Post Holiday Update! A Christmas Card Craft and a Detox Side Dish: Roasted Winter Salad

Happy New Year! Well technically happy January 4th but close enough! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Ours was fabulous, full of family and joy and FOOD. My parents and sister came to town to spend Christmas with us and having them here along with Robert’s whole family was really a special treat!

They got to experience some of the fun Christmas traditions we do with Robert’s family like his mom’s fun Christmas Eve Birthday Lunch where everyone wears Santa hats.

And the most beautiful Christmas day dinner hosted by our Aunt Vanessa.

V's Table

Her place settings included a special ornament for everyone which was so creative and thoughtful!

After being told at my 36 week Dr’s appointment the Friday before Christmas that I was already 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced and that they wouldn’t be surprised if the baby came within the week…we are still waiting and not much appears to have changed :/

On the bright side, it did cause us to hurry up and get all of our baby gear assembled and hospital bags (half way) packed. So we are “ready”, and now we wait…and wait…and wait. Luckily I have found plenty of ‘nesting’ activities to keep me busy. Besides the usual laundering and cleaning, I put all of our Christmas decor away and completed an easy Christmas card craft!

Card Tree
My card tree

I LOVE getting Christmas cards from family and friends, especially photo cards! I also hate the thought of tossing them out post holiday, it seems like such a waste! So a few years ago I came up with this idea to save my cards…just in case I ever get extra nostalgic and want to flip through them all (which I do every year!).

All you need for this craft is a hole punch and a set of loose leaf rings. I bought mine in a pack from Michaels but I’m sure you can find them at Staples or on Amazon.

Rings

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A Winter Wonderland Shower <3 & Homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi!

Merry almost Christmas! Wow, the holidays seem to come quicker every year and with the baby due so close to the new year this Christmas has really snuck up on me! We’ve officially got less than 4 weeks til baby and I am not so sure I feel prepared yet. I have yet to pack a hospital bag or get the carseat out of the box but thanks to two fabulous baby showers, we have got a beautiful (almost done!) nursery and plenty of baby gear!

My sister threw me a darling baby shower in TN over Thanksgiving and just a few weeks later I was lucky enough to be treated to a second shower at home in HHI by my sweet Aunt Vanessa. The theme was Winter Wonderland and it could not have been more beautiful.

I aspire to entertain as well as Vanessa does someday as she truly outdoes herself with each event! The food was to die for, a beautiful brunch spread complete with a low country shrimp and grits station and egg cups with caviar!

The decor was beautiful and the little details, like this sweet Christmas tree and the elephants tucked away everywhere were absolutely precious!

Tree

I knew with Vanessa at the helm that the shower would be wonderful, but it truly couldn’t have been more perfect.

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New Year, New Adventures

Happy New Year! Well technically happy 7th day of the new year. Hope everyone enjoyed a special holiday season with friends and loved ones (and of course lots of yummy food for good measure). Robert and I had a rainy, yet wonderful and relaxing Christmas at home with my family, 2016 started off on the right foot as Robert and I attended the wedding of two dear friends on New Years Eve!

R and D

Ryan and Dayna, a veteran and a special education teacher (and my favorite co-worker!) are the epitome of wonderful human beings and I am so proud to call them my friends and so happy to have gotten to share in the start of their new life together!

Now we are both back at work and back in the swing of things. It was so nice to have a break but I can’t say I’m not a little excited to get back into a routine (less eating, more exercising, stat).

Ren
Renly’s resolution: More cuddling 

Last year Robert and I spent New Years in San Francisco and made a whole list of resolutions that we typed into our phones and promptly forgot about. Whoops.

I found the list a few days before the new year and we decided that rather than make a new list that would more than likely suffer the same fate as the last, we’d better just skip the whole “resolution” thing for 2016.

Never fear, we are still on the never ending quest to become kinder/smarter/more thoughtful/thinner/enlightened/insert random positive adjective here human beings, but instead of making a list, we decided to start making plans. Travel plans to be exact.

Skating 2
Ice skating in the 70 degree Christmas 2015 weather

Robert’s included a trip to Arizona to see Clemson play in the National Championship, if they made the cut on New Years Eve. Spoiler alert: THEY DID! We balked (several times) at the price of plane tickets but decided that it was a potential once in a lifetime event that he simply couldn’t miss. So he’s going! Renly and I will be happily cheering the Tigers on from the couch and hopefully booking the next big plan: Thailand!

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Slow Saturday Breakfast: Easy Cheesy Shortcut(s) Breakfast Casserole

Merry Christmas week! Is that a thing? Like a birthday week? If it isn’t then it should be because Christmas is a lot more fun than your birthday.

Christmas tree
Our tiny Christmas tree, space was tight this year!

 

I am officially on  Christmas break and let me tell you it is just as glorious at 27 as it was at 17, or 7 for that matter. I think I still believed in Santa at 7 so maybe that was slightly more fun. I KNOW I didn’t appreciate the power of sleeping in and naps at 7 though so on second thought, it’s just as good now.

Now that Christmas break has  begun, I’m finally getting into the Christmas spirit. It’s been a little tough this year for several reasons. For one thing, I’ve been sick and it’s been unseasonably warm and rainy…not ideal Christmas wellness or weather. For another (and this is probably the main reason) this is the first Christmas ever that I won’t have spent with my family. My mom tearfully reminded me of this on the phone a few days ago, that she won’t have either of her girls for Christmas this year Sad smile FYI moms, reminders of this sort are not terribly helpful in cheering your children who are far away for the holidays. Since our families do not live in the same place, Robert and I navigated new married people territory this year and had to choose holidays. My family got Thanksgiving, his family gets Christmas and next year we swap. For those who haven’t crossed that bridge yet, as easy as you think it will be, even if you’re a holiday grinch, it isn’t. Every family has their own unique traditions and holiday quirks and no matter how wonderful the traditions you step into (or start anew) are, they still aren’t yours. I adore my in-laws, and I’m really excited to experience their Christmas (especially because my niece and nephew still believe in Santa!) but I know part of me will still be nostalgic for the holidays of my past. I KNOW this is part of life and growing up yada yada, but if your WHOLE family lives in the same place, count yourself lucky! I will get to see my parents on Tuesday as they plan to stop through Hilton Head on their way to see my sweet grandparents, so that is a definite plus!

Ingredients
Cheese not pictured because…early

 

Looking forward to all the festivities of this coming week, and enjoying all the fun we had this weekend has finally put me in the spirit! Not only was Friday my last day of work for two weeks, but my grandparents surprised Robert and I with an overnight visit on Friday evening! They drove over ten hours round trip to literally just have dinner and spend the night with us, did I mention they are the best? We took them to dinner, drove around to see Christmas lights and then came home to give them their Christmas gift and enjoy a piece of my favorite cake that my sweet nana made.  An entire cake is pretty much the last thing I need right now with all the other holiday goodies I’ve been consuming but the fact she that she baked it and brought it just for me pretty much melts my heart.

My grandparent’s left around noon on Saturday and Robert and I quickly tidied the house and ran errands before his family holiday party. His mother’s side of the family gets together each year on the weekend before Christmas to enjoy dinner and a White Elephant gift exchange. It’s always a great time and this year was no exception! Robert’s cousin and her husband spent the night with us and Sunday morning we all reconvened once again for breakfast to see everyone off. I was tasked with providing the breakfast casserole, an oldie but always a goodie.

eggs Egg Pour

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