Well, we have survived our first Montana Christmas. We had a nice time, though at first we were all a little sad about being apart from family. Despite being two states away from family, we felt very loved. Several Skype sessions and presents in the mail really helped connect us and made everything just a little bit more festive.
Our holiday season started on December 15th when we went up into the mountains to cut our tree. Getting up into thick trees and deep snow made me very happy, I will always be a forest and mountain girl at heart. We went up to the family cabin of one of Tim’s co-workers, he invited us up to visit and cut our tree on his property. So we made a big batch of chili to bring for lunch and drove an hour up into the mountains. We had a good time visiting and picking our tree, though trudging through 3 ft deep snow carrying two kids wasn’t easy. Connor tried his hardest to walk by himself but the snow was just too deep. I got a great work out though, carrying the kids through all that snow. We got our tree, then it was home again to decorate.
The week before Christmas I started baking cookies, though this year I had to get a little creative since the list of kitchen things that are still in storage include a stand mixer, rolling pin and cookie cutters. They turned out pretty well despite the more hands on approach I had to take, we ended up with frosted sugar cookies, molasses cookies, and peppermint bark. The peppermint bark recipe was a new one for me, it came from Food Network Magazines December issue. It was easy and came out really delicious, I just made it a little too thick. Next year I need to use a bigger pan to spread it out more. Still, a little goes a long way and a week later we still have some left over for snacking.
Now those of you who know Tim well, will know that he can’t go long without a project, so it will come as no surprise when I say that Saturday before Christmas he started remodeling the bathroom. The bathroom really needed it: the tub surround was cracked so the wall behind it was water damaged; the fixtures were old; and the whole room was an unfortunate neon yellow. Still, it was maybe a little much to take on to remodel the bathroom two days before Christmas.
Christmas eve arrived and we had a lovely meal of some venison supplied by a friend of ours (more on the food of Christmas next post). We opened a present each and attempted to read “A visit from ST. Nick” though the kids are a little young yet.
On Christmas morning we had a nice time opening presents, then our landlord called and told Tim that the gas lines were frozen and could he come help unfreeze them? Since helping out around the property is in the lease, and since the gas lines supply our heat as well, out Tim went into -10 degree temps to help Vernon out. Poor Tim spent most of Christmas day working outside. The kids played with their new toys and I worked on Christmas dinner. Tim and our landlord were thankfully finished in time for dinner. We had another lovely meal and some mellow family time.
Overall the Gunderson’s had a very nice, quiet Christmas here in Montana. This post is getting pretty long so I will post about our food next time.