home for the holidays

This year was my first Christmas away from home. Doug & I hosted his side of the family at our apartment for Christmas. Dad Parton & Beth got in on Tuesday, and Zach & Michele got in on Christmas Eve. All four stayed in our little apartment - it was tight, but we made it work. On Christmas day, the rest of Doug's family came over: Mom Parton & Eric, Nic, Brad, Griffin & Leslie. The day went by very quickly, but it was a lot of fun. 

I have to say, I'm very pleased with the success of my first Christmas dinner. We started with hors devours - a fruit platter, shrimp cocktail, cheese & crackers and Mom's cocktail meatballs.

I began putting the meal together while people enjoyed the snacks and company.
Griffin, perched atop the back of our sofa.

Griffin "beating" Zach at Battleship.

Leslie & Griffin in their Christmas attire.

And only 5 minutes after I had originally planned, dinner was served! We did a buffet style, as we had to split people between two tables (one was a folding table that we got for our wedding from the Paneks!). Dinner consisted of:
-Apricot Ginger Pork - not your traditional Christmas dinner, but delicious! We had this at Sara & Dave's house a couple weeks ago, and it was amazing. Sara had a lot of leftover sauce, so when I mentioned that I wanted the recipe to make this for Christmas dinner, she bagged the sauce and gave it to me! So I owe a huge thanks to Sara for doing all the hard work for my Christmas dinner! All I had to do was buy the pork, make the rub, Doug did the grilling & we topped it with Sara's sauce. Perfect!
-sour cream mashed potatoes
-green bean casserole
-3-layer jello (red, white & green!)
-homemade dinner rolls
The main table, mid-dinner.

After dinner, we exchanged gifts.

These are the finger puppets I made for Leslie.

Zach & Michele

Me & Doug.

After gifts, we had my family's traditional Christmas dessert, Grasshopper Pie (or "Cricket Cake" as Robert once called it). 

All in all, a wonderful Christmas. I missed my family back in WNY, but we had a lot of fun here in Michigan.

The remainder of the time with our family was spent lounging, playing a lot of Sequence, a lot of Euchre, a lot of Phase 10, mini-golfing, a lot of eating, a lot of laughing. 

It was awesome spending time with Zach & Michele, whom we haven't seen since our wedding. Michele is the coolest sister-in-law in the world. Her story is incredible; we've lived very different lives, but have wound up in the same family, loving brothers and loving & serving the same Lord. Tune in next time for a tale of how my sis-in-law & I almost got arrested on a quiet Sunday afternoon...

Tomorrow we'll be heading out to my favorite place on earth! 


  1. Christmas dinner sounds fab, Rach! You sure are a wonderful hostess. Have you ever tried cinnamon cicada calad? (oops, i meant salad) uhhhhh-gives me shivers just thinking about it.


  2. i love your mom's cocktail meatballs! cute that you made red, white & green jello! and i need, need some of those finger puppets. will those be a good apple product??