Friday, December 29, 2023

Home For The Holidays

Technically we celebrated in my sister's home, but all my sibs plus my mama were there so it felt like home. Family is home, right? 

We put a million miles on the car, but opted to drive because a) we needed to drop our dog off at hubs brother's house in Tennessee and b) we were hauling a lot of stuff. Originally our pup was going to spend his Christmas holiday in a kennel closer to home, but after his Thanksgiving 'mishap' occurred my sister-in-law very kindly offered to have him come there. 

We didn't bring him north with us mainly because my sister has two cats and a pup, and my other sister has a pup, and my niece has two pups. All those dogs would have been a little bit too everything so all the out of town dogs stayed home. 

We drove to Tennessee the Wednesday before Christmas and spent the night at hub's brother and sister-in-law's house. We had a most fabulous Italian dinner at a restaurant there and a really nice evening being together. 

This pasta made inside a wheel of cheese is as deliziosa as it sounds. 

Hubs and I got on the road early Thursday morning for the trek to Philadelphia. There was some slow traffic in spots, but we were never at a standstill so calling it a win. A ten and a half hour drive made in twelve hours four days before Christmas is definitely a win. 

My mom lives with my sister and my brother lives nearby too. My older sister and her daughter and son-in-law flew in from South Carolina early Saturday morning, and then the gang was all together for the duration. Actually my brother was with his wife's family Christmas Eve, but they all came to Philly for Christmas dinner, and then they had my sister's birthday at their house the next day. 

We had the famous breads from Marchiano's Bakery for breakfast on Christmas and the day after too. If you want these breads for Christmas you have to order months ahead, and we definitely want. They are somewhat similar to a calzone, but are filled with egg and pepper, or bacon, egg, and cheese, or ham and cheese, or sausage and egg, and they are so so good. We spend a lot of time talking about these breads on our drive north lol. 

My niece got us all matching shirts to wear with our pjs and the wording was truly on point-ha!  

The boys got shirts too but I don't know how they feel about their pj picture posting here, so how about one of hubs (the dog whisperer) instead-

This dog is not easily won over, but she took to hubs right away this visit. 

My sister is a wonderful cook and made so many delicious meals while we were there. Is this post all about food? Perhaps. But we did spend a lot of time in the kitchen and it was fun to chop and stir and gab unrushed with my sisters and niece.  

Hubs acted as sous chef Christmas Day while my brother-in-law made us a fabulous beef wellington for dinner. They had lobster on the grill too and we ate like kings at every meal. 

On Tuesday hubs and I drove over to NJ in the early afternoon so we could meet up with friends for an in-person catch up before going on to my brother's house. My older sister's birthday is the day after Christmas and we try to make it extra extra. My brother and sister-in-law made yet another scrumptious dinner and there was cake and presents and the happy birthday song sung. 

We lived in this part of the country a long time, and a trip back reminds you of so many things you miss. 

Family most of all. 

We were up early on Wednesday to make the long drive home, with one more overnight stay at my sister-in-laws house to collect the dog. He was not spoiled at all while we were away-ha! 

We were on the road from sun up to literally sun down, which happened to be spectacular. 

It was a lovely holiday, a different kind of Christmas for us without our girls or any grandchildren in the house, but lovely all the same. I'm grateful for family who fill in the spaces, make me laugh, and hold our childhood memories especially close this time of year. 


  1. I'm sure you missed the grandkids but looks like you had a great time with your wonderful family. Happy New Year!

  2. Family is everything. Glad you had time with yours. It all sounds wonderful, well, other than those 2 long drives. lol

  3. Your post is so beautiful. Sounds like the most wonderful Christmas to me. I loved seeing all the photos. Love the PJ's and that beef wellington looks delicious. God bless all of you. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  4. What wonderful gatherings and food you enjoyed. Those Wellingtons look amazing. Love the t-shirts, Glad you made there and back again safely and without a lot of traffic. Happy New Year to you and yours!

  5. Happy New Year my friend. I enjoyed your post and love how you shared your family Christmas with us.

  6. It looks like you made wonderful memories!!

  7. Beautiful, Joyce. What a blessing!!

  8. My goodness, what a lovely Christmas in spite of not being with the girls and Grans. Our Oklahoma crew left this morning and we've been in "recovery mode" all day. It is non stop and NOISY! We are enjoying the peace and quiet this evening. :o)) Blessings abundant for 2024!

  9. Wonderful post! The food, the smiling faces, and those T-shirts!!!! What a great idea!

  10. The driving is always worth it. Your Mom looks so happy. Happy New Year!

  11. Thanks for sharing your fun holiday with us, Miss Joyce.