1. Christmas Trees
We had the chance to cut down a Christmas tree for Chris' parents last Friday! Rather than shop til we dropped, we hopped on a hayride with the kiddos & picked out the perfect evergreen to grace the living room!
It wouldn't be a seasonal outing without a fire & roasting marshmallows! Since we have visited this farm before - we anticipated the marshmallows & brought our own chocolates & graham crackers for legit s'mores!
Once we made it home from the Kramer family Thanksgiving festivities - we had a chance to set up one of our Christmas trees! Despite the insanity of a 5:30am flight out of Philly (& the 6:20am arrival into Midway) we had a full, fun day at home! Lulu cat napped on the plane, we had delicious breakfast at my parents, played a new card game & then headed for home to officially bring Christmas out of storage and into the house!
We may not have hung any ornaments on the trees yet.....but all in due time!
We will (hopefully) cut down a real tree this weekend - it might rain - which would put a literal damper on the idea....
2. Cousin Love
Lulu doesn't get to see her Kramer cousins all that often - what a treat to be with them over Thanksgiving!
3. Going Away Playdate
I don't like the idea of the moving away- I positively detest when people I adore leave this area for all the reasons people move :( But, it was such fun to play with Cait & Alex before they (along with hubby/dad Adam) move to Boston today. Cait is in the mom's group I started & has been such a fun presence in our lives. She is an enthusiastic participant in all things mom related and I love that about her. I knew all along that her time in Evanston might be short - her husband was doing post doctoral/doctorate?!? work at Northwestern & the inevitability of a "real" job was there from the get go. I had my fingers crossed that the job would be local. Alas & alack, the dream job appeared in Boston - so off they go - flying to their new home today. We were lucky to have such a kind hearted friend here for as long as we did & she will be missed dearly.
4. Toy Guide
I really enjoy listening to the Simple Families Podcast and following along with the Facebook page of the same name. The woman behind the blog was in the Social Work program with me at Miami, which is delightful! She curates a minimalist's guide to holiday toy buying which I so appreciate! We have already purchased Lulu's gifts for the year - but if we hadn't - we would certainly be checking out some of the offerings she suggests! I share it thinking that others may need gift ideas for your own kiddos, nieces/nephews, grandkids, etc.
5. The 1st "Real" Snow
I do truly love snow. I especially love the first snow - it fills me with such complete happiness. I love the way the snow blankets everything & dampens all the sounds.
I love the way it softens the shapes of the world so everything takes on a marshmallow quality. I love the way it forces us all to slow our rolls - you can't be in a rush on snow & ice; you'll slip & fall, crash your car, etc. The forced slowness allows me to really appreciate all the beauty that snow brings.
Winter Storm "Bruce" brought over a foot of snow to some areas near us. We got a few inches (I'm always happy for more snow - but it was great to have enough to cover the grass & trees). Happily we got to walk Chris to the train in the snow & also go sledding with friends in it!
I love the way that winter inspires me to cook giant batches of pretty much everything. I love having enough food to share with family, friends, neighbors. It is such a treat to make something delicious & not only enjoy it at home, but spread that enjoyment around!
This week saw a good bit of bread baking, a double batch of Sweet Potato, Kale & Chick Pea Stew, a quadruple batch of Peanut Butter cookie dough, a double batch of homemade Chex Mix, a double batch of Apple Jack Stew & phew, a double batch of Coconut Veggie Curry. Winning. Winning at winter cooking!
7. Re-reading a great book
This Christmas/holiday season I'm working hard to slow down & actually enjoy the season rather than rush rush rush around so much & so fast that I miss all the goodness of it. In that spirit I am re-reading the book Slowing Time by one of my favorite writers, Barbara Mahany.
She is an incredible writer who brings such a calming presence into my days. I love reading her blog as well - it is worth checking out her writing if you have time. Well, honestly, it is worth making the time to check out her writing - I can't imagine that you'll regret it.