Whew! What a week this has been! We had several major events this week, and we are worn out, so we're thankful for the quietness of Sunday afternoon to stop for a few minutes and rest. We still have church tonight, then tomorrow will be a day off for our family. We've eaten till we can't eat any more, and Beth said last night that for the first time in her life she's tired of dessert. Now that's a crisis! LOL
We had our annual Pastor's Open House on Thursday night. It was a drop-in from 6:00-9:00. People were welcome to come at 6:00 and stay the whole time, or they could truly just "drop in." Most of them came for the whole time, though, which we loved. We always serve finger foods so that I don't have to worry about utensils. We had Party Meatballs and little sausage rolls (we call them kolaches or pigs in a blanket - they're Li'l Smokies wrapped in dough and baked) for the savory portion of the appetizers. The meatballs turned out so good! The recipe says to bake them in the sauce, so I baked them in the morning and then put them in the crockpot on low for the rest of the day. The sauce turned into a glaze and the meatballs were so tender. I made a double recipe, which is about 14 dozen, and I have just enough left over for one meal for us, served over rice. I also served a veggie tray with dip, a fruit tray, dill and sweet pickles, pickled beets, olives, an assortment of fruit, homemade chocolate crinkle cookies and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. We had coffee and an on-the-fly punch - I mixed fairly equal proportions of Five Alive and ginger ale and poured it in a pitcher. It was sucked right down. Success without a fancy recipe. I like it.
At one point we had 49 people in the house, but it didn't feel like it was that full. The adults gathered in clusters talking, and the kids played games, read books, and played with Beth's old dolls and Andrew's old toy cars and horses. It was fantastic! I loved all the activity and that people were comfortable and having a good time in our home. That's what hospitality is all about! Beth and I made sure the house was clean and the food was simple and abundant. Nothing fancy, but people seemed to enjoy themselves. So don't be afraid to extend hospitality or wait till your house is perfect or you have new furniture. In fact, don't have 49 people over if you have new furniture! LOL We just keep finding spots, mostly on the carpet. And mostly meatball spots. But anyway . . . don't wait till everything is perfect. Just do it and have fun with your friends. And then clean your carpet.
We had our family's Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and invited one couple over, our ministry assistant and his wife (and they brought their dog, Jikita). We had a good time eating ham, sweet potatoes, au gratin potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls, apple pie and Praline Pumpkin Torte. Wes had a good time "accidentally" dropping bits of ham for Jikita, for which she became his BFF. She spent quite a bit of time at his feet, for some reason! ;) We played a rousing game of Phase 10, which Beth won. Josh and Sarah have been such a blessing to us in the short time we've been here, so it was a joy to have them come over and just relax a bit.
On Saturday morning I put a pan of Monkey Bread in the oven while we opened our gifts to each other. We sure missed our boys. I was resigned to not having them here, and I know they're coming home in two weeks, but still . . . I have a mother's heart and would have rather had them here on Christmas. I did shed a few private tears, but quickly reminded myself of all I did have rather than what I didn't have, and how important Beth and Wes are to me and they are here. And then we talked to the boys on the phone! :) I also got to talk to my sister, Robyn, and my mom, dad, brother Ben and sister Rebekah, so it was a good day. We also spent the evening with several of our families from church, eating yet another big dinner (turkey this time!). We played Pictionary for a bit, and when it was time for dessert, nobody moved! LOL The counter was full of yummy-looking treats, but we have all had so much dessert lately that nobody wanted any. I think a few of us finally ate small pieces, but overall, very little sweets were eaten. We ended up bringing most of our dessert home. I think we'll freeze it.
And that's why we're all being quiet this afternoon. We have a couple coming by in a bit to spend some time before church, but other than that, we're resting. Hard work is rewarding, and holidays are exciting and fun, but when all is said and done, it's nice to be quiet again. I hope you are enjoying some quiet time after all the festivities, and that you have had a blessed Christmas weekend. See you again soon!