Currently :: December

Currently :: December

Hello, friends, and happy December!

Anyone else get “Once Upon a December” stuck in their head a lot this year? Anyone else absolutely dying to see Anastasia on Broadway soon? My favorite movie ever gets it’s Broadway due!

Between the holidays and friends and family and work and celebrations and the chaos this season brings, I’ve let things around here get away from me a little! That’s life, I guess. We all get caught up in our moments and let everything else slide.

I’d feel guilty if it wasn’t such a wonderful Thanksgiving. At one point over the holiday, we had twelve people around a table full of food, and my heart was full. This was the whole reason we wanted a big house and a big kitchen – to fill it up with people and laughter and food and love. I know I’ve said it before, but it’s one of my favorite quotes, so you get to hear it again. “In times of trouble, we don’t build higher walls, we build longer tables.”

And the holiday season has just begun! We’re heading toward my favorite time of the year, and you had better believe that the Big Brick House already has two trees and a lot of decorations up, with more coming this weekend – including a real tree for the media room. We’ll see how tall a tree we can get, although if I have my way, we’ll get a tree in a whiskey barrel that we can bring in for the season!

In the meantime, here’s what else is going on around here…


  • Cooking: Aside from all the obvious Thanksgiving cooking that’s been going on around here, I’m having a great time experimenting with my Instant Pot. Think part pressure cooker, part Crock-pot, and add some searing, some rice cooking, some vegetable steaming, and a whole lot of other functions to boot! I’m also working on healthy winter recipes with enough lip-smacking umami flavor to count as comfort food, like this miso-ginger glazed salmon!
  • Exploring: More of Old Town Alexandria, because we just can’t get enough of it. We took Scott’s family down to the waterfront and enjoyed a meal at the Chart House, and grabbed a cupcake on the way back from Alexandria Cupcake. We’re checking out the Scottish Walk Parade this weekend there as well!
  • Building: You can see some of the work in progress shots above, and we showed you the end result of the green guest bedroom, but we haven’t yet showed you our tutorial, in progress, and end result shots for the box moulding in Scott’s office. We use a pretty easy technique to install the moulding but it looks awesome when it’s finished, and protects your walls from wear and tear!
  • Decorating: For Christmas, naturally! We’ve got our tree up and a few other decorations up, and Scott broke out his awesomely ugly Star Wars Christmas sweater {thank you, Shannon}. But we’ve got more to do. First on the list, though, is finding all the dead strings of Christmas lights from years past that have been packed and hidden away during moves and throwing them out! I don’t want to splurge on all new sets, but we have some duds in there we’ve been carting around for several moves that need to go!
  • Training: My sister-in-law recently got me addicted to Orange Theory. Attach one heart monitor, add some awesome high intensity interval training and a motivated and energetic coach, and get a pretty amazing workout! Orange Theory fills a critical gap in my training, which has mostly been long slow distance running these days. I don’t get my heart rate up to nearly what I should, and Orange Theory gets me into a zone where I’m realizing real gains! I love it!
  • Reading: Cookbooks, as per norm. My most recent acquisitions? Master the Electric Pressure Cooker by Marci and Cami from Tidbits, on all things Instant Pot. I’m also loving The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman, because it’s a wonderful lesson in so many ways to learn the history and culture of the food native to American soil as cooked and prepared by the original Americans. Sean Sherman’s ingredients and recipes are healthful and embrace the bounty of wild America and the history of its original inhabitants.
  • Loving: Having so many opportunities to gather people around our table. I’ve learned that I’m never so happy as when our table is full. I’m planning a couple other gatherings, from a cookie exchange to a Christmas get-together with some of our best friends, since we’ll be here in Virginia for the holidays.

I’m also loving my niece and our cat making friends. Even though his face in the picture screams “Help!”, he was so patient with her and she was very, very good and gentle with him!

In Case You Missed Them…

Your favorite posts {or at least the most visited} from last month:

Normally, I stick to posts that came up in the given month to look for favorites, but apparently you all were as excited about Magnolia’s Hearth + Hand collaboration with Target as I was! What have your top picks been since the line came out? I already grabbed a couple lanterns and planters!

So how about you guys? What are you up to this December?

  • Two Christmas trees?! I LOVE IT!!! This is my favorite time of year, too. I enjoy it so much that we put up our Christmas tree a week before Thanksgiving. We would have put it up even earlier, but the lights from last year were dead. 🙁

    Scott’s Star Wars sweater is AMAZEBALLS!!! 🙂

    • Yes! So excited about having another tree! Right now, we just have our little artificial tree that we used in the Aloha House. Last year, we put it upstairs in the media room and it looked ridiculously small! This year, we set it up in the dining/kitchen room downstairs and we’re looking for a big tree for the media room! With as busy as we get this time of year, it’s NEVER too early to put up your tree! Just think about how little time you actually get to sit and enjoy it! And we totally love that sweater. I’m looking for more for him, and I may have to get one sometime. I love ugly Christmas sweaters 😀

  • I just love this time of year! It seems like you are taking it in to the fullest. We totally saw Anastasia on Broadway this summer and really, really enjoyed it. Y’all need to take the train to NYC and see it! 🙂 I wish I could press a button and be back on the cobblestone streets of Old Town, especially this time of year! Have y’all heard of the Christmas Candlelight tours in Old Town? You should definitely check that out, if you are around when they happen. We also loved going to Mount Vernon at Christmastime. So beautiful!

    • We’re hoping to take a trip to NYC in the spring, but we’ll see how our schedules pan out. I’d love to spend some time revisiting our old favorite haunts and, naturally, seeing Anastasia! We will definitely look into getting out to Mount Vernon! I still haven’t seen it yet, and around Christmas, all decked out, I bet it’s spectacular!

  • I feel like I might need to jump on the Instant Pot bandwagon this year. I feel like everyone I know has one and loves it!

    • I love mine! It hasn’t replaced my pots and pans set, but it’s definitely making my crock-pot obsolete. A friend of mine got one and tossed her crock-pot and rice cooker. I love that I can sear meat, steam vegetables, and make pretty much any one-pot meal I want in it without it getting soggy like a crock-pot.