Keeping Up with the Christmas Joneses

Photo Cred ~ @SkinnyTaste

Well, it’s official y’all. The Holidays are upon us. I seriously love the Christmas Season; Christmas cards, wrapping presents, Christmas music on the radio, decorating the house, decorating the tree, taking kids to see all the lights, parades, being off of work for an extended period of time – I love it all. Unfortunately, you have to be Wonder Woman in order to do it all.   Just for giggles I researched “Christmas To-Do List” and was FLOORED with all of the results Google came up with. Honestly, I thought one might pop up but oh, no. There were SO many and the number of things you needed “to-do” went on forever. At first I got all panicky, reading all of the things, but then I quickly reminded myself I didn’t actually need to complete any of them. For example, item #3 – Purchase Plane Tickets. For a second I convinced myself I needed to do this – wth? My family lives ten minutes away. And it gets better. #15 – Have all your Christmas cards labeled and ready to send by Dec. 2. NOPE. # 21 – Make a homemade gift. DEFINITELY NOPE. # 5021 – Go to a local Christmas Festival. Maybe. Chances go up if they serve food and wine. My point here is to simply say the expectations surrounding the holidays are just bananas. And you know what? Up until three years ago, I was that insane person trying to complete all the wacky Christmas “to-do’s” on that wacky “to-do” list. For whatever reason I made myself believe Christmas would not be complete or “merry” if I didn’t bake homemade cookies with my children, take them to see The Nutcracker, do the gingerbread house, send out the most perfect photo of our “perfect” family by the 1st of Dec., have all the gifts ordered, wrapped and under the tree by the 5th and on and on and on. The worst part was I did this to myself. My kids and hubs weren’t asking to do all of these things. Nope, this was all on me. I was trying to keep up with the Christmas Joneses and I was losing my mind because of it. But then something awful happened and my world flipped upside down and I no longer had the time to try to be the Pinterest version of Mrs. Claus. And you know what? I like this me SO much better. Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t state that I still struggle to say “no thank you” to invites and quiet the “guilty mom” chorus in my head. I’m a work in progress. But, I absolutely know I’m a much better wife, mother and friend because I was forced to let go of the things that just don’t matter. And Christmas is merrier in my house because the only people I’m trying to impress are the people that live there. So friends, don’t get offended when our four Duffy faces don’t show up on a Christmas card, in your mailbox, this Christmas. I’m not sending one this year – it didn’t make MY “to-do” list!!!

Tip of the Week:  I know I said I’m not sending X-Mas cards but please, don’t stop sending them to me!! In years past, I struggled with what to do with all of the cute cards as you hate to just throw them away.  And putting them in a pile on your kitchen counter is no good either.  Then I found this easy idea on Pinterest that took me all of five minutes to engineer.  Cut as many pieces of ribbon as you have kitchen cabinets, long enough to run the length of the door. Open the cabinet, slap some tape at the top and some tape at the bottom – scotch tape will do!When cards come in just clothespin those babies to the ribbon.  See my empty ribbons above. By the end of Dec. they will be full of all the faces I love. Such a fun way to display the cards, keep the clutter off your counter and add a simple decoration to your kitchen. Make sure to save the ribbon – I’m going on four years with the same pieces!!

There you have it peeps.  My thoughts for the week of 12/2!!! Now, let’s talk food!!

Meal Plan for the Week of 12/2

  • Sunday December 2nd – Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole: I’m excited about this dish peeps.  I have like ten cans of tuna in my cabinet, taking up way too much space.  Simple to throw together and super family friendly.  Should have leftovers unless you are married to my husband who eats eighteen servings and never gains a pound – what is up with that? 
  • Monday December 3rd – Walk Away Chickpea Tomato and Spinach Curry :  Yes, this is a vegan recipe but it will not leave you hangry – it’s super filling.  If you can’t get behind a chickpea, just sub chicken.  I will use olive oil, not coconut, and lite coconut milk.  
  • Tuesday December 4th – One Skillet Chicken with Bacon & Green Beans – Y’all know I love any excuse to use my Costco green beans and this one is well worth it.  Healthy, Delicious & Quick all in one pan.  If you are out of GB’s just sub peppers, asparagus – whatever you have in your veggie bin! Super adaptable.
  • Wednesday, December 5th – Pollo in Potacchio (Italian Braised Chicken with Tomatoes for those of us who don’t speak Italian) – Yum Yum Yum.  I love love love this dish.  I want to eat this curled up under a cozy blanket, sitting by the fire. The reality is I will be standing in my kitchen, eating this out of the pot. To each her own.
  • Thursday, December 6th – Sheet Pan Lemon Herb Tuna Steaks & Potatoes – Another sheet pan wonder, folks.  Nothing tricky here – just good old fashioned flavor. I will throw in some asparagus to add some color!! Basically you just toss this in the oven and walk away – pretty hands off! 
  • Friday, December 7th – Spicy Turkey and Zucchini Burgers – Get excited people.  It’s Friday. And burgers are on the menu. I love this turkey burger recipe – super moist and full of spice. This is not your normal boring turkey burger. Make the sour cream “sauce” – too good not to. I plan to  serve this with a side salad unless my kids talk me into French fries!!!

And that was all she wrote. I hope everyone has a fabulous first week of December.  Cheers to food, family & friends. 

XO ~ Kelly D. 

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