We enjoyed our four day weekend tremendously - it was quiet and simple and just what we needed to rest up and prepare for a very busy upcoming December. Grace and a friend joined us for Thanksgiving dinner. Matt and I cooked a lot, and we got in a little over our heads, but we really enjoy working in the kitchen together and it all worked out in the end. We brined and baked a big turkey, made a brussel sprout salad, gluten free cornbread stuffing, a maple pecan sweet potato casserole and cranberry salad.
Dessert was homemade cookies and a chocolate coconut pie.
If you hadn't guessed, we're a little coconut-crazy in this house. Those cookies were too good, I had to give them away and get them out of my house ASAP before I went into self-destruct mode.
I had some good phone visits over the weekend, and received the best news from some loved ones that has had me stopping to do an excited happy dance at least 5 times a day. Also, one of my best friends here in Holland delivered her fourth baby over the weekend and Matt and I got to go hang out with them at the hospital for a bit yesterday. There's nothing like holding a brand new baby to fill you up with wonder, joy and gratitude. I have felt really overwhelmed this week with just how many things we have to celebrate and be thankful for this year, praise be to God! It feels like a great start to this holiday season. (Gah, I'm getting emotional just sitting here typing!)
Last night we began our observation of Advent. Matt and I are still learning about this tradition as it's something neither of us observed as children. Last year we read a verse each night with Olive, but this year we're using the book "The Advent Jesse Tree" - it has devotionals and discussion starters for children and adults so we can use it to have a family Bible study each evening with Olive and Silas as well as a devotional to do together each day. I think this is going to be my favorite part of the Christmas celebration this year!
Oh and we can't forget - it's time to listen to ALL the Christmas music guilt free! I can't get enough of Sufjan Stevens' Christmas albums. I listen to them all the time. Matt put on some Michael Buble the other night that I had never heard that we all really liked, so that might be this year's special soundtrack. (Do you adopt a specific Christmas album as a favorite each year? We tend to do that - past favorites have been Jars of Clay's Christmas Songs , A Very She & Him Christmas and Christmas With the Rat Pack.)
What are you most excited for this Christmas? What are your favorite traditions, big and small?