Friday Favorites: Christmas Through the First Full Week of January

I have a LONG list of favorites for you today! Not having posted any sort of favorites post since December 18th I tried to keep this list short and sweet.  Next week I'll switch back to my old Friday Favorites format where I give a little wrap up of our week but here are some of our favorite moments and highlights of the past few weeks:



1.  We finally got to try out our new show shoes!  We had the best time hiking some of our favorite trails at Pulaski park.  The woods are so pretty with all the snow clinging to the trees.





2. Alec finished up his school with a 1/2 day on Wednesday and we got right to baking.  He made Heath bar/eggnog cheesecakes, buttery fresh croissants, and butterscotch truffles.  It was all so delicious!  We enjoyed so much wonderful food the whole Christmas season.



3. We spent a really fun Christmas eve at my mom's opening gifts, playing games, eating pizza, and visiting with family.



4. We were so thankful to still have power when we woke up Christmas morning!  We had a huge storm blowing through our area causing power outages and flooding (the rain coming down and the warm temps. melted all the snow on the ground).  Yet we were lucky enough to have kept our power on and not have any problems with flooding so we didn't have to open gifts by candlelight. 




5.  My husband's mother and brother and his family came for Christmas brunch and then later in the day we headed to their house for Christmas dinner.  It was another great day of food and family and fun ending with a fun game of Telestrations and several foosball battles.   


6. We went hiking and even though we had to find a new trail since the water washed the bridge away to our favorite trail we found a beautiful waterfall! 


7. We've been playing lots and lots of board games and working on a really challenging puzzle.  




8. The younger boys and I went out to lunch with my mother in law and we had a delicious meal together.  

9.  My husband got our tv mounted on the wall and we even splurged on a surround sound system; all this allowed me to rearrange our living room furniture and I just love the whole room!  It will be perfection once I can get a new living room set.  


10.  An afternoon lunch date with my husband at Red Robin was another favorite!

11.  We made challah bread using a recipe given to us by Dara at Not in Jersey and it was a huge hit with the whole family.



12.  Alec was virtual for the start back to school and his culinary teacher assigned them some cooking challenges.  This cinnamon swirl bread was amazing! (Mostly due to the cream cheese glaze) I made my husband take the second loaf to work. 




13.  We celebrated my mom's birthday; the younger two boys and I brought her her gifts and hung out at her house for a bit.  She loved everything we got her.  I highly recommend this jewelry set; it seems quite well made and the pieces coordinated beautifully. 


14.  I found that I much prefer using my Color Street nail wraps for just a few accent nails which makes them all last so much longer!  I have been painting and decorating my nails one a week.  With a clear coat over them they seem to last a long time. 



15. We watched not one but TWO bald eagles land on the lake right near our house.  They walked around on the ice for long enough for me to run and get my camera.



16.  These three have been getting along pretty well and I just love hearing them laughing and battling it out on Mario cart.


16. We've gone on a few hikes already this new year and enjoyed some pretty sunrises and sunsets. 






17.  We made hot cocoa bombs using white chocolate and white hot cocoa (though Alec joking calls the hot cocoa bullets because of the shape of our molds.





18.  I made up a tasty pink popcorn treat for a Valentine's post I have coming up. It is using most of my self control not go gobble it all up!  


Comments

  1. Happy New Year! Looks like you and your family have been having a wonderful time. I cannnot believe you saw TWO bald eagles- what a brilliant sight. Be well!

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    1. We've been hearing them off and on and I'm pretty sure there is a juvenile one with them but we rarely see the "baby." It is still so amazing each time we see them.

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  2. Happy New Year! Glad to see your family had such a fun Christmas!!Those bald eagle pictures are so cool! My mom would love to see it, sending it to her now! The cream cheese bread looks so irresistible! My sister’s birthday is around Christmas, and let me tell you, I ate WAY too much of her cake! I just could not stop! Yay for the cocoa bombs! They look so good! I am super for your pink popcorn recipe to come out! I want to try it! Have a wonderful day, Joanne!

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    1. Thanks! We have a few birthdays coming up this month and I'm already trying to convince myself I really don't want to eat cake (but I know I absolutely do and totally will!).

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  3. I love those bald eagle pictures. And between you and my mom talking about snowshoes, I kind of want some now. Not that we really have anywhere to use them but...!

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    1. They are so fun! And so easy to pack up and take on the go...

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  4. I love seeing everything you were up to- Alec rocked the holiday treats- my word- I just want to jump through the computer screen for a quick taste- ha! Love the way your living room came out too- looks so cozy!

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    1. He really did! LOL. He just keeps stepping up his baking game.

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  5. Loved catching up with you my friend! The breads look amazing so do your nails and that snow is breathtaking. I hope we get some more here in Indiana very soon. Have a great weekend!

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    1. We keep getting lots of snow all at once and then 3 days later it's all gone and then we don't get anymore for weeks and weeks.

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  6. The bald eagles are so cool! The challah looks like it came out great!

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    1. It did and my boys loved it! My oldest son asked me to make it again-- while we were eating the first loaf!

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  7. All of the food looks amazing. I enjoyed looking at the photos of your hikes and sunrise and sunset. Have a happy friday.

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  8. What a great week! Lindsey loves your maple leaf puzzle! The bald eagle landing was spectacular, I'm sure...and your photos of it are great!

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    1. That puzzle was nearly my undoing this month. LOL. I both loved and hated it.

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  9. Wow! 2 bald eagles! That puzzle looks so hard, way to go! I love your sunsets and sunrises over the water. They are so beautiful! Have a great weekend!

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    1. That was such a difficult puzzle; I almost gave up on it at least a dozen times!

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  10. So nice to see your holiday photos. That puzzle without any flat edge pieces looks so hard!! Well done.

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    1. Aw, thank you! It was a tricky puzzle.. made harder by the fact that the puzzle edges didn't match up with what was shown on the box either!

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  11. That's great you didn't lose power over Christmas! I'm in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and we only got some wind and rain. Your snow pictures are beautiful. I miss having snow! And how cool you saw two bald eagles! I happened to hear one in my backyard and finally spotted it as it flew away. I would've liked to have gotten a picture of it though!

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    1. I was so relieved we made it the whole day with our power intact. We had our generator ready just in case but it still would have made cooking quite difficult. We often heard the eagles but they are so hard to spot and even harder to take photos of since they are usually gone in a flash.

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  12. That's amazing about the bald eagles! Loved seeing all your favorites.

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  13. That leaf puzzle looks difficult, but so pretty. It looks like you guys had a great Christmas. And all the baking and yummy goodies!!!

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    1. It was really tough; the pieces don't lock in place either so they move around a bit! We did have a great Christmas.

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  14. Oh my goodness that leaf puzzle looks crazy hard!! Y'all have been having so much fun... I always love to see what you bake!

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  15. The bald eagles are so cool!! Looks like y’all had a great Christmas!!

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  16. I need that challah recipe. Looks and sounds delicious. I am trying my new bread machine for the first time today. Thank you, Santa. Trying to use my sourdough yeast starter in it but not sure how that is going to work.

    As always, your photos took my breath away. Just beautiful. I need just one more snow! Just one. But enjoying our 60+ afternoon temps in the meantime.

    Cannot imagine looking out to find eagles out my window. Buzzards, yes. But not eagles. Thank you for sharing with us.

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    1. I told Dara she needed to write up a post about her challah bread! I'll talk to her and if she has no plans to share it I definitely will.

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  17. Hi Joanne this is my first visit to your blog. I’m very pleased to meet you and read about your New Year favourites. I love your outdoors snow photos. I’m from Australia, and all we see just now is very hot and dry landscapes #weekendcoffeeshare

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  18. Hi Joanne, I've just discovered your blog through #weekendcoffeeshare. What a joyous post which brought a smile to my face. I love your photographs especially of the snow as I live on the Gold Coast in Australia so we are in Summer with hot and humid conditions. Looks like you had a lovely Christmas and I send you and your family best wishes for 2021. .

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  19. A wonderful list with lots of happy times, good food and nature. Hope you enjoy the Weekend Coffee Share blog party. Thanks for joining in with us. #weekendcoffeeshare

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  20. A very rich variety of photos!

    Feel free to share at My Corner of the World

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  21. So much goodness in this post! Yummy foods to pretty nails. Your snow is gorgeous my little piece of land keeps getting told its going to snow but it never comes!

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  22. I love me some fresh bread... but some with icing on it? YESSSS
    Two eagles.. that's amazing.
    OK... where did you get your camera strap?

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    1. On Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08LNK988Q/

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  23. The pictures are lovely. It reflects the nice time you and your family spent together in the holiday season. I liked the jewellery set by the way :)

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  24. Lots of great food, family and fun - what's not to love? I'm in Australia and we're in the middle of a huge heatwave (it's Summer here) so seeing all that snow was very refreshing.

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    1. Feel free to send sunny/ beach loving pictures my way! LOL

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  25. Wow! That is a really long list of favorites. The leaf puzzle is so cool. I would love to live someplace where you got enough snow for snow shoes. That is very cool too. The food at your house always looks so good.
    BLessings, Dawn

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    1. It was a lot of fun. We've only been snowshoeing three times now but really enjoy it.

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  26. Hello Joanne. I don't think we've met. I from the Coffee Share group and think you may have found us via Natalie who is our new host. I enjoyed your share mostly because that is what the end of any year, not just 2020, should look like. Snow (but with power still on), family, great food and greater memories being made.

    I'm one of the story writers and tellers. My share isn't about writing today though. Several of us are hatching a plot to get together for our first ever Zoom call to actually hear each other live.

    If you like short fun stories, you might enjoy my collection. The details are there to examine or ignore but the stories are just good clean fun and laughing in 10 minutes or less.

    As desired, here is a great story to take for a test read.
    https://garyawilsonstories.wordpress.com/the-indoor-tsunami-adventure/

    I hope I get the chance to host your visit.
    Blessings.

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    1. Thank you, Gary! I tried very hard to keep our lives as normal as possible this year and focused a lot on what we could do rather than on those things we could not.

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  27. Fun and Feastive. Happy New Year!

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  28. Happy new year to you! (found you through the Coffee Share).

    Have to say that cream cheese anything is awesome! and that Cocoa Bomb/Bullet is such an interesting idea!

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  29. Do you like your snow shoes? What brand did you get? My husband and I are thinking about getting some but a coworker is going to let me try hers out to see if we like it. OMG Heath Bar Eggnog Cheesecake sounds amazing! That leaf shaped puzzle looks fun! And how amazing seeing those bald eagles so close! Hope you had a great weekend!

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    1. We love our snowshoes. Between the 5 of us we have 3 different brands-- Wildhorn outfitters/ LL bean/ & Go2gether. After trying on a few different pairs at our local Audubon center (that rents snowshoes by the hour) we knew we wanted ratchet bindings that were fully adjustable & released quickly as you should take the snowshoes off when crossing rocks or anything that does not have sufficient snow cover otherwise it ruins the metal crampons.

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  30. You've been on some amazing walks. The photos are all so gorgeous. And … I can't get the butterscotch truffles out of my mind!

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    1. They were so good! I was rather relieved that they were gone all in one day.

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  31. Those snow shoes look like so much fun! And all that food looks so good!! I love challah so much! One of my friends in high school always had some in her fridge, and I always ate some when I went over.

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  32. Joanne, you always share such joyful things in your posts! I find myself smiling with this big silly grin as I read through and look at your photos! Your leaf puzzle made my head hurt, by the way! I am terrible at regular square or rectangular puzzles. I cannot even imagine the tediousness of the puzzle challenge with that shape! You are so inspiring! Thanks for sharing and linking with me, my friend.

    Shelbee
    www.shelbeeontheedge.com

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