“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”… except not exactly. We’ve had the craziest winter so far this year in Wisconsin. Our first snowfall was before Thanksgiving, and now it’s all but melted away. Today it was foggy and moist out, and I think the temps hit almost 50 degrees! I’m not complaining though, the cold isn’t exactly my favorite. And regardless of the rising temperatures and lack of snow, we’ve still been managing to have a great holiday season thus far!
Aaron’s family decided to celebrate Christmas a little early this year so everyone could be together, so Friday night after work we headed to his parents’ house for the weekend. It was fun to see everyone and relax with some beers, good food, and a puzzle.
After dinner, we drove around a bit to check out a neighborhood holiday light display. Some of those houses really go all out with the decorations. SpongeBob, Mickey, and penguins are the perfect Christmas combo.
Later in the evening my favorite little person, Aaron’s 6-year old niece Lilly, finally arrived to play. She’s cute as a button and the best little cuddler. She awed us with a perfect rendition of Frozen‘s “Let it Go” (somehow she knew all of the words, not a single mistake). We don’t get to see her very often, once every few months at the most, but I feel lucky every time I see her to be so loved by such a wonderful little girl!
Obviously Christmas morning is not complete without an early wake-up call, so Saturday morning Lilly had us up at 8 for gift opening. I had asked for a waffle iron (see yummy waffle photo below!), and Aaron gave me this new knife. I’ve already used it for chopping up veggies, and it works great so far! I can definitely tell a difference between it and the cheaper knives we’d had up until now, especially in the sharpness and weight of the blade. Aaron’s mother also gifted me with a homemade apron, appropriately covered in cartoon penguins. My gifts have all gotten great use so far, I’ve already tried them all!
One of the very best gifts was from Aaron’s sister for the two of us. She printed out a bunch of pictures from our trip and strung them on twine in a cool frame. I’m excited to be able to easily switch out photos as we have new adventures to showcase. It’s already found a spot on our wall!
Saturday night I headed back to Madison early to get back in time to warm-up for my choir concert. The rest of the family followed behind soon after; I was lucky enough to have nine familiar faces in the audience there to see me! The concert went really well, and everyone enjoyed it a lot. We sang a mix of different holiday and seasonal songs, including “Fum, Fum, Fum” and “Christmas Day”, which are two of my favorites. The highlight of the show was our performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria, which is a beautiful piece made up of twelve movements. The night was exhausting (the performance was almost two hours) but incredibly rewarding after the time we’d put in throughout the semester to prepare.
We split ways with the family after the concert, and Aaron and I stayed in Madison the rest of the weekend. After the excitement of the day, I crashed hard as soon as we got home and slept for almost 10 hours–much needed recovery!
Sunday morning I reset my body with a heated yoga class. I do a lot of cardio and strength workouts, but don’t do as much stretching as I know I should, so yoga is always a much needed recovery for me. I’m also more likely to make it to a yoga class on the weekends because the slow pace of the workout jives much better with my lazy Sunday moods!
After class I whipped up a batch of waffles with my new waffle iron. It took a couple rounds of practice to get the proportion of batter right, but the final one turned out beautifully. Bacon on the side, yum!
While waffles are delicious, it’s safe to say I’m most excited about this waffle iron churro recipe!
After I made brunch, threw chili ingredients into the slow cooker, and tidied up the kitchen, we headed on our merry way to chop down a Christmas tree!
Last year we went to Hann’s Christmas Farm, about 20 minutes south of Madison, for our tree, and we decided to go there again this year. The atmosphere is really great, and they let you go into the field yourself to pick out and saw down your own tree if you want to (which of course we did). You can see just how incredibly foggy it was this weekend in this photo:
Since it’s already a little later in the season, we had to walk a bit farther out into the field to find our tree, but there were still plenty of choices.
We settled on a 7 1/2 foot Fraser Fir, and Aaron got to sawing.
And down she goes!
After dragging the tree back up to the barn, the farm employees take it from there to bundle it up and help safely tie it to the car. While waiting for the tree to be ready, we stopped into the farm shop to buy a wreath and a new tree topper as well. I’m excited about all the fresh piney smells in our apartment now!
The rest of the afternoon was spent decorating the apartment and baking cookies with friends. I found these cute little guys at Home Depot, and they’re now hanging on a wall in our living room.
Our lovely holiday-themed sugar cookies:
And here’s the tree all set up and decorated. I love how the green lights (unintentionally) cast light shadows on the wall!
I hope you had a wonderful weekend too. Did you do anything exciting or fun? Share in the comments!
Enjoy every minute of your time with friends and family during the holidays, and make sure to take some time for you to center yourself as well. Have a great week!
Have you ever chopped down your own Christmas tree? What are your favorite holiday decorations to put up?