Happy Friday! We made it through another week. Here's a few more photos of me and my siblings from my sister's housewarming party last weekend. I'm so happy for her and so proud - she loves her new house and last Saturday it was filled with lots of people who love her.
And because it's Friday and because my sweet tooth is impatient for next week's cookie exchange, here's a ridiculous amount of pictures of the baked goods my mom made for Libby's party. See? This sweet tooth thing is hereditary.
I had a burst of inspiration the week before Thanksgiving and decided to paint my mom and sister some simple Christmas paintings to help decorate their houses for the holidays. I had recently seen a chalkboard style piece with these lyrics - and then a flashbulb went off - and I remembered these paintings I did last winter inspired by Elsie's paintings on A Beautiful Mess. A couple of hours spent watching some old Buffy episodes, and I had a two colorful gifts for two of my favorite ladies. See below for how my sister used it for decorating at her house warming party. And you can visit A Beautiful Mess if you want some guidance in how to make your own.
I'm thinking of making one for the winter because that's when I'll really need some cheer in our apartment. My mom suggested part of a Robert Frost poem. I love that idea! I'll be sure to share if I end up creating one.
I wanted to share a few of my favorite posts from last Christmas. Revisiting the old pictures and posts make me smile - which means it was post worthy for me. First - this amazing picture of Pedro where he looks so festive ... and so miserable. This year I'll have to find an outfit for Diego since he'll wear costumes a lot more readily than his brother.
2. Some of the beautiful cookies my friends and I baked at our Christmas cookie baking/exchange party last year. This year's is schedule for next week and I.cannot.wait. I'll probably be busting out my snowball recipe again.
3. Last year's Christmas card with one of my favorite wedding photos. This year's will include a Europe photo and a more prominant photo of our pups. I'm excited to share a picture of it with you next week.
4. My top five favorite Christmas movies. Which reminds me that I really need to get to watching these soon.
5. My favorite Christmas book: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
6. One of my favorite Christmas gifts in recent memory: a family recipe book. My sister copied all of my mom's dessert recipes and compiled them in a book for me. I love that I can see the recipes written in the original handwriting. I have a feeling that will only become more meaningful as time goes on.
7. And last but not least: last year's Christmas tree. We don't have a tree yet, but I've still got high hopes we'll get one in our apartment before the end of the season. And then we'll decorate it with lights and ornaments and then we'll eat a whole roll of Toll House cookie dough as fast we can and then...we'll snuggle.
This Christmas season, Paul and I will be going on twelve special "dates of Christmas." The dates will be Christmas themed (obviously), pretty simple, and will give us a chance to spend time together during a busy season. When I saw the idea on A Beautiful Mess, I asked Paul if he was interested, and he came up with a few ideas. We decided to each come up with six dates since we both enjoy planning things for each other. My ideas include: going out for hot cocoa at a local coffee shop, watch Charlie Brown (our favorite Christmas movie), take a Christmas light drive, go see a movie, put the Christmas tree, go ice skating, write our Christmas cards, make a Christmas play list, buy stocking stuffers for the pups.
See how simple those dates are? Many are things we probably would have done anyway, but this will make them even more fun because they'll be "dates of Christmas" - which automatically makes them awesome. I'm especially excited to take some Mary-Paul time while we're in our home towns (St. Louis and Portland) for the holidays. I love spending time with my family and friends, but it's also really nice to have just-the-two-of-us time in our home cities.
The day after Thanksgiving (the start of the Christmas season in my mind), Paul and I got linner (lunch-dinner) at Sasha's in St. Louis. Paul said it didn't count as a "date of Christmas" because it wasn't December, but I'm considering it our first date of Christmas. Does it count as a date if only one of you thinks it was one? I think I just had a flashback to my pre-Paul dating days. Let's say it counts if we're not able to get all twelve dates in before the beginning of January - or maybe January still counts as Christmas season? I think I'm making this more confusing than it needs to be. Sasha's: congratulations. You were the site of our first date of Christmas 2013.
What would you do on your twelve dates of Christmas?
delicious pie brought all the way from Wisconsin...
a houseful of adorable pups...
a table set for a feast...(photo by my cousin Josie Meeks)
time for painting while the turkey baked...(photo by Paul)
this guy and his Movember facial hair...
seeing Mom and Dad hosting Thanksgiving in their new kitchen...
spending Thanksgiving in St. Louis with Paul and my family - and getting to see moments like this...
my cousin's mad photography skillz...
enjoying a meal that left everybody full, tired, and happy.
How was your Thanksgiving?
Hope your day was filled with lots of wonderful people, food, pie and just a moderate amount of football! Off to help my sister prepare for her housewarming party and enjoy some more time with friends and family. Hope you have a fabulous holiday weekend.
With the fall season quickly coming to an end (poor fall always getting shortened by Christmas season explosion!), I wanted to make sure I shared the delicious juice I've been drinking for the past few months while the ingredients were still in grocery stores.
I received a beautiful juicer as a gift last year but have been slow to really get into the juicing scene. But after trying the Pear Chai juice at the Green Kitchen in the Milwaukee Public Market - and realizing I had all I needed to make my own - I decided it was time to give juicing a go.
This juice captures some of my favorite fall flavors and is sweet with a little bit of a kick. It's also healthy and can be made with local, seasonal ingredients. And it's perfect for when I need a little something to get me from lunch to dinner or need something sweet after dinner but don't have any dessert on hand (a true travesty).
1 square inch ginger
1 tablespoon honey
Chop your fruit and add to the juicer with the ginger. Sprinkle your glass with cinnamon. Pour apple/pear/ginger juice into cup and stir in your honey. Garnish to your heart's content and enjoy! -- Sometimes I like to water this down a bit because it's so sweet, but I've also enjoyed it plenty just as is. Cheers to fall!
One of my 101 goals was to make a painting every month for a year. I've done ok, but I fell behind a bit during the summer. So I'm making an effort close to the end of 2013 to catch up. Here's my latest creations: a couple of fall paintings to decorate our apartment. Paul and I both love the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song, so it seemed like a good fit for these simple paintings - though I don't think they will be on display too much longer with the Christmas season right around the corner. Poor fall always gets gipped with the Christmas season starting 21 days before fall really comes to an end. I think Christmas should start in January when everything is cold and depressing and spring is still a few months away. Right?
You can see more of my paintings here. And please try to ignore the ugly background. Still trying to figure out set up spots with good lighting in this apartment.
this pup ... even when he eats our pumpkin pie
steps towards peace
when the heat comes on right as I'm getting out of the shower
three Friendsgivings in two days
this Celine Dion classic that gave me a great excuse to car karaoke
having a quality car that drives well in the snow
having shelter in winter
a three day work week
three days away from family thanksgiving
a weekend at home with Paul
making time to paint
I've caught the painting bug again recently and wanted to share more of my inspiration with you. I'll be sharing the work of artists who inspire me semi regularly with you. There is so much joy to be found in beautiful artwork!
I chose Jane Heinrichs as the first artist to share here. I found her work after she commented on one of my posts (hello blogging highlight!). Her illustrations have such a lovely touch of whimsy and all would look perfect included in my favorite childhood stories. Jane also writes an inspired blog where she reflects on life, dreams and goals, her career as an artist, and travelling. I find it fascinating that she's lived all over - Swaziland, Canada, South Africa, and England to be exact. Makes moving around the states seem a little calmer :)
My favorite work of Jane's is her illustrated children's book Magic at the Museum. Seeing it for the first time felt like seeing a dream come to life. Her book tells the story of a little girl who visits the Courtauld Gallery at night and sees paintings like Cezanne's come to life! Amazing! Can I be that girl? Please? (This was even cooler since Paul and I visited the museum during our trip to London over the summer.)
You can see more of Jane's work here and order prints of her work from her Etsy shop here. Order before November 29th to have your print arrive by Christmas!