Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rice Family Annual Christmas Party: An Italian Christmas

It was our turn to host the family Christmas party with Dee's sisters. I decided to celebrate we invited all to come to our house at 11 am on December 3. Of course, true to form, whenever we invite children to play on our lonely playground, it is either very hot, or very cold! This Phoenix Arizona Saturday proved to follow that format: it was cloudy and cool. However, the sun poked out, and kids are very brave...and jacketed. We invited family to bring cheese, and toppings. I made crusts, etc. and invited my mom to be my "kitchen slave" and we set out for a lot of great family, great food, and great fun!
I was soooo exhausted after cooking and cleaning up Thanksgiving that I just crashed that night. Bright and early Friday morning, instead of fighting crowds, I began fighting boxes out of the attic. I set up my nativities, but got wiped out and discouraged. Nate came to the rescue. I was in the attic, holding one box and ready to give up. He came out, and said, "Hand it down...and keep going." I handed box after box down. He hauled them to the area I indicated. (Seems that while he was hauling, Dee was reconsidering the size of my "hut" he is making for me in the back yard to store my stuff in.) Thus began hours and five days of decorating. I absolutely would not have done it if it weren't for Nate!.  I this pic I have the table ready for pizza prep, plus the three dessert pizzas: sugar cookie, chocolate chip cookie, and brownie. 

My birthday: July 4th. Thus, my patriotic tree graces the family room.


Living Room. Odd thing: those darned strings of LED Christmas lights must truly shrink while in our hot attic. Case in point: I added three strings last year to the lights I already had. This year, I needed to add six more!

I changed from a shorter tree to a taller one for Dee's hunting ornaments. It has been easier, both for all to enjoy, and for Beau's tail to not destroy!


Yep...the Dept. 56 North Pole Village is back...I started this one on November 1. Added two more tables at the sides. I call them "Mormon Tables" because the bases are composed of four buckets of wheat, each. 

Family visiting the playground, Dee's garden, and the new Grammy's Grape Gazebo.  (Gracie, Papa is putting down rocks on the ground, and he has made us a table and four chairs for our tea parties!)

Andi, Eric, with Christoper and Gabe on the playground. It (the playground) was soooo happy!

Cameo, Marina, Ethan, Nathan, Dorrie, and Nate

Amber and Cameo dive in to create pizzas

Nate made an awesome pasta salad, and then started making pizzas. He was truly the king of pesto today!

Rachael dove in and created some great stuff, including a calzone!

The process: Dee rolls the dough, cornmeals the peal, and puts the crust on, so the decorators can go to work. Then, they take it out to the pizza oven. If it's hot enough, it takes on a few minutes. He brings the peal in, cuts the pizza, and slides it on the ready pizza pans. This time, we had TWO more peals, both handcrafted by Nathan! One is even made of mesquite.

Marina's hubby, Mike, had to be away on a flight (he works for Southwest Airlines) so she kept in touch via texting. He didn't get to miss anything, and Marina took home some pizza for him to enjoy when he returned. 

It was such a wonderful blessing to have Marina with us. She  has struggled recovering from the worse case of Whooping Cough her doctors have ever seen! Here, you would NEVER know! And Dorrie fell down some stairs, severely breaking her wrist. She graduated this past week from a cast to a removable splint. We are so thankful for doctors, medicine, and the blessing of just having these two here with us!

Amber is a newcomer to our pizza creating, but she and Cameo (already a pro!) did a fine job!

Jessica and Kelsie spend quality time on the swingset. 

Doran dives in and makes another pizza. 

Ethan was soooo kind! Dad usually spends all the time baking and eats cold pizza after all are full. He took over the oven and let Dad eat hot, yummy pizza, and to talk a bit.  PLUS, Dee had worked all week on getting our own root beer keg set up. Doran and Nate fixed it so it worked great! So, we had yummy pizza, and tasty homemade root beer!

Dee and Jerry enjoy the warm fired pizza oven. 

I caught Amber and Kelsie making the cutest faces!

Hmmm...must be something very important that Dee is sharing!

My mom was my kitchen slave for the party. She sliced tomatoes, olives, grated name it, she did it...all for her own pizza! She ate a couple of pieces and took the rest home for dinner. Thanks Mom, for being an awesome slave.

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