This is the short time lapse version of one of the featured paintings in Christmas Show 2021 (the full 45 minute variety show with painting, singing and dancing is available on this site, YouTube, and BitChute). This nativity scene is larger than the one I’ve done in the past, as this one includes more than the central figures of Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus. Added are the wise men, shepherds, animals (cow, donkey, sheep) and angel. The Christmas star is included in both paintings.
I hope that you are enjoying a peaceful time with your loved ones, as we reflect on what Christmas means to us as individuals, and as we participate in our family traditions. Speaking of traditions, old and new: Tonight was the last surprise meal for our Secret Santa game. I said yesterday that I’d talk with you about that, so here it is: our youngest daughter made chicken gnocchi, and it was DELICIOUS!
We had a wonderful Secret Santa exchange this year and now we have gourmet leftovers to help us through the busy day tomorrow. I hope our family has inspired you to give this idea a try sometime. The week leading up to Christmas is a good time for families to share the cooking and try new special dishes.
Tomorrow is already Christmas Eve! I wish all of you peace, love, and joy. God bless you and your families.
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Yesterday was my son’s turn for our Secret Santa game. And today was my turn. Both of us managed to pull off a surprise that no one guessed. First, the reveal of what my son served yesterday: He made ratatouille, inspired by the movie. 🙂 I really enjoyed this dish. It was the first time any of us had tried ratatouille and it was fun to sample something different.
OK, now for my turn… I made chicken cordon blue and a side dish of egg noodles over buttered pea sprouts from my garden. First, the cordon blue: I used black forest ham and provolone cheese inside the butterfly cut chicken. The breading has an egg wash, Parmesan cheese, paprika, salt, and bread crumbs. Everyone loved it, said the chicken was moist and tender and gave me 5 stars. 🙂 My kids had never had chicken cordon blue before and it had been years since my husband and I had this dish, so this was very welcome and we enjoyed our dinner!
I was proud of my garden contribution. My son asked if I had fresh basil and parsley. Why, yes, I do! I was able to walk a few feet outside and cut the amount of herbs he needed for his recipe. The above picture is of my buttered pea sprouts mixed in salted egg noodles. It was very good! It’s fun to see my gardening starting to pay off. It makes me feel motivated to plant heavily this spring.
Tomorrow is my youngest daughter’s turn in the kitchen. I’ll tell you what happens. I have no idea what she’s planning. So far, all but my husband did a great job of keeping their meals secret. She has the last day, and our Secret Santa chef game will end for this Christmas. I’m already looking forward to next year!
You might remember this funny story I shared about a vagrant frog who took up residence in our garage, and my drum set? It was in blog post “LOL! What happened today“. The frog actually got more play time than I did. I finally got the chance to play my drums, but the intention was to only tap out a little rhythm. I was a bit too gleeful for the girls’ attempts to sing while standing right next to me (see the ending of this video especially). 🙂
Next, an update on our Secret Santa chef game. It was my oldest daughter’s turn and she made paninis. They were very good! We greatly enjoyed them and there were no leftovers.
Today’s clip (video at the top of the blog) is from the 45 minute Christmas Show 2021. If you’ve not yet seen the show, I hope you can make time for it. I also hope that you are enjoying lighthearted moments and are making good memories this holiday season. Christmas is now only four days away!
This art of Mary and baby Jesus features the Christmas Star, which was visible in some parts of the world the year I painted this for the Christmas Show 2020. The star will sadly not make another appearance for 2021. And neither will my dinner gift from last year’s Secret Santa exchange.
Last year instead of cooking for the whole family (which we are doing this time), we drew names and cooked for only one person. I drew my husband’s name. Since I’ve been cooking for him for many years, I wanted to make things very different by making something that he likes, but I’ve never made because I have an aversion to the main featured spice- chicken curry. It seemed to be some sort of allergy to curry, that I only discovered after repeated ingestion of it.
Well, when I cooked with the curry, the allergy was so strongly felt that I had difficulty breathing! It was quite scary really. My throat was closing over and I had to actually leave the room, where my husband had to eat alone and then clean everything up by himself! LOL, well, that didn’t go as I’d intended it to! He enjoyed the chicken curry, so that’s a positive note. Most importantly, he was touched that I was willing to make something I’m allergic to, but he assures me that I should never attempt that again! 🙂
This year I’ll stay away from curry! I’ll share how this goes when it’s my turn to cook (as opposed to most days when I do the cooking, this will have the fun surprise factor). They never know what I’ll do. And neither do I! But it will be more interesting to see what the rest of the family comes up with, as they don’t usually cook for the family.
If you’ve not already tried a Secret Santa dinner exchange, it really is great fun. It makes for wonderful memories, and if your chefs do well, everything is delicious! You can make the surprise the dinner part only, and each person cooks for everyone on their turn (as we are doing this year), or you can exchange names and the surprise is both the person you’re cooking for and the dinner you’ll make (we did that last year, but now prefer to cook for the whole family). If you try this Secret Santa dinner idea, don’t forget to take pictures of everyone’s culinary creations!
Can’t you just hear the jingle of the sleigh bells? Christmas is coming soon! Do you have plans for how you will celebrate this special time of year? Maybe you’d like to try something new?
My family started a Secret Santa tradition that is a bit different from the usual. Instead of exchanging presents, the “secret” is a home-cooked meal. We don’t know what each other is planning to cook for us until it’s dinner time on their scheduled day to be the secret (chef) Santa. I haven’t decided yet what I’ll do for my turn, but I plan to go BIG!
Last year I knew exactly what to make and that’s a bit of a funny story that I’ll tell you about tomorrow. I’m afraid I have to leave you in suspense for now because I am tired and need to get to bed. Goodnight, dear friends!