This year, I traveled home to Hershey, Pa. to visit with my mom, dad and sister for Christmas. It was such a short trip, but then again Christmas did fall on a weekend — so the holiday didn’t feel like a special day, rather it felt like any other Sunday.
When I got home on Friday night, I hurried over to a restaurant in downtown Hershey to see my friend, Stevie, she just recently got engaged! I’ve been waiting… for years … for her to get engaged! Her future hubby and her have been dating since High School! I’ll never forget the first time I met him — he was sitting on my friend’s bedroom floor watching tv. (It’s strange, the things you remember…) I am looking forward to their wedding day and I can’t wait to hear all about the wedding planning details over the course of the next several months!
The next day, it was already Christmas Eve Day! Both me and my mom were very excited when my friend Jesse stopped by the house to visit for a few hours. What I love most about my friends is we can keep in touch but not see each other for several months — but when we finally get together we pick up literally right where we left off. Jesse is a swim coach down at William & Mary… I’m so proud of him, he’s super smart and has already received his masters from Drexel and this past summer he had an internship with the United States Olympic swim coach! Jesse makes my resume look wimpy!
Jesse is a vegetarian, not a pescatarian. I clarified that because sometimes people say “I don’t eat meat, I’m a vegetarian… but I eat fish,” but what they are really meaning to say is that they are a pescatarian — meaning they eat fish but no red meat. But Jesse is a full blown vegetarian, and since we were cooking our fish dinner when he was visiting, I put out some tasty kalamata olives for him to snack on. This past September when my family and I went to Italy, I bought my dad an adorable hand painted olive dish in Capri — the dish spirals around, creating the perfect little plate to serve your olives on.
Speaking of fish dinner… We didn’t exactly have every single type of fish, but rather we made fish that would be perfect to snack on — calamari and shrimp. My parents love to shop for their meat and fish at a small neighborhood grocery store called Pronios located in downtown Hershey. The quality of their food is unbelievable, but I also think that my dad enjoys shopping there because it reminds him of the corner grocery store his father owned. My dad used to work out in “the store” helping my grandpa while he was growing up.
My mom prepared the fish by cleaning then soaking the fish in milk. A trick I never knew until this past weekend is to soak your calamari in milk to get rid of the fishy stench. It actually works! My mom covered the fish in a seasoned breadcrumb mix before lightly frying.
While we were cooking up the fish, the doorbell rang. A gorgeous bouquet of flowers was delivered to the house. Once unwrapped and admired, we opened the card to discover that the fantastic “Holiday Bouquet” was from my boyfriend! Sadly, he wasn’t able to join me and my family for the holiday, he was back in NYC hard at work! The flowers he sent us though were magnificent, and they were also a gorgeous addition to our dinner table… then to our living room table… then to the island in the kitchen. The flowers were loved by everyone, they managed to make their way to practically every table on the first floor of the house!
My mom also had decorated the house beautifully — which she does every year. I love going home to Hershey to see the house decorated for the Christmas holiday. The tree is covered in delicate ornaments my mother has collected over the years, the garlands are strung over every banister in the house, and every where you turn there are elegant and festive decor that spreads throughout the house.
Unfortunately, my dad wasn’t feeling well on Christmas Eve, so we decided to not attend Christmas Eve service so he could rest. We also chose to open up our holiday gifts in the evening since I needed to leave Christmas Day to go home to New York.
For months now, I have been itching to give my mom her Christmas present — two tickets to the Westminster Dog Show! I was so happy to see her smile when she opened the envelope that held the tickets. The show will be here in New York City in February 2012! So, I am very excited to be taking her to the show! It’s a two-day event, but I only got her tickets for one day, but it’s an all day event and we will be going on the second day so we’ll be there when they announce the winners!
I was shocked when my parents gave me my big gift… Just take a guess at what I got… Hint: it was on my Christmas Lust List a few weeks ago…
My mom and dad gave me a KitchenAid mixer! The moment I unwrapped it I couldn’t help but think, “what’s the first thing I am going to mix in my new KitchenAid?” And I have yet to decide! The mixer is so heavy I unfortunately couldn’t carry it home with me on the train… so my parents will be sending it to me some time over the next few weeks.
When I got home to New York City, I couldn’t help but look around at my kitchen. I probably had a silly expression on my face when I realized that I have no place to put my new monster of a mixer. With the holiday money my extended family gave me this year — I have decided to finally get an entry table that also has storage underneath. That way, I can store my Breville juicer and keep my mixer on my counter. All that’s left to do is purchase the entry table and put it together. I’ll be buying the table from Ikea, which means I will be spending hours assembling since Ikea furniture seems to be so difficult to put together.
How was everyone’s holiday!? I can’t believe how quickly Christmas came and went this year! I wish that the holiday could be in February, that way we could play holiday music over the course of several winter months!