Hoppy Easter and Spring to You!

One of my favorite parts of preparing for a holiday is developing the menu. Since I shared our Easter/Spring menu last year, I thought I’d share our planned dishes for the holiday again this year.

For most holidays, Nick and I typically eat appetizers around lunchtime and then spend the afternoon   enjoying ourselves, relaxing or playing games. We usually wait to eat our traditional meal until dinnertime, since my holiday menus always include a signature cocktail 🙂

Beverages

  • I like a light, fresh cocktail for spring, so this Easter my signature cocktail is the Cherry beer margarita.

Appetizers

Main course

  • In recent years we’ve dined on pork loin, lamb chops and prime rib, so to mix it up once again, for our main course this year we’ll be having a traditional Sweet and smokey Spanish style ham.

Sides

  • Nick and I love fennel, so this citrus, fennel and avocado salad sounded light and fresh.
  • We always love to have a small side of soup, which is usually asparagus soup or roasted tomato, so this year we’ll change it up and make Carrot leek soup.
  • I have a couple of leftover small new potatoes, so I plan to make these simple Baked new potatoes.
  • Deviled eggs (no recipe, just toss egg yolks with a teaspoon of mayo and a dash of mustard powder).

Nick and I dyed our eggs earlier this evening, so they are ready to be prepared Sunday morning!

Dyedeggs

Dessert

  • Poundcake strawberry shortcake. Nick (our in-house baker prepared pound cake tonight), which we’ll slice and top with macerated strawberries and creme.

I also made some simple bird nest name cards with some natural Easter basket grass and faux eggs, which I wrote our names on with a gold Sharpie pen.

Namecards

We have a few more preparations to make, but I’m excited to celebrate the Easter holiday and the coming of Spring. Wishing you all a blessed and Happy Easter!

HappyEaster

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Holiday Highlights

The holidays seem to have gone by so fast, but before we say goodbye to December and the end of another year, I wanted to share some photos from our time in Wisconsin: the week was filled with lots of time with family, giggling nieces, licks from puppies, cold and snow, and plenty of good treats and cheer! Nick and I enjoyed every minute of it, and we are so thankful for being able to spend time with the ones we love.

Snow

Brrr – so much cold and snow

Yoda

Yoda – the newest addition to my Dad’s family

Packcrew

The Packer game with great friends

Lambeau

Cookies

Cookies decorated by little girls

bowling

Annual day-after-Christmas bowling tradition

Wifey

My favorite gift from Nick, he originally refused to buy it but eventually gave in

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday with friends and family as well. Goodbye 2013, you were a good one, but I think 2014 is going to be a great year too!

It’s very merry

It’s become a tradition for Nick and I to put up our Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving, and this year was no different. I just love the glow of the lights on the tree and the extra cheer that holiday decorations bring to our home – so the sooner we put up our decorations the longer we can enjoy them.

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I mentioned last year, that we always decorate two trees – a real tree in the front window of our main level, and a fake Charlie Brown tree downstairs in our den, where we relax and watch TV.

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After trimming our trees, we also put out the rest of our holiday decorations, including the nativity set that always gets displayed on our mantel; our other decorations get changed up from year to year.

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I like simple holiday decorations and often decorate with natural elements, so I spread some extra cheer around the house by putting out a few glass containers filled with red bulbs and scented pine cones.

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Since we frequently use our fireplace, our stockings get hung downstairs – I also set out a holiday poinsettia and some large pine cones that I spray painted silver.

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The lighted garland was a recent purchase and I absolutely love it – it’s pre-lit and decorated with pine cones and red bulbs and was so much easier (and cleaner!) to hang than the real garland we’ve hung the past few years.

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While I enjoy decorating our home for Christmas, I dislike the time it takes to put everything away in January; so my strategy is to simply add holiday touches to decorations that I already have displayed.  I added a green ribbon and some red ornaments to the lantern below and covered a book in holiday wrapping – and just like that it looks like Christmas!

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We also decorated the outside of our home, we attached a simple wreath to the front door and hung our icicle lights to brighten up the exterior of our house.

wreath

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Nick and I also spent some time creating a new display for our holiday cards. Last year I made a yardstick Christmas tree to display our cards, but I had an idea for something new this year. A small ledge runs along the stairwell between our main and lower levels, which I think is the perfect place to display the cards we receive. So we purchased a 6-foot length of 1 1/2 x 3/4-inch poplar from the hardware store for a couple of dollars.

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Our first step was to distress the wood. Nick heavily sanded some of the edges and then we randomly banged on the wood with the edge of a hammer and pounded some nail heads and screw marks onto the top of it.

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After it no longer looked like a brand new piece of wood, we added a couple of coats of stain (which we had on hand from another project) to match it to our hardwood floors.

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Our next step was to add a cut down the middle of the entire length of the board to insert the cards; our cut was about 1/2-inch deep (a circular saw would work great for this, but we just used our Dremel Saw-Max). Since holding the board and cutting the wood was a two-man job, there are no pictures of this step – but below is a close-up photo of the finished result.

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Here’s a photo from further back – the board blends in well with the color of the wood steps and it looks like it could have always been there.

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And here’s what the display looks like filled with our holiday cards (note, we’d only received a couple of Christmas cards when we worked on this project, so I pulled out some of the cards we received last year).

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I’m so happy with how the card display turned out, this was a super easy project and it’s working really well for us…and it’s especially nice to see the faces of our family and friends every time we walk up and down the stairs.

Anyone else have a great idea for displaying holiday cards? I can’t believe that Christmas is only a few days away!

A Quick Thanksgiving Recap

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving, our holiday was great – we enjoyed a relaxing and quiet day at home eating, drinking and cheering on our favorite sports teams.

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This year’s signature cocktail, the apple cider margarita, was a great hit and it paired really well with the shrimp ceviche and crab citrus salad appetizers (all recipes are here).

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After preparing the turkey and watching the Macy’s parade and some football, we spent time sitting by a fire and playing our favorite games.

Games

And then it was time to eat! So much great food, so little room in our stomachs…

Thanksgiving1

Nick and I stuffed ourselves on leftovers all weekend long, but we just couldn’t finish all of our turkey – so by Sunday the leftover turkey made its way into some pot pies that we froze for a quick meal someday soon.

Saracooking

potpies

I’ve said it before, but Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays and I’m feeling so very thankful after this past weekend (and a little sad the holiday has come and gone)!

But there’s no time to dwell on it since it’s December now and Christmas is right around the corner. There is lots of decorating, shopping and planning to be done before Nick and I can head home to Wisconsin to spend the holidays with our friends and families!