As kids many of us looked forward to decorating a shoe box, picking out Valentine’s for our classmates and an afternoon party at school. What’s not to love about sugar upon sugar? According to Hallmark, the 114 million cards sent on Valentine’s Day are second only to Christmas. That doesn’t even consider those exchanged in construction covered boxes in classrooms across the country. As the years pass we narrow our Valentine’s Day focus to a more select group of friends, those we’ve walked with more closely in the day to day. It’s a good reminder to show love and gratitude to those around us. But as nice as the chocolate and cards are, for many of us, the years also bring a deeper appreciation for time and connection with others as opposed to tangible gifts. These intangibles gifts are the sort of things you can look forward to here in the next two weeks, along with a few DIYs to whip up in the process. So you can consider today to be an invitation to share some love with a cookie party.
Age really isn’t a factor in the love of cookies though it may determine the thickness of icing and the total weight of sprinkles mounded on top Read More
Every now and again the making of a memory looks more like the fashioning of a treasure. It may be the gathering of an entire extended family for a few snapshots, which is largely akin to herding cats. Or the decking of halls and singing along with Christmas classics at Grandma and Grandpa’s home. And sometimes in the making of a memory, a tree crate becomes the reminder for years to come of a chilly afternoon spent creating together in the barn.
It’s a wonderful time of year. Full of all things cozy and warm and the hope of snow. And even better than watching the snow drift down is the dreaming of snow days.
It’s the stuff of my childhood. And then for almost 20 years, I traded in winters for sandy beaches. They have their own sort of rugged beauty that has inextricably woven itself into the fabric of my journey. But being back in four seasons and snow makes me feel like a kid all over again. I’m the first one with my nose pressed against the glass, well almost, when there’s talk of snow.
And as soon as the roads are passable, Steve comes and whispers a winter invitation. It doesn’t really matter what list I may be running in my head at the time. It’s quickly abandoned and we hop in the car and drive.
Coffee is often involved. And gps. But the gps isn’t really needed until we’ve meandered throug all the twists, curves and side roads that looked even slightly promising. Then at some point, we pull out our phones and figure out how to get home from wherever we’ve landed on our snowy trek.
Steve always looks for good snapshots because he knows I’ll want to take some. And I do. Lots of them. Not really to do justice to the beauty of the moment, but more to enjoy the magic a little longer and to serve as a sort of reference point .
It’s a place to return to. Not a geographical place, a relational place. We’ve started new traditions with these new seasons in our marriage. This has already quickly become one of our favorite spots. This snowy date.
The snapshots may seem cliche. Maybe they are. To some.
But it’s more about the magic of seasons being captured anew. Seasons of the year. Seasons of marriage. Seasons of life.
And though these seasons, and snapshots, are revisited on a regular basis, they are decidedly not cliche.
Some seasons just call for a little improv. Our winter has been one of those so far. Technically we’ve had a few cold days and a couple of snows, but not enough to really stick around.
This obviously requires a bit of winter improv! At our house that usually involves some twinkle lights, because everyone knows they’re not just for Christmas trees. And lots of white, a bit of dazzle and, naturally, SNOW.
One of these days the Hoosier cabinet will get a new color, but first I need to decide on what color that will be. And yes, I am very open to suggestions.
I also love the way layers of textures and colors create coziness and beauty. Like this thrifted wooden tray with my new Moscow Mule Mugs, crocheted runners and some sweet mini roses.
And who made the rule that ornaments are only to be used at Christmas? That’s just silliness!
And back to the twinkle lights
And in the midst of enjoying a new season, comes the opportunities to enjoy the treasures it can bring.
Especially when those treasures come in the form of the college boy coming home for a few hours and a family dinner.
What sort of winter improv and treasures have you been enjoying around your house?
We actually had what I would consider our first real snow of the year today.
It snowed. It blustered about. It melted. Not near enough for my snow-loving self, but it’s a start. A late start at that, but a start nonetheless. So, we’ll take it.
Until we’re knee-deep in the fluffy white stuff (more like ankle-deep for our part of the country) we’ve decided to enjoy some of our favorite winter staples.
Like furry blankets. Could there possibly be too many of these? Ever? I think not. And let’s throw in a few fur pillows too. Because we can, And because it almost completes the coziness of the blanket.
Many of my own childhood winters were spent sledding down the hill that led to our house at the bottom of the cul-de-sac. And then we would head out back to shovel off the little creek that ran along the edge of our lot to ice skate. It was a narrow little creek, which basically means I can pretty much hold my own when it comes to skating in a straight line. I can even do the curves at the ends of the ice rink. But 4′ was never wide enough for me to practice any of the fancy tricks. Or maybe I was just having too much fun skating back and forth with my brother and sister to attempt something that would surely land me on my backside.
Either way, ice skating has long been a favorite winter staple. And if you ever find yourself in Lexington, Ky in the winter, then Triangle Park does not disappoint. It’s a popular spot on the weekends, but skating around with family and friends with lights and music all around is a bit magical. And if you happen to go before Christmas then you can also sing along to Christmas music. Yes, singing helps keep you warm.
Most people won’t even notice if you’re off key here and there because they’re too focused on not finding themselves sprawled out on the ice.
And everyone knows that after skating or sledding or crawling out of bed or dinner or …. you do get the idea here right? Hot chocolate is a splendid idea, pretty much any time of day in these winter months. I’ve tried several different recipes to make my own hot chocolate, but the family seems to love these little packets with all sorts of flavors to choose from.
We started off with a hot chocolate bar a few years ago, after a bit of inspiration from Traci at Beneath my Heart, but our little “station” has shrunk a bit to allow for more counter space. I love how it somehow makes everything cozier once winter finally blows in.
It’s chilly night here in the bluegrass, and just about time to settle in with my fur blanket and hot chocolate. What other magical things would you include on your short list of winter staples?