Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Monthly Medley: December 2016

Ah, December...we do so much, but when the month is over, we have no idea what we've done.

I submitted the second installment in a two-part piece for Texas Living Magazine midway through the month; watch for these two articles next fall!

As I sent off the above-mentioned article, I realized that for the first time in six months I don't have any (non-blog-related) writing assignments on my docket. I have a busy January ahead of me - my friend, Rebecca, and I are for the third time coordinating the 4th Grade Variety Show at our kids' elementary school - so I appreciate the temporarily lighter workload, but a part of me is chomping at the bit to line up my next project.

Every December I (re)read The Christmas Train by David Baldacci. Baldacci writes with a simple yet smart style, creating characters and settings that while complex, are also relatable. The plot seamlessly blends mystery, romance, and nostalgia...and I lose myself in it every holiday season.

Now that I've finished The Christmas Train I can return to reading the three (or is it four?) books on my nightstand!

Did you watch every Christmas/holiday movie ever made in December too? Ok, we didn't catch all of them (Tom and I didn't have time to watch either Love Actually or Bad Santa - my favorite and his favorite, respectively), but we came close. We also watched a few Christmas television specials, and all four Ferri agreed that Pentatonix put on the best holiday show this year.

Beyond the holidays, we caught Storks (a solid C) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (B+) in the theater, as well as Tim Allen's remake of The Shaggy Dog (C+) on DVD.  

Listening To
When my sister and I road trip (ok, when my sister and I drive anywhere) together, we sing. We sing along to the radio and various CDs. We sing a cappella. We sing songs from our childhood. We sing current hits. We sing songs we've performed in choir, musicals, and the weddings of family members and friends. But more than anything else, we sing Disney songs. We simply can't listen to a Disney song without committing our whole selves to the music.

Last week, as we drove from Chicago to Madison, Sara and I decided to entertain our girls - who were sitting in the backseat with our mom - by setting up my phone to record their singing and "dancing". What resulted was not so much videos of the girls singing and dancing, but videos of Sara and I doing what we love to do together: listen to, sing along with, and commit our whole selves to the music.

We mostly sang Disney songs...

...but we did a little One Direction too.
(This one starts a little slow - consider jumping ahead 30 seconds.)

You may have noticed that the One Direction video above is incorrectly titled "Story of My Life", when the song we're singing is actually called "Through the Dark". I post all of our videos to Tom's YouTube channel, and when I showed this particular video to him he noticed that the incorrect title made more sense than the correct one, because yes, these women singing loudly and dancing wilding in the car is in fact the "Story of His Life". 

My mom received a Roomba for Christmas, and YOU GUYS, it's amazing. My mom, my sister, my brother-in-law, and I stood together in the front hallway and watched it vacuum the living room for...longer than I care to admit. I LOVE my Dyson cordless vacuum, but I may add a Roomba to my 2017 birthday/Christmas list...

Will and Hallie want a Roomba too, but for one reason only. You can imagine this going down in my house, right?

I can tell you what we didn't wear for the final two weeks of December: regular clothes. Every morning we slept in (until between 7am and 7:30am), drank coffee, and then either stayed in pajamas (which work perfectly as a warm layer under snow pants and winter coats) or changed into workout gear. If we changed into workout gear, we went ahead and exercised but then stayed in said workout gear until late enough in the day to put pajamas on again. I'm feeling very restricted now that vacation has ended and I'm back to wearing pants with buttons...
I don't have any pictures of the adults in their pajamas, so this
one of the kids in one of their many matching sets will have to do.
For Christmas my parents gave me and Hallie (and my sister and her daughter) beautiful necklaces from Kate Spade. Mine and Sara's necklaces have our initials on the front and "one in a million" on the back, and the little girls' necklaces have a little circle and star on the front and "born to shine" on the back. They're PERFECT, and we absolutely adore them.

I only tried two new recipes this month, but both went over well enough that I would make them again.
  • Grinch Cookies Hallie and I made these cookies for her dance company's Christmas party. They were relatively simple, looked adorable, and tasted great! But...the dough was incredibly sticky and the only way Hallie and I could roll it into balls was to work together. I scooped the dough out of the bowl (so my hands stayed sticky with dough), and she rolled the dough into balls covered with powdered sugar (so her hands stayed smooth with powdered sugar). Be prepared for a bit of a mess.
  • Strawberry Tartlets I made these from a recipe my mom tore out of a magazine, so while I can't link to it, I can easily explain how it came together in just a few minutes with only a handful of ingredients! The bottom layer is just puff pastry shells, baked according to the directions on the box, cooled slightly, and cut/gently pulled in half to double the number of tartlet bases. The middle layer is 1 cup of heavy whipped cream, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar whipped until stiff peaks form. And the top layer is 8 ounces of sliced strawberries mixed with 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. Stack the three layers together and voila! Dessert!


What's new, good, and/or interesting in your life this month? Please share!

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