12/29/2012

Merry Belated Christmas!



I hope everyone has been having a great holiday season thus far.  Ours here in Houston has been pretty eventful with lots of visitors.  Though I am by no means a Houston expert yet, there are a few places that are good for first or second time visitors.  Here's what we did.

1.  St. Arnold's Brewery - The tour is short, but the beer and atmosphere are excellent.  I would go back with any beer or fun connoisseur.
2.  Galveston - We went twice in one week!  That's another post in itself.
3.  NASA Johnson Space Center - Cool, but not as cool as it was a year ago...bummer.  In the last year space center changed all of the interactive puzzles from Mensa type activities to more modern computer and music mixing things.  The tour was better last year too.  It still had a good time, but just not as great as I was imagining.


Saturn V.  On loan to Johnson Space Center from the Smithsonian.

Thrusters.

Connections.

USA!  USA!  USA!

It was great having the family visit our new home for Christmas.  They even got a few days of nice weather!  I think it was a nice change from inches of snow and freezing temps.  Lucky for them, they left just as it started almost freezing down here...almost freezing.  Hopefully the flight issues don't deter them from another visit.

Christmas decorations were up in our house since Thanksgiving, but it wasn't until wrapping presents last weekend that it really felt like Christmas.  It is still weird getting used to the different weather down in Houston.  The seasons and weather cues are just all messed up for me.

One recipe that always gets me in the Fall/Holiday spirit is Spiced Cider.  This very general recipe can be adapted any way you like (more juice, different juice, less spice, etc).  It's super simple and I made a double batch it in the crock-pot on Christmas morning so the kitchen could smell good all day long.  It's good as is, or with a splash of Captain Morgan :)



Spice Cider


4 Cups Apple Cider
2 Cups Cranberry Juice
1/2 Orange Zest
1/2 Orange Juiced
5-10 Cloves
2 Cinnamon Sticks

Mix all ingredients together in a crock pot or on stove over medium.  Heat to a simmer and serve or keep warm for guests to come and serve themselves.  Don't forget the optional Spiced Rum!


All you need.


Spice.  Yum!!!



Lights


I love looking at Christmas lights, but am not one to jump at putting them up.  Luckily, Bret loves both and he set about lighting up our house and trees.  Thanks Honey!!!


Pretty reflection from the pool. 


Blue for the front.


LEDs!


One night, early in December, we drove into the nearby neighborhood to find some fancy shmancy lights on big houses.  On our way, we ran across a smaller neighborhood that had a light explosion.  I do not mean explosion in a serious way, but in a OMG there are sooo many light on this house, kind of way.  It was great!  The whole cul-de-sac seemed to be having a decorating competition or something because it was ridiculous.  Ridiculously awesome! Hahaha!










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