A Macy's Christmas and (Thanksgiving recap)-recipe

Even though it's three days after Christmas I wanted to do some sort of post on the last year for Santaland at Macy's in Portland, Oregon. Our tradition of going to the Portland Macy's is going to be coming to an end at the end of 2016. Macy's has sold their building and set to shut down their store location in Portland in spring of 2017. We are saddened, but it also gives us a chance to open up a new tradition of driving to the Seattle location and visiting the Santaland there instead. Here is the SNS post dedication to the Santaland Macy's in Portland, Oregon.

The Bean has been coming to the Santaland at this location since he was four. It's a really sad thing for him to see it all go away. I've been trying my best to tell him that we can start new memories in Seattle. I don't think it will fully set in that the Seattle Santaland will be great until we actually go there in 2017. In the meantime, we are drying tears and enjoying great memories in Portland,

The best part of this visit to Santaland is that we got to share the last year with family. If you follow me on Instagram you know that we had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year with the visit of Will and Kayla. There's lots more in this post about their visit too!

The entrance to see Santa Claus is called Holiday Lane. Toy soldiers stand guard at the start of Holiday Lane and are as tall as The Bean.

The Bean loves placing his stamped letter to Santa in the Believe Meter mailbox. It's one thing that will never fade, no matter how old he gets. Before we left, The Mr. and The Bean stood and looked at everything and remembered all of the years we had been there. The Mr. actually came to Santaland at Macy's when he was growing up and had some great memories of the place.

Portland courthouse.

We rode the MAX Train while we were in Portland and come to find out, this was the first time my brother, Will, has taken public transportation.

Christmas tree at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

As far as Thanksgiving goes, Will and Kayla landed on Thanksgiving day and we started cooking Thanksgiving dinner at about 6:00 a.m. They were set to land at noon, but got delayed in Dallas, so they didn't land until around 2:30 p.m. After getting the rental car and getting to our house it was well after 4:00 p.m. before we actually sat down and ate Thanksgiving dinner, but that didn't matter to us, it was great just having them here to spend a holiday with. And the meal was great!

The shape of the rental car reminded us of the car on National Lampoons Vacation.

We had to stop at A & W to have some original root beer.

We visited the state capital in Salem, Oregon, and afterward headed up the Cascades to play in the snow for a bit before it got too dark.

We all had a blast sledding down the hill. We all ended up crashing at the bottom, but the snow being so fresh it softened the blow a bit better.

The Bean was having a blast! Living in Oregon, where it snows a ton, does have its perks!

We headed to Crater Lake the following day and stopped off at Harry & David for a little snack. We decided to spend the night at Union Creek once we got into the area. It was pretty late, so we wanted to take advantage of the full area of Crater Lake without being pushed for time.

If you are a regular follower of South North South, you'll remember, our stay at Union Creek and road trip to Crater Lake back in May

Driving up to the top of Crater Lake wasn't too bad, but driving back down we started getting into some heavy snow.

It was worth the drive though to see Crater Lake in the winter. The last time we went (here) it was after the snow had begun to melt off and it was actually warm. The view of Crater Lake at that time was amazing!

We were pretty bummed that Will and Kayla didn't get to see the lake, but they had a blast in the snow regardless!

This picture is the one I shared on Instagram and I couldn't help be love it enough to share here on the blog too. Crater Lake is such a wonderful place! If you have a seasonal bucket list going, be sure to add Crater Lake to it for each season.

After leaving Crater Lake, we stopped off at Prospect Pizza. This place is the best! A tiny hole in the wall pizza joint in the middle of nowhere, but their pizza is some of the best!

A short and quick view of a whale passing through. We waited around for a bit to see if she would peek up again.

She finally came up and made a bigger splash. See her at the bottom left-hand corner of the picture above. 

First time for Will and Kayla to be in California, so stopping at the state line was a must. Remember, we are all from the south, so these moments are a big deal!

We arrived at the Trees of Mystery a short time later after crossing the state line. For the SNS family we've been here before, but we love the Trees of Mystery, so we were excited to show Will and Kayla 

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox standing tall at the entrance of the park.

We rode the sky tram up to the top of the mountain and Will was quite scared that it would break. The valley below is a pretty good drop, so it did cross all of our minds. Once we got leveled out it wasn't that bad of a ride. We've been on the ride before (here), but I don't think you could ever get used to riding it.

That evening we drove up to Portland to stay the night. Their flight was leaving early in the morning, so staying up in Portland seemed like the best plan. The picture above was at about 3:00 a.m. and everyone was tired, but we were sad that they were leaving, so it almost trumped the tired feelings.

We said out last goodbyes. I am still sad that they are gone. I really enjoy spending quality time with my brother. As we have gotten older we have gotten closer. I value him a lot.

We watched their plane leave. They didn't know that we watched them the entire time until we couldn't see the plane anymore. I felt it was important.

We headed back to the motel room to relax for a few more hours and The Bean crashed right out on the room couch as soon as we walked back in the door. 

And that was it. We gathered out things, ate some continental breakfast, and headed home.

A few days later we headed to the Christmas tree farm to pick out a good Christmas tree for our little family. We scored the perfect one! I also made some delicious turkey soup with the leftovers from Thanksgiving. Similar to chicken soup, but replace the chicken with turkey.

Thanksgiving Turkey Soup:

Leftover, fully cooked turkey removed from the bone (At least half the bird)
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
10 yellow potatoes (cut into one-inch cubes)
1 large white onion (cut into one-inch cubes)
6 celery stalks (cut into small crescent pieces)
1 bag of baby carrots (cut in half)
3 springs of parsley (chopped)
6 cups of water (and an additional six cups as it cooks)
1 tsp. dill (fresh or dry)
1 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbs. onion powder
1 tsp. seasoning salt
4 bay leaves
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Add everything to a large stock pot and cook for 30 minutes. Add the additional six cups of water and cook for another 30 minutes. Serve! 

One of the best things about Christmas is receiving cards from friends and loved ones. 

Side note:
The Bean really enjoyed peeling away the days on his Fair Trade Chocolates Advent Calendar. I picked this up at the local co-op. 

Under each flap it shows different countries and how they say "Happy Holidays."
Snag one next year here. Also, we got the best gift from Will and Kayla after they left. Part of their Christmas gifts was this gift card to Shari's to eat. It was great and my brother said, "You can go eat at Shari's and pretend we are there eating with y'all." Wonderful! I just love gifts with thought!

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