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Christmas Caravan

by Meghann on December 21, 2008

My Family’s Christmas Caravan is a tradition that dates back to before I was born. It all began when my Grandmother wanted to see all of her son’s houses decked out for the christmas season. It has grown and expanded some 20+ years later but the principle is still the same. Each year we all get together the weekend before christmas and travel to each family member’s house and “eww & aww” at the christmas trees. It’s one of my most treasured family traditions that I am always proud to be a part of.

The focus of each stop along the way, besides the Christmas trees, is the wonderful, amazing food everyone prepares for the guests of their location. You nibble yourself through each house and by the end are stuffed and only feel like sleeping.

First Stop: Grandma’s House

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My Grandmother had the luxury of being the first house so we were there bright and early before 9:00 am. She had a lovely display of breakfast goodies.

In order to be at her house at the correct hour I had to be awake at 6:15am and had not eaten anything before my arrival. My body is not used to not getting right of way so It was eating itself inside out by the time I arrived. My hunger took me over and I went straight to building a larger then intended plate of food.

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I had some straight from the tree orange and grapefruit, 1/2 wheat bagel with cream cheese & salmon, breakfast bread, apple & walnut. This plate really did a great job of stopping my hunger pains. The breakfast bread was so yummy I went back for a small piece.

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My Cousin Mindy & Woody’s House

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My cousin Mindy is a semi health nut so she had a beautiful display of healthy home made food.

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I had fresh berries, sun dried tomato stuffed olive, herb mozzarella cheese, bread & tapenade, and a homemade peppermint brownie. Let me just tell you that peppermint brownie was AMAZING! I had to hold myself back from going for more!

Uncle Bob & Aunt Carol’s House

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It’s tradition every year for my aunt to make Split Pea soup. As soon as I went in the house I went straight for the soup and had half a mug full.

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I’m not going to lie, I was a tad disappointed in the soup. It was not up to her usual par. It was some what watery, so I only had abut half of what was pictured above before I realized it was not worth it to keep eating. There were other food items I still had my eyes on.

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I went back for a small piece of my aunt’s famous Congo Bars and a piece of Pizza Bread that smelled so yummy heating up in the oven as we arrived.

My Aunt and Uncle are building a cabin in their back yard (I think my uncle has a lot of time on his hands) so we al took a trip out to check out their progress. I thought this was a cute pic of me and my Mommy standing in front of it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Cousin Angel & Jeremy’s House

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Each year Jeremy makes this amazing chili that I knew I had to have a small bowl of. Keep in mind I saw other cousins and uncles of mine going back for seconds on this. It was good!

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I topped the chili with Homemade Tortilla Strips and some Cheese. The tortilla chips were hot and fresh straight from the deep fryer when we arrived. You have not lived until you have had homemade tortilla chips!

Uncle Bill’s House

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I was ECSTATIC to see my Uncle had tons of fresh veggies to nibble on. I happily filled my plate with lots of veggies and half of a Cheese Taquito that looked good.

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My Cousin Jay & Katrin’s House

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I left before I could get a picture of the two of them in front of the tree. ๐Ÿ™

As you can imagine I was pretty full by the time we got to this house so I went with what looked the most intriguing.

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I accidentally squished it as I was unwrapping it, but it was a yummy mini Ice Cream bar.

My House!

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Now you see what all of my baking was for last night. ๐Ÿ™‚ I had to serve out the goodies as well. This was my first time as a stop on the caravan so I tried to go for a taste of everything

I set out some Crackers with Olive Tapenade & Smoked Salmon, as well as some Roasted Pecans.

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I set out the Spicy Chocolates from Cowgirl Chocolates. They ended up being a huge hit with my family and a great conversation starter. If you have any parties coming up I would highly suggest ordering some of these babies to bring along.

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Tina’s Muffins I baked fresh last night

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Lastly a fruit salad I made with Fat Free Vanilla Yogurt, Pear, Blueberries, & Grapes. I set my homemade Pumpkin Spice Granola on the side for guests to use as a topping.

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My plate had a little bit of everything.

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Last, but not least, my cousin Bobby & Candice’s House

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Again, I was pretty full so I just snacked on a couple of crackers with cheese & meat on them.

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We also celebrated December birthdays at the last house.

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Even though I shouldn’t have, I had a small piece of the birthday cake to end my day with.

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Reflection:

I debated in my head how I was going to handle this tradition of eating. It is a once a year occurence, but I know how out of control I can get at nibbling at each house along the way. In the end I decided to use my best judgement at each house and just eat what I felt would be enough with out going overboard. By now I trust my own instincts with eating enough to not over do it.

I would be lying if I said I did not feel some guilt with the amount of food I ate today, but my enjoyment of the day with friends and family overshadows all of the guilt I feel. I did eat a lot, but I don’t feel sick and I know I will be eating right again tomorrow. I was able to sample all of the wonderful homemade dishes and have no regrets on what I did not sample. If there’s anything I’ve learned this past year is to take it all one day at a time, we can’t be perfect all the time and it’s ok to live a little here and there. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am BEAT. It has been another crazy busy weekend, which is leading to another crazy week. Unfortunately I still have two days of work ahead of me before the craziness starts so I am going to head to bed to get some rest before it all starts. Good night everyone!

1 VeggieGirl December 21, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Aww, such a lovely tradition!!!

Did you really mean Cousin Booby?? Or is it Cousin BOBBY, haha ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hang in there with the workdays ahead of you!!

2 Kath December 21, 2008 at 8:29 pm

What a wonderful tradition!! Can I join you next year!?

I would be lying if I said I did not feel some guilt with the amount of food I ate today, but my enjoyment of the day with friends and family overshadows all of the guilt I feel. <—- I LOVE that thought. It’s OK to feel some guilt as long as you realize what’s really most important ๐Ÿ™‚

3 Julie December 21, 2008 at 8:38 pm

What a fun tradition! Your family looks like they know how to have a good time w/ good eats!

I feel guilty sometimes too about my eats (especially when I don’t get to the gym like today) but I know that it’s only one day… you can’t derail all your hard work on one day.

4 Nicole December 21, 2008 at 8:40 pm

This is such a fun tradition!!!

5 Lindsay December 21, 2008 at 8:48 pm

what a fun time! i feel the guilt too temporarily but then i tell myself that indulging a little and enjoying yourself is normal and everything in moderation ๐Ÿ™‚

6 ksgoodeats December 21, 2008 at 8:51 pm

That looks like so much fun!!

Cute outfit too – love your top! Get some rest girlie!

7 Erica December 21, 2008 at 9:03 pm

oh my gosh! This is such a fun tradition! I cannot wait until all of my relatives live closer and we will def start doing this!

8 Melissa S. December 21, 2008 at 9:05 pm

wow, what a weekend and such a great tradition!!!!

and i’m glad you’re not feeling too bad about your eating…i think you did a great job w/ your pickings considering all the good stuff that was there!!!

9 sweetandnatural December 21, 2008 at 9:07 pm

I love your family’s tradition Meghann! Such a great idea. I wish my whole family lived nearby. ๐Ÿ™‚

10 Jill December 21, 2008 at 9:12 pm

That is such an awesome tradition! Looks like you had a fab. time! ๐Ÿ™‚

11 teenageveggiehead December 21, 2008 at 9:29 pm

thats such a cool tradition to have every year!!
all the food looked good – im glad your not feeling too bad about it ๐Ÿ™‚

12 emily December 21, 2008 at 9:35 pm

That is such a great tradition!! I’ve never heard of anyone doing that before. I wish i lived close to all my family, unfortunately, its just us ๐Ÿ™ Sounds like you had a great day, with lots of great food.

13 Sammie December 21, 2008 at 9:37 pm

What a fun day!!! I think you did a great job with your eats – you shouldn’t feel guilty at all. That is such a great tradition – family time at its best.

14 Amy December 21, 2008 at 10:22 pm

What a cool tradition! You have such a large and diverse extended family so that’s really cool. And the peppermint brownies…GOOD CHOICE, girl! Love it ๐Ÿ™‚

You look so pretty in the pictures, and all of the family members are cute too ๐Ÿ™‚ especially the little ones !!

15 Sharon December 21, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Wow, what a super great time with family! I love it! And delicious food!

16 eatingbender December 21, 2008 at 10:43 pm

This is one of the coolest traditions I have ever heard of – I think it’s so great that you are able to make the most of the fact that you have several family members close by and it looked like a lot of fun.

I really appreciated your reflection, too. You looked so happy in the pictures, and that is definitely what counts the most.

17 bobbi December 21, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Megs how fun what a great family tradition!!! I think this was one of my favorite blogs to read tonight, made me smile a lot!!!!

18 Hangry Pants December 21, 2008 at 10:53 pm

I love everything about this tradition! It’s soooo cool that you all like eachother enough to do this. haha

I think I would probably feel a little guilty, too, if I ate more than I planned or needed. I think we’re a lot alike in this respect. We have good intentions, but the goodies call us!!! We’re just human! You do look really happy as Jenn said and you look really healthy, glowing and like a little tiny thing!

19 gina (fitnessista) December 21, 2008 at 11:32 pm

what an AMAZING TRADITION! looks like such a fun day with amazing eats. i bet you’re exhausted though! enjoy your night and get some wonderful rest!

20 Meghan December 22, 2008 at 12:46 am

wow that a fun tradition, that is so original…congrats on hosting your first year- you picked some delicious food ๐Ÿ™‚

21 Heather Eats Almond Butter December 22, 2008 at 7:45 am

Awesome family tradition and amazing food. I’m still thinking about that peppermint brownie, and the pizza bread…oh, and that breakfast bread…AND your muffins and homemade granola ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m glad you had a good time with the fam!

22 Elina December 22, 2008 at 8:45 am

What a cool tradition! I think you did amazingly well… it’s hard to control yourself at so many different places. You had to sample at least a few things (at least I would justify it like that in my head – I wouldn’t want to offend anyone). You had very little at each location – they just added up. And like you said, you’ll go back to normal routine tomorrow (today?) so that’s what counts. I’m proud of your choices. I’m rarely this good ๐Ÿ™‚

23 ErinE December 22, 2008 at 11:09 am

It looks like you had a lot of fun!
I agree with you on the food thing. It is easy to over-eat during Christmas, but it is only once a year and we have to remember to cherish the time we have with our family and friends and not worry about the calories!

24 Erin December 22, 2008 at 11:46 am

That looks so fun! I love that idea! It’s fun to see family, but I understand feeling guilty. I wish events weren’t always focused on food. You did a GREAT job girl.

25 Alexia December 22, 2008 at 1:03 pm

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Christmas Caravan!!! How fun! It looks like you had fun and ate a lot of good food. I think I need to read your reflection over and over. ๐Ÿ™‚

26 lauren December 22, 2008 at 1:35 pm

what a cool tradition! i have never heard of that, but it is such a good idea…would be good with my family since we are all pretty close to each other.

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