Last night, I enjoyed a most adorable advent play performance in which our friends’ daughter, Averie, played a lamb. The kids were so cute playing the part of angels, lambs, shepherds, Joseph and Mary, etc. I can remember doing the same, when I was a little girl; I even got the lead role of Mary one year, which was a really big deal for me and included a solo performance. Not only was it fun to watch the kids sing and act out the story, but it was also so much fun for me to sing along to such familiar Christmas carols – what a nice way to add some Christmas cheer to my holiday season!
We had a fun, busy, Christmasy weekend. We kicked off our weekend with some Midnight Madness fun in downtown Ann Arbor to finish up our Christmas shopping and we stopped into the Old German for a drink and to share their delicious, baked soft pretzels with spicy mustard and cheddar fondue. Downtown Home and Garden had a petting zoo for the weekend, complete with alpaca, goats, sheep, a donkey, and a zebu. The zebu had the best eyelashes! I wanted to get a good picture of the zebu, but it didn’t want to pose for me – oh well, you know how zebus can be. We hosted a holiday brunch at our home on Sunday and really enjoyed having everyone over and sharing such delicious food with friends; Ezra (who shares my love for strawberries – in fact, I’m pretty sure he loves them even more than I do) even showed me the proper way to patty-cake – thanks, Ezra! During our brunch, the snow started to fall outside (it really was perfect timing) and 3 different groups of friends at the brunch were heading directly from our place to pick out their Christmas trees.
Over the weekend, we did our annual it’s-Thanksgiving-weekend-let’s-decorate-the-house-for-Christmas flurry of activity; which included 1 tree, multiple strands of lights, many ornaments, 3 stockings, 2 strands of garland, 2 wreaths, 1 mistletoe ball, and various other holiday accoutrement. I will always feel like there’s something magical about sitting in a dark room enjoying the glow of Christmas tree lights…especially if there’s a warm fire nearby.
We’ve been occasionally mentioning to each other, since we moved into our home back in June 2012, that it would be nice to have a table or island we could use for additional work space (at counter height) and/or a space that just the two of us could sit and eat at in our kitchen – not a necessity, just something that would be nice to have. We didn’t want anything too big and we wanted something that would fit our tastes and the needs for the space we have to fit it in. Ryan suggested we visit our local reuse center today as they have a good selection of reasonably priced and discounted hardwoods for sale; what we ended up walking away with was a very nice piece of live-edge maple (from Raven Farm) which we got a good deal on ($100 off due to a split in the wood at one end, which we’ll cut off anyway) and we’ll use to cut down and make a table for our kitchen with. This will be our big Christmas and Anniversary gift to each other and something we can enjoy for years to come.
We ordered legs for our table here and 2 stools for our table here. We even laid out the approximate space it would take up in the center of our kitchen, with painters tape, to get an idea of what it would be like in the space. I’m really looking forward to seeing it all come together and having another usable surface we can enjoy in our kitchen!
I noticed when shopping in a particular store last week that they were playing Christmas music over the speaker system. Christmas music? It’s barely November. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas; in fact, it happens to be my favorite holiday. Personally, I think that the day after Thanksgiving is fair game for any/all Christmas music, movies, decorations, etc. to come out in their full and festive glory. However, before then I feel we shouldn’t steal Thanksgiving’s thunder. It is, after all, an important holiday too.
I do feel that preparing Christmas lists and shopping for Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving is appropriate though. I actually feel a little stressed every year when it gets to be the day after Thanksgiving and I’ve done little to no Christmas shopping; so much to do with so little time, if you know what I mean. Which is why when I did get a start to some of my Christmas holiday planning last weekend I felt really good about it; I designed and ordered our holiday cards online here and ordered a fresh, boxwood wreath here.
Pictured above is Ryan in a Beardo, which my wonderful brother and sister-in-law sent us as a Christmas gift last year. Note to self: Don’t let the stress of the holidays get to you – remember to have fun with it!
I may or may not have gotten sucked into a cheesy Christmas movie on Lifetime last weekend…I’ll never tell.
Here’s a bit of cupcake porn for those who read this blog. Just some simple easy to make minty, chocolatey chip-y, vegan, gluten-free cupcakes for you to enjoy.
The recipe follows Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World‘s basic chocolate cupcake recipe. Instead of regular flour substitute gluten-free all-purpose baking flour and a little extra tapioca flour (no more than a tablespoon). Go with the chocolate extract option for the additional extract and I also added a bit of mint extract (1/2 teaspoon) as well. For the icing I followed the directions for mint icing from the book but left out the green food coloring; I wanted to go for the classic peppermint look. Paint thin stripes of red gel food coloring inside a piping bag, 2-3 are all that is needed, then add the icing in to frost. Nothing fancy here other than a few simple substitutions.
I am enjoying every minute of this joyous holiday season – holiday parties & get-togethers, delicious food & drink, & happy memories! We put together this “Christmas fettuccine” for a potluck & it was easy with only a few ingredients; I think it looks very festive with its red & green ingredients. We used al dente fiesta fettuccine, shallots, garlic, 2 packages of frozen spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, & salt & pepper to taste. Happy holidays!
Behold the new holiday drink: THE RUMMY TUM TUM. We had a whole bunch of rum we inherited from bygone parties and we are not really rum drinkers so Ryan decided he wanted to use some of it. Hot buttered rum didn’t sound appealing to him and he had the idea of only using ingredients we had on hand, or “McGyver-ing,” to make the drink. With what was in our fridge and pantry he came up with this nifty little cocktail for your holiday needs.
Pictured above is the beautiful Mrs. Reedy enjoying a rummy tum tum and looking festive and fabulous as usual!
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup cider
- 1 tbsp dark rum
- 1 tbsp light rum
- 1 tbsp 151 (rum)
- 1 1/2 tbsp rye whiskey
- the juice of 3-4 slices from a mandarin orange
- a dash of cinnamon
- a little fresh grated nutmeg
- a dash of ginger
- twist of orange peel and cinnamon stick for garnish, and maybe another little bit of nutmeg
In a shaker add all of the ingredients (except the garnish of course). Shake well without any ice. Add a few cubes of ice and shake again. Pour into a glass. Garnish and enjoy.
Thanks to the mix masters at Bar at Braun Court for the suggestion of adding citrus and dry shaking the ingredients before adding ice and shaking again.
We’ve come up with the tradition of kicking off the holiday party season by having a small group of friends over for a secret santa gift exchange in early December & it’s something I look forward to every year. This year we enjoyed hosting the party in our new home – complete with a fire & a big tree decorated for Christmas with pretty ornaments & lights – which made it even more special to me.
We are blessed to have such wonderful friends in our lives; I am so thankful for them as they warm our home with their presence & our hearts with their friendship. Happy holidays to you & yours!
We bought a new tree, lights, & ornaments for our new home & decorated for the holidays after Thanksgiving & I just love it; there’s always something magical about the warm glow of Christmas lights – the fact that our tree is right beside our fireplace certainly doesn’t hurt either! I am really pleased with the way it all came together & I love our vintage-style glass tree topper. As we were putting up the tree, it started to snow outside; it was like the weather knew & we’d ordered up the first snow of the season just for the occasion. Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la…