Friday Things

Einstein & Duke, freshly groomed

1. This week, Einstein and Duke went for a much-needed trip to the groomer. They’re so fluffy and soft and smell so good, I can’t stop snugging them!

2. Are you planning to see Anchorman 2? We may need to do some last-minute Christmas shopping today, but I see a matinee movie date (my favorite!) in our future!

3. I’ve recently started using the shampoo and conditioner from DevaCurl. I was on the hunt for a new shampoo and conditioner combo that was free of parabens, silicone and sulfates, and gave this a try. I am LOVING it! The shampoo is different since it doesn’t lather, which takes some getting used to, but my hair has never felt so clean and light. I’m still using up my old styling products, so I haven’t tried any from their line yet, but I will keep you posted.

4. Last Saturday, we had a beautiful snow storm. It came and went all day, and I just kept standing at the window watching the big, fluffy snowflakes fall. Such a cozy day, I hope we have more of them throughout the winter!


5. I am epically bad at arranging flowers. I love having fresh flowers on the table and have an assortment of vases, but they never end up looking very good. I’m not sure if I’m using the wrong vase, cutting the stems too short or long… does anyone know of some tutorials or “how-to” sites that might be helpful?

6. My dad passed away in April 1999 and every Christmas since then, my aunt has given everyone in our family a homemade ornament with the year and my dad’s name on it. I finally set up a little ornament tree with all of them…

Dad's Ornament Tree

It’s really very pretty and a nice tribute to my dad. However, after I got them all hung, I counted them… 14 ornaments… it made me incredibly sad. Fourteen Christmases that I haven’t spent with my dad; I can’t believe this year will be 15. Life really goes by in the blink of an eye, doesn’t it?

7. On Wednesday, my Chief Culinary Consultant and I went to the dentist for our annual checkup/cleaning. Incredibly, neither of us has ever had a cavity. Most people can’t believe it, including our current dentist. We grew up about 20 minutes from each other and, ironically, had the same pediatric dentist growing up until we were in college. Maybe we owe it to him!

8. How awesome is this garden? I have total garden envy!


9. How is your holiday baking coming along? My mom and I spent all day on Sunday baking, and I’ve done some on my own, as well. At current count, I have walnut pillowsthumbprints and decker cake in the freezer; peanut butter chocolate barkpeppermint barkreindeer chowpecan tassiesmini cheesecake cookiesdate barssnowballs and buckeyes in the refrigerator; and peanut butter blossoms hanging out in the dining room. I’ve also made Italian sesame seed cookies; I’ll be sharing that recipe on Monday! I feel like there are other things I want to make, but I might be up to my eyeballs in cookies until March if I don’t stop now 😉

10. TGIF! I hope you have a fabulous pre-Christmas weekend! I’m going to try not to eat all of the peppermint bark before I give it away 🙂



48 Responses to “Friday Things”

  1. Susan on December 20, 2013 at 1:56 am

    How did your aunt initially present you guys with the annual ornament for your dad? That’s a great idea! (My friend died this year and I think it might be a nice gesture to give her mom, but it also could be taken as a slap in the face, you know?)


    • Michelle on December 20th, 2013 at 8:52 pm

      Hi Susan, It was so long ago, that I don’t remember exactly. But she said that she wanted to do something special to remember my dad, and gave us all an ornament, along with a printed and matted copy of a poem she had written about him that was read at his funeral Mass. I know what you mean, it’s hard to gauge how people will receive things, and everyone mourns differently, but I think everyone in our family has found the ornaments to be endearing.


    • Susan on December 20th, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      How about a simple angel or star and a note that says, “I wanted you to know that I miss her, too.” No one could consider that a slap in the face, could they? I think you’re dear to think of it.


  2. Deauna @ Honesty’s Protégée on December 20, 2013 at 4:27 am

    I’m sorry for your loss. My mom passed in 2000 and I think I’m going to steal your aunt’s ornament idea for my family.


  3. Pieliekamais on December 20, 2013 at 5:12 am

    I’ve done a couple of “florist for a night” courses at my local florist school, and I SO loved them.
    Your guys are SO cute. Didn’t know their claws could be black, as well!


  4. Megan on December 20, 2013 at 5:51 am

    I am so sorry for the loss of your dad. Mine passed in 2008 and I know what you mean about the years piling up.
    On a lighter note, I was wondering what styling products you typically use in your hair? I have curly hair too and am always curious what fellow curly girls use. 🙂 Apologies if you have mentioned this before. I am a fairly recent reader to your blog and I am loving it!!! Thanks!


    • Michelle on December 20th, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      Hi Megan, I’ve actually been using minimal product for the last few months – just a leave-in conditioner and a curl enhancer and then I blow it without a diffuser. Before that I was using Ouidad styling products.


      • Megan on December 21st, 2013 at 6:24 am

        Wow, blowing without a diffuser? I am impressed! Do you mind sharing the specifics of the leave in conditioner and curl enhancer? I currently use mousse and then dry with a diffuser. Thanks again!


        • Michelle on December 22nd, 2013 at 11:13 am

          Hi Megan, I currently use the Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioned, and Dikson Beauty Cream for Curly Hair. I don’t use a diffuser because I’ve been blowing straight with those two products. Just using those two things + my hair dryer, I don’t even need a flat-iron – it dries soft and straight without any frizz!


  5. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on December 20, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Your babies look so soft!!! I can see why you would want to snuggle with them. I still have a ton of Christmas shopping left, ugh…. So I will be out there after work today trying to finish it up! I figured the stores will be nuts this weekend!! Enjoy your weekend!!


  6. Sonya on December 20, 2013 at 6:56 am

    We had the same snow on Saturday. It wasn’t really a storm, it just didn’t stop all day. I ended up putting my kids in their sled and pulling them around town for a bit since most of the sidewalks weren’t cleared. It was really quite nice.


  7. Sally on December 20, 2013 at 7:30 am

    The date bars are calling my name. I have two other cookie recipes, completely different, that call for dates and walnuts and both are among my favorites.


  8. SusieQ on December 20, 2013 at 7:42 am

    I enjoyed Anchorman; Anchorman 2…not so much. Actually wanted to leave the theater.


  9. Jodi Pavlik on December 20, 2013 at 7:48 am

    It’s my first Christmas without my dad, it’s been rough. Life really does go by fast. That ornament tree is awesome. I bought an ornament at a craft show that had a clear bulb with a feather in it and apoem attached…it’s on my tree, I love it! Merry Christmas!


  10. SusieQ on December 20, 2013 at 7:56 am

    I love to bake and this house is in cookie overload. For the first time I made snowballs and oh my goodness, they are so good. They are definitely a favorite and will be on my ‘must make’ list. Others made this year are: peanut butter, oatmeal raisin and oatmeal chocolate chip, snicker doodles, kourabiedes, date nut balls (my grandmother’s recipe and my favorite), white trash aka reindeer food, mini gingerbread cookies, and peanut butter chocolate fudge. I still have a chocolate black walnut fudge recipe on my ‘to try’ list.
    I have frozen peanut butter cookies before and later used in a trifle, and it worked beautifully, but have never frozen any other cookies. How do they hold up in the freezer, specifically the delicate cookies?
    I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog this year, specifically over the holidays. That eggnog bundt cake, dang it looks…just might have to make it…or your rum cake, which i typically make at Christmas time.


    • Michelle on December 20th, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      Hi Susie, I haven’t had issues with freezing any my cookies yet, but I will let you know if I do!


  11. Betsy Harner on December 20, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Could those guys be ANY cuter????? So photogenic! Do they love the snow? My Derby has new snowboots and a flashing Christmas collar!!! They are the highlight of my Friday!


    • Michelle on December 20th, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      Hi Betsy, They LOVE the snow! Oh my goodness, I love the flashing Christmas collar! So awesome!


  12. Lucy on December 20, 2013 at 8:23 am

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your Dad, I know how that feels. I know exactly how you feel, my father passed away September 15, 2001 and I miss him so much everyday but especially at Chrismtastime because he always made it so magical for us when we were young. He was my best friend. Life really does go by in the blink of an eye, it’s now I am realizing that. You’re little furry guys are so cute, it looks like they are excited Christmas is coming also! Can you tell us what you are making for Christmas dinner, I think I have my menu set but would love a new idea. Merry Christmas!!


    • Michelle on December 20th, 2013 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Lucy, My husband’s parents and his brother are coming over, but my mother-in-law is bringing the food for dinner since we will be having Christmas Eve dinner at my mom’s. She is making a sun-dried tomato dip (app), ham, scalloped potatoes, mashed butternut squash and green beans. I’m throwing in some homemade Chex Mix as a snack, rolls, and my Ho Ho Cake for dessert.


  13. Suzanne on December 20, 2013 at 8:25 am

    My teenage daughter has curly hair and did not love it (though I do). We started using the Devacurl products (including styling) and even found a stylist who trained there for her haircuts. What a difference, she now loves her curls! Hayley likes the styling products even better than the shampoo. They make a big difference in her hair.


  14. Debbie on December 20, 2013 at 8:37 am

    I love your puppies. They are just too cute!!

    I’m so sorry about the loss of your father. People say it gets easier with time (I don’t believe it). It feels like it happened yesterday 🙁

    Always remember though, your daddy is your guardian Angel now, just like my brother is my guardian angel. That helps me and puts a smile on my face 🙂

    Take care and have a wonderful Holiday.



  15. pam howell on December 20, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Have you tried WEN?? for your hair???
    it doesn’t lather either – I LOVE it!!!


  16. Lisa on December 20, 2013 at 9:21 am

    This will be my first Christmas without my Dad. He passed away in September and was only 59. With every day that goes by and as we get closer to Christmas, my heart feels a bit heavier. The ornaments are a nice way to remember your Dad. Thank you for sharing. ❤️


  17. Merideth on December 20, 2013 at 10:07 am

    I have been using the DevaCurl styling gel for a few years after really strugling to find a hair product I liked and I’m hooked, I tell everyone who will listen about how much I love it haha. I hope you try it sometime!


  18. Cody on December 20, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Einstein and Duke are adorable! I’m so sorry about your father; the ornaments are very special! This will be my 18th Christmas without my dad. All you can do is know he is looking down on you with a smile and be thankful for the years you had with him.
    As for flowers, I always use this method for arranging from the blog House of Earnest! Here’s a link to my pin:
    Here’s a link directly to the tutorial:
    Good luck and merry Christmas!


  19. Robin Christensen on December 20, 2013 at 10:16 am

    The ornaments in memory of your father is touching – even though you can see how long he has been gone, the memory of him is alive!

    And your boys look beautiful, clean and shiny! And how precious every picture you take of him!

    Thank you for sharing your life with us – I enjoy every single blog.


  20. Melissa Rearson on December 20, 2013 at 10:26 am

    What a great way to remember your dad! I have a few close friends who have lost fathers just recently, and I may suggest it.
    For flowers, I usually go to the grocery store floral area or a florist and snap a few pictures. Sometimes the combinations that are chosen are just right and if you can go and get those flowers/greens locally (for cheap….like at a produce outlet!!!) you can replicate what they have done. You can also look online. I’ve found that the issues that you need to overcome are mostly cutting to the right length *(or variable lengths) and then making sure the vase is FULL (so use smaller than you might think). Make sure the stems don’t show a lot. Then, when you are growing things in your yard/garden, grow things that you can use as fillers (or flowers!) as much as possible (holly, winterberry, boxwood, pine needles, herbs, etc.).


  21. Natalie on December 20, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I’ve been looking for one last thing to bake for Christmas Eve with the family and thanks to this post, it’ll be the Walnut Pillow Cookies 🙂 Hopefully the recipe is ok halved, since 7 dozen cookies is a tad too many!


  22. Dana on December 20, 2013 at 10:41 am

    What a beautifulidea about the ornament tree and I’m sorry you’re missing your dad. My good friend lost her 3-month-old baby just before Christmas last year and she set up an ornament tree this year as a memorial. It’s extra difficult to miss someone during the holidays.
    The fence and wall in your backyard are fabulous with the lights and snow!


  23. Nancy Nicholls on December 20, 2013 at 11:38 am

    What a beautiful way to remember your father, you Aunt had a sense that this would keep you all connected to him. Merry Christmas and thanks for the great blog that I can’t wait to open each day, makes me smile plus gives me ideas for my own baking days.


  24. aimee @ like mother like daughter on December 20, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Our dog after we give him a bath is one of my favorite things ever. He is so fluffy and I just want to snuggle him all day long. I am sorry about your dad, but that ornament tree is a really nice way to remember him. I love that


  25. Kate @ Coffee with Kate on December 20, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Your dogs are adorable and the peppermint bark looks awesome! I plan on making some this weekend.


  26. Stacy on December 20, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    The dogs do look soo fluffy and huggable! Duke is just so so big! And your freezer probably is as amazing as that garden 😉


  27. Jeanne on December 20, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Nothing in particular, just wanted to let you know that I really love your blog!!! Merry Christmas!


  28. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on December 20, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I still have a lot of baking to do – I’m mad at myself for waiting til the last minute! I’m making your lofthouse cookies today 🙂 Have a great weekend!


  29. curlygirl foodie on December 20, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Deva Curl is the answer to a curly girls quest for definied curls. For a few years I’ve been using the conditioner. A mix of the styling cream and light gel is perfect for my fine curls. Once my curls are dry I scrunch in a bit of the set it free spray. Now I have shiny beautiful curls with definition.


  30. Dave on December 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    I also have never had a cavity. I think my brother, too. I have no sympathy for any of my friends and family who have work done (like my mom getting an implant today).


  31. Marchelle on December 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    My dad passed away the day after Christmas at only 42; it will be 20 years this year. My son was only two at the time, and my dad had sent him an engraved ornament with his name and the year on the front and “Love, grandpa” on the back. Every year since then we’ve gotten him an ornament and had it engraved from grandpa. When he leaves home, those will all be his for his first tree of his own.
    I bought 30 lbs of butter on special at the end of November; I’m just now down to my last two pounds. I can’t keep up with cleaning the dusting of flour and powdered sugar that’s settled on everything!


  32. Becky @ LovetobeintheKitchen on December 20, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    That is so sweet to have those ornaments to remember your dad. What a great idea to put up a little tree for them! I am so sorry you’ve been without him for so long. I know you will see him again!


  33. Jess on December 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I used DevaCurl for about a year, but just couldn’t justify the cost of it anymore (even with buying it from Amazon) for so-so results. I’ve been using EverCurl line from L’oreal and really like it.


  34. Kris Mc. on December 20, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Your two fuzzy boys are soooo cute! I do love the smell of a doggy right after the trip to the groomer for a “fluff and buff”. Our short-hair Mutt (Moke) loves going to the groomer, does a dance just outside the door to get in! Thanks for sharing about your Father’s passing. It doesn’t get better with time, it just becomes bearable. My Dad, gone 5 years now, was a teacher and a hobby bee-keeper, so I always appreciate flowers with bees in the Spring and organic honey to use in my recipes. To remember him, I found someone on Etsy to make a small silver stacking ring with a bee on it to remind me of my Dad–looking at it reminds me to find time in the week to “Bee Happy.” I added his birthstone (small Ruby) to another stacking ring this Season as a flower! Have a peaceful, Merry Christmas, and thank you for your Blog!


  35. Michelle M. on December 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Your boys look too cute! Hope Santa Paws is good to them.
    I’m sorry about the loss of your father. I lost my Mom on November 8, 2012. It was very unexpected & sudden. The ornament tree looks very sweet; but hard to look as it gets more “full.”

    I would love to take a flower arranging class. That’s something I think my Mom would’ve enjoyed. I think knowing how to arrange would help me decide what to buy.

    Great post. Merry Christmas.


  36. Nicole L on December 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    I am really feeling this chocolate peppermint bark!


  37. Colleen on December 22, 2013 at 5:01 am

    I noticed a while ago we have very similar hair, I use deva curl and love it too, especially the heavenly hair deep conditioner. The styling products don’t have enough hold for me, but herbal essences Set Me Up spray gel and Totally Twisted mousse give me great (and cheap) definition without crunch. I totally buy into the philosophy behind those deva curl products and as well!


  38. Angie W. on December 23, 2013 at 11:01 am

    I don’t know what your hair is like, but I’ve been using the Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam for a couple months now and love it! My hair used to be stick straight, but a few years ago it became super curly when I grew it out. Needless to say, after a lifetime of styling one way, it has take some getting used to dealing with the curl and this product is great at keeping me from looking like Little Orphan Annie. I haven’t tried the shampoo/conditioner, but I may go that direction. Thanks for the recommendation!


  39. Karie on December 23, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Love your ornament tree! I also get an ornament each year from the local ALS Association–my dad passed away from ALS. I only have 4, but I still couldn’t believe there were that many when I put them on the tree this year.


  40. Laura Dembowski on December 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    That’s so sweet that your aunt gives you those ornaments. I’m sure they do bring mixed feelings but they are beautiful. It’s always shocking how quickly time goes by. Have a Merry Christmas, Michelle!


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