Home Again, I Miss Carbohydrates & All Our Christmas Traditions!

Good morning everyone!  I hope your weekend was a great one.  Brooke came home last night so that was the highlight of our Sunday.  We went to church, didn’t eat carbohydrates (I MISS THEM SO MUCH), counted down the minutes until the carb load (tomorrow) and rested like pros.  PS  I swear the carb depletion helped me a lot for my last marathon so that is my motivation this time around to stick with it.  The explanation for why we do this depletion is here.

Off for a few miles around town and we will be running about 25 miles total this week leading up to the race this weekend.  The weather is looking like it is going to be perfect for the race and things are all coming together.

These zoodles with steak and alfredo were pretty amazing last night.

I had a request from a reader to do a post all about our Christmas traditions!  I am big on traditions and I feel like I try to start a (or 5) new one each year but here are the ones we have done so far!

*The Nutcracker.  Brooke and I started this one last year and it quickly became her favorite.

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*Utah people—> Thanksgiving Point has reindeer to see which makes it so your kids can’t take their eyes off of them long enough for a picture;)  Brooke and I did this one for a few years but haven’t done it in the last 2 years but we are going to go this year!

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*We drive around looking at Christmas lights one night!

*Gingerbread houses are a must for us and we usually just get the Costco ones to make life easy.  Also, how was Skye that little?!

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*Each year we take the kids to go and pick out their own ornament for the tree!

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*We always make Christmas sugar cookies to eat and to deliver! I use this recipe.

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*We don’t do this one yearly but it is SO MUCH FUN.  If your area offers a Polar Express train experience you have to go and do it.  It is a blast.  (Hey Megan)

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*We pick names from the Angel Tree (our Shopko has one) and we shop for Christmas presents for a boy and a girl from the tree with the kids.  The kids really get into this tradition and picking out things for them.

*Each year we take the kids to the bookstore to pick out a Christmas book and this tradition has helped us build up quite the collection of Christmas books for us to read each year.  Donuts with Christmas sprinkles just take this tradition to the next level.  PS this looks like SKYE:

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*We always write a letter to Santa and deliver it to his mailbox.

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*Christmas PJs each year on December 1st.

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*Festival of Trees!  This is located in a huge conference center and it is full of incredibly decorated trees and gingerbread houses that people have donated.  You can bid to buy one of the trees/gingerbread houses and all of the money is donated to Primary Children’s Hospital.

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*We watch Elf every year along with some hot chocolate and popcorn.

*Every year I make these cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning!  On Christmas Eve we let them have a big slumber party in the family room!

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*We love to visit Santa and we always go to the same one (Shops at Riverwoods) each year of Brooke’s life and he is just the best.


*A few other things we love to make through the season (remember, I am the opposite of Pinterest;)… Pizzas shaped as a Christmas tree or Snowman (I use the TJ’s dough), pancakes with Christmas cookie cutters to make fun shapes, hot chocolate cookies, powdered donuts that look like snowmen and then add a Dove Peppermint Bark piece to a chocolate cookie right out of the oven and experience happiness.

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*One night we always go up to Salt Lake City to visit Temple Square (the Christmas lights are incredible), go to the Giving Machine (a vending machine to donate items) and The Cheesecake Factory.

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*We love to make Reindeer Food (oatmeal and Christmas sprinkles) on Christmas Eve and sprinkle it on the snow/grass outside of our house!

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*We always watch and read the Nativity Story together!   We also have started to spend time throughout this season talking and learning about other faiths, traditions, holidays and celebrations with our kids and that has been so great for us all to learn more!

*We are also using this FREE Printable Coloring Page with our kids to help them to Light the World this year and here are two other advent calendars of service (one for adults and one for kids)!

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PS traditions really helped me to get through my first Christmas after divorce.  Brooke and I started a lot of the ones above that first year together. They were so special and they mean so much to me because of how much they bonded us and helped me through a difficult time.  It was so fun to have little things to look forward to throughout the holiday season when I was struggling so much with life.  These traditions were a great way for me to start fresh and love my new normal and now they are my favorite things ever to do with my family.


I would love to hear from you about your traditions/faith/celebrations for this time of year!

What do you do the week leading up to a marathon as far as running goes?  Any speed?  Any rest days?  Run the day before?

PLEASE share a favorite holiday recipe with me that I can add to our ‘holiday foods’ list!

Tell me about your workout today!

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Skye was so tiny in that picture!! And, a couple of pictures of Brooke and Knox sure make you realize how much they’ve grown too!
I love your traditions!
We have a few that we love too. Christmas Eve and Christmas morning(unless we’re traveling) are very special to us. I make a traditional turkey dinner, then we walk through our amazing neighborhood to see all the lights, and wrap up the night by watching A Christmas Story. Christmas morning is all about staying in PJ’s, eating some type of egg dish, and always monkey bread! The rest of the day is spent with family.
I love traditions, and love that my boys love them too.
Today is a rest day for me, but I do need to put all the Christmas boxes away and do some vacuuming!
Have a great Monday Janae ?


Seriously… they are all growing up way too fast! Your Christmas Eve and Christmas morning sound absolutely perfect. I love it. Traditions are so important. Thanks Wendy and you too!


Oh my gosh, the kids are so little in some of the pictures! Such cuties!

I went to the gym this morning at 5:30 when it opened- and there was already a line! Love that so many people are up and motivated in the morning. I got a free month membership to the Y through the Turkey Trot I did and am going to take full advantage of it!


Way to go Mariah on getting that free month membership and getting up and going so early this morning. It really helps so much to see other people out and doing it too! Hope your Monday has been really great and have fun with the Y!


Love your traditions! We always drive around and look at Christmas lights. We always go to our town St. Nick Night (horse carriage ride to look at lights, cookie decorating, visit Mrs. Claus and reindeer, etc). With my family we always play BINGO on Christmas Eve or Christmas.

I am walking and lifting weights. I injured my achilles on Saturday:-( Hoping for a speedy recovery–it helps that the roads are slippery and it is below zero out! You are a rockstar for doing the carb depletion–it is good for building mental toughness!

My favorite holiday treat is Hot Air candy. I think some people call it seafoam or sponge candy.


NNNNNNOOOOOOOO to your achilles Becky. I am really hoping you have a fast recovery and please keep me updated with how you are doing!
Horse carriage ride to look at lights… okay, St. Nick Night sounds perfect! Maybe we will join you this year:) . Off to google Hot Air candy!


These are some great traditions! Love them!!
I don’t have kids, so my tradition is to go snowshoeing or hiking with my dogs early on Christmas morning. The trails are empty and we always feel like we are alone in the world! It’s an amazing feeling!
And one of my favorite holiday recipe: https://www.food.com/recipe/scandinavian-almond-cake-345913 It’s so simple, yet so yummy! I always end up doing a double batch. :)


The picture of that almond cake seriously made me DROOL! AND I LOVE that you do that on Christmas morning with your dogs. Snowshoeing is so fun, thank you for reminding me about it because I want to get out and do that this year. Hope your day is a beautiful one!


I LOVE all of your traditions! So fun and festive! And matching jammies – too cute!
Our traditions have changed over the years but some of our (my) favorites have been going to Snowflake Lane, Candy Cane Lane, Zoo lights, Lego Advent calendars, making ALL the cookies, going downtown to see the Christmas train, making gingerbread houses, letting the kids pick out their ornament and going on the Polar Express train ride. Everything is such a productions but SO SO SO worth it! My kids are sort of over some of the above traditions so I have to get creative and come up with new ones.
The week of my last (and best) marathon was similar to a training week but with less miles. I did a speed workout at the beginning of the week, a low mileage temp run and an easy run the day before. Going in to taper week I thought I would be exhausted but it worked out great!
Workout today was speed work on the treadmill. 1 mile up, alternating 400’s and 200’s with matching recoveries and a c/d. This was the first TM run I’ve had in close to a year and I was a little excited for it going in but I quickly remembered how hard TM running is!
A recipe I haven’t made yet but plan to ASAP is:
Have a great day!


Those peppermint cookies made me actually drool. I have to make those! I love your traditions Jenny and I totally need to get the Lego Advent calendars. I totally agree about that last week… you worry you will be exhausted but it is nice to keep the legs moving with a little bit of speed and lowered mileage. WAY TO GO on your workout today, that sounds really tough! You too!


My husband and I went to Runner’s Corner on Saturday and got him his FIRST pair of running shoes – that was part of his birthday gift to me (yesterday), then we went on a run together. I don’t even care that it was freezing outside, it was the best present. He even got to meet Hawk for the first time! This might be a new tradition for my birthday…. I mentioned to Hawk how I want to run St. George some day and he talked a little bit about how great you guys are doing with your training. Wishing you all the best this weekend!


Tess, I LOVE what your husband is doing for you this year… nothing better than running together. You will have to keep me updated with how it is all going!
I WISH I WOULD HAVE BEEN THERE AT THE SAME TIME AS YOU! Thank you so much, Runner’s Corner and Hawk = the absolute best. Hope your Monday has been great so far!


HOMEMADE KNEADERS COOKIES. Best tradition out there.


I fully agree with you! Maybe I’ll have to make them after the depletion tomorrow:) . Hope your travels all went well!


Awww… the pictures of Brooke when she was younger are so cute! I have always thought Brooke was the absolute most beautiful precious perfect baby, and now little girl, I have ever seen. I don’t have children, so I think I can be unbiased.
You can’t see her face here, but this is one of my favorite ever pictures!


Melly, that picture made me tear up a little bit… it’s my favorite and I had forgotten about it. Thanks again Melly and I hope your day has been really great so far!


Little Brooke! All the kids are changing so much.

You know I have a TON of Christmas recipes! For me, anything with peppermint says “Christmas.” All my Christmas baking recipes are at the bottom of my Friday Foodie Page (https://mcmomentsandmemories.blogspot.com/p/friday-foodie.html) Choosing a favorite is almost impossible – Chocolate Scotcheroos are probably one of my favorites, they’re easy to make and are so good (http://mcmomentsandmemories.blogspot.com/2009/12/friday-foodie-christmas-baking-edition.html) Peppermint Bark is also on that post. Peppermint Cracker Toffee is another must try (http://mcmomentsandmemories.blogspot.com/2016/12/friday-foodie-2016-christmas-baking.html)

Besides baking, music is always a huge part of our Christmas. Les and his trumpet student are currently working on Oh Holy Night. Even my running playlist has a Christmas twist!


Kathy, looking at your blog during this carb depletion was incredibly hard. IT ALL LOOKS AMAZING! I need that peppermint bark right now. I love that music and delicious food are such a big part of your holiday! Hope your Monday has been great so far!


Those look so fun! My family has always had breakfast for dinner on Christmas eve!

Peppermints warmed into apple juice or apple cider on the stove is REALLY good. You should try it! Just dump the cider or juice in a pot and add a handful of unwrapped peppermints (or candy canes…..a good use for the broken ones!) and warm on low heat stirring occasionally until they melt!

I ran a 10k on Turkey day and took a few days off after that…….2nd in my age group!

Today’s run is TBD….maybe a short one on the treadmill, maybe skip it. It’s super windy and cold, and since I just got over a cold, I don’t want to repeat it! Tomorrow should be nicer, so I would rather devote my efforts to a longer (more enjoyable) run tomorrow, ha!


I have never heard of combining those things… I must try! WAY TO GO ON YOUR TURKEY TROT! You are on fire this year Loribeth! Good call… rest now and enjoy your run tomorrow!


I have a 2 month old baby so we need to think of new traditions to start this year. I’m thinking reading the night before Christmas before going to bed. Family matching pjs. And maybe that’s all I can handle this year as a first time mom with a baby who doesn’t like to be put down lol.

Normally we sponsor a local family in need and buy them all their Christmas gifts. Then we sing Christmas carols Christmas Eve, make a bunch of appetizer type food with mulled wine and watch movies. Then on Christmas Day we also do cinnamon buns, stockings and gifts. Then go for a walk and meet friends at a local pub where everyone is gathered in the afternoon with their families. Then home for dinner and relaxation. I’ll just be happy if I can get a little sleep this year ;)


Okay, I absolutely am just so excited for your first Christmas with your little 2 month old baby. I hope your little one’s gift to you this year is some more sleep! I love all of those traditions, sounds perfect.


I don’t really have any traditions for the holidays, mostly because I seem to be traveling every year. Last year I was in Japan, the year before I was in Florida. This year I’ll be in Utah for the first time- visiting Zion!

Today’s my first workout back from my last race! I’m going to a spin class and playing racquetball with my husband at the gym :)


AHHHH YOU WILL BE HERE… I hope you love Zion so so much. Make sure to visit Bryce Canyon too (it’s my favorite of everything down south). Leet me know what you think of it all and I hope you can get some Cafe Rio and Kneaders while you are here. Spin + racquetball= how fun!


December 1, I decorate the house and we usually buy a tree around this time, too.
The first full weekend of December, my friend throws a Cocktails and PJs and Love Actually party on Saturday. We show up in our Christmas PJs or regular PJs and watch Love Actually. One friend and I usually disagree on which human being is worse: the one cheating on Colin Firth with his brother or the girl who actively goes after and successfully bags Alan Rickman (yes, she does. My mom figured this out. the bed is ruffled and she’s now wearing the necklace. mind blown.). We then successfully agree to disagree. Then, the dance scene comes on for Hugh Grant and we all dance and watch it again and dance again, maybe a few more times after that. It’s a wonderful event. I’m running my first trail half earlier that day this year and I hope I have stamina to make it.
At some point, my husband I take pictures for our famous hilarious Christmas cards and then send them out. This year, we include the new dog.
My husband and I make Minced Pies at some point during December to eat and/or give to people. It’s an English Christmas tradition. We’ve already made a few for some friends back in November. The mixture has been soaking for at least a week and it’s going to be our best batch yet.
My two girlfriends and I have (used to be three, but she moved back to England) have a holiday lunch at this restaurant called Grace’s.
On Christmas Eve, my husband and I open one present each. We eat Spaghetti that evening and watch Die Hard (the best Christmas movie out there).
Christmas Day, we have smoked salmon and scrambled eggs (British thing) for breakfast, open our presents, and then head over to whomever is hosting Christmas. We watch Christmas Story over and over again. Although, my husband (again British) doesn’t understand our obsession with this movie and tries to enforce the twice watch rule, but he knows it goes on and you never really catch the whole thing. We have a new dog this year and might be something we do new.
Boxing Day is usually my friend’s White Elephant party of any gifts we didn’t like. I hope they do it again this year.
New Years Day, I usually run (this year, doing a 5K) that morning. We host a New Years Day potluck brunch that starts around 12 pm. No pressure for people to show up since most are hungover. It’s a relaxing and quiet ish day. We have mimosas for drinks. We all bring a dish from a culture that has specific food traditions for New Years Day. I always make cornbread collard green black eyed pea casserole since I’m from the South. I have made soba noodles since that’s good luck in Japan. And then we watch the Darts Final Championship live from London that evening.

I think that’s about it. We do watch Elf and Scrooged and Christmas Vacation.


Trail half + Love Actually party= best day ever! That is going to be amazing and I love that tradition and that movie so much. I have never tried minced pie, I need to. Twice watch rule… hahah that’s amazing. You have so many amazing traditions to look forward to and it sounds like you just have such an incredible community of friends and people. I love it and thanks for sharing and I just need to join you guys. Hope your monday is a beautiful one!


Could you share the link for the calendar?! I can’t click on it or read the tiny print :) And I want to do this!!


MY BAD!! Yes, here it is…. https://lds365.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Light-the-World-2019-Daily-Service-Calendar.jpg

I hope you love it! Have the best day Katie!


One of our Christmas traditions (either with my partner or girl friend is going to Coastal Christmas) – A local church puts on a christmas production in a local theatre and it is one of my favourite holiday traditions. We were also gifted tickets to the Christmas market so we went this weekend. On my list, a local light show plus I want to ride the Christmas train at Stanley Park. Yes it is for kids, but I don’t care :).

We also each picked out an ornament for the first time for our Christmas tree. There was a German market with handcrafted toys, ornaments within the Market that we lined up for.

Happy tapering and enjoy the holiday season!


Oh that sounds AMAZING Kristine, what an amazing tradition. You better ride that Christmas train. I bet those ornaments are gorgeous! Thanks so much Kristine and I hope you are having a great night!


Beretta?? I haven’t seen a picture or a post about Beretta in a long time?? Did I just miss a post or two somewhere along the way? Please let me know about Beretta. Thanks.


I’m guessing this is the talk on another website right now hahah because I’m sure getting a lot of questions about her. She has been in a few of the posts over the last two weeks:) Have a great night!


I love your traditions! One thing I do with my Christmas/winter books is I wrap them all up and every day the kids take turns unwrapping one “gift”. Then we read that book together as a family. Once Christmas is over the books are put away with the Christmas stuff. Every year it’s like they are seeing them for the first time (or sometimes they will remember them and say how much they liked it). I feel like it makes it even more special (and helps them to not beg to open presents before Christmas ?).


Okay, this is brilliant! I am totally going to use your idea, thanks so much Joy! My kids will love this. Hope you are having a great night!


I did the polar express train this past weekend with my kids and we all loved it! I recommend this one for sure when the kids are young.

We do chocolate calendars as well as the Christmas pjs, outdoor light shows, pick a Christmas book each year and gingerbread houses! We also do the operation Christmas child shoeboxes and each of my kids fills it for a child their age.

Good luck with the carb depletion! I find I get headaches when I go off carbs/sugar do you find that?

Love your Christmas traditions!


I Gillian! Oh I am so happy you did the Polar Express train with your little ones, the best! I love all of your traditions and I’ve never heard about operation christmas child shoeboxes, that is amazing. Oh I absolutely have headaches right now and just a lack of all energy but it will pay off on Sunday! Hope you are having a great night!


Janae this is such a fun list! I’m making the hot chocolate cookies with the peppermint bark.

I especially love the reference to learning about other religions. It is so great that you’re sharing some people of different faiths with your kids. I have a dear coworker who is a Sikh and my in-laws are Muslim so this year I am especially thinking about how to talk to kids of different faiths.

I found these sites your kids may like:




I don’t really have any traditions for the holidays, mostly because I seem to be traveling every year. I love your traditions one thing I do with my Christmas winter books is I wrap them all up and every day the kids take turns unwrapping one gift. I did the polar express train this past weekend with my kids and we all loved it.


I love all of your traditions and I’ve never heard about operation Christmas child shoeboxes, that is amazing. I seem to be traveling every year. I love your traditions one thing I do with my Christmas winter books is I wrap them all up and every day the kids take turns unwrapping one gift. I am totally going to use your idea, thanks so much Joy! My kids will love this. Hope you are having a great night.


It is so great that you’re sharing some people of different faiths with your kids. I have a dear coworker who is a Sikh and my in-laws are Muslim so this year I am especially thinking about how to talk to kids of different faiths. I love your traditions one thing I do with my Christmas winter books is I wrap them all up and every day the kids take turns unwrapping one gift. Then we read that book together as a family. Once Christmas is over the books are put away with the Christmas stuff.ornaments


I really appreciate the inclusion of woodland elements into the holiday decorations. Birds, nests, live greenery, etc. provide such a nice balance to all that is glittery. Looking forward to all that you will bring to us in 2020!cbd oil


These peppermint cookies actually got in my way. I have to make that! I love your traditions and I really need to get Lego Advent Calendars. How beautiful are the pictures of Brooke when she was little! I’ve always thought that Brooke Absolute was the most beautiful, perfect baby, and now the little girl I’ve ever seen.


Loved this post. Traditions are what makes a family stay close. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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