Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas dinner and beyond

For Christmas dinner we wanted to do something classy, memorable, and traditional. Andrew made potato pancakes (also known as latkes) and beef stew, we spread a table cloth over the table and set glass dishes for everyone but Benjamin. We had an assortment of beverages and a vegetable platter.

Some of us may have shown up to the dinner table wearing our pyjamas, and we may have added ants-on-a-log to our menu, but the atmosphere we created was authentic enough to fool the girls into thinking we were eating an elegant meal.

They behaved accordingly:

I don't know where they get that from. Oh, wait. Where did this picture come from?

Auntie Sarah and Grandpa, circa 2006/2007
After dinner we played our new Headbands game. We played this game a few years ago but our children weren't mature enough to really get it. We have the Disney version of it, which is difficult because our kids haven't watched enough Disney to recognize all the characters (let alone to know them by name), and they were often overcome with jealousy so the minute everyone had their cards sticking to their foreheads someone would whine, "Why does she get to be Belle? I want to be Belle!"

And that basically ruins the game.

This time no one gave away the answer, though we still had to do away with the token system and the timer (we let Benjamin be in charge of that).

We made up our own house rules. We asked questions to everyone, not one person. After five questions we'd begin giving more elaborate answers.

Miriam was a guitar once and she was stuck guessing such random things and didn't understand the way we were trying to guide her to a category of things to guess so I eventually flat out told her that she was a musical instrument. She still guessed apple and puppy before finally coming up with piano.

"Not a piano," we told her.

"Am I a violin?" she guessed.

"No! But that's super close because this instrument looks like a violin—it has strings, you just wouldn't use a bow on it."

"A lukulele!" she said, quite sure of herself.

"Not a ukulele, but you're so close. It's a musical instrument that looks like a violin but you wouldn't use a bow on it and it starts with the letter g."

"A guitar!"


Since I had taken a picture of everyone else playing the game I figured Rachel and I should get a picture, too, so I snapped a selfie and then flipped the camera around to make sure we were in the frame.

" just showed me, Mom," Rachel said.

"I know I did," I agreed. "It's a good picture. We're both in there."

"No, but I showed me."

"Yes. I did," I said again. "It's your turn now." I was simply not picking up what she was putting down.

"Okay, am I a food?" Rachel asked.

"Yes!" Andrew and I answered, pleased that she'd finally caught on to the category idea.

"Could I have tomatoes on me?" she asked.

"Yes!" we said. It was a rather specific question and we're trying to teach the kids to save those for the end when they actually have a good guess at what they are but it was okay because this time her specific question helped her.

"Do I live in a bun?" she giggled.

"Yes!" we said. Boy, that was a clever question.

"Am I a hamburger?" she asked.

"Yes!" we said. That may have been the fastest anyone had ever guessed their item. She even did it within our five-questions-before-hinting constraint!

"That was amazing!" I said.

"Mom," Rachel scoffed. "You showed me what I was in that picture you took!"

I don't know whether to be impressed or appalled that Rachel tried to take her turn (and make it fun for everyone) when she knew she was cheating. In her defense, I suppose she had tried to explain to me earlier that she had seen her card.

I had not even thought to check which card was on my forehead. I know this because it took me more than five questions (and a couple of good hints) before I was able to guess what I was (Miriam: "Starts with L, ends in -ollipop, and it's on a stick, and you lick it.").

"She's playing to win," Andrew joked.

After games we had pie. I forgot that Andrew wanted me to make a pie until sometime on Christmas afternoon. He had gotten some cherry pie filling at the store and so I wasn't too worried because how long does it even take to make a pie crust? Not long.

I mixed together some flour and sugar and salt. I grated the butter and tossed it in the flour. I checked the recipe to see what came next and...oh...sour cream. We definitely didn't get any of that when we went grocery shopping. I checked the fridge and found a nearly empty container. I managed to scrape out about 1/4 of a cup. I needed a 1/4 cup more.

I went online to see what I could substitute for sour cream. Yogurt—we only had flavoured so that wouldn't work. Buttermilk (and a TBS of butter)—we didn't have buttermilk. We didn't have anything on the list of sour cream substitutions, so I substituted my substitutions and made my own buttermilk with regular milk and lemon juice and added that to the dough.

It turned out alright. It didn't hold its shape (it was much more beautiful before it went into the oven) but it came out light and flakey and it tasted just fine.

After we had the kids in bed Andrew and I played the new game Uncle David sent us—Timeline. It was really fun! And, in a final push to win the husband-of-the-year award, Andrew cleaned the kitchen, including doing all the hand-dishes, including the pile of freezer bags. Best Christmas present ever!


  1. Yay for husbands who cook and clean! You've got a winner!

    Hey, that pie looks very pretty! Cheery red for Christmas. And, I love the selfie of you and Rachel. Her guesses were great! And the hint from Miriam to you...super!

    My sister said they played that Headband game last night so I'm glad to actually see what it's like.

    Looks like a fun day!

  2. How did the potato pancakes turn out? As good as mine, I hope!