Ready for the Holidays

Here is a reason to stop fighting the Christmas creep.  By decorating early it helps with motivation to get into the season especially when you have plans celebrating with friends and family! I have been a big procrastinator.  Not this year.  I am embracing what I see every week on the Pilates wall…


is doing what

needs to be done

even when you don’t

feel like doing it

I usually do a Christmas photo and letter to family we don’t see often and managed to actually get it done.  Maybe it is slighly easier when the kids are older.  The boardwalk has an enormous tree and it seemed like the perfect place to take our family photo.

towne lake tree

And this year we don’t have storage for our artificial tree so it is the first time we got a real one.  The grocery store sells Christmas trees and we walked over to the grocery store “Christmas tree forest”, selected and walked home with our tree through the parking lot.  This is truly a suburban version of selecting a tree from a tree farm, a traditional all day event that took maybe 15 minutes.  It may not have been the highlight event for the entire family, but it was an event that I think was fun.

For years I have been talking about changing the decorations.  For whatever reason my husband only likes white lights on the tree, so white lights it is to keep the peace.  And I did a silver, gold and white theme.  The tree is topped with sparkly winter branches inclusive of a Harry Potter snowy owl.  My inspiration came from, Pinterest of course!  To duplicate the beads I saw on the Pinterest tree I found these glittery balls that I guess you put in a bowl, but I thought, why not string them like popcorn.  It was a little time consuming, but the outcome was what I was going for and it did bring back memories of strung popcorn we did at my aunt and uncle’s house.

christmas tree

Now for blending shopping, baking and get togethers with friends.  The good stuff.  The first of a few Christmas parties was last night.  It’s fun to see how people theme their parties.  The party last night was one of a friend of mine.  It was also her husband’s work Christmas party.  They did a chili competition and provided sides.  You could either participate in the chili competition or bring a desert or bottle of wine for the chili winner’s gift basket.  The winning chili was a korean chili (go figure in Texas!!!).  What a cool idea!

Ready for the Holidays

Texas Wedding

It was a beautiful spring weekend along the Colorado river.  My brother-in-law tied the knot!  The couple chose an informal intimate gathering in Burnet, Texas.  Burnet is a small town a little over an hour outside of Austin and right by the Colorado river, Inks Lake and Lake Buchanan.  The Colorado river links these two lakes with nearby lake LBJ in what is considered the hill country.  The wedding was held at a lake house on the Colorado river and it had plenty of room for guests.  When you spend a weekend at a lake house, you typically bring your food and plan to spend your time outdoors enjoying the spectacular surroundings.  The river at this point is somewhat murky, however it’s great for fishing, kayaking or any kind of boating and swimming.  It’s a great place to get together with friends and family for a fun relaxing weekend!

When we left home we didn’t check the weather and it was a bit of a surprise when we stopped for gas that the temperature dropped almost 20 degrees to 62 degrees Fahrenheit.  Needless to say we didn’t plan accordingly.  The ceremony was planned for six o’clock outside.  Upon arrival there were so many beautiful wild flowers, the blue bonnets are waning, but there were beautiful red and yellow flowers everywhere.  Once you get to Burnet and turn off towards the water, you start noticing the hill country change in terrain.  It becomes hilly, and at one point where you could see the water on the winding two lane road I wanted to stop and take a picture.  It’s just that there is no shoulder.

We were greeted warmly by my brother in law and shortly joined by my in-laws.  More friends arrived and soon we were ready for dinner.  On the menu, BBQ!  It was fantastic overlooking the beautiful Colorado river.

wedding dinner

The sun came out and the wind calmed just in time for the ceremony.  The wedding colors were brown and turquoise with highlights of pink.  The burlap table runner followed with the theme to the seating by the river with bow tied burlap on the chairs. I love the fact that the wedding party was color coordinated.  The bride wore lace and the groom, leather and of course boots and a hat!   There was not a lot of activity on the lake. You can see ducks and herons.  I actually saw a road runner.   The music was the quiet calm and the sound of ducks (which sound like a honk to me) and chirping from a variety of birds.


Shortly after the ceremony, we had the cake cutting and champagne to celebrate.

wedding cake.jpg

And then a spectacular sunset over the water…

sunset colorado river

What a pretty day!  The rest of the evening was spent lounging, talking, playing games and sitting by the fire.  I switched to PJs quickly!

Texas Wedding

Party Get your Grill On

New businesses that pop up in suburbia never cease to amaze me.  They go like this, you get an invitation from a friend for a party.  I have been to Pampered Chef (cookware) and Thirty One (totes and bags) to name a few.  The party is a get together with friends with the goal of selling something for whomever convinced the friend to host the party.  And usually there is a benefit to the hostess in the form of free or a reduction in price of product.  This week I went to a Wild Tree party.  The idea is that you will have 10 meals for the family pre-prepped and ready to cook.  Most parties I go to do not have a commitment to buy anything.  This one has a pretty steep price just to go ($80) and what you get for that is six seasoning/sauces/oils and the recipe instructions.  I think that is pretty steep.  I’m game to try something new.    I’m a bit of a short order cook and I tend to go to the grocery store every day with no idea usually what I’m making for dinner.  So the thought that I can actually prepare ahead of time and have everything ready to go sounded appealing.  Of course if you have picky eaters, then a preset meal plan by someone else may pose a problem.  For me I don’t care.  It’s food right?  And it’s not like I’m trying to make it terrible.  Hey maybe the family will actually like to try some different things.  Most of the dishes sound pretty normal.

Beef, chicken, ribs, shrimp and fish.  I think my family can at least try it.  And if they don’t like it, there is always cereal.   So if it’s a big hit, I don’t know what I will do for an encore!

The prep work was pretty tough for someone who goes to the grocery store every day buying small amounts.  (I could so be European in this respect so I have heard).  I actually went to the store 3 times to get all of the necessary ingredients which were mainly meat and some vegetables.  Then I had to cut them and put them in bags to take to the party.  That was easily an hour.  Once there, we added spices/sauces and or oils and slapped a sticker to it.   That took a couple of hours.   I took it home and put it in the freezer.  Then I will take them out a day in advance and cook.  So I like the fact that there is no question to what is for dinner and everybody gets the same thing.  So yippee…nice to step outside of the box and try something new.

I hope the money spent is worth it.  I probably spent a couple of hundred dollars on the food, and for two weeks that is probably not bad.  Adding the additional $80 then eh, I don’t know.  There is so much meat for meals for my family I think I can even stretch it out a little further (maybe double).  Now that everything is in the freezer in individual bags that might be harder.  I’m happy to have this problem, believe me.

Wild Tree has a website and a catalog.  And the lady who was running the party made some appetizers with some of the stuff from the catalog so that you could try it.  There were mainly dips, and I really loved these avocado “fries”.   Their ingredients are all organic.  It’s not that I really care about that.  I try to pick foods that are identifiable which I think is good and then I make the assumption that crops probably need some kind of treatment to keep bugs off them and animals need to be healthy.  I’m really hoping that the treatments for both of these issues are safe for humans.  I tend to eat more fish than any other meat.

Anyway, we have a nice grill and I can’t wait to have a reason to use it.  It’s a nice way to take care of the fam!  ❤



Party Get your Grill On

Christmas Party Guest

Last night I went to a party hosted by one of my tennis friends.  There were about 30 women young and old that went to the party and it was a blend of her friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.  Guests were to bring a dish and a $30 gift for a gift exchange.

When I arrived I was in awe with the amount of Christmas decorations she had in her home.  It was truly spectacular. Everything was decorated Christmas.  There were amazing nativity displays.  And she had so many angels.  I mean in her living room she had all of the cubbies that house other things during the year decked out with all things Christmas.

So my friends kind of stuck together and we didn’t mingle too much.  We did enjoy ourselves.  I should mention that the hostess is Venezuelan.  And her aunt made the most amazing dish…bollos pelones.  OMG this is to die for.  They are a meat dumpling in a corn flourish dough.  I just googled the recipe and pinned it on Pinterest.  I know that there is no way I will be able to come close to this, but I might try for fun someday.  Side note… I’ve tried to make other culture recipes that were an absolute flop.  Like Brazilian Pao de Queijo :*(.

Back to the party, so we ate and had some eggnog martinis.  And do what women do best!  Then we gathered by the tree for the gift exchange.  I must say it took about an hour to go through the entire gift exchange game.  So here is how it goes, everyone draws a number from a bowl.  The person that gets number 1 goes first but can steal a gift if it hasn’t been frozen (stolen 2 times) at the end.  So I was number 9.  And my friend was number 1.  I stole a pair of Kendra Scott earrings, but that was quickly stolen from me and I ended up with cream.  The items that were popular were the earrings of course, two capes like red riding hood…(interesting), a really cute robe that looked kind of cheetahish but the spots kind of looked like hearts, a really pretty vase and a jewelry box.

So I gave a really nice bottle of French wine and some cheese and breadsticks.  I was the only one that gave that, so I hope it was ok.  I would have been happy with it!  I also had a tough time with what to bring for the side dish.  I ended up bringing a tortellini salad (BLT) so it was bacon, spinach, cherry tomatoes and cheese filled tortellini in a sour cream ranch dressing.  My family gave it the thumbs up so that is what I went with.

elvia xmas party

elvia xmas party2

All I can say is I’m happy that I was invited and I really love my friends.  ❤


Christmas Party Guest