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Showing posts from 2014

Christmas 2014

It's good to be home
Where there's more stocking than one
(and the number seems to keep growing)
The tree is real
We need to put out cookies for Santa

and a certain 3 year old puts his felt clock at midnight and says "Santa comes"
and even though it's scary outside when it's dark at night, he makes sure to put out the reindeer food
and sometimes ringing the Polar Express bell can make things better ;)

 How can you ever say no to that face? :)

Powering through the scary, dark outside to feed the reindeer:
Reindeer Food Sprinkle on the lawn at night The moon will make it sparkle bright Santa's reindeer fly and roam This will guide them to your home.









Now it's time to go back to reality...

Cool Aunt

I loved this Cool Aunt Life Tips article.

I especially loved "Being strong is sometimes the easy way out."
I had a fantastic boyfriend in my 20s. He was sweet but strong, responsible yet funny, and, most importantly, he didn’t mind that I don’t have an indoor voice. When he wanted to take the next step in our relationship, I did the mature thing and broke up with him. I rationalized that he was too needy, too emotional, too in love with me, when I was the one who’d fallen hard. I hid behind false indifference, because I wasn’t able to tell him what a fearsome thing it was for me to be loved unconditionally. In other words, I was doing it wrong. Owning (and announcing) your feelings is one of the most courageous of human acts. It’s painful and liberating, humbling and empowering in equal measure. It lets love in and is the only way to experience a relationship of any real depth. And, if it goes horribly wrong, there’s definitely a Nora Ephron character who can relate.So true.

In…

Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

For my work dessert walk a couple weeks ago, I decided to make chocolate dipped pretzels.  I mean, how hard can it be, melt chocolate, dip pretzels, decorate.

Well when I started melting chocolate just in a little pot on the stove and it started to burn, I should have know I took completely the wrong approach.  (P.S. If this ever happens to you, add butter and you should be able to still use it.)

I've since learned from different sources to use a double broiler (which I don't have) or even just a bowl over the pot of boiling water.  Also Barefoot Contessa has melting chocolate in the microwave tips!

Then just a few days ago when I finished eating my leftover pretzels, I saw there was a recipe on the back:  Chocolate Covered Pretzels.  Wow, Lisa.

1 (12 ounce) package milk chocolate chips
1 (10 ounce) bag pretzel rods
2-3 cubes vanilla flavored almond bark

1.  Using a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl over the top of a saucepan, fill halfway with water, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat t…

Holiday Traditions

Do you have any holiday traditions?

We have so many & I always find it hard to veer from traditions.  Although I will say, I think I'm getting better at the changes that come every year.

We still go out to pick out our Christmas tree on a Christmas tree farm (the last few years with a varying number of people).  I haven't missed one.  Just sayin'.  Except for that year I was in Mexico, but that's an exception to everything.

A tradition I didn't even know was a tradition until last year is watching Love Actually for the first time every season with Karen, my sister.
Last year:
Me:  I watched Love Actually over the weekend.
Karen:  You did what!  We're supposed to watch it together for the first time every year.  Then you can watch it on your own after that first time.

May I note she was not even living in Chicago at that point.  So #1 how I was supposed to know that and #2 I didn't even see her in December before Christmas.

So now that I know this is a tradition…

Craft Fairs

I just wrapped up my season of craft shows on Saturday.  I went to SIX in the past month!
For real.

I only bought a few things, but I enjoyed every single one.

DIY Trunk Show - Edgewater
Show of Hands - Ravenswood 
Rock N Roll Craft Show - South City (St. Louis)
One of a Kind - Rivernorth
Renegade - Bridgeport
The Chicago Art Girls Holiday Pop-Up Shop - North Center

At the Trunk Show I found some pre-christmas gifts with my friend, Rubina.  I found a birthday gift for a friend.  Part of a baby shower gift for a friend.  And they both liked it.

The Rock N Roll Craft Show was set-up different than any of the others and all in all I liked it.  They did have an admission fee, but the crafts were priced lower than most craft shows.  Maybe this was because it was St. Louis?  Maybe it's because of the admission fee?  They also had live music and all the crafts were out together.  There weren't booths where you pay for each artists stuff at each booth.  You walked around all the stuff, picke…

Christmas Cards 2014

This year I went for a handmade painted, sewed, written option.  Just throw it all together.

It was definitely a multi-step process.  One layer of paint.  Another layer of paint.  (insert time for drying) Creating the be merry message and cutting it out.  Sewing on the be merry message.  Maybe not the best for my sewing needle.  Oh well.
Adding the inside message
And last, but definitely not least signing and addressing the envelopes.

If I had the time and energy, I would have liked to put a picture of the recipient in one of the bubbles.  Oh well...maybe one of you can!

I'm actually pretty happy with how these turned out and I had fun doing them.  Win Win.

Charities

When you work at a place that decides to focus on charities during the holiday season a few things happen:

You end up donating a lot of money to charity through the activities they plan.You get to meet more people at the company.You help other people.You join the committee.This is basically what happened at work this holiday season.  We have a Charity Makes Sense committee and we have events starting late October where we raise money for designated charities.  Yes, it was a bit of a drag at times, but last year the company raised over $15,000 and this year we are on track to pass that number.  (And then the company matches the amount we raise...and then some.)
After a pizza Halloween photo contest lunch, Gobble Grams, Happy Hour, Jeans Days, Dessert Walk, online auction, adopt a family, warm clothes collection, December pizza lunch, etc.  It's a lot, but it's fun and even though I started to feel robotic "It's for charity." and I had to start rationing what I would…

Sleep!

#1 This guy is adorbs.
#2 This time of year everyone can probably agree they need a bit more sleep.  The holidays are fun, but they can definitely be overwhelming :)



Yay Naps!

St. Nick's Day

After volunteering Saturday, December 6th, I picked up Karen, my sister to head to Bridgeport for Renegade.

Me:  St. Nick accidentally came to my place for you. (an ornament)
Karen:  Same here (almonds & dried mango)

Do you celebrate St. Nick's day?
Have you ever heard of St. Nick's day?


It’s not celebrated much in the U.S. – although there has been some awareness of the holiday in Wisconsin – but in Northern Europe St. Nicholas Day is a big thing. Traditional celebrations included gifts left in children’s shoes (from which American Christmas stockings developed).  according to St. Nick's Day.com.  I do think it has something to do with geography, but I did not grow up in Wisconsin and we always celebrated.

St. Nicholas Day is the actual saint's feast day.  Santa Claus is actually derived from St. Nick.

In the words of wikipedia:
He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, a practice celebrated on his f…

Holiday Movies

Monday night after work, I took out all the holiday decorations and popped in my first Christmas movie of the season:  It's a Wonderful Life.

I decorated, enjoyed possibly my favorite Christmas movie, and had a delicious Schlafly Christmas Ale.  It was a very successful evening.  It's a Wonderful Life will always bring a tear to my eye.  With everything that was going on, I just broke down, which I think is an ok thing sometimes.  I'm not a crier, but sometimes I am.  It's all good :)

What are your favorite Christmas movies?  Growing up we watched:

It's a Wonderful LifeHome AloneMiracle on 34th StreetThe Santa ClauseAs we got older: Love ActuallyElf (which my cube neighbor says is obviously the best Christmas movie ever)I've never seen A Christmas Story, although people swear by it.
Are there any other hidden jems I've missed all my life?

P.S. 50 Best Christmas Movies according to TimeOut Chicago

Happy Thanksgiving

I always look forward to Thanksgiving.  I think it honestly might be my favorite holiday.  It's just hanging out.  My family doesn't go crazy with shopping for Christmas.  We will decorate the house during Thanksgiving weekend, but that's about it.

This year I have been especially looking forward to it because I need a little break.  Things have been super busy...bordering on overwhelming.  And I've been looking forward to the inevitable relaxation that is supposed to come from my parents' little town.  Then...I looked at the weather and it is supposed to be 60 degrees Saturday!  Now I can't wait!

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?  I have a Turkey Trot, time with family, Schlafly brewery tour, hopefully the Cardinals hall of fame on my agenda.  Super excited over here!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Biking in the Cold

As everyone is talking about right now...it's cold.  Like January cold...in November.  Tuesday I honestly don't think we hit 20.  Le Sigh.

I haven't yet given in to the freezing temps...I'm still biking to/from work.  I add the from designation because on the way to work, the sun is out, it's not too bad.  The ride home, when the sun has set, is when it seems a bit stupid.

I layer.
I wear jeans over my tights.
And wool socks over the tights.
One heavy duty pair of mittens on the way in.  Gloves and mittens home.
Hat.
Scarf.
Real winter coat (which I've never worn this early before).

My tips of my fingers still get cold.  What do I do?

No, I seriously don't know the answer.  If you have any suggestions for biking in the extreme cold, please share!

I have -30 degree gloves on my Christmas list.  Do they make those?

My 16⁰ ride to work this morning almost felt warm...maybe I'm acclimating.  
Doubt it.

I did take the bus/eL yesterday because I had all kinds of places…

Pittsburgh Wedding Weekend

Last weekend I had my last wedding for a bit.  One of my Mexico roomies got married in Pittsburgh and we all made the trip!  It was pretty great, not going to lie.

We got there and cut it a bit close to actually attend the rehearsal so we met up with everyone at the rehearsal dinner. :) 

Saturday we had some free time before the wedding so we checked out the borough we were staying in: Southside Flats.  I loved The Pretzel Shop.  So good!  

We also loved Over the Rack, a bicycle bar where we had lunch.

The ceremony was beautiful.  Melissa and I passed out programs, carried up the gifts, and upon arrival ended up doing all the little things like organizing the flowers, etc. as we waited for the bridal party's arrival.  (We were happy to help, but weren't really expecting it...so...we did our best ;)
Melissa & I got asked if we planned to match each other. Nope.We got asked if we planned to compliment the wedding party.  Nope. Boom.  Killed it.They had their reception at Le Mo…