Amy Artisan

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Category: The Ville (page 1 of 3)

Currently…December

Ah, DECEMBER…a month of advent and Christmas celebration…enjoying the glow of the Christmas decorations at home and out and about…in PA, a much warmer month…in GA, a much much soggier month…the end of 2015 (how can the year be over?!?) … in the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my days…

Christmas glow

Christmas glow

Reading…once again, daily Advent passages from Watch for the Light…after the Thanksgiving fiction binge, not too much other reading early in this month…although a few Christmas takes were just right leading up to the 25th…ah, the stack of books from under the tree is being consumed…

The addition of the sheep dog to my nativity scene brings a smile

The addition of the sheep dog to my nativity scene brings a smile

Watching (TV)…the end of this season of Fargo…the return of Luther on BBC America…

Watching (Christmas)…a Charlie Brown Christmas…Love Actually…oh Hallmark Channel, you can easily suck me in with the non-stop Christmas movies (downloading these fun Hallmark Christmas Bingo cards for next Christmas movie season – thanks, Addie!)…assorted family favorites while home (It’s a Wonderful Life, The Christmas Card, Christmas in Connecticut, Mame)…

A festive brew discovery, even better when enjoyed with a friend

A festive brew discovery, even better when enjoyed with a friend

Watching (Sports edition)…while it is a frustrating Packers season, it was great fun to watch the Packers-Lions game and the crazy Hail Mary victory with a good friend who was in town for work…

The perfect wrapping paper for hand knit gifts!

The perfect wrapping paper for hand knit gifts!

Crafting…blocking the gift knits…6 complete gifts…having to re-knit the 7th Christmas gift when something decided to snack on it in the months between it coming off the needles & me blocking everything – this is the first time I’ve ever wrapped a ball of yarn & needles to put under the tree…

"The" Christmas shirt

“The” Christmas shirt

Wearing…my Christmas blouse for the office holiday luncheon…each year it is paired with a different cardigan & always finished off with Grandma’s Christmas tree pin…

The local fire company bringing Santa through the neighborhoods in the township on a Saturday morning

The local fire company bringing Santa through the neighborhoods in the township on a Saturday morning

Listening (Tunes)…all the Christmas tunes, of course…in frequent rotation: The Band of Merrymakers (Welcome to our Christmas Party) and Rend Collective (Campfire Christmas, Vol 1)…the Pink Martini “Joy to the World: A Holiday Spectacular” streaming from NPR…

A tasty smoothie experiment!

A tasty smoothie experiment!

Listening (Podcasts)…the return of Serial looks to be interesting…as this season of Fargo ended, I discovered the “Aw Jeez” podcast on the show from Minnesota Public Radio – I think this might be even better listening to it after the whole season has unfolded and listening to their “blind predictions” about things and knowing what actually happened…

Ran into a reindeer while finishing Christmas shopping on a Saturday

Ran into a reindeer while finishing Christmas shopping on a Saturday

Facetime-ing…opening Christmas gifts with the WI-family – due to schedules, the boys had to endure my box unopened in their house for a week before we connected – who knew an Old Spice gift set could spark so much excitement in a 14 year old?…on Christmas morning, a visit with my Texas girls (all wearing their gift-knit cowls)…

Mushrooms & shallots sauteing for my "famous" mushroom dip

Mushrooms & shallots sauteing for my “famous” mushroom dip

Kitchen-ing…A simple meal of roasted chicken with a rainbow of veggie delivered to a friend recovering from surgery…A big batch of Mushroom Caviar for a holiday gathering with friends (as requested by the host)…Spinach-Artichoke dip for Christmas Eve…a simple smoothie of fresh cranberries + spinach + apple cider was perfect this month…

Christmas coffee in a new mug from our excellent family camp adventure

Christmas coffee in a new mug from our excellent family camp adventure

Sipping…all the peppermint…Candy Cane Coffee to start the days (this is my fave)…decaf Candy Cane Green Tea to end the days…enjoying both options in a mug or over ice…

Traveling…home to the ‘Ville for Christmas – lucky to be home for 12 days with the family…lots of low-key hang out time in the midst of plenty of Christmas fun…

CHRISTMASing…oh so many moments & memories with friends and family in the ‘Ville…

Sharing the Christmas Story in Clarkston

Sharing the Christmas Story in Clarkston

…sharing the Christmas story through carols and treats and a simple Christmas pageant with refugee families in Clarkston with our church…

A fun evening driving around the county looking at Christmas lights...

A fun evening driving around the county looking at Christmas lights…

…the annual drive around the county to look at Christmas lights – a bit of rain didn’t deter us…

Christmas Cookies!

…Christmas cookie baking in waves of our favorites: Swedish jam squares, Casserole Cookies from Grandma H., Thumbprint Cookies with Red Currant Jam from Grandma R., Nut Filled Crescents, Cardamom Cutouts using new cookie cutters I picked up in Switzerland…

Christmas Eve family fun!

Christmas Eve family fun!

…a Christmas Eve that included a beautiful candlelight service a church; favorite appetizers for our family supper; Christmas crackers & paper crowns; the annual watching of It’s a Wonderful Life…

…Dad having to wake me up on Christmas morning for the first time in ages (must’ve been because I was Santa arranging all the gifts under the tree the night before) and a lovely morning around the Christmas tree…

Christmas Day

Christmas Day

…Christmas dinner hosted by friends that are like family…the menu was expansive and we couldn’t even fit all the serving dishes on the dining room table…the 4 cousins were giddy & silly as they attempted to present a Christmas pageant to us…Sheila capturing the annual Christmas Day picture of the Artisan family…

…the 2nd annual gathering of high school friends (& families)…such a fun evening of connecting with them…

Christmas coloring book fun

Christmas coloring book fun

…coloring with Mom & Rebecca…fun Christmas coloring books with so many pictures to choose from…(the entire Artisan family received coloring books under the Christmas tree)

A rousing round of Spite & Malice during Family Game Night!

A rousing round of Spite & Malice during Family Game Night!

…a family game night of Spot-It Holiday Edition and Spite & Malice, our favorite card game…it had been quite a while since we had played Spite & Malice and much laughter ensued…

Looking Ahead… a new year filled with new possibilities…it has been a decade since I started this blog – planning for more activity around here…time to pick a new word for a new year & put it into practice…menu planning for healthier eating…and more

Linking up with Leigh’s monthly “What I’m Into” roundup. What are you into these days?

Currently…November

Ah, NOVEMBER…a month of birthday and Thanksgiving…of leaves plummeting to the ground until spring and the return of darkness as I leave work… in the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my days…

Reading…a bit…sharing recent reads earlier in the month…devouring seven (!) books on my Thanksgiving break…perusing “best of” book lists for Christmas wish list items…

Watching (TV)…I’m enjoying the new SuperGirl series…keeping current with Fargo (& chuckling that we lived in ND at the time of this story)…letting go of some series I’ve been following & deleting them from the DVR schedule…

Watching (Movies)…way more than I’ve seen in a long time…the flight back from Switzerland on the 1st was filled with an eclectic mix of titles (Inside Out, That Sugar Film, Mission Impossible, Pitch Perfect 2)… the final installment of the Hunger Games in the theater with my sister…several delightful family movie nights while home for Thanksgiving (Mr. Holmes, The Woman in Gold, Cinderella)…

Knitting and a fave classic movie on a Saturday evening...

Knitting and a fave classic movie on a Saturday evening…

Crafting…continuing to stitch through the Packers season on my Scorecard cowl – even the recent losses…the rest of the knitting time is filled with gift knitting (& soon to be some gift knit blocking time)…Thanksgiving break in the ‘Ville yielded 2.5 gift knits completed…

Mom's Lemon Meringue Pie is becoming a Thanksgiving tradition...

Mom’s Lemon Meringue Pie is becoming a Thanksgiving tradition…

Browsing…On the rise of stylish comfortable shoes…a history of leftoversIn Praise of the Good Enough Holiday (NYT)…A reminder that not all the good plays are on the playing field…Proud of my friend Deb and her recent TEDx talk on the birth of her third child and the birth of a community

Listening…thoroughly enjoying the new Adele album…

Birthday fun!

Birthday fun!

Celebrating…my birthday with afternoon tea & pottery painting with a good friend & her 3 girls…

"Cranberry Sauce" Crisp for a luncheon...

“Cranberry Sauce” Crisp for a luncheon…

Cooking…a “Cranberry Sauce Crisp” for a Thanksgiving luncheon at work…a double Nantucket Cranberry Pie for Thanksgiving at church in the ‘Ville (& enjoying leftovers for breakfast on Monday morning!)…a batch of Mama Stambergs Cranberry Relish to accompany Thanksgiving and leftovers…my traditional side for the Thanksgiving table – shredded Brussels sprouts with bacon & chopped nuts…

A new tea routine...

A new tea routine…

Sipping…lots of tea in this great tea tumbler from Libretea – a thoughtful birthday gift from dear ones…now each day, my bag contains the tumbler with a scoop of loose leaf tea for a mid-morning tea break at the office…

Thanksgiving Brussels sprouts ready for dinner...

Thanksgiving Brussels sprouts ready for dinner…

Traveling…home to the ‘Ville for the week of Thanksgiving…just a few work related calls & emails to deal with while home – otherwise a week of fun & together time with the family…reading…knitting…Thai takeout…lingering over lunch to catch up with a dear high school friend…

Thankful for a week at home in the 'Ville...

Thankful for a week at home in the ‘Ville…

Looking Ahead…Christmas decorations are out of storage and being put up around the house…a month of Christmas tunes and movies…Christmas travel plans are being finalized…the anticipation of “finally” giving holiday knits to dear ones…

Linking up with Leigh’s monthly “What I’m Into” roundup. What are you into these days?

Currently…August

Ah, AUGUST…a month of… local heat waves 3 and 4 of the summer (and maybe the start of 5)…some mornings that had the slightest hint of crisp and the promise of cooler days ahead…birthdays and anniversaries of many dear ones…seemingly endless summer produce at the farm stands…in the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my days…

A farm stand bouquet to start the month

A farm stand bouquet to start the month

Reading…working my way through the lofty vacation reads stack…after finishing up my recent Civil War read, I transitioned to baseball & World War II for my next narrative nonfiction – The Game Must Go On: Hank Greenberg, Pete Gray, and the Great Days of Baseball on the Home Front in World War II by John Klima has kept my attention while diving into the way that professional baseball survived during the war…no surprise that I didn’t get my summer reading challenge finished by the arbitrary end of summer that the local library decided upon: closing time on Tuesday, August 18…but I did achieve 12 books this summer before month end…August travel provided a lot of reading time…

Reading on a rainy Sunday morning in WI with Willie Bear at my feet

Reading on a rainy Sunday morning in WI with Willie Bear at my feet

Watching…Wallander was the Netflix series to start the month…Doc Martin was a fun show to work through later in the month…The Astronaut Wives Club was a fun summer series…it won’t be long until Sunday afternoon football is back in rotation (time to figure out football knitting)…

Never too old to have fun opening gifts

Never too old to have fun opening gifts

Celebrating, Part I…On the front end of my work trip down to Florida, I was able to stop in Georgia for a weekend in the ‘Ville…it has been years since I have been with my sister for her birthday – it was fun to enjoy her birthday celebration in person instead of via photos sent via text

A bit of summer crafting

A bit of summer crafting

Crafting…breaking in new colored pencils with some coloring books…knitting a few more dishcloths (you can never have too many on hand)…working on a new infinity cowl for me with some local-ish yarns…

Supper one evening - a nod to British breakfast: eggs over baked beans

Supper one evening – a nod to British breakfast: eggs over baked beans

Tidying…#konmari action in the kitchen means I’m taking stock of stockpots and food stocks and everything in between…it’s really amazing what items that once were “must have” items are exiting the house because they don’t spark joy these days…

Pan fried zoodles & homemade tomato sauce

Pan fried zoodles & homemade tomato sauce

Cooking…late in the month I started another Whole30 & I will be sharing some of my recipes in September…but I resumed many of the food prep/meal concepts at home early in the month…the key to success really is prep…hard boiled eggs in the oven become quick meals/snacks during the week…chopping & cooking up a package of bacon on the weekend provides a quick addition to meals and snacks throughout the week…mason jar mayo is a great base for dressings and dips/sauces…several times in the month, a quick supper involved throwing a couple of fried eggs on top of whatever was in the house…pan-fried zoodles with homemade tomato sauce was a delicious Sunday supper…

Jam & Pickled Blueberries ready to put up

Jam & Pickled Blueberries ready to put up

Preserving, Part I…A heat wave Sunday afternoon was spent canning with a friend and her daughters. After many years of “canning solo” in my kitchen, it was fun to have the girls help with some of the activities and see their reactions to the alchemy that is canning. In a couple of hours we made a double batch of a favorite Cantaloupe-Vanilla Jam and tried our hand at Ginger Pickled Blueberries.

WI weekend fun

WI weekend fun

Celebrating, Part II…a trip back to Wisconsin to celebrate the kids’ birthday – a total of 42 candles was celebrated among the 3 of them…in addition to the party, the long weekend was filled with just general fun of hanging out together and ended with Vicki and I enjoying a spa day & discovering a great restaurant in Appleton before I flew out on a Monday afternoon…

Putting up tomatoes for the winter months

Putting up tomatoes for the winter months

Preserving, Part II…A plethora of tomatoes at the local farm stand provided several opportunities for “putting up” tomatoes for the cooler days…for the freezer, I made several batches of the go-to tomato sauce recipe that I picked up at the Italian cooking class I took in Assisi in July 2011 (must share this simple recipe!)…for the cupboard, a batch of spicy tomato jam was put in jars and put up for the winter and for gifts…

Airplane & airport scenes

Airplane & airport scenes

Traveling…eight legs of air travel between the 2 trips: early in the month, a work trip down to Florida with the detour to the ‘Ville on the way down…later in the month, the Wisconsin adventure…

Starting the WI weekend off right with yummy root beer & frozen custard

Starting the WI weekend off right with yummy root beer & frozen custard

Looking Ahead…as we turn the page to September I’m starting a new weekly planner calendar to try to keep more on top of things…no definite travel plans are booked yet but several things are blocked out on the calendar in the coming months…

Linking up with Leigh’s monthly “What I’m Into” roundup. What are you into these days?


Currently…May

In May…a whirlwind of work & life travel meant waking up several times during the month & wondering where I was…in the midst of it all, these are some of the things that filled my May days…

A lighthouse on a Sunday afternoon drive...

A lighthouse on a Sunday afternoon drive…

Traveling…lots! – The itinerary for the month really drove most of my “into” things for the month…A couple of days in Princeton for a work summit…home to the ‘Ville over Mother’s Day weekend…several days with the project down in FL…6 days in Marinette for celebration, fun & work…

So many nuggets of wisdom from the summit...

So many nuggets of wisdom from the summit…

Cultivating…my professional development through 2 days spent with amazing women in my company at our global women’s growth summit…a focus on innovation…a chance to meet and network with many that I’ve worked with virtually…a great keynote session with Meg Whitman from H-P…

Mom & her girls on Mother's Day!

Mom & her girls on Mother’s Day!

Celebrating – Part I…I was home in the ‘Ville for Mother’s Day weekend. It was fun to be with Mom for the day. While family is always a great reason to head home, another catalyst for the trip was seeing a family friend whom we have known since I was an infant & we hadn’t seen since my senior year of high school. Jack served on Dad’s missile crew when we were stationed in Kansas so it was great fun to hear stories from “back in the day.”

Celebrating Bre!

Celebrating Bre!

Celebrating – Part II…I was back in Marinette for Memorial Day to celebrate Bre’s high school graduation – it is hard to believe that the middle schooler I met in the early days of the project is now a high school graduate! Saturday was for graduation – a warmer than normal spring day sitting in the football stadium stands provided me with a “nice” sunburn on my arms. Sunday was for family time – time up at the land, visiting the West Shore Fishing Museum that I’ve driven past many times, burgers at Saz’s, the boys were water bugs in the pool for a couple of hours in the afternoon and of course Sunday evening meant our “Sunday supper” tradition. On Monday – we had a full day to Milwaukee & back – fun at the Brewers game & then dinner at Bre’s favorite The Cheesecake Factory to celebrate her. I extended my trip through Wednesday & spent 2 days in our Marinette facilities catching up with people and projects.

Our 6th baseball game in 3 years!

Our 6th baseball game in 3 years!

Cooking…not too much with my May travel schedule…but while in Marinette, our “Sunday Supper” tradition continued and I had free reign of the kitchen, so a simple supper was pulled together with plenty of kitchen helpers: Grilled (in the rain) Chicken; Roasted Veggies; Pasta & Sauce; my “famous” Spinach Salad…we harvested rhubarb from the backyard & I made a simple “new to me” dessert which we ended up eating for breakfast instead – this Five Ingredient Rhubarb Squares recipe is a keeper…

Tradition - Lilacs on my desk in Marinette!

Tradition – Lilacs on my desk in Marinette!

Sipping…iced coffee…iced tea…lots of infused water because of my fun new infuser pitcher…”barley pop” with friends in WI…

The best sunburn relief!

The best sunburn relief!

Soothing…sunburnt arms with a “new to me” Aloe Gel that will now be in my medicine cabinet from here on out…

Breakfast by the bay on a Saturday morning!

Breakfast by the bay on a Saturday morning!

Reading…not quite as much as you’d think with all the travel…The Secrets of the Ladies Mission Society by Laurie Dick was a fun airplane read…I’m really enjoying The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown – another great narrative nonfiction that keeps you in the story.

Exploring the West Shore Fishing Museum on a gray Sunday...

Exploring the West Shore Fishing Museum on a gray Sunday…

Watching…while home in Marinette, a couple of low-key evenings included some on-demand movies…we thoroughly enjoyed “St. Vincent” and also found “Black or White” to be cute…

Simple cotton knitting...

Simple cotton knitting…

Crafting…I finished up a Shutterfly photo book for a graduation present…simple dishcloth cotton being turned into burp cloths for some Fourth of July babies at work made for easy travel knitting…

Rain-kissed rosebuds in the drive-thru for my morning iced coffee

Rain-kissed rosebuds in the drive-thru for my morning iced coffee

Browsing…on Pope Francis and the Art of Joy…on being busy…first there were earworms, now meet the “eggcorns“…on the classic Birkenstock coming back

Looking Ahead…as of now, my suitcases aren’t scheduled for use in June & that is fine with me…ready to restart my Saturday morning farmers market runs and then the resulting cooking…

Linking up with Leigh Kramer for the monthly What I’m Into round-up. What are you into these days?

Currently…December…

In December…a month wrapped in the holiday glow…early in the month, the hustle & bustle of holiday prep…then finally, the time to just enjoy…and now, it is time to turn the calendar on a month and a year…these are some of the things that filled my December days…
Plenty of books under the Christmas tree!

Plenty of books under the Christmas tree!

  • Reading…new (to me) Advent writings to prepare for Christmas (Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas & Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent) – I think this is the start of a new Advent tradition…a big stack of books was under the Christmas Tree for me – a couple were devoured in quick order & others are currently mid-read & others will fill my 2015 reading…plenty of “fodder” for a mid-January reading recap…
  • Watching (on the big screen)…an Artisan family tradition is a movie at the theater on Christmas Eve – this year, Night at the Museum which was very appropriate this year with the London based storyline…and after Christmas, we thoroughly enjoyed the film adaptation of “Into the Woods”…
  • Watching (on the small screen)…a holiday fave, Love Actually, is more fun this year with my recent London travels…evenings at home in the ‘Ville were filled with Christmas classics: Christmas in Connecticut, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Christmas Card, An American Christmas Carol (from Mom’s 1988 VHS taping of it TV when we lived in KC)…thoroughly enjoyed this year’s Kennedy Center Honors performances…
  • Listening…a bit late to the game, I’ve devoured the “Serial” podcast this month…it’s Christmastime, which means a heavy rotation of my Christmas music collection – which just like my general music collection is rather eclectic
A spectacular light display in the 'Ville

A spectacular light display in the ‘Ville

  • CelebratingChristmas in many different ways! Early in the month, a Sunday morning piano & cello Christmas concert from my girls in TX. Opening Christmas gifts with dear ones via FaceTime! A Sunday evening drive around the county to check out Christmas lights with the family when home in the ‘Ville. A beautiful Candlelight Christmas Eve service to start a lovely evening that also included our family appetizer supper, Christmas crackers and watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Christmas dinner hosted by good friends in the ‘Ville. A low key Boxing Day – all of us staying in for the day and reading books from under the Christmas tree – lovely!
A simple scarf...in progress

A simple scarf…in progress

  • Crafting…finishing up another Simple Things Shawlette, including blocking in just a couple of weeks (a separate post on it in the coming week)…casting on for a Christmas travel project & making great progress during the aforementioned evenings in the ‘Ville…
  • Browsing…some favorite online reads this month: a great compilation of Jane Austen quotes; a great column on never outgrowing the belief in Santa; when Nobel prize winning science & high fashion intersect; the latest installment of “It’s Aaron” focusing on a great charter school in Milwaukee
  • Reconnectinga reunion of sorts with high school friends while home in the ‘Ville for Christmas…thanks to one of the gals posting a band banquet picture for a Throwback Thursday earlier this fall it set in motion a fun evening with friends I hadn’t seen in 20+ years…we all agreed that we need to make this an annual event
  • Cooking…A big batch of Chocolate Chili in the crockpot on a Sunday afternoon…pulled pork in the crockpot on another Sunday afternoon was paired with Sriracha coleslaw for tasty tacos…mushroom caviar to take as an appetizer to 2 holiday parties…my spinach artichoke dip was made for Christmas Eve…trying out a new to me sausage roll recipe to include in our Christmas Eve appetizer supper (it’s a keeper!)…
Warming hot cocoa

Warming hot cocoa

  • Sipping…Candy Cane coffee in the french press…frothing Cinnamon Vanilla milk from Target to enjoy “fancy” coffee at home in the ‘Ville…hot cocoa with frothed coconut milk…
  • Traveling…home to the ‘Ville for a Christmas break! I was home for 11 days (!) – thankful that I could work remotely for a couple of days before Christmas & avoid some of the airport insanity.

Christmas Eve fun

  • Reflecting…on the year that was 2014…so many great adventures…so many learnings…also, I’m pleased to see I was out here on the blog more than I’ve been in recent years – looking to exceed that in the coming year…
  • Looking Ahead….a new year! What will it hold? I look forward to seeing how it unfolds…stay tuned…
Linking up with Leigh Kramer for the monthly “What I’m Into” round-up.
What are you into these days?
What are some of your favorite Christmas experiences?
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