From sweet treats and Christmas lights to murder mysteries and Mary Berry’s recipes, our family navigated a calm, low-key Christmas season. How did you spend yours? What delicious recipes did you enjoy? How did you stay connected during the season? Not only to others but also to yourself?
Grab your fave beverage, pull up a chair, and tell me all about it! In the words of my 11-year-old, “I’m just dazzled to know!”
BAKING OUR WAY THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS:
Usually baked goods are the hardest recipes for me to figure out on the blog. But this season, we dove right into gluten-free flours, alternative sweeteners, and upped our gluten-free baking game. As hard as it was, we concocted several delicious baked goods that we enjoyed all throughout December. Think:
- Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles
- Gluten-Free Shortbread Bars
- Paleo Zucchini Bread
- Cranberry Pecan Cookie Bars
- Paleo Zucchini Brownies
- Strawberry Jam Bars
- Paleo Zucchini Muffins
We might have concocted them in December, but rest assured we’re still enjoying them in January. These cookies, bars, and desserts were worth all the effort. And I suspect they’ll become family-favorite recipes our girls make for their own friends and families.
My heart and belly are full.
TRAIPSING OUR WAY THROUGH NATURE
Excepting a few cold snaps and snow storms, Iowa in December was fairly mild (or maybe we’re just used to it). We went back to Brenton Arboretum, and we’ll keep going as long as weather permits. Nature hikes are one of the top five things keeping me sane throughout this pandemic. The others are:
Virtual meetups with friends and family Reading books Everything on Britbox Writing
I have devoured every show hosted by Lucy Worsley that I can. I gave Rosemary & Thyme a second try, and I’m glad I did. It’s such a guilty pleasure. Now I’m certain I, too, can landscape a garden in two, may three, days, all the while solving a murder. There’s nothing we can’t do, Spiriteds, if we put our minds and our soil samples to it. II’m also up-to-date on how to run a country estate handed down through the generations. Much as I’d like to think I could run a country estate, I think I’ll stick to watching shows about them instead.
Also, can we please talk about Mary Berry? Because our family of four wants her to adopt us. The girls have decided she’s their virtual grandmother. Thank you for knowing and understanding.
I’m curious, Spiriteds, what top five things have gotten you through this pandemic?
We stayed close to home for the holidays and relied on virtual meetups to connect with friends and family. Here’s the thing, though. Everyone kind of had this moment of, “Why didn’t we do this sooner? Why don’t we do this more often in between the times we see each other in person?”
I agree. There are a few things, like virtual meetups, that I hope live on long after the pandemic is in our rearview mirror. Those friends who live overseas and whom we never see? How about a virtual meetup? Weather’s bad and we can’t go to Grandma’s after all? Let’s do a virtual meetup.
Count. Me. In.
Another thing to count me in? Keeping a Christmas tree up after the holidays conclude. Normally I am a firm take-the-tree-down-on-January-first kind of person. But not this year. Christmas ornaments and bright, twinkly lights keep my sprits up. They go well with British shows about castles, Lucy Worsley’s take on history, Mary Berry’s recipes, and the latest happenings in the world of running large castles in the United Kingdom. And so our mini Christmas tree stays up. With Britbox on and tea in hand, I relax at the end of the day and live my best life.
One step at a time, friends. One step, no matter how small. I hope 2021 brings bright moments into your world. I hope you are safe and well. And, as always, I’m glad you’re here. ❤️