This Will Be Our Year: New Year's Eve with Small Children
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New Year’s Eve is actually one of my favorite holidays. There are a million reasons why, mainly because my husband and I reconnected on New Year’s Eve in 2011. I had come up to Columbus for party and Mark (my now husband) was a friend from college I hadn’t seen in forever. We reconnected and Mark told his best friend “I’m going to marry her.” It was one of those cheesy romantic things that makes me smile. I’m not a very romantic person in some regards but it was a very Hallmark moment. We were engaged by NYE 2012.
Now, I am a mother of a small child and the holiday is not about getting dressed up in a little black dress and seeing the most outlandish headpiece I can tastefully wear. Last year my son had an ear infection and we were traveling so my husband and I spent the night watching Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. However, I think children should be excited about the New Year and learn about the transition. Mainly because not all years are great and I want my child to know you can move on with a new mindset and grace.
My son is still very young but there are still some really cool things you can do in Columbus. Columbus has a Noon Years Eve party for those with young children who want to celebrate but not stay up late. This one is at the Little Gym in Polaris and it’s hosted by Columbus Moms Blog. Another one of my favorite things to do, even as a child, is just drive through a city at night. NYE is one of those nocturnal holidays and for night owls like myself it’s special. Even as a kid, it was an excuse to stay up late and see the city. I loved going to hills and just looking down on the lights. I want my son to have those kind of memories of just enjoying a night with his family. We’re also going to celebrate with sparkling apple cider in champagne glasses because we’re fancy like that. I just want a simple celebration that’s a wind down from the intensity of the holiday season with the people I love the most. What I love about this holiday is you get to spend it with your immediate family and your closest friends.
On New Year’s Day, we’re planning on having a fun brunch and just hanging out in our jammies. My Great Aunt Ruthie shared this recipe that you can make overnight. She’s 88 and fabulous. She actually set my grandparents up on their first date! She had met my Grandma Rita at a summer school program at a college and had her visit her family for Thanksgiving. My grandfather (her brother) met my grandmother and apparently he fell really hard. Ruthie is an amazing woman who is full of strength and grace. This summer when she was on a family camping trip, I realized that everytime we go to a lake she swims out the farthest. Like I said, she’s inspirational. Every time I’ve made this I’ve thought of her because it is an amazing and one of those crowd pleasing recipes. If you are having a New Year’s like I am, not going out and going to bed early. You can make this while your kid is sleeping and pop it in the oven in the morning and have the house smelling great. I would serve with scrambled eggs, good coffee, and orange juice in a champagne flute for the kiddos.
HOLIDAY MORNING FRENCH TOAST
1 Cup Brown Sugar
½ cup butter
3 tsp cinnamon (divided)
3 tart apples (Granny Smiths) peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
½ cup dried cranberries or both! (This was Ruthie’s note. Feel free to substitute other dried fruit)
1 ½ loaf of Italian or French bread cut into 1 inch slices
6 large eggs
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Combine brown sugar, butter, 1 tsp cinnamon in a 13 x 9 baking dish.
Add apples and dried fruit to coat well. Spread apple mixture over the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange slices of bread on top.
Mix eggs, milk, vanilla and rest of cinnamon until well blended. Pour mixture over bread and soak overnight (or cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours).
Note- dip each slice individually to soak both sides. Then arrange the slices of bread on top of the apples.
Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 more minutes.
I hope these make your day a little more festive. I am all about celebrating any way I can. I read a lot of depressing things and can get up in my own feelings. One thing I’ve learned in my life and in books is that what keeps people doing incredible things is being optimistic and love. I hope you have a wonderful new year with your family and friends. Cheers!