8 Things You Do During the Holidays (with a 6 month old)

I have been lucky enough to have time off from work during the holidays and have been enjoying the days with B and FW, celebrating with my family, B’s family and some friends.

It’s going to be hard to go back to work this week; I had such a great time bonding with FW – who is now 6 months old! – during our time off and I love love LOVE the holidays so much.

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our little 6-month-old boy!

Speaking of the holidays, here is how we spent our time – I should have written a few posts about them by now, but B, FW and I have all been sick on and off (mostly on) this week and my brain has been too fuzzy to put down thoughts.

 

1. Spending time with family. We went to NY and saw my family, some of whom had not yet met FW! We also spent time with B’s family in Cleveland when we returned after Christmas.

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meeting cousin Max

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Uncle Greg!

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cousin Annette

with B's aunt Patty and cousin Meghan

with B’s aunt Patty and cousin Meghan

2. Seeing friends! While in NY, FW got to see my friends Katie and Jane. They had both met him before, but of course were excited to see how big he had gotten. 20161226_102003 20161226_144230

3. Running. Because how can I have time off of work without running? I started the week off with a 7 miler on the treadmill but after getting sick have been struggling to keep up my workouts. I got in 2 runs in NY (including one stroller run with B!) and I also started off 2017 with a 3.5 sloooow treadmill run/walk.

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4. Going shopping. We hit up the West Side Market several times … I just can’t get enough of shopping there and having time off to do it during the week was great.20161230_135901

5. Eating lots of good food. Not just B and me – but FW is trying out some real food too!

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how FW feels about most food

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the meat and cheese platter we put together for New Year’s

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love it when B makes me breakfast!

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date night east – Vietnamese cabbage salad

5. Relaxing. Being sick, we didn’t get in nearly enough relaxing – or sleep – but it was nice to read and spend time with one another. I finished the book, Nightingale and loved it!20161223_145428

6. Dressing like one another. We couldn’t help it – one day FW, me, my dad and our cousin’s dog were all in similar attire! And another day, FW and I both wore navy sweaters and corduroys (and B was in his navy too!). Guess that’s what happens when you spend a lot of time with one another. img_20161224_223109_300 20170101_171926 20161224_132444

 7. Enjoying the great outdoors. We lucked out with some great weather in NY and in Cleveland and got in a few outdoor walks and runs over the time. I think FW likes being in the burbs 🙂

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New Year’s Day walk with FW and B – such blue skies!

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FW loves looking out the window / doors

8. Going to the movies! B and I hadn’t been to the movies in FOREVER and it was so great to finally be able to enjoy a movie – in fact, we went to TWO during our time off! I highly recommend La La Land!

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Some questions for you:

  • What was the last movie you saw? Did you like it?
  • Did you get some time outdoors during the holidays and nice weather?

I’m linking up with Katie and the weekly wraps.

What We’ve Been Up To

Welp, it’s been more than a week since I last wrote – yikes! The main reason – craziness at work, business of the season AND the stomach flu. Yes, the stomach flu. (this is a BIG DEAL. The last time I had any stomach issues – including pregnancy – was January 2010!! B even remembered)

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B and I both got sick last weekend and I was definitely on the mend all this week. I luckily didn’t have to miss any work and powered through the week, but man, I’m tired! So here are a few things we’ve been up to the past few weeks or so:

A little bit of running. I’ve been getting my mileage up to 20+ a week (minus this week when I was still recovering and took 3 days off) and it feels good! And last week I got in my longest post-baby run 6.5 miles!

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 A lot of momming. (Side note – my computer wants to correct that to Miming Lolz) Seriously. Being a mom is no joke especially when you’re sick. And your husband is sick. And your baby – who thank goodness didn’t get the said flu but got a cold instead – is starting to roll all around! So it was really cool when I got this package in the mail from Sway and Walgreens – a Well Beginnings Diaper Kit! You know you’re a mom when you are excited for surprises like these. (And yes, so far these diapers live up to the hype)

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Baking. Yes, I went to my annual holiday cookie baking event and it was great. If I get my act together I’ll share the recipe for the spice cookies I made. B really likes them.20161203_151701

Celebrating the season! We’ve already had several holiday events and I know they’re going to keep on coming. And that’s okay – I love this time of year! Check out the gorgeous lights in my hood. img_20161128_181108

And yes, any chance I get to dress FW in a holiday-ish outfit, we’re doing it. He doesn’t seem to mind.20161201_072329 img_20161203_110614

And of course, we had our annual Love Actually night – complete with wine and cheese. Because it’s our annual tradition that I love!

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And that’s about it – what about you?

Some questions:

  • Do you like Love Actually? I still find it crazy when I find someone who doesn’t!! (ahem coworker who shall remain unnamed)
  • Do you have any holiday traditions?
  • When was the last time you were sick?

I love the holidays

Welp, the holiday season has come and gone. I had such a great time spending time with family and friends, and it seems like ages ago I was back in New York.

I had a great trip home, as always. I had a week home with my parents, some time with my family for Christmas, and then B and I took a few days off and visited Newport, Rhode Island. All in all, a successful holiday break. If only I were ready for 2016!

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Some highlights from my trip back to New York:

Decorating the tree with my family. When I was younger, we used to go out and cut it down ourselves – it was a great tradition.

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Going out to dinner in Saratoga. We went to one of my favorite places and had some delicious fries. It was a little chilly and we spent some time walking along the main street of the downtown area.

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Tons of baking for Christmas. Of course.

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Taking walks with my family. One day it was 30 degrees, the next it was 60! SUCH seasonably warm weather! We had some 50+ degree days before and after Christmas. It was incredible!

selfie taking a walk

selfie taking a walk

one of the 50+ degree days. Doesn't look like December!

one of the 50+ degree days. Doesn’t look like December!

Running while home. B wore shorts and short sleeves on Christmas – I told you it was warm!

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Going to the movies. A usual Christmas tradition is seeing a movie on Christmas – this year, a group went and saw Carol, while another group saw The Big Short. I saw The Big Short – it was really good! Christian Bale was so good.

Seeing two of my best friends, Jane and Alisa. Jane and I got to hang out several times, taking walks (in above said warm weather), eating cookies, watching holiday movies, grabbing lunch, etc. It was great!

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Some (but not nearly enough) quality family time.

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And tons of reading. I finished All the Light They Cannot See, Station Eleven and California. All of them were so good! Next up I’m reading 1Q84. What else should I add to my list?

 

And that was about it. A perfect relaxing holiday!

Some questions for you:

  • Did you see any movies?
  • What books are you reading now?

What the holiday season looks like

It’s December and I’m fully embracing the holiday season. We’ve been lucky enough to have had seasonably warm weather (for the most part), no snow, and I’ve been loving every minute of it. This past weekend we were able to get out and enjoy some holiday-ish things around town, and it made me so giddy for this time of year.

lights in my neighborhood

lights in my neighborhood

Here’s what a holiday-ish weekend in CLE looks like:

Running a few miles outside. Yes, it’s cold (36 degrees), but there’s still no snow so it was GREAT!

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Baking a bunch of holiday cookies with some wonderful ladies.

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Comfort food out to eat. Superior Pho deliciousness. Plus a stop at the Asian market for some ginger candy.

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A 5 miler with B in 40 degree temps on Sunday. The hat was a little overkill – didn’t need it! It was beautiful out and I’m so grateful it’s not icy or snowy yet and we’re still able to enjoy the outdoors and trail and road runs.

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That afternoon, we met up with Dave and Anson to check out Circlefest and the great holiday events going on in University Circle. We got free admission to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens and got to check out their decorated trees and gingerbread houses.

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a MUPPET show decorated gingerbread house!

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Along with ice sculptures outside – in 50 degree weather they were starting to melt!

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For me, the holidays also includes a great Italian meal at Trattoria in Little Italy. Followed by their amazing tiramisu dessert. Their tiramisu is one of the few I like – not too coffee-ish, lots of cream and looks like ice cream 🙂

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AND Sunday night Cleveland Orchestra holiday concert. A PERFECT ending to a holiday weekend – my favorite concert all year!

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I’m so in the mood for the holidays. How about you? Some questions:

  • What’s one thing you do this time of year that signifies the holiday season?
  • What’s your favorite dish at an Italian restaurant?

Linking up today with Erin for my weekend snapshot post, Katie for MIMM and the weekly wraps.

The Most Wonderful Wonderful Wonderful Wonderful … Time of Year!

As we start to wrap up 2014 and the holiday season, I just wanted to share some highlights of my few days in New York celebrating the holidays with family and friends. ❤

This tree. I love the lights, the ornaments we put on together, and how at home I feel when I’m standing right here.

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Sushi with friends at my favorite sushi restaurant in New York. Nothing beats it!IMG_20141221_134726

Holiday baking with my mom. We don’t actually bake together, but rather discuss recipes and baking choices and then pretty much bake on our own. We enjoy finding new recipes, like this year’s raspberry almond thumbprint jam cookies.

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Seeing friends I haven’t seen in ages. My three best friends from high school this year lived in San Francisco, Brooklyn and Finland – a.k.a. waaay too far. I’m happy to share that this lovely lady is back from her Finnish stint and living in the U.S.A. again!

"Is this going on your blog?" was probably said a few times.

“Is this going on your blog?” was probably said a few times.

And seeing my cousins. We haven’t had a cousin photo in a while.

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Slightly change of running scenery pace. For example, one day I ran past cows. Grazing. On snow. A little different from my downtown Cleveland runs, huh?

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How have your holidays been so far? What’s your favorite part about this time of year?

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

How many holiday gatherings is too many?

Sorry for not posting any life updates n a while. I know, you’re all probably wondering what I’ve been up to besides baking (because let’s face it, that’s all I’ve been posting about). Well, I assure you, the days these past few weeks have looked pretty much the same. Wakeup. Workout. Work. Go to ____ holiday party/get-together/dinner/drinks/etc. Go home, finish up last minute holiday activities or work, go to bed. Repeat.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOOOVE all my holiday gatherings and love a chance to catch up with different people – I realllly love this time of era and the holiday lights, drinks, get=togethers, sparkly outfits, etc. but it hasn’t given me a lot of time to blog! Anyway, here are a few ways I’ve been enjoying the holidays in Cleveland before heading home to New York:

Running in the mornings when it’s cold and dark can be tough but with views like this? It isn’t soooo bad:

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Drinks (and dinner) with my sisters-in-law! Every year in lieu of gifts during the holidays we all make time to hang out – for dinner, drinks, or really anything we want. We were going to get manis this year but it didn’t work out so instead, a delicious meal and tasty festive drinks.

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Holiday party with my coworkers! We hit up Platform Brewery for a tour, tasting and fun.

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Holiday baking makes me happy. I wish it were acceptable to marathon bake like this yearround! (Recipe for the below peppermint Oreo bark is here)

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The Holiday Flea! I love the Cleveland Flea (giant flea market with crafts, local food, antiques, etc.) all year long, but there’s just something about the Holiday Flea that makes me feel all warm inside (and it could be the holiday beverages).

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More treats! Holiday cookie exchange with coworkers.

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FaceTime with my brother who is on the opposite coast. Happy to be able to see him thanks to technology – even happier to see him in person for Christmas!

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Making limoncello. And finding it to be easy and quite delicious! (Recipe coming soon)

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Holiday parties with friends. Because holiday drinks+treats+Santa outfits make this time of year splendid.

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Buying gifts for our adopt a family, wrapping them, and delivering them.

Groceries, blankets, etc. wrapped up and ready to be delivered with gifts!

Groceries, blankets, etc. wrapped up and ready to be delivered with gifts!

And enjoying this lovely lights right in my neighborhood. So. Beautiful. I stop to take a picture nearly every time.

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So yeah, that’s what we’ve been busy with. How about you? Any holiday events still to come? What are you most looking forward to now that December is halfway done?

 

White Chocolate Oreo Peppermint Bark

Yikes. There is suddenly less than one week until Christmas? I know what you’re thinking – that’s plenty of time to get my holiday baking done, right? Well, okay … it probably is. But if you’re looking for a sweet treat to make that won’t take too much time so that you still have time for some holiday shopping (or napping) then this one’s for you! This bark is sweet, delicious and takes no time to make (and no oven to preheat). Pack it up in a fun container and you have the perfect hostess gift (it pairs well with a bottle of wine too …. just saying) for a holiday gathering this year.

 

oreo peppermint bark

White Chocolate Oreo Peppermint Bark

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. chopped / crushed andy canes (about 2-3 regular ones or 8-10 mini candy canes)
  • 12 holiday (red creme) Oreos, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • Red/green/white sprinkles (optional)

Here is what you do:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt milk chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Mine took about 1 minute 30 seconds to melt and I heated them up at 30 second intervals, stirring after each Pour onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet and spread flat with a spatula.Let cool for at last 10 minutes or until hardened.
  3. Add white chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl and melt like you did with the chocolate chips, stirring about every 30 seconds. Pour over chocolate layer and spread to the edges of the milk chocolate. Sprinkle with chopped candy canes, chopped Oreos and sprinkles.
  4. Chill until set, then break into pieces enjoy!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your go-to hostess gift?
  • Do you still have some last minute shopping to do?
  • Who is the hardest on your list to get gifts for?