Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Cat

Here's wishing all my fellow American bloggers a wonderful and bountiful Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving at Mangels

Thanksgiving at Farmside Grocery


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Long Grove for the Holidays

Mangel's 6

As I left you last, we were visiting the nearby town of Long Grove for more Christmas activities. Both my husband and I love a store called Mangels, which is always jam-packed with beautiful things for whatever holiday is upon us.

Mangel's 2

Mangel's 3

Mangel's 4

Mangel's 5

We also love Farmside Grocery. Most of the shops at Long Grove are authentic old buildings, and the grocery is amazing inside. So many gourmet goodies to choose from!

Farmside Grocery 2

Farmside Grocery 3

Farmside Grocery 4

Farmside Grocery 5

Farmside Grocery 6

People gathered on the town square to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree and hear some carolers singing. Then we welcomed Santa and Mrs. Claus to Long Grove!

Santa & Mrs. Claus

The Carolers with the Santas

See my last post for more of the carolers!

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Long Grove Carolers

Here is a clip of the carolers we saw in Long Grove, Illinois yesterday!


Christmas Festivities Begin

This year, my husband and I are trying to find local events and festive activities to do this Christmas season.

Yesterday evening, our town had a Wine & Taste Walk to kick off the holiday season. We strolled from one establishment to the next, sampling various wines and enjoying tasty cookies and cheese platters set out for us. Well, I don't drink wine, so my husband did the wine and beer sampling... but I sure ate my share of the snacks! We even got a chance to see the vats at the local brew pub.

We got to see the Christmas decorations and merchandise, and I bought a beautiful new scarf for myself, made of the softest yarn! I think it's called eyelash yarn.

Today, we visited the nearby town of Long Grove for more Christmas activities. I'll do my next post about what we saw there! Meanwhile, here are some photos of the picturesque town.

Mangels, one of our favorite stores

Farmside Grocery, another of our favorites!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

When I got off my train to go to work on Monday, I saw that Christmas had taken over the train station! I haven't worked in downtown Chicago at Christmastime since 1991, so I'd forgotten just how glorious the decorations could be and how BIG! It makes me want to go Christmas shopping!

But over the last few years, I've found myself doing most of my Christmas shopping online. It seems like a lot of the unique brick-and-mortar shops with unusual and pretty things have given way to chain stores and strip malls that are the same everywhere.

I think I'll make it a point this year to seek out the unusual remaining stores and places this season before the snow hits. Sometimes, it's not what you buy, but the experiences you have with the people you love. I'll have to ask my husband if he has any ideas of where he'd like to go shopping, even if it's just "window shopping." He's more of a shopper than I am, and I know he'll have some good ideas!

On my way from the train station to work, I pass the Goodman Theatre every day. The Goodman Theatre puts on a great performance of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" every year. I've seen it several times, and it's always fantastic. We just saw it a couple years ago when we took my niece and nephew, so I don't think we'll be going again this soon.

The Joffrey Ballet puts on a great presentation of "The Nutcracker" as well every Christmas season. I've also seen this several times.

You'd think living in the Chicago area, I could think of something different to do this year for Christmas fun!

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Christkindlmarket Chicago 2009

Since 1996, Chicago has hosted Christkindlmarket from Thanksgiving till December 24th at Daley Plaza. Traditional German gifts and foods are highlights that draw crowds from all over the world. Daley Plaza is also the home of Chicago's official Christmas Tree. This year, Chicago has done something it hasn't done since 1955: our 2009 Christmas tree is one large tree, cut from a local citizen's property. Since 1955, Chicago has traditionally cut down several smaller trees and stuck them all together for the look of a fuller, larger tree. But for budgetary reasons, I think the single tree concept is a great idea!

The Christkindl Market tradition started centuries ago in Nuremberg, Germany. The Christkind, or literally Christ Child, is represented as an angel dressed in white and gold. She is the gift bringer. Gift-giving began around this time of year in pre-Christian times. It continued as the Three Wise Men brought gifts to the Christ child. December 6th, St. Nicholas Day, was traditionally the day children received gifts of nuts and fruits.

Martin Luther helped to spread the tradition of Christkindl throughout southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Northern Germany retained the tradition of Weinachtsmann (Santa Claus or St. Nick) as the bringer of gifts. Luther intended the Christkindl to represent the Christ child as a youthful angel. Women usually represent the angel today. She is often depicted holding a small evergreen tree.

Here are some photos of our Chicago Christmas tree and Christkindlmarket being set up this year.

Since Thanksgiving is the start of our Christmas season, I thought I'd share this "family tree" of Santa and the giftbringers of different nations. This was found on Rick Steves Europe site. Remember, you can view any of my images larger on my Flickr site!
Some interesting links:

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Finished Awning

It took all weekend, but I finished painting the awning. I really like how it turned out. I didn't get to finish the decorative side supports, but they didn't need a fresh coat of paint as much as the front did. As my husband, my neighbor Kate and I were standing back staring at the finished product, a nice couple strolled by, complimented my work, and asked if I would hire myself out! The only downside: my upper arms and shoulders are killing me and my legs are all bruised up from climbing up and down the ladder!

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Painted Fan Awning

This weekend we are having temperatures in the 60's, so I decided to tackle an outdoor painting project before winter hits. We have a decorative overhang above our front door that really needed scraping and painting. My husband and I took turns scraping. We scraped and sanded off any loose paint, and then I primed on Saturday.

I spent the last couple days choosing a color scheme, and I realized that I would like to paint the body of our house a darker green shade called "Oakmoss" from Sherwin Williams. I went to the paint store to pick out colors for the overhang that I thought will go well with the new body color (which will have to wait till next year when it warms up again).

Here is a photo of what the house looks like now, and what I want it to look like when all the painting is done. I think a darker body will make the trim colors stand out. What do you think? This colorized version doesn't match the colors I picked exactly, but it's close enough to get an idea of how it might all look together. I'll post another picture when we're done painting.

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