Christmas Meals, Presents and Family Time

This year, we celebrated the Christmas holidays at Valley Farm House, Gunthorpe, England as an entire family.  10 adults and 5 children and one in Lise’s belly and there will surely be more in the future.

We had two Christmas trees – one pretty, gold one in the living room and one kiddie one in the dining area. Each day we took turns doing some cooking, cleaning, etc.   We did the traditional games of poker, watching of movies and loads of chats.  But this year with 5 little kids with the oldest being 4, it was really loud, crazy but fun.

CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER

We mixed it up this year and did what Italians do and had a feast of fish.  We had Brancaster Oysters, fish soup, salmon salad, smoked mackerel and fish cakes.  It was so delicious… despite the sauce fight, but we’ll just skip over that completely.  As usual, Soren really wanted an oyster and had one.

CHRISTMAS MORNING

Before heading up to bed, we set up some milk, cookies, carrots for the reindeer to enjoy during his stop off at Valley Farm House.  Santa left a note back for the kids thanking them all for the treats and for being good boys and girls.

Here is a view of Soren seeing the tree and Santa’s note.

The kids were all awake early to open their presents but we had to wait for Liberte and Neils to come over at 9 am.  Once here, the kids had a great time opening the presents.  Soren received his special lights and sounds Fire Truck with a ladder which goes up high in the sky and Hungry Hungry Hippos which was a huge request.  Plus a few more lovely gifts.  Maebh really wanted a Minnie Mouse bow and she got that, a wooden cash register machine, a pretty fancy dress and more.   All in all, they had a wonderful Christmas.

This video is a great showing of how he loved it.

CHRISTMAS DINNER

We were broken up into teams of 3.  There was a lot of cooking and cleaning of many pots and pans but it was lovely.

STARTERS:  
Neils: Thai Prawn Coconut Soup
Nils:  Mini Beef Wellingtons
Jorinde: Mini Bruschetta Toasties

MAIN MEAL:
Tjibbe, Lise & Reolof: Leg of Lamb stuffed with garlic, Pomme Provencal, with Roasted Carrots

DESSERT:
Hepzaba, Mark & Liberte:  Nigella’s Individual Chocolate Mousse and Oreo Cookie Trifles

Christmas cracker hats added some entertainment. The meal was very good and we were all stuffed.

Nils’ famous Mini Beef Wellingtons
The starter. 

BOXING DAY 

Nils & I took our kids up to Cromer to see the annual Boxing Day Swim – This will be it’s own blog but in summary there were about a 800 people gathered to watch 80 take a dip in the freezing cold water.

GRAB GIFTS AND POEMS 

Keeping with Veenstra family traditions, we did our annual poems and grab gifts on Boxing Day.  The Poems were really great – very personalized and thoughtful.  The grab part was  a lot of fun and we had a bunch of laughs.  We took turns rolling the dice and depending on the number drawn, you did what was on in it.   Open a grab gift, pass to left or right, swap a present with another, take from one and give to another etc.  Some gifts were a box of massage oil which Nils and Liberte really wanted, a large battery charger, candle stick holders, a box of dominos, a pair of leg warmers.   It was funny to see the competitive juices flowing and teams and strategies forming.  In the end, I think all were happy with their prizes except Liberte who felt Neils didn’t get enough, but that is how the game ended. 
Jeltje prepared a lovely cheese tray complete with walnuts, grapes, various cheeses, crackers. 
Liberte and Neils left on Sunday morning boat back to Amsterdam and Lise, Mark, Vaughn and Morrison went home on the night boat.  Jorinde, Reolof and Justus will stay until the 2nd and head back to Holland then on the night boat.  
All in all it was a lovely week and everyone had a great time.  We ate so much, we probably put on about 5 pounds each!!
THREE CUTIES IN A TUB

Leading up to the holiday, I kept saying I really want to get a photo of all five kids in the bath.  We didn’t get to do it, but we did mange to get three of the five in a bath.   One small injury on Soren’s back and loads of fun and laughs.

Author: Stars Stripes and Mayonnaise

I am an American currently living in the Netherlands. I enjoy snapping photos and blogging along the way about our family’s journey as we moved from USA to the UK for a couple years then onto Ireland for three & half years and now in our next adventure in the Netherlands where the kids and are are learning Dutch. As you can probably tell by the name of the blog “Stars, Stripes & Mayonnaise” our family is half American & half Dutch and if you know one thing about the Dutch is that they LOVE their mayonnaise! I seen ’em do it man, they fuckin‘ drown ’em in it. When I started this blog way when it was to capturing memories of our family – essentially a journal of our family adventures, their love of mayonnaise, my love of photography, D.I.Y., crafting, sea glass hunting and exploring with our two amazing kids.

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