Christmas Roundup: Crafts, and Lights, and Vomit, Oh my!

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A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We had an eventful Christmas as we were blindsided by a nasty stomach virus that all began with my precious toddler at 4:20 AM Christmas morning and quickly spread to me, then my husband, then, every single person who was either in our house or with us on Christmas Day.  I think that qualifies as spreading Christmas cheer, don’t you? The good news is the baby had done all of her vomiting by the time everyone got here and the rest of us didn’t get sick until the next day, so the actual Christmas Day was well-spent, filled with laughter and family.

One of our (many) annual traditions is making ornaments with the kids for the kids’ tree that graces our indoor front porch every Christmas season.  However elaborate or simple (I generally stay on the simple side since the age ranges of the kids are so vast), this is always a fun activity for everyone involved.  This year I chose a reindeer ornament from Hands On As We Grow, which I, of course, stumbled upon on Pinterest.  All of the supplies were purchased at our local Michael’s Craft Store: stuffing for the shatter-proof spheres, googly eyes, Christmas-colored pipe cleaners for reindeer antlers, and like-colored pom-poms for the nose.  How simple is that?!

My step-kids and me working on the ornament craft.  I'm doing the baby's.

My step-kids and me working on the ornament craft. I’m doing the baby’s.

Janeena's reindeer

Janeena’s reindeer

Javier's reindeer

Javier’s reindeer…why do all kids his age have issues forming a normal smile on their face? :)

Baby Rosario is very excited about the ornament she didn't make. :)

Baby Rosario is very excited about the ornament she didn’t make. :)

Trimming the kids' tree

Trimming the kids’ tree

Kids' Tree

Another one of our Christmas season traditions is taking advantage of the fantastic, free, family-friendly shows and activities available only minutes away from us in Center City, Philadelphia.  Our route typically includes: Dicken’s Village and the light show in Macy’s, the light show in the Comcast Center, seeing the trains in the Reading Terminal Market, and enjoying a warm beverage from Starbucks.  This year we didn’t get around to the Comcast Center because we had a birthday party to go to and were short on time, but here are a few snapshots of our Christmas in the city.  Did I mention it was all FREE?? Even the Starbucks stop because I had a gift card, as well as parking!  Center City has free meter parking every Saturday beginning the first Saturday after Thanksgiving through the Saturday after Christmas!

Macy's Light Show

Macy’s Light Show

The crew during the light show.

The crew during the light show.

Believe

Tiny tots at Starbucks

Tiny tots at Starbucks

Baby Rosie discovering the buttons that control the movement of the trains at the Reading Terminal Market.

Baby Rosie discovering the buttons that control the movement of the trains at the Reading Terminal Market.

A few years ago, Philadelphia began having two fireworks shows for New Year’s Eve, one at 6 PM for families and the traditional midnight showing.  I cannot tell you how thrilled my husband and I were to learn of the earlier showing.  Do you know how hard it is to keep a baby up till midnight?  Although, this year she didn’t have a problem with it. We were at our friends’ house for the late night celebration and the house was packed with people, including a baby her age and 3 dogs…that was plenty to keep her up and happy. But, back to the fireworks–as you might guess, the 6 PM showing is chock full of kids and parents and no drunken adults and semi-adults tripping over themselves and breaking out into mayhem.  We love it!  We picked up my step-kids and headed downtown.  Afterward, everyone was still alert enough to enjoy another Starbucks kids cup hot cocoa.

New Year's cocoaNew Year's cocoa baby

The last tradition of the season…you could even call it the first tradition of the new year, is my annual Panettone French Toast, courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.  This is something my husband and I look forward to every year and the baby was finally able to enjoy some of it, as well.  A good friend of mine always gives me a panettone from Whole Foods and, I’m telling you, it’s the best. I adapted this recipe just a tad to suit our specific taste buds, but you should definitely try it out; it’s delish!

The star of the show: the buttery, fruity panettone all sliced up.

The star of the show: the buttery, fruity panettone all sliced up. The top of the “dome” was cut off and is reserved for dunking into coffee, cocoa, or other warm beverages as a tasty treat.

To the recipe's milk mixture I add vanilla...

To the recipe’s milk mixture I add vanilla…

...and some cinnamon.

…and some cinnamon.

Look at that sizzle...

Look at that sizzle…

The griddle gettin' the job done.  I love this darn griddle!  Just got it from Kohl's with "Kohl's Cash".

The griddle gettin’ the job done. I love this darn griddle! Just got it from Kohl’s with “Kohl’s Cash”.

Keeping the first batch warm in the oven.

Keeping the first batch warm in the oven.

And we're done.  This is my husband's plate.  I whipped the mascarpone with honey and vanilla to our desired taste.

And we’re done. This is my husband’s plate. I whipped the mascarpone with honey and vanilla to our desired taste.

My plate.  You can use any fresh berries you'd like.  I try to only use seasonal produce, but the dish does taste best with berries and the blueberries were on sale, so...that's that.  :)

My plate. You can use any fresh berries you’d like. I try to only use seasonal produce, but the dish does taste best with berries and the blueberries were on sale, so…that’s that. :)

Welcome, 2013!

Rosario

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