christmastime is here

It’s been so long, it’s hard to know where to begin. I haven’t visited my blog for so long. With three posts in my cue, I question why I never shared them.

And I know why. This has been such a year that it never felt appropriate to post something. People were/are/will be dealing with so much, that I didn’t know how to add to the conversation, and I didn’t want people to think I was out to lunch (mentally) either. (Although I will say, ignorance is sometimes bliss these days.)

That said, I have missed writing, so here I am. Back, older, not sure if wiser, but eager to share again. So, here goes!

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!! Christmas was a little crazy for us this year, in that our plans were ever changing. We try to alternate Christmas every year, and this year was scheduled to be at the farm. We were there the weekend before for an extended family celebration (a fun, delicious, whirlwind of a weekend!), and were due to go back on Saturday morning.

We got the call that Nate’s Mom had been sick in bed, as so many have already been this cold and flu season. Eek! So we decided to postpone our visit to next weekend when all are better.

So what would we do? Luckily my aunt gladly took us in for Christmas Eve, and the plan was to go to my mom’s or sister’s on Christmas Day.

An interesting note: Since we’ve been married, Nate and I have never been in our own apartment for Christmas Eve. Never slept at home. Never put out cookies for Santa. Never opened presents with just my husband and now daughter.

Let me tell you, it was simple and nice. This is the first time Ellie is really into Christmas, and it’s been such a joy to share it with her. Decorating cookies, teaching her patience with the Advent calendar, sharing both our Swedish (Nate) and Polish and Catholic (me) traditions. Her excitement is infectious, her joy never ending. Truly makes my heart happy.

And on Christmas Day? More sickies entered the picture (my Dad and nephew), so we just enjoyed a quiet day at home, with the exception of a visit to my Grandma’s house with my mom (who is also now sick). It was fun to watch her play with her new gifts (like her Melissa & Doug salad set) and just relax. We are always on the go, that it’s nice to sit back and breathe.

And for dinner? Some good ole Trader Joe’s veggie fried rice, orange chicken, and dumplings with edamame on the side. You know, because we were not prepared for a traditional feast thinking we would be elsewhere. Who knows, maybe it’ll be a new tradition!

In the middle of dinner, Ellie randomly said, “Amen!” So we decided to hold hands and say a little prayer. Ellie liked this so much that we held hands and prayed a few more times during our short meal. She surprises me, that one.

What did I learn? Roll with what life gives you, and make the most of it. You can celebrate with family any (and every) day, so don’t sweat it when things don’t go as planned. Who knows, it might just be quite wonderful.

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! More soon, I swear!

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grateful

It’s the unofficial start of summer and to that I say, “Amen!”

My little Eloise has been sick for about 2.5 weeks (cough, cold, pink eye?!?, ear infection…), so, needless to say, it was wonderful to get outside this weekend to soak up the sun. 

We dined al fresco for brunch with great friends at G & O. (My classic breakfast and mimosa hit the spot without leaving me too full or too tipsy, the staff was friendly, and we can’t wait to go back!) 


We walked around the neighborhood, trying new routes each time. Ellie loved watching the tour boats on the river.


We had a pizza party with family friends from growing up. We’ve been trying to get everyone together for a year so it was fantastic! Ten children, 10 adults, and a pup! Always a great time when we get together, and so fun to watch our kiddos make new friendships together, too.


We had a family graduation party for two of my cousins, Brittany and Kyle. I’m so proud of them and excited for their next big adventures (the real world for B and college for K!). 


And all the while, the sun was shining. Weekends like this remind you that life may not be perfect, but we are free and shouldn’t take that for granted.

My thanks to all who serve to protect us and our freedom. I don’t say it out loud enough, but I am forever grateful.

can food bring good luck? new year’s eve menu for two

This year was the first time Nate and I stayed home for New Year’s Eve, just us. I wasn’t sure what to make for dinner because it’s not just the evening before 2017, it’s also when Nate (finally!) proposed to me six years ago. 

I say finally because it felt like EVERYONE was getting engaged but me, and we’d been dating for eight years at the time. Eight. Years. If you know me, I had serious ants in my pants. But at our first apartment with good friends in the other room, Nate proposed in his sweet and simple way with the prettiest ring he designed himself. Six years later, here we are.

So back to the meal! I found this story on Reader’s Digest about 7 lucky New Year’s foods and wanted to see how many I could incorporate into our meal. So, here goes:

1. Cake

We had donuts from Glazed & Infused that morning, so we didn’t need more cake. Have you tried the apple fritter? My new fave! 

2. Grapes

I know you’re supposed to have grapes at midnight, but they looked too good on my cheese platter with prosciutto to pass up!

3-5. Pork & Greens & Noodles/Grains

I made my own fresh tomato sauce for the first time from this recipe from the New York Times, and I liked how it turned out. I sautéed some mushrooms and spinach, as well as pork strips, and added them all to the sauce. Incorporated that with some parpadelle pasta topped with fresh basil, and it’s time to mangia!

6. Fish

Well, I didn’t want to worry about how to incorporate fresh fish into this meal, so I cheated, and we ate Swedish Fish in honor of Nate’s heritage. Right…works for me!

I was bummed I forgot to add the beans to the charcuterie platter, but I’ll take 6 out of 7!