Enjoying My Post-Christmas Time Off…

Christmas was definitely…different this year because of the pandemic, but I’m not going to say that I was completely disappointed! No, we didn’t go out to see my parents in person on Christmas – though we did have a short outdoor visit two days before. We tried setting up chairs outside the garage, then it rained about five minutes later, so dad moved his Ford Edge outside the garage and we all moved inside.

So I asked my mom:

Did you ever imagine your garage would be used in this fashion when you guys bought this house a few years ago? And to that, she said “No!”

It was a little strange sharing conversation space with his 1991 Corvette (completely covered) and a variety of lawn equipment, power tools, etc. During the midst of this, my mom pointed out that one of the garage doors wasn’t shutting properly, and could allow mice to get inside (dad said he’d work on fixing that). Ah, isn’t there always something that needs to be done around the house? Our own garage door has been in need of being repaired and we have the money set aside to do it – but are holding off on having someone come over to repair it because it isn’t “essential,” and because…pandemic.

This was also when we did the gift exchanging – my husband and I got an “Instant Pot” cooking appliance and a variety of foodstuff from Costco (dried fruits and nuts). My husband also got his birthday present early (just some cash). I was going to give them some cash to use for the charity my mom and dad are active in, but neither of them are involved in it any more (a “soup kitchen” that they volunteered with). Now, they’ve decided to “retire” from that job, mainly because of COVID. My mom did that for about 20 years, so she doesn’t need to apologize for passing the baton to others!

I used the new “Instant Pot” for the first time yesterday. I did the “water test” described in the instruction book, so yay, I passed! I can boil water (LOL)! Then I did a simple cooking test and steamed some leftover veggies from our Christmas day party tray. Instead of doing a fancy “Christmas dinner,” we opted instead to buy a bunch of fancy crackers, dips (hummus, artichoke/jalapeno cheese dip), a couple of different cheese dips, cubed cheese, grapes, and fresh veggies. Yesterday, most of the fresh veggies were “repurposed” and were steamed in the new Instant Pot to have with some spicy hot rice.

Clockwise from tip – bell peppers, snow peas, bell peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms and broccoli in the center. All of those except the cucumbers got steamed and eaten for lunch. Mushrooms are particularly tasty when steamed!

My poor husband has been suffering from a painful gout flareup in the past week or so, I was hoping a big dose of vitamins/antioxidants from the veggies would help put him on the mend (he is improving a bit).

Later in the afternoon/evening, we bundled up and went outside to use the “snow shanty” I set up on Christmas day. I’ll have to take the thing down today, I don’t want winter weather to ruin our poor camping umbrella! Funny, I think that umbrella is a bit warm to use in the full sun even with the vents open, but it works just fine as a three sided “lean to” if you add some heat and close the vents! I used the spaces between the deck boards to stake it down to keep it from blowing away. Judging from the fact that it hasn’t blown away, I think I did a good job! I may need the claw end of a hammer to pull them out, though.

What else do you need besides a strong beer (10 percent ABV in New Holland’s Holiday Ale), string lights, a heater and some tunes? This was the first time I’d put on my snow pants in a few years!

After we came inside, we had a little dinner from our leftover “snacks,” then I baked some fruity blonde brownies with blueberries, cherries and golden raisins (sorry no photo). Very delicious!

Today, we have some time reserved in an igloo in a local beer garden.

This hasn’t been the most exciting holiday season, but I’ve been enjoying the down time…

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