Planning Tom's birthday party on the 23rd and holiday festivities...


Photo from this date in 2013: Of nine members of this warthog family, there are two moms; one with four babies and the other with three babies.  From watching this family almost daily over a period of 18 days, we believe the mom shown above is the mom of the three babies, which if you look closely are all nursing. (It's hard to see the third).  Thus, the baby on which she is resting her chin belongs to the other mom who is nearby and seems comfortable with this situation.  We couldn't have laughed more when the fourth baby, whether hers or not provided this neck resting spot. For more photos from this date, please click here.
With Tom's birthday party in only four days, we've begun planning how we'll seat seven people for dinner in our tiny house. We have four chairs inside, two at the dining table and four chairs outside which we can bring in as needed. 

The outdoor table has a glass top and it would be impossible to bring it inside. If the weather isn't too cold we could eat early outdoors, bringing the inside table and chairs outdoors. 

The weather forecast predicts 69F (21C) on Monday. Usually, its warmest here between 3:00 and 4:00 pm. With the Minnesota Vikings game on at 6:15 pm, it should work out well if we eat around 4:00 pm and have "birthday cake" during halftime. 

An easy dinner is planned to avoid spending too much time in the tiny kitchen. Tom will cook on the gas grill while I wrap up the sides indoors. We only have six plates and salad bowls so we'll borrow one more of each from the sisters to round it out to the seven of us.

Today, we'll walk down to Mary and Eugene's place to pick lemons off of her overflowing lemon tree to make lemon drop martinis as we'd made last year at his birthday party, hosted Rita and Gerhard. We'll borrow a blender from Mary and a juicer from Margie as well.

My grocery list is complete and we've already purchased the meat and ingredients for the dessert. A quick trip to the market will wrap it up which I'll do over the weekend or perhaps tomorrow to avoid some of the Christmas rush.

On Christmas Day, Mary and Eugene are having the traditional turkey dinner. I will make the side vegetables and possibly a few pies. No doubt, the festivities will be delicious and festive.

For us, Christmas is less about gifts, decorating or a Christmas tree which we haven't done since we began traveling. It's never made sense living all over the world nor would be willing to accumulate "stuff." We send gifts to the grandkids but had mutually agreed long ago not to purchase gifts for the adult kids.

We aren't certain about Christmas Eve yet. Typically the family goes to a local establishment for drinks and light meals. Surely, we'll join them this year. And, we're planning to go to Christmas Eve Mass at a nearby church which starts at 8:00 pm, instead of midnight.

There are many seniors in this area and Midnight Mass would probably be poorly attended. Let's face it, most seniors go to bed fairly early making midnight a little late for most of us.

Yesterday, at 4:00 pm we attended the pot luck mulled wine party at the clubhouse. I'd make a double batch of artichoke dip with Club crackers. We had no idea how many would attend so I assumed a doubt batch would be best. 

As it turned out the huge hot pan of the dip was consumed in no time at all along with all the dishes others had brought along. Much to my surprise, the mulled wine was delicious and made without sugar. With the chilly weather, it was a welcomed treat to stay warm.

Unfortunately, we'd forgotten to bring a camera or phone with us for photos. With at least a few hundred people in attendance and live music, it would have been great to share photos. Sorry about that!

In any case, Tom's birthday and the holidays will be meaningful and fun while we're here in Apache Junction. May all of our readers who celebrate have an excellent time planning their holiday festivities.
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Photo from one year ago today, December 19, 2018:
This is one of our favorite pairs of warthogs, Mike and Joe, named after two US vice presidents, non-partisan of course, Mike Pence (current) and Joe Biden (last presidency).  Tom always says, "The VPs are here." For more photos, please click here.

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