The Final Remnants of Christmas

We got to enjoy one last Christmas activity today. Thanks to the winter storm last week, one of our sister congregations had to reschedule their Christmas music festival (which was supposed to be held on the twelfth day of Christmas), from last Sunday to today.



So, for one last time, we got to sing some of our favorite Christmas hymns, and look at another church’s Christmas decorations. What a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Tasty Tuesday–Holiday Feasts 2013

We had another fun season of special meals this year! Here’s a wrap-up of the feasts we enjoyed…

We started the holiday season with a typical Thanksgiving dinner, followed by an epic six pies for dessert:

On Christmas Eve we had our annual “pick out dinner.” Ryan chose Velveeta/Rotel dip, I picked my favorite jalapeno popper spread, Turkey asked for deviled eggs, Bunny wanted cream cheese stuffed peppers, Moose chose mozzarella sticks, Ladybug asked for cucumber sandwiches, and I picked red and green Goldfish crackers for Chickadee. Plus, we had the standard buffalo Chex mix, carrots, finger Jell-o in Christmas colors and shapes, and a cheese, cracker, and summer sausage plate. (We had Jesus’ birthday cake for dessert after church that night.)


Our fancy Christmas dinner was held the day after Christmas, when Ryan’s parents could join us. The star of the meal was a pork crown roast. We also had stuffing, cranberries, and roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and brussels sprouts:


The Christmas desserts were a rustic apple-pear pie with French vanilla ice cream and cream puffs:

On New Year’s Eve, I made French onion soup in my new soup crocks:


We didn’t have a Christmas tea party this year, but we did have a New Year’s Eve hot chocolate bar!


I made our traditional New Year’s Day dinner of pork roast, along with a cherry-pineapple Jell-o salad, twice-baked potatoes, and roast carrots and brussels sprouts, with a chocolate peppermint trifle for dessert:


The final feast of the holiday season is always Ryan’s birthday/Epiphany. This year, he chose fish tacos with a spicy cabbage slaw, and Guinness cake for dessert:

The time of feasting is over for now, but I’m sure we have plenty of special family meals in our future!

Christmas at the Old Courthouse

We went to the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis for the first time today. We had intended to go in December, because on the Saturdays last month, they had different activities highlighting what Christmases in St. Louis were like at different point in history. We didn’t make any of those events, but we did finally get there today, for the “1764 12th Afternoon Ball.”

There was music and dancing:

Examples of food from the time:


The crowns for the King and Queen of Mardi Gras:


And displays looking at different Christmas traditions:



We also looked through the galleries, and climbed to the top of the courthouse, too, but I’ll save all of that for another time. For now, though, I’m glad we finally went, and am looking forward to going back!

Christmas Baking 2013

This was another successful season of baking, although, this year, we didn’t get it all done before Christmas. We ran out of time for the cut-out cookies, so we saved those for a “12 Days of Christmas” activity, which we just wrapped up today! Other than the cut-outs, we managed to give most of them away, thankfully…we made a lot of cookies!


Here’s the rundown on what we made:

3 trays of peppermint bark:


2 trays of Christmas cracker candy:


1 pan of baklava:


1 plate of chocolate dipped pretzels:


13 dozen raspberry almond thumbprints:


12 dozen chocolate peppermint cookies:


Two and a half dozen sugar cookies:


2 dozen gingerbread cookies:


And, one plate of mint truffles (which I will never, ever make again! It’s back to Oreo truffles next year!)


So, that’s it for this year. As always, I’m a little bit tired of baking!

Tasty Tuesday–The Christmas Feast

I almost forgot to share our fancy Christmas dinner! I didn’t have a theme this year…I just wanted to try something new. So, I chose a pork crown roast with pan sauce. I’ve been told that it was very good, even though I thought it was dry. We also had roasted carrots, parsnips, brussels sprouts, and potatoes, plus my “famous” stuffing and cranberries.


For dessert, we had a rustic apple-pear pie with French vanilla ice cream, and cream puffs. We were supposed to have a croquembouche, but it kept falling down, so we “just” had the cream puffs, instead!

Next year, I might just make a rack of lamb!

Before and After…and Later Still

I made a pork crown roast for the first time today, for our fancy Christmas dinner.

This is how it started out:


And once it was done:


But, it wasn’t complete until the bones were topped with mini chefs hats!


Gift Tag

The older children lovingly refer to Chickadee as “Butts” occasionally. So, I wasn’t surprised to find that they addressed the gift tag on the Christmas present they got her this way:


I love that they signed it from “The Bigs,” which is how I occasionally refer to them when talking to Chickadee. I also love that it was so important to them to use one of the cardinal gift tags for our big little Cardinals fan! She is one very loved little girl!

Cool Gift Wrap

I got an awesome Christmas present from my mom (French onion soup bowls!), and it came wrapped this very cool way:


The ribbon and bow were nice enough, but the tablespoon was an amazing touch. I love special details like that!

Christmas 2013

This was another spectacular Christmas in the Markel house!

Last night, I tried to get a nice picture of all five children in their Christmas finery. Chickadee was not thrilled.


I did get a lot of nice individual pictures, though.

Ladybug went and lost one of her two front teeth in the middle of all of this…that’s definitely a Christmas memory!


The children had their Christmas program last night. They all did a great job!


After we got home, I tried to get a nice picture of all of them in their new Christmas jammies. Again, Chickadee was not thrilled.


She was more cooperative after church this morning, though!


The children had fun opening presents after church, of course.

And they had fun playing with (or wearing), their new gifts. Some highlights were a new bunny that Bunny got from her big brother, a David Freese jersey for Moose (still his favorite player, even if he isn’t a Cardinal anymore), and a wee rolling-pin for Chickadee from Daddy, just like Princess Estelle has!

We all had a very happy Christmas!