Three Things…Joy

On this Thursday, a bit of joy…three pieces of Joy art that accent my minimal mantel this Christmas.

Collage JOY – A delightful original artwork by a friend (& former colleague) – as soon as she posted a picture of this on social media, I contacted Lindy and snapped it up for me. The rest of the year, this is included in an art wall in my spare bedroom. Lindy makes beautiful collages filled with thoughtful words and brilliant color and creative uses of papers, layers and paints. In addition to this piece I have another Lindy collage on my art wall and have commissioned her for a custom collage for a high school graduation gift.

Amaryllis Joy – I picked this up at Joann’s my first year here in PA. The combination of a favorite word and a favorite flower were perfect for adding to my Christmas decor.

Deer Joy – A fun addition this year from Michael’s, picked up right after Thanksgiving. A bit silly, a bit whimsy – it “pairs” with a Noel Cactus that I picked up for my sister and that is what makes me smile with this one.

JOY is one of my “words” – not only at Christmas but also throughout the year. In fact, over the years I have cultivated quite a collection of joy art – items that aren’t only reserved for Christmas decor but fill my home year round. Sometimes, the joy may be hidden – other times it is right there in front of you. Some moments may not feel like there is joy to be found and some moments the joy is just overflowing. No matter the circumstances, I’m always looking for the joy in the midst of it all.

Linking up with Carole & Kat for Three Things Thursday.

Recently…November 2017

Ah, NOVEMBER…a month filled with birthday celebration…falling leaves…falling temps…shorter days…moments of thanksgiving…pivoting towards advent…in the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my November days…

Recapping the month through a few snapshots…

Time in Texas…I hadn’t seen my girlies since February so it was wonderful to start the month with a long weekend back with them all. As per normal, we had a jam packed weekend. Pedicures to start the weekend. Homemade pizza on Friday night. A Saturday morning soccer game. A Saturday afternoon high school honor choir concert. An early birthday dinner celebration for me at Tupelo Honey at The Star , the new Cowboys Frisco complex. Church. A bit of shopping. A quick Christmas Card photo session in the blazing heat. All in all, a delightful time with some of my favorite people!

A birthday at home in the Ville…When I left Texas, I detoured to the Ville to actually be at home with Mom & Rebecca on my birthday. While there are no pictures from the day, it was a sweet time. Several sweet friends from church joined us for dinner at a favorite Vietnamese restaurant and then back home for Mom’s wonderful chocolate cake (with the fudge-like icing).

Cider Roasted Veggies…after roasting a pan for the office Thanksgiving luncheon, I made a batch at home in the Ville that were incorporated into several quick meals throughout the week

Thanksgiving Week at home in the Ville…a lovely and low-key week at home with Mom & Rebecca. My goal of reading lots of books didn’t happen but it was still a relaxing week. The church Thanksgiving on Sunday started the week – I didn’t have it in me to make my traditional Nantucket Cranberry Pie so we went with Mom’s gingersnaps instead. A massage restored me from months of stress and more. Two salt room visits helped all of us. Thanksgiving dinner was hosted by friends and the weather was such that we enjoyed extended time out in their pavilion in the back enjoying the gorgeous afternoon.

Sipping Joy…whether iced or hot, the Peppermint Mocha Swirl is “just right” from Dunkin. And, their JOY cups are the best holiday cups around.

Looking ahead…who knows how December will unfold…but I’m definitely looking forward to extended time at home in the Ville, figuring out how we celebrate the season, spending time planning for 2018 with Powersheets and one word, reconnecting with high school friends at our now annual Christmas week gathering…and turning the calendar to a new year…

What filled your NOVEMBER days?

Once again linking up with Leigh for What I’m Into.

Three Things – on the Mantel

For this Thursday, a quick tour of the Christmas vignette on my mantel.

I knew this Christmas would not be one for “full on” Christmas decorating – I just don’t have it in me as we continue to navigate the “firsts” without Dad. But I did decide that a few items surrounded in lights on the mantel would be just the little bit of joy I need in the apartment for these few weeks I’m here before being home in the Ville for the holidays.

Painted Panda Carolers – Dad painted these for me in 1997 and brought them along when the family came to the Chicago area to celebrate Thanksgiving at my place. I’ve shared before about some of the ornamental treasures that Dad painted for me over the years. These pandas are the largest painted pieces Dad did and they can’t help but spark a smile whenever I see them.

Nativity Holy Family – I picked this group up in August 2010 on my first visit to Door County. Since then, I have amassed a complete nativity from this artist & it normally fills the entire mantel. I always chuckle that this Georgia made nativity found me in Wisconsin.

Salt Glaze Santa – New for 2017 is this charming Santa from a favorite pottery place in Lancaster County. While I have several pieces from there in my pottery collection, I’ve never started into their Annual Santa collection – they were cute but just never grabbed me. This year, however; is different – it is the last Santa because they are retiring and transferring store ownership. The Santa this year has a smile (previous years have been more stoic) and the cutest hand wave – which is a wave that Dad & I have done over the years.

What’s your holiday mantel vignette?

Linking up with Carole and Kat for Three Things Thursday.

Three Things, Roasted

On Monday, our office had our annual Thanksgiving luncheon. The turkey, dressing & mashed potatoes are catered in and served by our senior leaders. The rest of the menu is brought in by employees, potluck style. I signed up to bring roasted veggies.

So, at 5:50 am on Monday I was loading a sheet of veggies into the oven. Along the way I snapped this pic & shared to Facebook, as captioned below.

Early morning roasting…cider glazed butternut squash, Brussels sprouts & cranberries to take for today’s office Thanksgiving lunch…

Not long after posting the pic, a friend asked for the recipe which I then shared – as the day progressed, the recipe was shared by others & based on comments it appears this colorful dish may make an appearance at several Thanksgiving tables next week.

So, on this Thursday before Thanksgiving, it seemed appropriate to share this 3 ingredient pan for Three Things…

  1. Butternut Squash
  2. Brussels Sprouts
  3. Cranberries

I made a cider honey “dressing” to toss the veggies in which provided a bit of a glaze as the pan roasted.

Glaze: Olive oil + Cider-honey vinegar (or cider vinegar + a dribble of honey) + Fresh ground black pepper + Garlic salt + A dash of powdered ginger [Note: no measuring – but this probably totaled about 1/2 cup]

Since I was roasting these early on a Monday morning, I tossed the squash & sprouts with the glaze the night before & kept in the fridge.

To roast: Set oven to 425. Spread squash & sprouts on baking sheet. Roast @ 425 for 20 min. Stir the sheet & increase temp to 450. Roast for about 12 min. Stir & add a couple handfuls of cranberries. Roast for about 6 min. Enjoy!

After the luncheon, there was less than a serving spoon of leftovers – I think they were a hit! This is a favorite trio for autumn roasting for me – the seasonings may vary each time I prepare a sheet full of this goodness – but its always a simple & satisfying side dish.

Linking up with Carole & Kat for Three on Thursday

Recently…October 2017

Ah, OCTOBER…a month filled with fall flavors…fall and falling leaves…the flavors of autumn…beautiful autumn skies…shortening days…a bit of travel…a return to blogging…and more…in the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my October days…

Arranging…succulents in a pumpkin! A Saturday morning class at my favorite garden center yielded this beauty for the mantel. When I signed up for the class, I thought it might involve scooping out a pumpkin to create a planter – no pumpkins were carved in the making of these. Rather, succulents were potted into the divot at the top of the pumpkin and then moss was arranged over the dirt. A simple design with endless possibilities – next year I will be doing this on my own, for sure.

Traveling…just one work trip to start the month. A quick overnight to Milwaukee for a one day meeting. As I arrived to my hotel room on the Monday evening, I was getting the 24 hour flight check-in notice for my return flight.

Adventuring…while home in Georgia for a long weekend, a Friday was a perfect day for some autumn adventuring with Mom & Rebecca. It was a gorgeous day to head north to the mountains. First, we stopped at the Georgia National Cemetery to visit Dad – it was our first time there since the headstone had been installed. After a quick lunch at a roadside stand, we continued north towards Blue Ridge. We braved the crowds & chaos of Mercier Orchards for apples (of course), fried pies, cider donuts and hard cider. Once back home in the Ville, we enjoyed dinner at a new to us Vietnamese restaurant that is fast becoming a family favorite.

Decorating…with Modge Podge and glitter! The office activities committee once again provided a pumpkin decorating station that was overflowing with possibilities in paint, stickers, glitter, pipe cleaners, ribbons and more. I went for simply and sparkly with the gold glitter topped pumpkin to decorate my desk.

DabbingAltitude Oil to keep my head clear …this was recommended by a seatmate on a flight to Milwaukee – she is touring as Mimi in the 20th anniversary RENT tour…she said it was a favorite for staying well with all the travel, so of course I had to track it down & order it. In addition to being a great energizer while up on the air, it has also been helpful in stopping rapid fire sneeze attacks and sinus headaches and keeping the start of a cold at bay.

Cooking…minimally but simply and healthy…my favorite Chocolate Chili was made and “stocked” in the fridge for most of the month and paired with all sorts of things for quick lunches & suppers – I see this being a common occurrence for the foreseeable future.  On a Sunday afternoon, local apples simmered on the stove for a simple batch of chunky applesauce – looking at my produce tower, another pot is on the horizon.

Enjoying…one final sweet bouquet from my local farmstand. These $5 arrangements bring joy, for sure. Early in the season, I go for the cut-your-own option. But I just love when the farmer’s mother begins offering these sweet “cup holder bouquets” of zinnias and other flowers and fresh herbs. As the season ended, it was fitting that it was a more autumnal bouquet of flowers paired with purple basil.

Wearing…a Life was Good shirt for Halloween. As I shared on Facebook, navigating life without Dad is filled with all the emotions – some days, all seemingly at once. While tears & sadness creep in, we also have plenty of smiles & laughter along the way. To some, this year’s Life is Good Halloween shirt might seem an unlikely choice for us. But, since Dad loved a clever pun…this was an obvious choice for Rebecca & me. I’m pretty sure Dad would say “well played, girls” with a twinkle in his eyes & a smile.

Lunching…a Saturday day trip over to Lancaster County included lunch with a dear friend from Chicago who lives in the area. It had been 10 years since we’d seen each other and as we each enjoyed our Halloween themed Eggs Benedict at Gracie’s on West Main we caught up on life.

Looking Ahead…November is always a favorite month with my birthday and Thanksgiving…I know it will be more bittersweet without Dad to celebrate with us…

What filled your OCTOBER days?

After way too long, once again linking up with Leigh for What I’m Into.