Friday, January 3, 2020

Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. And lots of cool photos. The holidays were awesome.

Good morning! What's new with you? Are you recovered from the holidays? Let's catch up over a cup of coffee. I'm pouring some Colectivo Wonderland, a holiday coffee which was a gift from my son's girlfriend. She also gave me this awesome mug, my new favorite. Besides the Colectivo, I received quite a bit of coffee for Christmas, so I'll be working my way through it during these cold, dark days of winter. With a splash of half and half, it's the best way to start the day.


If we were having coffee, I'd share with you all the celebrating we did over the holidays. This was the most holiday fun I've had since the boys were little. It really is all about experiences, not things, isn't it? We kicked off the holidays with a wedding. My sister got married and we had a wonderful evening with family. It was a small, intimate event--just how it should be.

The family!
If we were having coffee, I'd also tell you that one afternoon, my husband, the boys, and I all met up at the Christkindlmarkt in downtown Chicago. The weather was perfect and it was really cool being downtown in this little pop-up German Christmas village! We sampled the Gluhwein (too sweet) and I bought a Krampus ornament. It got really crowded, so we left and had dinner at Dearborn. Fancy, expensive, and oh so good!

Gorgeous night in downtown Chicago.
The Picasso statue is behind the Christkindlmarkt. 
If we were having coffee, I'd talk with you about how my husband and I are adjusting to being empty nesters. I'm going to be honest here and share that it's been a lot of ups and downs for us. We're making an effort to do more things together. We went to the movies this week, seeing Ford vs Ferrari (so good!) and had dinner. We had a great time.

I will admit that it's so nice to only have a couple of loads to wash and fold now!

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that the hubs and I also went to Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. This awesome display of lights was completely sold out and after seeing it, I can understand why. I'm sharing a few pictures below...because. Thanks for indulging me.




We walked through these ever changed colored hanging lights. So so so cool.

This was a light show, synchronized with music. Truly incredible.
If we were having coffee, I'd share how disappointed I was that the Wisconsin Badgers gave away lost the Rose Bowl. Seriously, fumble much? There was some bad play calling though. I am proud that they got the bid to play the Rose Bowl. We watched what was a very exciting game and in their honor, had macaroni and cheese for dinner. We thought about having duck for dinner but couldn't find any at the store. I baked my Wisconsin cookies again. Oh well, as we say here in Chicago, there's always next year...

Nom nom nom
If we were having coffee, I'd tell you how much I enjoyed having time off over the holidays this year! With the holidays falling on Wednesday and my days off on Monday and Thursday, things just worked out for me to have lots of time off. Besides all the fun family time we had together, I read a lot of books:
  • Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes was a surprisingly enjoyable rom-com. I don't usually go for that genre, but this was recommended and it was worth the read!
  • The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess is a coming of age story about a young aspiring writer who interns for a famous writer during the summer on Cape Cod. A short, breezy beach read, I enjoyed it. 
  • Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal is a super cute book about food and quirky Midwestern people. I loved Stradal's The Lager Queen of Minnesota--this was similar in style and really appealing. 
  • Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson is the story of a woman caring for 2 children who burst into flames when they become upset. It sounds weird, but it's actually a metaphor and the family is really dysfunctional. Probably one of my favorite books this year!
  • Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky is a love triangle between a student, her professor, and her mother. Ewwww, right? The style of the narrative is snarky, so if you aren't fluent in sarcasm, you definitely won't like it. I am and I did.
  • Whisper Network by Chandler Baker is the story of women working a high powered law firm. There are elements of sexual harassment and empowerment, but it just took too long to get going. I finished it because I wanted to see how it all turned out, but I didn't really like it.

What would you tell me over coffee? Did you survive the holidays? What fun things did you do? Do you know about Krampus (it's German thing)? Did you root for the Badgers (or any other team playing in a bowl)? Have you read any good books lately? Anyone else experiencing empty nest syndrome? BTW, I found a great article on empty nest syndrome here.

I'm linking up with Coco and Deborah for the Ultimate Coffee Date and with Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness.




42 comments :

  1. OMG I can't believe WI lost! I watched the start of the game and assumed they'd win. I'm so jelly you saw the Botanic Garden lights. I wanted to go but got so much push-back from Greg. :( Congrats to your sister!

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  2. The Lightscape looks amazing! And you know I love your cookies. I got special coffee for Christmas that turned into a disaster. It was too finely ground for my set up which I learned the hard way after my coffee maker overflowed twice in a row on Christmas Day. The first time I thought it was the filter. The second time I figured it out. The third time I used our regular coffee and made a small pot to make sure. It was such a disaster with hot coffee flowing everywhere! This weekend I noticed coffee stains in the grout in the backsplash and had to scrub those out. So, LSS I’mn afraid of special coffee for a while!

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    1. Mine came as whole bean and I had to grind it myself. Which is fine but I struggled with the coarseness of the grind. First world problems! LOL

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  3. Unfortunately there wasn't a whole lot of fun for me over the holidays, but that's life, it won't always be this way. Those holiday lights are awesome!

    It's very hard to go from having your children there and the center of your world to having them fly the next (but still the center of your world, of course). It's a big adjustment. Sounds like you're off to a great start!

    My brother (who lives in SoCal), was at the Rose Bowl parade (not the actual game, or at least I don't think). Sorry your team lost.

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  4. I love your light pictures as I sip on my coffee with half and half. My stepsons (and stepdog) are with their mom this weekend after nearly a full week with us, and I tell you what, our house is too quiet right now. I can only imagine what it's going to be like when the nest is empty for real.

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    1. I never realized how much our lives centered around our kids!

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  5. You had so much holiday and family fun time. Looking gorgeous in your red dress. I agree that it is an adjustment when it's just you and the hubs. We only had a short time of being empty nesters as our daughter is back now after graduation. That is an adjustment in itself! Love the new coffee mug :)

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    1. I can only imagine--that would be like my oldest moving back after being on his own!

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  6. Wow! The lights at the botanical gardens are amazing! What a beautiful experience. When my hubby and I first became empty-nesters, we had some ups and downs too. Now, though, it's mostly ups. We eventually figured it out and you will too. It's tough when your focus has been on your kids for soooo long. Movie dates and going out for romantic dinners are a great way to start.

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    1. We just need to stay on track! I'll have to find more things for us to do.

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  7. Wow, that light display at the botanical gardens looks amazing! I don't think I've seen anything like that. And that's an impressive number of books :)

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    1. I was surprised when I wrote this post and realized how many books I read this month!

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  8. I had my children really young, which means I went through the empty nest stuff in my late 30s, early 40s. It's a challenge to be sure--just know it's worth it.

    Also you look amazing in the photo from your sister's wedding. That dress looks like it was made for you.

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    1. Thank you! I just loved that dress--I hope I get to wear it again!

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  9. My hubby and I need to do more things together. I usually go out with my friends...he plays tennis with his friends. We go out to the movies and dinner but that's it.

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    1. If that's your pattern, I think it's all good. We're just figuring out how to be a couple again!

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  10. That pop-up German Christmas village looks very much like the real thing! I agree, the Gl├╝hwein is far too sickly sweet.
    My brother and sister-in-law recently became empty-nesters, too. I think they have gotten used to it now, travelling more and doing things together. But my sister-in-law still cried buckets at her daughter's wedding because she was so sad to see her "go". Ah, being a parent isn't easy!

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    1. My husband doesn't seem to want to travel--I'm hoping he'll come around!

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  11. I'm so happy that you were able to take time off during the holidays and spend so much time with family. It looks like you had so much fun!

    Those photos from Lightscape are beautiful!

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    1. This was by far one of the best holidays we've had since the boys were little!

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  12. We were completely traveled out by the time Christmas rolled around and both ended up sick. We didn't leave the house for five days. Les was off work but not exactly what we had in mind. Now we're preparing for a month long visit from Les' nephew. He's coming from Tennessee to work on a new show that is filming in our town. We don't know any details other than his arrival and departure dates, but since we never had kids it will be interesting to have a teenager living with us! Does that make us un-empty nesters? or maybe new nesters?

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  13. You guys really seem to have had a great holiday! Lots of things to do together! Congrats to your sister! I love the Christmas Lights - I miss that so much!!

    We are not empty nesters. We have an odd situation where Ron's kids used to come every other weekend to stay with us to my oldest step going away to school, to my youngest coming whenever he pleased (which was fine) to not at all (bad situation I can't talk about in the public space). So part of my sadness this year is the feeling that I lost the only kids I had. Being a parent is hard enough, empty-nesting must be tough; being a stepparent with no bio kids (not 100% my choice) is just a weird, sad feeling when they are grown up.

    I do know Krampus and find it very, very bizarre. I mean I have issues with the Dutch Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet but Krampus is just downright scary!

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    1. I'm sorry about that feeling of loss and I know it well. I just don't share a lot about it here. I'm grateful that my oldest has come back around. We had a lot of fun this year!

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  14. The Big 10 has been a bit of a buzzkill this year, at least in bowl game play. Wisconsin and Michigan...just wow, didn't see either of those losses coming. We've started having Sunday night "family dinners" since all the kids are fairly close-by now. It's been awhile since we've had a real family dinner, other than Thanksgiving or Christmas, with everyone in attendance. Looks like a great Christmas for you!

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    1. We try to do a Sunday night dinner as well--its been a tradition for about 17 years since my hubs mom died. My FIL has dinner with us every Sunday. I don't expect the boys to be here every week, but it will be nice if they can be here on occasion!

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  15. So pretty at the Botanical Gardens. I went to Hershey Park where they put on a nice light show there for the holiday. I also went to two different christkindlmarkts It's always fun doing festive activities around the holidays.

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    1. It really is! I prefer the holiday fun to anything else over the holidays.

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  16. Survival was absolutely the name of my holiday game. I didn't get to do much this year, and it was hard.

    My Hurricanes lost their game, too. I didn't even watch very much but they didn't show up to play. Meh.

    I'm so glad that you had an awesome season and I loved getting to see all those lights! I missed those this year.

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    1. You're going to have to make up for it next year! I have no doubt you will!

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  17. What great family time! Best wishes to your sister - I loved your red dress!

    That Lightscape display is amazing!

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    1. Thank you! I'm so happy I got to do all the fun holiday things this year!

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  18. If We Were Having A Cup Of Joe, You Would Be So Polite And Ask Me To Shut The Phuc Up - Yes, The Lights Are Amazing And Thanx For Sharing - Be Well This Year And Never Lose That Smile - Big Hugs

    Cheers

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    1. I'd never tell you to STFU--it's always good to hear what other people have to say!

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  19. I read far fewer books over the holidays than I thought I would - it was pretty packed! Until the last few days at least.

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    1. I had some time off and some of the books were short--I was surprised myself!

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  20. Congrats to your sister! :]

    I'd love to check out a Christmas market someday! And also Lightscape--the lights are so, so pretty! I hope I can do some more leisure reading this year too, but we'll see how that goes!

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    1. It's always nice to squeeze in a book for pleasure, even if you're keeping up with medical stuff!

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  21. Those pictures are so beautiful! I've actually wanted to go to Germany around Christmas time to go to the christkindlemarkets for years!

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