Posted by: diywannabe | December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

Christmas this year was spent right here at home in the South, which was a first for us.  Due to me having to work and be on-call, we couldn’t travel up North to visit family as we do every year.  It was a definite bummer that I had to work and that we wouldn’t get to see any of our family but the silver lining was that I got to decorate our new house for the holidays and we didn’t have to fight the crowds (or Mother Nature) when traveling.

We had some pretty nice weather leading up to Christmas and even made it out to the beach on Christmas Eve. 

However, Mother Nature apparently didn’t want us to feel left out by missing all that snow up North so she graciously made it snow in Charleston the day after Christmas:

This is very unusual for the coast and people were FREAKING OUT.  haha.  But none of it stuck and I would be hard pressed to even classify it as real snow…it was rain by the time it actually hit the ground.  Further inland they received a few inches though.

Since this was our first Christmas not traveling, I basically had zero decorations except for a of couple ornaments gifted to us on our wedding.  It was very difficult to find decent looking ornaments without breaking the bank, since I needed so many all at once.  My grandmother in Michigan was trying to get rid of some of her decorations that she’s amassed over the years and sent down a couple of boxes of goodies.  This gem was handmade by my Great Grandma Green.  Try saying that 5 times fast!

We also were able to get our very first Christmas tree!  It’s a real one from a tree lot down the road.  It’s damn near perfect but I’m pretty sure that I’m going to go the fake route from here on out.  All those needles!  I guess as a kid I didn’t pay much attention to all of the needles it dropped because I wasn’t the one cleaning it up (sorry, Mom).  All of the artificial ones I’ve seen in the stores either look like Charlie Brown’s tree or are mucho dinero.  But I’m hoping to score a nice one on clearance after the season.  The stockings hanging from the mantle are actually extra ones each of our mothers brought down that we had as kids.  I don’t think my mother was ready to part with my “real” stocking or any of my childhood ornaments.  My stocking is the one in the middle and has my name embroidered on the top.  Bob’s only says, “Ho Ho Ho”.  A nickname perhaps?  hehe.  The little one is Sonny’s that we picked up at Petsmart for $3.

A couple of wreaths also became part of the holiday decor.  Right before Thanksgiving I purchased a fake plain wreath at the craft store which I adorned with a silk poinsettia bloom and bow then hung from ribbon from the front storm door.  The white ribbon was actually saved from some of the wedding registry gifts we received over a year ago.  Sometimes being a pack rat pays off!

Of course I don’t have a picture of the front of the wreath.  That would be too sensible.  But I can tell you that it looks quite festive against our bright red door, which I painted almost immediately upon moving in back in August.  The door was originally a purplish blue color with big old gold numbers across the center of it.  Bla.  I also changed the door hardware at the same time from worn brass to these lovely rubbed bronze ones scored off of Ebay.  They also match the house numbers we installed on the outside underneath one of the porch light fixtures.  You can see in the above picture that I also decorated the stairs with some more fake garland and leftover stockings.

My other grandmother also sent us some decor but this time in the form of a real wreath from L.L. Bean.  It is quite pretty and contains red berries and pinecones.  It is hanging underneath the garage light, between the two garage doors.  I’m disappointed that it’s real and won’t be around after this year.  Can you preserve live wreaths??

The dining room also got a little winter cheer but in a much more toned down kind of way.  The theme was silver in there.  Please excuse the bare walls…we aren’t near being finished in this room.  I’m also waiting to buy two upholstered end chairs for the table.  Go on sale already, will ya?!

I picked up those beaded sprays for 50% at Kmart the week before Christmas.  The Mart has such good sales sometimes!

I spray painted these pinecones with metallic spray paint.  There are also a bunch filling the green leaf bowl on the living room coffee table.  Our backyard has an endless supply.  You can also see a close-up of my homemade table runner than continues the metallic theme.

We actually got to use our dining room on Christmas Day when we hosted two of our friends (and their baby girl) for dinner.  It was a mad rush to get prepared after I worked during the day then came home and furiously scraped paint from the glass of the china cabinet so it could be moved in from the garage.  Whew!  We made a pancetta wrapped pork loin that I brined for a couple of hours first.  It was DELICIOUS.  Brining is the way to go!  So tender and juicy!  Okay, now I’m hungry just thinking about it.  Here’s the how-to that I used:

For a 3.5 pound pork tenderloin, dissolve a third cup of sea salt and quarter cup of sugar in 2 quarts of water.  Fully submerge the pork in the mixture, cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.  Rinse and pat dry the pork then marinate in desired spices for another hour or so.  I then wrapped the loin in pancetta and tied with strips of cheesecloth (we didn’t have any cooking string).  Roast uncovered at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until temp reaches 145 degrees.  Remove from oven and tent with foil for about 20 minutes.  YUM!  The best compliment was when our friend claimed he didn’t like pork but loved this dish and turned to his wife and said, “If you made pork like this then I would like it.”  haha.

I also made some mulled wine in the Crockpot with some Cabernet, cloves, allspice, cinnamon stick, dash of sugar, and a spritz of lemon juice.  I was so Christmasy tasting and smelled great.  Somehow I was the only one drinking it and managed to finish it all.  Don’t judge me.

On a sad note, our new flat screen TV decided to bite the dust on Christmas Day.  Luckily it worked all day while we had guests over but later that night we tried turning it on and NOTHING.  According to the internet, it’s a blown fuse.  Seeing as how we only had the TV for a whopping 2 weeks, it was obviously not our fault and more of a quality issue.  We sent that baby packing back to Amazon for a full refund.  But now our TV console looks so bare and sad.  We’ll just have to wait for another good deal to come along but in the meantime we’re hanging out upstairs in the bonus room watching our older 37 inch.  Things could definitely be worse.

R.I.P.  Big Vizio:

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