Category: holidays

Progressive Dinner Costume Party

November 2nd, 2011 — 9:00am

Queen of themes, Carrie, decided that it would be fun to have a progressive dinner for this year’s Halloween costume party. So we assigned courses to all of our friends and went to work planning our meal. We were in charge of the main course so we went with Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic and braised greens. Both of which were really amazing. Because we were only in charge of making one course rather than a whole meal, we wanted to make it special.

The whole week leading up to the party we worked on decor and place settings. We set the table with my ever-expanding collection of mismatched china, white linens and glittery leaves as our place cards. Our glittery pumpkins were spread out across the middle of the table with red leaves sprinkled all over that were sneakily borrowed from our neighbors tree.

Place cards

Fall table

Fall Table

Fall table

The Other Mother

Halloween Progressive Dinner

Chicken with Forty Cloves

Braised Swiss Chard

Joan Holloway

Halloween Progressive Dinner!

To see the whole set of photos from the dinner party, click here.

Carrie’s version of the story is here.

1 comment » | holidays, parties

Me as Joan Holloway aka the first time I stuffed my bra

October 31st, 2011 — 11:53am

Because I’m living with the queen of theme parties and dressing up, it seemed fitting that I dress up for Halloween this year. (The first time in my adult life.) And because of my recent obsession with Mad Men, I decided on Joan Holloway, whom I LOVE.

I lucked out at Goodwill where I found the perfect tweed skirt, button up top, earrings and pin. I tailored the heck out of the skirt and shirt so I could get that skin-tight-Joanie look. Tailoring plus a couple pair of socks in my bra and I was starting to feel the Joan Holloway vibe. Carrie found this fluorescent orange wig at PartyLand that I cut so she could style it into the perfect 1960’s up-do. I sprayed it with a good coat of temporary brown hairspray and it turned out perfect!

For makeup I did winged liquid eyeliner, fake eyelashes and the reddest lipstick I could find. (I wish I could wear fake eyelashes everyday.) I ordered the quintessential “Joan” necklace from 1928 Jewelry to complete my costume. I think it turned out pretty well!

Me as Joan holloway

Me as Joan Holloway

My Joan Holloway hair

A Flapper and Joan Holloway

1 comment » | holidays

4th of July 2011

July 10th, 2011 — 7:18pm

Photos by Seth Schaeffer

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

4th July 2011

Comments Off | holidays


November 28th, 2007 — 10:31am

I’ve been thinking lately about how life has gotten a hold of me. I hate the feeling of not being in charge of what’s happening, but instead struggling to keep up. And what I hate most is just surviving life. What’s the point of that? I want to be passionate about the way I live my life. I want my actions to be actions of purpose. And I wonder how to get back to that point in my life?

One thing we’re doing right now is questioning the way we celebrate the upcoming holidays. When we first married EIGHT years ago we made the compromise to not celebrate Christmas in our home, but still participating in my parents’ celebrations. The first few years were excruciatingly hard for me as I had always loved Christmas. But as time passed, I started to see where Jim was coming from. I think now I’m at the point that it just doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. (Gasp! Can a Christian say that?) And I find myself in a good place: totally understanding why other people celebrate it and (finally) totally understanding why I don’t – and being OK with all of it.

Now that we feel pretty unified on the subject we need to come to a decision about what we teach our kids and how we handle it with them. I feel like we’re giving them totally mixed signals. Why do we go somewhere to celebrate something that we don’t think we should celebrate? How are they supposed to understand that we make choices for our family that most of the world doesn’t make? How are they supposed to understand that we’re not going to worry about the choices other people make? How do you teach your kids that WE believe something is wrong, but we have no problem with what other people choose to do?

(I think maybe that’s the fundamental question of life. One that I don’t see much of Christian culture being able to answer. I think it comes down to learning to truly accept people for who they are. Not tolerate them like one does a buzzing gnat, but accept them.)

But it’s such a hard thing to explain to a five year old who only sees the world in black and white. As an adult, I have a hard time answering the why’s about our choices. I feel like it can be such a loaded question and it’s hard to answer without people perceiving it as an attack on something precious to them. So how do we avoid miss black-and-white going to school and telling her friends that Santa is not real and that much of Christmas is based in pagan tradition? It’s like that time when she told one of my customers that we don’t celebrate Halloween because we don’t worship the devil. ooops.

I don’t want my kids to have wishy washy beliefs but I don’t want them bulldozing everyone in their path with said beliefs either. And I know, in the end, all was can do is teach them what we believe and then be prepared to accept whatever decisions they make as adults anyway.

So we have some decisions to make. Finding our own path on this has proven to be a lot harder than we anticipated. Learning to balance what’s important to our own immediate family with what’s important to each of our families is proving to be even harder. And the being in limbo while we’re trying to figure out what we’re supposed to do is the hardest for me – the person who has to have a plan to Fix. It. All.

More about my thoughts on this in the past here.

5 comments » | holidays

Valentines day, early edition

February 10th, 2006 — 9:49am

We went on our valentines day date last night. You have to do these things early when you have to juggle working and birthdays and friends availability to babysit and MY GOING TO STITCHES WEST on Wednesday. (There, I said it, I couldn’t keep it in any longer, the excitement is just too overwhelming! Not to mention that I’m going with Joelene!!!)

Valentines day will be the NINTH anniversary of our first date. Yes, do the math, I was 15. Let’s not get into it. But I just have to say, nine years is a long time.

I came home from the yarn store to find this waiting for me.

happy valentines day to me

He’s so sweet, huh?

We went and had a yummy dinner at Outback and then did what you do on dates when you’ve been together for NINE years: We went to Target and bought things, mostly for the kids. But you know, pretty much any moment we are children free, we consider to be a date. Sometimes Jim gets home from work and they’re both still taking a nap and we eat dinner together and marvel at how date-like it feels. Such is my exciting life. But I am going to STITCHES WEST!!!

9 comments » | holidays

Hanukkah Crafts

December 30th, 2005 — 9:10am

The other night we did a little craft with the kids. We made snowflakes and then glittered them. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, we gave Honor scissors…. we’re crazy. Actually the only mishap was my fault, I was trying to open the glitter and managed to spill all of it onto the floor. My house will never be the same. Honor took one look at the mess and said… “Oh, mommy’s in big trouble!” It makes me feel bad that he thinks he gets in trouble for making messes. He gets in trouble for playing with the toothpaste in the first place! I guess he’ll figure it out as time goes by (hopefully.)

Last night we made ginger bread houses. I refuse to show you what they look like. I was so sure that mine would end up being better than Jim’s but alas… Really, I blame Martha. I know, usually I’m all praise for Martha, but when it comes to Jim’s gingerbread house being better than mine, I’ve gotta give her the blame.

One thing I know, I’m crafted out for awhile. It’s exhausting trying to keep destruct-o-con contained when there’s a bowl of frosting sitting right in front of him.

6 comments » | holidays

December 26th, 2005 — 2:03pm

Wow, what a weekend. It was actually nice and really relaxing. It was probably the first year for the kids that it wasn’t totally overwhelming – which I think is so much better. I think they actually got to enjoy all their gifts.

Now that I’ve given all my knitted gifts, I can show them off.

This is the shawl I made for my mom. I need to take better pictures of it, but here she is trying it on for the first time. It’s made out of two yarns – a rayon boucle, and a mohair/silk blend.

The shawl I made for my mom

and the fingerless mitts I made for my cousins.

This matches the scarf I made for her last year.
fuzzy fingerless mitts

These are made out of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed.

tweedy fingerless mitts

Click the photo below to view the photos from our weekend.
all she wanted was to be cinderella

4 comments » | holidays, knitting

‘Tis the season…. to eat lots of prime rib and cookies

December 23rd, 2005 — 10:03am

I just wanted to take this time to wish you all a wonderful time this weekend. It seems that amidst the bustle of everything, I usually don’t get to really enjoy the time with my family. I find myself taking a second to try and burn everything into my memory. That would be my wish for all of you – that your time with your family and friends would be a wonderful one and a time that you can truly enjoy.

Tomorrow we will go to my dads house to eat dinner (prime rib) with him, my aunt, uncle and cousins, and my sister. Sunday we will spend with my mom, step-dad, sister, and step-brother, his wife and their son, for dinner we will have prime rib (again!). Sunday night is the first night of Hanukkah and the kids are getting really excited. The menorah is filled with candles and ready to be lit, we’ve collected quite a collection of dreidles and I’ve even found some chocolate gelt.

My love to you all.

4 comments » | holidays


December 20th, 2005 — 9:39am

We’ve been trying to plan activities for Hanukkah. It’s fun starting new traditions but when you have nothing to draw from, it’s kind of challenging. Hanukkah starts Christmas night, so we’ll probably still be at my moms. One day we want to take the kids sledding and another night we plan to take them to Chicken Little – it will be Honor’s first movie in a theater, do you think he will sit still? One night I’ll make a big Hanukkah dinner with lamb, and latkes and doughnuts. And we’ll spend New Years Eve at a friends. But I’ve still got a few more days to fill. (That’s the cool thing about Hanukkah – 8 days!)

I’d like to hear what your holiday/winter traditions are?

10 comments » | holidays

Christmas and Hanukkah

December 2nd, 2005 — 11:22am

I ordered our menorah the other day, I can’t wait for it to get here. I waited too long to order it last year and couldn’t get it in time. I’m really thankful to be able to give my kids something to observe during this huge holiday season. Eden, especially, has been so full of questions and I wanted to give her more answers than Jim’s “I hate Christmas.” (Explaining why Eden says “My dad hates Christmas” is really fun, let me tell you!) But all those inquisitive questions have stirred a lot of thought within me.

Each year that I don’t celebrate Christmas, it becomes easier to not celebrate Christmas. I’d even say that this year, I choose to not celebrate it. I’ve discussed this with many people recently and it seems most people who are uncomfortable with Christmas are uncomfortable with the consumeristic side of the holiday. I think I take more discomfort in the history of the holiday. (Although, doesn’t it seem strange to you that our whole society revolves around Christmas? The stock market revolves around good 4th quarter sales. Retail businesses can be made or broke by the Christmas season. People spend all year paying off their Christmas purchases, just to charge their cards back up again.)

I think the reason that I (and others) held onto Christmas so tight at first, is because of all the memories and all that it meant to me in the past. But I’m coming to believe that just because something has great tradition and it’s “what we always have done”, doesn’t make it worthwhile. There is no changing the history of how Christmas began and where it draws it’s traditions. I personally find it important to know the history of the holidays we celebrate, because by continuing to celebrate them we’re perpetuating that history – wether we know about it or not.

I believe that Christmas is ultimately a pagan holiday. Jesus’ birth was incorporated into that pagan holiday by the early Catholic church in order to make it easier for the “pagans” to convert. December 25th was not when Jesus was born. We don’t celebrate Jesus’ birth during this time because we’re just not comfortable incorporating paganism into our worship of God.

I think what it boils down to is being honest with yourself, even if that means not keeping the traditions you once did. Or maybe it means developing new traditions. I know that Christmas is a meaningful time to many people, even a time that brings them closer to God, and I’m glad that they have that. I think everyone must decide what is right for themselves and their families. I am thankful this year that I’ve come to this clarity of mind. It makes it much easier when I’m translating it into 3 year old speak.

6 comments » | church/spiritual beliefs, holidays

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