Our Texas Christmas!

Hey All! I left off from our arriving in Texas after our Cleveland trip.


In the evening of Christmas Eve we attended the candlelight ceremony at my Mom and Pete’s church. (Love my sister photo bombing us… It was like she was there, lol!). I realllly did miss her so much- her and Kevin went to Peru to spend Christmas with his fam. We face-timed the day of though, and it was fun to virtually meet some of Kevin’s family!


The Candlelight service is one of my favorites of the whole year.


The service & music was just moving- my eyes sweated a few times during the ceremony for sure. Easily one of my favorite hours of the entire Christmas season- taking time to worship & remember the true meaning of this chaotic, fun, wonderful season.

When we returned home my mom put out the most delicious shrimp cocktail & cheese with a pepper jam and crackers. Okay- I neeed to get that pepper jam! This is such a scrumptious appetizer to whip up; I’m gonna remember this for next time we host!


I also had to share the Christmas table my mom assembled. Each set of plates is unique, and they were not all bought from the same place. Look how beautifully it all goes together though!


I always get home decor tips/tricks from her when I visit.

For dinner we had grilled romaine with parmesan cheese and tomatoes (post the romaine scare- don’t worry it was the safe stuff 😉 ).


For the guys, Pete made some mouth-watering lamb tenderloin. DJ raves about Pete’s grilling.


My mom made the vegan version for us!!! Below are little seitan riblets. Gooooodness gracious, I think this is my favorite faux meat dish everr.


We had some of my mom’s famous cornbread… I could eat this straight out of the pan with a spoon. It’s insanely good.


Roasted potatoes with rosemary, yum!…


And the whole doggone delicious spread!..


After dinner we watched the movie BlacKkKlansman. It is a really thought-provoking movie, with a fast paced, intriguing story line, and a gut-wrenching, powerful ending. It’s one of those endings you forget to breathe.


After getting a deep night sleep, we woke up to Christmas!


Our usual pattern for Christmas morning is presents, breakfast, stockings. This year we made an Instapot egg casserole with bacon for the guys and a veggie egg casserole for us.


Time for stockings!!  They are so sweet to still do them for us even as adults <3 Pete and my mom make one for each other each year too which I think is just precious.


Stocking stuffers! Look at all those See’s Candies suckers! *heart eyes*


In the afternoon, I went on a 7-mile training run.


I don’t know what was in the air, but I was just having the smoothest of runs while I was there. Christmas night was tons of fun, but I’ll save that for the next post 🙂

Question for you:

  • What’s your favorite thing you’ve done so far this year? cheesy question, I knoww 😉

xo <3


106 thoughts on “Our Texas Christmas!

  1. Candlelight services are AMAZING. They really bring out feelings of joy and hope. Our church sings Silent Night together and it’s really moving. We were in CA for Christmas and had to miss this year. 🙁

    1. I totally agree!! You said that well. Sad you had to miss it- but at least there is always next year! I am amazed how quickly each year seems to fly by too (and it keeps speeding up). Hope it’s a great one for ya!

  2. sounds like you had a great trip and wonderful holiday with your family. I love the way your mother set the table. it is a great way to have a fun collection of dishware and not worry about purchasing huge sets of matching plate and then if something gets broken or cracked you can’t replace it.

    1. It really was such a wonderful time 🙂

      And YESSS- that’s such a great point- I hadn’t thought about that (the fact you can replace a dish if one breaks super easily)… I definitely want to start doing this, especially when we have an actual house for hosting. Thanks for stopping in!!

    1. Hi, Lathiya! It was such a wonderful time 🙂 thanks for sharing with us! Have a wonderful year and thank you for stopping by! ❤️❤️

    1. Hi AJ!! They are entirely vegan protein bars- super clean & filling. I’m obsessed with them, but they do have a pretty gritty texture so aren’t for everyone. I love them with coffee or tea!

  3. Candlelight services are the best! They are so powerful and moving. I haven’t been to one in years! So glad you got to go. <3 Also, your mom's place settings are stunning! So perfect and lovely!

    1. Right?! I so so love them. She is so talented with her “eye” for everything. I will pass on the sweet words 🙂 Happy weekend, Courtney. Did you start back at school yet?

      1. I hope you had a wonderful weekend, Mackenzie!! I haven’t started back up yet, but I only have five days left of my break. >.< Definitely getting anxious lol.

      2. Eeeek! ME tooo! Especially since everyone else is back now… I am eager to just get started. I keep feeling like I should be doing something!

      3. I feel like I hardly had any time on my break lol…I don’t know where all the time went! I always get anxious before class starts though, so I know it will be okay once it just gets started. O.O

      4. Exactly !! In my head I was like, “I have so much time to get things done” but it just flew on by! We got this 💪🏻 when is your official graduation ?

      5. Thanks girl! Well I’m actually only taking one-two classes at a time since I still have to work, so I probably won’t graduate for like five years. >.< But I know that's how I learn best and I don't want to be so stressed out between work and classes that I can't keep up good grades. Speaking of grades, I still haven't received my final grades for last semester! Is that normal?

      6. slow and steady wins the race!!! I am with you- better to really learn the information than to scrape by for sure.

        Oohhh that is strange.. they should have been published right after finals? I would call the Registrar’s office and see what’s up! Maybe they just forgot to release them or something for those courses?

      7. Thanks girl!! <3 Yes exactly, I'd hate to take a full load and get so stressed out that I barely scrape by!

        Hmm good to know, lol. Thanks for the suggestion! I'll have to get in contact about it. I wonder if they did forget to release them!

      8. I’ll have to let you know when I find out! I loathe making phone calls so I am currently procrastinating calling lol but I’ll get around to it because I’d really like to know my grades haha. 😉

    1. Aw we did- you said it so perfectly, Mich!! <3 I will pass on the sweet words!!! Thanks for stopping by. xo

  4. I love candlelight services- I definitely was tearing up during this year’s service. Your family dinner looks delicious and how sweet it was for your mom to make vegan steak! The place settings are gorgeous as well 🙂

    1. I do toooo. They are one of my favorite things of the whole year I think. She always has such yummy vegan alternatives for us- this was one of my favorites! I need to try to make it because I’m craving um’. I’ll pass on the sweet words- thanks for stopping in, Shan 🙂

  5. I love that your mom and Pete do stockings for each other! That’s so adorable! Yay for a good training run and seitan!

    You’ve got to post your mom’s cornbread recipe if it’s not a secret!!

    1. Right? They are too darn cute.

      Ooooohhh it’s super easy, I will totally post it! she’ll be flattered that you asked 🙂

  6. Oh Mack, this is great!!! I am so glad that you had a good Christmas Eve and Day. That Christmas Eve service sounds magnificent. It sounds like you really got to tune inside to your heart. <3 And what a magnificent spread that your mom put together, and her presentation is so full of beauty and nurturing.

    Thank you for sharing all of this — I am uplifted by reading about your experience. 🙂 🙂

    Do you bring a camera with you when you run? Those are awesome photos. Looks like a great run (love it when we're in the zone. )

    Wishing you and DJ and your extended family a wonderful 2019!!! So glad that we connected this year on WordPress!

    1. Aw thank you for stopping in, Debbie!!! It was a wonderful couple of days 🙂 I love how you said that- soo true !! My heart was absolutely in tune being there ❤️ I’m so glad you enjoyed this !

      And I actually just have my phone on which I take pictures! 📷 😊

      Wishing you a wonderful year too! Thankful for you, friend! 💕💞

  7. This was so fun reading about your Texas leg of your Christmas vacation – your mom sure does set a pretty table and she and Pete are good cooks – look at those treats and that lamb. I loved the stockings and they stand up on their own – very cool and your mom knew you liked those See’s suckers that you mentioned in a prior post. I loved Jade’s stocking too!

    1. Aw I’m so glad you enjoyed! It was a wonderful day 🙂 always know there is gonna be great food with my mom and Pete! And she does know all (especially about my See’s candy sweet tooth!). Isn’t hades stocking adorable? She kept trying to get at it- she definitely knew it was hers ! Thanks for reading 🙂

      1. Yes, I remember your mom treated you with See’s candy before when you saw her when she visited SF … moms remember those things. Jade is a sweetie and she definitely knew that stocking was hers and goodies were inside. 🙂

      2. Aw yes! Once again you surprise me with your amazing memory!

        Hehe she did!! <3

  8. How blessed you are to be able to spend time with so much family. I have enjoyed reading about this and your Cleveland Christmas. Your words are heart warming and your photos amazing.

    1. Aw thank you, Ruth! We weren’t able to go back last year so this year it was such a blessing to see everyone 🙂 your comment truly warms my heart! Thank you for stopping in 😊

  9. I love our candlelight service, too! All of the food looks delicious and your mom sure knows how to make it beautiful!! I always get jealous when you talk about your runs lol! I can’t wait to get back into running after my little is born 😊

    1. The candlelight service was so so lovely ❤️ awww I will pass on the sweet words to my mom!! Girl you will be back to the pavement in no time 🙂 can’t wait to read alll about it in just a couple months- almost there! Thanks for stopping in, Carly!

  10. I LOVE the table setting! I am obsessed with mismatched China and dinnerware. The meal looks inn-credible. I love the pink glass loaf dish too. So pretty! What a gorgeous family, and I love how much love can be felt in your photos and words. I really love getting a stocking from my MIL too. It sure makes me still feel like a kid on Christmas morning! I love your reflective question – not cheesy at all! My favorite thing so far has been taking my first studio Barre3 class with Kaci. The energy was unreal, the instructor is one of my favorites, and my muscles feel sore in the best possible way. It really helped my mind and body both. Wishing you a beautiful day and weekend!

    1. hey, Kori!! Isn’t the mismatching ingenious? And another blogger made a great point that if something breaks it is a super easy fix, just find a new mismatched something! When we really settle into a home I’d like to try doing something like that.

      Awww thank you <3 I am really thankful for that time with them.

      Agreed!!! I always feel like I used to as a kid as I'm opening my stocking. I think it's my favorite part of the whole gift opening process (minus watching someone open something you know they will love!).

      Yayy for Barre!!! I love that! It's so fun you two have similar interests like that and can go to classes together. I was sooo sore after my run. Actually I was laughing today telling DJ (we are doing our marathon training) that I was more sore after barre than my 21 miler. I love how it really works muscles you sometimes don't work often. Thanks for stopping in & have the most beautiful rest of your weekend too, girl! xo

      1. Oh that is also an awesome pro to buying mismatched!

        I do love watching someone open a gift that I know will bring them a lot of happiness!

        I just loved experiencing Barre3 with Kaci! It does work muscles at a really deep level.

        I sure hope you’re having an incredible weekend too! 💜

  11. Oh goodness all that food looks AMAZING! Your mom’s style with the plates is the cutest thing. I love when things are mismatched yet still look adorable! Grilled romaine is so delicious! I’ve had it as a grilled caesar salad and it was sooo yummy! I think stockings are one of my favorite parts of Christmas morning! I love getting little treats and gifts 🙂 Hmmm my favorite thing I did so far this year is probably spend most of Wednesday night making dinner with John and then relaxing and watching a movie together!

    1. Aw, right?!? I will pass on the sweet words!! It is definitely something I’d like to try one day too. It adds so much character to the table, but still really goes well all together.

      YES- we do a caesar type with it too. And I so agree- stockings make me feel like such a kid again. It’s so fun.

      Aww that sounds like the best way to spend a Wednesday night! What movie did you watch? did you like it?

  12. Favorite thing I’ve done so far this year… Sleep! Girl, my kids – for the first time ever – are consistently sleeping through the night AND sleeping in. (Normally, Brady is up at like 5:30am. Now he sleeps until 7am, and Kaitlyn sleeps until almost 8am). I literally feel like a brand new woman, and – if this continues – it’s just going to make for a more restful, joyful year (because up to this point, this mama was exhausted). 🙂 So ‘sleep’ is definitely my favorite thing I’ve got to enjoy in 2019. HA!!
    Okay, so I’ve never even heard of roasted romaine, but now I’m curious. I love me some romaine, especially when it’s sprinkled with cheese and tomatoes. Do you use an actual grill? Teach me your ways! Ha! I totally want to try making that!!
    And I never would have thought to create a Christmas (or any holiday, for that matter) spread with non-matching plates, but it totally worked. It’s actually perfect! I think that it adds an element of surprise and uniqueness, which is beautiful and fun. Love it!!

    1. YAY for sleep!!! WOOHOO!!! I know that is a big deal… when I was working as a nurse there was nothing at all I treasured more. So happy for you that you are finally able to get some rest!! Sounds like 2019 is already off to a tremendous start (especially compared to the whirlwind of 2018 for you!)..

      So grilled romaine is one of our favorites, especially with a steak dinner of any kind!! You do grill it on the actual grill and then we do ours caesar style- parm cheese, tomatoes, croutons and caesar dressing! It is simple but sooo delicious with the grilled flavor! Here is a very simple recipe for it: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/222720/grilled-romaine/

      I was surprised when she said they were mismatched until I really looked closely! It was so cute & added a ton of character. She has such an eye for anything home related, so I always find fun ideas. I am gonna pass on these sweet words to her- they will mean a lot. Thank you always for your sweet comments, Nicole. ALWAYS put a big smile on my face & warm my heart!

      1. Thank you for the link to the grilled romaine recipe! I definitely plan on trying it. It sounds amazing!! xoxo

  13. That food spread is gorgeous! Favorite thing so far? Probably going to the library with my boy. Love watching him crawl down the aisles of books!

    1. They always have such photogenic foods! Aww the library was my all time favorite place as a child! I love that you take him there. Enjoy!! Thanks for stopping in, Katy 🙂

  14. Oh my goodness this looks like a wonderful Christmas! Your mom truly knows how to decorate a table, it looked beautiful! And that cornbread…. *insert all the heart eyes* Haha! Cornbread is easily one of my favorite foods!! I could eat a whole pan on my own I’m sure!

    That’s so sweet your mom and Pete exchange stockings. Ever since I was little my parents have exchanged gifts at Christmas and there is just something so dang special about seeing your loved ones take the time to pick something out for each other. I love it!

    Girl – the scenery from your run looks amazing!!!

    And there is really nothing like a Christmas Eve service worshiping Our Lord <3 Every year my church has a midnight service and it is one of the most beautiful services ever!

    Have the best weekend! 🙂

    1. Didn’t she do such a wonderful job? I was amazed that she got everything from various spots. She actually just sent me the cornbread recipe today, so I’ll be sharing that soon- it’s really easy & simple!

      I love how they exchange stockings too- I feel like they secretly have a competition who can fill the other’s more without stuff falling out haha.

      I agreeeee. The midnight services at Church are so beautiful too. xo

  15. Everything looks delicious. I love the fancy setup of the table also. 🙂 (At least it looks fancy to me because my family doesn’t really have fancy plates or napkins or anything). I love shrimp cocktail, but I gotta admit those shrimp look so plain to me. 😛 Here in Maryland we always gotta have some Old Bay seasoning on our shrimp. lol

    1. Hey, Britney! Thanks for stopping in, girl! hehe- it is actually super reasonably priced plates- my mom was telling me it was easier to keep it cheap because you buy from a variety of places when you see a good deal and what not! She always does a good job with a reasonable budget- I hope to be as good at that one day when we host.

      Ohhhhhh old bay seasoning sounds TREMENDOUS on shrimp. We will have to try that next time. You are the Maryland native, so I am trusting your suggestion 10000% 😉 Have a great rest of the weekend, dear.

    1. Thank you, Lizzy 🙂 I will pass on the sweet words to my mom too! She’ll appreciate this.

    1. Aw thank you so much, Chloe ❤️ this outfit was a bit going out on the limb for me and I wasn’t sure if it was cute or not 🙈 so this comment means a lot! Xoxoxo have a great rest of your day, love!

  16. It looks like you had a great time in Texas & the food looks delicious! Also all the decorations are gorgeous & it’s nice you got stocking stuffers! 😊

    1. Hi, Karalee! It was a fun time for sure! I will pass on the sweet words to my mom. Thanks for stopping in! Hope you are having a nice Sunday!

    1. Aww isn’t she creative? I will pass on the kind words to her 🙂 Thanks for stopping in and sharing in these moments with us, Ashley! have a great week! xox

    1. Hi, Katie! Thanks so much for stopping by girlie <3 Aren't candlelight services the best? Thanks for the sweet words! I hope your 2019 is off to a beautiful start!

  17. Mackenzie! You look stunning in that outfit and hair do! 😍 I am laughing about how your eyes “sweated” hahah!

    I love shrimp cocktail but have never heard of pepperjam. Is it that jelly stuff?! Is it spicy?! The whole spread of food is making my mouth water. Wow! Everything looks so fancy & delish!

    1. Awww thank you, girl! That outfit was a bit different, but I felt like it was festive?!

      hahah I saw that in a book and had to use it. It gave me a giggle too!

      It is SO spicy & soooo delicious. A serious game changer!!

      My mom has a knack to whip up somewhat easy meals but make the food delicious & presentation pretty! Thanks for stopping by, girl! xo

      1. It was super cute & so festive!! 😀 I neeeeed to find this pepperjam!! Did she make it our buy it? LOL sorry for all the questions. Your mom is amazing!!!

      2. Oh yummm!!! Gonna find it next time, love. 😀 Thank you for going outta your way for me. I could’ve just Googled it, huh?! You’re the best!!!! <3

      3. haha oh my gosh- I always ask “google could answer this” questions- but it’s way more fun to have the convo, ya know?! I am more than happy to help! Hope you get to try soon 🙂

      4. Hahaha I just never think to Google right away!! I feel like the best answers aren’t always from there anyways; totally trust you more & I agree that having the convo is much more entertaining. 😀

  18. I’m so behind on all of your posts but this one is super swoon-worthy. The post-Christmas blues are hitting me hard so I love seeing content like this. I love all of the decor pieces; the centerpiece and tree are absolutely beautiful. And you…well you’re just a beauty! xo

    1. Aww the post Christmas blues are in real force, aren’t they?! I think for some reason they are hitting me harder this year than they usually do. But glad this post helps a bit 🙂

      Aww you are the sweeeetest. Thanks for the kind words always. You are so encouraging, girl!

      1. Girl, they hit me pretty hard every year but this one has been tougher than most. I’m still holding on to some Christmas spirit by watching some Hallmark Movies I recorded. Lol. I hope you are having a great start to your 2019!

      2. Aww that’s the way to do it!! I need to take some pointers from you, haha. And thank you! I hope you are too 🙂

  19. Hi Mackenzie, some cute pics to start, I love the one with you and your Mom! First time seeing her wearing glasses, nice of your Sister to show up too! I like your outfit cute top and skirt. The candlelight service looks so nice, a great way to welcome the newborn King, amen! The place settings look so festive , your Mom knows how to set the table for sure. That cornbread is tasty I am sure! All the food looks amazing! Yay santa claus came! I know you were good in 2018 I was following along . I love the stockings, nice to continue tradition. Nice scenery on your run , even in the depths of winter. The champagne brunch on new years morning at Church was my favorite so far ( I think!) Loved the post, trying to catch up, Terri xo.

    1. Aww thank you so much, Terri!! I’ll share the cornbread recipe soon! I keep forgetting to post it, but she sent it to me- it’s very easy. I will pass on the sweet words to her 🙂 LOL- you are cracking me up, I’ll just say I was glad to not see coal 😉

      Ohhhh that champagne brunch just sounded so lovely! Thanks so much for stopping in <3

  20. Gosh I’m so behind!!!

    Your mom’s table setup is so pretty and that spread looks delicious!!

    The scenic photos you took are so beautiful!

    1. Oh my gosh, I never expect ya to keep up! life can get so busy- I so appreciate you just stopping in whenever you can/want 🙂

      I will pass on the sweet words to my mom! Thanks, Kaci 🙂

  21. Oh my gosh I love how your mom set up the table!! I’m getting tips from her too lol.
    I love that the guys have their own stuff and you girls have your own too lol. And those roasted potatoes with rosemary look so good. I’ve been wanting to make some like that for a while. I should try tomorrow.
    Another lovely recap. I’d love to have your moms cooking someday, it just looks so good!

    1. She said she got most of the mis-match stuff from Walmart and then random little places for super cheap! She is the queen of finding a deal but making everything look really nice.

      Potatoes and rosemary together is so good! If you are ever in the Fort Worth area she would love to host you & the fam! She has such an open door policy & really is just a phenomenal cook- I hope to be as good as her someday!

      1. That’s amazing I don’t think I could put something mismatched and put it so well together lol. Shes so good at that!
        Awh shes such a great person!! I can totally see that you’ve learned from her.

      2. Right?! I always am telling her to teach me her wayyys. And she’s like, “walmart” lol.

        Aw that’s so sweet of you to say– I mean it too- if you find yourself in the Fort Worth/Dallas area you always have the option for a free dinner and a place to stay! xox

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