Wednesday, November 19, 2014

castles and christmas markets

You know those times when you just really need a vacation? That's me right now. I've been at my new job for almost 5 months now. It's been a whirlwind as I learn the ropes and start to feel like I actually know what I'm doing. That's still hit or miss, but I really enjoy the work and I really, really enjoy that I can do the work from home....but, I need a break. 

When we first started vacation planning earlier this fall, we immediately thought about warm destinations. That sounds pretty nice right now considering it's unseasonably cold here and pretty much everywhere else in the US, but then I stumbled upon an even better idea: Christmas markets. They happen all over Europe, but are particularly famous in Germany. If you know me, you know that I love Christmas. LOVE Christmas.

I mean, doesn't this Christmas market in Munich just look delightful?

This is the Google Chat conversation Jon and I had when I first made this discovery:

And later after Jon suggested another option:

The rest, as they say, is history. In just over 48 hours (eek! much to do before then), we are jumping the pond for a Christmas market adventure. Our itinerary is Vienna-Salzburg-Munich. There will be castles and palaces, music and tours, shopping and eating - lots and lots of eating - mulled wine, twinkling lights, markets and merriment.

I'm hoping to come back with lots of fun Christmas presents for family and friends, and hopefully some treasures for our own home. Of course, when we get back, it will be December and the mad rush to the most glorious holiday will officially begin so who knows how long it will be before I give you a proper update. If you want real time updates, I'll post some Instagram (ktlhardin) photos while we are away. 

Happy Thanksgiving. This year, I am thankful for vacations. Travel and rest are good for the soul. 
Sunday, November 16, 2014


I'll admit it. It was a somewhat selfish decision to host a friendsgiving this year. You see, we'll be out of the country (more on that later this week…eek!) next week over Thanksgiving. We were also out of the country last year, and as much as I love to travel, I couldn't go two years in a row without one of my favorite meals of the year.

To remedy this problem, we invited the lovely members of our church community group over for a Thanksgiving feast today. I made the turkey, gravy and crescent rolls and everyone else brought the side dishes and desserts. It was so much fun to celebrate Thanksgiving early with some of the people I am most thankful for. I love this group of sweet friends, and I love that they indulged my wish for a Thanksgiving meal and showed up at my house with delicious food to share.

I had so much fun setting the table. I wanted it to be casual so I used mason jars, burlap and green apples that I already had on hand. Hydrangeas are my favorite so they always make an appearance. :)
Jon has better hand-writing than me so we wrote the place cards. We added a Lindt chocolate truffle at each setting.

These are actually Christmas candles that spell out "Peace." I wrapped them in burlap & tied them with bows to repurpose them for this occasion. 

A staple at every holiday meal growing up. I love these rolls. 
Victoria laughing about the fact that she peeled 5 lbs of potatoes.
That would be roughly 1/2 lb of potatoes per person. 
The carving of the turkey. 
I took this after we were done eating, but at least I remembered to take one before we all got up from the table. 

It's not Thanksgiving without a dessert table. Yes, it must be an entire table.
In true thanksgiving fashion, we watched some football in between dinner and dessert. :)

Looking for an easy and delicious Thanksgiving cocktail?
We served apple fizzes before dinner . Apple cider and bubbly = perfection.