Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011 Will Be Different This Year...

We've decided to try something different for Christmas eve this year. First of all, we're going to make our cookies starting at about 12:30 Saturday, instead of doing them beforehand. Our gift opening is going to be vastly different from any other year, too. Here's how that's going to work:
  1. I am going to take everyone's cell phone and set an alarm on each one for a random time. 
  2. At Noon, I will chose a gift for each of the 5 kiddos to open. They will all take turns opening their gift.
  3. From then on, when a kiddo's alarm goes off, they will chose one gift for themselves, and one gift for each other child to open.
  4. This will happen 4 more times, and each kiddo will have one turn to do the gift choosing.
  5. After all of the alarms have gone off, Steve will choose one last gift for each kiddo to open. 
We are hoping that this method will make their Christmas joy last a bit longer. The last alarm will go off by 4 P.M.; that way we have a break before we sit down together at 6 to begin opening all of the gifts that are not from Santa.

Food for the day is going to be a bunch of everyone's favorite snacky things and breakfast will be Cinnamon Rolls. I'm sure I will blog again about how well this did or did not work :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011




o   One half of a 12-ounce box of jumbo pasta shells (about 18 shells)
o   1 teaspoon salt
o   1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
o   2 large eggs
o   1 cup grated parmesan cheese
o   2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
o   2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or mint (or 2 teaspoons dried)
o   1 (26-ounce) jar Italian pasta sauce
1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and the pasta shells to the water. Boil the pasta shells until they are tender, but still a little firm (al dente), about 10 minutes. Meanwhile make the filling (step 2). When pasta is done, drain the shells, run under cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside.
2.      In a large bowl stir together: the ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and parsley or mint. Pour about 1 cup of pasta sauce into a 9x12 casserole dish. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the ricotta filling into each cooked pasta shell. Place the filled shells, side by side, (three lengthwise rows of 6 shells per row), into the casserole dish. At this point, the dish can be made and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
3.      Spoon the remaining pasta sauce on top of the shells and bake uncovered until bubbly, about 30 minutes. If using refrigerated shells, allow 40 minutes baking time.

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