I often take a look back at the holiday baking I did from Thanksgiving through Epiphany; this year, I thought it would be fun to look back at all of the holiday meals and treats we’ve enjoyed, starting with Thanksgiving dinner:
We had our pick out dinner on Christmas Day this time:
And our fancy Christmas dinner on the Sunday after Christmas:
Of course we had our traditional New Year’s Eve hot chocolate bar:
And a special New Year’s Day dinner to start the new year right:
And finally, our Ryan’s Birthday/Epiphany feast:
On to the baking. There were pies for Thanksgiving:
And several cakes throughout the season, for St. Nicholas Day, Santa Lucia Day, Jesus’ Birthday, the fancy Christmas dinner, and New Year’s Day:
We baked so many Christmas cookies!
And an obligatory “other” section, for things like lussekattes, coffee cake, and even some special holiday beverages:
I put in a little extra effort this year, to make up for the fact that we couldn’t go anywhere or do most of our normal Christmas activities. In the end, I think we’ll have a lot of delicious memories from this holiday season!
It’s hard to write about a celebration on a day like today, but regardless of what is going on in our country, today is Ryan’s birthday, and we still wanted to celebrate him, even though we spent most of the day glued to the news. So, while we watched in disbelief, I carried on with the special dinner I had planned for him, starting with setting the table. (At one point while I was preparing for our dinner, I yelled so loud at the TV that I almost shattered a glass!)
The meal included a standing rib roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans with almonds, Brussels sprouts, rolls, and spiced apple rings.
It was a nice meal, in spite of everything:
For dessert, he asked for Oreo truffles. Since I didn’t have a cake to decorate, I made a fancy display for them, which I was pretty happy with.
I even found a fun star-shaped sparkler (that’s what happens when you have an Epiphany birthday), to top the truffle tree:
It wasn’t the birthday celebration he wanted, but it certainly will be an unforgettable one.
This has been a good month for cooking! We’ve had some favorite meals and some special meals, and we even had two different dinners from Portillo’s, because this time when I ordered our Italian beef and sausage combo I added in an order of tamales (totally delicious, and we have enough left in the freezer for another meal!). I’ll admit I was a little worried about being able to find everything I needed for all of our culinary traditions, but while I did have to enter a few more stores than I would have preferred, in the end I found everything that was necessary.
We also baked all of the things. I’m shocked there are any baking supplies left in our town. The kitchen still smells vaguely like a bakery!
And a few special beverages for the holidays…hot chocolate from our New Year’s Eve hot chocolate bar, wassail (which I’ve made a few times in the last two months), and homemade eggnog, which is a real treat!
You’d think that would be the end of fancy meals for a while, but Ryan’s birthday is tomorrow, so we’ll have at least one more special dinner in the next month!
Today was the day of our big Christmas feast! Because of COVID-19, we didn’t have any guests to share it with, but I still made a nice dinner for the seven of us, and since we went to church this morning, it kind of felt like Christmas Day usually does!
As always, a holiday meal begins with a pretty table:
I didn’t make as much food as when we have family visiting, but I still think it was a nice spread. Beef Wellington, mashed potatoes and gravy, Brussels sprouts casserole, sautéed mushrooms, rolls, and cherry cola Jell-O were all on the menu. (We were also supposed to have creamed spinach, but the chef ran out of energy).
For dessert, I made a gingerbread Yule log with white chocolate bark and sugared cranberries:
It was a different Christmas feast than we’re used to, but it was still festive (and delicious!).
I’m not sure exactly when LEGO came up with the idea, but it’s the perfect way to spend the day after Christmas, especially for a family that always receives at least a few LEGO sets as gifts!
The Fab Five received The Child as a Christmas present, and I’ve also been hanging on to 123 Sesame Street for a special occasion, so those were the two sets we built today. At the same time. On the same table. Which was a bit confusing, but we managed to keep the pieces separate for the most part.
They’re both beautiful sets!
Of course, pretty much any day is LEGO Build Day in our house (we just finished Lego Diagon Alley as an Advent project), so I’m sure it won’t be too long before we have another set to work on!
Even festive fashion in the time of COVID-19 is different! This year, we went to an outdoor Christmas Eve service, and it was pretty cold, so I got to break out my best winter wear to pair with my Pinup Girl Clothing Genevieve holiday harlequin dress…my cape, muff, and a new pair of embellished earmuffs!
Of course I added a Splendette Duchess bangles stack and Old Navy mask in red and green, plus my favorite Christmas tree brooch, to complete the look.
All things considered, this is probably one of the better things to come of COVID-19, because I really enjoyed putting this outfit together and wearing it out!
Time for a look at this year’s scaled-back Christmas celebration. Some things were the same, like starting Christmas Eve with a bowl of Christmas Crunch:
Some things were different…but not necessarily because of COVID-19. I had a fun time playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons and helping Jingle deliver his gifts yesterday morning:
The Fab Five finished this year’s Advent project, Lego Diagon Alley:
And I played Animal Crossing some more:
Our Christmas Eve dinner was different this year…I ordered tamales from Portillo’s, and we had them before church.
I always take pictures before church. This year, I took two sets. One with the year’s hottest accessory:
And one without:
This year, we attended an outdoor Christmas Eve service. It was cold, so we weren’t too sad it was short (although I missed all off the familiar Christmas hymns!). We did chuckle when a helicopter flew over during “Silent Night,” drowning out the singing!
We drove through the Way of Lights on the way home:
For Jesus’ birthday cake this year, I made a peppermint chocolate cake with two kinds of frosting (white chocolate peppermint buttercream inside, and an Italian buttercream outside). I think this is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made!
Of course there were new Christmas jammies:
We skipped playing Ticket to Ride on Christmas Eve, so I just had to fill the stockings and set up the nativity scene under the tree before bed:
We didn’t have to get up early, so we enjoyed our traditional Christmas morning coffee cake a little later than usual (but not much):
And since we didn’t have a Christmas Day service to go to (probably the biggest disappointment of the holiday for me), we opened presents in the morning, which was very strange!
We had our traditional Christmas Eve “pick out dinner” for Christmas Day lunch…and dinner (we’re saving our fancy Christmas feast for Sunday…stay tuned!). Here’s a look at some of the things we had:
We spent the afternoon watching Christmas movies, including my very favorite, White Christmas. We played our annual Christmas Eve game of Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries tonight. And since we were a day late, we also played the new Ticket to Ride game Ryan gave me, the 15th anniversary edition with clear trains, which I love! Everything is different this year…we might as well embrace it!
“Hail, O everlasting morn! Hail, redemption’s happy dawn! Sing through all Jerusalem: ‘Christ is born in Bethlehem!'”
Today Ladybug completed Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, the final part of Lego Diagon Alley!
Here’s a look at some of my favorite details from the Weasley’s shop…I love how colorful it is!
The set came with a lot of minifigs…five Weasleys (I think my biggest disappointment was that Mr. Weasley was not one of them!), Harry and Hermione, Florean Fortescue, Mr. Ollivander, a photographer from the Daily Prophet, Lucius and Draco Malfoy, and Gilderoy Lockhart:
But wait…there’s more! There was a secret 21st set of instructions, which included a bonus Harry minifig, as well as Hagrid:
There are several options for display, including placing the two sections of the street back-to-back:
It’s a long set when displayed end-to-end…this is the best I could do capturing the whole thing on the card table on which we built the set!
This was a fun project, and really made our Advent a little extra special!