Our 2017 Holiday Season was busy, but wonderful.

The Christmas season was busy, as always! Thankfully busy with all good things. Norah & Abby busied themselves making homemade ugly sweaters, to really get into the Christmas spirit, ha ha. Norah performed as a party girl (Act 1 with Drosselmeyer) in the Nutcraker the week before Christmas. Maxwell’s BEKM band performed at the Vivint Smart Arena in Salt Lake, accompanying a massive annual sing along with One Voice children’s choir and West Valley orchestra. The kids happily finished the first half of the school year. It was a relief for them to be done with that and have a break!

We decided to try something new for Christmas Eve dinner with the Brooks family- international cuisine, specifically French (it just sounded delicious)! Of course, we weren’t totally true to traditional French Christmas; we just took the foods we liked the most! Maybe we went a little overboard too because we cooked duck, goose, turkey and lamb. (Duck is pictured in the oven, fat dripping onto potatoes underneath, simultaneously roasting.) The goose took a lot longer than I anticipated to cook, so we had it later on. All three birds were deliciously brined prior to cooking. Thank you, food network, for teaching us how to cook a couple birds we’d never cooked before. In fact, Hannah prepared the brines and put the birds in the night before. Kevin and I had to take Norah to Nutcracker performances the day before, so we counted on Hannah to do most of the preparation!

Everyone had an assignment to bring a few different specialty cheeses and chocolate bars. We had a an awesome cheese platter, full of various cheeses many of us had never tried. Then we tried little pieces of all the different chocolates. I also made sourdough baguettes to eat with our cheese. I’ve loved trying to make different kinds of sourdough breads. Among several kinds of pie and desserts that everyone brought, I made a traditional French Buche de Noel (yule log) for the the first time. It’s a like a jelly roll cake, frosted to look like a log. Norah decorated it with fairies (non-traditional).

After everyone was totally stuffed with food, we had a fun program of anyone who wanted to, to share something awesome, either by musical performance or something they did this year. Some performed musically and others, like Abby, shared her science project! All in all, we had a great time.

The next day, on Christmas Day, we went to Provo to see Grandparents Dudley, along with our other relatives! Grandma spent some time showing us everything in her coffee table that contains tons of cool stuff from the past. Thank you, Grandma, for taking the time to do that! We love the tradition of going there on Christmas. Grandpa Jeff and Grandma Brooke were out of town this year, to be in California for Brandon’s wedding. We still did a Christmas dinner with my siblings who were in town. It was great!

We spent the rest of the week after Christmas relaxing and hitting some movies- Star Wars, Jumanji and The Greatest Showman. We know in many other parts of the world, New Year’s Eve is a much bigger holiday than in the US. We still had fun times as a family! We tried King Crab legs (for the first time) and it was delicious. Again, we mostly relaxed and watched movies. That’s probably what we all needed after a busy December month. It’s great to go into the new year more refreshed. All in all, it was great to be with family and friends and enjoy the couple weeks of Christmas break.