Christmas Eve 2011

I am finally getting around to writing about all the fun activities that happened over Christmas.
My mom's large family always has a Christmas Eve party. We used to have this party at my grandma and grandpa's house, but they are getting older and my grandma has been having a harder time with her leukemia lately and she can't host our holiday gatherings anymore.
One of my aunts lives right down the road from my grandparents and she is so nice to have everyone over to her house for our celebration. I made these delicious sesame seed green beans for the occasion. They are simple to make and so yummy.

My brother is a Christmas Eve baby and my younger sister is usually the baker of our family birthday cakes. (Last year she made me a delicious margarita cake!) But this year she has been so busy that the task sneaked up on her, so I told her that I would make a cake for Ivan.
I looked around at the grocery store trying to come up with something more exciting than a yellow cake mix in a box. I found a recipe for chocolate cake with chocolate frosting on the back of a package of baking chocolate. Then I found a bag of Andes® Crème de Menthe Baking Chips, delicious! I asked my sister to help me figure out how much baking chocolate I could replace with the Andes baking chips without making it too minty or not minty enough. I think it came out well except that I had a hard time getting the icing on the sides to look very good.

When we arrived at my aunt's house I sprinkled some mint baking chips on top and put in those adorable candles. I only wish that I had remembered the glass cake stand that I have at home instead of bringing that plastic one. Ivan seemed to enjoy his cake and I am glad that so many family members were there to celebrate with him.
Ivan's birthday cake
The other exciting thing about Christmas Eve was the quilt that Robin and I made for our grandma for her 82nd birthday. You can read more about that here and here.

Robin, Grandma, Grandpa, me with the side of the quilt that I made
Robin and me, with her bento box side of the quilt

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