The Christmas I Still Believed

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Ooooooh, I’m excited about this new recipe! :mrgreen:

There was almost an entire loaf of French bread in our kitchen, leftover from Saturday night’s fondue dinner, so I figured I should do something with it instead of just letting it go to waste. So, that’s just what I did! 😀


Last night, I made a Sweet Pear Breakfast Casserole using the (really stale) French bread, an Asian Pear, brown sugar, eggs, soy milk, and a few spices. I baked it last night and just reheated a piece for breakfast this morning.


Sweet Pear Breakfast Casserole


  • 1 loaf of day-old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pear, diced into small pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of vanilla-flavored soy milk
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325*F.
  2. Combine all ingredients, except for the bread, in a large mixing bowl; whisk together.
  3. Add bread cubes to mixture, coat well, and allow to marinate for 20 minutes.
  4. Coat a 8 X 11 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and pour bread mixture evenly into it.
  5. Cover baking dish with tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove baking dish from oven, take off tinfoil, and bake casserole uncovered for another 30 minutes until bread begins to lightly brown.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.
  7. Serve with maple syrup, yogurt, or powdered sugar.

Sweet Pear Breakfast Casserole

I enjoyed a warm piece of the Sweet Pear Breakfast Casserole with a big scoop of yogurt, which I sprinkled with cinnamon. On the side, I had a mug of hot pumpkin spice coffee with soy milk. Loved this breakfast.


So, last night, Mal and I were lying in bed talking about how old we were when we stopped believing in Santa Claus. Neither of us could remember exactly how old we were, but I remembered the Christmas that I really questioned whether Santa was real or not. A Christmas “miracle” made me believe in him for another year! 😉

It was Christmas 1990, and I was 10-years-old. I vaguely remember my friends saying that Santa wasn’t real and then telling my sister because I thought I was so cool for knowing the truth. I also remember snooping in my mom’s bedroom closet and stumbling upon a whole bunch of presents that I put on my Christmas list, so I knew something was up. (Although, I never quite figured out how Santa’s reindeers ate the carrots that we left for them. There were bites out of them and everything!)

By the time Christmas rolled around, I “knew” there wasn’t a Santa Claus. I mean, those guys at the mall were definitely fake and I uncovered my mom’s little “secret,” so there was no way there was a Santa.

But, on Christmas morning that year, my thinking totally changed because under our Christmas tree was a Nintendo!!! Hey, it was 1990. Those things were totally awesome and I really, really wanted one. I clearly remember unwrpapping the box with my sister and shrieking when I saw what was inside. My mom even has photos of us (in our Christmas nightgowns and messy hair) freaking out.


In my mind, there was NO WAY that my mom could afford such an expensive gift, so the only person who could have given it to us was Santa. Plus, my sister and I both asked for Nintendo for Christmas and we were good all year long! 😉

Question of the Day

At what age did you stop believing in Santa?



  1. I think I was quite old, maybe 12? It wasn’t even close to Christmas, actually I’m pretty sure it was march and I was sitting in the lingerie department at Macy’s waiting for my mom to get done shopping and it just clicked. I realized my mom was Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy all at once

  2. I stopped believing in Santa in 2nd or 3rd grade. I was so devasted. A girl in our class announced there was no Santa at the lunch table to the whole class. She said her older sister broke the news to her. Needless to say, the teacher who had no idea she told us there was no santa had to deal with 30 heartbroken kids the rest of the afternoon and explain to us there is in fact a Santa.

  3. what?! there’s no santa?????

    i STILL like to pretend I believe 😉

    I’m so happy I’ll get to re-live christmas through my son’s eyes!! He’s due in Feb, so he won’t have his first xmas till next year (nor will he know what’s going on), but i can’t wait!

  4. I was probably about 9. My brother and I got a tent for Christmas and we each had a “section” inside with our gifts. There was a hand-written note from “Santa” telling us which side was whose, and it was definitely in my mom’s handwriting. I’m such a sleuth!

    Is your mug from Anthro? 🙂

  5. I don’t remember how old I was when I stopped believing but I do remember getting our Nintendo. My parents took us to Disney for Christmas and when we got back there was a Nintendo set-up in my brother’s bedroom. We were convinced that Santa brought it when we were away 🙂

  6. OMG that pear breakfast casserole would have been divine this morning!! I think I was about 10 when I stopped believing in Santa.. there was no super-devastating shock – I think over time I just got more and more skeptical and eventually one day my parents just assumed I’d stopped believing so they stopped pretending!

  7. oh it was a sad day indeed…and I was old too, I think 12ish. I for some reason decided to go up in the closet and pull down my baby book to look at and in the box with the book was a letter I had written to santa teh year before as well as some of my baby teeth in plastic baggies (which I now thing “ew” haha), but yeah after that I went crying to mom…and the worst was taht she was kind of laughing at the whole situation which I do find funny now hah! But man I miss believing that! Santa was the BEST!! And the reindeer took bites out of our carrots too!!

  8. i really loved that story, tina! your mother must have been so happy to give you and your sister such an amazing surprise…those kind of Christmas stories are the best.

  9. I don’t remember how old I was when I stopped believing, but I remember telling my sister when she was just in kindergarten that Santa wasn’t real. I don’t know if she believed me or not, but afterwards I felt terrible!

  10. Gosh, I don’t remember when I stopped. There are 16 years between me and my baby sister, so we played along for a long time! My kids are 12 and 9 and we haven’t done Santa for two years now. Unfortunately, I think the fairy tale does not live on in this day and age. The kids at school ruined it for them.

  11. I found out in 3rd grade from a friend, I was probably 8? Is that how old 3rd graders are? Anyway, a school chum told me…then I started to put together the pieces…Santa’s handwriting on his notes looked oddly like my dad’s handwriting…and I’m pretty sure Santa makes his toys, not buys them from Bradlees (lazy parents didn’t remove the price tags). I played along for another year, then my dad broke the news. I felt kind of bad for already knowing so I played dumb and started crying. What an a*s I was!!
    And ever since that year, I’ve snooped. One year my sister found everything in the basement and we went down to “test” stuff out. That’s the year I got my Dylan McKay doll. Memories!!

  12. We are dealing with this issue right now. My oldest (7) came home on Tuesday and said there was no Santa. An older kid told everyone he wasn’t real, along with the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc. I was heartbroken. My second son (5) was teary eyed. If my memory serves me right, I was 9 or 10 when I found out.

  13. Aww… I actually don’t remember when I figured out what was what. All I remember was just accepting. =/

    BTW – Nintendo was so totally THE joint back then! Although I only played Super Mario Bros on it, I loved to watch all my guy cousins play Zelda and the like! 😉

  14. I was in 3rd grade, about 9 years old. I remember being really pissed at one of my classmates who ruined it for me. She was from one of those families that doesn’t believe in spreading “lies” about Santa. Boooo! I just wanted to cover my ears and pretend I hadn’t heard her, but alas Santa’s cover was blown.

  15. I asked my parents if Santa was real when I was 5. They asked me if I really wanted to know, and I thought about it. What if I said yes and they told me there wasn’t a Santa? Would I still get the presents? So as the utterly practical (and mercenary) kindergartener I was, I said no, I didn’t want to know. (But I had a pretty good idea!)

  16. I can’t remember how old I was…maybe nine? One Christmas, though, I realized that the gift tags that said they were from Santa were all written in my mom’s handwriting. I asked her why that was and she replied, “oh, well Santa is so busy making toys and delivering presents that he asks the moms and dads to write out the gift tags.” haha That was some quick thinking!

  17. I still have my nintendo!!! I got it for Christmas as well!! It still works. And, I’ve been known to break it out when I have a little too much to drink at one of our parties. The hubs friends LOVE the fact that we have one! haha. The women are not impressed.

    I was pretty young when I stopped believing. 6 or 7 maybe? I realized that Santa and mom had the same handwriting. 🙁

  18. nintendo is the best! my neighbor still has it and i beat the game in mario when i played for the first time in years, i miss that!!! best game ever!

  19. I don’t remember the exact age I stopped believing in Santa but I remember when I was in that stage of questioning. We were on our way home from Christmas Eve Midnight Mass and as we got to our street, a reindeer (no lie! I’m from upstate NY) ran across the road in front of my mom’s car. I got so excited thinking that Santa HAD to be real.

  20. I love hearing stories like that!

    I was 8 or 9 and I couldn’t decide whether or not I believed. Then my brother (6 years older than me) pulled me away on Christmas Eve and told me to tell mom and dad that I didn’t believe anymore and then we would be allowed to open our presents that night. I was so sad but told my parents anyway. They were so mad at my brother that they didn’t let us open presents until the afternoon on Christmas day!

  21. I got my Nintendo in 1990 too! It was the BEST Christmas EVER! That was the year my sister was born and we had just gotten a camcorder. My dad captured my excitement on tape. We watch that video every year around this time and it still gets me excited! Thanks for sharing your memory!

  22. Probably around 5th grade. But my parents really went to a lot of fuss to keep the myth going – making footprints and hoofprints in the snow by our chimney – I sure appreciate that they tried to keep us “naive” as long as they did. Your breakfast looks amazing by the way. Take care.

  23. I’m excited about your recipe too! It looks delicious! I always feel bad letting stale bread go to waste.
    I have no idea when I stopped believing in Santa. It was pretty early. My brother and I used to hide behind the couch in the living room and watch our parents put things under the tree.

  24. I can’t remember exactly, but I think it happened why my best friend told me and my sister that there was no such thing. I don’t remember being crushed, though. Hey, as a kid, as long as the presents are still coming, you don’t care who put them there.

  25. I stopped believing when I was about 10 or so. It could’ve been before that. What stopped me from believing was when one year I noticed the handwriting on the gift tags was extremely similar to my Dad’s.

  26. I have no memory of a specific age, but I remember being really irritated about being lied to.

    I’m going to tell my kids the truth: there was once a man named Saint Nicholas and I’ll tell them his story. And that now some people celebrate at Christmas and give gifts to one another because of him.

  27. I don’t remember the age I was when I found out the truth. But I have a story just like yours. I was doubting Santa and got a VCR that year! My thinking was exactly the same; that there was no way my parents could afford such an expensive gift! That kept me believing for another couple of years.

  28. I also begged and begged for and got a nintendo for Christmas in 1990! I was soooo excited when I opened it! I played Duck Hunt and Marble Madness and Super Mario and Tetris for ages.

    And I was afraid of Santa Clause coming into my house for some reason, so by the time I was three I knew he didn’t exist – my mom thought I should know since I was so freaked out! There are ZERO pictures of me with Santa at the mall, I was just afraid of him!

  29. I was in about 5th grade. I asked my dad right after dinner if there was a santa. He looked at me and asked “Do you really want to know?”

    Um, of course I really wanted to know, I was in 5th grade!!! So he told me “No” and I broke into tears and ran to my Mommy. You can only imagine how happy my mom was with him that evening!

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