Turkey & Bingo

That's how I would describe our Christmas dinner. We chose a traditional style menu with Christmas turkey. We first made a home made chicken stock from scratch - no maggi cubes for Christmas to serve as a base for the gravy. Then we made a cranberry sauce with orange and thyme. The orange really added an extra layer to the cranberries and it tasted really good.
We made roasted potatoes (roasted in a mixture of olive oil, butter, shallot and bacon) and green beans wrapped in bacon as side dishes.
And of course the bird - a 3 kilo turkey that we stuffed with a mixture of minced pork, carrots, a clementine and onions, seasoned with rosemary and sage.
We finished off the gravy with the turkey drippings, yum!
Then it was time for the presents, I am so happy with the presents my parents and my love got me and I think everybody else was also very happy with their presents.
For dessert, we had vanilla cake with ice cream & berries.
and then we played some Christmas bingo and my dad won!
After my parents left, we camped out in the living room, watched some Christmas cartoons and when the baby was sleeping, we watched some Christmas movies. (no, I'll be honest, Lolo watched 1 and fell asleep and I watched a few more)
That's how I like my Christmas eve!

Bits & Pieces of Christmas Cheer

1. I put up the Xmas tree beginning of December with my Christmas Partner in Crime Sven. We have a huge xmas past together
2. Olivia helped us decorate the tree.
3. Home made Christmas scent with lemon, orange, cloves, cinnamon, cranberries and simmering water.
4. Checking out the Christmas lights around our hometown.

5. Baking Christmas cookies, drinking hot chocolate and making gingerbread ornaments for Olivia's mini-tree

6. Christmas market in Liege
 7. Baking pecan & almond pie with Jana
8. Christmas market at Leuven with a not so successful tête à tête with Santa & a visit of Santa's home
9. Christmas market at our hometown with the usual suspects



 Yesterday morning we went for a-get to know- play date in her future school. We were invited to spend an hour in the classroom where she will be going soon and get acquainted with the place, the toys, the teachers and the other children. While we were waiting to go in, she was already running through the hallway and trying to steal other childrens' water bottles (because Maya was on it), and taking toys from the class rooms - Her nick name is Petti Sticky Fingers after all, in case you did not know. 
Anyway, when all the other kids ran into the hallway after play time - loud and enthusiastic as they are - I was afraid that she would freeze, get shy and stay close to me, because even I found it intimidating, but Olivia kept her cool and observed the whole situation with an unexpected openness.

When the teacher said: you can all come in now - she got up and walked into the classroom as if she did that every day. She immediately crawled onto the slide and went to sit at the table with the Duplo toys. While the teacher explained us how everything works , I could not stop looking at my little girl, playing. This little girl that was once this tiny, tiny baby, and who is growing into such a fun little girl. I could not stop smiling, I am so lucky to be her mama and I am so proud of her.
I love you, my little bumble bee.

Before she is ready to go, we have to get her potty trained and that is not so simple, as it turns out. Petti's way or the highway.

The reindeer chalet

This weekend we went to 'les Ardennes' for some relax time, some Christmas spirit, some easy times in front of the fire, eating good food and enjoying friendship. The cabin we rented was just perfect for the purpose. All reindeers, a magnificent Christmas tree, beautiful interior, good beds and the perfect playground for the kid, who felt immediately at home there. It even snowed all Saturday (melting snow)- such a pretty picture. When I imagined this weekend, I always imagined it snowing. But as they always say: be careful what you wish for because the road to this cabin on Friday evening was already quite a challenge in heavy rain, so I was happy the sun was out on Sunday, so we could get home safely. It is good for the soul to sometimes get away from it all and go back to the simple things: watch the flames in the fire place, glance at the snow falling, enjoy a hot coffee with a cookie, prepare food with friends, take a nap, play undisturbed with our daughter. My love and I enjoyed some private sauna time in a barrel and then ran out in the snow. We visited the Christmas market in Durbuy and ate some tartiflette and Potatoes with foie gras. Back home we prepared a pre-Christmas dinner with Turkey, cranberry sauce, veggies and jacked potatoes. It was a good good weekend.