I'm not going to lie, I am having a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit this year. So much so that my husband even noticed and made mention of it. Apparently around this time of year I am like Mrs. Clause. I normally have our entire month planned- all our tree trimming activities, Christmas light viewing evenings planned complete with locations to go see, hot cocoa in travel mugs for everyone, and a play list of Christmas music. By this time I normally have Christmas PJ's ordered, the girls' annual Keepsake ornaments bought and wrapped, family gifts done, and my baking supplies on hand and ready to go. But not this year. There is just too much other "stuff" going on to focus on Christmas and I feel like it has snuck up on me this year. But I have 3 little girls who are so in love with Christmas thanks to my own love of the holiday that there is no more time for moping. So in an effort to find my misplaced Christmas Cheer, I thought I would do a post about getting ready for Christmas.
So far we have done a few things to get ready. We have done some of our shopping for the kids, planned out our gift list for family and friends, and our gifts for each other. We have made our visit to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens, and the girls have visited with Santa and told him what they wish to get this year. I have also organized a cookie swap for other dairyfree or vegan bloggers with Jessica at DairyfreeBetty. So I am not all that behind, but definitely not as up to speed as I normally am.
Every year we do a few projects together as a family. Our traditions include a Gingerbread house a couple days before Christmas, making reindeer food, and making new ornaments. Yesterday we took a family field trip to Michael's for ideas and supplies. The girls have their own Christmas tree that they get to have in their living room (actually now it's the homeschool/craft room).
They get to make all the decorations and pick out the lights and garland. Every year they make a few new ornaments to go on it, and I let them pick out what they want to make. This year they picked out a Rudolph ornament kit complete with markers and glitter. (yay glitter- it gets EVERYWHERE!)
Last year they chose Grinch ornaments and snowflakes. The year before that we made paper ornaments with markers, glitter, and ribbon. Every year it's different, and they look forward to it. Next year the littlest one will be big enough to make a few things for the tree as well.
My husband wanted to work on a craft project this year too and he came across some wooden figures we could all paint. So next weekend we are going to work on these. Not sure what's we're going to end up with, but it'll be a fun family project.
My husband and I are going to do the words, our oldest is doing the sleigh and "Let it snow" tree, and the middle one chose the house. I am really excited to see how they turn out!
My favorite decorations of the season are the trees and lights. We started a new tradition last year thanks to my friend Rochelle- we now have a kitchen Christmas tree, along with our main tree in our living room and the kids' tree. My kitchen tree is small for now, but someday I want to have a larger tree in the kitchen, once we have the space for it.
All of the ornaments on it are either food or kitchen utensil related.
My husband picked out a letter cookie ornament for each of the girls' first names:
Our family tree is never going to be a designer tree, and I don't want it to be. It's a hodge podge of family ornaments: baby's first Christmas ornaments for each girl, ornaments from places we've been, the year we got married, gift ornaments, all the girls' Keepsake ornaments (they get a new one each year). It's gets rearranged everyday because the girls love to take down their ornaments and look at them. Our tree is the ever evolving story of our life as a family, and that is the way it will stay. It may not belong in a magazine, Martha Stewart would croak if she ever saw it, but it's OUR story and I love it.
My goal is to have a tree in each room. Overkill- probably. I would like to have the main tree, the kids' tree, my kitchen tree, a sports tree in the office, a small tree in each of the girls' rooms, and a white one for our room with blue and silver ornaments. They will be smaller than our main tree, of course, but I would love to have all these themed trees.
And because no food blog post is complete without some mention of food, here are a few new Dairy Free goodies I came across recently:
Before I became completely and utterly lactose intolerant I used to love to go to Starbucks for either a Mocha or a Caramel Macchiato. Oh how I miss those. But after a recent trip to my neighborhood grocery store, I cam across these two items:
Upon first glance, I would automatically assume they have dairy in them and keep on walking. In fact, I spend very little time in the dairy section. I don't know what made me stop and read the labels the other day, but I am so glad I did.
I am totally in love with the peppermint mocha. It tastes just like a Thin Mint. Or a peppermint patty. YUM!
And to make life even sweeter I found this at Trader Joes this weekend:
I know these creamers aren't that good for you. They contain a lot of sugar and other stuff that's not all that great. But since I drink mostly these:
a little indulgence is ok, especially this time of year.
I have a few baking mixes to try out, and cookies to make and share for our Dairy Free Blogger cookie recipe swap. I am sure that within the next few days my Christmas spirit will return... I'm already feeling more Jolly just thinking about a cup of peppermint mocha coffee;-) Stay tuned for some cookie recipes coming soon.