Happy 4th of July everyone! I’ve always enjoyed the 4th of July – barbecues, swimming, friends & family, fireworks… what’s not to love? But then a few years ago, the 4th of July became even more special to me, because that was the day that G swept me off on a surprise trip to Washington DC, where he proposed on the banks of the Basin and surrounded by monuments, and history. We were then able to enjoy the fireworks that evening from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
It’s always been G’s favorite holiday and now we’re both looking forward to sharing the holiday with our daughter next year and for many years to come!
I hope everyone has a wonderful and memorable (and safe!) 4th of July!
Ok, I’m late for my Midweek Sparkles date. I’m sorry! Travel for work and preparations for holidays have thrown off my schedule this week. But I am sooo excited for the holidays this weekend! Tomorrow we’re baking cookies, kicking off a full weekend of family holiday celebrating!
In the meantime, here are some interesting things from around the internet!
I found this map fascinating… especially since the United State stays in the same place!
I can get behind this kind of coal in my stocking!
I LOVE decorating for the holidays. I think that Christmas holiday decorations are so warm and inviting – from the tree with lights to the garland around the banister and on the mantles…. All of the reds and golds and greens…
I wanted to share some of the photos of our home halls all decked out! This is our second Christmas in this house and I’m still working out exactly how I want to do it – so I’m sure it’ll shift a bit over the years but I think we have a pretty good start.
So that’s a sample of our holiday decorations – we have some garland on the banisters too and G did a great job on the outdoor lights! Follow me on Twitter and I’ll be posting additional photos in the next few days! (We’re supposed to get a big snowstorm which make the lights look even cooler!)
I’m going to keep this Midweek Sparkles edition short and sweet because I’m writing it from a hotel room on a business trip and if I’m doing the math correctly, I’ve been up for almost 20 hours… (I hate those super early flights!)
This past weekend, I was super excited to get out our holiday decorations (pictures to come soon!). I decked the halls and put the ornaments on the tree! So this Midweek Sparkles is centered (kind of loosely) around that theme:
So I’m preparing an entry with my thoughts on the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the LIfe, but honestly, it’s taking me some time to reflect. So in the meantime, I thought I’d share a sweet sparkle-y recipe with you all. We didn’t make one of our historical cakes this week – because of Thanksgiving – but I did make a Thanksgiving dessert… Milk Bar Crack Pie! If you scroll down to the pie section, you’ll see the description: “Toasted oat crust with a gooey butter filling.”
Now, full disclosure, this pie is VERY SWEET. I like sweets and it was almost too sweet for me! Not for the dessert amateur but it is very delicious!
You can find the full recipe here! (Note – the recipe makes two pies – make sure you have a plan for both otherwise your waistline may not thank you! 🙂 )
I’m not sure that the Crack Pie will become a regular in my recipe rotation but it was really fun to make and a (very) sweet treat.
Next week, I’ll return to our journey of baking through American history!
This was our empty Thanksgiving table. A few hours after this photo was taken, we loaded it with delicious food and the chairs were filled with family – but this is the “before.” As I was looking at this photo, I thought of all of the other things that we should bring to a Thanksgiving celebration – this things that we’re thankful for.
So here are just some of the many things that I have to be thankful for this year:
An amazing family (we have two Thanksgiving dinners full of them! and many more around the country), wonderful husband and sweet puppy – people who I love so much and who are the core of everything else
Awesome friends to talk to, laugh with, cry with and lean on
A warm, cozy house that I can fill with friends, family and memories
A job where I can make a difference and that affords me a reliable income so I can pursue interests and passions
Hope for the future – we have so many things we’re looking forward to in the coming days, months and years. I love being able to enjoy every moment but also love looking forward to many more wonderful moments to come.
That just scratches the surface but I wanted to make sure I took some time today – as we fill another table with delicious food and more chairs with amazing family members – to think about what else I was bringing to the table.
So a very belated Happy 4th of July to everyone! We had a wonderful weekend at High Cliff State Park on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin. So wonderful in fact, that my intended blogging didn’t happen!
We left on Friday to head up to High Cliff State Park – we had Buddy with us, his second-ever RV trip! The drive went pretty smoothly – although not road-wise. We’re still trying to figure out the shock situation to try to decrease the bumps (and how to get the microwave to not make a super annoying high pitched squeak). We arrived at the park in the early afternoon and found our spot pretty quickly. It was a beautiful spot – lots of shade and trees, giving us a pretty good amount of privacy from the folks around us.
After getting settled in a bit, we hiked back to the entrance to register (something we’d missed on the way in). Now Buddy is a dog who loves his walks… but his walks tend to be less than a mile and on flat ground. The hike to/from the entrance was a bigger deal. It was about 3.5 miles round trip and involved going both down and then back up a HUGE, steep hill. He was a trooper on the first half – although the down hill helped 🙂 – but on the way back Buddy got a little bit more difficult…
So, when we got to the uphill portion on the way back… Buddy refused. He tried to turn around, turn right, turn left, basically any direction except uphill. Which meant that G had to carry him. (I also have to admit that I was a little jealous… I wouldn’t have minded a ride up the hill!)
That evening, we drove into Appleton to get Stuc’s Pizza. Now, we had to drive the RV in, but this trip really taught us that we need to get a tow dolly so we can start bringing a car with us (or at least make sure we rent a car where we go!). But back to the pizza. It was really good! We got extra sauce (as usual) which was fantastic, a super savory sauce – and lots of cheese. G also liked his spaghetti marinara. (We weren’t such huge fans of the spinach bread.)
The next day, we had a lazy morning and early afternoon with Buddy at the campsite. We did some reading outside (I finished The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love, a book I truly enjoyed, more on that later!) and in general relaxed. The weather was perfect and we had a great time just chatting and enjoying the fresh air.
Later in the afternoon, G and I took a hike on the cliffs (leaving Buddy back at the RV!) and enjoyed the beautiful paths and lake views.
We made it down to the beach area – and while we didn’t get in the water, I definitely think we’ll have to take a dip next time!
While we were down by the beach, we had an early dinner at High Cliff Restaurant. Although not fantastic, it was pretty good – really good cheese curds!
We walked off our cheese curds on the way home to our campsite (back up the giant hill!) and then we relaxed with Buddy in the evening. I really wanted a camp fire for ‘smores but we were REALLY full from dinner and, again, no car to drive to get the firewood. Priority for next time though!
I’ll provide an in depth review of the campground, but overall, it was a small, but lovely park and we had a really good time enjoying the great weather and wonderful company for the holiday weekend! We’ll definitely head back to High Cliff State Park sometime soon!