A Markel Family Christmas–2018 Edition

This whole Christmas season has been a bit more challenging than usual, because of my injured ankle. My CAM boot came off exactly a week before Christmas, and I was determined to have our usual, festive, three-day Christmas event, while relearning how to walk normally, starting with our favorite Christmas Eve breakfast of Christmas Crunch:

As we have for the last few years, we had our “pick out dinner” for lunch, before heading into the city for church. This year, we had our standard crackers and various cheeses, summer sausage, buffalo Chex mix, and jalapeño popper and rotel dips (with festive red and green tortilla chips!). We also enjoyed deviled eggs, shrimp, pizza bagels, mozzarella sticks, sausage squares, cranberry brie bites (a new recipe that was so good!), and cheese squares.

We then went to church, where “The Bigs” and Ryan were singing in the Christmas Eve service. I was very happy to wear only an ankle brace on my left leg with my standard Christmas Eve dress!

There’s always one piece of music that really stands out to me…this year, it was “Where Shepherds Lately Knelt”:

I took a picture of the Fab Five after church…in the church basement, where the service was held because the sanctuary is undergoing extensive renovations!

On the way home, we drove through the Way of Lights at Our Lady of the Snows:

At home, I took more pictures, of course:

For the first time ever, the children received completely matching Christmas jammies, and they even were in keeping with this year’s Harry Potter theme:

And then time for Jesus’ birthday cake. Doesn’t it look pretty? It’s a good thing I took this picture the day before, right after I finished decorating it, because apparently there’s too much humidity in our refrigerator for the cookie icing to set up properly, and it ran everywhere. I’m told the cake still tasted good, though…I, however, was too upset to try it.

I kind of had a meltdown at that point. I was so tired, and my ankle was bothering me, and I was just done for the day. Oh, and did I mention that at that point, we were on day four with no hot water, as we were waiting on a part and a repair on our water heater? Just done. So Ryan and I didn’t play Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries like we usually do on Christmas Eve, and we didn’t watch the San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker. I did get the stockings filled and the tree prepared before I went to bed, though:

Things looked better in the morning (even though I didn’t sleep much because my ankle was still bothering me). We had fun opening stockings (although the boys continued to elude me in my early-morning photography):

And enjoyed our Christmas Day coffee cake:

I have really enjoyed wearing this Pinup Girl Clothing dress all throughout the season, and I was especially excited to wear it on Christmas Day without the CAM boot as an accessory!

We then drove back into the city for the Christmas Day Divine Service, where Ryan, Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug were singing in the choir:

Another picture in the basement, this time of the whole family:

After lunch, we opened presents. Bunny found the pickle ornament on the tree this year, so she got to hand out the gifts.

The rest of the day was spent snacking, relaxing, and preparing for the big Christmas feast, which we had yesterday. The star of the meal was a smoked ham from Beast Craft BBQ. We also had mashed potatoes and gravy, roast carrots, butternut squash gratin, croissants, and our favorite cherry Jell-O “salad.” You may notice a lack of festive table photos…that’s because I didn’t use the china (other than serving pieces) or set the table with our linens. My ankle might be healed, but I’m still kind of slow and still tire easily after being on my feet all day, so that was something I let go of this time.

I made a trio of Christmas desserts…an apple-cranberry bread pudding, a gingerbread-eggnog trifle, and a Buche de Noel. They were all delicious…I especially liked the bread pudding, which was a new recipe.

So that was Christmas 2018. More things went wrong than I would have liked, but most things went right. What really matters, though, is that we were all together, and we had plenty of opportunities to celebrate our Savior’s birth!

Sartorial Saturday–Pink Christmas

When you think of Christmas, the most common color pairing that comes to mind is red and green, which is wonderfully festive. But this year, I’ve really been enjoying wearing pink and green, partly because it’s just a little bit different, and partly because I really like the way the colors look together! Here’s a glimpse at a few of my current favorite combinations:

Sartorial Saturday–Christmas Wrapping

I have really been wanting to pair my ornament print Bella skirt from Pinup Girl Clothing with a bright pink top. Unfortunately, the only top I have that fits the bill is a sleeveless wrap top, also from PUG. But fortunately for me, the weather in St. Louis can been unpredictable in December, and wearing a sleeveless top is not always out of the question. I really love the way the pink looks against the green!

The accessories I chose to go with it really pop, too:

I still hope that eventually, I will find a long sleeve top in a similar color (my dream is a PUG Sabrina top, which is my current favorite for cool weather!). For now, though, I’m glad I have at least one bright pink option to go with this skirt!

Sartorial Saturday–Holiday Harlequin

I have waited so long to wear this amazing dress from Pinup Girl Clothing, and now that it’s Christmastime, I get to accessorize it with…a CAM boot. Sigh. But this dress is so gorgeous, it makes the boot look good!

This is a new style dress for me…the Genevieve. When this gorgeous Holiday Harlequin print was on sale over the summer, I immediately knew it had to be mine. And then I thought about it, and thought about it some more, because it was a final sale item, and I was nervous about trying out a new style of dress that wasn’t returnable. But I had a birthday gift certificate from the children burning a hole in my pocket, so I finally decided to take the plunge.

I’m so glad I did! The fit is great, the twirl factor is outstanding, and I feel like I just stepped out of my very favorite Christmas movie, White Christmas, which is pretty much the highest compliment I can give a piece of clothing. It’s the perfect dress for the holiday season!

In addition to the CAM boot, I paired it with some actual accessories, too, including Splendette Duchess Bangles in varying shades of red, green, and white, and my favorite Christmas tree brooch:

I love this dress so much, and I’m looking forward to wearing it to several special events over the course of the Christmas season…this truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

Sartorial Saturday–Christmas in July

Merry Christmas (in July)!

Who doesn’t love the idea of Christmas in July? When it’s hot outside, there’s nothing better than staying cool in the air conditioning, watching a Christmas movie, and thinking of all of the joys of the season. All right, fine…a little part of my brain is always thinking about Christmastime. But I indulge it a bit more in July, because it brightens up these hot summer days! So while I was thinking about Christmas, I came up with a new Pinup Girl Clothing outfit I wanted to try, featuring the Bella ornament print skirt I got last year, and a mint Sabrina top. I think it’s a great retro color palette!

An Erstwilder holly brooch, Elizabeth Taylor hoop earrings, and a necklace and glitter Duchess bangles from Splendette are the perfect Christmas accessories:

It’s such a fun look!

I’m really looking forward to wearing this “for real” in December!

Sartorial Saturday–Festive Fashion

The 12 Days of Christmas are officially over, but I’m here with one last look at all of my festive fashions from this season!

Last year, I focused mainly on red & green and blue & white outfits, with one Christmas print thrown in. This time around, I’m focusing on one Christmas print, the gorgeous ornament border print Bella skirt from Pinup Girl Clothing, and all of the different ways I styled it.

I went with solids on top…white, black, and red:

I also wore stripes…pink & white, black & white, and red & white:

Of course I accessorized. I focused on my festive Splendette stacks last week, so here’s the rest…beautiful necklaces and always my Christmas tree brooch!

I have had so much fun wearing this print…I’m going to have to find a few ways to sneak it into my wardrobe before next Christmas!

Sartorial Saturday–Splendette Christmas Stacks

As silly as it might sound, one of the most exciting things that happened for me this year was learning that Splendette was going to make Duchess Bangles that could actually fit over my hand without me having to break my thumb. I’ve had so much fun incorporating various stacks into my outfits all year long, but the most fun has been making different Christmas stacks with all the green, red, silver, and gold bangles I have. The glitter bangles have been an especially fun and sparkly addition to many of my outfits!

I’m hoping that Splendette will add more Duchess Bangles to their collection in 2018…I will never get tired of mixing and matching, but I will also not complain about having more colors or styles to work with!

A Markel Family Christmas

Our traditional Markel Family Christmas was a three-day affair this year!

Because Christmas Day fell on a Monday, our church schedules were a little complicated this time around. There wasn’t a large enough break at home on Christmas Eve for our traditional “pick out dinner,” so I decided we’d have it a day early. But before we got to that, our day Saturday started in a most pleasant fashion…the first snow of the season, and Christmas Crunch for breakfast!

And then the best dinner of the year. I love how it’s always a little bit the same as the previous year’s feast, and a little bit different! This year, in addition to the standard summer sausage and crackers, cheeses, buffalo Chex mix, and sausage squares, we also had Greek spirals from Trader Joe’s, meatballs, Rotel dip and jalapeño popper dip (both served with festive red and green tortilla chips), deviled eggs, pizza rolls, mozzarella sticks, Ranch dip with assorted veggies, and Dino Nuggets. As always, there was way too much food, which is how we like it, because we can enjoy the leftovers for several days!

As it turned out, we were fortunate that Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday, because if it hadn’t, we wouldn’t have been able to attend our regular church at all. Even though it was still technically Advent, I wore my new Pinup Girl Clothing ornament print skirt:

The children’s blue Christmas outfits fit right in with Advent 4 (and the snow falling outside!), though, and I was able to get our annual pictures at our church…including one where Bunny insisted on giving her youngest sister bunny ears!

After lunch and a little downtime at home, it was time to drive into St. Louis so Ryan and the four oldest children could sing in their respective choirs. I wore my standard Christmas Eve dress, but I added some Splendette bangles to give a more retro look:

Of course I had to get another picture of the Fab Five:

Bunny sang the first verse of “Once in Royal David’s City” solo, and she did an amazing job!

I always love hearing the children sing Stille Nacht:

Back home for even more pictures:

And Jesus’ birthday cake:

And everyone opened their one Christmas Eve gift…new Christmas jammies!

After stuffing the stockings, Ryan and I played Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries, as we always do…and I was once again a poor sport when I won, repeating last year’s victory lap around the kitchen table. For what it’s worth, I did apologize for my bad behavior.

A last look to make sure everything was ready before bed:

We were up extra early this morning, to make sure there was time to open the stockings before driving back into the city. For some reason, I rarely get pictures of the boys that early in the morning…it may have something to do with the fact that they’re always annoyed with me for waking them!

We also managed to find time for our traditional Christmas morning cherry coffee cake:

I had to wear my ornament print skirt again, because it’s so gorgeous, but at least I styled it a little bit differently this time!

I’m a sucker for pictures of the Fab Five!

Only the adult choir (of which Ryan, Turkey, and more recently, Bunny, are members) was scheduled to sing, but some of the children were also recruited to fill out the soprano section. “See in Yonder Manger Low” was my very favorite piece they sang!

After church, we even managed to find time to get a picture of the whole family!

After lunch, we opened presents. I am so thankful that everyone was thrilled with their gifts!

The aftermath was…something:

I spent what felt like an eternity in the kitchen preparing our very festive meal. The dinner table was a little low-key this year, but it still looked nice:

We had a very nice spread this year. The star of the meal was new for me…Beef Wellington. I think I did a pretty good job! We also had two kinds of potatoes (mashed and roast), two vegetables (carrots and Brussel sprouts), a shrimp ring, cherry Jell-O and dinner rolls…it was delicious!

And for dessert, an Oreo truffle Christmas tree!

This Christmas season has seemed especially hectic, and the last three days were no exception. But we had a lot of fun, and hopefully made some happy memories in the process, so all the work was worth it!

Sartorial Saturday–Ornamented

I tried to resist, but I guess there was really no doubt that I was going to buy the new Pinup Girl Clothing Bella skirt in ornament print, with artwork by Terry Runyan. Just look at it…it’s gorgeous in its mid-century fabulousness!

Accessories were no problem, and I didn’t even have to buy anything new (although, if I ever found a brooch that matched one of the ornaments, I’m sure I’d add it to my collection!). My Splendette stack includes some beautiful glitter bangles in red and green, and I even have a matching red necklace. Of course I’m always looking for a reason to wear my favorite brooch, which is the perfect touch to finish off the outfit!

For a touch of whimsy, the Christmas lights necklace Ryan bought for me last weekend is a nice addition, too!

This is definitely my favorite Christmas-themed piece of clothing. I love the print on the skirt I purchased from The Oblong Box Shop last year, but the fit isn’t awesome, and I don’t love the material it’s made of. This skirt, however, check all the boxes, and I adore it!

This might be an over-the-top look for some people, but as the Christmas Queen, I think it’s just right! I’m looking forward to pairing it with some other tops throughout the month, including solid red, and both pink & white and red & white stripes! I’ll be looking festive all Christmas long!