Where does the time go?

It has been two months since I’ve written a post. Well, actually two months since I posted. I began a couple of posts here and there, but nothing was coming out right so I ended up deleting the drafts. As much as I love writing – and love hearing from you! – I needed a break. Even though I felt motivated and wanted to write, there were a million other things to do for work, around the house and in preparation for the holidays. Now I am getting my feet back under me and can’t wait to share all that has been going on! Here is just a quick recap, mostly in pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Thanksgiving
We had a wonderful Turkey Day complete with family, friends and Mama Merin’s mashed potato casserole! The holiday started off in the best way possible – with a last-minute notice from the boss man that we would have Wednesday off. Dave and I celebrated in true American fashion … with dinner in Chinatown!

Wednesday we picked up Dave’s mom from Union Station, which was decked out for the holidays. So pretty despite the rain!

I made up a turkey brine with lots of herbs and then Dave took it from there for his second annual beer-can turkey. It really makes it super juicy!

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beer can #turkey in the oven!

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^^ We were surprised it fit in the oven! ^^

Our good friends Josh and Olivia came over and we had a potluck style meal that included Dave’s beer-can turkey, Josh’s deep fried turkey, mashed potato casserole, brussels sprouts, spicy mac and cheese and MORE.

Daisy spent the day like the princess she is, perched in front of the door just watching the world go by.

Christmas (aka the MOST wonderful time of the year!)
Hands down, Christmas is my favorite holiday and truly the most wonderful time of the year. Even though we had fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, this year I felt even more full of the spirit. One of my favorite places in town at this time is the Willard. They really deck the halls and all who enter are greeted nightly by carolers in the lobby.

Back in Texas for a week, I got to spend a lot of time with family and friends.

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Playtime with this cutie!! #myshadow today #lovelovelove

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^^ my shadow Silvia ^^

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Visiting with my favorite little family @carinasby

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^^ my favorite little family – meeting Leo for the first time ^^

^^ Christmas lights (Texas style!) with mom ^^

^^ Lola got so many toys from Grandma, she didn’t know which to play with! ^^

Ringing in the New Year
Dave and I originally wanted to go to Europe for New Year’s, but decided it wasn’t the most responsible decision after everything with the house. So instead we spent the evening at our new home with some old friends! It turned out to be very eventful as my Aggies pulled off a great comeback in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Game, and then just after our midnight kiss and toast, Justin proposed to Matthew!!

photo

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First #selfie of 2014! 🎉💋 Happy New Year!!

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^^ the proposal happened as this happened – our first selfie of 2014 ^^

In other news it’s been very cold here! Daisy doesn’t particularly like it, but at least she looks cute in her coat :)

Here’s a look at my instagram highlights from the past year…

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A little late with this, but …

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And my calendar for the year ahead! I have always loved calendars, like since I was young it has been a tradition. Every Christmas I would get one, often picking it out myself at those little pop up kiosks in the mall. The past few years my favorite has been by Curly Girl Design. She has the best, BEST quotes and cute graphics.

I love the start of a new year! It’s full of reflection on memories past and hope for the future. Lately I’ve been thinking that the world might be a better place if we treated the start of each month as we do the start of the new year. I don’t mean we need to go out and party like it’s 1999 before the first of each month, but if we had the same resolve monthly as we do annually, there might be a bit more of that joie de vivre going around!

How were your holidays?
What’s your favorite thing about the New Year?
Do you think we should celebrate each new month in a similar way?

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful

I semi-decided today that I’m not entirely a fan of Labor Day, simply because the pools close and someone set a rule that we can no longer wear white clothing and accessories. (Thankfully someone created “winter white” which is obviously appropriate.)  Otherwise, I can’t really complain about the holiday. Who doesn’t love a good three day weekend? And it leads directly into my favorite season – FALL!

Like last year, Dave and I went to his mom and sister’s house near New Hope, Pennsylvania for a nice relaxing weekend away from this town. We stopped on the way out to see a house in Northeast DC, and made pretty good time, arriving around 10:30 p.m. I was beat, so basically went straight to bed. It’s so quiet there that you can hear the crickets chirping through the window. Or maybe, it was the crazy cicadas humming. Regardless, it’s very soothing.

Saturday morning we went for a stroll and a jog along the Delaware River, one of Dave’s favorite things to do on trips home. Personally I love to see the different creatures along the way and look at the beautiful houses that line the banks.

My Aggies started the season that day at 1p.m. ET, so we sidled up at a local tavern and cheered them on. During half-time we made our way home with a stop at the grocery store to pick up various goodies to grill for dinner. After the hot wings, steamers, meatloaf sandwich, fries and beer … I requested all veggies! (Confession: we made it back to the house and turned on the second half of the game, but I may or may not have passed out for the rest of it. What?! You would too if you had eaten that much!)

Sunday we took a long walk through the neighborhood with Daisy, then we lounged a bit to prepare for the shopping. Everywhere you go in that area, you are bound to find a good country store, antiques boutique, Christmas-all-year-round market or even a witch craft shop! We made our way to the center called Peddler’s Village, which has my favorite little French store, a great cookware shop and a wine tasting room, among many other great vendors. At Christmastime it is packed and fully lighted like a winter wonderland! This was my first time in the “off-season” and it did not disappoint. If you know anything about my Francophilia and really the reason I started this blog, you’d understand why I wanted everything at the French shop, but decided it best to wait until we get settled somewhere. We bought some strawberry-rhubarb preserves at Grandpa Hick’s and a bottle of wine from the Chaddsford Winery tasting room before stopping for a pint and a bowl of soup from Hart’s Tavern.

Then a great surprise happened! Dave informed me of the outlet mall across the street. Naturally I wanted to just “see what shops they had” before insisting that we stop for the Nine West outlet. I am truly in need of a shoe makeover because I’ve been terrible about replacing the worn out pairs. Luckily they were still open and I left with a new pair of black work pumps and a fun pair of red patent leather peep toe heels.

Sunday night we had a delicious gourmet meal at the historic Stockton Inn, circa 1710. I cleaned my plate of pecan-crusted scallops and red pepper Israeli couscous. Please note that was after a house salad and warm bread with butter, but before the fruit cobbler with ice cream. The walls inside our dining room had beautiful rural murals painted, and we could all just imagine how the antique fireplace would roar in the cold winter months. After a bit of research, I discovered that the Mural Dining Rooms (an official and fitting name!) are the original living quarters for the families that managed the ferry to cross the Delaware throughout the 1700’s. #TheMoreYouKnow

Not wanting the weekend to end, we decided that we’d take Monday morning and early afternoon for a nice long drive to be followed by a lunch at one of Dave’s high school haunts, Dilly’s. Mother Nature had alternate plans for us. Her plans were more along the lines of torrential downpour, closed roads and detours that led us to an unpaved path. Luckily Dave got us all home safely – shortly after the tire pressure warning lit up his dashboard. We spent some time checking each tire and eventually filling them all with more air, which thankfully worked! At that point we weren’t going back out, so we had some homemade sandwiches, fruit and chips with an intermission of flooding in the basement. (Yay, home life!) It was enough excitement for one day, so we decided to get on the road.

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#laborday #drive #clouds #sunshine

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Instead of sitting in the monster traffic of I-95, we decided to make our way through Pennsylvania Dutch country, hitting up towns like Blue Ball, Intercourse and Bird-in-Hand. (No, I did not make those names up. See proof below.) Both routes would take about the same amount of time – five hours – but going this way enabled us to stop at the roadside stands for fresh produce and a fun shopping center called Kitchen Kettle Village.

It was everything I was hoping for and more! My dreams came true with fresh cheese, baked goods and creamy ice cream! We bought three different cheeses – habanero, horseradish and a hickory smoked cheddar – along with a loaf of white bread. And since no visit to Pennsylvania Dutch Country would be complete without a shoo-fly pie, I snagged one of those too. (Note: I had never tried it before, and can’t say that I will ever have it again.) Dave got a cinnamon-sugar pretzel and I was happy with a cookies and cream single scoop waffle cone.

What did you do for Labor Day? Hope you were able to enjoy the long weekend!

makin’ babies… and touchdowns!

If Steve Martin…

steve martin

and Billy Bob Thornton…

billy bob

had a child together, it would look like…

mike smith

Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith!

The Cowboys played a great game yesterday, including Tony Romo. Kathy said that when he got hit in the head at the beginning of the game, it must have knocked some sense into him!  By no means will I stand up to agree with Jerry that we will be taking the Cowboys to the Superbowl with Romo, but I can at least see the light again. Of course, he had a little help from my (boy)friend, Miles Austin, who shined once again. In other good sports news, my Aggies BTHO Tech on Saturday night – we are always good for a surprise win! Maybe it has to do with the fact that the game wasn’t televised, because like the Jessica Simpson-era Tony Romo, the Aggies crack under pressure.

Can football season go to being year-round? What will my weekends consist of when the season is over??