Thanksgiving + Black Friday Weekend

After attending a few meetings, I left work around lunchtime on Wednesday since it was so quiet in the design studio!

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I had some time to kill before an appointment later that afternoon, so I headed to The Galleria to knock out some Christmas shopping and to browse through Barnes & Noble for a bit. I picked up a few things for Andy’s gift and then put my feet up with an iced Americano with a pump of gingerbread syrup at the bookstore. An afternoon at B&N was just what I needed before the holiday weekend and I’m so glad that I made it a priority. I whizzed through this book (would highly recommend it!) and then started this one but plan to head back to the store in the next couple weeks to read more of it as we get closer to baby time!

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Upon arriving home later that evening, I did some of our Thanksgiving prep to make the morning a little smoother. I quickly whipped up a batch of homemade cranberry sauce (cranberries, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and freshly squeezed orange juice), and prepped a pomegranate so that it would be ready for the salad I was making the next day. This was my first time dealing with a pomegranate (I usually buy them pre-seeded), and let’s just say it was a labor of love. I did the whole “peel it in a bowl of water” trick but it was still very time consuming and messy to say the least!

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The next day, we successfully hosted our first Thanksgiving with his side of the family. Andy and I made turkey, ham, lemon-garlic green beans with almonds, cornbread, and a fall salad while his siblings brought a few other sides and dessert to complete the meal.

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Side note — we recently picked up one of these tools and it is seriously the best thing ever! It saves so much time and makes your life a million times easier — would highly recommend picking one up if you don’t already have one in your kitchen drawer.

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I threw together this autumn-inspired salad and really liked how it turned out! It had spinach, fresh cranberries, candied pecans, pomegranate arils, pumpkin seeds, roasted sweet potatoes, red onion, and apples. I tossed it with a homemade dressing that contained pure maple syrup, olive oil, fresh lemon + lime + orange juice, onion powder, black pepper, salt and cinnamon. I’ve been enjoying the leftovers all throughout the weekend and it’s definitely one that I plan to make again!

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Andy’s sister and brother-in-law brought pies and I swear, there’s nothing like pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a cup of coffee! It definitely hit the spot!

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After the family left, Andy and I settled in on the couch to watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. It was the perfect ending to Thanksgiving Day.

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The next day, we headed out for a little Black Friday shopping later in the day (mainly to avoid the crowds). We wound up purchasing this little gadget and a new Christmas tree since the one in the photo above is way too tiny for our new living room! I took a nap upon arriving home and then we spent the evening watching Home Alone 2 (we typically watch a holiday movie or two every weekend leading up to Christmas).

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On Saturday morning, my sister and I ran an errand, grabbed coffees, and walked around the indoor track while catching up. We both agreed that this is something that we should do more often since it’s way more fun to walk with someone than by yourself. :) Another nap happened when I got home that afternoon (seriously, story of my life these days), and it felt SO good!

Sunday was spent washing all of our baby’s clothing while Andy painted the dresser for the nursery. I’m hoping to get all of his clothes organized by size this week so that we can start putting his room together in anticipation of his arrival. I also finished all of the thank you cards from our baby shower and worked on a scarf that I’m knitting — it was such a relaxing day!

What was the best part of your Thanksgiving?
Did you do any Black Friday shopping?

First Round of Holiday Treats

On Saturday, morning, my small group and I met for a virtual meeting (we meet every other time in person) and I always leave feeling so refreshed! It’s been so fun doing this study with these girls and also hard to believe that this is our third year together.

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I’ve been trying to get creative with ways to stay active until my treadmill arrives, so after doing a few things around the house once my small group meeting was done, I headed to a track to walk for a bit while I listened to the latest episode of my favorite podcast. It’s so strange to feel exhausted after something like going for a s l o w walk — definitely not something that I’m used to but am reminding myself that growing a human takes a lot out of you!

Upon arriving home, I started prepping for our sister baking night — on the agenda: homemade Chex mix, Oreo truffles, and Muddy Buddies!

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I mixed up the first batch of dry ingredients before they arrived so that we could get started right away. Our family has always added Kix and Cheerios to our homemade Chex mix (and omit the bagel chips) — I think the Kix are my favorite part!

I had also prepped the Oreo truffle filling earlier that day. It was my first time making the truffles in the food processor and all I can say is that it was a total game changer. It crushed the cookies super fine and then it swirled the cream cheese in so smoothly! I rolled the truffles into little balls and then put them on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet before popping them in the fridge so they could harden. That way, all we would have to do that evening was just dip them in melted chocolate — easy peasy.

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Once my sister and her girls arrived, we got to work right away!

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As batches of the Chex mix baked, we dipped our truffles (which are seriously the BEST thing ever if you’re an Oreo fan) and whipped up a delicious batch of Muddy Buddies. We discovered the secret to good Muddy Buddies is to make more of the sauce than it calls for and it use less cereal so that each piece gets coated and kind of clumps together.

It was so fun to spend the evening making holiday treats with them and we’re already looking forward to making / decorating homemade sugar cookies in a couple of weeks! This holiday season feels like it is flying by so we are trying to do as many holiday things as we can before the season passes.

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The next day, Andy and I hit the shops to knock out a bunch of Thanksgiving-related errands. Our first stop was Starbucks for a holiday drink — I swear, each year the gingerbread latte tastes better than I remember.

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On our way to grab T-day groceries, we made a few pit stops at furniture stores since we’re still trying to find the perfect dining room table. There was a table we liked at West Elm, but we felt like the color was a little too warm for our liking. We’re super picky about furniture and I feel like we are starting to annoy ourselves with the search for a table. The one we really want is something like this but in a cooler toned wood.

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We also stopped at a Macy’s furniture gallery but quickly realized that the tables there weren’t really our style — it was still fun to pop through and look around though.

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After enough messing around with furniture shopping, it was time to get down to business. This was my plan of attack that I crafted before we left the house that morning.

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After three different grocery stores, we finally had everything we needed! We came home, ate a late lunch, and then I headed out to meet my auntie for a coffee date. Catching up with her was the perfect end to a long weekend!

Favorite Thanksgiving side dish?
What recipe does your family like to make each holiday?

A Weekday Date

On our day off last Friday, we headed to a furniture sale that was being put on by a local home staging company. We had first heard about this sale during Parade of Homes and were excited to attend in hopes of finding some pieces for our new house. Unfortunately, the sale was a bust — not much inventory and what they did have wasn’t really our style.

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After leaving the sale, we headed to Michael’s in search of a few filler pieces for our new Christmas planter that we have on our porch. We both felt like it needed a few more red accents, so we picked up a few springs of holiday greenery to stick in the pot. While we were there, we also browsed through their Christmas trees and garlands but didn’t see anything that we loved enough to take home with us.

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We grabbed a quick lunch and then headed to the theatre to see The Grinch. We were both so impressed with the new version of this holiday classic — the animation, story, and music were great!

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Afterwards, we headed to Einstein’s Bagels to see if any of my mugs for them were in the store (I did some dog illustrations for them), but unfortunately all they had was the Caribou Coffee holiday collection in stores. I snapped a pic of this display because it was nice to see all of my designs together as one instead of spread out on different shelves like at the Caribou Coffee shops that we visited last weekend.

We made a quick pit stop for paper plates and napkins since we’re hosting Thanksgiving on Thursday and then we were on our way!

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Since Andy was off from work, he was able to attend our 32 week OB appointment! Baby was measured and got his heartbeat checked — everything is right on track! I have two more OB checks and then I will start having weekly appointments until he is born.

A Target run was our last stop of the day since I needed to grab a few items to make Oreo truffles with my sister and nieces that following day. We grabbed a few groceries, browsed through their Christmas section, and then on our way out we ran into one of my friends and her husband! I used to dislike running into people while running errands and now I really enjoy it — crazy how things have changed since flipping over to the extrovert side of life ;)

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Target had the cutest wrapping paper and gift bags — I always feel so inspired while browsing through items like this.

I was so excited to see the snow falling down as we walked out of Target! We headed home, made dinner, and then relaxed on the couch while watching Christmas Vacation, which is one of our favorites.

Has it snowed where you live yet?
Are you hosting or attending Thanksgiving this year?

Fall Bucket List

Below is a list of experiences that I’d love to make a priority during this fall season in Minnesota!

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Visit a couple of apple orchards — maybe even this one again

Purchase pumpkins

Make chili on a regular basis

Enjoy a pumpkin spice latte — this was checked off very early in the season! :)

Light a fire in our fireplace

Enjoy cozy evenings at home

Take lots of fall walks

Watch this movie which always reminds me of fall

Order some seasonal essential oils such as orange and cinnamon bark

Enjoy the football season — reading on the couch while Andy watches the game

Bake pumpkin bread for friends and family

Enjoy some hot apple cider

Try a new fall recipe

Wear all the fall clothes -- boots, sweaters, and jackets

P.S. I’m linking up with Sarah and Emily for their fall decor posts! Since we haven’t really decorated for fall, I’m sharing my fall bucket list instead! :)

What are some things you’d love to do this fall?
What’s your favorite season?

A Rainy 4th

Now that 4th of July is behind us, I'm really hoping that the rest of this month flies by because I'm getting so excited to move in just a few short weeks! 

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Andy picked up some of the boxes from our storage unit the other day, so I've been taking advantage of having some time to pack up the house so we can make this a quick and easy move to our new house! 

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On Tuesday night, Andy picked up this movie from Redbox and we both really enjoyed it! I'd definitely recommend it if you haven't seen it yet.

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Yesterday was such a weird day on the weather front -- it kept going from sunny to stormy all day! Due to the rain, we decided to hit Mall of America for a bit to do a little window shopping.

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We didn't buy anything, but it was fun to browse around together! 

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We almost always browse through Barnes & Noble whenever we visit the mall and I love finding new books to add to my requested list at the library. I just downloaded the ebook version of this one on my iPad and plan to start it later tonight! I LOVED this author's other book because of all of the twists and turns, so I'm hoping this one is just as good! 

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Afterwards, we swung by Chick-Fil-A for a quick lunch on the way home. Side note, I've been straying from my vegetarian ways a little bit now and then -- I'll share more thoughts on this later.

We hit more storms on the drive home, so the rest of the day was spent relaxing around the house. I'm not a huge fireworks person, but Andy walked down to the lake to check out the show! 

What is your favorite 4th of July tradition?
What do you typically order at Chick-Fil-A?