Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! I've had a lovely month full of friends and family. I've had more events and activities than usual, which left me no time to write. I'll be "filling in" my December adventures now that I have a break. At least they can serve as inspiration and reference for Christmases to come. xo Anne

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Lights: Electric Enthusiam

I call a holiday light display like this, "Electric Enthusiasm."  While it isn't something I would design and install myself, I know that the owners must feel very proud of their holiday spirit.  Thankfully, it doesn't flash, nor is there music piped onto the lawn. It is just a lot of lights and I think it's quite fun. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Chicago: Macy's is a Christmas Destination in Chicago

I insisted that we walk from the Christkindlmarket over to Macy's (the original Marshall Fields) on State Street in Chicago to see their holiday window display. Each window had a different classic theme and holiday baking (above) was by far my favorite. Though my photo can't show you the movement, I know that you can imagine the apron-clad baker chasing the dog through the kitchen and around the Christmas tree. It's darling.
This window shows Santa taking off from the roof of Macy's and heading out to deliver presents around the world.
Here are teenage elves wrapping gifts for girls and boys.
I was with Dan and a friend of mine who wasn't familiar with the historic department store. I had fun briefing her on the history of the beautiful 9-story shopping haven and told her all about the famous Walnut Room restaurant and the chicken pot pie that has been on the menu since 1907. As I was told, a woman that worked at the department store back in 1890 would make homemade chicken pot pies and bring them to her friends on staff. This Chicago Tribune article (which includes the recipe!) says that customers first tried her chicken pot pies when we sold them at a counter inside the store and the demand for them led Marshall Fields to open the now famous Walnut Room, the first restaurant inside a department store.
We went inside went directly to The Walnut Room, in case we could snag a table and order some dessert and coffee.  I tried, but it was a busy day and there was a long wait. Next year!  The 45 foot tall Christmas tree in the Walnut Room was lit Frango Mint green - wow. We had fun exploring the beautiful store all decked out for the holidays.
Oh Santa, this is where holiday shopping is fun.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Panettone: An Italian Treat for Breakfast

At my house, most mornings in December start with coffee and panettone.  This beautiful example is made by Chiostro di Saronno in Italy. I found it at Costco and it is so delicious, that we are already on our second tin.  This Christmas bread is flavored with a hint of almond and is studded with just enough pieces of dried fruit. The bread is dense and chewy and the tin keeps the first slice as fresh as the last. 

I always have a stash of pretty holiday paper plates and napkins in the kitchen and use them for breakfast. Aside from the coffee cups, I am spared another sink full of dishes. And the panettone looks so festive on it!

If you are looking for a fun new holiday tradition, try a panettone for breakfast.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Ornaments: Birds

I thought about titling this blog post Winged Victory, in a cute reference to all the beautiful wings and feathers depicted on these German blown glass bird ornaments. It is true that birds of a feather, flock together. I was in good company with others at the Christkindlmarket, oohing and ah-hing over this incredible selection of bird ornaments. I would never believe that there were this many choices.
Many of the shop owners in the German Christkindlmarket in Chicago have walk up wooden kiosk to display their merchandise and interact with shoppers. The Lauschaer Glaskugelhaus has an entire wooden cabin that allows for a much larger display. If you can't make it to Chicago by Christmas Eve, you can shop for these spectacular bird ornaments here.
Birds of a Feather Flock together. We have several bird ornaments on our tree already and I simply couldn't decide which one to add to our collection. They are all beautiful.