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Christmas Eve in Charlotte and our first Christmas in Florida

It felt so nice to take a few days away from my blog and social media. While I’ve been sharing ongoing updates on SnapChat, I’ve spent probably less than 30 minutes online daily and it’s been so nice.

RE: SnapChat…I just love it so much for super quick and easy “in the moment/unedited” sharing. I’ve been sad to see so many people completely transition over to Instagram stories. If you’re active on SnapChat, you can follow me here or by searching username jendecurtins.

Before I move on with the end of the year stuff, I wanted to share some scenes from our holiday weekend. We spent Christmas Eve at home and then loaded up the car for Florida on Christmas Day. We made the trip on Christmas so that we could pick up my oldest niece on the way down here after she did Christmas with her mom and sister. We celebrated our Christmas the day after and we’ll be here in Florida until Thursday.

Christmas Eve

I took and then taught yoga. I had a packed studio. I always love teaching during the holidays because my students bring their friends and family along. This scene was me trying to get the whole class in a headstand! ๐Ÿ™‚

I spent the afternoon wrapping up last-minute Christmas stuff (mostly stocking stuffers) and grocery shopping for Christmas Eve dinner. It was a priority to spend some time with the girls so Tanner and I walked them over to the park where they had so much fun running around and ball chasing as the sun set. Of course Sullie did her signature “dance upside down.”

Once we returned, I got the house cleaned up so that it was tidy for our dogsitter and also for our dinner guests. Although I was busy with trip prep, I wanted to have a nice sit down Christmas Eve dinner. I made seared scallops and jumbo prawns over mushroom and pea risotto with crispy prosciutto and a balsamic reduction. It was delicious! Dorie joined us for dinner and my friend Virginia also came over to hang and chat.

Christmas Day

I got up at 5:30 a.m. on Christmas morning for my annual Christmas Day run. Zoey eagerly joined me and we ran 5 miles. I can’t even tell you what a perfect start to the day it was. I felt such a tug in my heart as I ran by houses with the living room lights on at 6:15 a.m. and kids in the windows opening gifts. If felt like a scene from a movie. The streets were so quiet and everyone was cozy at home.

I remembered all of those Christmas mornings where my brother would come in my room and get in bed with me while we waited for my parents to tell us we could come out into the living room to see our Santa gifts.

Back at home I showered, made us smoothie bowls for breakfast, packed lunches and car snacks and got Christmas ready for the pups.

I felt much better about leaving them with new toys and bones to entertain them.

We got on the road a little before 9 a.m. with Atlanta as our first destination. Packing sandwiches and snacks was a great idea because everything other than gas stations and Starbucks was closed on Christmas.

We stopped north of Atlanta to do Christmas with my youngest niece and her mom and scooped up Jaidyn to come with us to Florida. I wish we could have brought them both but the little one is only 4 and wasn’t quite ready to be away for a week. Of course Tanner was buying Jaidyn a cake pop not even 10 minutes after she got in the car with us. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The second half of our trip was about 5.5 hours. It passed quickly thanks to chatting and a really addictive computer game called Little Alchemy that we all got wrapped up in playing. We arrived in Florida around 6 p.m. with two carts full of presents and stuff.

My dad had chicken and andouille gumbo waiting for us. He’d also made spaghetti for Jaidyn and my grandmother but Jaidyn insisted on the gumbo and liked it, despite the fact she was kinda chugging water and blowing her nose. Haha.

The Day After Christmas

Since we decided to make the day after Christmas our Christmas, my dad went all out. We started off with homemade cinnamon rolls that we ALL agreed were his best ever.

Tanner and I split that huge one on the end (plus whatever Jaidyn didn’t eat of hers) with scrambled eggs and fruit on the side.

We did breakfast and stockings at my gradmother’s condo. We got creative with the stocking hanging this year.

We moved upstairs for present opening. Jaidyn was super excited about her hot pink furby.

My dad was excited about this ridiculous hat my mom gave him for winter dog walking. (Yes in Florida but to be fair it does get pretty cold sometimes where they are on the panhandle, especially with the wind at night.)

And the pups were just excited to be in the middle of it all.

My dad spent the day preparing our Christmas dinner while we ran around shopping, swimming and getting our nails done. Tough life for us girls!

Christmas dinner was so, so good. My dad did prime rib on the grill along with mashed sweet potatoes with a pepita crust, grilled asparagus and popovers.

Dessert was his homemade apple cranberry pie.

Just when I think I’m a decent baker/cook, my dad goes and blows me out of the water again. He has been my culinary inspiration for many, many years and keeps setting the bar higher and higher for me! Love it.

We ended the night on the couch starting the series Bosch on Amazon. It was a perfect day.

So excited for two more days of fun in Florida. The weather is gorgeous today – 70s and sunny – so we’re going to hit the pool! I can’t wait to share another update later this week with all the adventures we’re having with Jaidyn. This time with her is the best Christmas gift I could have ever asked for.

Tell me about your Christmas if you were celebrating. Where did you have it? What did you eat for Christmas Eve, Christmas breakfast and Christmas dinner?

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • kate December 27, 2016, 1:39 pm

    It’s so nice that you get to spend so much time with your niece, and also get to see your grandmother and parents too! I am sure she loves the time with you all as much as you do! I had my first ever Christmas in Charlotte! Spend it with my fiancรฉ’s family. The weather was beautiful, and not having the stress of flying at Christmas was so nice!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:52 pm

      Hi Kate – I think we all LOVED our time together. It was truly a gift.

      Fun to hear that you spent Christmas in Charlotte. I heard that the weather was gorgeous and glad you had a good day!

  • Janice December 27, 2016, 4:19 pm

    It is so nice that you are able to be with your parents for Christmas.
    Your Dad’s cooking/baking always looks amazing. The mashed sweet potatoes, asparagus and popover all look amazing.

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:51 pm

      Hi Janice – I was so grateful to be there, especially since we missed a family Christmas last year. Wish I could serve you guys a big plate of my dad’s cooking through the screen! Happy new year!

  • Julie December 27, 2016, 5:26 pm

    Your niece is a beautiful little girl! Have a wonderful week!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:50 pm

      Thank you Julie! It was such an incredible visit.

  • Holly December 27, 2016, 9:38 pm

    The Christmas Day run is a great idea. I took 3 days off and felt so sluggish after. I worked out Monday and tonight. Both workouts were about 50% but at least I showed up/

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:50 pm

      I try to workout on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas when I can. The primary reason is that it helps to ground me and get me in a good place mentally and then second, it definitely helps to counter the indulgence of the day!

  • Jeanna December 28, 2016, 5:14 am

    You are such a sweet person and aunt to your little girl. Makes me happy to read about your christmas. I spent mine with both mine and my partners family and it was low key and nice all the way. I wish you a happy 2017!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:48 pm

      Thank you Jeanna. It was very special for me to be able to spend this time with them. I wish they were closer and I could see them more often. Low key holidays are so nice and wishing you a happy new year as well!

  • Nikki December 28, 2016, 11:23 am

    I workout every Christmas Day too. Just curious, has your family ever once said to you “Why don’t you just skip working out on Christmas?”

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:47 pm

      Haha! These days, no. They know better than to say anything and just accept that we’re different in how our brains operate! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • erin December 28, 2016, 5:18 pm

    love to see the amazing meals your dad cooks!!! so so good!! and, love the tradition of an xmas morning run – i bet it was beautiful running by scenes of xmas morning…hot coffee, laughter, pjs, puppies and kiddos. i’m going to try to do that next year!

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