We had a big dinner at Ken and Toni's house. I love going OUT to a family dinner, and not really being responsible for the Kitchen Bits.
But we brought lots of food, anyways.
A few hours before we were scheduled to be eating, I suddenly got this wild hair that I should bring rolls. And not just any rolls. The Spectacular Rolls from Pioneer Woman. They were 'no kneading required', and seemed to fit the bill, especially as it looked like you could make the entire thing and just dirty a single stock-pot on the stove.
Deal me in.
There was only one moment of crisis when I thought I'd run out of flour, and another moment of crisis when I nearly ran out of sugar, but otherwise, things went off without a hitch.
And then, as the Pioneer Woman would say "The punks got involved..."
The rolls are composed of three little walnut-sized balls of dough, put together into a muffin pan. Within minutes of me getting my hands dirty, I had two helpers, rolling the dough-balls.
And once things had been explained, Kelly took over...
"Here, Nate, this is how you make the buns..."
And then I didn't even have to get my hands dirty, as they quickly figured out how big a walnut was, and could pinch their own dough balls without help.
I love being a supervisor..
But all was interrupted when the FedEx truck pulled up.
Ooh! Aah! A foodie gift from one of Ken's brothers.
And the best part about getting a big, exotic gift? Why, when you're a kid, it's ALL about the box.
But before you knew it, it was time to get dressed and go over to Toni and Ken's for Christmas Eve dinner.
Oh, my children have the BEST table manners...
Uh oh. Whatever stung Kelly seems to have infected ALL the children...
Hmmm, and Nate even grew a set of antennae.
They had an advent wreath, and Nate was allowed to make fire! We didn't burn down their house, so I consider it a success.
And then it was time to sing for the Birthday Boy
and exchange presents.
But by this point, I was getting a bit antsy, because just before we'd left to go out for dinner, our pastor had called to ask if I'd mind if he switched up the Midnight Service a bit... he'd heard that we had the piano music for the Peanuts Christmas Special, and wondered if I could do that "Christmas Time is Here..." song, and if I could do it more jazzy and subdued, and suitable for candles and low-light, and clubby.
Um, yeah, I'll get right on that.
So i really wanted to get home to practice the piano.
It was like herding cats, but I finally got us out the door by 8:30. We came home, and gave the kids their Christmas Jammies.
And while Ken put the kids to bed (where they'd hopefully sleep for a little bit, and then he'd wake them up to take them to church for 11pm), I sweated it out on the piano for an hour before heading off to church to practice there.
I shouldn't have worried. People talked through much of it, and really, they were probably more taken with the candles, and the lights...
This was the stage. I'm just off to the left on the piano.
The perfect ending: