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.

WIAW: Some Holiday Eats

Happy Holidays!! I had such a wonderful time visiting family in New York and celebrating FW’s first Christmasukah. He’s 6 months old now – woweee! – but still too young to really know what was going on. He did have some fun eating the paper that gifts came in, though. Speaking of eating, here is a bunch of holiday eats for today’s What I Ate Wednesday. Instead of just one day, here’s a sample of some of the great food I had during the holidays.

Breakfasts were a spin on what I usually have – some oats with dried fruit, brewer’s yeast and this time topped with my mom’s granola.

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Lunches were leftovers … so no real food pics except trust me – see what we had for dinner and picture that for lunch 🙂

Of course there was plenty of snacking, including appetizers each night like fruit, cheese, nuts, hummus and baba.20161225_174328

Now onto the meals. We had ham one night for dinner. Lasagna. Chicken rollatini. All of those are sadly unpictured. But another night,  we feasted on a giant turkey breast.20161223_184312

And butternut squash. 20161223_184453

Oh, side dishes included pasta and noodle pudding. Because you can never have too much pasta 🙂20161224_193537

We also had this beautiful chicken one night. It was so good, I’ll have to make it sometime soon!img_20161222_194137_615

Don’t worry – while I was incredibly lazy for most of my trip, I did get in 2 walks and 2 runs. Doesn’t FW look so happy to be with me?

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After dinner, I often had tea. And sometimes an after dinner drink 🙂20161225_205031

And of course- dessert! We feasted on cookies and cake each night. My favorite? orange cake (not pictured) and the ginger shortbread cookies and these gingersnaps. I have a thing for ginger.  20161224_205137

Yum…is it bad that I miss those holiday eats already? My mouth is watering reliving them for today’s What I Ate Wednesday!
Some questions for you:

  • What is your go-to holiday cookie?
  • Did you travel for the holidays?

 

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?

December FLEW by

Whew. I don’t know about you, but the past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Between holiday parties, cookie exchanges, dinners with friends, baking, and more – the past month has flown by. And I’ve loved every minute! We’ve had such a great December – here are some of the highlights from this past weekend, week and month:

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Running with Nicole! Me and my running bff finally got back outside and enjoyed a few runs the past few weeks. Some were incredibly warm and I wore shorts! Others were more seasonable. But it was great to get out there again after a few too many indoor treadmill runs and enjoy the morning and sunrise. And stop and take pictures of the Terminal Tower all lit up for the holidays!

running-tower city

Going to a Browns game for Monday Night Football! On one of the seasonably warm days, B and I snagged suite seats to a Browns game thanks to his work. The game wasn’t that great – we ended up losing at the last second and it ended after midnight. BUT, it was still fun to enjoy live Monday Night Football and inside the warmth of a suite.

browns suite

Going to the Cavs game. And having suite seats (yes, again). Through B’s work, we were able to enjoy a Cavs game. I prefer basketball to football (inside, faster paced, better fans, shorter games…) and had a great time. Even the food was good! Seriously – look at that grilled cheese. At a game!

cavs game

cavs game food

Celebrating the holidays with coworkers. Our office holiday party was at a fun restaurant/bar this year, Happy Dog, that features hot dogs and tater tots with tons of toppings. And arcade games. t was fun to celebrate the season (and a great year!) with my coworkers. Their hot dogs are really good – especially their vegan dog, which tastes more like an Italian sausage. I had a really good vegan dog with a garlic sauce, mozzarella, bacon, onions and mushrooms. Plus some tots!

office holiday party

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Ringing in the holiday season with other BC grads. B and I are in charge of our alumni association and planned this year’s holiday party. We were excited to go to a new place – Bold Food & Drink on the East Bank of the Flats – and had a great turnout. I love meeting new BC grads living in Cleveland – they’re here, but not so easy to find!

bc holiday party

Enjoying the final Ladies Craft Beer Society of 2015. This year, we opted to do a holiday dinner to celebrate a great Ladies Craft Beer Society and wish good luck to the three ladies in our group who are pregnant. One of them – Reanna – is due any week (!!) so it was great to see her and the other girls and enjoy a night out. And do a final craft for the year 🙂

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Dining out with the Carney ladies. Each year, my sisters-in-law and I opt to celebrate the holidays with an experience as opposed to gifts – this year the holidays snuck up on us and we only had time to plan a dinner. Still, it was a great night for wine and pizza and fries (dinner of champions!) at Bar Cento and to catch up before the craziness of the holidays sits in.

girls night dinner

We did quite a few other things this month – going to see the Cleveland Orchestra, out to dinner in Uptown, grabbing drinks with friends, seeing the From Monet to Matisse exhibit at the Cleveland Art Museum and more .. it has really been a great month! I can’t believe December is nearly over and we’re already talking about 2016. Which undoubtedly will be a great year 🙂

holiday flowers

Some questions for you:

  • What are you most looking forward to about the rest of December?
  • Have you ever been to a Monday Night Football game?

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

Chocolate Dipped Heath Bar Shortbread Cookies

Have you been baking Christmas cookies yet? If your schedule has been anything like mine, you’ve been busy baking up a storm for cookie exchanges, holiday parties and office gatherings.

For this year’s work cookie exchange, I opted to make these cookies. I knew I wouldn’t have time to make them completely the night before, so I actually made the dough, froze it, and then baked and dipped them in chocolate and sprinkles the night before. These cookies are good – not too sweet, but delicious and festive (if you add rainbow sprinkles)! A great cookie exchange addition.

Chocolate Dipped Heath Bar Chip Shortbread-icrashedtheweb

Chocolate Dipped Heath Bar Shortbread Cookies

Recipe from the kitchn. The original recipe says it makes 70-75 cookies. Don’t know what I did differently, but mine made about 45. If yours makes 70, PLEASE let me know what you did!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup Heath toffee chips
  • 1 cup chocolate melting wafers

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cream together butter, powdered sugar, and salt until smooth. Add vanilla.
  2. Using a hand or stand mixer on, low speed, mix in the flour until combined and a dough is formed. Fold in 1 cup of the chocolate chips and the Heath Bar chips.
  3. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log about 10-12 inches long. Wrap both logs of dough in parchment or plastic wrap. Refrigerate the rolls until firm (a few hours, or up to three days). The logs can also be frozen if you don’t plan on baking them within a few days, just make sure to thaw in the fridge overnight before baking.
  4. When you’re ready to bake the cookies, cut the logs into 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick slices. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange slices slightly apart on the baking sheets.
  5. Bake the cookies for 13 to 15 minutes, until the edges just start to brown brown. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets before removing from the pan.
  6. Melt the 1 cup of chocolate melting wafers in the microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring between each interval. Dip one end of each cookie into the chocolate and use a butter knife to scrape off the excess chocolate. Place the dipped cookies on parchment paper. Optional: while still wet, add festive/colorful sprinkles. Wait until set before storing or tasting.
  7. Enjoy!

Chocolate Dipped Heath Bar Chip Shortbread~icrashedtheweb

Some questions for you:

  • What twists on traditional cookies do you make to give them more of a holiday appeal? I like to shape them into fun holiday shapes (candy canes, snowmen) or add red/green sprinkles (like these!).
  • What’s your go-to cookie for cookie exchanges?

Feelin Thankful

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. It was filled with everyone one wants during Thanksgiving – food, fun, family. While I didn’t get to go back to New York to spend time with my family (I’ll be back for Christmas in a few weeks!), I did get to spend time with B, his family, extended family, and even got in some early holiday spirit-filled activities!

Thursday morning started early with the Cleveland Turkey Trot 5 miler. B, me and all his siblings did the race! It was a ton of fun to run with the whole family. I didn’t run it fast enough to race it, but did beat my last Cleveland Turkey Trot time, which was awesome.

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Then it was time for turkey. Well, first we had to make our contribution – we were assigned a vegetable side dish and we brought some roasted cauliflower with pignoli nuts and dates. It was SO good – I’d definitely make the recipe again.

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We spent Thanksgiving with B’s family and his mom’s side and hung out with them until late in the evening and I nearly fell asleep on the couch from food coma. So yes, a successful Thanksgiving dinner 🙂

pre-food coma

pre-food coma

Friday morning started early –  B’s family has had a tradition of going to the West Side Market the Friday morning after Thanksgiving for brats for breakfast. The tradition started I believe with B’s mom’s cousin, who sadly just passed away. So, in his honor, we met at 8:30 a.m. for brats at the Market. It was in the 50s, so B and I walked over.

walking over to the market. 50+ degrees and nearly December=awesome.

walking over to the market. 50+ degrees and nearly December=awesome.

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We got in a little shopping while we were there and then headed over for some tea and coffee in Hingetown before walking home.

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Every year, B and I organize our local alumni’s Adopt a Family program and always adopt a family and buy holiday gifts for them. We typically wait until mid-December to buy gifts, but since we were around (and it was still early), headed to Target to take advantage of the Black Friday sales AND finish our Adopt a Family buying. We got to Target around noon and for some reason it wasn’t even crowded!

Friday night, B and I decided to use a gift card we’d had for a little while and go on a dinner date. Yes, I was still craving some carbs even after Thanksgiving and got pesto pasta with potatoes. Carbalicious 🙂

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Saturday, I started the morning with a short treadmill run and then we began by celebrating Small Business Saturday and checked out the market that was going on downtown at the 5th Street Arcades. I got a few Christmas gifts before picking up a smoothie for lunch at Restore (more small business support!). ‘

Arcade all decked out with holiday lights

Arcade all decked out with holiday lights

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Then it was time for Carney Bowling. Every Saturday after Thanksgiving, B’s dad’s side gets together for an early holiday celebration/party, bowls and has dinner. I did the BEST I can remember ever bowling this ear – I somehow got in the 90s! (and I beat B in one game…which never happens. He typically scores a lot higher)

My first game - bottom left!

My first game – bottom left!

My niece Sofia and I taking selfies at bowling. She took this :)

My niece Sofia and I taking selfies at bowling. She took this 🙂

After dinner, we made it back downtown just to catch the tail end of Winterfest and the downtown tree lighting. It was a great way to finally kick off the holiday season and get in the holiday spirit. Christmas tunes, a winter beer garden, a ginormous Christmas tree, Santa and another holiday market. I love this time of year!

fireworks!

fireworks!

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Sunday morning, I got in an easy treadmill run and then B and I decided to take a walk in the Metroparks. It was another seasonably warm day, so it was great to get in some steps and take in nature before the cold sits in.

even the ducks were out!

even the ducks were out!

Sunday afternoon, we kicked off the holiday season the way we do every year – we decorated our apartment, made pepperoni bread (and ate it. a lot of it) and watched Love Actually. Love Actually is still one of my favorite holiday movies and even though I’ve seen it at least 10+ times, I still love it and still tear up at parts.

getting the holiday decorations out

getting the holiday decorations out

B making the bread

B making the bread

finished product.

finished product.

All in all, it was a great, relaxing, fun-filled long weekend. I can’t believe December is nearly here – but I’m so ready for the holidays and seeing my family!

Some questions for you:

What are you most looking forward to this holiday season? Seeing my family! It’s been too long. 

What’s your favorite holiday song?

Favorite holiday movie?  I love Love Actually and Muppet Christmas Carol. And about a gazillion other movies. I’m such a sap for holiday movies!

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?

 

Celebrating the Season

Warning- this post was written after a run, while listening to some holiday music, so it may be a little too cheery and full of holiday spirit.

What a great weekend! I really love this time of year and I definitely got my fill of holiday cheer this weekend.

Friday night I finally got to check out the lights in my neighborhood downtown. It was slightly warm and drizzly, but don’t they look great?

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Then B and I went out for a late dinner at Cowell & Hubbard. We enjoyed a few appetizers (including a cheese plate and clams with chorizo!), a great meal (I love skatewing …) and festive drinks (I had a spiced mulled cider with rum). I have leftovers too to enjoy thank goodness. My meal was amazing.

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Saturday, B and I went out for a 5 miler together. I hadn’t run with B outside of a race in forever – so I was so grateful to have him with me. He paced me the entire time so we were able to finish with a sub-9 minute mile pace.

After our run, we hit up the West Side Market. Again, it had been so long since we’d ben there – and the place was all decked out in holiday lights and even a live band playing holiday songs!

Then it was time for my monthly Ladies Craft Beer Society meeting. This week we were making holiday cards! Finally, a craft I could somewhat excel in. Earlier in the week I had seen this story on the Today show about a 6-year-old girl whose dying wish is to receive hundreds – or more – holiday cards. So sad – I couldn’t get it out of my mind. So LCBS made our cards in honor of Addie – I can’t wait to send her and her sisters all the cards next week!

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When I got home that evening, it was time for an Italian feast! Well sort of. B had bought all the goods to make sauce and homemade pizza and I finished making homemade limoncello while we decorated our apartment for the holidays and listened to Christmas tunes.  I told you – it was a festive weekend!

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homemade limoncello – almost done!

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We finished the night watching my favorite holiday movie – can you guess which one?

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Sunday, B had tickets to the Browns game with a friend, so I was able to spend the afternoon being somewhat productive – I did some laundry, cleaned up a little, listened to more holiday music and even caught up on some work. And since the sun was out, I had to get out for another 5 miler. Without B to pace me, I wasn’t sure if I could keep up the same pace we had done yesterday, but I decided to put on Serial (if you’re not listening to this podcast you MUST) and was able to get in the groove and get it done.

This used to be easy ... i've gotten slower this year!

This used to be easy … i’ve gotten slower this year!

Sunday afternoon we met up with B’s family for another Italian meal-this time in Little Italy.

After dinner, we all caught the Christmas performance by the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus. What a great show – I always love to hear them perform Christmas music and it really gets me in the holiday spirit. As if I needed any help, right?

Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra, lit up for the holidays

Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra, lit up for the holidays

How was your weekend? Did you do anything to get into the holiday spirit? Yes, see above 🙂

What’s your favorite holiday movie? It’s a tie between Love Actually and Christmas Vacation and Muppet Christmas Carole 🙂

If you could eat only one genre of food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Oooh a tough one (not sure why I am asking this – I don’t like difficult questions!). I’d choose Italian.