Swedish baby shower

Over the weekend, I had the honor of hosting a baby shower for my sister-in-law, K. Her husband is from Sweden, where they live, and she’s visiting for a couple of weeks, so it was out only chance to get together and celebrate. I keep referring to her baby as baby Thor or baby Freya, but no, those are NOT the names they’re considering 😀 In fact, some of the names K likes for a girl (they don’t know the gender yet) are the ones I would have given to my child if I’d had a girl. I would LOVE it, if K’s baby is a girl, for my new niece to have those names I love, so yes, I am a little biased in what I hope she has.

Since we don’t know the baby’s gender yet, I decided to do the shower in the colors of the Swedish flag – blue and yellow:

I even learned to make pompoms!

Some of the wine was renamed with the names of Swedish places and the mommy- and daddy-to-be’s last name.

My husband did an amazing job decorating the house for Christmas, it looked beautiful!

I came up with a few games, including a crossword puzzle:

I had a blast planning and hosting the shower and even got gifts from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for hosting! My husband was a fabulous assistant, he took many photos, helped set up, kept people fed and with drinks, he made my job so easy. K said she had a good time and was very thankful, which means the world to me. I am so excited for baby Thor or baby Freya to arrive next spring!!!

Our 2011 Thanksgiving

Our thanksgiving lunch went beautifully; Steve and I planned, made lists, set up a schedule, and with some help from our family, we had a great time.  I printed the menu and set it up in the dining room:

My father-in-law showed up early — he was in charge of the turkey — and also helped out with the rest of the cooking. He and my oldest had a blast peeling potatoes:

Soon my boy was a potato peeling expert!

I had told my husband that I’d seen (can’t remember where!) an idea to use a wreath as a centerpiece and he came up with this:

Isn’t that cool?

Soon the rest of the family showed up and we started doing the oven-revolving-door dance. Dishes would go in, in twos and threes, and something yummy would come out. Soon our dining room table looked like this:

This was about half of the food we made. The wine took up one of the hutches ;D and the desserts people brought took up another.

Here is some of my wonderful family.

The little cups hold the butternut squash bisque, which was DELICIOUS – Steve made it from scratch and I am so happy there is some left over, because I’m having some of it for lunch!

One of my favorite moments was when we all shared what we were grateful for and my oldest said he was grateful for “the colors of autumn”, I thought that was so unusual and sweet.

I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful, and if you don’t celebrate it, then I hope today is a great Friday and I wish a wonderful weekend for everyone! I’m going to leave you with the menu we had for our Thanksgiving Lunch.

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Thankful for feasts and festivities

This holiday season we are hosting SIX events at our home. I know, we’re crazy. But I love it. I love going to other people’s houses, too, but then I’m always thinking about the boys. If they’re home I think about what they’re doing or if they’re driving Gran nuts or if they’re eating or or or. If they’re with us, I think about them knocking things over and playing nice with others, etc. At home, they’re in their turf and I can relax more.

The first event was the get-together we had for my 40th. My husband and his parents did 99% of the work so I just enjoyed everyone’s company and the great food. My mom made two flans, those things are so rich and delicious, and were definitely enjoyed. Here’s a funny bit about flan.

The second event will be Thanksgiving. We sort of stole it from my mother-in-law since she got her new dogs. I would walk in her house and within 15 minutes I’d be sucking on my inhaler. I’m not allergic to all dogs but the longer-haired ones do give me trouble.

The third event will be a baby shower. I am so psyched. I am planning lots of sweet things, or rather, “Swede” things, since it will be a Swedish baby 😀 (flag pic from Facebook).

The fourth will be a family dinner. We might have some guests from out-of-state and we had such fun last time they were here that we would love to host something for them. It’s still a maybe so we’ll see. (pic from The Martha)

The fifth will be Christmas breakfast and lunch. Again, stolen from my mother-in-law. The boys open the avalanche of gifts – we really do have generous families and friends – and then they go play with the boxes (ha!) while we eat breakfast with my in-laws. We do a quick dishwasher load and get things ready for lunch, which is when most people show up.(pic from The Martha)

The sixth will be a New Year’s Day brunch. We are not planning on going out this year so we invite friends and family to get over their hangover or to start the New Year with us.(yep, again – pic from The Martha)

So this is our plan so far, lots of friends, lots of family, lots of good food and wine, lots of wonderful memories being made — that’s what holidays are all about for me. Hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful, and if you do not celebrate, I hope you have a great rest-of-the-week!

Birthday weekend, part 4

After lunch and a nap, we got ready for dinner at Allegria.

Last year, our friends C&D had come to Napa with us and they’d gifted me a bottle of Caymus zinfandel.  I decided to bring the Caymus to my birthday dinner at Allegria and share it with my hubby and our friends J&M.

The wine went perfectly with our entrees and it was a delightful dinner.

Little did I know that our friends C&D would gift me another bottle of Caymus for this birthday – score!  Now I have wine for next year’s birthday dinner ;D

On Sunday, we had breakfast at the hotel and then headed home because we had invited people to celebrate with me – the party started at noon and we got home about 90 minutes before that.  My mother-in-law had watched the boys for us, my father-in-law got the house ready for guests, and both of them along with my husband did all the food.  I am so grateful to them!

I saw something this board on Pinterest and decided to make my own:

The afternoon was wonderful, it was so nice to see so many people from so many facets of my life.  When thinking about what to say if people asked what I wanted for my birthday, I took my inspiration from the book that started my veggie garden adventure – Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver.  For her 50th birthday, Barbara asks everyone to bring her a plant.  I couldn’t do the same since her birthday was in May, perfect for planting, but mine is in November, and I was guessing many plants would not survive the winter.  So instead, to those who asked, I simply asked for seeds.  Any type of veggie or flower would do.  And oh my goodness, I now have a serious stack of seeds for my 2012 garden!  Plus other, very generous gifts that will all come in handy.

I didn’t want to blow out FORTY candles so my husband, helpfully, decided to get four “decade” candles.

My boys had tons of fun as well since they had lots of friends to play with.

It was such a wonderful end to my birthday weekend, so many wonderful friends and relatives.  Despite all the whining and moaning I’ve done about turning forty, I know am a very lucky girl.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tiled outdoor counter

When we moved in to this house, we found a BBQ and counter attached to one of the outside walls. It wasn’t in very good condition and the fact that it was right next to the house concerned us. There was a kegerator with spouts both inside and outside. Awesome, right? Except we don’t drink beer.

The old BBQ finally collapsed, full of rust, and left a huge hole in the middle of the counter. We figured, since we were redoing the bathroom floor, we could use the same materials to re-vamp the counter into an actually usable piece.

counterpart1
The process was basically the same – clear off all old materials, layer backerboard, mud it, then lay and grout tile. For this counter, we purchased edging pieces and an extra pack of the tile we used for the bathroom. At 68 cents per tile, it was perfect.

Now we have a beautiful counter that is both useful and presentable:
counterpart2
On the top left corner you can see a switch box, we can hook up music, a coffeemaker, a fan on hot days, etc. so it is a very serviceable area for entertaining.

My awesome husband did a great job on this as well, didn’t he?

On dinnerware

When my husband and I got married, we did not register for china. We’re not the china sort, plus both my mother and his gave us china when we first moved in together. In the time we’ve been together we’ve had his green-trimmed dinnerware to see us through.

However.

While the green trim is lovely, we’ve started to lose pieces here and there, mostly due to the kidlets. A couple of dishes are chipped, also due to the kidlets. Having hosted holidays for a couple of years now, it is clear we simply do not have enough service for everyone.

Bit by bit, I would like to add some dinnerware. Given my love for all things fleur-de-lys, I would LOVE these from Anthropologie, but the price is way too scary.

Then I ran into these at Walmart:
I know, Walmart is evil, bla bla bla, but this is $35 for a 16 piece set (4 of each in the photo) vs. $16 FOR ONE DINNER PLATE from Anthropologie.

I can build a set of dinnerware that can see me through everyday and my guests through the holidays little by little. Just hope they don’t discontinue them before I get all the ones I need 😀