Christmas in Pittsburgh 2013
Pittsburgh, PA - Events of Monday, December 23 to Saturday, December 28, 2013
We usually go to church late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve and then go to J. Michael's brother's house afterwards for a buffet supper. However, this year, we decided to go to church on Monday on Christmas Eve Eve instead of on Tuesday. It was a nice service with carols throughout and the traditional lighting of candles during the singing of "Silent Night" at the end.
On Tuesday morning, the ladies worked on last-minute food preparations for Christmas Eve. Late in the afternoon, we headed to J. Michael's brother's house for the annual family Christmas Eve gathering. J. Michael's brother prepared a delicious smoked turkey, and everyone brought a side dish, an appetizer or cookies. It was a fun evening with plenty of good food and good company. We always enjoy being with J. Michael's family.
On Christmas morning, we all got up relatively early, got our coffee and hot chocolate, and prepared to open gifts. J. Michael's mom also came over to share the day with us.
J. Michael exhibited his usual good taste in gifts with beautiful jewelry and clothes for Lora. He also got her a new fondue pot. Lora got J. Michael several nice ties and shirts along with some grooming tools for his beard.
Lora and J. Michael were in Amish Country in Berlin, Ohio, a few weeks ago, and they brought back some beef snack sticks from Winesburg Meats for one of Paul's gifts. Margery got, among other things, an immersion blender. She has been regretting getting rid of the one we had back when we had a stick house, and she is happy to have one again. This one is more powerful and much nicer than our old one.
Speaking of Berlin, we got Lora an apron for Christmas when we were there last fall.
A few weeks ago, Margery found something called ebags packing cubes online and ordered a couple of sets for us. They enable you to pack different clothes in each cube (actually more of a flat pouch than a cube) so your clothes don't get all rumpled when you have to search through your suitcase to find things. Margery liked them so well, she ordered some as a gift for Lora since Lora travels to Mary Kay events several times a year. They were a big hit. After using them for a week, even dubious Paul became a fan! It makes living out of a suitcase a very manageable even to the point of being pleasant! LOL
Of course, the dogs got into the act, too. The next photo shows Freeway, Gunnar and Fiona helping J. Michael distribute gifts.
Freeway was very interested in helping anyone who was opening a gift.
Freeway loves toys made from fabric, but he is very hard on them. One of his favorites is his Puppy Pal. He got a new one this Christmas.
After we opened gifts, we had our traditional breakfast of Lora's delicious homemade cinnamon rolls and cheese. One year it took Margery four tries to get them right. She killed the yeast twice and forgot the salt the third time. She got an A+ for perseverance, but it's a job Margery is happy to have Lora take over. She does it so well!
We relaxed in the afternoon with a movie, then had a non-traditional Christmas dinner of cheese fondue using Lora's new fondue pot. The new pot is bigger and has has much better temperature control than the old hand-me-down pot she got from us. The fondue was excellent and well worth the 90-minute wait in the Strip to get the cheese.
After our fondue, we relaxed in the evening.
Margery had a couple of routine medical appointments that were left over from our visit to Pittsburgh last fall to take care of on Thursday. Paul went along because we had scheduled to meet our friends, Pat and Mike, for lunch. Unfortunately, Pat called and said they wouldn't be able to make it because they had both come down with a stomach virus. We really missed being able to see them. We were glad to hear they were finally feeling better when we talked to Pat several days later.
Since we were very close to Empire Palace after Margery finished up her last appointment, we decided to stop there for a late lunch.
Empire Palace is a Chinese restaurant with lunch specials for $7 to $10 that include a choice of soup or egg roll and white or fried rice. We both had our favorite - General Tso's chicken with egg rolls and fried rice. It was yummy!
Saturday was J. Michael's family's annual gift exchange, and we headed over to J. Michael's mom's house in the afternoon. We had lots of good eats followed by lots of laughs as family members took turns opening gifts.
Rather than buy everyone one or two small gifts, they draw names and get nicer gifts for just that person. They have lots of fun trying to guess which family member has which name and trying to trick each other into thinking they have someone other than whom they really have.
We had a wonderful Christmas with Lora, J. Michael and J. Michael's family. We still had one more day before we headed back to Florida, and we had another activity planned. We'll have a report on that activity and our return trip to Florida in our next post.