Jan 032018
 

Hey friends! Happy 2018! I hope you all enjoyed a nice break over the holidays – I know I did! Our Christmas and New Year celebrations kept us very busy over the last week or so, and I have a couple of posts coming your way with recaps. First up is our Christmas celebration!

Friday, Dec. 22

I had off from work on Friday and spent the majority of my day in the kitchen! In the morning I baked three kinds of cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction: Classic Peanut Butter Cookies, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, and Chewy Gingersnap Cookies (from her cookbook, but these are similar).

Since I needed these cookies to last for a few days, I packaged them up and added a piece of bread to each container, which I had heard would keep them soft longer. It wound up working great, and I ate one of the cookies last night and it was STILL soft! I’m definitely going to use this trick again.

I also made this lemon blueberry bread to bring to a Christmas Eve brunch, and it was a huge hit. It was a busy day in the kitchen!

Later in the afternoon, I sat through some brutal traffic before arriving at my mom’s house for some tree-decorating and dinner. It was so fun reminiscing over old ornaments with her, and my stepdad made some delicious potato pancakes for dinner. Yum!

After we ate, I headed over to my friend Hana’s house to decorate gingerbread houses. Hana, Bianca, Sam, and I are all best friends from high school, and every year when everyone’s home for the holidays we gather at Hana’s to decorate gingerbread houses. It’s always so much fun to catch up with the girls!

This year Bianca picked up my house for me, and when she was out shopping, she texted me asking if I wanted to join her in making a “surprise” house. Of course I said yes, and it wound up being a gingerbread castle from Frozen!

It even came with little cut-outs of the characters. So fun!

In the end, the castles came out…ok. Ha! Hana and Sam’s traditional houses came out a bit better, but Bianca and I had fun with the castles. Too bad mine fell apart on the drive home!

The gang!

Saturday, Dec. 23

Fabio and I had plans to spend Saturday with his family outside of Baltimore, and before we hit the road, we stopped for breakfast at my favorite Arlington spot, Northside Social. Their breakfast sandwiches and coffees are just the best!

We had to run a few errands on our way over, including a stop at Home Goods where we saw this awesome black lab nutcracker on skis (his tail was the nutcracker part). We sent a photo to Aunt CC and Uncle Steve saying that if it hadn’t been $300 and so difficult to transport, we would have bought it for their mountain house in the Berkshires. Ha!

They told us to save our money. ๐Ÿ˜‰

After that, we arrived at Fabio’s sister Diane/her husband Alex’s house where we got to visit our favorite Christmas elf!!

Baby Michael was four months old on Christmas, and looked so festive in all his holiday gear! We spent a fun afternoon and evening just hanging out with the fam, which was nice and relaxing. I even got to feed Michael!

Cutie in his Christmas PJs!

Sunday, Dec. 24

The next day, Christmas Eve, was super busy for us! First, Alex’s family came over for a Christmas Eve brunch, and we enjoyed plenty of delicious treats. Everyone loved my lemon blueberry bread! I loved the smoked salmon and everything bagels. ๐Ÿ™‚

Then we participated in a fun white elephant gift exchange…

…and gave baby Michael and my neice, Sofia, their gifts (they arrived late the night before).

Fabio got Michael a baseball glove and a tee-ball bat and stand, even though he’s only four months old and won’t be able to use them for a few years. Ha! What can I say, he’s excited!

And we got Sofia a fun sparkly mermaid fin! She totally loved this gift and didn’t take her “fins” off for the whole rest of the day.

In the early afternoon, we said goodbye to Fabio’s family and drove over to my grandparents’ house! This is where I’ve traditionally spent Christmas Eve, so I’m glad we were able to make it over there again this year.

When we arrived, I discovered my sister and I were twinning!

Clearly we are related. ๐Ÿ™‚

We then headed to the living room to swap presents with my grandparents, aunt, uncle,ย and cousins.

We all got great gifts, and Fabio and I got money to put toward our upcoming kitchen renovation. ๐Ÿ™‚

Then it was time to eat! I got to sit next to my sister (who changed into a new shirt that she got from my grandma…either because she was cold or because she didn’t want to match me anymore. Ha!)

Dinner included some delicious turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and rolls.

Plus TONS of dessert!

At one point my phone got hacked…

And then there was some dancing and family photos after the plates were cleared. I love this one of my sister and grandpa!

And my adorable grandparents!

Here’s my side of the fam!

After that, we headed back to my dad’s house where we watched Elf and fell asleep around midnight.

Monday, Dec. 25

We woke up on Christmas morning to lots of presents!

Even the dogs got some big bones to munch on. ๐Ÿ™‚

And we spent the next few hours opening presents, sipping mimosas and coffee, eating breakfast, and playing with our new stuff.

A little later in the day, we watched Home Alone and then got ready to head to my mom’s house.

My mom and stepdad host a big open house on Christmas Day, and this year’sย party was really fun! I didn’t manage to snag any pictures because I was busy talking the whole time, but we had a really nice day chatting with my mom and stepdad’s friends.

Eventually it was time to head home (Fabio and I both had to work on the 26th) and we crashed hard when we got back around 8 p.m. Phew! At that point there was nothing I wanted more than to just sit on my own couch and do NOTHING. It was a busy, busy Christmas! However, we left feeling so thankful that we have so many wonderful family members close by to spend time with.

Question of the day: Do you celebrate Christmas in one place or do you travel around to a few different ones?

 Posted by on January 3, 2018

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