Our tree is up, we ski’d ‘gluten-free’ and voting has begun

Candles lit for the third of Advent

3 candles lit on our Advents wreath

The momentous Christmas moment has happened. Our tree is up! The lights are on and decorating will commence – we ran out of time for that part today. This has to be one of the biggest highlights of the year for me. Decorating the tree has always been one of my favorite things and it always brings back great memories. At almost midnight (we got carried away with rearranging the furniture to accommodate the Christmas tree), M has just lit up the outside of the house with a simple and lovely string of white lights. Just perfect.

Life has been pretty Christmassy of late, and somehow the usual stress of rushing to buy gifts and getting them all packaged up to send them to Europe in time has been avoided. I still have our Christmas letter to write – this evenings task – and in it I will be letting everyone know that instead of a gift from us this year, we have donated money to St. Judes in everybody’s name instead. I finally realized that helping those little kids fight for their lives makes infinitely more sense than scrambling about for gifts and underpinning the US postal service while I’m at it.

T performed in his pre-school Christmas concert today. Looking a bit nervous at first, then coolly walking up to the microphone and delivering his line about the angels, before deciding that that was his lot and yawning while the little girls performed their songs and twirls around him. Quite hilarious.

We’ve had two trips up to the mountains of North Lake Tahoe and have had the pleasure of some amazing skiing already this year. I was a tad nervous initially because of the whole gluten-free thing, but turns out that it was pretty easy to navigate that whole scenario. Top marks go to Mikuni Sushi. We ate there last night and they were very in tune with our dietary requests and completely comfortable with the concept of ‘gluten-free’. The food was delicious, their service great and we were a happy family as a result. On the mountain, C feasted on baked potatoes and hot dogs and at our hotel they were super relaxed about us rocking up to breakfast with our gluten-free Envirokidz frosted flakes and Udi’s bread. They also recommended a natural foods store in Truckee that has a lot of gluten-free products. We didn’t make it there and I had a stash of goodies with me, but great to know for next time.

So liberating to get away sometimes. We all made it down a black run yesterday, which is amazing for me as it is for 4 year old T. I think that officially makes us a ‘ski family’ now, complete with a ski rack on the roof of our car. M is very happy.

Our salmon is sat in the freezer ready to prepare our gravadlax for Christmas next week and 3 candles are lit on the wreath for the third Sunday in Advent today. Just one more week of getting up early for the school run too. Woo hoo!

Voting has begun over at Kim’s, Cook It Allergy Free, Blog. We are #14 – just saying. To vote, you leave a comment with your favorite number (14, of course) and say why you like that house, or in our case, a gingerbread village. You can vote once a day until December 17th. C is SO SO keen to win, so it’d be great if you could take two ticks to pop over to Kim’s great site and cast your vote…

To read about the process of our gingerbread extravaganza and to check out more pics (C has already scolded me for not submitting the best to the contest) check out my post from last week.

Off to think about that Christmas letter now. Happy 3rd of Advent!


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  1. Oh, what wonderful holiday festivities, Nicola! We just got our tree up last night. We’ll decorate it tonight. I had to chuckle about you moving the furniture at midnight. We weren’t that bad this year, but in the past we’ve been very late into the evening doing the tree, with a late dinner which made us all grumpy, etc. Glad the skiing excursion worked out gluten free, and cute plug for your gingerbread creations. ;-) I really think everyone should win … so much creativity and hard work went into those entries!


    • nstockmann says:

      Shirley – I agree. Everyone really should win. It’s amazing. I wish we could taste them all too. ;-). Will think of you when we are decorating the tree this afternoon. xo

  2. Eve says:

    Happy decorating! I’m with you in spirit

  3. Nicola, so so jealous that you have already been up to Tahoe for skiing. I cannot wait to do the same. And the start to your holiday season sounds like it has been so peaceful and stress-free. Exactly as it should be. Enjoy decorating that tree!!

    • nstockmann says:

      I think there are enough stresses in our every day lives sometimes as it is. Always striving for peace – I sometimes succeed… ;-).

  4. Love that T was yawning while the little girls twirled around him. Hilarious indeed!

    Also, I tried to vote for you but the link doesn’t seem to want to load right now. FYI.


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