Last year I did a blog at the end of the Holidays detailing my favorite memories from the Holiday Season. So I’ve twisted that a bit by adding in my “favorite things” list as promised from my last blog. The hard part about this is where to start? I guess starting at the beginning of the month would be the easiest. (Note… my favorite things will be in bold)
Actually back up to Black Friday. My absolute least favorite day of the year and I was working. Add to it the Nook Color I had ordered from my birthday was sitting at Barnes & Noble waiting for me to pick it up. My lovable husband braved the mall traffic and picked it up for me and delivered it to me at work. The Nook Color ranks very high on my favorite things list! My favorite book I read this year is The Brave by Nicholas Evans with Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts coming in a close second.
OK moving on. Dave’s shift decided to have their Christmas shift party/lunch at Fogo de Chao a Brazillian steak house where chefs bring giant cuts of beef to your table and keep bringing them to you until you turn your card from green to red. Fogo de Chao really doesn’t make my favorite things list because I’m certain I did not eat my moneys worth of beef but it was a very good & entertaining meal. My favorite restaurants may appear later in the blog but this restaurant is definitely high on Dave’s list.
The first week of December brought the first snowfall of the season. The snow forced me to bring out my cold weather gear – Columbia Sportswear which I love! I do not like snow! However I do love to make Snow Ice Cream with eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and fresh snow. Ice cream is also one of my favorite things – although more so in the summer. My favorite flavors are chocolate, mint chocolate chip and basically any combination that includes chocolate. I also love every flavor made my Ben & Jerry and can’t live without Mrs. Curl (I knew there was a downside of leaving Greenwood!).
Oh yes while were on the subject: Chocolate…. Chocolate is also on my favorite things list. I like dark chocolate over milk chocolate. My favorite candy bar is a Nestle Crunch with York Peppermint Patty coming in close 2nd. My favorite brand of “fancy” chocolate is Ghiradelli. I even like chocolate in my coffee – Starbucks Mocha Frappachino rates pretty high on my list but the new McCafe menu at Micky D’s is really good too.
Moving on through the holiday season our neighbors hosted their annual neighborhood Christmas party which according to my daughter was the social event of the season – at least on Creekside Lane anyway. The annual pitch in improved greatly this year as our neighbors have discovered they enjoy wine from Mallow Run Winery. For the party we had Rhubarb which is really good but I also like their Merlot, Picnic Blush and Riesling. I also tried Goose for the first time – which was tastier than I thought it would be.
Now the weekend before Christmas was exceptionally busy. It started with my shift Christmas party at Indiana Live! Casino. Even if you’re not into gambling you need to go and visit the Market Buffet which has countless food choices. I also learned how to bet on horse racing – which was actually a fun afternoon. I learned to always bet on a gray horse (which worked on my last race) and that horses are really unpredictable! Not sure I’d list it yet as one of my favorite things but I’d like to go back again. I also got a “present” from my supervisor who let me have 2 days off before Christmas. The next day we met my dad and step mom for lunch at Red Robin. If I had to pick a favorite burger I would pick the Bleu Ribbon Burger as my favorite. For Christmas he got Dave and me a gift card to The Cheesecake Factory which is by far my favorite “chain” restaurant (it replaced Chili’s which had been my favorite since college – also got a Chili’s gift card this weekend). He also gave us his Colts tickets for the last game of the season!
Later that evening we went to the historic Artcraft Theatre to watch Christmas Vacation – both on my favorite list. The popcorn at the Artcraft is made fresh and has real butter that doesn’t come out of a pump and only costs $2.00. I would suggest attending one of their weekend movies which is run by volunteers and the money goes to restoring the theater.
I worked the entire Christmas weekend which did not top my favorite things list. We had fun with families in between work though. But probably one of my favorite things from Christmas was how excited Teagan was to give gifts. She had gone shopping at the school’s Santa Shop and thanks to some help from Dawson’s buddies had wrapped the gifts and was just so excited to watch everyone open them. I was also impressed with Dawson who only listed a few things that he really wanted instead of everything he saw that looked cool. Kudos to my mom who came up with the game Christmas Vacation Trivia and the random $10 gift cards as prizes – because after we all won a gift card we got to do the famous trading gift cards to get the ones we really wanted.
I guess this brings me to the final weekend in December and the end of my favorite things list. We traveled to Chicago to see Dave’s sister and brother-in-law. My favorite exit on I65 between Indy and Chicago is 253 the Merrillville Exit. There you will find Portillo’s Hot Dogs (awesome Chicago style dogs, by far my favorite!) and the Albanese Candy Factory (see Chocolate above). We never pass this exit. A close second in the favorite exits category is exit 220 where you will find Fair Oaks Farms and the best cheese and ice cream ever! Dave’s sister surprised us with a Kinect for our XBox for Christmas which is a lot of fun for me because using Xbox controllers is not something I’m good at. We didn’t get to go to Alphies in Wheaton while we were up there but it is one of those really awesome mom & pop restaurants we like up there.
So….I was going to wrap it up there but then I remembered some of my other Favorite Things. My step mom and my “Secret Santa” at work both got me cookbooks which I love! I’m actually scared to count how many I own now – and even scarier how many I stand to inherit from my mom. That made me remember the spoon collection. My mom has a spoon collection – also something I stand to inherit because I’m the only one who thinks it’s cool. Some of them belonged to my grandma which is how my mom started her collection and now we never go anywhere without coming back with a spoon. Which brings me to my final favorite thing: traveling.
If I could have spent the holidays somewhere other than the frozen tundra of Indiana……. where would it be? This is really hard!! I absolutely love the Florida Keys – and that would probably be high on my list of choices. Also, Savannah & Charleston & San Diego would make the short list. But I would probably in all honesty go to Gulf Shores – which is by far my favorite place. Its beachy but not touristy – and extremely laid back. And now I’m missing it!!
Well that’s it….. a Holiday in review spiced with some favorite stuff of mine. Welcome 2011 – hopefully another great year!