Christmas Day

Believe it or not Christmas day is the calmer of the two days in my family. Likely, because it is spread out over many more hours. I woke up at 7 am bright eyed and bushy tailed like a hot mess Christmas morning. The many days of entertaining, cooking and preparing finally seemed to have caught up with me. But I got myself dressed in my Christmas pajamas (Old Navy had a sale on flannel PJ pants for SIX dollars a pair. S and I have a matching set now!!) and headed up to my Dad’s house for Christmas bacon, crock pot monkey bread (made by the Brother) and to see if HoHo himself had come! wpid-20141225_084641.jpg

After exchanging gifts with Dad and the Brother I headed back down to my house to exchange with S and #TheFra. I lazed about a bit and then is was time to get my butt in gear.

These PJ's. Awesome.

These PJ’s. Awesome.

wpid-20141225_100347.jpg

S received COAL for Christmas. Which is an ongoing joke in our family AND also because we live in the anthracite coal region.

S received COAL for Christmas. Which is an ongoing joke in our family AND also because we live in the anthracite coal region.

For Christmas day we eat buffet style (there are to many of us to fit around the table) and this year we ate Polish style stuffed cabbage (golabki). We also had keilbasa with horseradish (Chrzan), mashed potatoes (which I normally don’t like but these were tasty), sweet potatoes (leftovers, don’t tell), crudites and Challah bread. Can I mention that I am the oldest of 6 cousins and the youngest is now 22. We still sit at the “kids” table in the parlor. By choice. haha

wpid-20141225_130346.jpg

The two workers.

The two workers.

After we ate it was time to open presents. We have a lot of fun opening presents in my family. Some of them are sweet and thoughtful … some of them are funny and also thoughtful.

Polish Falcon jersey.

Polish Falcon jersey.

My Aunt in her traditional Polish costume (turned into an apron).

My Aunt in her traditional Polish costume (turned into an apron).

#TheFra

#TheFra

After presents we sang Christmas carols. We sang Oh Come All Ye Faithful in Latin (my favorite), and my Aunt (whose from Poland ) led the family (not me) in the Koleda (Polish Christmas aarols). I stay FAR, FAR away from anything in this world that requires me butchering other peoples languages. haha

We had a reasonable amount FOUR pots of coffee for 11 people that afternoon. And the Brother ended up curled up on the bathroom floor sick as a dog. (Poor kid.) S and I went for a walk around Nay Aug Park which as a gift from the Parks and Rec. Department decorates the entire park with Christmas Lights.  It was nice to walk off SOME of what I ate that day. And the time chatting with S was important to me.

wpid-20141225_141902.jpg wpid-20141225_181606.jpg

I went to bed early and awoke early Friday. S was on the 7:20 AM bus and then a friend from high school came to visit. After a movie with a friend I lazed about the rest of Friday. Which I think I earned after all the hosting I did. Now the china is put away, the leftovers are being consumed, the family is where they belong, #TheFra is watching the Big Bang theory and life is normal again.

Again, Merry Christmas!

**PS: I bet you couldn’t tell that #TheFra’s parents were from Poland and that she has kept her traditions alive. 😉

Christmas Eve

I’m going to break the holidays into two separate posts because good heavens what a wild and crazy wonderful few days I’ve had. I worked Christmas eve but the Big Boss called and let us all go home early! (THANKS!!) Once out of work I hit the ground running  (went and cuddled with the dog and cat for an hour).  I also had to pick up my darling friend (who I’ll call “S” here) S who came from Manhattan to spend Christmas with my family. I met her through Weight Watchers and from the moment I met her I knew she was a kindred spirit. I am truly lucky to have her in my life.

I had a lot of fun putting a litle basket together for Sara. It was a lot of little local made products that I had gotten in a gift bag from Scranton Made's Holiday on the Square.

I had a lot of fun putting a litle basket together for Sara. It was a lot of little local made products that I had gotten in a gift bag from Scranton Made’s Holiday on the Square.

Anyway, once S, the Brother, #TheFra and I were all safely home I started cooking with a vengeance. Now Christmas Eve at my house isn’t …. traditional …. BUT it is delicous. We have a TACO PARTY! So I ordered chips and gauc. #TheFra chopped enough lettuce for the Red Army and I cooked the meat.

S doesn’t normally celebrate Christmas so she and #TheFra got to work decorating the dining room tree. (It was a lot of fun watching Sara be bossed around by #TheFra. No one ever puts the ornaments where she wants them.)wpid-20141224_173242.jpg wpid-img_06511.jpg

My friends started arriving around 6 and my Dad rolled in (almost late). Everyone noshed on the cheese ball #TheFra made. And at 6:30 the last straggler rolled in and we started our Christmas Eve traditions.

#TheFra and her cheese ball.

#TheFra and her cheese ball.

First we passed around the Oplatek. Which is a Polish tradition. Here is a quick video of #TheFra explaining things.

Afterward the Brother read The Christmas Story. The reason for the season NOT that terrible movie that is played for 24 LONG hours on TBS.wpid-20141224_184026.jpg

Then the eating commenced. Let me tell you it was a free for all. You’d think these people had never seen food before. I loved it. Yay for hungry friends who like my cooking!wpid-20141224_183459.jpg wpid-20141224_185047.jpg

After dinner the hardy folks (Mr. E, S, Ali, the Brother and myself) walked around the neighborhood looking at some of the over the top amazing Christmas light the neighborhood has to offer.wpid-20141224_200936.jpg wpid-20141224_201147.jpg

Then we had dessert. Cookies. Coffee. Nut roll. Fruit Cake. to much the perfect amount of desert.

We sat around drinking coffee until we headed off to my church, Nativity of Our Lord, for midnight services. The church looked gorgeous and it was the first time in many, many years that it wasn’t just #TheFra, the Brother and I for mass. We needed two pews! Perfect way to end an awesome night!wpid-img_06621.jpg

I’ll also point out that Mr. E met my Dad and it went well. Things with he and I are awesome. The pessimistic Katie is waiting for the other shoe to drop. The happy girl is feeling very blessed.

It’s that time of year

As I said on Sunday I am busily preparing for the holidays. Sadly, I have to attend a funeral this week of a consumer from my days of working as a residential assistant to adults with mental retardation. The funeral is of a dear guy who never, ever failed to make me laugh and my dearest Christmas wish is that he’s pulling pranks on the angels upstairs like he used to do to me.

I’ve decided to forgo telling you all about my Holiday traditions and save that post for when I have a million pictures to share. (Are you excited? You should be!!) I’m having a taco party tonight with some of my nearest and dearest and Christmas day will be spent eating Polish food.

Merry Christmas. And thank you for visiting my Blog. I’m really enjoying posting little snitpits of my life!

Here are some photos from Christmases past and leading up to this year:

 

wpid-20141221_123241.jpg

We invited #TheFra’s best friend and Ed over for dinner Sunday. The table looks very festive. (That is the dining room tree. Not to be mistaken for the paror tree or the kitchen tree.)

wpid-imag0390.jpg

A holiday wreath made of WINE CORKS. A friend from NY state made it a few years ago and I still love it.

wpid-imag0406.jpg

Christmas village from another life when I worked in a museum. (Mine is the pink one)

wpid-imag0428.jpg

#TheFra LOVES her white tree.

wpid-imag0438.jpg

Christmas gift from my Mom MANY years ago. Stay out of my ketchup and no one gets hurt. Also, Heinz is the only way to go.

wpid-imag0025.jpg

This is a chocolate log. It’s chocolate cookies with homemade whipped cream. SO good. I highly reccomend!

 

*If you need to make a holiday donation this year consider making it to the ARC of Northeastern Pennsylvania. They do a lot of good. Here.

Links for the week of 12/14/2014

It’s getting down to the Christmas wire. Every single minute of my time is scheduled from now until the New Year. My calendar is intense and color coded. I’m not sure I’ll be sleeping but after the year I’ve had I want this to be phenomenal Christmas. I want people to leave my house smiling and happy. I want them to be full and happy. I want laughter. So if not sleeping and working frantically leading up to all that needs to happen. Well so be it.

Anyway, busy as I am I rounded up some great links this week. Take a look?

First off “8 Reasons Why You Should Marry the Complicated Girl” Marry the girl who demands respect This was a great article that I really enjoyed reading. Because, yes, I am complicated BUT in the best way possible. Here

“Love is not Enough” This was a fascinating article about why love can’t be the only thing. This sentence really resonated with me. “Because you need more in life than love. Love is great. Love is necessary. Love is beautiful. But love is not enough.” Here

Ever since my Dad dragged me to the theaters to see The Fellowship of the Ring I have been a MAJOR Tolkien fan.  And then to add to it when casting for The Hobbit Richard Armitage (love of my life) was cast as Thorin. The final installment of the Hobbit came out this week and here are some awesome quotes from the movies. (PS: I heart the Chive) Here 

To help us get into the spirit here is an article about the “Deviant History of the Snowman” Here

Here are some pictures from the Samsung:

image

Bestie and I getting coffee

image

So eggnog mousse is a thing! Go get some!

image

To keep up with the Hobbit theme. A Thorin ornament!

Navy themed Party

Burke and IAs I’ve said the Brother joined the Navy (and is now home from the Navy due to medical issues). Before he left #TheFra and I threw a pretty epic party for him!table table 2

We set up the dessert table with a bunch post cards and note paper so that people could write a note to Burke and I would send it to him. They were also supposed to add there address to a blank address book. (People don’t know how to work address books. They just put EVERY single name under “A”.) I also purchased the little blue and red buckets and filled them with red and blue gummy fish. I also added wintergreen lifesavers. They went pretty will with my red, white and blue under the sea theme!!

First I designed (with help from the recruit) the invite. Which I loved a lot. Dont tread on me. Fra ordered ALL of the things from La Trottoia. A family favorite for good Italian food.

food 2 food

Then I went to Lynn Sandy’s Bakery (3 times) to order the cake and the cookies. All I really wanted for this part were anchor shaped cookies in red white and blue. Lynn Sandy’s didn’t have them BUT I ordered the cookie cutter on Amazon and they did the rest. The cookies were the highlight of the show for me.

cake wpid-20141025_110306.jpg

speech

The best thing about the party was it was the first time in a long time that this many family members have gotten together for something other then a funeral. (Dear Chapa’s, lets work on that!)

siblings

#TheFra and 2 of her older siblings (there are 5 still alive)

fra grandkids

#TheFra and 4 of her 6 Grandchildren. Aren’t we adorable?

Fra and boys

#TheFra and her “three little boys”

Fra and the gang

#TheFra and 3 of her best friends. (The guy in the orange took all the images in this post)

I also need to thank all of my friends who helped before, during and after. Bernadette and Joseph setting up, Tara and Ali picking last minute things up. Erin and Ken (driving in from BROOKLYN) and then helping with the cleanup. And the million other people who made the party a great success. I love to throw a party but I couldn’t do it alonethe set up crew BABY Fra E

Ethnic Carol Sing

Flyer2MCLong before I became the Elm Street Manager the  idea of having a holiday event in South Scranton was born. The idea was to bring the different ethnic traditions in the neighborhood and celebrate. Most groups have some sort of holiday in the winter so it’s a great way to bring people together. This year before Jill left she did the initial outreach to groups and I finished up the planning (and stole her flyer from last year). What happens is people from different traditions sing, play an instrument, tell a story, read a poem etc. from there ethnic background. It’s such a fun was to explore different ethnic traditions.Fra Phillipines sisters

This year we had some new groups and some people that we know well. It was also a very laid back and fun night.  We had people from the Philippines, South America, people singing in German, Polish, Latin, a Ukulele player and a fabulous sing along that could have gone on all night.

wpid-20141211_192712.jpg

The Scranton Times wrote an awesome article on the event and you can watch a video of the African singers singing. They were great. Also, #TheFra sang in Polish which always makes me a little emotional. She is the best thing and I am so lucky to have her in my life.

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/united-neighborhood-centers-spotlights-ethnic-holiday-traditions-1.1801744

Links for the week of 12/7/2014

What a fun week I had! Burke came home, there was a big work event (a ethnic Carol Sing. watch out for a post about that soon), I went to the Nutcracker.  It also felt good to be on the lookout for some fun articles for you all to look at.

You know how I feel about all things Harry Potter. So hearing that J.K. Rowling is going to release more short stories makes me want to jump for joy! Here

Growing up I was the kid who LOVED Doctor Quinn (I have the fancy boxed set even). Well the cast got together and made a HILARIOUS video about bringing the show back. Watch it Here

Although I don’t drink anymore I can respect a good drink. Here are 5 18th century classic given a modern twist. Here

One of my goals in the near future is to get to the Tenement Museum in NYC. This article full of pictures is as close as I am going to get for awhile though. Here

Some photos from the Samsung:

wpid-20141208_125744.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went to a holiday party at the Radisson Station Hotel and feel in LOVE with there decorations. It’s one of my favorite buildings in the city.  (My Grandmother used to go pick up my Grandfather’s railroad checks there! Can you imagine?)

wpid-20141212_185906.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. E and I went to see the Nutcracker at another fabulous building in Scranton (The Masonic Temple) and this was the tree in the entrance. I loved the gold.

wpid-20141211_085459.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

These two the morning before Burke came home. They were just to cute not to photograph.

 

Hope you all had a lovely week!