There is a common misconception that when you are a kid in a divorced family, you get to have two of everything: two sets of clothes, two rooms, two dogs, etc. I blame Karen Brewer from Babysitters Little Sister book series by Ann M. Martin for this. I read every one of those books (and The Babysitters Club, obviously) growing up and it totally influenced my thoughts of divorced families, even though I was living my own story.
And while I did have two houses, two dogs, and two toothbrushes growing up, I shared one of my rooms with my little sister, and I most certainly did not have two entire sets of clothes. I carried my clothes back and forth from house to house in a suitcase, because once I hit middle school I needed to have my “certain outfits” with me at all times; there was NO way I’d leave anything behind and risk potential fashion emergency.
And two Christmases.
If I ever get married I’m going to be amazing at balancing multiple family holiday celebrations.
I’ve told you a lot about Christmas number one, including Mama Santa’s fabulously job stuffing my stocking and the food I helped prepare throughout the weekend at the beach. Right before I flew back to Austin, I had Christmas number two with Santa Dad.*
*I almost wrote Daddy Santa, but for some reason that sounds like what a stereotypical^ New England trust fund daughter (or Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl) would call him…and I am neither a New Englander, nor do I have a trust fund. (And I’m not Blair Waldorf either.)
^I also like to think I’m not stereotypical.
Christmas #2 happened on a random Wednesday evening, and we opened presents before dinner, rather than breakfast. Along with the usual “check from Grandma” and “check from Santa” [AKA "Dad never knows what to buy so he does the best he can with out lists and then just gives us money for the rest of his present budget"], I was SUPER excited to receive a new lens for my camera……that is made for low-light situations. Two or three different food bloggers I had met on different occasions had recently commented that I needed to get a 50 mm, f/1.8 fixed lens so I could stop worrying so much about lighting in restaurants…I’m excited to try it out!
A Joby Gorillapod flexible tripod!
It bends around so you can use it even if there isn’t a flat surface readily available…like if you are out mountain climbing or something. [Because you know how often I'm out mountain climbing....] I had even bought one for Santa Dad, since he’s a shutterbug, too.
If I put bumper stickers on my car, this would be the bumper sticker I want. Maybe I’ll just frame it and hang it on the wall in The Smart Kitchen?
And the heaviest (and perhaps most exciting) present, about which I had been warned I’d “definitely have to ship that home” since there was “no way it’d get carried on the plane”: A laaaaarge skillet with a super-tall edge and clear (!) lid, with which I will hopefully never again have my usual “man alive, this sauce/stew/creation just got way to big for it’s britches*” problem.
*britches = pan
Caroline (Sister Smart) modeled the new boots I had picked out for her……and Santa Dad modeled the hat our brother had sent to him…
[We told him there would clearly have to be time limits and occasion restrictions regarding this hat's use.]
…and he started planning what to cook from the new cookbook I bought him:Then we took a lot of family pictures in various combinations of people for no apparent reason other than posterity.
Which, interestingly enough, we had done at Christmas #1 as well.Of course at Christmas #1, Sister Smart and I turned the camera on our (very weird) selves…
The presents from Santa Dad didn’t stop with sauce pans and spices, however…because instead of a ‘re-do’ Christmas Dinner, I was “gifted” with my favorite dinner at home EVER: grilled pizza!
And then it is baked in the oven until everything is melty and delicious! [We used to top it and then put it back on the grill, but it inevitably burnt and that was just no good. Finishing in the oven eliminates any potentially wasted pizza divinity.]
In addition to the more “standard” pizza….My stepmom is also “famous” (to me) for making Rachael Ray’s Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza.The chicken cooked in the buffalo sauce is alone one of the most delicious things ever, but put it on top of pizza with Monterey Jack and bleu cheese…well…I mean…WOW.I pretty much keep my fingers crossed every time I’m at home that we eat this. [And we usually do. ]
We even managed to squeeze in a little holiday baking at Christmas #2. Faye had forgotten to make the South Beach Wholesome Oat Muffins she’d planned on, and asked if I’d do it while she went to pick up my stepsister from the airport.
This recipe is super easy, although it does require you to use every mixing bowl you own (small, medium, AND large) as well as every size measuring cup and spoon.I followed the recipe exactly, except I added a whole mess of apple pie spice to make them extra special. [I can't NOT alter a recipe people.]And, just as with all holiday baking, I was able to give some away. [Although I did have to say, "Sorry I accidentally crushed them on the plane" as I sheepishly handed them to the friend picking me up from the airport. ]