Winter Checklist Update #6

What are your favorite holiday flavors? For most “seasonal” flavors throughout the rest of the year, I could really enjoy those flavors at any time. However, there is just something about the flavors of the holidays….I really don’t want them except for during the holidays. Those flavors are peppermint and egg nog. Sure, I might have peppermint flavored foods at different times of the year but it’s during the holidays when I really crave that flavor. And since you can’t find egg nog except during the holidays, I try to drink as much as possible. Within reason, of course. 🙂

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The list thus far:

Winter Checklist – Update #2

We are a week away from Christmas! That’s a bit hard to believe. … I’m not sure where this month has gone. But, the countdown is definitely on. We have already accomplished a lot from our list…..which is good because 2017 is quickly coming to a close…..

So, now I give you ……. “A Very Busy Weekend”

Earlier this month, we knocked off two items from our list in one weekend: Renegade Craft Fair and Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo. We had a great weekend, of course. The problem was the weather….. The weather was amazing! Sunny! Not cold at all! So that means that everyone was out and about trying to enjoy the weather.

We made some fun purchases at the Craft Fair. (Always nice to shop small businesses for the holidays.) I can’t show our purchases right now because many of them are going to be unwrapped as gifts. 🙂

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This statue is outside of the building where the Craft Fair was held. The same weekend last year? That statue was covered in snow…..

Since the weekend was so beautiful, we also took the time (and literally a lot of time because it took an hour longer to get to the zoo than it should normally because of traffic) to go to Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo.

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This was also the night of the “Super Moon” which is definitely evident in this photo. That moon sure is super! Once we got to the zoo, it was great…..well….once we were parked and had finally entered the zoo entrance, it was great. The weather was fantastic! The zoo was really packed (which is just what happens when the weather is almost warm in December) but it was nice to go and not feel like we’re freezing our feet off.

The list thus far:

My Own Christmas To-Do List

It’s a well-known fact that it is very easy for me to overdue Christmas. There is just so much that can be done during the holidays in and near Chicago! How can you choose? So, well, I don’t choose and instead try to do everything. That might be why December is so exhausting…..well, that and I teach preschool so no matter what December is going to be exhausting. But, if you too are wanting to have a Christmas crammed with activities, here is my list of must-do’s during the holidays. (Close to Thanksgiving, I usually send Ryan a bunch of invites on Google calendar so that he knows what I’m planning.)

Mag Mile Lights Festival -This one is a great way to kick off the holidays, in my opinion. Plus, it combines two of my favorite things: Disney and Christmas decorations!

Christkindlemarket – It’s fun just to walk around but it’s even more fun if you buy some snacks. Since they are right across the street from each other, we usually combine going here with dinner at the Walnut Room.

Walnut Room – One of my all-time favorites. Ryan and I have been doing the Walnut Room since before we had kids. But, it’s even more fun now that we have kids. The girls love seeing the “Christmas fairies” and I love seeing the windows and the giant tree in the middle of the restaurant.

Holiday Magic (or “lights at the zoo.”) – Lots of zoos do their own version of zoo lights. We go to Brookfield because we are members there. But, I have many friends who go to see the lights at Lincoln Park Zoo and they love going there. So, I think that you are probably ok with picking a zoo and enjoying their lights. 🙂

Renegade Craft Fair – I love this because it offers a chance to purchase some interesting gifts for people.

Christmas Around the World at MSI – This has been one of my favorites since before I even lived in the Chicago area. The trees are beautiful and you still have time to check out some of the other exhibits after you see the trees.

Garfield Park Conservatory – This one is a new one to the list. But, it’s not a new one for a list of my favorite things to do during the winter. This really is one of my favorite places to visit in the winter. Walking in here in January, you can forget that it’s 2 degrees outside and just enjoy the tropical temperatures, sights, and smells. This was, however, the first year that we went during the Holiday Flower Show.

Walking (or Driving) Around And Looking at Lights – This one isn’t necessarily a “destination.” However, I do like to walk around downtown Chicago to see the lights. The big tree at Millennium Park always looks nice. But, I also enjoy taking a scenic route home from Target or the mall to check out neighborhood lights. And, a big part of our Christmas Eve tradition involves driving around and looking at lights. That’s what we do following Christmas Eve Mass. 🙂

 

What are your must-do activities at Christmas?

Bargain Baking

One of my favorite things about shopping after the holidays are over is that you can frequently get a great deal on mixes for baked goods simply because they are holiday flavors.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I love pumpkin bread any time of the year.  And, I am always willing to try a new fun flavor of waffle mix.

I do enjoy trying new mixes but I do have an important rule that I make myself follow when shopping after holiday (any holiday) sales for baking mixes.  The price of the mix needs to be less than what the price would be if I bought the ingredients separately.  That pumpkin bread mix makes two full loaves and is really heavy because of the can of pumpkin in the box.  This was a good deal.  The scone and waffles mixes were purchased for just a couple bucks each.  Also, great deals.

Mmmmmm…..holiday food after the holiday…..

Mmmmmm…..holiday food after the holiday…..

Do you buy holiday mixes? What are your favorites?

Gelato? During the winter? Yes.

So, did you know that there were some Whole Foods that have gelato?  Not just in the frozen food section but also gelato that’s made on site?  Ryan and I found one just before  Christmas that had several types of gelato that were made in house.  I sampled several while deciding on what one I would get in a small cup.  (Please always assume that if there is house made gelato anywhere, I will have to try some).  I settled on a cup of Holidazed.  It is a gelato made with cranberries, oranges and rosemary.  It tastes like Thanksgiving or Christmas!  It is fantastic.  This may pose a problem for me because not every Whole Foods has gelato and now I know that I need this gelato.

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……….yum