We spent a cozy Christmas at home by the fire here in Michigan this week. To my delight, it snowed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day too and I got that white Christmas I was hoping for; it was beautiful! Temps have now dropped to frigid highs in the teens here and I’m extra grateful for having this time away from work where I’m able to stay in my warm bed a bit longer and linger by my fireplace at home for as long as I like. I hope you all enjoyed a warm, cozy Christmas too and are enjoying what’s left of 2017.
We spent the weekend decorating our home for the holidays; we picked up our fresh evergreen wreath from the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, stopped by Downtown Home & Garden for some amaryllis bulbs and enjoyed their Annual Christmas Party, and put up our tree and decorations at home. Maddy wasn’t sure what to think of our spinner ornaments on the tree at first (see video here and here), but she seems to have gotten used to them now…lol. As Lucy says, “You know, deck them halls and all that stuff…”
We drove (25+ hours one way) to and from El Paso, TX to spend our Christmas and New Year’s Eve with family this year. It was wonderful seeing all the sights (beautiful West Texas back roads, city lights of El Paso, Mission Trail, Guadalupe Mountains National Park area, etc.), spending time with family, meeting our adorable nephew (born 12/14/16), and enjoying the wonderful holiday season! As we drove to Texas, I made short little posts along the way and here they are:
- Tackling a drive of 1,690 mi, 1 day, 1 hour, 3 minutes in 2 days
Day 1, road trip report: Michigan – beautiful, snow-covered fields, very…very…very cold, saw a sign for a maple store that was “closed for the season”, added air to tires
- Day 1, road trip report: Illinois – Springfield/home of Abraham Lincoln (made me think of the “drinkin with Lincoln” glass I bought Ryan for his birthday last year), moved on from regular Christmas music to punk Christmas music…to Jack White…to early 90’s rock (Ryan wouldn’t car karaoke to Mr. Big with me 😏)
- Day 1, road trip report: Missouri – passed St. Louis gateway arch (we’ve passed it many times to/from TX, one day we’ll stop & visit), Eureka! (Missouri, that is 😉), music changed to Indie & then to The Strokes, Melody is still marathon-sleeping in the back seat & doing a great job so far, still see some light dusting of snow on the ground here & there
- Day 1, road trip report: Oklahoma – just crossed the state line, can’t help but think of the musical (which, by the way, I love)…O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A!!!, booked a room for the night in Oklahoma City & in just under 3 hours we’ll be there, the sunset was lovely, my butt is numb from sitting in this car for the last 12 hours…that is all…
- Day 2, road trip report: Texas – “the stars at night are big & bright…” (👏👏👏👏), my home state, born & raised & lived here the first 26 years of my life, can’t wait to meet my nephew (1 week old today) & see family & be back in my college town (also where Ryan & I met & were married)…& then on to El Paso (to Ryan’s Mom & his childhood home 💗), enjoying this West Texas scenery (it’s been a while, West Texas…feeling all the feels), I really love the word “y’all”, Shiner Bock beer, tacos, & TexMex!
- Day 2, road trip report: New Mexico – It’s dark now & I can’t see much so I’ll just report on my day… It’s been a great winter solstice; watched a gorgeous sunrise & sunset, met my 1 week old nephew, got to hug my brother & sister-in-law, saw some beautiful West Texas scenery, & now headed for my mother-in-law’s home. This is not a Holiday Inn Express ad, just the photo I took of the sunrise leaving our hotel this morning. #wintersolstice #wintersolstice2016
- Day 2, road trip report: Texas (again, with New Mexico in between) – It’s always so nice to come home; the smells, the sights, the sounds…so familiar & like a dream. You can smell the rain & desert sage; Ryan keeps saying how much he loves the smell & I keep thinking about how much I love him. Nothing but love. 69 miles to El Paso & then we’re staying put for a week!
As we drove into Lubbock, I of course had to make a West Texas/Panhandle playlist and I still can’t stop laughing at this song.
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, and I wish you all a very happy New Year. You can view more photos from this last month, including our holiday road trip, here!
“You know another reason why I love the holiday season? Because it’s the time year the whole world dresses up in their ‘Sunday best’ – even the buildings.”
Today is #GivingTuesday and we made a donation to our local Humane Society, which is something I always enjoy supporting. When we adopted our sweet dog, Melody, 15 years ago from a shelter in Austin, TX, they said she was a stray and she was so frightened and timid that she wouldn’t even walk on a leash…how far we’ve come! Melody continues to bring us joy and love every day and we are so lucky to have her in our lives. I hope that you will give in some way (your time, your talents, your donations, etc.) to a cause that is meaningful to you in honor of this day of giving!
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the past, and Hanukkah and Christmas fast-approaching, it’s got me thinking about all things gifting – on that note, here are a few items I recommend for holiday gifts, if you’re looking for ideas or a little inspiration:
- Make a donation to the preferred charity of your family or friends’ choice!
- Etsy’s gift guide
- Our friend, Tanya, does beautiful, custom watercolor portraits (more on that here) – you’ll find her on Etsy here.
- Our friend, Abigail, makes beautiful, handcrafted porcelain – check out her online shop here.
- We’ve been loving using Framebridge for our framing needs lately; they’re fast, affordable, shipping is free, and they handwrite gift notes with your order!
- Consumable gifts are always nice! Here are a few, Michigan-based ones to consider…
- King Orchards: Ever eaten a Michigan-grown, Honeycrisp apple? If yes, then you understand; if no, you should try one!
- Zingerman’s Mail Order: Ridiculously delicious, high-quality, mouth-watering ingredients and all things food – they’ve got mail-order gelato, breads, meats, cheeses, pantry items, sweets, etc. You can even order sandwich kits with everything you need to put one of their famous Reubens together, right in your own kitchen!
- Mawby: Pop the cork on some bubbly to celebrate the holidays – Michigan’s Mawby can help you with that! My personal favorite is the Blanc de Blancs, but they’ve got something for everyone from sweet to dry.
We spent yesterday afternoon decorating our home for Christmas, which always brings me joy; we’ve got our Farmer’s Market evergreen wreath on the door, our tree is up, and the Christmas Cactus my parents gave me several years ago is blooming again! I can’t help but think of this clip from Charlie Brown Christmas and smile…
As I mentioned in my last post, we had a wonderful Christmas with family in Texas this year – so once we arrived safely home on New Year’s Eve, it was nice to enjoy a quiet dinner out and then return home to sit beside our beautiful tree next to the fireplace and enjoy the cozy glow for the evening; after having driven for 2 full days, we were spent. I was thrilled to come home and see my amaryllis plant in full bloom though and counted myself lucky that it had done so well in my absence. Speaking of luck…did you eat your black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year’s Day? We did – Ryan had a great idea to incorporate them into a vegetarian taco mix, which turned out to be not only fast and easy to prepare, but also delicious. We are looking forward to the New Year and all the possibilities ahead for us. Wishing you happiness, health, and good luck in the New Year!
We traveled back to my hometown (Gatesville, TX) for Christmas this year and loved spending it with family at my parents house; my Aunt Connie and Uncle Phil came down from Abilene and my brother and sister-in-law drove down from Lubbock too. We had so much fun seeing everyone, celebrating Clint’s birthday on Christmas Eve, eating lots of delicious food, playing games, and just relaxing. If you’d like to see more photos from our trip, you can view them here.
Our Christmas cards (another Ryan Molloy original!) are in the mail and, short of treating myself to a glass of soy eggnog, I am ready…bring on the Christmas! I’ve got a whole box of holiday movies ready to be watched; here’s a few of my favorites…
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – There’s no shortage of hilarious scenes, like…”Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?“
- Meet Me in St. Louis – This gets me every time… (and the scene in The Family Stone too)
- Love Actually – Hugh Grant dancing!
- Elf – “You sit on a throne of lies.”
Thinking of doing some holiday baking?
- Chocolate Peppermint Marshmallows
- Candy Cane Peppermint and White Chocolate Swirl Cake
- These all look good!
- Christmas Morning Muffins
Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!