Happy Holidays 2014!

You know those times when you think you are going to have some time to catch up on things so you start thinking “hey, I’ll just wait until then to do this,” but you end up putting WAY too many things on that list and then end up sick and wanting to do nothing but bury yourself under a blanket on the couch on those days? Yeah, that’s how my holiday “vacation” went.

I had grand plans of sewing and scrapbooking after shampooing carpets and cleaning out the garage, storage closet, and baby clothes. Exciting stuff, I know. I didn’t get much done on my personal to do list, but still did plenty.

We didn’t have any plans to go anywhere for the holidays so we tried to make the most of some local fun in Dayton.

For starters, I had the chance to start introducing my girls to the world of working for a dance company. It’s great to be able to share moments with them. I was able to bring my older daughter out to a matinee performance of The Littlest Angel by Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. It was a gorgeous performance and my daughter really enjoyed watching the dancers. A week later, I ended up bringing my younger daughter with me to a master class at the studio that we were hosting. Kiesha Lalama was in town working on a piece with the company and taught a great class. I loved that my 1 year old not only wanted to watch most of the time, but kept wanting to join in, too.

dcdc kids CollageNext up, we started our many Santa sightings. We were also on a mission to see some Christmas lights displays this year. We went to University of Dayton’s annual Christmas On Campus event, said hello to Santa at the mall, and took our annual pictures with Santa (in the gorgeous Aby’s Kids dresses).

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We then attended an event at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium sponsored by USO of Central and Southern Ohio and Ohio Operation: Military Kids. For a great rate, we got to visit with the winter animals like polar bears and reindeer, have some dinner and make some crafts while meeting Santa and then catch a little of the Wildlights show. The lights were beautiful; I’d love to check it out again next year and hopefully my little one will be better with evening activities by then. An hour drive with a crying 1 year old can put a damper on the holiday spirit, but we still had a great time.

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If you are in Ohio with kids and connected to the military, go like Ohio Operation: Military Kids on Facebook for updates on other fun events – they have an aquarium sleep over coming up in Cleveland but my kids are still too young to participate and a family ice skating day.

We also still got to do some activities that have become traditions like putting up the felt Christmas tree for the girls, and making cookies for Santa. We made cookies in the morning on Christmas Eve which was apparently so much fun that they wanted to play making cookies with play dough in the afternoon. I just brought out the red and green play dough, a selection of stamps that look like cookie cutters, and thankfully had some play rolling pins and rollers for them to use. I also put a blanket down under the table to protect the carpet from little bits of dough getting mashed into it.

christmas prep CollageWe had a Cuban Christmas Eve meal complete with my first attempt at making flan. It was delicious! We marinated a pork roast in Mojo sauce and then let do it’s thing in the crockpot all day. We made some white rice, black beans, and this plantain recipe to go with it. Three of the four of us went back for seconds – there’s no pleasing my picky eating 3 year old.

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The girls had plenty of presents to open Christmas morning and then spent the rest of the day (and weekend) playing with them. It was a Frozen Christmas for my three year old with two different Elsa dolls, books, shirt, and other Frozen themed items. They are also given adorable stacking rings my mother-in-law made for each girl, so cute.

Christmas dinner was basic but tasty. We snacked on ham for the rest of the weekend and still had plenty to put away for meals in the future. We are still working through the freezer meals we made after Thanksgiving so, between stocking up for the two holidays, our grocery bill has been pretty small lately.

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We finished out our Christmas festivities by visiting an assisted living facility to do crafts with the residents the next day and then run around a local mall for a bit. There are lots more things we are hoping to get to do this winter or in future years as the girls get older but I like that we are starting some traditions while they are young.

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