It was great. And it wasn’t about the gifts (I’ll get to that later). It wasn’t about the food (Well, yes it was—but not in a great way. I ate way too much).
I was listening for my buddy Santa but I don’t have a chimney. He still came through though!!
It was about family. It was beyond great to have the three kids here. Jake had to leave the day after Christmas due to working at the Nightly News. He also had to get ready for a trip to London.
Jake didn’t stay long but we were lucky to have him visit when we returned from Paris!
Roman and Oona both left on Thursday. Oona back to Cincinnati then to Atlanta for New Year’s Eve and Roman back to New York City to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Brooklyn with friends. Chateau Bonaparte is now back to the quiet normal of me, Bonaparte and Chippy. Some of the decorations will be taken down this weekend—actually, I’ll wait till next weekend. I want some alone time with my tree.
Roman has a little break before resuming duties at Fallon and SNL..
Oona is now back in her favored Cincinnati! I miss them already!
I’m now preparing to go into hibernation mode. You know that time of year after the holidays and everything is damp, cold, and gray? And all you want to do is come home from work and put your pajamas on? That’s how I’m feeling. You too?
So back to Christmas 2016.
Be that as it may, as much as I love Christmas, I always manage a few faux pas!
I picked Oona up at Philly airport last Thursday, the 22nd of December. At Philly Airport—which was an absolute zoo. Luckily I listened to the girls at work and left early to get there. It took me two hours—traffic was that bad.
Christmas Eve Oona drove to New York and met the boys for a late lunch/early dinner with their dad. I cooked all day. Bonaparte had the foresight to send Chippy to doggie daycare so he could hang with his canine homies!
Basically, THIS was my Christmas Eve Day Still Life! Lots of baking and cooking. I’ll show you through pics!
More treats and cookies…
The meringue mushrooms for the 2016 Buche de Noel!
WAIT!! In the middle of my busy cooking frenzy, the doorbell rang! It was a surprise! For me! And the surprise was these tulips from Jake’s girlfriend Juliana! You know who mommy is liking…….
To accompany the pre-dinner drinks, I served deviled eggs, but prepared everything the day before. Took the yolks out and made the filling. Spooned it into a piping bag, sliced the eggs in half and put into the fridge then on Christmas Day all I had to do was pipe and serve. Did I mention that Anchovy Paste is my secret ingredient? Well, it is and it is no longer a secret!
OK. Mommy needs a break–just one of many. I’m so lazy..
And with laziness comes productivity. I forgot to water my Rosemary tree because of my laziness. But with that came a beautifully bunch of the dried herb. So–now I just snip and grind. It’s perfect!
Christmas Eve dinner for B. and me was a quiet one while we waited for the kids to return from New York. I don’t even remember what we ate. I think it may have been a roast chicken from Wegman’s. My brain was very busy thinking about the next day!
A few moments to admire the ornaments on the tree before everyone returned home!
Oh. I forgot to mention. Early in the morning I had my hair blown out by Adam and he gifted me with a bottle of whiskey. My hair dresser sure knows how to please me!! Either that or he was trying to find a way to wind me down.
The hair looked great–and naturally as soon as I arrived home, I wiped the makeup off, took the clothes off and put on sloppy clothing. Am I the only woman who did this on Christmas Eve? I take casual to a whole ‘nother level!
Christmas day was relaxing and perfect. The funny thing is when the kids are little and are mesmerized by that Santa magic, everyone wakes up early—like at 6 AM. Now we wake up after 9 and the gift-giving is so much more civilized. Nobody is ripping anything apart!
Alright. Its all coming back to me. The day sort of didn’t start out perfectly. Trying my damnedest to get my best Martha Stewart on, I woke up before everyone else to start that wonderful Christmas Breakfast. My perfect breakfast began with putting the French Toast Casserole into the oven to warm up. My next action was breaking the eggs for a massive dish of scrambled ones. I reached into the fridge for the eggs and realized that I didn’t have enough of these egg-cellent little beauties. So, I had to improvise and made a frittata instead. Whipping egg whites helped to create the illusion of volume. Cooking the bacon was next. I carefully opened the ONE POUND of bacon that was ready to be consumed by my bacon-loving family. The opened bacon remained on the counter whilst nature called to me. I should have moved the bacon.
When I got back to the kitchen, the bacon, in the opened package was not on the counter. I knew that I left it there. I searched high and low until it dawned upon me that I was not the only being awake. Chippy was with me. Or rather he had been with me. I found him under the coffee table in the living room. And I must have been cursing up a storm because when I turned around Oona was behind me. She was not happy. With me! We struggled to take the remnants of the package out of Chippy’s mouth, and Oona grabbed a long strip of plastic that he was about to swallow.
Oona, more upset about Chippy’s consumption than her breakfast continued to carry on about how I was not the greatest Dog Mom. I reminded her that I was a founding member of The Bad Mom movement.
By now Roman was on his way downstairs. Jake and Bonaparte were still asleep. Roman asked what that weird pile on the living room floor was? I looked over. Chippy threw up. And it was such a mess that not one strip of bacon could have been salvaged and reused.
Like hung-over partier, Chippy spent the remainder of the morning on the loveseat in the sunroom. The only time he left his position was when we were opening gifts. He discovered the joy of receiving when the kids handed him his wrapped presents that Sandy Paws left him.
No. That is not the look of remorse in Chippy’s eyes. He’s devising new ways of stealing food!
Everyone was happy with their gifts and we did manage to squeeze some breakfast in!
Jake’s love for retired Larry Bird and the Celtics knows no boundaries! Check out his holiday socks!
Bonaparte gave me this laptop. My post would have been published sooner but I’m STILL figuring things out!!
The kids gave me this great Daniel Wellington watch. See that red line to the right? I had no idea what it was and I contacted the company. Eventually it came off because it was a part of the protective film that I didn’t realize was there. The DW company never got back to me. I guess they figured that my inner moron would eventually figure it out! I love this watch!
Oona knows that mommy is a cosmetics junkie–as is daughter! I LOVE these brushes. So much that I packed all my other ones away. True!
Another great little gift was this Mexican garlic grater. You put the unpeeled garlic into that blue tube and roll it. The skin peels right off. Then you swirl the garlic on the plate-the plate is beveled so the garlic grates easily and you clean with the brush. Yes. Mommy got a new toy and has been cooking with garlic every day since Christmas!
We grazed all day until Bonaparte’s daughter, her husband and their daughter arrived in time for aperitifs and dinner.
The festive table. Do you like the cute ribbons around the napkins? That was because I was too lazy to iron the cloth napkins so I just wrapped them around the silverware! It’s hard being lazy!
This was the year that I discovered the pleasures of riding the Paris Metro after ten years. This was also the year that Bonaparte discovered the very guilty pleasure of the American Comfort food better known as Mac & Cheese. Every Christmas I make a huge mutha of a Mac & Cheese. The kids love it. Bonaparte’s granddaughter loves it. I love it. (Chippy loves it too—but that’s our secret). Bonaparte has snobbishly turned his ample French nose up at it every year. I dunno what happened but I guess B was feeling a bit frisky and adventurous this Christmas and said:
“Couwd someone pliz pahss zhet Ahmehrickahn chiz sin zhet ou ahr awl ett-een(h)?”
Translation: “Could someone please pass that American cheese thing that you are all eating?”
Stunned and silenced, the huge ceramic casserole dish containing this food of the Gods was passed over to him. He took a forkful. Then another. Then another. And like Mikey with Life cereal, we all sighed as he announced that “Zis eez goowd sheet!” He liked it. He really liked it!
All the ooey-gooey American Cheesiness was what my Frenchman needed. I understand that many restaurants throughout France are now serving their own versions of this spectacular comfort food!
Later on, Bonaparte told me that he could not believe what a food snob he had been all this time. He ended up finishing the remaining macaroni and cheese over the next couple of days. I had to “hide” some for him. I guess I’ll be making more in the future!
Here’s where things got a bit….dramatic. After being on my feet literally most of the day, I sat down at the dinner table to enjoy the fruits of my laborious dessert with everyone. My beautiful Buche de Noel 2016.
The genoise cake was moist. The creme de marron (that’s fancy French talk for chestnut cream) filling was amazing. The ganache frosting was the best I’ve ever gorged on. I couldn’t stop dipping my finger into it! The meringue mushrooms looked adorable and the “dirt” on top was ground up pecans. Francois Payard would be proud of me if he knew me!
I didn’t even drink ( I had one aperitif) so I cannot blame the drama on too much wine or too many Kir royals. During dessert Bonaparte.. or someone at the table started talking politics. Then it happened. Bonaparte’s son-in-law, who was the only person at the dinner table who voted for that man who is president-elect of this already-great America, started glorifying that man who is NOT my president. I made a promise to Bonaparte that I would not get all crazed. I promised my children I would not get all crazed. Hell, I promised Chippy I would not get all crazed. And so I left the table. But I didn’t go quietly. That is all I will say.
And while I was upstairs in my bedroom stewing away because the next four years are going to be a sh…..
I need to stop.
I was able to see the world through Santa Face glasses. They made the lights look like Santa’s face! Roman told me the magic wore off at midnight. I believed him. The magic lasted!!
Eventually I came back downstairs. And enjoyed the rest of the evening laughing with the kids over the TV show “Billy on the Street”. Bonaparte is now a fan of Billy Eichner!
I should be jealous of Billy Eichner because I, too, would love to ambush people on the street. The difference is that I would get shot. Billy does not get shot. This show is the funniest–I’m obsessed!
It was, a very, very wonderful Christmas.
The next day was even more fun.
Ever the economical one, Jake decided to take the train back to New York via the train from Hamilton, NJ. And me, Jake, Roman and Oona headed back to New Jersey to enjoy a great brunch. We intended to enjoy this meal at the old Parkway Diner in Ewing, NJ—but the Parkway is gone and in its place is the Capital Restaurant—a fancier diner but with the same heart and great food.
I miss Olden Avenue in Ewing through Trenton. It was fun going down memory lane!
I really have a good time with my kids. We genuinely enjoy each other and are more like peers as we all age.
After we dropped Jake at the station, it was a unanimous decision to drive by our old neighborhood. That action prompted a visit to drive by the high school and middle schools that the kids attended.
Roman and Oona–and even I, were absolutely shocked to see that the student parking lot at Hopewell Valley Regional High is now covered! Kids these days can’t carry an umbrella? Ahh..I have great memories of volunteering at the schools the kids attended!
And what would be the topping on the cake but a trip down fun times memory lane than to buy some chocolate milk and ice cream at Halo Farms on Spruce Street in Trenton.
Suddenly Roman and Oona were youngsters again as we entered through the doors of Halo Farm!
Best prices on milk and beverages ever. We bought Chock Milk ( no misspelling–we call chocolate milk chock milk). And Halo smells like a dairy–there is an old milky scent that is so warming to our hearts!
Welcome to my ice cream happy place…
Oona pondering what else to buy..
Roman framing his visual of our beloved favorite ice creams. I’ll admit. We got some strange glances…
And the creamy icy treasure! We went with “Chock” ice cream, Chocolate Peanut Paradise and Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch. And my diet has resumed!
There is nothing more fun than to go back in time and enjoy a late-night, after-dinner treat than ice cream from the carton. Yes. I still enjoy those “Bad Mom” moments! They are right up there with my “Bad Dog Mom” moments!!
Good bye Christmas 2016!!!
Alas, all great things come to an end. As did Christmas 2016. However, I’m left with memories of how wonderful this or rather last Christmas was.
They may be grown now, but they will always be this age during Christmas!!
There is no song today. Instead I’ve decided to post two of my favorite holiday videos. The great comic genius of John Roberts. Both describe my idea of Christmas and New Years. This is me. Down to the whiskers on his face. Enjoy. Because I laugh like crazy every time I see these videos!
What a lovely family you have. So exciting to have everyone together. Harder as the years go by. And your holiday preparations are all lovely too. Made me miss all the Christmas frenzy. We travel for the holidays. Have for years as the kids wanted their kids home for Santa. Makes sense. And we are just 2. Anyway, wow, I’m intrigued with that brush set. Tell us more! So curious about the shape and handles. Like a ginormous toothbrush. And I didn’t know John Roberts either. OMG. I just blew thru an hour watching utube videos. Absolutely hilarious. Happiest of New Years to you.
Jean. luckily my kids don’t have their own children yet. I know the day is coming when they won’t leave their homes. I refused to leave my home when Santa came so I get it! Oh..those brushes. I’ll be posting about them in my “best of” post possibly tomorrow. Is John Roberts not the greatest on earth? I love his videos and the thing is, I sound just like that!!!! Awwww–lookit the treeeeeeee!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
How Trump almost ruined my Christmas….My son is an NYPD officer and had an extra-long shift ‘guarding’ Trump Tower. He was able to make the tail end of Christmas Eve dinner, but slept in way too late in the morning. Finally, my husband says “This is ridiculous” so I went up and told him he had to get up. We finally opened presents around 1:00 Christmas morning… I mean afternoon. But all 3 kids were home, so it’s all good!
Jesus, Patricia, don’t even get me going on that idiot. This morning he announced that “he knows what other people don’t”..My dad was a NYPD officer and I know too well that Christmas can be daunting with that schedule. There were Christmases when he had to leave for work at 6AM, others where he had to leave by 3PM and others where he got home at 10:00 AM–torture for kids on Christmas morning! But I think if my dad had to guard Trump Tower, he would have quit the force. I’m glad that you were able to finally enjoy Christmas with the three kids–even if it was an early afternoon thing. I fear for our country. America IS already great and will no longer be great when that vile man becomes the president of others but not me. XOXOXOXOXO!!!
I don’t know why Bonaparte’s conversion to eating the greatest food on the planet made me so happy, but it did! (I LOVE LOVE LOVE Mac and Cheese, I could live on the stuff!). And Billy on the Streets is hilarious. Looks like you all had a fabulous time, despite some mishaps. 🙂
What a fun Christmas recap…I chuckled through it all…Happy New Year Catherine…Here We Go!
Hi Catherine, Amazing Christmas recap. don’t know where to start and going to resort to dot points.
– your children are sooo good looking. And sound like they have made a great career paths. One of the great things about the US is people move around. In Australia you are born in a certain city (and there are really only five big cities), you grow up there, go to university there, go on a year overseas holiday, come back get a job there, get married there, and stay there.
– Nearly keeled over across the computer when I saw ‘I’m so lazy” – I cannot believe how much you get done and work. You are amazing and look good doing it. I have never heard of anyone making a Buche de Noel from scratch. I have contemplated, but stuck to shortbread and traditional English fruitcake, and other less demanding Christmas fair. It looked brilliant.
– Have you ever made French Epiphany cake. I am very superstitious about Christmas and everything must be away before the 6th except the pointsettas which are plants.
– Christmas was wonderful in New York with the children but not the same as at home. Missed all the traditions of which we have many. I always get up early for Christmas breakfast and make Christmas fruit-mince muffins with grilled peaches. Present opening always after the breakfast.
– I have made mac and cheese for my son but may be I’ll be like Bonaparte and need to be here 10 years before I eat it. (I don’t really like any sort of baked pasta including lasagna.) I do love tacos and nachos and fried chicken.
– Most schools in Sydney do not have parking for teachers – students never. Both my children do not have driving licences which is unusual. Our second car still sits in the driveway unused and they catch public transport or Uber.
– watched the second video. And every year I spend 6-8 weeks cleaning, cooking and getting ready for Christmas telling everyone I’m not doing this next year. Then next year I do it all again and then more. Except for 2016. But I did clean every square inch of this flat.
Thank you for sharing your Christmas as it helped make mine,
Hi Yvonne! OMG. Compared to you I do feel lazy..LOL!! All those pics on your Instagram were great and I felt like I was back in New York having a blast with you! I loved the Brooklyn Bridge pic and the Holden Caufield hat pic!!! Thank you on your compliments of my kids–we should both be proud of our children’s good genes!! The French Epiphany cake–are you talking about the king cake? The one made with puff pastry and almond paste and a little statue of Jesus inside? I make that one every year but I don’t know if it is the same one. And trust me–the Buche de Noel is not difficult to make.
Lots of kids here end up going to college and eventually moving back to their hometowns. Many of my friends still live out on Long Island where I grew up and during the summer months I almost envy them due to their proximity to the ocean! Yvonne–I’m happy to have entertained you with my Christmas round up!! All the best to you my good buddy for the new year and beyond. I’m lucky to have you! XOXOXOXO!!!
Hi Catherine that’s the cake. I think the tradition is whom ever has the figurine in their slice of cake is King or Queen for the day and given a crown to wear. So happy we found that hat as Seb was so desperate to find it. I got to keep the earlier hat which we bought in desperation of finding the proper Holden hat. It’s really warm. I would never have worn anything like that in Australia. I love love New York but happy in Washington as although more expensive than Sydney much cheaper to live than NY – ie rent, happy hours, free museums (although I joined The Met, Guggenheim and MoMA as knew I would be visiting As much as I could), access to supermarkets etc.
YOU did A GREAT JOB with FOOD and KIDS!MY ITALIAN will not eat MAC & CHEESE so you are telling me there is HOPE???!!!!!!!!My kids use to go to the neighbors for it!AS well as NINTENDO as I wouldn’t have that in my house!MY thing was GO OUTSIDE TO PLAY!!!!!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR to YOU and MISTER B.
Yes Elizabeth! There is hope that your Italian WILL eat Mac & Chee!! If a Frenchman can after many years and love it–so can an Italian!!! Happy 2017 to you and your family! XOXOXOXO!!!
I’m finally catching up on the blogs I missed, Catherine! Thanks for letting me relive the magic that is Christmas! Even with all the mishaps and drama, it’s my favorite time of the year!! Poor Chippy, I hope his belly was ok!! And, I give you credit for having the strength to walk away from the table when Trumps name came up.. can’t say I would have been able to do the same in my own house! Good for you! As with all of your blogs, I really enjoyed this one especially!!