This spring has been crazy, so I’m a little late in finalizing my Easter menu this year. We’re looking forward to a quiet weekend with some of our closest friends. My plan is for us to dye Easter eggs and have my Little Helpers make the desserts on Saturday. The next morning, I’ll prep dinner before getting together with our friends to go to church, an Easter egg hunt for the kids, appetizers and games with the kids nap, followed by a dinner that’s easy to prep ahead, requires minimal time in the kitchen, and yet, still feels like something special.
If you celebrate Easter, I wish you and your family a wonderful weekend!
I know this is being posted waaay too far after Christmas to be considered inspiration, but I like to record big menus for inspiration for myself later on.
We had a wonderful Christmas this year, with both kids being old enough to get excited about the decorations and holidays (even if the Little One didn’t completely realize what was going to happen) and a house filled with out-of-town family for the better portion of a week. I loved being able to create our own family traditions over the past few years, fusing traditions from mine and my husband’s families. We made the peanut butter balls that his mom made when he was growing up, a little piece of his southern tradition. We make my family Christmas cookie, a Polish cookie.
Making my family’s Polish cookies was the part that I cherished most this year – my daughter, myself, my mom and my grandmother at the counter with rolling pins and frying pans. Even Mr. Nutterbutter was at the counter with a rolling pin, pushing the larger one towards my 80+ year old grandfather so that he could roll out the dough too (at least until he started eating flour by the fistful.) I’m so thankful that my children have been able to experience some of my favorite childhood moments, now with their great grandparents.
Anyway, I hope your holidays were merry and bright, filled with happy memories and good food. And without further ado, below is the menu for our Christmas holidays.
Christmas Holidays, 2016
Friday was a little like Christmas v1.0 for us. My brother, sister-in-law and nephew were here for just a night, so it was our day to do Christmas with them.
Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday this year. In my family, we follow the tradition of a meatless Christmas Eve. I’ll admit that our menu doesn’t vary much from year to year, due to picky palates and a general love for these dishes. The main course of crab cakes tends to stay the same with the sides and vegetarian option changing.
Saturday: Lunch for 11
Pierogis and Latkes
served with sour cream and apple sauce
Sunday was Christmas morning. We had a mix of family staying the night or arriving at the house super early to watch the kids open presents, so we had a large brunch followed by an early afternoon supper before people headed for home.
This fall, I hosted a small baby shower for friends. The couple were expecting their second child, and while my group usually only has a shower for first-time parents, my friends missed out with their first. The mama-to-be was on bedrest for much of her pregnancy so a shower just wasn’t in the cards. Thankfully, pregnancy #2 was much easier on her and we were able to give her the celebration she missed out on a few years ago. The mini-shower was a family affair, a dinner with a dozen of the couple’s close friends and children.
To make entertaining easy, I created a menu where pretty much everything was assembled ahead of time, so I had minimal time preparing and cooking while everyone was over. I carried an Italian theme throughout the meal, with a menu full of comfort foods perfect for late fall and winter entertaining.
I chose super light appetizers since the meal was on the heavier side. I did skip a salad for this meal, but adding one would round out the meal quite nicely.
An Italian Dinner for 12
Nuts, Fruit, & Marinated Olives
Caprese Skewers with a Balsamic Drizzle
Note: While this menu was designed for 12, I want to point out that there were half a dozen toddlers as well, most of whom helped themselves to the fruit served with the appetizers and chicken nuggets for dinner (not mentioned above).
Leftovers: There were a few pieces of the spinach lasagna leftover (clearly no vegetarians at this gathering!) but that was it. Although the beef and sausage lasagna was large and quite filling, I think that if I had more of that (and the garlic bread), it would have been devoured.
Last month, we celebrated my daughter’s third birthday. It’s crazy how over the past year, she went from a toddler – sweet and cuddly – to a little girl – opinionated, sassy, and smart as whip. She’s no longer stringing a few words together but speaking whole sentences, learning to write her letters, and learning what sounds each of the letters make. We’re beyond impressed.
It’s been a busy couple of months, so we held a joint birthday party with my daughter’s best friend. We kept the menu simple and mostly store-bought, and instead spent our time and creativity on the small details. We chose to go with a Frozen theme, since the girls love the movie. (Sophie now has an Elsa and an Anna dress. She takes turns wearing them every day after school, with an expression of pure joy on her face. “Mommy, look at me. I’m so beautiful!” I might be biased, but she is the cutest little Elsa/Anna I’ve ever seen.) Anyway, we couldn’t have picked a better them for our little princesses.
A Frozen Birthday Party
Bagels & Cream Cheese
String Cheese “Snowmen”
Carrots and Dip “Reindeer Food”
“Melted Snowman” Water Honest Juice Pouches
For decorations, I made an Olaf wreath for our front door. We had assorted balloons through the house, a couple of balloon trees (no photos though!), and a Frozen birthday banner.
While the kids mostly ran wild playing with the assorted loose balloons, we did have a few activities for them. We downloaded some free printable coloring pages with scenes from the movie, had a Pin-the-Nose-on-Olaf game, and a Build-a-Snowman station where the kids could build a snowman to eat or take home out of marshmallows, pretzels, mini chocolate chips, and decorating gel/icing.
For favors, we gave each child a small Frozen coloring book, a pair of Frozen socks, a couple of Hershey kisses with Frozen stickers on the bottom, and two Frozen stamps.
Considering it’s been almost a month since the party and my daughter is still talking about her party (almost every night at bedtime, she asks that we talk about it), I’d call it a success!
Invitations: TicketParty Etsy Shop
Thank You Notes: Styles with Charm Etsy Shop
Goodie Bag Items: Amazon and Michael’s Crafts
I meant to get this post up – my Christmas week menus – Christmas week, but as usual, life got in the way. My baby got sick, so we spent a few miserable days cuddling as he recovered in time to enjoy lots of family visiting, and, of course, Santa. Since I’m late, I’ll give you the menus, and a little bit about what I’ve been up to, and why it’s been so quiet on the blog over the past few weeks.
So as I said, at the start of Christmas week, my sweet boy came down with a nasty virus and ear infection, making him a pitiful sight. We had a couple of rough days, sleeping all day, eating very little, and trouble breathing at night. Thankfully, Nutterbutter started recovering and returning to his normal, happy baby-self just as family started to arrive.
This was the first Christmas since I’ve been with my husband (8 years) where we weren’t traveling for Christmas. We ended up with a full house – several members of my family came for the holidays, as well as some close friends, our “local family,” as we think of them.
The week was amazing. I LOVED seeing my little ones crawling over and smiling at my 85-year old grandfather, teasing my uncles, begging my brother to color… It was the first Christmas where my daughter understood that Santa was coming, and her reaction on Christmas morning was priceless. She was absolutely speechless, eventually stuttering, “so… many…presents.” We truly had the perfect Christmas.
My mom stayed until New Years Eve, to watch the munchkins while daycare was closed. I love when my mom stays, but it’s always tough – I’d rather be home and hanging out with her instead of working or being productive at home.
Once my house emptied out, I focused on returning life to normal – getting through the laundry, putting away the Christmas stuff, finding a new home for all of the toys, etc. The normal, boring stuff. But most of all, I was knitting like crazy. My sister-in-law’s baby shower was this past weekend, and I really wanted to finish the baby blanket I had started for my first (!) nephew. Knitting was pretty much all I did for the better part of a week, but it was worth it. I finished it the night before the shower, later than I would have liked. I was pretty pleased with the way it turned out, and think both my brother and sister-in-law liked the blanket.
Never one to sit for long, when my nephew’s baby blanket was finished, I turned to organizing my photos (which I slacked on for the past few months) and finishing my son’s 3-6 month photo album. (I’m creating digital scrapbooks, four for the first year of his life.) I’m really making an effort to stay on track with finishing his albums – Nutterbutter is almost 9 months old, and I’ll have another album to start on very shortly. I can’t get behind! My daughter is almost 3 and I’ve yet to do any of her albums. (#fail!) I still have a long way to go on this project, but I feel better having started getting back on track.
So life is returning to normal after all of the winter holidays. I am getting caught up on or finishing some projects, and after a short break to focus on my home and family, I’m ready to get back to blogging. I’ve got a number of posts to finish up, and several new ones I’m planning, so stay tuned for regular updates. Without further ado, I give you my Christmas week menus! (Hey, you can still bookmark them for next year! 🙂 )
CHRISTMAS WEEK MENUS
Sweets for the Week
With unexpected additions from some family members, I decided to skip formal desserts for the week.
Instead, we had an assortment of cookies and candies.