Holiday Traditions You Can’t Live Without

I am sure all of you get to December and you start asking those around you if certain traditions will still be going on this year. It could be the annual neighborhood party, decorating the Christmas tree on December 1st, re-enacting the nativity, or reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve; each of us has certain traditions that we like to keep.

What are your traditions?

Some of my Christmas traditions have morphed as I’ve gotten older. They have been adapted for different situations such as nieces/nephews, living oversea, or celebrating away from home. Here are some of my traditions that I like and want to keep around for years to come.

  1. Baking holiday goodies to take to all of the people who I love (not necessarily caroling; I can’t sing). This year I would like to try this recipe by Creative Home Cooking. 
  2. Having appetizers for dinner on either Christmas Eve or Christmas depending on which day works better for the traditional Christmas dinner. This year I am going to make this recipe from Lemon Tree Dwelling. 
  3. Opening one present on Christmas Eve with it usually being new pajamas or a book. If you guys have never order pajamas from Pajamagram, you have been missing out. 
  4. Turning off all of the lights in the house except for the Christmas lights and basking in their peaceful glow. I think this is one of the best things about December. Love this image from The Curious Bumblebee.
  5. Watching at least one sappy holiday Hallmark movie so I can roll my eyes and laugh with my girlfriends about. I mean no disrespect to Hallmark. I actually think it is great that they create movies that everyone can sit down and watch without being worried about something being inappropriate. At the same time, some of the endings make me roll my eyes and laugh out loud. This year I don’t have the Hallmark channel so I am making do with Netflix. I have managed to watch A Christmas Prince and the quota has been met for the year. Enjoy watching it!

What Is So Wrong With Leftovers?

Thanksgiving is coming up and the majority of us are going to have leftovers. I am okay with leftovers of the entire dinner as is for one additional time but I really don’t want to eat the same dinner over and over and over again. I love that in the last couple of years there has been a steady incline in recipes that help use up the Thanksgiving leftovers. This year, I am actually making extra of some of the items to make sure I get to make the leftover recipes. Here are the ones that I am eyeing.

  1. Turkey, Brie and Cranberry Mustard Panini from Just a Little Bit of Bacon 
  2. Cheesy Leftover Turkey and Mashed Potato Bites from the Today Show 
  3. Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey and Stuffing Muffins from Just a Test 
  4. Cheesy Mashed Potato Puffs from The Kitchn 
  5. Thanksgiving Pizza from The Gunny Sack 

Vancouver Washington

The first time I lived in Portland I never once crossed the river to explore the neighboring city of Vancouver, Washington. I never really felt the need to. Portland had more than enough to keep me busy. Now that I am back to stay in the area; it is a different story.

In some ways I am blessed to live in Portland but work in Vancouver and because I try to avoid as much traffic as possible; I find myself hanging around in Washington and exploring.

So here are 5 of my new favorites haunts in Vancouver.

  1. Frontier Public House. This was a recommendation by my hairstylist and I am glad she shared! 
  2. Speaking of my hairstylist . . . I love the salon I frequent! Way to offer excellent service Vata Salon!
  3. In an effort to stay cool this summer during the MANY 100+ degree days, I discovered this local gem–Moulton Falls. 
  4. I love my many options of farmer markets in the northwest but I love the lazy summer feeling of the Vancouver Farmers Market. 
  5. If you need to travel to Seattle, you should consider taking the train and avoiding the traffic and if you are going to avoid the traffic and the parking fees, you should take the train from Vancouver instead of Portland. But before you park and catch the train at the Vancouver Station, make sure you grab a bagel to eat from Sunrise Bagel Bakery. 

Best BBQ Recipes

Nothing screams summer louder than the smell of fresh-cut grass and someone barbecuing something in the backyard. You can smell it a mile away! I love BBQ smells because it means people are outside enjoying the warmth of the sun and hopefully soaking up time that isn’t electronically filled. If you are someone who can’t let your electronic devices go—PUT IT DOWN! Trust me—the phones, tablets, computers, TV’s, etc. will still be there in an hour and your mind plus body will thank you for it.

So to encourage you to get out and make friends with the outside and your grill; here are some recipes to inspire you. Enjoy!

  1. Best non-traditional way to BBQ from Fabulously Frugal 
  2. White BBQ sauce? I am totally intrigued and need to try it from Plain Chicken
  3. Everyone needs to have their particular side dish when eating BBQ. It could be corn, potato salad, watermelon but for me it is coleslaw from Dear Crissy.
  4. While I don’t eat pork anymore; I actually really have a great recipe for ribs. No, I am not going to share it with you at this time. So rude . . . I know! In the meantime, try this one First Home Love Life.  
  5. My favorite is actually smoked turkey. Try this recipe next time from Grits and Pinecones