Tag Archives: holiday

The Cranberry Moscow Mule Holiday Cocktail

7 Dec

the weekend is almost here <sigh> and i’m ready for it! i’ve got a fun weekend planned which includes:

– wisconsin chamber orchestra rendition of handel’s messiah

– five hours of DIY bliss with herbs and essential oils and bath products at a class at the botanical gardens

– ROF making his tasty wintertime meal: beef stroganoff and we might crack open a bottle of caymus.

it’s also Thursday so ROF has mixed up a holiday cocktail for your weekend indulgence!




2oz Vodka

4oz Ginger beer

squeeze of lime

frozen cranberries

Pour, squeeze, stir, dink!

cocktails with ROF jack-o-fire cocktail

30 Nov

all month long , we’re going to feature a signature holiday drink and release it on thursday.

one thing that is fun to do if you’re having a holiday cocktail or dinner party  is to start with a pre-made signature drink.  typically just one to hand people as they come in.  when people come over, try to engage all the senses.  for example, your house is infused with scented candles that have already been burning a while or a tasty dinner in the oven, a holiday playlist with regular music mixed in with holiday music and a signature cocktail!

this first cocktail is the perfect holiday sipping drink.  you’ve got cinnamon flavor with the whisky, vanilla, pumpkin and irish cream all together.

all this month, if you post on social media, send us a photo or comment here on the blog of one of ROF’s drinks you made, we’ll enter you in a drawing to win a sleeve of these:


  • 1 part Fireball Whisky

  • 1 part vanilla vodka

  • 1 part pumpkin spice liqueur

  • 1 part Irish cream

Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with cinnamon stick and ground nutmeg. Recipe from here.

the community tree of remembrance

30 Nov


i’m on the board of an organization called Faith & Grief Ministries, Inc.   it’s a ministry of compassion and connection.  it is non-denominational because grief knows no denomination. it just hurts.

during the holidays, it is especially harder than usual to work through the loss of a child, a husband, a wife, a mom, a friend – any loved one.  it’s a season of contradictory sensory feelings.  your eyes see a beautiful lit tree but your heart hurts.  your nose smells cinnamon and sugar breakfast smells and your body feels the welcome chill in the air but your mind remembers being with your loved one during this time.

Faith & Grief Ministries, Inc. was launched in 2008 and it’s near to my heart for two reasons: first, i grieve my dad’s death in 2005 and one of the wonderful women that started the organization married ROF and me: fran shelton.  it started by hosting luncheons for those hurting over the loss of a loved one to share and heal together.  to date, there are more than 700 individuals have benefited from these events.

this year, the organization wanted to help those in dallas that are grieving.  they are placing a tree of remembrance in thanksgiving square in downtown dallas and from december 1st – december 21st you can sign a ribbon with the name of your departed loved one or one in honor of first responders on july 7th and other events close to you.

on december 1st, a multi-faith service of remembrance will be held at thanksgiving square and the Community Tree of Remembrance will be lit.  on december 21st, the longest day of the year, another service will be held at 6pm.  get more information here.

here is a news story that was recently on FOX NEWS:

if you have lost a loved one, you could benefit from this organization.  i spoke at one of their luncheons a long time ago and while it’s a room full of extremely sad and hurting people there was a feeling i couldn’t put my finger on.  i felt shared compassion, hope and relief. for all of us to be strangers but share this common journey that many of our other friends don’t understand is oddly comforting.  i urge you to check out the resources here.

i can speak with certainty that God is working through my dear friend fran as i’ve never met someone with so much passion to help others grieving.  if you’re in dallas, i hope you take advantage of these services and the ribbons honoring your loved one.  if you’re not in dallas, i hope you find some comfort in your community during this holiday season or use this non-profit’s resources.

obsessed with tradition – and here’s a good one

13 Dec

i don’t know about you, but i love hearing about a friend’s family tradition around the holidays.  but never have i actually been a part of a family’s tradition and – felt so honored.

here’s the tradition

so ever since they got married and had their first child – a son – they made the decision that at thanksgiving, they – as a family – would design an ornament.  between thanksgiving and christmas they would make the ornament and then one would go into a box for their son and then they would have a certain amount to give to people that had an impact on their lives throughout the year.

ok stop.  how cool is that?

then they had a daughter and they continued the tradition.  so at the same time:

1. the children get a box when they get married (or older, whichever comes first) of meaningful ornaments from EVERY YEAR they’ve been alive.  that the family thought about and made together


2. they get to give away a certain amount of ornaments to people and friends that meant something to them.

i love this.  ya know why?  i got one!  and i treasure it.  and i can’t tell you how much i’ve thought about this tradition.  mostly because i’ve thrown out all my ornaments or they really didn’t mean anything.  but since this is the first christmas that is just my wonderful husband and myself – i want to start something that affects us and others.

it’s never too late to start this tradition of your own.  i think rof and i need to do it. but it may have something to do with either marinade or holiday spirits.

what is your holiday tradition? 

around the corner

12 Dec

had to post a poem our minister read us yesterday

Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city that has no end,
Yet the days go by and weeks rush on,
And before I know it, a year is gone. And I never see my old friends face,
For life is a swift and terrible race,
He knows I like him just as well,
As in the days when I rang his bell. And he rang mine but we were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men.
Tired of playing a foolish game,
Tired of trying to make a name.

“Tomorrow” I say! “I will call on Jim
Just to show that I’m thinking of him”,
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes,
And distance between us grows and grows.

Around the corner, yet miles away,
“Here’s a telegram sir,” “Jim died today.”
And that’s what we get and deserve in the end.
Around the corner, a vanished friend.

– charles hanson towne
anyone you want to call?

5 lovely links: fire me up

6 Dec

i’ve got a secret obsession with candles.

i’m not sure when it started. 

might have been in my 20’s in chicago when i smoked non-stop in my apartment with my friends and hated the smell so would fire up the vanilla scented votives during our pre-party parties (that is when you get together at the apartment before going out to the parties).  the next day the room would smell like vanilla marlboro light with a side of lite beer.  nice.

or maybe it was

when i moved into the coolest apt on lasalle and chestnut in chicago and we’d have dinner parties and the candles played a big part in creating a real funky ambiance and warmed up the room that had a tall ceiling.

i don’t know what did it and quite honestly, who cares.  candles rock.  they are something that is alive and kicking, the flame signifying warmth and love.  and this is saying a lot from someone that also has an obsession with fire.  some people don’t like candles with a scent, but i like them.  i like smelling a holiday or a flower.  here are some links to all things that light:

1. i’m not too into “foofy” (pronounced foo-fee) candles but this is one i had to include in the gift bags we did for our guests who came in for our wedding.  i  got this candle for my birthday from a friend and the minute i lit it up i loved it.  it actually smells like my favorite perfume: angel.  it is pretty strong but i love it.  check it out here.

2. check out these creative uses for candles.  i especially like the one that uses a wine rack for votives .

3. my favorite place to purchase candles is anthropologie. you pretty much can’t go wrong with this selection.

4. it’s no secret that people who never go to church go around Christmas time.  and Jesus thanks you for that.  when talking about Christmas, you have to talk about the candlelight services on Christmas eve.  talk about love, twinkly candle lights.  my favorite part is when you have to light the candle from the person next to you.  if you are in dallas and looking for an great, welcoming church, check out ours.

last link #5.  napastyle has great candle things.  check them out here.  my favorite is the mercury glass votives.

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