What I’ve Been Reading, Doing, Eating this Holiday Month
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What I’ve Been Reading, Doing, Eating this Holiday Month


I thought I would share some of the things I’ve been up to this December month.

As the Holiday draws near, December can seem like more of a whirlwind. Holiday activities, wrapping, planning for travel and more and it goes by in a flash.

I thought I would share some of the things I have been reading, doing and eating this month.

One more week! Hard to believe! We leave for Harleysville this coming Friday.

Reading- The It Girl by Ruth Ware

I am loving this book, it is one I was captured with from the start. Don’t you love books that you can’t put down?

With chapters notated Before and After a college girl’s murder, it is a winner in my book ( pun intended!)

From Amazon-

April Clarke-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford.

Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the year, April was dead.

I will be looking into more Ruth Ware, the writing is easy to read and captures you into her characters.

Also, a big fan of historical fiction, I pre-ordered The Women, by one of my favorite authors, Kristin Hannah. The book is about a woman that joins the Army Nursing Corps after her brother is called for Vietnam.  I won’t receive it until February, but it will be a read I look forward to as well.


We love attending different Holiday events during the months of December, and this year was our traditional visit to OMB, Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, where there is a Christmas market and a restaurant with German Fare. I had the traditional German meal of roasted chicken on a pretzel bun with fries. I jest! I do not eat red meat or pork, so that excluded most of the menu. However, it was quite good and I loved the mulled wine. My mom is now here until March, so she was thrilled to go with us.

We did pick up, from our local farm, as one of the vendors, several goat cheeses- Honey Pecan Goat cheese and Mushroom Goat cheese for a bit of sweet and savory!

Last weekend we went to see at our local playhouse, A Christmas Carol. I haven’t seen a play in a bit, so I thought it would be a fun festive thing to do. After, we went to a new restaurant and ordered a Burrata cheese appetizer (one of my favorite cheeses I had in Italy), and both had blue crab ravioli.

Little Black Dress and a Little bling!

Some of Our Decor

We bought a 12 foot tree last year and still have ornaments. So we added a smaller 6 foot tree in our Music Room

Traditional -2nd year Cookie and Ornament Party/Santa Game

Since my brother and sister-in-law have moved near us, we started a new tradition last year. We all bring our recipes and ingredients and pick a cookie to make per person. I’ve decided to make Gingerbread biscotti drizzled with white icing. It was my first time making biscotti. My husband really went out on a limb and decided on Peanut butter cookies. Mom would make orange spice cookies, my brother, S’more cookies, and Sister in law- Wreath shortbread. If you missed my Gingerbread biscotti recipe- HERE it is 🙂

We’ll have dinner and then play an ornament game, each of us bringing an ornament. Later, we will play “Dirty Santa” where you each pick a number and, in that order, choose a gift from a pile. People can then “steal” other’s gifts, several times. It is a lot of fun!

Home Made Soups

Who doesn’t love a warm-tummy filling bowl of homemade soup in the colder months? But there has to be good bread, am I right? I buy a sweet potato boule and toast it with butter and my stomach is thanking me.

Every year I make a butternut squash soup. To make it even easier, I found butternut squash squares in the frozen section of Costco. I use about a pound and brown them with olive oil in a pan. I also add a bit of canned pumpkin and carrots to thicken the soup even more.  Here is an easy recipe I follow, and believe me, without slicing the squash, it almost couldn’t be any easier.

Here is the recipe  I don’t use potatoes, but rather add canned pumpkin and additional carrots. You certainly could choose to add the potatoes, but it is quite thick without, if you add the extra carrots and pumpkin. **recipe from Allrecipes.com

I’d love to hear about your month and what you have been doing. Let me know in the comments. 

Have a great day!

Jess xx





  • Emma Peach
    Posted at 18:52h, 21 December Reply

    Your tree looks fabulous! I love squash soup but the peeling and chopping does put me off sometimes, I like to make a big batch of chunky vegetable and bean soup – it lasts me for almost a week!

    Emma xxx

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 11:15h, 28 December Reply

      Get the pre-chopped squash, it makes life so much easier! Oh, I love the sound of that soup too. I love having a hearty soup with good bread!

  • mireille
    Posted at 09:49h, 19 December Reply

    I love goat cheese! We went to the high school chorus Christmas concert and our town’s parade. The concert was new for us and I plan to make it a tradition! I also hosted our first annual Sunrise Crew Christmas breakfast and 18 running girlfriends came to run and eat!

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 11:19h, 28 December Reply

      That sounds like a lot of fun, creating new traditions. That Christmas breakfast sounds so fun. I received a new pair of running shoes for Christmas so I can’t wait to try them!

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