Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finished Window Treatments!

Last Friday, Chad and his dad finished putting up the drapes in our living room. I love them - the rooms feel so much more polished and tied together now... and I could not be more pleased with the results!

Take a look:




I'll try to take a couple more post-Christmas (since the tree is blocking one whole side of the room).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Traditions

I know every family has their own way of doing the holidays. I figure many of you have families, like mine, where tradition is very important. Then there are other families that change things up, year after year.

My mom's side of the family is master of traditions. And our traditions revolve around one thing: FOOD. And not just for holidays! My siblings and I always laugh as we make the trek up to Maryland for visits with my grandparents about how the exact same types of sodas and beers will be stocked in the fridge. And how when we walk in around lunchtime, my grandma's crystal tray will be out filled with sliced deli turkey and ham, several types of cheese, two types of bread (a roll and a sliced), little crystal bowls of mayo and mustard, and a plate of pickles.

Or how whenever we go shopping with my grandparents, at some point they will want to stop at Starbucks... and will order everyone a coffee frappacino (whether you want one or not.) At first Chad thought this was hilarious - the black coffee drinker that he is. But even now, sometimes when we talk about my grandparents Chad will say he's suddenly gotten a craving for a frapp. ;)

And holidays are certainly no exception. Christmas day at my grandparent's house also followed script. Around lunchtime my grandma would put out shrimp cocktail, a tray filled with artichokes in olive oil, roasted red peppers, green and black olives, and sweet pickles.

Sometime midday my grandpa assembles the egg nog... which my grandma and mom will taste and say it needs more booze.

Then dinner.... ohhhhhhhhhh dinner...

See, for Thanksgiving, most families eat the same things - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, etc. But for Christmas, I feel like there is such variation.

For my Italian family, there is only one acceptable Christmas dinner: homemade cheese ravioli, our family sauce that has been passed down through the generations, bracoile, my great-grandpa's famous roasted chicken, a big fresh salad and fresh bread. I have such wonderful memories of my late great-grandfather in the kitchen running the show.

It is a time consuming meal to make (and usually is started on Christmas Eve), but it is something we look forward to every year. As we've gotten older, it's too hard to bring the whole family (especially now that 3 of the 5 siblings are married) - for space constraints, and for the in-law families we have to see as well. So over the past few years, we've had Christmas at my parents, and my mom has carried on the tradition (with the assistance of us "kids.")

I think in the beginning, Chad didn't really "get" the whole having to eat the same foods, at the same times, every single holiday. But now that he's a good few years into the family, I think he digs it. Or, if nothing else, he understands how important it is to me.

So what are your holiday traditions? I'd love to hear 'em!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bummed over boots

I loooooooooove boots. I would have a hundred pairs if I could.

I tell Chad, when I die, bury me in boots and cashmere.

So last week on Rue La La, Alberto Fermani (an Italian boot maker) had a pair of gorgeous tall leather boots for sale - from $500 to $250.

I knew I had to have them. I also knew Chad had already done my Christmas shopping. But I couldn't stop myself. I called Chad at work and begged him to let me buy the boots. And Chad, who tends to be against impulse purchases (it's amazing we stay married), agreed to let me get them.

Yippee! I ordered them, and anxiously watched my UPS tracking code to see when they'd land on my pretty little doorstep. Yesterday was the day.

I rushed home, quickly opened the package... admired the shiny Alberto Fermani shoebox... and delicately lifted the lid.

And my first response was, "Oh."

No squeal of excitement. No jump for joy.

I mean, they were the same boots. But the color didn't look as luxurious... the hue was much different than how they looked on the website. And they looked clunkier than I remembered.

But I figured, just try them on and see. I'm sure they'll look better on the foot.

Well... they were VERY snug. I know the leather would eventually give a little. But they just didn't do it for me. At all. And if I'm going to spend money on them, they better be getting a lot of use.

So sadly, this week I'll bid them adieu and ship them back to the Rue.

And my next boot purchase will be made in person.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Beautiful and delicious

I hope you all had a lovely weekend - we certainly did.

Yesterday was our most productive day. Some of our best friends, Hannah and Jack came over so the boys could....


...


...

install our new window treatments! Check 'em out:


I know I blogged about the stripe fabric in the kitchen area, but we ended up changing (for a few reasons) to this classic blue toile.

And I'm in love.

We have a few things we need to do before we get the drapes up (hope
fully later in the week), so you'll just have to wait on those. But here is the roman shade in the same fabric - for our single window in the living room.


And while the boys were hard at work on the drapes, Hannah and I spent a few good hours making 14... yes I wrote that right.. 14 tins of homemade cinnamon rolls. I started on the dough the night before, and thank goodness I did or we would have been there all night. One thing is for
sure: I don't think a space of my kitchen was not left with some combination of flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter on it. All in all, I consider that a success. (UPDATE: SINCE I'VE ALREADY HAD HANDFUL ASK, OF COURSE THEY WERE PIONEER WOMAN'S CINNAMON ROLLS. AND THEY ARE EVERYTHING YOU THINK THEY WOULD BE... AND MORE.)

The end-result: Lawd-have-mercy DELICIOUS.

The boys wouldn't stop harassing us about when the first batch would be done... which we, of course, had to sample. We were planning on giving them as gifts to family and friends, but Chad is already being judicious on who is "worthy enough" to receive them. Luckily our space-limited freezer ensures that we have to give at least half of them away. ;)

So it was a festive day and it was wonderful having a home that smelled like cinnamon rolls all evening.

I hope you all got to do something a little Christmas-y too!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Finally - some Christmas pics!

You little lovely readers have been such troopers hangin' in there with me over the past few weeks --- despite my lack of posts. We've been dealing with some health issues at home (nothing too serious), but between that and Christmas coming up so fast, I've been distracted!

Your reward? Tons of my Christmas pictures! I know, just what you've been waiting
for. ;)

First things first: The tree!
I looooove our Christmas tree this year - nothing but green, gold and glitter! I think I might love Christmas decorating so much because I can use glitter and have it not feel chintzy --- if
done properly, of course. ;)

Oh, and our other tree... because I ROLL THAT WAY!


And this... this is a little blurry, but this is the whole family room:


And a little bit closer of the mantle:


And this (at a different time) --- we had the fire going. Chad and I have loved s
itting in this room in the evenings with the fire going... so peaceful:



Here's a close-up of the poinsettias. Chad "claimed" he doesn't like
poinsettias, so I said I'd only get a couple. Next time you know, he's like: "Well, we might as well buy six!" I think someone changed his mind and got himself into the Christmas spirit!


And the dining room - the extra two pink poinsettias add so much pop to the room. And I have my Willow Tree Nativity set on the buffet in the back.


So there you have it - a Merry Barnhill Christmas House.

And hopefully Monday, I'll have an extra special exciting post of a new addition to our living room... you might want to look back a few posts and you'll realize what it is. Pictures a' comin'.

And don't forget to check out what some of my fellow Blogger girls have done with their decorations... like Wedded Whitaker and Little Fish. Big Pond.

Merry! Merry! Everyone! And remember:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Get into the spirit

Once more, things have been so busy in our little neck of the world that I feel I've barely had time to come up for air. So while I don't have time for a long post, I DO want you to watch one of the sweetest videos of all time.

One of my favorite blogs, Fly Through Our Window, posted last December two videos of Darby's daughters reciting the Christmas story from Luke. I think it's amazing and wonderful that she is teaching Scripture to her children at such a young age. We often discredit kid's attention span, but their little brains absorb more than you think. Chad and I will definitely be doing the same for our little babies one day!

They are the most absolutely gorgeous and precious little girls - and little Paige with her sweet little voice is just too cute.

If this video doesn't get you into the TRUE holiday spirit, I don't know what will!



And make sure to follow Fly Through Our Window blog!