traditions live on!

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Before the girls started their junior high sports, we always used to take one day in December for Christmas shopping with the whole family.  We would take the kids out of school and load up really early in the morning (sometimes all dolled up for family pictures that same day), stop and eat breakfast, hit the stores hard, stop and eat lunch, hit the stores hard, and finally end with eating dinner out.  And there was always snacks and coffee stops in between.  At one point during the day, Steve and I would split up the kids and let them do their own shopping for each other.  It was so, so fun.  And I miss that!  One of the joys of having younger kids without much responsibility yet…

As much as I would love to go back to that time in our lives, we have adapted and NOT let go of the Christmas shopping tradition.  Now…it’s just a kidless day during the week. And I’ve got to say…it is so, so fun too!!
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Steve and I took a day.  Of course, didn’t get as much done in our allotted time, but had a ton of fun–no less. We ate at Bella Luna Cafe for the first time and it was delish! 

Our other tradition the kids do not want to let go of (yet!) is our Christmas Lights Night.  This year we purposely cancelled our plans of attending a basketball game and our other alternative of seeing a movie.  Instead, we tried to put the kids to bed before 10:00 pm on a Friday night—which I believe may have led to suspicion for our older girls?  When they go to their beds, there is a gift waiting on their pillows.  NEW JAMMIES!!!  I was there to witness Landon when he found his and he “peter-panned” off of his bed yelling it’s “Christmas Lights Night”!!  That was worth it all.  So much joy.

 
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Even Brinklee got her own pair of new pj’s.  I am scared of what I am turning in to…
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We loaded up our vehicle and our cups with homemade creamy hot chocolate—a recipe from a dear friend of mine.  Oh my goodness!  This is the BEST hot chocolate ever.  I found the recipe on my beloved Pinterest also.  Here is the recipe. You WANT to try this, I promise.  You may never want Spring to come.  You may be begging for snow and frigid temperatures…just so you can make this:

Creamy Crock Pot Hot Chocolate

2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tsp. vanilla

6 cups of whole milk

Mix all and place in crockpot for 2 hours on low. Be sure to mix as the chocolate chips melt.

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OH MY YUMMINESS!!  Are you scared of those ingredients?  Don’t be.  It is worth every calorie.  Just ask my kids!

 

We always choose a different town each year to go look at Christmas lights.  And the past two years we have listened to Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God Christmas CD–which is amazing, by the way.

 

Landon and Kourt fell asleep before we made it home,which gave us some great quality time to talk with our oldest girlies.  This is a tradition I don’t ever want to lose.  Even if their spouses have to wear jammies with us…

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