Greetings, friends! I hope the weekend is treating you well. Ours has been busy, but we’ve had some downtime too. It’s pretty much been the perfect ratio of festive, fun, and relaxing.
I picked up my son from college on Friday afternoon and brought him home for Christmas break. I made him some chocolate chip cookies and a healthy salmon dinner before we all went our separate ways for the evening.
I attended a LOFT holiday shopping event, while David went out with friends and Caroline hosted a small party here at the house. Paul and Becca survived that by watching the Sixers game together. With our son gone at college much of the time, it’s nice that one of the girls also shares that interest with Paul.
Yesterday morning, we puttered around the house a bit before it was time for me to take the girls for haircuts, and then we came home and made peanut butter kiss cookies.
I hardly ever bake anymore because I don’t want the gluten or the calories, but I guess I haven’t lost my touch! Both recipes turned out perfectly and were definitely appreciated by the rest of the family.
If you’re looking for a good peanut butter kiss cookie recipe, this Pillsbury recipe is my go-to. I think it’s the Crisco that keeps them nice and soft and chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
The key with these, as with most cookies, is not to over-bake. I watched them with the oven light on as they slowly started to crack around the edges, and took them out before they started to brown on top. If you measure accurately and use fresh ingredients (make sure the brown sugar is nice and soft so it doesn’t create lumps in the batter) then this recipe is practically foolproof. Also, don’t ever use natural peanut butter.
Last night, we went out to dinner with friends, and then Becca and I spent the rest of the evening wrapping presents and listening to Christmas music.
This afternoon we have a holiday concert to attend, and next weekend we’re going to see the Nutcracker, so I feel like I’m checking off all my Christmassy boxes this year. Cookies, check! Gift wrapping, check! Live tree, check! Christmas concert, check! Holiday shopping, check! Nutcracker, check!
Oh, and then there was our little jaunt to NYC on Wednesday.
I guess I promised to recap the trip for you. For anyone just tuning in, this was my older daughter’s Sweet 16 present. She didn’t want a party — she wanted to go to NYC at Christmastime and visit Tiffany’s and see a Broadway show, so that’s what we did.
We debated buying Amtrak tickets, but in the end decided to brave NJ Transit — which really is no big deal. It’s just more of a drive, and you don’t have reserved seats so boarding can feel a bit chaotic, but we managed to get seats both ways, which was nice.
The picture above was our selfie by the tracks as we waited for our train to arrive.
We arrived at Penn Station around 10:30AM and wasted no time stopping at a Starbucks to tank up for the morning. Our Broadway tickets were for a 2PM show, so we had some time to kill. We both wanted to see the famous shop windows so we decided to hoof it instead of taking an Uber. We walked past Macy’s and then turned on 5th Avenue and walked the mile or so to Rockefeller Center.
We managed to get a picture in front of the famous Christmas tree, although it was crowded and there was some interference.
Caroline is a big Audrey Hepburn fan and loves the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, so visiting Tiffany’s was a high priority for this trip, but we took a short detour at Saks and walked through the luxury handbag departments and did a lot of drooling before heading up the street to the Tiffany’s Flagship Store.
In anticipation of this event, my mom sent Caroline an early birthday present — Tiffany & Co. gift card, so we spent some time looking for the perfect gift.
It was busy, but the gentleman who helped us was really sweet and gave Caroline the royal treatment. She selected a small silver knot necklace that we agreed is the perfect commemoration of her Sweet 16.
After that, we had about an hour or so before our show, and we grabbed some lunch. It was nice to sit and relax, as we’d done a fair amount of standing and walking.
The timing worked out perfectly, and we arrived at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre just when the doors were opening.
Our seats were front and center in the first row of the balcony, and it was a fantastic view. We both enjoyed the show, although the storyline is a little risqué at times. I didn’t know the story or the songs, but Caroline did — she’s quite the theater junkie.
After the show, we slipped into the Italian restaurant next door and managed to get two seats at the bar for dinner. I had made reservations elsewhere, but she was in the mood for Italian, and it was right there, so we popped in and were happy to be seated right away. Everything was decorated for Christmas, it was cozy and warm, and basically a great way to end the day.
We relaxed, ate, and chatted over our day before heading back towards Penn Station. Again, we opted to walk so we could enjoy the sites, and fortunately the weather wasn’t terribly cold.
On our way back, we found ourselves in Times Square, so of course we had to take a picture!
We made sure to walk back by Macy’s, since it was nighttime and the windows were all lit. Caroline wasn’t quite ready to end the day, so we stepped inside and walked around a bit before heading back to Penn Station to catch our train home.
That’s the other benefit of doing NJ Transit as opposed to Amtrak — with Amtrak, you’re committed to a particular train, but we were able to wander back at our leisure and catch whichever train was the next one leaving and not worry about making it at a certain time.
It was definitely a more relaxing trip than our last time visiting NYC at Christmastime. That was a weekend trip, and going on a weekday was much more enjoyable. It was still crowded but not crazy.
All in all, it was a great trip, and I’m so glad we did it. It definitely beats hosting a birthday party any day!
I guess I need to wrap this up and get ready for church.
I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend, and have a blessed Sunday!