The Best Neighbors and a Chocolate Ribbon Cake

I’m getting bored with these cookie recipes. And I really wanted to write about my neighbors. When you buy a house, you look at the house itself. Does it have a large kitchen? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Nice yard? Good school district? Does Hubby have a decent commute to work? When we bought our house, we bought into a new development. It was the second phase. No one lived on our street when we moved in and the homes to our left and behind us weren’t built yet. There’s a lot of uncertainty about “the new people” that would move in. What will my new neighbors be like?

I have to say that my family and I are blessed with the most amazing neighbors and we are thankful for them everyday. We carpool together to school. We’ve watched each other’s babies when we needed a sanity check. We’ve had play dates and sleep overs to allow each other a date night or to catch up with work/errands. We’ve been there for each other for funerals, birthdays and births.

Our kids have grown up with each other from birth or close to it. It’s like having extended siblings and cousins living across the street or around the corner. My princess has her best friends, The Twins, living behind us. I can see in the future a gate in the fence finally being built so they could easily come and go and visit and giggle with each other.

My Professor has outgrown his “first love,” literally the girl next door. I’d laugh when I would hear these two talk about getting married and what they would do when they were only 4 years old.

“Okay, you can be a pal-eon-tol-o-gist, but I will be an artist.”

Although the two are now in the “I’m going to torture you” phase that most girls and boys go through, they are wonderful friends, playmates and homework buddies. They will be life-long friends, even if their lives do not intersect.

I could go on about Middle-Child’s best friend and all the other relationships formed on our street, but I have to say that the holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without us getting together. No matter what the holiday, 4th of July, Halloween or Christmas, we have a party together. We were close to not having a Christmas party this year. Fifteen kids coming over for dinner is a daunting thought. But, I’m so glad we did.

We had a potluck. Annabell made an amazing Roast New York Strip Loin with Garlic-Herb Crust and we had yummy sides to go with it. Our Pomegranate-Champagne Punch quickly made us ladies giggle and snort in record time! I spent all of yesterday making this amazing Chocolate Ribbon Torte, you know the one that graced the Bon Appétit cover this month? It was around 5pm when I discovered that the pasta machine I borrowed wouldn’t cooperate and couldn’t make the chocolate ribbons I needed for the final Oooohs-and-Aaaahs. I hand rolled everything with a rolling pin to make it work. Decorating this cake is not for the faint at heart. But, my neighbors are worth it.

The rich cake was a fabulous way to end our wonderful evening. Well, the cake and the White Elephant gift exchange. The Pirate Piggy Bank and The Fish Lighter were in hot-demand!

The kids exchanged recycled books for our Secret Santa exchange and whoops! Who gave a 10-year old a book loaded with F-bombs???

What a blast. My family and I are truly blessed to have our neighbors watching over us. We love you all very much and we are looking forward to 2011 and all the adventures we will have together.

(I will post the recipes for these treats when I get a chance. Time is a commodity I don’t have right now, especially with 3 more days ’til Christmas!)

Merry Christmas from Family Spice!

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