Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Cookie Bonanza on Butter Poached

When Laura of the lovely blog Butter Poached put out a call for readers to contribute to a virtual holiday cookie bonanza based on the Washington Post's annual cookie feature, I could not say yes fast enough. I wound up making two from the list - one fantastic and decently attractive, one fantastic but unfortunately reminiscent of boobs. I'll trust you to figure out which was which on your own, but do head over there for confirmation :) There are tons of fantastic reviews of many of the cookies from the list included in their post.

P.S. I know things have a been a bit photo collage crazy over here, but I recently discovered this site, and I am in love. It's crazy easy to use, there are lots of different templates, and (I might be just telling myself this?) I feel like it makes mediocre pictures look better. Anyways, passing along just in case you'd like feel tech-savvy without actually learning how to do anything technical!

Non-Scary Pregnancy and Parenting Books

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

As a person generally curious about biology and the human body, I've found myself to be surprisingly disinterested in nuts and bolts-style pregnancy books (except this good one that a girlfriend recommended). Most seem to present things in a such a dire way, making it too easy to imagine everything that can go wrong. Likewise for parenting books (i.e., there are infinite ways for you to irreversibly screw things up!).

So far, I've read 2, 3, 5, and 6 on this list, and the other two have been reserved at the library. Are there any others I should add to my cue? My first-born researcher tendencies are showing, aren't they?!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Literary City Guide: The Berkshires

Someone recently posted a link to Nicole's gorgeous website, Eat This Poem (I think it was probably Rachael - she always seems to find the best stuff!). I was smitten with the incredible literary city guides section, and offered to write one up for the Berkshires. Happily, Nicole agreed, and the guide was posted today!

I had so much fun putting this together, and of course, it's always exciting to see how amazing things can look in a beautifully designed space.

(Also, looking over it now, I realize a kind of funny error! In my little bio, I say that I'm a life-long New Englander, which isn't true at all! I lived in North Carolina for college, then D.C., then NYC. Ha!)

Anyways, I hope you enjoy it! And do check out the other guides there, too - but be prepared for a hefty dose of wanderlust to set in.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Our Christmas Tree

A blurry picture of our Christmas tree in all its glory! We stopped at the church tree lot where we've gotten our tree the last few years on Sunday. I was walking through and stumbled upon the most perfect tree - about six feet tall with fluffy, delightfully proportioned branches. I told one of the guys there I wanted it, and he was all, "Excellent choice! This little beauty was brought in from Washington state - people from all over the Boston area come here for these!" And then he told me how much this perfect Washington state tree was, and I decided to keep looking...

Luckily I found this pretty guy, grown in Massachusetts, and while not quite as perfect as the first tree, it's a still a great one.

While decorating, I made a batch of these little guys using clementines. Suuuuper easy, and they look so cute on the tree with the lights shining through them. If you're looking for a quick, painless craft with stuff you probably have on hand already, I highly recommend these!

Happy Friday the 13th to all! A very, very lucky day, in my opinion!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Yankee Swap $5-10 Gifts

1, 2, 3, 4

'Tis the season of awkward office holiday parties where you're forced to purchase an impressive gift that may end up going to your boss's boss for under $10. The pressure!

I'm going to pick up two bars of sea salt soap, tie them together with a red ribbon, and call it day. I love this soap, and it's a nice gender-neutral option. But while I was poking around, I thought I'd round up a few other things that could work just as well.

Do you have a fool-proof, crowd pleasing gift you always use for these sorts of things?! I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Oh, baby!

(Our one and only baby item thus far - a darling little sweater from my in-laws.)

So, yay, baby! We are absolutely over the moon. This was a long time coming (both because I'm nearly at the halfway mark with this pregnancy, and also because it took much longer than anticipated to actually get pregnant!).

I'm always curious about how people are feeling, so I'll tell you - I'm feeling really great, and completely recognize how lucky I am about that. The first few weeks were a blur of tiredness and picky eating, but for now, everything is sunshine and roses in pregnancy land.

A few other things people are sometimes interested in: we're not going to find out the baby's gender (well, until birth, of course!), we have a long list of names we're mulling over that I'll probably share later, I have a feeling that the baby's a boy, and, much to my surprise, I didn't really "know" I was pregnant until I took a test. It was also shockingly easy to forget, especially in the beginning! Not due to lack of excitement, of course, it just didn't feel real at all.

Now the baby's kicking quite a bit and I'm starting to get some visible physical evidence that I'm not just imagining this whole thing. It's feeling much more like I'm an official landlord and caretaker for this wild little wiggler.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

12 Days of Christmas

I know everyone is saying how quick the Christmas season feels this year since Thanksgiving fell so late, but it seriously feels so quick. In an effort to slow down - or at least be a bit more intentional about it - I put together 12 envelopes with little activities and treats for Peter this year. (In case the numbers are confusing, I did them based on the date instead of 1-12!)

I made a long list of little holiday ideas, which were mostly things we'd do anyway like trim the tree while eating fun snacks, watching Elf, and making a reservation for a special holiday dinner. All of those are obviously things I benefit from, too, but I also threw in some special surprises for Peter, like dinner of his choice one night with a few fancier-than-normal options, dark chocolate almonds he likes, and some special holiday beer. He doesn't know what's in each envelope, and it's been really fun to open a new one each night when we get home.

My last night of class is tonight, and after I finish my final paper, I'm going to come up with a mini self-care version of this for myself. It's going to involve bubble baths, reading magazines and grown-up books, doing yoga, and lighting the "fancy" candles I usually save for when we have people come over (Do any of you all do that, too? I admit it's kind of crazy...). I won't write myself little notes, but I WILL add it to my google calendar, which greatly increases my chances of completion. I'm dedicated to that little grid :)

P.S. Thanks for all your excitement about the baby news! I'll post later this week with a few more updates and answers to everyone's not-so-frequently asked questions, ha!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Waiting, Making, Loving

Waiting : until now to share some very fun news.
Making : our house into a home for a family - slowly, slowly.
Loving : that Peter and I will get to become parents together in a few short months!
Hoping : that we'll be half-way decent at our new gig.
Marveling : at the fact that I'll get to meet this new little person in early May.
Liking : the tremendous excitement and joy our family and friends have shown us.
Wearing : long sweaters, scarves, and scary belly-bands.
Needing : some bigger clothes :)
Drinking : tea, juice, hot chocolate, repeat.
Following : lots of the advice my generous girlfriends have given me (and if you have some to share, please do!).
Thinking : about how much I want to enjoy this short, special phase of life.
Feeling : excited, nervous, joyful, anxious, lucky, and so, so happy.

This idea came from Meet Me at Mikes!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Roasted chicken with fall vegetables

This dinner was so good - roasted chicken done the Ina way (basically, lots of butter, stuffed with lemons and herbs). I used to do it the Dorie hurry-up-and-wait way, but eh. It's kind of fussy, and this is nearly as good.

The real star was the roasted vegetables underneath, though, if you can believe that. I cleared out the fridge pre-Thanksgiving, throwing onions, carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, white potato, and garlic all in a big pile, setting the chicken with all its glorious fat on top. Yowzers. Leftovers were served the next day over quinoa - the perfect slightly bitter grain for all those rich vegetables.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's beginning

The Mount is doing a fun holiday tour this month, and we stopped by on Saturday afternoon for the first tour. I always love going to the Mount, but it was particularly fun to see it dressed up a bit for Christmas, with just a touch of snow on the ground outside. 

Afterwards we went to the Red Lion in Stockbridge for a late lunch. There might not be a cuter Main Street in all the land (I mean, I'm sure that's not true...but it is pretty darn cute). And the Red Lion this time of year is absolute perfection - a roaring fire in every fireplace, board games and newspapers set up on all the tables, the most delicious chicken pot pie, and those garish colored lights on all the trees that only they can pull off.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Monday, December 2, 2013


Peter's Aunt Virginia occasionally breeds her Bullmastiffs, and we happened to be in Connecticut over Thanksgiving to see the latest batch of puppies at three weeks old. There are six total, and all but one has already been adopted. I wanted that last one badly, but we need some basic things to make our house puppy-proof first (floors, functioning wall, a working fence, you know...). They look sort of big in these photos, but they're only about three pounds - for now!

Hope you had a lovely holiday weekend!
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