Category Archives: Seasonal

January is Blue

trees winter snow

Blue and green are next to each other on the color wheel, but around this time of year, they couldn’t seem more opposite to me.

When I look outside right now, I see white, gray and, if I’m lucky, a blue sky (and sunny sparkles). Still, even when the sky is also gray and white (as it usually is… this is Michigan), the world has a bluish cast to it.

Even the cat is feeling the lack of outdoor green. It’s been an ongoing battle to keep him from eating my houseplants.

Fortunately, I like blue. While its paler incarnations invoke icy landscapes and wintry skies, the deeper, brighter blues put me in mind of exotic climates and sensual fabrics.

Still, without any green (or red), blue is just kind of cold, and I’m already dreaming of March with its glimpses of Spring and St. Patrick’s Day decor.

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Anticipating copious amounts of parade candy…

Turns out March is about as busy as December around here.

But that’s no excuse to not wish you and yours a season bursting with music, good food and every beautiful shade of green there is.

So far we’ve had Family Day, the parade and a solid Saint “Practice” Day. The 17th itself will be a nice combination of third birthday fun and shenanigating down at the pub.

Over the last week we’ve had a lot of sun and no new snow, and there’s nothing so lovely as seeing grass and wide sidewalks as we head out to the festivities. Just makes everything that much better.

Whether you’re celebrating or not, take a minute to enjoy the waning of winter… it can never come too soon.


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March is So Here

Finally, the bulk of Winter is over and the Glorious Month has arrived.

March is the month of my favorite holiday, the arrival of my dearest season and the birth of my fabulous daughter. I’ve already got a bottle of Bushmills in progress, and the Lucky Shamrock candle is making the house smell like fresh grass.

It may still be white and bare out of doors, but green sweaters and musings on three year birthday cakes are taking over.

So ready.

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Seasonally Deviant

Let’s go.

I’m breaking the rules.

Considering my dislike for the cold, tendency to deal with SAD and passion for spring, I think I’ve done quite well with winter in recent history. Wonderful traditions like Winterfest and Chinese New Year, not to mention a small human who loves snow and wearing boots, make the season cozy and reflective rather than isolating and oppressive.

But. It’s February, and I admit to tiring of the barren and monochromatic world outside each and every window. I long for green, the sound of birds, sandals, psychedelic music, safe roads and the sight of my beloved neighbors lounging in their lush back yard (with their garden and their chiminea and their grill and their speakers pumping WYCE… *sigh*…).

Also, I finally succumbed to a nasty winter bug, and rode the roller coaster of fever, sinus pain and digestive upset that came with it.

Right this minute, as I write to you, sun is pouring on the snow outside. The slightly golden hue is fleeting, but I’m harnessing it to drift back to one of my favorite summers, and listen to Umphrey’s McGee cover a laid back tune of my childhood.

Cue the summer mindset in three, two, one…

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Cold, Fresh Air

I work hard at not hating winter, mostly for Iris’ sake. But, in all honesty, it’s tough to get excited about playing outside in this weather.

So, I look to the benefits of getting out in the frigid air. Did you know that outdoor winter exercise can ward off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and support immunity? In Finland, babies and young children actually nap in the winter elements to boost their health.

When a hot tub is involved, I don’t mind being out in the cold much. And I admit that swimming in a heated pool under the winter night sky sounds pretty sweet.

For now, I’ll meander around the backyard while Iris investigates the bird bath ice rink and squeals over the crunch of snow. And I’ll do it in 20 minute increments.

Hope you’re staying cozy!

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Anticipating Thaw

four colored ice balls snow

My favorite thing about Winter is Spring cleaning.

I recognize the necessary death and destruction of spent foliage and harmful microbes that the cold temperatures bring. I appreciate the sense of clean slates, quiet reflection and beauty in silence and solitude.

But I like the rebirth better. I want it sooner. Maybe I should live somewhere with a shorter Winter. Because these days, I spend

too much time

in my house, and I am

too frequently reminded

of all those projects that need doing. The foundation, the garage, the kitchen counters… all better tackled in dry, mild weather. Winter makes me feel a little

too helpless and dormant, and that’s when the demons creep in. Nasty buggers.

And this year we haven’t even gotten to say “vortex.” What is the point?

My point is in the tip of my nose, and I’m directing it toward March April May. The most beautiful time of the year.

For today, I make lists of all the little tasks Spring will hold, and count the growing days until we can again clear the air of frigid dust and shuttered windows.

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Family New Year’s Eve

I’m excited, because I get to spend New Year’s Eve with my sister, my husband’s brother and their awesome spouses.

The kiddos will be there as well, but they’ll probably be playing, chilling and fighting in the basement.

Growing up, I always thought of New Year’s Eve as a “friend” holiday, and still do, in a way. Of course, having a little one means the bar isn’t so much an option these days. Fortunately, we have spectacular siblings who are also our friends, and I think we’ll have as much fun as we ever did in the past.

My siblings like to eat, drink and be merry just as much as I do – the bar and food tables are set to be fully stocked. Yes. No lack of fun in sight.

Here’s to your New Year, however you might be spending it. My best to you and yours as we sail into 2015!

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Christmas Archives

julafton carl larsson

Julafton, by Carl Larsson, 1904

Happy Christmas Eve to you!

Cooking, baking, visiting, listening, erranding and (hopefully) relaxing are the priority today, so I thought I’d give you a touch of Christmas past.

It’s interesting to see how this week has changed for me over the years. I imagine some of you have similar evolutions when it comes to the holidays:

To My Ancestors: A Little Modern Grinching (2010)

Holiday Nomming (2011)

Happiest of Holidays to You! (2012)

Merry Christmas! (2013)

Stay safe, warm and happy!

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Happy Solstice!

solstice table centerpiece My friend is a genius, and suggested we start a tradition of celebrating the Winter Solstice.

It was a simple, relaxed affair that revolved around a fantastic meal and crafting natural ornaments that would feed the local birds and squirrels. Now we have festive trees and very happy wildlife.

What a perfect way to begin the week’s activities – celebratory, yet anti-chaotic and reflective. Happy Solstice!

orange clove pomanders

Pretty orange and clove pomanders

solstice tree toddler

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Freshened Green Bean Casserole

From ‘Simply Scratch’

For the past several years, I’ve made green bean casserole for our family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

I’ve always used fresh green beans, and have tried different things like adding carrots and sliced almonds. Last year, I decided to ditch the canned cream soup for homemade.

Though I can’t remember what recipe I used then, I’m thinking of trying the one below this year. Really, you can’t go wrong with onions, mushrooms, butter and whole milk. And I can’t imagine anyone missing the soy and BPA of the can.

So, if you’re looking to freshen up your green bean casserole, use fresh vegetables, homemade cream of mushroom soup and maybe even pan fried onions (a point to which I have not yet gotten).

Happy Thanksgiving!

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