How did your first week of 2017 go? I was fighting an annoying cold all week (not my favorite way to start off a new year!) and feeling pretty worn out, and I’m happy that I’m starting to feel more like my energetic self again in week 2 of the year.
Today I’m looking back at my 2016 Christmas to share what I’ve been up to lately. My holiday trip to the east coast included lots of family time and good food, with some workouts sprinkled in, and a day in Philly!
My hubby and I kicked off our Christmas celebrations with our annual early gift exchanging prior to our holiday travel. I made us a picnic in the living room and we enjoyed some food and wine while opening presents and watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He gave me a new camera for Christmas, which I’m excited to learn how to use well for my food and travel photography!
The next day, I tired my holiday bow wearing fur baby out on a hike, brought her to the pet resort, then off we went on a flight to Philadelphia!
Our trip was a typical whirlwind of visiting with different sides of our families across New Jersey, and here were some of the highlights:
Our annual cookie baking tradition continued on! My aunt, mom, cousins, and I baked our butts off – and Adam even helped roll out doughs for the first time ever.
We used my grandma’s kitchen to bake – which has THREE ovens – so it was a busy scene as per usual. I think I counted a dozen types of cookies that we made to share with friends and family, and I did my fair share of tasting! My pictured favorites are peanut butter cookies, 7-layer bars, and chocolate kiss peanut butter cookies. I might be a tiny bit bias, but I swear, our tried-and-tested cookie recipes are the best (tasting-wise, not health wise….!).
Christmas morning was spent at my parents’ house with my parents, siblings, sister-in-laws, and nephews, plus all of my parents’ and sisters’ fur babies – which equals 2 dogs + 4 cats (plus a bearded dragon and a pet rat that didn’t participate in the festivities). We are all animal lovers!
We exchanged gifts, drank mimosas, and I made my healthy apple crumble. Adam gave my sister, soon to be sister-in-law and I the above pictured ridiculous, fun animal onesies as a joke. He’s going to regret it when I start actually wearing my wolf onesie around the house!
Christmas dinner was spent at my grandpa’s with all of the above mentioned family, plus my aunt, uncle, cousins and grandpa. We all made a couple of dishes, and my favorite eat of the day?
Cream puffs!! My grandma made it a tradition to make these every Christmas, and we’ve kept many of her food traditions, including cream puffs, going since her passing. I’ve actually never made them myself, so I’m thinking that perhaps I need to learn and share the recipe with you guys this year!
A few days after Christmas, we journeyed into Philadelphia to check out the holiday scene in the city with my father-in-law.
I love walking around cities like Philly, and it was the first time I got a chance to experiment with using my new camera.
Growing up, I lived closer to New York City and visited it way more than Philly, but in recent years, I’ve spent a lot more time in Philly whenever I visit the east coast. I love how historic of a place Philly is, and it was fun to just walk around and soak the city in a bit.
It was chilly, but not too cold that it was uncomfortable being outdoors exploring – which I thought was better in comparison to the last time I was in Philly last summer, when it was about 100 degrees with disgusting humidity. It was like a sauna then!
We checked some things off of Visit Philly’s 20 must-see holiday attractions list, including visiting city hall’s Christmas tree, The Rothman Ice Rink and Christmas Village at Dilworth Park.