It’s been a few days since we got back from our babymoon in Quebec, but visiting friends and work made life a bit too hectic for blogging. Without further ado, here’s a few belated details about our adventures in Canada last weekend:
68,672 steps walked
2,160 ml small batch sirop d’erable (maple syrup) obtained
748 pictures taken
6 museums visited/tours taken
6 meals had pork (pork belly appetizer, breakfast x2, pulled pork, ham & cheese croissant, ham & cheese crepe).
4 nights at a fabulous B&B (Au Bois Joli)
3 minutes to inhale my ham and cheese crepe at dinner the last night (after they lost our order tag and didn’t realize for AN HOUR that we were still waiting… I was about to eat off of the plates of the people around us! And let’s be honest, 3 minutes is being generous…)
2 days filled with unseasonably warm, sunny weather — I wish I had had shorts!
It all adds up to 1 amazing last pre-baby international adventure
I love decorating for Christmas and typically do so the day after Thanksgiving, but this year with our California visitors we couldn’t skip ahead to the next holiday as quickly as usual. Last night we finally had the opportunity to get our house holiday ready. Since we spend a large portion of the holidays away from home at Christmas we typically don’t get a tree. This means getting creative with our lights, garlands, and the handful of ornaments we chose to display. I loved the way my husband decorated our grandmothers clock this year!
On top of decorating, we had a surprise visit from Sinterklaas last night. My husband is half Dutch which is apparently enough to make it onto Sinterklaas’ list despite our distance from the Netherlands. We didn’t have wooden shoes to leave out for him, but thankfully he left his own filled with chocolates, oranges and sprigs of greenery. What a delicious way to kick off the Christmas season!
We have had two days of nonstop rain and there may be a snow flurry heading our way. While this has not been my favorite forecast the chilly,wet weather is the perfect incentive to stay inside and prep for Thanksgiving. With 9 family members from California in town, we’ll be having Thanksgiving with 13 people. Thankfully my brother-in-law and his wife live just down the street and we are sharing kitchen duties. That means two turkeys — they are going the traditional route and we are deep frying ours — tons of sides, a few pies and a whole lot of wine (thankfully we don’t have to make that).
Along with the turkey we are making our usual stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans with shallots, cranberry relish, and dessert. This morning I took care of the pies — we’ve got an apple crumble and good ‘ol pumpkin ready to go. Next up, putting together the stuffing so tomorrow we can just slide it in the oven and be done with it, allowing us to focus on the truly important things like deep fried turkey. And family, of course.
Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!
Yes, it’s Thankful Thursday on Friday! I swear I started this post yesterday but things just got away from me, so without further ado:
I can’t believe it is only a week until Thanksgiving — where did 2013 go? As the year winds down and the holiday season swiftly approaches, it seems as good a time as any to reflect on some of the many things I am grateful this year.
• The opportunity to sing. On Sunday I will be able to share my voice with others during the Capitol Hill Group Ministries Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. This is just one of the unique chances I have had this year to get back to singing. During the summer I connected with a violinist and pianist to perform “To Love You More” at a house concert. It was so much fun to sing was the two of them, as well as a drummer and a cellist.
• Our big, crazy families. While my immediate family is pretty small on both sides, my husband’s family is quite large and this year we are getting an extra does of togetherness as his mom’s side is in the process of descending upon DC for Thanksgiving. We’ll have a week and a half of big (delicious) dinners, our favorite California wines, trips to museums and monuments, chilly winter walks and lots of time for talking (too bad we don’t have a fire place to gather around)! And in just a few weeks we will get to do it all over again (with my family included this time) in California.
• The many chances to travel near and far in 2013 — from Turkey to Tampa I have seen beautiful sunsets, had incredible meals, and spent time cultivating relationships new and old. I can’t imagine what life would be like without airplanes that can get me to California in 6 hours or to Istanbul in 10.
Yesterday was the first official day of fall and the season has definitely arrived in DC. The sun is still shinning, but the temperature has dropped into the 50s and 60s. It’s time to bundle up and close some windows!
Growing up in California, I never appreciated fall until we moved to the East Coast. I am sure there was some sort of transition between summer and winter on the West Coast but I don’t remember noticing it. Now that we experience all four seasons as very distinct entities, I have a new found love for fall.
My favorite fall things include:
- the chance to wear sweaters and scarves;
- watching the leaves change, particularly when they turn bright red;
- cooking (at least helping/watching my husband cook), baking and eating warm food again;
- buying tiny pumpkins and gourds to create a fall centerpiece for the dining room table;
- being able to enjoy a sunny day outdoors without becoming a hot, sweaty mess;
- and snuggling up with my hubby!
Is that you don’t have to pretend to be busy all day. My job, like every job, has hectic times and quiet times, but when you are in an office with a boss you don’t want it to look like you are “wasting time” checking your personal email or catching up on facebook. It’s not that you aren’t doing your job, there just may not be anything to do at that moment, but no one wants to look like a slacker. So you try to get ahead on projects, check your work email a million times, review your calendar… and want to bang your head against the desk when you realize that only 5 minutes has passed and you still have nothing work related to keep you occupied.
This is why I love working from home (and for myself) — when I have work, I do it. When I don’t have work or am waiting for edits, there are plenty of other things to do — laundry or running errands or learning a new jazzercise routine or meeting a friend for coffee. For me, these other outlets are key to the idea that I am working to live, not living to work. I love my clients and I pride myself on doing every project on or ahead of schedule, but there is a lot more to life than working and by being my own boss I don’t have to spend a part of each day proving to someone else that I am doing my job.
Usually I’ll just have a quiet day here or there, but this week with Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah every day has been fairly low key. I’m so glad that this morning I could enjoy the cooler, breezy weather over an iced mocha with a friend, her son, and my newest doggie intern, Bella. Now, with Bella’s assistance, it’s time to see what I can get accomplished during this mellow Thursday afternoon.
Whenever we travel we try to bring something home from our adventure that will remind us of our time away. When we visited Jordan, it was a few mosaics that we could hang in the living room, some salt scrubs and a mud mask from the Dead Sea, and Za’atar and Sumac — two super tasty spices that we fell in love with. From Norway it was reindeer sausage (that was confiscated at customs upon our return, sad) and wool socks. And from Iceland it was a tiny handmade wool sweater for a wine bottle which, I admit, sounds bizarre but is totally adorable! Plus every time I grab a glass or a bottle from the wine rack, I am reminded of our whirlwind trip around Southwestern Iceland.
As we started our travels in Turkey we kept our eyes open to see what might be a wonderful reminder of our trip once we were back in DC. We avoided going the traditional Turkish rug route (which was easy to do since we already have rugs from Pakistan and Afghanistan in the house) and opted for hand-painted tiles (small, as pictured above, and large) that we can use as part of a back splash in our kitchen (whenever we remodel it) as well as a variety of spices and teas. We enjoyed our dining experiences throughout Turkey so much and bringing a few Turkish flavors home will allow us to relive the memories.
Each of the items we purchased were sealed in air tight pouches, but when I got home I found some empty containers around the house that would allow me to show off our Istanbul treats before we partake. The teas include “relax” tea (it looks so pretty with its rose buds), mint-lemon tea, and Ottoman apple which smells heavenly thanks to its blend of cinnamon, cloves and allspice. For the spices we picked up a “salad” blend to use on cucumbers and tomatoes this summer and a BBQ spice blend. I’m looking forward to giving each of these items a try, but for now whenever I walk by the containers on the shelf they remind me of special time spent with my husband and that makes me smile.