A Peek Into Our Christmas Break

posted by Andrea | 01/4/2016

christmas candles

Happy New Year! I’m excited to be back blogging again!

It’s been several weeks since my last Peek Into Our Week post — and since I’m not just talking about last week, I thought it was more fitting to share A Peek Into our Christmas Break.

We packed a lot into Dave’s (almost) 2 week break from school, but we also had plenty of time for lounging around at home, playing with new toys, hitting up Culver’s, watching cheesy Christmas movies, and even “sleeping in” a little when the kids let us!

We started out Dave’s break by celebrating our own little family’s Christmas on Wednesday morning, the 23rd (Dave’s first day home from school). We didn’t tell the kids when we were going to celebrate, so it was fun to see how excited they were to walk down the stairs after waking up and see all sorts of presents under the tree!

It only took 15-20 minutes to unwrap everything — and somehow, I think Nora ended up unwrapping almost everything as Simon was content to play with the first toy he opened and James can’t really unwrap anything yet.

Also, we’re still working on Simon’s “say cheese” smile 🙂

We don’t really have any strict rules or guidelines for gifts, but we did sort of follow the “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read” rule.


  • The Frozen DVD, skittles, little Frozen dolls (want)
  • Toothbrush, underwear (need)
  • Sweatshirt, slippers (wear)
  • Berenstain Bears book and a sticker book (read)


  • Toy vacuum, M&M’s, a boy doll (want)
  • New shoes, toothbrush (need)
  • Slippers and socks (wear)
  • Baby Einstein shapes book and a coloring book (read)


  • Stacking cups and a wooden car (want)
  • More pacifiers (need)
  • New PJs and a pair of sweatpants (wear)

We also got each kid a Little People’s vehicle and we gave Nora and Simon some craft supplies to share.


On Christmas day, we hosted my immediate family’s Christmas party. Since none of my siblings have kids yet, it’s often easier for us to host so that Simon and James can take their normal naps in their own beds. It saves us a bunch of work and time packing up so much extra stuff!

We had my parents and my siblings bring over all the gifts on Christmas Eve (after our kids went to bed) so they got to wake up to a tree full of gifts again!

My sister and brother-in-law surprised the kids with a “new-to-them” kid’s car that Nora has been begging for ever since she saw one of our neighbor kids driving one.

It was apparently broken so she got it almost free, and my brother-in-law fixed it and put a new battery in it. Good as new! Nora was so excited 🙂

We had a “traditional” Christmas dinner (at least for our family). Ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, beans, carrots, corn, rolls, and hot fruit salad. Plus, I made a variety of pies and fudge for dessert (and my sister made really cute cupcakes with white chocolate Christmas trees on top)… and we enjoyed lots of munchies and leftover ham on buns for dinner later that day.


We celebrated Christmas with Dave’s family on New Year’s Day (at his parent’s house).

There were 6 children under 6 in the same house for an entire day — and it went really REALLY well! Everyone took good naps, played nicely, and shared toys. It was a fun time for Nora and Simon to play with their 3 cousins who they don’t normally get to see very often.

It was also nice to space out the celebrations by a full week — especially since we got to spend this past weekend opening up and playing with yet another round of new toys and games.


My Christmas Break Projects

Since Dave won’t have another long break from school until Spring Break in April, and since we had several extra relatives around to play with the kids, I was planning and hoping to be able to tackle a bunch of little projects around the house during Christmas Break.

Here’s what I accomplished:

Went through all the kids clothing, donated Nora’s too-small clothing, transferred Simon’s too-small clothing down to James’ dresser, and packed-up James’ too-small clothing. I also made a list of anything they need for the coming months (seriously, I think Nora has grown 3 or 4 inches since summer!)

Went through the kitchen and laundry room and purged 2 smaller bags of things, plus I sold a couple items on Craigslist.

Made Triple Berry Jam and Raspberry Jam (with berries I froze this summer)

Did a little freezer cooking and baking.

Finished our family 2015 digital photo album.

Finished recording all my business invoices and expenses for 2015.

Gave Dave and Simon haircuts.

Dave and I got new phones (we went with the iPhone 6 for those of you who have asked!)

Took down all the Christmas decorations and got the house back to “normal” again (I always love how uncluttered it feels after the decorations are put away again).

Dave crossed a few projects and to-do’s off his list too, and he also enjoyed a little extra down time in the afternoon — watching Netflix while snuggling James! I think there were 3 or 4 times over his break that he was just sitting on the couch with James and the next thing he knew, James was sleeping soundly in his arms.

Our Menu Plan

Since our menu was kind of crazy over Christmas break with various parties and lots of random leftovers, I’m including our meal plan from the week before Christmas when life was more “normal”!








  • Culver’s for Lunch
  • Leftovers for Dinner

A Few More Photos…

I hope you had a lovely Christmas break and enjoyed a little change from “normal life”.

Cheers to a brand new year and another fresh start! 


Filed under: LifeFamilyHolidays

Leave a comment


  1. Julie@frugallyblonde.com


    Looks like you had a great Christmas break. I love when you can have a balance of relaxing and productive. Love the snow picture! We had unusually warm weather in Indiana, so it was not a white Christmas for us.


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, it was a great break — too short of course!

    We didn’t have a white Christmas either — the snow came the week after Christmas. At least Nora and Dave got to play in it for a few days — it’s all melted again now.


  2. Ann


    Wondering what toy Nora and Dave are building with in one of the pictures?


    Andrea Reply:

    It’s a GoldieBlox “engineering” set: http://amzn.to/1Jqf7MU

    They are really cute and relatively easy to construct!


  3. Kelly K.


    Happy New Year…I always love your “Peek into our…” posts. 🙂
    Always glad to see your posts in queued up in my reader. 🙂


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kelly — hopefully I’ll be showing up in your reader every weekday for a while now!


  4. Denise Z


    I always love your recaps! Glad you had some time to relax and just enjoy that time. Dumb question (I’ll own it! LOL!) what kind of gravy do you have with your ham?


    Andrea Reply:

    we have ham gravy with ham 🙂
    just the ham juice and some water mixed with flour. It’s DELICIOUS!


  5. Melissa


    Totally unrelated (although I like these weekly update posts!) I noticed in one of your pics you have a Keurig – we have one too and we are always looking for ways to keep it clean. It seems like right after we finally bought one (my husband had wanted one for a very long time) we started hearing about how horrible they were due to mold. So I’m just curious if you have any tips or tricks you could share?


    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I KNEW someone would comment on the Keurig (because most people know that I don’t drink coffee!)

    We actually don’t have a Keurig — it’s my sisters and she brought it over for the party. I have no idea how to clean it — but I would guess you could probably google it. I do know that you clean regular coffee pots by running vinegar through the coffee cycle (and then several cycles of fresh water). That might work???


  6. Courtney


    Hahaha the pic of Nora with the sticker and marker all over her face, priceless!! Welcome back, you were missed! Hope your 2016 is filled with blessings!


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, it took 4 baths over 4 days to get the marker totally off! At least she did it after Christmas day!


  7. MamaToo


    Christmas Break with Daddy is a wonderful thing, and one of the compensations of teaching. He had to go back to school again today; we miss him already. Especially since he likes to cook and did almost all the cooking for the past two weeks!

    I’m looking forward to more organizing and homemaking tips on this blog for making this a good new year.

    Andrea, do you know of any other decor or organizing or homemaking blogs similar to yours, with the same decor style? I haven’t found any so far. Most of the farmhouse style blogs I’ve seen are too overdone; I don’t have room for that many chicken wire baskets or canning jars all around my house. Not to mention the fact that too much of that kind of stuff doesn’t work with children.


  8. Jessica


    So glad you had a restful, productive break! My husband is also a teacher and I loved having him home! This is his first day back, and I am getting back in the groove of homeschooling my 3 boys again. Thanks for the peek at your break!


    Andrea Reply:

    That’s interesting… your husband is a teacher and you homeschool. I don’t think I’ve ever met another teacher’s family who homeschools their kids (I suppose we’ve never actually met either — but the virtual world sort of counts!)


    MamaToo Reply:

    My husband and I both taught before having children. I’d always wanted to home-school, and teaching at our small Christian school was the clincher in favor of home-schooling, for a variety of reasons.

    Besides, I want to have the fun of teaching my children to read, to enjoy and participate in music, to love history and literature.

    And then there are days I think how nice it would be to send a child or two off to school for the day and enjoy the peace and quiet and productivity.


    Andrea Reply:

    Got it — I guess being a teacher yourself makes a difference 🙂


  9. Sandy



    It looks like you had a great mix of relaxation, fun, and productivity. My husband had 16 days off from work and we did just about the same thing. We got rid of clutter and rearranged our bedroom. On another day we just chilled out and watched TV, read, and got carryout. I always wish we had more time like that. Today is back to reality. Wishing you and your family a wonderful, blessed 2016.



    Andrea Reply:

    Yes! We had some days where we were “busy” doing stuff we wanted and needed to do all day long — and then other days where we were just hanging out with family and friends, watching Elf for the millionth time, and lounging in PJ’s all day!

    Our first day back to reality went OK… now I’m looking forward to his Winter Break in February!