Just in Queso

This past week at home in Texas has been SO NICE. Even though we have been running around all over the place and cooking every day, it has still been a wonderful break so far. I flew home last Tuesday night and arrived on Wednesday morning in Killeen. It is so nice when we can buy affordable tickets to fly in there since it’s an hour closer to my parents than the Austin airport, and there is the added bonus that we don’t have to deal with the Austin airport (or Austin traffic). On Thursday, my mom rode with me to Austin and she ran some last minute errands while I had dinner with my friend Jillian at Pinthouse Pizza. I have found a lot of good pizza in California, but I sure miss pizza in Austin.

Sari flew in Friday morning, then we drove to San Marcos that evening for dinner. After almost three years of long-distance dating, Doug has moved closer, and he and Ashley just bought a house in San Marcos!! So, we got to check out their new place before they move everything in (and it was GORGEOUS), and have dinner with them, Jenifer, and Ben. I wish we could have spent more time together, but with everyone’s traveling and family holiday schedule, we were happy to get what we could. I am just so happy for these two super tall lovebirds!

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We made Christmas lunch on Saturday at our house for assorted relatives, then opened gifts with my dad’s side of the family. My grandma lives in an assisted living residence now, but we broke her out to come spend the day with us. Then we buried her in gifts because treat yo’ Granny right.

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Our cousin Hannah just graduated from college last weekend, so we got to see pictures of her awesome mortarboard. We also gave her a Gryffindor robes for Christmas for her to wear to Leaky Con with us next August. The HP love is strong in our family- among us gals at least.

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After encouragement from several people, I decided to give the pull-apart monkey bread snowflake a shot to take to Christmas dinner that evening with our cousins in Round Rock. It actually wasn’t difficult and it turned out really pretty! The tip to trace a 10-inch circle on parchment paper to help make sure each layer of dough was the same size helped a lot. I felt quite accomplished by the end despite the lack of actual technical difficulty with the recipe.

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Some of our family just moved back from Georgia, so we were thrilled to have our Christmas Eve dinner tradition back in action. We love seeing them of course, but honestly my cousin and her mom are amazing cooks, and the meal is always AMAZING. So, that’s my true motivation. It’s nice to have them only 45 minutes away from my parent’s house, now if only Sari and I didn’t still live half a continent away. And, much to my delight, my very conservative cousin actually laughed about my “snowflake from a snowflake” Christmas offering.

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On Monday, we celebrated Christmas at our house with my parents which was nice and low-key. We managed to arrange all of our other Christmas celebrations to allow us to spend actual Christmas day in our pajamas at home. It was perfect. I got some cheese accessories:

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Some new outdoorsy goodies including a jacket (I only have nice jackets or a ski jacket), a sleeping bag, a Swiss Army knife (with a corkscrew for wine in the wild), and a deck of cards that have survival tips on them because I need all the help I can get. Oh, and a snazzy National Parks calendar.

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Finally, I received the first seasons of The Crown (which I also bought for mom) and Victoria for my indoorsy self. I have been hoping to rewatch Victoria and I am extremely happy to have the DVD because the PBS app isn’t the easiest to use.

And, perhaps, most importantly – new royal outing pics! I LOVE Kate’s coat and Meghan looks fantastic (I just can’t wear browns because they make me look like I have cholera thanks to my pink and pale skin).

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