Holiday Food Review + Word of the Year

Holiday Food Review + Word of the Year

Happy Monday, all!  As you can see, we partied hard this weekend!  Today, I want to share with you specifics of my holiday food review and my word of the year going into 2022.

What I loved most this year (beginning at Thanksgiving) is that our family celebrated perhaps the most “traditional” Christmas ever…we did it all from gingerbread to Christmas charades.

Holiday Food Review Recap + Word for the year

The grandchildren are at such a fun age…..I kept the holiday simple, but did experience some successes I thought you might be interested in.


Holiday Food Review Recap + Word for the Year

This year, my oldest son requested for sausage balls to be added to the breakfast menu.  I looked at several recipes.

Then decided to go with Martha Stewart’s Sausage-Cheddar Cheese Balls…a success!  Gobbled up by all!

We always have Monkey Bread, and last year, the Pioneer Woman Monkey Bread became the tradition.  I make two and they also are gobbled up!

This year I tried a new hot chocolate recipe and it will be the keeper going forward!  Some make this in a crockpot…I heated it on the stove.


1 can of sweet condensed milk (like Eagle Brand)

1 small heavy whipping cream

6 cups of milk

2 packages of Milk Chocolate Chips

Heat and stir until chips are melted and I served with fancy marshmallows from Williams & Sonoma. 

Everything here was a hit!  

The only real disappointment was the Starbucks’ Whole Bean Holiday Blend.  We always grind our beans…but the coffee was just …bad. Sorry, Starbucks!

Holiday Food Review + Word for the Year

There were some food traditions the family demands to have….peanut butter kisses cookies and pumpkin bread are two…and, of course, I they were made.

But, I did attempt to go without pumpkin bread and a 6-year-old asked for it right away so by the end of the night last Thursday three loaves appeared!

A Gigi just cannot say no to a special request.  They looked quite horrified when I said I had not made it.


Holiday Food Review Recap + Word for the year

I teased my word for the year yesterday in Joy Notes #8.

WONDER….my desire is to purposefully find wonder in the life around me each and every day.

I chose this sunset as my first image, because it was so beautiful as we drove one evening recently through West Texas.  The picture was taken from the car.

The discovery of wonder doesn’t have to be in huge, major wonders of the world…but I believe can be discovered daily in my own back yard…and I am going to choose to do that very thing.

Look for wonder all around me…and will, of course, share some moments with you!

Holiday Food Review Recap + Word for the Year

I explained yesterday my grandchildren have reminded me about the joys of childlike wonder.

This is one of my grandsons.  His family went to Costa Rica a couple of years ago and he was in wonder of the parrots.

Upon return home, his goal was to own a parrot…his parents were skeptical but challenged him to learn everything he could about caring for a parrot.

I think in the beginning they believed the more he learned the more discouraged he would be.

Well, the more he learned, the more he desired to own a parrot.

Holiday Food Review Recap + Word of the year

A family member on my son-in-laws’s side decided to honor this child’s wonder and desire to own a parrot, and made it a reality.

This was our first Christmas with Meko in our home…such a beautiful creation. 

I was also amazed at how gentle Meko is with humans…particularly the little boy who wanted one so much.

Holiday Food Review Recap + Word for the Year

You just never know where genuine WONDER will take you.

I am going to find out in 2022.

Please share, what is your word of the year?


After Christmas Sales

Thank you for doing your sale shopping with my SHOPPING LINKS in order to support this blog…I so appreciate everyone who decides to do this as well as read the posts each day.

This week, I am taking my gift cards to After Christmas Sales at Chico’s, Talbots, and Anthropologie.

And, during this week,  I am going to do a couple of posts seeking your opinion on topics as I go forward to begin a new year… of course, Would You Wear It will still be here and I hope to have more surprises.

I know we are all in recovery and I am so thankful for a week to do just that!

Thank you for being here…and as always…



By Pamela Lutrell

I really am building immunity and helping my metabolism with GOLI products…

Remember, savings on the immunity building products from GOLI.  Use savings code over50feeling40 and these links:




Goli on Over 50 Feeling 40

Over 50 Feeling 40 in 2022


  1. Your grandkids are adorable! My word for 2022 is Lead. I recently became the Board President of a homeless organization that was broke and spiraling downhill fast. The services are desperately needed so there is no choice but to Lead!
    Enjoy the remaining days of Christmas and have a light-filled healthy New Year!

  2. Hi Doreen! So happy to hear from you and with such an inspirational comment! A big resounding YES! We should all be leading to help our communities! Thank you for sharing what you are doing!

  3. You were very busy in the kitchen it appears. I made three big pans of lasagna to share with our sons’ families as is our custom now as well as banana pudding which our daughter-in-laws especially request. I enjoy most kitchen preparation and especially if a child or grandchild requests something. Our oldest grandson requested a cheesecake for New Year’s so I’ll make that for him. Your grandchild’s interest in parrots reminded me of my wanting a monkey when I was a child. I cannot remember why, but do remember my mother explaining how they could be destructive and would not live peacefully with our dogs and cats. I probably have told you that I “wonder” about so many topics as an old science teacher, and I often share what friends call my “ science for dummies” posts on FB where I explain different science-based facts I observe…why leaves change colors, life cycles of cicadas, how lightening bugs chemically produce light. I think ‘wonder’ has been “my word” most of my life although my definition may be different from yours. Looking forward to your sharing.

  4. Looks like you had a lovely Christmas. Your grandson is so cute and that Parrot, wow. I believe it can live to be 75 years old. Truly a life long companion for him.

  5. Celia, I would guess that All teachers are filled with wonder…and lasagna sounds so good!!

  6. Looking forward to your year of WONDER. I haven’t decided on my word for the year yet. Looks like you had a wonderful holiday. You put in the work, and the love, and it sounds like a good, yummy time was had by all. Love the pictures of your grandson and his parrot. Have fun using up your gift cards as we enter this final week of the year. You did good, grandma!!

  7. I love the idea of wonder, especially “small wonders.” So many times we don’t stop and see these small, wonderful things. My goal for the new year is to appreciate the current moment more, instead of so much planning … and pointless worrying. I’m not sure I have a word for it yet. “Appreciation” comes to mind but doesn’t seem to quite encompass it.

  8. Pam, loved your post today, thank you for sharing! I thought we were the only ones who ate pumpkin bread for Christmas (seems more like a fall item). My mom started that tradition, even making pumpkin bread for the neighbors, I continued the tradition, and now my daughter does the same 😍 I love that parrot! It is absolutely gorgeous! My daughter wanted love birds when she was little. I told her she would get them when she learned her multiplication tables. Neither happened. She loves to tell that story 😂

  9. A couple of years ago my word was PRESENT…in an effort to appreciate each moment and be in the moment without a device or mind wandering. It was a great practice!

  10. I think pumpkin bread is our forever family tradition all year long. The grands always want me to make it and bring it!

  11. Hi Pamela,
    It looks like you had a wonderful Christmas. What a beautiful Parrot Meko is. They are amazing birds, and very smart. Many years ago I had a roommate and she came with her parrot named Chula, she was not so nice, I think she was off upstairs. Very mean and hateful it was kind of disturbing to me and my boyfriend at the time. He thought the same.

    You have to have pumpkin bread for the holidays, so nice you baked three loafs. It sounds like you love to cook and bake. Your husband and family are lucky, and I am sure they appreciate you.

    My operative WORDS for the year are: HOPE, SUCCESS, VICTORY. I usually only pick one words but I feel strongly about needing all three moving forward in 2022.

  12. I really like how your grandson’s parents handled the parrot situation. So many times, these requests are handled with a firm “NO” or an immediate “YES” which can lead to heartbreak in either case. By challenging him to learn all he could about parrots, the door was left open, & they were able to judge that his desire was true & not just a passing fancy. I have decided to forgo my word of the year & take a different approach. I will be taking time this week to set goals in four broad categories & work each month toward achieving those goals.

  13. That is a great idea, Becky. I also set goals…especially with my home, health and business….thank you for sharing!

  14. Such lovely family times and traditions! I like to make tons of spritz cookies and give them all away. I didn’t know the impact until my son texted to say that his 6 yr old hoped I’d bring those little shape cookies with the red dots for Christmas.
    I guess I’m an outlier when it comes to goals. I know it’s very important, but when I retired I found goals to be so stressful and I’d be so disappointed with myself when I didn’t achieve them. I just stopped. Why put that pressure on myself? Now I keep a journal and jot down things I’d like to get done on a weekly and monthly basis. I like to check them off when I finish, whether it’s getting the vacuuming done or finish a quilting project. If I don’t get much done, I don’t worry about it, just move on to the next week or month. Then if an impromptu opportunity comes up to go have fun with a friend or my hubby, I drop everything and go without a “should “ in the back of my head. I guess you could say, my goal is to not “should” on myself if I don’t have to! I enjoy living in the moment. I’m so fortunate.

  15. I enjoy living one day at a time…moment to moment works too. With my business, I need to plan and have daily goals…with my normal life, I am with you Susan!

  16. Love your word of the year — truly inspirational!!
    I haven’t selected my word yet, but you’ve given me food for thought!

    How terrific that your grandson has received his much-desired parrot. I’m sure he will be a wonderful caretaker of this beautiful creature and that they will both share in the joy of each other.

    Looking forward to 2022 with you, Pam!

  17. After thinking long and hard over the past several weeks, I finally settled on FREEDOM as my word for 2022. I always choose a Bible verse to go with my word, so this year that verse will be John 8:32, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It’s a good transition from the past year when my word was TRUTH. I’ll be writing a blog post about my new word sometime within the next few days, but first we have one more day with our daughter’s family before returning home.

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