Hello friends, it’s been awhile. The last week has been full of traveling, spending time with family, yummy food, cozy nights on the couch, and the occasional cocktail, definitely my kind of vacation. We still have a few days left of Holiday break, but I figured I would share Part 1 of all the highlights.

Road Trip

Last Thursday after work my husband, Blitz our rottie, and I started the road trip to Cleveland. After sitting in crawling traffic we finally made it safely eight hours later around 9 pm and my Mom had two Great Lakes Christmas Ale’s awaiting us. We sat around the rest of the night chatting and catching up with my parents and lil sis who was home from California for the holidays. A road trip is a really great way to “christen” a new car too. All you need is some insurance, you can now get no deposit insurance, and then you are all ready to go!

Birthday Dinner

On the Friday before Christmas my Mom and I were up early and did a 21 Day Fix workout on Beachbody On Demand before everyone else was up. It was nice to workout next to the christmas tree and lights. Then I spend the majority of the rest of the morning wrapping all of our presents, lots of bags and tissue paper for convenience.

In the afternoon we went for a quick visit to see my 94 year old grandfather in his assisted living center, then headed home to get ready my Mom’s Birthday dinner. Her actual birthday is the 28th, but we wanted to celebrate while we were all home together. We ate appetizers and flatbreads and sipped on a few bottles of red wine at The Venue in Parma. My favorite was the sausage and ricotta flatbread, I can’t wait to recreate this combo at home.

After dinner we pretended like we were too full and convinced my Mom that we had SO many cookies at home it would be silly to order dessert out. Little did she know I traveled with a chocolate cake and had my sister help me frost and put it together when my Mom was getting ready. So we surprised her with a Chocolate Caramel Mocha Cake which may have been one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever tasted. I can’t wait to try more of Lindsay’s recipes from her Simply Beautiful Homemade Cakes Book I gifted my mom.

Beachbody On Demand

We then exchanged gifts with my family since Tom and I were heading to Buffalo Christmas Eve morning to visit his family. My sisters and Tom all got me a new camera so I can learn more about photography and hopefully bring you more fabulous recipes in 2017. And my mom gave me some new clothes I had asked for. You can never have enough sweaters and blouses in my opinion! And we all went in on getting my husband a smoker and all the props. He is pretty excited to smoke some ribs and chicken on New Years Eve.

Road Trip 2

Christmas Eve morning after a quick workout with mom we were on the road to Buffalo, with Starbucks coffee in hand of course 😉

After an easy three hour drive we stopped to see Tom’s family at his Mom’s house for their Christmas exchange and some yummy snacks and food. Tom’s mom even planned to have a pan of roasted brussels sprouts for me at dinner because she knows how much I love them! We received and gifted lots of good workout gear and nice clothes, needless to say I had to remove a few things from my closet in order to make room for all the new clothes when we returned home. Having two road trips at once over the Christmas period was pretty stressful but I’d definitely like to go on more in the new year. There are so many places I want to visit and Illinois is one of them. I think we might book a few nights to stay at somewhere like the Holiday Inn Evanston IL so we can have a whole weekend there, rather than just one day.

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Christmas Day

I must say by Christmas morning is was nice to know we were just hanging out at Tom’s sisters house all day and not spending it in the car. And it was fun to see their family open presents on Christmas morning and thinking back to how excited I was for Christmas as a kid.

Spending time with family is definitely my favorite part of Christmas. It is so nice to see everyone and actually be able to sit down, catch up, and enjoy each other’s company for a while. Spending quality time together is so important for families. It’s all about creating strong bonds, sharing experiences, and creating memories – something that I feel is underappreciated in our society today. It’s something that so many of us see as difficult to implement, but all you need to do is Try Some Board Games or perhaps cook a meal as a family. It is occasions such as these that get us thinking about how much time we need to spend with our families and how much we do, in reality1 Getting together !t the house for some video games with the kids could also be an option! We do not have a gaming console, but with the help of ROMs like pokemon emerald rom download (and others, of course!), I’m sure we could have some much-needed bonding with the younger generation as well. I do wish this was something we did more of, rather than just at Christmas, but the distance between us means it’s less frequent than I’d like.

My other favourite part of Christmas is, of course, the food. Tom’s brother in law cooked a prime rib, ham, twice baked potatoes, and veggies, they were all delicious and all his hard work was eaten up within minutes.

Four Christmas’s

Monday morning we had Christmas number four with Tom’s Dad. We had coffee and donuts from Paula’s Donuts. I cut a few of them into fourths so I could taste test. They were all delicious, I tasted peanut butter crunch, cinnamon, and a custard filled doughnut. The custard are always my favs! After catching up it was time to hit the road again to head back to Cleveland to pick up Blitz since my parents were dog sitting.

Once we got to my parents my mom had a lasagna dinner waiting for us. I definitely failed a bit on the food pics during the trip as I forgot to snap a photo, but ate one veggie and one meat lasagna piece with a side salad of course, #balance. After dinner Tom and I were both pretty eager to get home so we decided to make the trip back to Maryland through the night to hit less traffic and get to sleep in our own bed.

A six hour trip later (remember it took us 8 on the way up because of traffic) we were HOME! We unloaded the car then crashed around 2:30 am.

The Recovery

Did anyone else spend an entire day unpacking, doing laundry, and cleaning up the house after your holiday travels? Tuesday after working around the house all day I hit the grocery store around 5 pm and then finally felt that our lives were back to normal once the fridge was stocked. We heated up some leftovers my mom sent home with us and laid on the couch with a few beers and watched War Dogs. It was a good movie and exactly the kind of night we both needed.

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That’s it for now! Hope you’re having a great week and hopefully able to enjoy a few days off from work during the Holiday season. Happy New Year!

[bctt tweet=”All the food and fun from our Holiday travels” username=”sweetandstrong_”]

What do you do to get back in routine after a trip?

How was your Holiday?

What are your New Years Plans?

14 Comments on Holiday Break, Food, Family, and Fun Part 1

  1. Jen
    December 30, 2016 at 12:20 pm (6 years ago)

    That cake- OMG!
    We still have family in town, so things won’t really get back to our normal routine until next week. I never thought I would say this, but I’m sick of eating out, sick of giant, indulgent meals! I’m jealous you are back to normal!!

    • sweetandstrong
      December 30, 2016 at 10:32 pm (6 years ago)

      You feel back on track soon Jen, try to enjoy the indulgences!

  2. Evangeline
    December 30, 2016 at 2:48 pm (6 years ago)

    You’ve been busy! But it is wonderful to catch up with family and enjoy the Christmas festivities. War Dogs is such good movie. Glad you’re back to a comfortable routine and that your Christmas was full of family and yummy food 🙂

    • sweetandstrong
      December 30, 2016 at 10:32 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks Evangeline, hope yours was as well!

  3. Emily
    December 30, 2016 at 3:01 pm (6 years ago)

    We didn’t travel for Christmas, but it looks like you were blessed with so much amazing family time; I love how you surprised your mom.

    Christmas here was so awesome; we got to go to church twice in 2 days, and it was really wonderful singing, and just rejoicing in the glory of Christ Jesus on Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday! We’re still kind of making our gingerbread house here too.

    • sweetandstrong
      December 30, 2016 at 10:33 pm (6 years ago)

      Oh I love making gingerbread houses! And I being at church around Christmas time really is so magical.

  4. Heather @ Polyglot Jot
    December 30, 2016 at 8:42 pm (6 years ago)

    Sounds like such a great time! It’s always nice to be able to hit multiple families over the holidays! Busy, but great!
    Whenever I come home from a trip, restocking the fridge and laundry is always number one on the getting things back in order front!

    • sweetandstrong
      December 30, 2016 at 10:34 pm (6 years ago)

      Yes I feel lost if the fridge isn’t stocked, I had mixed nuts for lunch the first day back, lol.

  5. Sarah @ BucketListTummy
    January 2, 2017 at 1:38 pm (6 years ago)

    Such a beautiful cake, it looks so professional! I bet your mom really appreciated that and had a great birthday. And YES – it takes me a couple days to settle in and feel caught up after traveling!

    • sweetandstrong
      January 7, 2017 at 3:43 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks Sarah, I want to work on my cake skills in 2017 as I typically have only done cupcakes. And it literally took me two full days to feel back in routine, I think it’s a part of getting older….

  6. Julie @ Running in a Skirt
    January 2, 2017 at 3:23 pm (6 years ago)

    What a fun holiday! So hectic to travel to so many places, but worth it! Glad you had a good one!

    • sweetandstrong
      January 7, 2017 at 3:43 pm (6 years ago)

      It was worth it, but we’re seriously considering a stay-cation next year!

  7. Deli posts
    January 19, 2017 at 11:52 am (6 years ago)

    Amazing family pics really love you blog

    • sweetandstrong
      January 19, 2017 at 12:17 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you =)