Bikurgurl · Family First! · Food · Planning

Planning for The Holidays

Deep into my NaNoWriMo writing, as well as garden clean-up and life, I’m also planning for ‘The Holidays’. I’m not just talking about Christmas, but Thanksgiving through the first of the year and beyond.

wp_20160701_012
Image Credit: Bikurgurl, Planning

While I don’t have a ton of time to delve into the details while juggling all the proverbial balls I have in going right now, I am planning for one of the busiest times of the year. I’ve usually got Christmas Cards ordered by now for addressing over Thanksgiving weekend, Christmas presents purchased and ready for wrapping, with events and activities planned out.

Not this year. I have the list of traditional events, my annual Thanksgiving meal list, but we’ve not planned anything in stone. This has been a year of change and with so many moving pieces, and this being the end of the year, we’re all wanting to just coast.

What we do…

We love our traditions. Ice skating, snowshoeing, sledding, playing board games, baking, and trying new things.I hear the mountains calling.

WP_20160101_020
Image Credit: Bikurgurl, Mt. Rainer Snowplay 2016

Seattle has wonderful events, many free, to attend like the Teddy Bear Suite, Santa at Macy’s, and the Gingerbread Houses — all downtown near the Westlake Center. I like to park at the Westlake Center and walk from there to the Carousel across the street – which is really beautiful at night – down to Pike Place Market for hot doughnuts, fresh fruit and vegetables, and fun last minute shopping. We like to take a separate day to enjoy the waterfront, with the Great Wheel, Seattle Aquarium, and Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe: There’s an adventure around every corner!

The Westlake Center is also a quick Monorail ride away from the Seattle Center

WP_20151230_052
Image Credit: Bikurgurl

houses the iconic Space Needle, Experience Music Project {EMP}, Pacific Science Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and many others in and around the grounds. The Armory, formerly known as the Center House, hosts Winterfest this time of year. We usually take a separate day from the downtown activities to go ice skating with one of our homeschool groups at the Fisher Pavilion, then head back into the Armory for Starbucks and electric trains with village inside {for $5, they even let the children and adults be the ‘engineer’!}. There is simply too much to do there in one day or afternoon; it’s a regular stop in our adventures.

For all these adventures, I look into Group On, group rates organizing my own group of friends and homeschoolers, but we have a Prime card which allows us discounted admission rates to most local attractions.

This year is particularly different in that my boys are usually performing in a Christmas theatre production which has them rehearsing most nights of the week during the latter part of October and all of November — at least until performances begin around Thanksgiving weekend. This year, they’ve decided to take a break and try some new activities over Christmas. We’re enjoying more hiking, some geocaching, biking, and more on our break from the Mainstage local theatre.

Meals, Candy, and Treats

We always incorporate making treats and baking into our Holiday Season. I like to start with the lead-up to Thanksgiving.

WP_20151126_032
Lovely Pumpkin Pie, ready to be baked.

Thanksgiving is a holiday full of food, family, friends, and tradition. I rather prefer to make the meal and pumpkin pie.My favorites are the roasted beets, carrots, Brussels Sprouts, and squash. Making cranberry sauce, stuffing with almonds or pecans,

After , but I’m eyeing these delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies over on Jackie’s blog, The Happy Hooligans, this year. We’ll likely snazz some of them up with white chocolate chips and craisins for a festive look.

WP_20151220_002
Image Credit: Bikurgurl, Meal Planning

I’m looking forward to starting new traditions with my boys, and maybe their friends, by making Rock Candy. A favorite from my childhood, this is a fun group activity to teach candy making skills. And if you’re making peppermint, it can also clear out your sinuses!

I’d like to stay away from corn syrup, but the rock candy of my youth relies on it – a recipe much like this one from Serena Bakes Simply from Scratch. I’m planning to do this with either my boys youth group or with their friends in a laid back atmosphere of our home or

WP_20151126_056
Thanksgiving 2015

at our church. It’s a great team building activity — and if you make it with peppermint, you’ll have very clear sinuses as well!

But what we love to do is bake and make for family and friends…..

I also like to make our family favorite, Coconut Macaroons. Yum! These are a great addition to Chunky Chocolate Chip cookies we make — which usually have cranberries and pistachios with the chocolate chips. It’s also fun to make fudge, dip pretzels and fruit into a melted mix of coconut oil and chocolate chips — this year we’re even making some bite-sized candies in Vinter molds we picked up from Ikea for only $1.99!

vinter-piece-chocolate-mold-set__0240736_pe379039_s4
Image Credit: Ikea USA

For Us…

We’ll also be doing some vegan energy balls for quick protein snacks as we enjoy time with friends, as well as time at home. This is also a season when we do snack plates on the table with fruit, cheese, crackers, and nuts to share. Hot tea, hot chocolate, and cider is eagerly consumed during this wet season in the Pacific Northwest. When the sun peeks out, we feel obligated to drop everything, run outside, and soak up the rays while we can. Otherwise, we’re hiking in the rain, walking the dogs, playing at the park, or snuggling up at home reading, working on our projects, catching up on board games and movies we’ve missed with the busy-ness of the warm seasons.

For meals…

I like to make big breakfasts several days a week. Oatmeal is a staple for me, with add-ins of dried fruit, nuts, and sweeteners. Lunches are soups, sandwiches, or just our snack plates. Making roasted, vegetable-packed vegan options are my go-to recipes. My boys love it when I make fresh bread, but since my track record is sketchy on actually making a good loaf of bread, we’ll sometimes use a mix or treat ourselves to a fresh loaf from a local

img_74261
Image Credit: Bikurgurl, Pinto Beans

bakery.

Dinners are made a few nights a week in the crock pot. Slow food like soups, stews, and chilis. Cooking pinto beans {as pictured}, set on low and cooked all day, blended with an immersion blender for burritos and nachos, is just one of the weekly meals. Vegetable lasagna, sosking nuts and grains, and making applesauce. So many recipes, so little time!

We all slow down, enjoy each other, enjoy chats with family cross country, time with friends, and time just with each other doing all of our winter activities.

For me…

I’m also working on my word count for NaNoWrimo πŸ˜‰ Even though I’ve not been able to log in…I’ll figure it out, I’m sure. The website was updated, I haven’t gotten the email. You

wp_20160701_008
Image Credit: Bikurgurl, Writing

know the drill. Since I’m handwriting, it’s not essetial I update with my text, but I’d love to connect the accomplishment on the website. I’ll get there.

I’m also determined to continue biking through the winter this year to get back to my best health. Writing my blog is a source of joy and I plan to find a way to make it more accessible. Blogging from my phone may become an option. I’d also like to find small ways to monetize my blog to pay to have it run without ads — part of the streamlining process — but I’m not ready to put in the time to make that happen today; perhaps this season.

This is a time of reflection, gratitude, and quality time spent together. This is when we begin looking at what the past year has brought and our dreams for the coming year. I’m giving myself lots of Grace and Space πŸ™‚

Life is good.

@Bikurgurl_watermark

9 thoughts on “Planning for The Holidays

    1. We have a rhythm to our seasons and the winter one is certainly fun with lots of activities to do out and about πŸ˜‰ I’m planning on blogging about some of them and would love for you to travel with us in spirit!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. It’s great to hear about your holiday traditions. I enjoyed read this personal post. I think your kid had it very well, getting to do all these things ( yes I use groupon too a lot for activities!) and help bake. Also you have some very good books you are reading or using for NaNo. I like the what about PR writing it sounds very useful.Of course, the Little Brown Handbook is a classic guide for Grammar and citing where needed πŸ™‚ Have a lovely Thanksgiving this weekend! πŸ¦ƒ

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s