight, but it was well worth it. Such a great evening with coworkers!

Day 5: Friend fun.

Last night I had dinner plans again, but this time with some of my closest girlfriends, Lindsay and Dana. We've had plans on the books for weeks, so I couldn't wait to see them. We went to Bonefish Grill, which was where my baby shower and MomMom's 90th birthday party were held. 

I'm not a chain restaurant kind of gal, but I do have to say I love Bonefish. The food is very fresh and they have some unique flavors. We always get the Bang Bang Shrimp, which is spicy, crunchy and creamy all at the same time. For my entree, I got a half portion of the salmon with spinach, gorgonzola, spaghetti squash and mashed potatoes.

Even the small portion was too big, and quite rich, so I took half home for lunch today. Can't wait to dig into it in a few hours. :)

And now, it's my last 8 hours of work before my 11-day vacation officially begins. Gotta get cracking!

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