Friday, December 22, 2023

Getting ready for the holidays

I've already shared quite a few of the ways that we've been getting into the holiday spirit, but here's a few more that don't quite get their own post. Instead I've bundled them all up into this one big one. 

Coming back from Colorado a few weeks ago from Thanksgiving, I was able to bring back a few Christmas things that I wouldn't normally carry around with me in the RV full-time. One of those things is Christmas lights! Boy I used to love going all out with Christmas Lights. While Ian helped out below, Alli got up on the roof with me to hang some lights. 

Then we put up some window clings to the outside of the RV too! 

I'm happy enough with that. Enough to show a little bit of holiday spirit each night. 

One of the things I miss about being in California at Christmas is the Disneyland Candlelight Processional. I would always go to "hear" my friend Ruston singing from the choir. My favorite memory is when he got to be the Star on top of the Christmas Tree. I couldn't get out to see it this year, but my friend Ariel was able to go and sent me pictures!

She even got a video of Ruston as he was Processional'ing. I'm so glad she was able to see it for the first time and even find Ruston! (look for him to cross the screen at the 0:13 mark. 

One of our local Chick-fil-A restaurants went big with their Christmas lights this year! 

We had to stop by for a visit. 

Love all the lights they have strung over the parking lot and drive-thru. 

Inside, they are having a special promotion celebrating the 12 days of Chick-mas. 12 days of surprise Chick-fil-A treats. 

But... who can wait. Inside were gift cards for free Chick-fil-A food, a pen, a keychain, and a plush ornament! I'm glad we got ours on the first day they were available, because they were sold out by day 2! 

And who doesn't love a Peppermint Milkshake and a Spicy Chick-fil-A sandwich? 

Once we got home, Alli has been working on a Christmas present hunt of her own called "The Present Mix Up". Find all the presents for Santa. Presented by Alli. 

Santa has come to her room and appears to have lost his presents. 

We searched around the room and found presents hiding in all sorts of places. 

For each present we found, we earned a ticket. 

And could then trade in those tickets for unique one-of-a-kind Christmas drawings that Alli had made for us! I love it Alli! 

We were fortunate enough to have Uncle Donald come visit us from Michigan! Just a short 24 hour visit, while he extends a work trip just a little. We decided to go to Disney Springs together to check out all the holiday decoration. 

And I was excited to get to try the new offering from Earl of Sandwich for the holidays. My regular order (which they've added to the year-round menu) is the Holiday Turkey sandwich. It consists of turkey, cornbread stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and mayonnaise. It's so good!  This year for a limited time the Earl of Sandwich is also offering the Holiday Ham sandwich, made with ham, cinnamon sweet potato mash, cranberry sauce, and cheddar. 

How will it be? Better get both to compare them! 

I think it's the combination of stuffing, gravy, and the sweet cranberry sauce that does it for me. I need to make one of these at home and see how it turns out. 

And the Holiday Ham? It just tastes like the holidays. The cinnamon sweet potatoes were very sweet, coupled with the sweet cranberry sauce. I was getting Hawaiian pizza vibes from it. It was a very good sandwich, but I think I like the Holiday Turkey better. I'm still glad to have gotten both though. I like to mix things up once in a while. 

And Donald couldn't leave without spoiling the kids a little bit. Thank you for the treats and for lunch Uncle Donald!

We got the outside of the RV decorated, but what about the inside? Well we do happen to have a fireplace. Ian helped hang stockings from it. 

And Alli helped set up the mini tree. Love the Corgi ornaments from Gram! 

Beautiful kids!

I like these stockings because we can put our favorite stuffed animals in each one to personalize them to ourselves. One of these years I hope to find a cute little Pegasus to put in mine. 

Since we've come back to Florida, we've tried to get the kids into more organized things so they can meet other kids. One of those things that they both have loved is gymnastics! Girls Gymnastics for Alli and Ninja Kids for Ian! On a Saturday in December, they had an open gym for the whole family! With food trucks, photo opportunities, and even Santa, it was sure to be a lot of fun! 

Well the "open gym for the whole family" didn't quite turn out to be true. Theresa, myself, and even Jacob came in our workout gear, excited to be able to play. I took a pass down the trampoline line and was then told that the adults weren't actually allowed to be on the equipment. Just walk around the floor. Boo. 

But apart from the annoying LOUD music, the kids had a good time getting to play on equipment they wouldn't usually get to use. 

Alli has been doing this for just a couple months and we're seeing a lot of progress! And let me tell you, she's got muscles!

Santa was relaxing when we got to him. He offered to get back up for a picture with us, but I said he could stay down. How often do you get to pose like this with Santa? 

Even though we're in Florida, the days can still be chilly. We've had some nights down in the 30s, with mornings not much warmer. Cuddled by the fireplace in a blanket is a fine place to be. 

We have this Santa Mickey blanket that is big enough for the whole family to get under. Perfect for the couch, or in front of the fireplace. 

While out shopping, I texted Theresa a picture. It really reminded me of the movie Elf. 

Not far from us is the town of Winter Garden. The city does a great job decorating for the holidays. 

Beautiful trees along the walkways. 

The City Hall looks great too. 

And just off the street is a French Patisserie! 

What delicious treats can we try! 

So many look almost too good to eat!

And there's a few clever ones as well. A Hot Cocoa tart with marshmallow, Santa's Cookies and Cream Coals. 

This Santa's Milk and Cookies PannaCotta. 

We ended up getting a flaky apple pastry and gingerbread grandmother tart. 

Along with a Chocolate Covered Strawberry tart and an almond chocolate croissant. Everything was pretty good, but we would have loved the pastries even more if they'd been warmed up just a little. 

We're definitely getting into the Christmas spirit now!

One more thing? Let's do it! On Friday afternoon, the five of us loaded into the Beast and drove to downtown Orlando. I wasn't looking forward to trying to park downtown, but luckily there was a surface lot that wasn't very crowded. (most garages topped out at 6'9", too short for the truck). 

We had lunch together at a tasty Cuban place. 

Then enjoyed Holiday Starbucks drinks for a little while. 


But what are we doing downtown anyway? 
One of the fond memories Theresa has from California is going to a holiday concert of some sort. I found tickets to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra just 3 days before Christmas! 

Not bad seats at all!

We've heard the Christmas Rock music of course, but never seen them in person!

What a spectacle! Laser lights, spotlights, and even fire! 

Thank you Jacob for these videos. 

The kids enjoying a super pretzel.

Ian rocking out. 

It was super loud (glad the kids had headphones), but we all had a fun time! 

What a good start to the Holidays! 

1 comment:

  1. What a concert...lots of eye stimulation with those lasers, spotlights, & even fire!! Family is doing lots of different things during the Christmas season...seeing all those Christmas lights is always a beautiful sight...great pose of Uncle Donald with the kids (looked so right!) at Disney Springs...enjoying some yummy delicious French pastries (almond chocolate croissant is calling out to me :-) )...putting up Christmas decorations (Alli is definitely not afraid of heights!) Alli looks so flexible doing her gymnastics! That was a fun, creative "Find Santa's lost toys" hunt Alli created...liked that idea. CFA seems to have lots of different promotional events...too bad the "12 days of Chick-mas" only lasted 2 days before the gifts ran out...there were a lot of treats offered in those boxes (what a cute plush ornament). Love those Disney stockings with the cute little plushes tucked in the pockets!! EOM