Celebrating Hanukkah!

Celebrating Hanukkah!

My mom is Jewish- she grew up going to temple, Hebrew school (or rather, skipping Hebrew school by going to the park).  She may have changed her religion, but the Jewish heritage remains for our family.

I went to temple some with my grandparents growing up, and I remember some things about the faith. We’ve decided to celebrate our heritage and learn more about the Jewish foundation of our faith, including starting to celebrate some holidays.

We had a small Hanukkah dinner together. I made potato pancakes (aka latkes- this is the holiday to fry things….it revolves around a miracle of oil!) and brisket (probably not traditional, but we like the Pioneer Woman’s Passover Brisket recipe).  We bought challah bread at our local bakery and had chocolate coins (gelt).


Not to brag on myself, but the latkes were AMAZING. Crispy edges and soft inside.  Served in traditional fashion with sour cream and applesauce (I like both, but am totally #teamapplesauce)


We also chased Remi around the house playing.  She  thought it was hilarious to make us run all over and then she thought it was super funny when Mimi “got stuck” in her tunnel.


We also had sword fights with wrapping paper tubes. Another fun thing!


I’m learning more about the feasts and festivals because next fall I’m teaching a class at church about them! Excited to share our heritage with others!

Branson Black Friday

Branson Black Friday

We decided to be crazy and go to Branson for Black Friday. We didn’t plan on doing much shopping, but wanted to just spend some time together and do some fun Christmas stuff!

Remi was recovering from a little bug, so she slept on the way. She woke up about an hour in and was pretty upset and fussy. We debated going home, but decided to press on, and I’m so glad we did. Once she slept a little more, she was GREAT and her sickness was over.


When we got to Branson, we started with Dolly Parton’s Stampede! Remi was still in a nap fog (and had decided she didn’t like her first shirt, so we had to change)


But once the show started, she was INTO IT. She loved the music, the horses, and the whole thing. She also WENT TO TOWN on the food.


The show was from 3-5, so we went back to the hotel after to chill. We let Remi girl play, and she wanted to take a bath in the big tub! We let her get water up to her neck (unlike at home) and she loved it. She (thankfully) slept pretty great in the hotel and was a happy girl when she woke up!


Saturday morning we donned our matching pajamas and headed to the Showboat for a Pancakes with Santa cruise!


A little better group photo this time. 🙂


Remi was INTO all the characters on the boat.  Hugging the gingerbread man, getting candy from the Sugar Plum Fairies…


We waited in line (which she was much more patient for than I thought she would be) and she got a snowflake face painting.


It was a gorgeous day (like 65 degrees) so we walked around the outside deck looking at the water wheel.

We ate pancakes and then the show started. She LOVED it. There were dancing hippos (I want a hippopotamus for Christmas!) and even a dancing dinosaur! And bless it, when Santa came out, she said “I hug him!” and tried to climb down to go get him!


She did get to hug Santa after the show! He was waiting on the dock to meet all the kids. She (again) waited patiently and hugged Santa and sat on his lap.


After breakfast, we all changed clothes to head out and go shopping.  Remi liked walking back to the car- she played with those polar bears you see behind her, played in the rocks and found herself a stick.


While we shopped, she rode the rides at the outlet mall. She LOVES them and remembered them from this summer. As soon as we walked up to the mall, she said “I ride horses!”


After a little shopping, we got lunch and drove home.  A great trip all together!

Hiking Pinnacle Mountain

Hiking Pinnacle Mountain

Our church has a fantastic women’s outdoor ministry. They get together once a month for some sort of outdoor adventure- hiking, canoeing, ziplining…something fun. I haven’t been in a while (was pregnant and then with a baby) but now that Tyler is off work on the weekends, I knew I was able to take a day trip with them soon.

And when I saw that the November hike was Pinnacle Mountain- I signed up! It’s 1,013 feet- located outside of Little Rock.  We got up early and drove to the state park.  We hiked the entire 3.5 mile base trail and also the .75 miles up and .75 back down from the summit.

We took the West Summit Trail (apparently the East is reallllly hard. They did it a few years ago and it wasn’t fun because it was so hard!). This was labeled moderate, but it was moderate-to-hard, in my opinion.

It had been cold in the 30s, but on Saturday warmed up to the 60s and was GORGEOUS. This made the park very busy, but it was still a great hike. The base trail was quiet, but the summit hike was very busy.

We got about half way up and stopped to take a breather. Beautiful views.

A couple ladies in our group stopped short of the summit (one had been up before and decided she just wanted to people watch from a bench! ha!). The last 1/3 of the hike was more of a climb. It was over a boulder field- nothing but big rocks to climb up and over.

But we made it to the top! I’m so proud of my mom. She’s worked out hard these last couple of years (she did her 200th 9Round workout not long ago!) and she made it to the top!

At the summit!

Renee, on the left, is our fearless outdoor leader. She does a great job planning these outings!

I can now check “climb a mountain” off my bucket list. 🙂

The Big Apple: Day 3

The Big Apple: Day 3

Another early morning! We walked to have bagels for breakfast. It was so good! There’s nothing like a real New York bagel.

On the way to breakfast, we saw them setting up the red carpet for the Tony Awards.  Spoiler Alert: we attended the Tony Awards!  They get their own post next week.

After breakfast, we took a subway to Harlem for a walking tour.  We met our guide Carolyn at the Apollo.  She was a local and gave us great info on the beautiful neighborhoods.

Harlem has a ton of historical districts, which are protected and preserved, so the architecture is lovely.

Part of the tour was visiting a Harlem gospel church and it was SO GOOD.  We loved the worship and the passion.  They were very welcoming. The music was transformative- such great worship.  After church, we walked through another neighborhood and then got brunch. YUM.

After the tour, we booked it down to the theater district to see Mean Girls!  The show is hilarious and we loved it.

We also loved their yummy specialty cocktails. ha!


It was raining a bit after the show, so we took a pedicab ride back to the hotel. (Side note: A VERY EXPENSIVE PEDI CAB RIDE. Always ask the rates first! Also, we almost died. He drove crazy).

Then we grabbed some Chipotle because the pizza place across the street was closed on Sundays (so sad!), and got ready for the Tony Awards!