on the 17th day of Christmas....

My hard working hubby came home to his wife dancing around in the kitchen, singing to old school music and cooking up a storm. Yesterday was just one of those days when cooking was so much more than preparation for a meal, it was a way to relax and exercise my creative skills in the kitchen.

Here was our menu:
creamy mashed potatoes
buttered mixed veggies
ground turkey chipotle meatballs
mushroom onion gravy

on the 16th day of Christmas....

After helping out some of our friends {and new home owners} with their redecorating projects, my hubby and I took a little drive to look at the twinkle lights. It really is a magical time of year!!

on the 15th day of Christmas....

It's one of the classics, a feel good cozy movie that makes you feel at home the second you hear the music. This season I have been without my seasonal normality since all of my other Christmas holidays have been spent with my family. This year I have been without my traditional Christmas movies until the other night when White Christmas graced us with it's presence. I was so overly excited I even put a sticky note on the TV to remind myself.

Since Brian and I have been so busy this year, we haven't done too much Christmas shipping together. Mostly our version of Christmas shopping has included lounging on the couch with a glass of wine, scrolling through amazon.com.

Most of the shopping we have done has been done apart {me going to the mall & B stopping by a few stores between his appointments}. It seems like the ideal time to go Christmas shopping is on the weekend, and who wants to leave their warm apartment, go out into the cold with about a jillion {it's a real work guys} other people, drive at least 30 minutes, and try to battle the crowds. So for that reason I have been doing a few DIY projects for Christmas pressents. There will be much more on that in a later post.

Happy Christmas shopping!


on the 14th day of Christmas....

As I hinted to before, Brian & I went on a mini-Christmas-birthday-getaway to downtown Minneapolis with a group of 10 of our friends. We were celebrating 3 lovely ladies birthdays with a dinner out and Christmas comedy show. I unfortunately didn't snap any pictures last night but happened to grab a few today. It was such a fun way to relax and treat ourselves to a weekend getaway.

You know you are on vacation when you can enjoy champagne with breakfast.

on the 13th day of Christmas....

We have been in the midst of some pretty crazy days around here so, sad to say our advent calendar has become a little delayed. We will catch up I promise, but right now we are in the midst of buying a new car, going on all sorts of interviews, taking a mini-Christmas-birthday-getaway, snow storms, driving all over the cities, Christmas shopping...

If you took one peek into our hall closet you would instantly see that I have a love obsession for candles.

I love how they remind you of the crisp holiday weather.
I love how they fill your home with an aroma of blended smells.
I love how they illuminate your home with a romantic feel.

This candle {Fresh Balsam} is an invigorating aroma of fresh balsam trees on a clear winter morning that features crisp eucalyptus, fir needles & ceder wood musk notes.


winter wonderland

This is the type of weekend that you remember, because we had the type of snow storm that you never forget. While it wasn't the biggest snow storm I have experienced, it was the first storm of the season and the 1st of our married lives. We had no choice but to be hermits for the day, bundle up with a few tv episodes, enjoy a few football games, make Christmas cookies, and sip on our homemade chicken tortellini soup.

This is the snow storm that blocks out your windows with snow drifts. It's the day where your normal commute to work takes 1 1/2 hours instead of 40 minutes.

It's the type of day when you can't help but look outside every chance you get and be filled with Christmas joy.

It's the type of storm you take a ruler out to measure it. Well, I happened to remember that once I stepped into the snow drifts and didn't fancy traipsing back upstairs to measure it. I thought of another way to measure it by tracking the wet marks on my boots.

This is the type of storm that makes your go out and get a new shovel because they ice scraper for your car just won't cut it to dig your car out of the snow.

This is the type of weather that makes me thankful I live in a state with 4 ever changing seasons.


on the 10th day of Christmas....

Life hasn't really allowed us to just sit back and relax with a book since our honeymoon. It seems like there are always more important things to get done, and even though I am currently unemployed it seems like job searching is a full time job. So, while there hasn't really been time to read a good book, Brian and I still manage to find time in his busy day to cuddle on our bed and read our Christmas devotion for the day with a cup of steamy tea.


on the 9th day of Christmas....

Today was the perfect day for baking some Christmas joy. We made cream cheese sugar cookies and decorated them with some necessarily Christmas sprinkles. Another reason why I love the holidays, everything has a theme and I don't even feel guilty for delighting in these wonderful treats.

It was also the perfect afternoon to send an e-mail to each of our grandparents and see how they are spending their Sunday afternoon.

I know at least for my grandparents out in California, they certainly aren't having the crazy weather that we are having here. So far we have 10 inches of snow, but it is still falling. I can't wait to slip on my boots, bundle up in a scarf and mittens and capture some pictures of our snow covered atmosphere tomorrow. It makes this time of year oh so much more magical.

on the 8th day of Christmas....

Yesterday Brian and I spent the day with 2 adorable little kiddos. I have been babysitting them ever since little Emma was only 3 months old and now she is 6, and Ethan almost 4. Wow that makes me feel old. I even got called mom a few times by other parents or even the kiddos themselves by accident.

We spent the day at the Mall of America loosing our stomachs on rides, picking out a little treat to take home, playing at lego land, walking through the crowded shops, giggling at the arcade games. Even in the craziness we still were able to complete our activity for the day. Brian & I tried a new restaurant in the mall and while it was considered "fast food" it tasted far from that.

We had some yummy Mexican tacos, chips & salsa, and chicken quesadilla from Baja Sol. So while this picture doesn't show our food, I figured a picture of "our kids for the day" would be much more fun to see.

Two things we did realized from yesterday 1) the mall of america is a crazy place to visit a few weeks before Christmas especially with kids and 2) while we were exhausted by the end of the day, having kids will be an amazing adventure.


fill in the blank friday {Christmas version}

Last Friday was a crazy one and I was unable to get to fill in the blanks on Friday. Doubly sad since it was a Christmas version. I always feel silly doing them a day late or doing them the next Friday when there is a new batch of blanks, but this week Lauren over on the little things we do has a sick little lady {her adorable daughter Fern}so there are no new fill in the blanks from her this week. So it just happens to work out that I will be able to do last weeks Christmasy blanks after all!
1.  The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. I tried to think of something else but Elf's voice just kept running over and over in my head and nothing else would do.

2.  The holiday season is my favorite time of year. I hear so many people talking about getting stressed but 

3.  When is comes to holiday decorating I start as early as possible. I know for a fact that it we didn't have Thanksgiving I would go out and buy a Christmas as soon as Halloween was over! I tend to stick to classy more muted versions of the Christmas colors instead of the crazy bright colors.

4.  The thing I look forward to most about the holidays is our time as a family. There is nothing better than coming home after the Christmas Eve concert to run upstairs and change into the new set of PJs my mom bought us, opening up presents with all sorts of yummy treats, waking up on Christmas morning to the smell of cinnamon buns baking, opening out stockings with family.... In the end it all adds up to spending time with family. Being surrounded by family around the holidays is the best place to be.

5.  My favorite holiday tradition is opening our Christmas present in our PJs, eating lots of really unhealthy snacks, {and for those of you in my family} throwing the wrapping paper all over the room and modeling our new present just like Grandpa does ;)

6.  This year my Christmas plans include having an early celebration with my parents before they jet off to California. We are spending Christmas Eve with B's family after the Christmas Eve childrens concert. Christmas morning will consist of Brian & I along with my parents pup and kitty. My sister will join us for opening stockings and cinnamon buns, still in our PJs of course. We will get to spend the rest of the day with B's family in celebration.

7.  My favorite holiday food is homemade Christmas cookies. They come in so many varieties, and while they are not good for the figure and I secretly hope I won't get any as gifts, I think they are one of the most thoughtful gifts. It takes so much time and effort to make a "simple" platter of 1/2 a dozen types of cookies. Plus they just look so cute and festive!

P.S. We won't be able to accomplish today's Christmas activity, but don't worry we will do it another day.


on the 6th day of Christmas....

Who is St. Nicholas?

Today as you know is December 6th, also known as St. Nicholas Day. We all know of our version of St. Nick as the chubby grandpa man in a fuzzy red suite squeezing down the chimney to deliver presents to little boys & girls.

The activity for today is read the true story of St. Nicholas. So tonight while my hubby made dinner {which is rare around here since he is always working so hard, but today he had the day off} I read while he cooked. I found the 'true' story of St. Nicholas here along with the picture above. I will share with you my favorite excerpt of the story.

"One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman's father had to offer prospective husbands something of value, a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man's daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry.

This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver."

And suddenly the picture of oranges in stockings all makes sense!


on the 5th day of Christmas....

photo credit: here

When it comes to Christmas music I will listen to just about anything. I start my Christmas music listening a little early, and listen to it whenever I can. Brian is probably getting a little tired of my music preference and he's only home for a few hours a day, but tis the season.

As of late I have been obsessed with an artist named Charity Vance. She isn't a huge star {yet} but has one of the most amazing voices I have heard in a long time. So far she has only done 1 Christmas song and you can find that here.

It's one of my all time favorite Christmas songs, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.


on the 4th day of Christmas....

My hard working hubby got home last night to a candle lit dinner of salad with grape tomatoes, sliced red onion, and shredded sharp cheese. I also made 3 cheese spinach ravioli in a garlic tomato cream sauce.

We turned on a little music and had a relaxing candle lit evening after his exhausting day. 


on the 3rd day of Christmas....

Christmas cards are made and with a few wedding pictures they will be off in the mail. It's so exciting to be sending off our first {very small} batch of homemade married Christmas cards.

Hope the start to your Christmas season has been as holly jolly as ours has been!


on the 2nd day of Christmas....

Nothing says Christmas spirit like sipping a on a hot cup of jo to start out your day. My hubby and I headed to Starbucks after church and enjoyed a wonderful start to our day. I had a gingerbread latte and Brian a vanilla latte.

Just a suggestion for those who don't like coffee, try the peppermint hot chocolate or hot chocolate with a shot of hazelnut. It's like Christmas in a cup!!


on the 1st day of Christmas....

I have been searching on one of my favorite websites {etsy.com} for weeks, looking at Christmas gifts, inspiration for Christmas decor, birthday gifts, craft ideas and found something totally inspiring. Christmas decor is all over the place on this site and I really wanted to make something for Brian and my mom as a early Christmas gift/thank you for all of their help with our wedding. I love making decor that is not only cute but practical, so I decided on an advent calendar made with a cupcake tin . How fun is that?

So after a festive trip to the craft store, I got to work on the calendars and came up with these. I snapped a quick shot of the one I made for my mom, which is below, and good thing I did. Just to keep it real I will let you know that in 2 attempts to finish Brian and my advent calendar, I bought the wrote magnets to adhere to the paper...twice.

How does that even happen?

You might ask, why didn't I just run back out to the store, well the store is now 35 minutes away from our house so I couldn't just run back out and waist the gas. So ours will have to wait to be completed till tomorrow.

Every day leading up to Christmas I will be sharing with you what is in our advent calendar. For each day there is a slip of paper with an activity we will do to get more in the Christmas spirit! Now if we are not able to complete the activity for that day, I will put the slip of paper in a little Christmas tin and we will do it on a different day, but mark my words, we will do every one!! So there might be a day when I don't share what the activity was, but I will share it eventually.

On the 1st day of Christmas the activity was....

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