Sunday, November 25, 2012

Food, Food, More Food & Holidays...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

It is a little earlier than I usually begin the holiday decorating.  I usually wait until at least December or until the turkey leftovers are gone...whichever comes first.  However, when we woke up to giant snowflakes coming down this morning I just couldn't help myself.  We haven't gone to get our tree yet, but today the decorating began.
Layla was a little excited about this, can you tell??
We usually do all the decorating the day we get a tree.  I really like that it was split up this year.  We have SO many other decorations it was nice to only do half today.  I turned on the first holiday tunes of the year (gotta love Pandora) and we set to work...

She was saying "HO HO HO"
By the end I was totally wishing we did have our tree for the grand finale but then I remembered it's still November and to relax.  It's like just a taste of Christmas...

Okay...now I'll digress to the holiday we just recently celebrated.  Thanksgiving.  What lovely celebrations we had.  The whole break was fantastic.  One where the girls and I spent more time in pj's than in clothes.  We really only got dressed to go to our Thanksgiving festivities...that's how you know it's a good break.  

Our first celebration was Thanksgiving pajama breakfast with friends.  We started this last year with our besties, the Frasers.  They came over everyone in jammies and we had cinnamon rolls, mimosas and coffee.  I was SO sad they couldn't make it this year so we could continue the tradition.  I decided to invite our neighbors over instead because I had a whole coffee cake and bottle of champagne just waiting to be shared this Thanksgiving morning...

We missed our Frasers and hope to reinstate Friendship Breakfast next year, but we still had a lovely time.

Then it was time for more cooking.  I have not had or made a turkey since last Thanksgiving.  As you know, we don't eat much meat.  Stuffing the turkey this year almost made me want to jump fully on the vegetarian wagon...

It's so disgusting.  How can something that is so gross to do end up tasting so good?  I stuff mine with a mixture of sour apples, onions, fresh herbs and homemade stuffing...so yummy.  I guess we'll see next year if I forget how gross it is or if I end up making a tofurkey.  We finally got out of our pjs, packed up the food and headed to my parents.  We always get two types of holidays.  The first is with my family...loud, lots of people, crazy children and TONS of food.  I love it for all its craziness.
The dueling turkeys...

 Cousins Playing...

 Breaking the wish bone...

 And the kids doing their version of the Thanksgiving Story...it was hilarious!

The other family Thanksgiving we get is with Matt's family.  This one is always much smaller with just us and his parents.  It is calm, so relaxing and again way too much food.  I particularly love this celebration because we always have a Lebanese feast.  And, as much as turkey says Thanksgiving to me, I love embracing Matt and his cultural...especially when it comes to food.
Second Thanksgiving food preparation...spinach pies!!


Oh, we ate good.  Hummus, tabbouleh, rice stuffing, green beans and rice, spinach pies and so much more.  Today as we were having some leftovers Ava said the funniest thing..."Mom, I bet Sadi is sad she lives in a Lebanese family since there isn't meat in it"  It was a wonderful evening with good company and ending with games, which in my opinion is the best ever...even if it is a kids game.

..ays our little vegetarian


Headbanz...may be one of my new favorite games.  (And, not that I'm competitive or anything but I did win.)  We went home feeling totally stuffed and full of family love for the second time this holiday.  

At the end of last weekend I wrote about such a busy time and not having a lot of quality time with just my girls.  This break, I got to make up for that.  We had five whole days together and we filled them with very little plans.  Lazy, cozy days tucked inside...tons of cooking and baking  and just enjoying being together.  It was refreshing.  No plans just lots of time for little things.  Things like making blueberry pancakes...

Impromptu trips to the park when the sun was out...

Popcorn and Movies on Friday afternoon (much better than fighting Black Friday crowds...just sayin)
Yep...still in jammies
At home date nights...
Pasta Pomodoro...one of the best sauces EVER (recipe at the bottom)

And, there were two cherries on top of this weekend.  Number one...I had my first sale on my Etsy Shop, Savvy Chic!!!  YAY!!! I was SO EXCITED!!!!  It made it feel more official.  Hopefully, many more to come.  Number two...we bought tix for spring break and are heading to Florida again!!  We went last year and had the best time.  We've been going back and forth about it...trying to decide if we should go someplace else for a family trip this year, but it's really hard to beat the 80-degree weather, warm ocean water and sandy beaches of Florida in March when it's still cold, grey and snowy here in Montana.  I can't wait.

Now it is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Christmas.  I LOVE this time of year...it's just the coziest time.  I try to focus on family, food, love and all the wonderful things this holiday brings.  I try to stay away from the craziness and commercialism of it all.  We are trying hard this year to only buy a few nice, quality gifts for loved ones, make ones when we can and keep the spirit of the holiday where it should be.  We are going to try to buy gifts locally, or support fellow Etsy artists and not rely on the big box stores of plastic, generic toys.  I know this will not be totally possible and there will be some silly toys that I buy to stuff in stockings...but I'm going to try my best to stick with my plan.  I look forward to the family traditions of heading to the mountains to get our tree, the Christmas Stroll, cookie making parties with my mom, aunt and sisters and taking my girls to the Nutcracker.  Holiday parties, school and church programs and more.  It has begun and I am embracing it.

Hope your Thanksgiving weekend was Happy.

Pasta Pomodoro
-Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a sauce pan over med heat for a few minutes.  Add 3/4 cup chopped onion and cook for 10-12 minutes.  Add 4 cloves of minced garlic...cook a few minutes more.  Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, stir.  Puree one 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes...add to sauce along with a pinch of salt and some fresh basil leaves.  Cook, slightly covered for around 20 minutes.  Stir in 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Add 1/2 cup of the water that you use to cook the noodles.  Stir and then add cooked noodles (homemade are best!!)) to toss gently to coat.  ENJOY!!

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