Celebrating the Season…

Jan 4, 2012 // by admin // Blog, Events, food, vacation // No Comments

There were so many posts that I wanted to write over the course of the last month and with all the holiday cheer, I didn’t quite find the time to write them, so I am playing a little catch up this first week of the new year. Here are some of the highlights of my holiday season…

A Girls’ Night Out for the Holidays with some of the girls

We enjoyed some good food…

house fries with truffled parmesan

mushroom pesto pizza










white pizza with basil pesto

fried deviled eggs










Then, we had a great grab-bag.

the grab-bag


And here are the girls…

Abby, Jessica, Amy, & Julie








Alison, Nicole, & me



I went home to NJ to celebrate Christmas. It was a great time with my family, getting opportunities to catch up and have a lot of fun.

me on Christmas Eve with my parents Christmas tree




I came back from a great trip home with my family to Virginia to host a game night for me and some of my friends on New Year’s Eve. It was a great way to ring in the new year.

New Year's Eve game night - playing team trivial pursuit

New Year's Eve game night - playing team trivial pursuit

New Year's Eve game night - playing team trivial pursuit - our trivial pursuit host


New Year’s Eve was a blast, as was the rest of the holiday season. This was truly a great holiday season, and although I’m happy that things are slowing down, I’m excited for what the new year is going to bring and hopefully, seeing all of these friends and more throughout 2012.

How did you spend your holidays? What are you looking forward to in the new year?


Holiday Cookie Party… baking cookies at its best.

Dec 10, 2011 // by admin // Blog, Events, food, knitting // No Comments

our finished treats

Today, I had the pleasure of attending my friend Alison’s annual cookie baking/exchange party, hosted by Alison and her roommate Julie. The afternoon was spent enjoying a variety of appetizers, snacks, sweet treats, and libations.

appetizers, snacks, some sweet treats, and libations

Some of us chose to bring our cookies, some just to bake at the party, and some to have fun mixing and creating the sweet treats from start to finish. I mixed my cookies at home and baked them when I got to the party.

We had a great afternoon, enjoying our treats, chatting, and relaxing. And we all got to take home some of everyone’s sweet creations. Here are the results of our baking endeavors…

Alison's Peppermint Meringues

Julie's Toffee Bars










Marie's No-Bake Oreo Truffles

Casey's White Chocolate & Peppermint Studded Chocolate Mountains










Mindy & Jen's Coconut Raspberry Tarts

My Chocolate Fudge Cookie Bites










I had a really great time this afternoon. It was great to meet new people, catch up with good friends, and share some of our favorite holiday cookie treats and for a few, test drive new recipes they found. I’m looking forward to enjoying these treats over the next few days and sharing some of them at my book club meeting tomorrow. And I’m hoping to do more holiday baking in the next couple weeks.

Are you doing any holiday baking this year? What are your favorite holiday sweet treats?

A little bit of nostalgia…

Dec 4, 2011 // by admin // Blog, Events // No Comments

Macy's at Herald Square, New York City

a beautiful saturday morning in NYC

When was the last time you went to see Santa? Growing up (and apparently the tradition started my first Christmas), my parents would take me and my sister into New York City the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving to visit Santa Claus at Macy’s Santaland. I have many memories of getting up early, riding the PATH train up to the 33rdStreet station, and waiting on line to give Santa my list of wants for Christmas. We’d make lists with pictures of what we wanted (and my dad would sneakily get them back from Santa to leave under the tree with our gifts). And after we saw Santa and got our pictures taken, we would visit Holiday Lane to get our annual Christmas ornament, which resulted in quite the collection of ornaments for a tree when I have a place to put one up.

my tree, Christmas 2008

(My seven-foot pre-lit tree, which was used in 2008 and 2009, is currently in storage in NJ, with my 108 gallon tubs of Christmas decorations, until I have a place to store them all in VA.)

Snow-people welcomed us into Santaland

This year was the first time in nearly a dozen years that I relived those childhood memories. At 8:00 AM or so, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I joined my parents, my sister, brother-in-law, and nephews on a journey to Macy’s Santaland. Some things have changed, rather than riding the PATH, we drove into the city. And Santaland is not quite the vision of elves building toys that I remember from my youth. There are fewer elves in the displays, it’s now a “train ride”, and the toys “being built” are a little more commercial. But even so, it was really special to see my nephews light up when they saw Santa. Tommy asked Santa for “lots of toys”. Afterwards, we went to Holiday Lane for our 2011 ornaments and then hit a local diner for some breakfast before heading back to jersey.

entering the NorthPole Village to meet the big man himself - Santa

the Christmas countdown

So, the family tradition continues. I’m happy that I was able to be a part of it. And I’m looking forward to being able to share in this tradition for as many years to come as possible.