Red and green and plaid all over

Before setting off for Christmas Eve dinner and festivities, we took a family hike at Sabino Canyon.


The weather was absolutely gorgeous, the streams were running from the recent rain, and it felt nice to shake our legs out while enjoying beautiful scenery.

After our adventure, we met up with the cousins for our annual shenanigans. This year: plaid.

Cousins  1 of 1 3

(minus Kyle, who headed over when he got off work)

We got our shirts last-minute at Target, and they didn’t have anything plaid in the babies’ section! Womp womppppp. Liv didn’t seem to mind, she was too stoked with her cousin Tucker’s toy collection.

Liv  1 of 1 3

Every year, the cousins have a theme. We’ve done tuxedo T-shirts, bibs (we waited until everyone was seated for dinner and all of us took a bib out and put it on at the same time) and snuggies to name a few, and this year it was plaid. We met at my cousin Kate’s house to make sure everyone was ready, and then headed over to my dad’s, where the rest of the family was waiting.

Tree  1 of 1 2

As usual, the family set up a glorious spread: appetizers, Mexican feast (enchiladas, rice, beans, tamales, salad), gorgeous desserts, cocktails and eggnog.

Table  1 of 1

Some of the delights:


+ coconut cake and a merry amount of egg nog

As incredible as everything was, the star of the show by far was this little one:

Liv  1 of 1 4

Watching her “walking” around by different members of the family, giving my brother kisses over and over, playing with her grandpa, opening presents, dancing to the music and clicking her tongue… I’ll never forget it.

Photo 1

After we came back home and Liv was asleep, I had a bit of a kitchen snafu.

Dough  1 of 1

That would be round 2 of cinnamon roll dough.

In the past, I’ve made the Pioneer Woman’s recipe with great results. This time I failed the recipe. I burnt the milk while orchestrating a tupperware drum solo and the yeast didn’t rise. I opened the fridge when we got home expecting to see overflowing mixing bowls like last year, but no. It was a little ball of sadness.

By this point, it was 11pm, and there was no way I was waiting an hour for dough to rise (sleep>rolls) so I made this quick recipe instead. It worked in a pinch, but next year I’m going to try PW’s again (or maybe make them for Easter). I just love the fact that those are SO fluffy and doughy (restaurant-style) and the quick rolls were dense and flaky, similar to store-bought varieties. But, let’s be real, any bread rolled in sugar, butter and swimming in icing is destined for greatness.

And then….

Santa came!


and I have to say… he was pretty good-looking 😉

I’m excited to post the rest of our pics in the am <3 Don’t forget to do your minute plank today!


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  1. Christine @ BookishlyB on December 26, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    I love the plaid. There’s no one better than to act a little corny with than family!

  2. Sana on December 26, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Memories of a first Christmas you will never forget <3

  3. Kerry @ Totes My Oats on December 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Love that you guys come up with a theme! The Mexican looks outrageous! I can’t wait to see the pics of Livi and her toys!!

  4. Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin on December 26, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    That’s such a fun idea to have a different theme each year!! I wish my fam would do something like that. I love cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning – we had them too 🙂

  5. Stephanie on December 26, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    I plan on participating in the 12 days of fitness. Off to do my plank now! I’m so glad Liv had a memorable first Christmas! You two are gorgeous!

  6. lisa on December 27, 2012 at 12:21 am

    I tried the PW cinnamon rolls and didn’t like the recipe because it calls for so much butter. I thought it was way too much. I was going to make the no-yeast cinnamon rolls this year but ran out of time and we did crepes instead. They were perfect, I had lots of toppings to choose from.

  7. amanda j on December 27, 2012 at 1:17 am

    hey Gina, which rolls/bread did you make? I don’t see a recipe (or link to one). Also, are the cinn rolls gf? If not, what’s your go-to to make them gf? thanks!!!!

  8. Lucie@fitswisschick on December 27, 2012 at 2:24 am

    Love the pics! Liv is so cute with her pink car. The food looks so good too! We can’t buy cinnamon rolls here, I might have to try that recipe too….

  9. Shaina Anderson on December 27, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Liv is so cute on her toy!!

    Also, I pretty much collapsed onto the floor after my post-bikram plank haha.

  10. Alexis on December 27, 2012 at 6:42 am

    My daughter is about then same age as yours. The picture of you and liv you are holding some bells on a stick. My baby went crazy over those when we were out shopping one day and threw her first fit when we went to leave the store, so I had to buy them and she hasn’t put them down since! Haha the tag said ages three and up but I just watch her closely. She loves them. Even falls asleep shaking them! Haha

  11. Michelle on December 27, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Wow your energy is amazing. Baking after 11pm and a night of Christmas festivities is impressive!

    So is Liv practicing “walking” to gear up for the real thing? Mustn’t be long now….

  12. Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength on December 27, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Love the pics and all of the plaid!!

  13. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on December 27, 2012 at 8:21 am

    I love that you guys have themed Christmases – what a fun idea!

    Sorry your cinnamon rolls didn’t work out though. I had a few baking flops in the kitchen this Christmas too. I tried making vegan truffles, but they didn’t firm up enough, so the balls I rolled out just collapsed into piles of goo. 😛

  14. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on December 27, 2012 at 8:47 am

    I did my plank and even more at the gym! Yay for fitness before the New Years resolutions!

  15. Danielle on December 27, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Looks like a wonderful Christmas! I can’t believe how big Liv is getting! She must have loved her first Christmas!

  16. Danica @ It's Progression on December 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

    We had enchiladas for Christmas dinner with my in-laws too (it’s a tradition), and they’re always SO good….Cinnamon Rolls are one of those things I’m intimidated to make, for whatever reason…

    • Fitnessista on December 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      my aunt and nana make the enchiladas and they are to diieiiiiiiieeee for.

  17. Beks on December 27, 2012 at 9:15 am

    I want to do something like that with my cousins, but my sister and I would probably be the only ones into it (3/4 of my family lacks whimsy, I swear).

    I like making cinnamon roll dough in the breadmaker. Christmas Eve, I was throwing the ingredients into the bowl, as quickly, yet carefully, as I could, because I had to be at church at 6 for worship team and special music instructions. I was SOOOOOOOO happy they turned out, otherwise breakfast on Christmas morning would’ve been Raisin Bran. Talk about your womp womp.

    But you’re right. Bread dipped in butter, cinnamon, sugar and icing is bound for greatness. 🙂

  18. Bek @ Crave on December 28, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Haha love the plaid theme! What a shame- Liv would have looked gorgeous in plaid 😉
    Did Liv leave cookies and milk or something for Santa? Did you go through that usual ritual for her or too young?

    • Fitnessista on December 28, 2012 at 1:12 am

      no and not because i didn’t want to- i spaced it haha.

  19. Lisa on December 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    My parents rent a house in Tucson from a friend each Feb-April. I stayed with them a few years ago and the weather was wonderful in March! Hot, beautiful and perfect hiking weather. Loved Sabino Canyon!

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