Seasonal Station

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How do showcase special treats that you have only during this time of year?  I simply make it part of our decor!

Christmas is hot chocolate, Gluwein, and Christmas market mugs.  Wrapping hands around a hot mug as the steam rises from the top is just a smile waiting to happen.

We use to make our own hot chocolate mix.  A recipe from my Mom.  As a child, I have fond memories of the big container she mixed it up in.  It was always very sad when it was gone!  Now, because we just do not drink enough of it, I choose not make my own.  I guess that is why I treasure each mug I have now.

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Using a festive tray, I have created a Christmas beverage station in our kitchen.  A bottle of Gluwein (yes, Hubby cracked that opened), a Santa tin holding delicious hot chocolate packets awaits us.

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We have a lot of Christmas mugs.  I trade them out ever so often.  They are just fun!

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Each town has their own mug.  Some put a date on theirs and some do not.

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I am very picky when it comes to hot chocolate.  Since I only drink it during this time of year, it has to be darn good!  Right now, I am loving the salted carmel from Starbucks.

Just a little seasonal joy in the kitchen!  Less than 10 days now!

Happy Wednesday!

Where it all Began…

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I love Christmas markets.  They are just a magical part of celebrating the season for us.  We plan every single weekend in December around going to these markets.  We have been to large ones, medium size ones, and the ones that are only for one day in a small village.  It is not so much as what they sell for us. It is more about the atmosphere, the music playing in the background, and the laughter of the people doing the exact same thing we are.

I fell in love with the German markets back in 1992.  Yep, that long ago.  We were young, never been out of the states, and loved the adventure.  The first Christmas Market experience for us was and still is our favorite…yes, even after all these years!  As a young married couple with a toddler we hopped on train to Nurnberg.  From first sight it was jovial.  Since then, we have been back time and time again!

This past weekend, Hubby and took a train again to downtown Nurnberg to once again take in the sights.  Our ride was a little bit longer this time.  Our toddler is a grown Amazing young woman.  However, we still had twinkles in our eyes!

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The streets are beautiful.  The lights and the lovely Nurnberg Angel watching the excitement.  We still have our Nurnberg Angel that Amazing Daughter picked out many years ago.  It graces the top of our tree every year.

As with all markets, there are plenty of things to purchase.

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We love these stars.  I bought one from the Dresden Christmas Market a few years back.  One of our favorite ornaments.

Hubby loves going to the markets because he knows he is going to get some bratwurst.  He loves those things!

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Yes, he ate every single bite.

We listened to a little music.

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But mostly we enjoyed the beautiful Winter evening in just a marvelous city.

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Christmas is such a special time of year.  It is because of magical evenings in December at a Christmas Market that makes the season come alive for us!

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Ready, set, go!

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We are officially ready for Christmas.   We cranked up the Christmas tunes, munched on some queso, and sipped some Gluwein as we unloaded the tubs full of our Christmas stuff.

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After we brought everything up from the basement, I tried to sort out what I had.

This the Santa pile.   I just love this old man.  I like to collect Santa’s from every culture.  Some people collect angels or snowmen.  For me, it is all about the man in the red suit.

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Tree decorations.  Our tree this year is the smallest one we have ever had.  Not sure why, but it is.  I understand why people have more than one tree.   After we trimmed our tree, I had a lot of ornaments left over.  Since this is our first Christmas in this house, I am getting the feel of where and how Christmas will go and look.  I am learning so much!  In fact daily, I am moving things around.

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It was fun getting out our Christmas life.  Each evening after work, I turn on the lights and light the candles.  With my glass of wine in hand, I simply enjoy the scents and sounds of our home.  Life is so good!

Have a wonderful weekend!  We are off to another Christmas market and to finish our last bit of shopping.

Madrid, part 4

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On our last morning in Madrid, we decided to get up early and head out for El Rastro flea market.  I love those things!    When we got there, it was setting up time.  It was peaceful and beautiful.

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I read that people have furnished and decorated their entire homes with flea market finds.  I would love that!  What fun it would be to challenge yourself creatively and budget wise.

Here are some of the shots I took of the market.

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The red sofa was only 50 euros!  That was awesome.  Not suitcase matter there, a person can dream.  It was fabulous watching people who were dressed in fur coats haggle with the sellers.

Sadly, we did not get to stay long.  We had to get back to the hotel and then to the airport.

It was a wonderful get away.   We will be laying low until about April.  Then we will be off on another adventure!

Enjoy your Thursday!

Madrid, Part 3

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Is there any bad food in Spain?  If so we did not find it!  We spent a lot of time at tapas bars/ places.  We liked the small portions and the variety.

Check out our favorites.

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The breaded zucchini was to die for.  I will be trying to recreate that in the near future.

Hubby was very fascinated with Iberian ham.  Walking around we saw several ‘museums’ of ham.  Yes, that is what they were actually called!

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Hubby called these babies true pieces of art.  I snapped this outside of a store.

Another spot I wanted to see was the Mercado De San Miguel.  Just the structure was amazing.  Inside all the food and wine was even more amazing!

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It is a great place to meet up with friends for a tapa and a glass of fantastic Spanish red wine.

Needless to say, we did not go hungry.  Far from it.  We enjoyed the small dishes but more importantly, we enjoyed the atmosphere.

Madrid, it is a wonderful place to be.

Tomorrow I will wrap up Madrid.  Sad, however it has been fun reliving our trip.

Happy Hump Day!

 

Madrid, part 2

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The nightlife in Madrid is a calm electricity.  Whatever does that mean?  It is about stylish relaxation and just fun.

It was all aglow with Christmas decorations.

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I have to admit , I love the vibrant colors.

Of course they had a Christmas market.

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One of the fabulous things about traveling is learning about a culture in a real way.  Learning how Madrid celebrates this time of year is wonderful.  We saw many stalls selling the moss for the nativity scenes.   I was just soaking it up!

Hubby celebrated a birthday on this trip.  I wanted to do something out of the ordinary for the occasion.  So when in Spain, go watch dancing!

I took Hubby to a Flamenco show.  It was simply breathtaking.  We did not know what to watch.  The feet, the hands, the facial expressions, the singers.  It was all so wonderful.  A true experience of a lifetime.

We went to …

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The people were lovely and the dancers were passionate.  I know, I know, all Flamenco dancers are.

Here are some of the sights we experienced.

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Remember twirling around in your dresses as a little girl?  This was so much more.  The dancers were drenched in sweat after each dance.  I was in a trance the entire show.  It is something we will never forget and feel so fortunate to have experienced.

Tomorrow, I will share with you the all important subject of food!  Until then, enjoy your day!

 

Madrid, part 1

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Old European elegance will be what I think about when I recall our trip to Madrid. It was regal.  It was sophisticated.  It was just amazing!

The weather was nothing to write home about… It rained the entire time.  I guess that is what umbrellas are made for.  The weather did not hinder us in the least.  We saw everything we had planned on.

The first day and a half we spent at three of the best art museums you want to visit, the Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia.  We saw art that we are still talking about.  Years ago I read a book about the battle of Guernica.  In my eagerness to learn more, I found out that Picasso depicted the battle.  I finally saw that masterpiece.  I stood in the room just studying each part of it for more that thirty minutes.  We had the privilege to experience Miro, Goya, Dali, more of Picasso, and so many more.  We thought going in that we would have loved the Prado the best.  However, our favorite was the Thyssen-Bornemisza.  One thing that I wanted was to really view Dali.  Not to understand, but to appreciate.  I did that.

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The entrance into the Prado.  Please keep in mind the weather!

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An amazing building right by the Prado.

Our favorite part of traveling is getting to know a city.  We do that by walking.  We do a lot of walking on our trips.  Most of time over 13 miles a day.  We just take everything in.  Madrid had fabulous architecture.  I could not get enough of it.  It seemed like every few minutes I was stopping and taking a picture.  In fact, I took over 200 pictures of just buildings.  I am just going to show you a fraction of those!

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This last picture is my absolute favorite.

Beautiful city!  I cannot wait to show more tomorrow.  Part 2 will be devoted to nightlife!

Spanish Treasures, part 2

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I will admit that I am a little obsessed about pottery.  Hubby would be doing an eye roll if he read that statement.

Pottery tells a story, a history of a country.  It was an attempt to make an ordinary routine of eating something more.  Pottery brings beauty to the everyday life.  I think we need a lot of beauty.

Before going to Madrid, I did a lot of reading about the different Spainish pottery. On  several websites I spent time on, they suggested to find pieces of ‘old’ patterns that are discontinued to go to this one shop off the beaten path.  I like the beaten path.

I spent over two hours in there talking to the owner and asking questions.  He was so kind.

I ended up with three pieces from three different parts of Spain.

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First up is this bowl from Toledo, Spain.  Yes, the dark color is blue.  All pottery has that common element.  The mellow yellow and melon color are so soothing.  It brings a smile to my face.

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Next up is serving platter from Valencia, Spain.  Bold, festive, and just darn gorgeous.  The colors in this platter are so rich and interesting.

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Finally, from Mallorca, Spain this pot.  I will be using it in the kitchen to store root veggies in.  It has that island-y feel to it, just as you would expect.  Soft lines and colors just give off a happy vibe.

How could I not be excited about bringing those home?  The owner knew I would be carrying them home by plane- carry on.  He did an excellent job of packing!

Hubby said he like this shopping trip.  I think that is because he was around the corner at a tapas bar.  He said we should do that more often!

Before I close this post, I want to wish my Mother a happy 29th birthday again!   Hope you have a fabulous day!  And I am sending positive thoughts and prayers to Amazing Daughter who takes the lovely LSAT tomorrow.  Rock it girl!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Spanish Treasures

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Since I cannot show you the beauty of Madrid until next week, I am punting and showing you the treasures that are going to be added to our home!

When we travel, I like to pick up something that we will be able to fondly recall our time there.  We do a lot of research of the sites we want to see, the places we want to eat at, and the places to shop.  Madrid was no exception.

When I thought of Madrid, I kept thinking Spanish shawls and the magnicifent hand painted fans that I use to read about as a young girl growing up in South Texas.  Anything sounded exotic when you grow up in a small town.  I just remember thinking how elegant the ladies were who had them naturally in their wardrobe.  I also remember looking at pictures of pianos with shawls draped over them.  I explained this image to Hubby.  He looked at me in confusion.  We do not have a piano.  I had to reassure him that I was not planning on buying a piano for my silk shawl.  That eased his mind.

When I we finally found the store I had researched, I was taken in by the friendliness of the staff.  It was a store that has been ran by the same family for  four generations.  I have to say, the kind lady pulled out over forty fans  for me to view.  I felt special until I realized all the sales people were doing the same thing with their customers.  Here is what I decided on.

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All hand painted beauty!   You know I am a blue person.  I originally went in with the intention of coming out with something red.   This one just spoke to me.

The shawl was a little different.  I was transfixed on the variety of colors and the craftsmanship.   They were all so beautiful.  It basically came down to how much I wanted to spend.  We are budget minded people.  I am in awe of what I selected.

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Here is a closer view. Yep, blue again.  And yes, it matches the fan.  Funny how that happened!

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I am deciding where and how this treasured piece will be displayed.  Right now, I have draped it over a chair in our guest bedroom.  Nothing is permanent in our adobe.  Next week it could be somewhere else!

Tomorrow, I will share part two.

Have a fabulous day!

Traditions

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It is hump day and I am already thinking about the weekend.  Why?  It is the weekend we will hit our first Christmas market of the season, decorate the house, and put up our tree.

As with all families we have a certain way we celebrate the season.  We turn on the Christmas music, make chili con queso, heat up the Gluwein, and bring out the decorations.  Since we are in a new house it will be about finding the perfect fit for our things.

It is fun opening up the bins each year.  We start talking about years gone by. Memories are such a wonderful thing.

Trimming the tree is my favorite part.  With a mug of mulled wine, Gluwein in German, reliving each place we have visited as I place an ornament on the tree.  Hubby thinks he is done after we put the lights on.  He switches to supervisor mode.

It is a special weekend that we share each year.  I cannot wait to add to it.  These traditions are the treasured moments that makes life just amazing.

Madrid picture update….

As you know during the week Hubby and I live in two places (sad, I know!).  To make a long story short, Hubby has the camera.  I will have to wait until next week to share. Urggggg…  However, I will give you a sneak peek tomorrow of some of the Spanish goods I ‘acquired’ along the way!

Happy Hump Day everybody!

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