Christmas Parties

What a whirlwind of a weekend! I had Christmas parties with friends for 3 days straight, Fri, Sat & Sun! (mainly all w/my co-op family). My busiest day though was this past Friday when I hosted a big group of friends for a cookie & gift exchange. Normally this last year considering, I don't think I would've been emotionally up to pulling such a thing off, but it was doable considering this was for my "family" (aka for my co-op friends who have stuck by my side through thick and thin this last year, I thank God for these selfless gals!)

Us moms rarely get a night to ourselves, so I told them to just come as they are and that I would provide the munchies. I rarely get a chance to host, so this was a treat for me to make food, as I love hosting parties! It was the least I could do to bless my friends.
olive penguins (recipe at the end)

Mr Snowman cheeseball

Just a pic of some of the food I made. There was another table & counter yet full of desserts, sweets & drink I forgot to take a pic of.

What a night we had! Everyone hung out eating & talking to start with, then we did our cookie exchange. It was awesome to get SOO many different kinds of cookies! I highly suggest a cookie exchange if you want to try different kinds of cookies but don't want to bake tons of different cookies. I had everyone email me their recipes so I could email a master list out so it saved everyone from writing out cards of recipes.

Then we played "Now you have it now you don't". For those who have never played this, you are missing out. Everyone takes 3 numbers then the numbers are randomly called. Each time your # is called, you go choose a wrapped gift, whether that's from the main pile or better yet, you take a gift from someone. When your third # is called, you then choose your final gift which you open and it's yours to keep. Our theme this year was to bring something from home you wanted to pass along. I didn't want anyone to feel burdened to go out and purchase a new gift. Holidays are already a stress filled time just buying for immediately family and everyone seemed to love the idea of a "hand-me-down" so that's what we did. Oh my did we have some awesome gifts!!! Let's just say we had some interesting gifts from *ahem* dice & games (*wink* lol) to a santa snuggie, candles, books, trolls (HA) etc. It was SUCH a fun night for all of us that went pretty late!!! Can't beat just sitting around conversing with some pretty great people!

Thank you gals for such a great night & fun memories!!!

And thank you to those who have already emailed, mailed or messaged me your R.A.C.K! I am overwhelmed at the response already filling Noah's stocking and look forward to many more!!!! Please feel free to share it w/others whether verbally or on your blog, facebook, etc.
Details can be found here.

1 (5 3/4 ounce) can jumbo pitted ripe olives, drained
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1/4 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper
1 dash garlic powder
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4 inch slices
12 small pitted ripe olives
12 toothpicks, with cellophane frilled tops
1 (2 ounce) jar sliced pimientos

Cut a slit from the top to the bottom of 12 jumbo olives; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the next six ingredients; mix well.
Fill a small heavy-duty plastic bag with cream cheese mixture.
Cut a small hole in the corner of the plastic bag; carefully pipe mixture into jumbo olives.
Set aside.
Cut a small triangle out of each carrot slice; press triangles into small olives for a beak.
On each notched carrot slice, position a jumbo olive so the white chest is lined up with the notch for the feet.
Place the small olive, hole side down, over the jumbo olive so the beak, chest and feet are aligned.
Carefully insert a toothpick through the top of the head into the body and carrot base.

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