Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Social Christmasing


When all this social distancing started way back in the spring, I never thought it would extend to Christmas, but it did and we worked really hard to make the best of a weird time and place.  We flew to Michigan (empty airports, especially Detroit) and flying feels as safe as going to the grocery store if you take the proper steps.  No issues, beyond a delayed flight and seven straight hours with a mask on lol.

In Michigan, we rented a house, so it was just our family.  We cooked a lot of good food, enjoyed many bottles of good wine and festive cocktails and stayed up late either talking or playing cards.  My daughter Melissa, hosted us on Christmas Day with a lovely table of appetizers as well.  Extended family were visited with via Zoom.

Our one outing included dinner in a private outdoor dining structure that luckily was heated and then we enjoyed some intense family competition at Top Golf, also heated and a private bay.  I think everyone in the Detroit area had the same idea, but I had made reservations in advance and all was smooth and covid friendly at check in.

We had a wonderful time and I have no regrets about going.  Time with our daughters is precious to me, especially on Christmas.  And, to top things off, we even woke up to snow on Christmas morning.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, December 21, 2020

All Is Merry and Bright


There is an area in Sarasota that does Christmas lights in a big way and I had heard it was a bit extra this year.  It is one of the main shopping areas with a mall (University Town Center), but there are also many outdoor stores and restaurants with outdoor seating.  I booked a reservation at a favorite Italian restaurant and we had a lovely time sitting on the patio surrounded by beautiful lights.  An added bonus was the live Christmas music performed just across the traffic circle.  We are having a few chilly nights in a row here, but a heater right next to our table, kept us comfortable.

After dinner we drove around the area a bit and enjoyed the lights changing color.  I still love palm trees with Christmas lights and am not sure I will become blasé about living in a place where that happens.  We also made a stop in downtown Venice and walked through a park filled with lights by community groups, including a visit to the city tree that I helped decorate.

We are definitely in the Christmas spirit and ready to celebrate this week.  It will look a little different, but we will be with our daughters and there will still be the magic of Christmas shining away, no matter what.

Happy Christmas week!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Life Lately in Photos


We have been trying to squeeze every little bit of holiday cheer out of this weird season and so far, we are finding things to do.  We really enjoyed the Christmas Boat Parade in Venice and while not official and city sponsored this year, it was still really good with lots of creative boats, including one with a live band playing.  It’s along the Intercoastal Waterway, so plenty of room to take your chair, a cooler and socially distance.

With my volunteer group, we worked hard one morning decorating a city park and my job was to decorate the big tree the city usually uses for a tree lighting ceremony.  Not this year of course, but there are still lights galore in the park to stroll around and enjoy on your own.

My house has lots of twinkle lights, including a tree on top of the pool waterfall and while I don’t go all out like I used too, I have added a few touches that definitely say Coastal Christmas.

We did a pre Christmas happy hour on the beach, with a sunset that was incredibly beautiful and many toasts to the holiday season.  I am also still having fun with the Aldi Wine Advent Calendar and posting a photo of the wine most nights on Instagram stories.

We have a dinner reservation on Friday in an area filled with Christmas lights, so more fun to come.

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Oatmeal with Cranberry, Apple and Ginger Chutney


It is no secret in my posting history that I am a big fan of Gina at  After Thanksgiving, she posted that a great use for leftover cranberry sauce was to swirl in through your morning oatmeal.  That sounded delicious to me and I had quite a bit leftover, so I couldn’t wait to give it a try.

My homemade cranberry sauce is actually a step up from the norm and a recipe I have been making for years.  This Cranberry, Apple and Ginger Chutney is tart, chunky and the ginger gives it an unexpected flavor. Too good to go to waste and taking Gina’s word for it, I have been enjoying it with my oatmeal for the past week.  It’s so good, I may have to make another batch while fresh cranberries are still to be found at the grocery store.

Cranberry, Apple and Ginger Chutney

1 10 ounce bag fresh cranberries

2 red apples, peeled and chopped

1 tsp fresh ginger

3 T apple cider vinegar

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup orange juice

Combine ingredients in a large pot.  Bring to a simmer and cook until softened, reduced and thickened, about 40-45 minutes.  Stir often during cooking.  Cool and store in fridge. 

Happy Thursday!

Friday, December 4, 2020

Aldi Wine Advent Calendar (Year 2)

Again, this is so much fun.  After trying it last year, there was no doubt that I would be going to Aldi on the release day, even if it meant standing in line.  But, with social distancing in mind, my Florida Aldi, didnot allow any lining up this year and opened early and handed out vouchers when you walked up.  Very efficient and very much appreciated.

I was looking forward to starting the opening on December 1st and now look forward to opening the cardboard circle each day to see what kind of wine I will get to enjoy.  So far, for the first three nights, all three wines have been pretty great.  Especially the first night with a bubbly rose, one of my favorites.  

For those who don’t know how it works, there is a precut circle to open each night leading up to Christmas. Inside each circle is a different variety of wine in a small single serving bottle. The majority are very good and a great way to try some new wines.  Last year my daughter in Pittsburgh did it with me from long distance and we enjoyed rating the wines together.

It’s too late this year, because it always sells out the same day it is released, but take my word for it, go to Aldi on the wine advent calendar release day in 2021 (usually first Wednesday in November) and celebrate the season in this unique way.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Michigan ➡️ Florida
family, books, gardening, palm trees, the beach, golf, up north, msu football, detroit tigers, walking with my dog, trying new recipes, musicals, BBC, martinis, yoga, lilly

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