Another year, another Xmas. This year we both stayed in Austin together, which was nice. Then we headed to Galveston for a day or two, then out to Stephenville, Texas for a few days at Randall's family ranch. We've neglected to go there for New Year's for years, and this year we went, and we really enjoyed ourselves. One of our goals was to do more fun things in Texas, and this was one of them. The stuff from New Year's Eve can be found here.

But enough about that, and on to the Christmas photos.

This year we got a "real" tree. As some of you know, in past years it's usually cut from cardboard or foam core. Well this year we went all out and went and bought a mini-tree. We wanted the house to smell Christmas-y, and this was the solution. (Actually, the initial implementation involved the *bottom* of a tree that Lorin brought home. I swear I am not making this up. It was a stout bush-like thing, with a 2" diameter trunk sticking up about 6" from the top. Totally bizarre. I lobbied for us to go out and drop the big bucks on something a little more traditional looking. Turns out these mini trees are cheap - $14. What a deal!

Uninterested in trimming trees - they pull them down, they don't put them up - the cats subtly indicate that they would like to go outside. I was hesitant to let them out because....

It was freezing out. (Note to all you people further North, 36F is well below freezing for us.)

Their patience waning, Homey approaches to find out why I'm taking pictures when I am supposed to be opening the door. Kirby is giving me a look that says, "We've done this a thousand times, how can you be screwing it up?"

Ta-da! While I was taking pictures, Lorin got the tree trimmed. She is fast.

Here is our creepy angel with the light-up head.

Mmmmmm, Celis.

Now it's cookie-making time!

First you mash up some dough...

Then the cookies are done. Wow, that's almost as easy as trimming a Christmas tree!

Here they are ready to be taken to friends' houses. Guess which container we take to a friend, and guess with container stays at home so we can pig out.

Now let's make perogies!

Many of you may have seen Ms. Paul's perogies in the stores. They're frozen, and stuffed with potato, but typically pretty good. Each year we like to make our own, both cabbage and potato stuffed. This is the stuffing for the cabbage ones, and the recipe is top secret, so forget it.

A glimpse inside the production facility.

Here are a couple after final assembly, ready to be boiled.

Waiting for cooked perogies...

Here are a few...

And a few more!

Potato perogies go into this bowl. (We make a lot of these, they're good.)

"Say anything about my rubber gloves, and I'll cut you up with these scissors!"

By the way, Lorin said yes.

So that made my Christmas the best one ever.

That's it. Be sure to check out the New Year's photos.