Christmas 2017

I had a wonderful time back home for Christmas.  A few years back, my mom and I realized how much we love the anticipation and build up of Christmas, so I always try to take some time off before Christmas.

I headed home the Wednesday before, and had such a nice and relaxing day.  My mom was in Chicago with some friends to see Beautiful, the musical about Carol King's life (which she absolutely LOVED), so my dad and I enjoyed a late lunch together.  My mom had made white chicken chili, and I had forgotten how delicious it was!  I know there are a ton of recipes out there, but this one is another great one, that I will hopefully be sharing soon!  I spent the rest of the afternoon / evening watching Christmas movies.  When my mom got home, she made popcorn.  My dad got a stove top popcorn maker years ago and it makes the best popcorn.  It was the perfect way to kick off my Christmas 'break'.  

Thursday, my mom and I had plans to go shopping.  I needed to make a return and we were going to do a huge grocery haul for all the baking and cooking we were going to be doing!  We made it through grocery shopping (something we both are not crazy about), and picked up one of my favorites, Avanti's, for a late lunch.  We still had a few things to pick up for the saran wrap ball game that we were going to be doing, so we headed out again later on, and even made a trip to check out a new boutique in the next town over.

Last year, my mom and I made white chocolate peppermint blondies, and sugar cookies.  They were so good, we knew we wanted to do the same again this year.  However, since we were going to be baking again this year, my mom decided to forego the gingerbread cookies we have been getting the past few years from the local bakery.  My dad knew I was pretty sad about that because they are GOOD, so he picked up a small one for me to have when he was out running errands.  I thought that was so nice!  We had a little break in the baking when my cousins stopped by to pick up tables / chairs for our family Christmas the next day.  My mom had my dad pick up some flowers for her to do a little arrangement for my aunt for them to take with, and they turned out so pretty!  I never get flowers for my place, but seeing how easily she put it all together has me wanting to start getting some!  We got the cookie part of the blondies done, then I headed out to my dad's shop to help him with something on his car.  I had to tighten something from within the car, while he held is tight underneath the I was up in the car on the lift!  It was the craziest thing!  I so wish I lived closer so I could learn more about cars from my dad.  I think it's so interesting!  We finished out all the cookies after I got home, with a break for pizza.  It was a team effort at the end - my mom and I frosted the sugar cookies, while my dad did the sprinkles.  We had a great time with lots and lots of laughs.  We also put together two saran wrap balls.  My mom had the idea to do this for my dad's family Christmas, since there are so many of us.  We did one for the kids and one for the adults, although they didn't look like balls as much as hams, haha!  

Saturday my brother and his family came to town.  I honestly don't know what we did before they came, but they made it in right before lunch time.  We had a lunch of Italian Beef, chips and veggies - and some cookies, of course.  My sister in law and I went up to check out my friend's boutique, Charmed.  My mom anticipated this, so she gave us both a little money to put towards a purchase - I thought that was so nice of her!  We broke out our annual Christmas puzzle, and got to work on that.  My dad needed some tech help, and while I am not great at all that stuff, I was able to help him upload his pictures from his phone to his computer.  It was time to get ready for my dad's family Christmas.  I have probably mentioned before, but my dad is from a very large family, and it's hard to us to all get together.  However, this Christmas, we had the biggest turn out in years!!!  Of course, we didn't get any family photos to document it, but it was so great to see everyone!  The food was delicious and it was so nice to catch up.  It was also super fun, because a lot of my cousins have families of their own now, so there were a bunch of little ones running around.  When my parents and I headed out, we drove around a bit to check out the Christmas lights, before heading home.  One of our traditions is to eat Italian food on Christmas Eve, and this year I was going to make my lasagna.  My mom and I put it together when we got home, because if you make it the night before and refrigerate, there is no need to cook the noodles which I think is so handy!  And it is one less thing to make the next day.

Christmas Eve was kind of a nice and slow day.  It snowed pretty much all day, so it was exciting to know that we would have a white Christmas.  My nephew is really into trains, so my mom thought it would be fun to take him to the train station in town.  We headed up there shortly before a train was due.  His reaction there wasn't huge, but he kept talking about it after, which I thought was neat.  We got outside in the snow and played a bit, and by that, I mean my nephew 'helped' my dad and brother shovel, while I took pictures.  Our lunch consisted of crescent roll hot dogs (I just love those things and never have them, so it was a treat!), and of course, more Christmas cookies!  We worked on the puzzle, made it outside for a little bit more playing in the snow and cooked for Christmas dinner.  We enjoyed our lasagna, cheesy garlic bread and salad, before heading in to watch a Christmas movie.  Another one of our traditions growing up was for my brother and I to exchange our gifts on Christmas Eve, and of course in the years since they have been married, my sister in law, too!  It was always nice to get a little taste of Christmas morning with that one present and it still is even as we have gotten older, too!

We were up and at 'em early on Christmas Day.  It was so fun this year with Jack, because he was really into opening things, although it was kind of humorous because he was very meticulous about getting the wrapping paper off.  He had to make sure that every bit of paper was off the present.  We took a break with some of his presents, did ours, and then back to him.  It was a very merry Christmas for us all!  We had our traditional breakfast of monkey bread, and this year my mom paired it with scrambled eggs with ham, and fruit.  Everything was delicious, and as I type this, my mouth is watering just thinking about that monkey bread.  Yum!  We headed to my grandma's to continue our celebrating, and it was a full house - my cousin who lives out of town flew in that morning, which was super exciting.  It's been awhile since all of us had been together for the holidays.  More presents were opened, and we had a special one for my grandma this year.  When I went to Chicago earlier this month, I got a nesting Santa doll.  I showed my mom and grandma when we met them for lunch, and she just loved it and said how she wanted one for herself.  Since my cousin lives in Chicago, I asked him if he wouldn't mind going and picking one out, as a gift from the grandkids.  He did, and the expression on my grandma's face when she opened the gift was just priceless.  We feasted on all the yummy Christmas food, and then again on my aunt's awesome Christmas cookies.  After dishes were washed and put away, we sat down to play cards.  One of our favorites is Blitz, or 31, as some people refer to it as, and while I was on a roll to start off with on the second game, things went downhill pretty quickly! It was a great time, though, and I am so thankful we were all able to be together!

It was FRIGID the next day when I headed back to St. Louis, and I even ran into a little snow on the way, which if you know me, I hate driving any pretty much any type of precipitation, so I had a minor panic attack, haha, but it really it wasn't all that bad and could have been so much worse.  It was back to reality and I spent the day getting ready to go back to work.

Another wonderful Christmas is in the books...while I am not quite as sad as in years past, I am already looking forward to next year's holiday season!


  1. Is blitz kind of like a version of 2 person (or multiple person) solitaire? If so, I vaguely remember playing something like that as a kid but haven’t played for years!

  2. It sounds like you had such a nice time with your parents- it's the best when you can take off extra time to really just enjoy the holidays. I love how the flower arrangements turned out, and I'm so jealous of all your Christmas cookies, I didn't have any this year since I wasn't sure if I had passed my gestational diabetes testing (I passed!!), but I think I might take monkey bread to Christmas with my inlaws next weekend!

  3. It sounds like you Christmas was so special surrounded by family. I love that picture of you working on the car. So cute. Happy New Year!

  4. Sounds like a great holiday! Those Christmas cookies look delicious! Dane is the same way with wrapping paper; he makes sure to get every teeny tiny piece off. :)

  5. What a great holiday! Glad you got to spend some quality time with your family and those cookies look delish! You definitely need to post that chili recipe, I made a white chicken chili a few weeks ago and it was decent but I want to try your moms!

  6. Reading this this morning makes me so hungry!!! Your food pictures are to die for! So glad you got to go home and spend time with your family!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

  7. Your time home sounds so special! I love that your Dad picked you up a gingerbread! I saw Beautiful too and it was AMAZING! I want to take my Mom because I know she would love it! Looks like it was an awesome Christmas! I was so happy it snowed on Christmas Eve too!!

  8. It sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas! I took some time off work this year too and it was so relaxing! Your parents are so thoughtful - the cookie from your dad and spending money from your mom made me smile!!

  9. Looks like a great time! Happy New Year!

    Lauren Elizabeth
    Petite in Pearls