A Bit of Holiday Cheer



these last few days i have been slowly adding some holiday cheer to our home. i just can’t help myself!

i haven’t put electric candles in the windows for a few years now. i missed the cheery glow. especially with these shorter days. my mom always had candles in our windows at christmas times. it was one of the first things that went up for the holiday and i loved falling asleep each night with those little lights on.

i’m on the look out for fallen evergreen branches, pinecones,magnolia leaves, osage oranges, etc.

we head off this afternoon for a few days to visit chris’ family for thanksgiving.
hannah and i have to leave a day early for her nutcracker rehearsals.
but we will be sure to make time to stop on the way home for our annual tradition.

wishing you all a peaceful thanksgiving.
i am extremely thankful for this space and for all of you who take the time to stop by.

Wains Coating


my grandfather and chris installed wains coating in our dining room about a month ago.
if you look at the photos in the previous post of norah’s birthday, you can see that the trim is attached to the wall both vertically and horizontally. and when painted it gives the effect that it is all wood when really it is mostly the wall.
it’s a clever and affordable solution if i do say so myself. it gives structure and texture to a room and it’s amazing how much brighter and bigger it feels now.

this past weekend my best friend and i had a blissful two days of painting it all while chatting, giggling, drinking tea and eating chocolate.
when we first started i never thought we would finish by sunday.
but time really flew by and before we knew it, the room was complete with time left over for a glass of wine and a pot of homemade cauliflower, butternut squash soup.

i love a finished project just before the holidays!

Turning 8 and a Sleepover

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While talking to my mom the other day she told me she had been a bit disappointed with second and edgemont as of late.
thanks for the nudge mom, you’re right, i’ve been a bit absent.
she even reminded me i hadn’t posted about norah’s birthday yet!

our little norie turned 8 this november.
her birthday wish was to get her ears pierced and have a sleepover party.
both went quite successfully.

i hardly snapped a photo (hence the blurry not so great photos above) of the celebration since i was busy with a party of 12 girls. yes you read right, 12!
it was our first experience hosting a sleepover party and it actually ran quite smoothly especially for such a large gaggle of girls ranging from 7-12 years old.

there was pizza making, chocolate cupcakes with butter cream icing, rainbow looming, and a movie .
oh and there was lots of chattering, laughing, squealing and screaming in between.

chris and i were quite surprised when we found them all asleep by 11pm.

i heard the first few up whispering at 6am which soon turned into giggling and then loud thumping.
a game of “slide down the staircase in your sleeping bag” had begun.

our cue to get up and start making pancakes.

christmas tunes were on shuffle all day long while i danced around with greens, twinkle lights and pine cones.
i truly am happiest when at home creating and making. especially around the holidays.

i had chris go back to the house with the huge fallen tip of a spruce tree. this time with the right size clippers.
he came home with our little wooden trailer filled to the brim.
like santa and his sleigh.


we spent a few days visiting family for the holiday.
i baked some goodies to bring along including a triple ginger apple crisp.
inspired by a recipe from the moosewood restaurant book of desserts i have been making this for years and love how quick and easy it is with only a few simple ingredients that i always have on hand (i now always have a fresh jar of ginger preserves stored in the pantry). it’s my go to for when i have to make something in a pinch at this time of year. i have created my own version with a little more butter and maple syrup instead of honey.
with ginger preserves, ginger snaps and ground ginger this crisp has a yummy bite to it.

triple ginger apple crisp
serves 8-10

preheat oven to 350 degrees

fruit layer
6 cups of peeled apple slices
1/4 to 1/2 cup ginger preserves
2 tablespoons hot water

1 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup gingersnaps cookie crumbs (about 15 cookies.. simply crush in a plastic bag with a rolling pin)

place apple slices in bottom of baking pan. in small bowl mix together ginger preserves and hot water. pour over apple slices and coat evenly.

in a bowl combine butter, maple syrup, cinnamon,nutmeg and ginger and mix well.
stir in oats and cookie crumbs until well blended.
spread oat mixture over apples and tamp down.
bake 35-45 minutes until apples are tender and topping is crisp.

serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream.




i think the nature gods must have read my post a few days ago about foraging for the holidays.

:: driving to work the other day i found a large pile of osage oranges on the side of the road. i love the pop of chartreuse they can add to darker greens and they look great with red berries.

:: we visted a new park with friends yesterday which just happened to be full of pines. a short hike through the woods had me walking back to the playground with armloads of fallen branches. my friends giggled at me but then proceeded to go collect too.

:: and today was the find of the century! when driving chris to work this morning i spotted a huge fallen spruce branch dripping with cones on somebody’s lawn.
i screamed and everyone in the car jumped and just rolled their eyes when i told them why i was so excited.
i went back later and knocked on the person’s door.
no one answered. in fact the home looked some what abandoned.
i convinced myself that they wouldn’t mind my helping to clean up what would most likely be turned into wood chips.

sometimes i feel like a squirrel gathering and collecting my goods for the winter months.

my empty palette of a sunday turned into a wonderfully cozy day.
my grandparents stopped by just in time for a pot of curried chicken vegetable soup for lunch.
we sat by the fire.
we talked and laughed while i wound balls of yarn to turn into christmas presents.

not a day goes by that i don’t appreciate still having them both in my life. in my girl’s life.
hannah and norah are at ages now where they will most likely remember them when they are older.

my grandfather (pop) is the master carpenter who crafted the inside of my house. all of the built-ins, my kitchen, my bed.

there is a huge piece of him in every room of my home.

a big reason why i can never leave this place.


i don’t know about you but i am ready for the holidays!
as much as i am trying to remain in the moment and savor each autumn day i am craving candy canes and have my christmas music organized and ready.

our home has been chosen to be in a historical holiday house tour this year and i am excited to spruce things up and decorate.

on a shoe string budget i have plans of using whatever i can find out in nature. fallen branches, pine cones, osage orange fruits (hedge apples).
i do something different each year depending on what i might find.

every year on our way home from visiting chris’s family for thanksgiving we stop at a pine grove on the side of the road for fallen branches, and a few snips here and there (i always keep a pair of clippers in the glove compartment).
we hope for boughs dripping with cones.

sometimes i’ll find a radio channel playing some nat king cole christmas tunes and if we’re lucky rudolph comes on.

we sing along. the car smells sweet like pine sap and our hands are scratched and sticky.

it’s time to deck the halls.


pancakes and pjs is what norah suggested for a birthday party this year.
hannah and her friend were the waitresses and took orders for different shaped pancakes and toppings.

it was norah’s star birthday this year.
7 years old on the 7th.
happy birthday to my spunky girl who embraces life at it’s fullest each and every day.
life is so much more fun with you in it.