Monday, January 3, 2011

The last two weeks, briefly

Sorry for the radio silence around here. We had a major family crisis the week before Christmas and all my plans got thrown up in the air. I ended up (after a few tears) letting go of most of the projects I had planned, in favor of actually getting some sleep and a shower. Always the best choice, even if it's hard to make.

And, as treacley as it sounds, the forced simplicity helped remind me of what is most important - our friends and family (and food, of course). It was a very love filled holiday, and we are very blessed. We had an abundance of parties to attend and lots of people to whom we needed to send cards, and I'm grateful for that, even if it feels like a lot of work in the moment.

We did get our beautiful cards sent out, although we cut it really close.  I kept my Ikea fabric on the table for a full two weeks.

pre-christmas prep
{pre-christmas prep}

One of our oldest friends threw a holiday party that mixed strong drinks with gingerbread house decorating. 

house party, christmas 2010
{house party}

We had three family Christmas parties to attend and they were all wonderful. We have seriously massive families (marriages + divorces + remarriages + hippie parents that like to stay friends afterwards).

family christmas party 2010
{family christmas party 2010}

And I had my annual girls' Christmas party. It's our 12th year celebrating together and we've added one baby to the pack and have one more on the way (it was Kristin's beautiful baby shower that I went to just a few weeks ago). 

leila + marysia, christmas 2010
{girls' christmas party 2010}

I didn't actually wrap anything (delegated the few presents we had purchased to D's excellent hands), but my mom had a pretty amazing wrapping station set up, using just the Ikea paper.

wrappping station
{wrapping station}

Circe condescended to snuggle with me on Christmas eve, and she was granted the privilege of being the only dog allowed in the living room for the Christmas celebrations. Of course, she insisted on wearing her dorky bandanna instead of the trendy cowl I made her last year.

christmas circe
{christmas circe}

I made our usual Christmas main dish, savory bread pudding. I honestly don't think there is a better dish for the holiday - it's easy, you set it up the night before, and it can be served warm out of the oven or at room temperature. I make the standard version with applewood smoked bacon for the meat eaters, and a separate dish sans bacon for the veggies. (Baked and served in my beloved Dansk dishes)

savory bread pudding
{savory bread pudding}

We had the standard trappings - a blazing fire and plenty of pies (made by my mom - I didn't touch a pie crust this whole season, sadly). 



My parents have given up traditional Christmas trees for good, and this year they created a sparse tree from the manzanita branches collected from the garden. It's mostly hung with crystals from the chandelier we had years ago and the china snowflakes that my mom has bought for my stepdad each year of their marriage.

manzanita christmas tree
{manzanita christmas tree}

D and I had a very low key New Year's Eve, with fancy champagne and take out Chinese food, a detailed new year budget proposal (my traditional new year's activity) and a Bored to Death marathon. Exactly what I needed.

new year's eve 2010
{new year's eve 2010}

Whew. So I'm back, and easing back into the normal routine, which will hopefully also include regular blogging. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!


  1. This looks like such a lovely holiday!! Happy New Year, Rachel!

  2. Happy New Year, Rachel. Your mom's pies look beautiful!

  3. i missed you! your holidays look so lovely and i'm so glad you were able to relax and enjoy them (and the hippie parents comment made me laugh). xo

  4. Happy New Year! What a lovely recap. It is so true - the holidays are about family and friends. The trappings can be lovely, but so not necessary as long as you have the people (and, I'll admit, the food) that you love!

  5. i love the colors in your bread pudding photograph!!

  6. Hope the crisis has been fully resolved - they always tend to spring up around the holidays. Happy New Year!

  7. We've also been on a "Bored to Death" kick: a great antidote to many problems.

  8. Good to see you back! I'll have to see if Bored to Death is on Netflix.


  9. i'm sorry to hear about the family crisis. it sounds like you handled it the best way possible. lovely photos as always. i've missed your lovely posts!

  10. happy new year! i love your parents' tree.

  11. Well, sometimes we all need a break, right? Wishing the best to you and yours in the New Year, especially regarding the crisis. So glad you're back! I really did miss your posts.

  12. i hope all is well with the fam now; beaming good thoughts from the NYC. i too love the manzanita tree, and all of your holiday glimpses - you spoil us with lovely shots, as always.

  13. Wo-hoa, what are those amazing dishes you served the bread pudding in? It sounds like they're oven safe?

  14. Happy Holidays Rachel!!!!! Hope all is well, and a belated CONGRATS on your engagement :-) I hope your 2011 is full of exciting things!

  15. Happy New Year! Your last two weeks sound fabulous, especially the New Year's Eve celebration. That was almost exactly what we did, but substitue chinese food with chili, bored to death with arrested development and budget with having to write a story for work. Still, low-key was much-needed.

  16. Sounds like you had a festive and full few weeks! Hope all is well with your family. I love the manzanita tree, as well! I'm thinking of incorporating some branches into my room...

  17. i missed your blogging while you were gone! i hope and pray your family is doing ok. please let me know if there's anything i can do to help!

  18. Oh that bread & butter pudding looks amazing. Hope all is okay now and you managed to have a relaxing holiday. Your mum & stepdad's 'tree' is lovely, I love the idea of getting a snowflake a year! My boyfriend buys me a pretty bauble every year for our tree when we finally live together.

  19. So sorry to hear about the crisis, dear one; I've been thinking of you lots over the past couple of weeks and will continue to do so.

    The tree, of course, is beauteous.

  20. I'm officially in love with that christmas tree, how unique!

  21. Hope the crisis has subsided, and that your entire family/ies were still able to enjoy the blessing of all being together. Also, Circe. Such a tease.


  22. I love the tree with the crystal decor!

  23. Love the sound of your new years. Hope the family crisis is under control.

  24. Gosh, sounds like you and me had identical Christmases. I am so ready for 2011.

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  26. love your blog! <3
    i just started mine. please have a look if you like!

  27. @ Tristan - Those are my very favorite vintage Dansk dishes. They are indeed oven safe, although I know avid collectors who prefer to only serve out of them. My feeling is that they should be used as often as possible, so I have no qualms about baking in them directly.

    @ everyone - Thanks for the holiday love! It is good to be back, with all of you.

  28. glad to see these glimpses into your past two weeks. hoping the family crisis has been sorted out and that piles of happiness await you in the new year. xo.

  29. Gorgeous pictures as always. Your holidays look and sound lovely. I adore your mom's wrapping station, it's a dead ringer for my mom's as well. Wishing you lots of happiness this new year!

  30. Hi, I'm just discovering your space here & had to ask where you found the pie stacker in your photo. We have a smallish kitchen and counter space is scarce. And if we can make more room for pie, then we're all for it!

  31. @ Carla - I wish I could tell you! I'm 99% sure it came from Crate & Barrel, but we bought it at least 8 years ago, so that probably doesn't help much. I just did a quick search and the closest thing they seem to have is this one. Super basic, inexpensive. It's called a 3 tier plate rack, but it holds up to 11.5" plates, so it should accommodate pie plates as well.


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