The ladies from church gathered together earlier this week for a little party to discuss our favorite things. It was in someone’s gorgeous backyard, and there were so many beautiful desserts, I had to limit myself to trying only five. We were told to come prepared to talk about, or show our favorite thing, whether it be a cleaning tip, recipe, hoppy, app, song…the list goes on. We went around the giant circle of ladies. Some had visuals, some didn’t. It was fascinating listening to the things people loved, from eye shadow primer that’s guaranteed to keep your eye make-up in place (it’s already in my Amazon cart!), a tip to easily get the grime off your oven, their favorite brand of flip flops, or simply ice water and watching the sunset. There were so many awesome things I learned, and have yet to try. It was like a live Pinterest board. I hope someone was making a list, because I was enjoying listening to everyone so much, I forgot to make one myself. When I came to my turn, I had a few things in my head, but remembered one of my favorite things was in the car so I ran out and grabbed it when I was almost my turn.
I showed everyone my handy Grabber, and told just how much I love that thing for road trips, as well as short car rides. Someone needs tissue? Here you go! Oh you dropped “Fuzzy Bear”? I’ll get that for you! It really makes the world of difference as we drive to and from Utah, or even at stop lights when they kids are whining from not being able to reach this or that. Definitely one of my favorite things, thanks to KC for thinking to get it for me last Christmas. A must for every mommy, etc.
I quickly mentioned one more. If you know me well at all, you know how much a love a big plate of hot, crispy, melty, cheesy, Nachos Supreme with all the toppings. Right friends? You know this about me. So I thought it was an appropriate thing to mention.
Afterward, it got me to thinking about all the other simple pleasures I absolutely love in life that I could’ve mentioned. So I thought I’d write about them here as an extension of that night. Some it may seem redundant, since they've been mentioned on the blog before, but it’s fun to have them all in one place. I wish everyone would make a long list for me to see. Who knows what treasures I would find out about!
There was one point when living in Maryland when I realized how much I loved and missed a warm Campfire on a cool night, preferably in the canyon. We didn’t have any cool summer nights there, and I think there were a lot more rules about making fires. Not to mention we lived near a big city, with no mountains in sight. I don’t care if it makes my hair or clothes smell smoky for days, I love it. The crackling, the great outdoors, the charred hot dogs, or gooey s’mores. I crave a good campfire throughout the year.
I discovered Landmark Theater when I first moved to Colorado. Needing to get out one night after the first stressful week of the move, I headed out to the movies by myself, and found this little gem just a few minutes from our apartment. Little did I know how much I would like this place. A very clean, comfortable setting, and I didn’t find out about this perk until after my movie, but unlimited complimentary popcorn and fountain drinks are included with ticket price of $12! We’ve been back a couple times, and continue to enjoy ourselves there (not to mention one of our favorite restaurants, Ali Baba Grill is right next door. Their fluffy hummus and amazing kabobs could almost make this list!). It’s always one of the first places we consider on the rare occasion that we go out. Love it.
Of course I love the holiday season, but I particularly love when I can get out my stash of Christmas Movies. I hoard them. Around Christmas some years ago, I felt the urgency to watch as many Christmas movies as I possible could during the season. I was on a mission. I wrote them on a calendar, prioritizing to make sure at least the greats were definitely going to be watched early in the month before things got too crazy. I queued up any cheesy Lifetime (and the like) Christmas movies I could find on Netflix, and started buying a collection of my own. We don’t buy a lot of DVDs in general, except when it comes to Christmas shows. I can’t stop myself! Why not when you want to watch them at least once a year. It’s become a tradition to squeeze as much movie watching into the holiday season as possible. Sometimes just having one on in the background as I pick up the house, wrap presents, or cook dinner is good enough. The kids are also loving this tradition and have some favorites of their own. My top movies are too many to name. I’ll save that list for a post in December. This is my latest addition.
While we’re on the subject of Christmas cheer, nothing brings it for me more than festive Christmas Parties. The year before the kids came along, we hosted our first Christmas Party, complete with a Karaoke machine, and a white elephant gift exchange. I was hooked from that moment on. We loved having all our friends in one place, everyone so happy to be together. We had a place just big enough to hold everyone, and it just made me so happy. We took the next year off to take care of lots of babies, but we couldn’t wait to host again the following year, only that time I had a co-host, which made it even more festive. The parties just seemed to get better as the years went on (here, and here/here) as we gathered with old and new friends to celebrate together. I don’t have to be hosting to enjoy it so much, it just kind of happened that way, and really made Christmas season complete for us. It’s funny that one of the first things I thought of when I saw our new house was how perfect it was for hosting parties. Someday!
I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who doesn’t love the Fall. But there is something about the crisp air, gorgeous scenery, and promise of fun things to come that makes my mind go straight to Fall Baking. All I can think about when the sight, sounds, and smells of fall present themselves is apple cranberry pies, flaky almond croissants, pumpkin crumb muffins, hand-dipped peppermint patties, and chewy ginger cookies with a spiced orange filling, to mention a few. And of course washing them all down with hot homemade wassail. I am also a fan of having a pot of soup simmering on the stove and a loaf of crusty bread in the oven to go with it throughout the season, but the pastries, and desserts are always at the top of my list. Maybe it’s that baking makes the kitchen a cozy place to be as the weather cools off, but I want to be there all the time. The only thing that makes it better is having friends to share the joy with. Anyone who wants to come bake or eat with me in the coming months, consider this an open invitation!
Because of my background in the pastry arts, people are always asking what my favorite dessert it. It’s a tough question, but I do think I have it narrowed down to a short list. While I love the buttery treat pictured above, I have to say that simple Homemade Ice Cream is a favorite. With the hot summer slowly coming to a close, it’s what is on my mind right now. I grew up loving a fresh churn of cold, creamy ice cream in a variety of flavors. One summer, my parents made it a goal to make a new flavor every week until school started again. KC also grew up loving his dad’s perfected recipes made in his hand-crank machine. We’ve carried on the traditions of our families, and have served homemade ice cream on many occasions, including just a weeknight indulgence with our little family. We once owned a hand-crank machine and used it quite a bit. But the poor thing didn’t make the cut during the move. It had had it’s day. But I already had a back up. I wanted homemade ice cream more often than we wanted to make it with all the rock salt and ice shenanigans, so I bought a little Cuisinart, and how I have loved that thing. I have made more flavors than I can count, and still have a running list in my head of new combinations to try. It’s so easy, and you really can’t beat the flavor of the fresh cream. In my opinion, almost every dessert is complimented by ice cream.
I’ve mentioned many times before that I am an early riser. I absolutely love Early Mornings. Everything is so quiet, and so still, and I usually get that time all to myself. Baking is definitely my favorite thing to do at that time, but I also love going grocery shopping, running/working out, or finishing a movie I fell asleep to the night before around 9:30 PM. I remember in elementary school, I’d wake up early enough to catch an episode of Gilligan’s Island every morning before school. And when the babies were little and would consistently wake up early, we found the best way to deal with that was to take an early walk together with the whole family. I looked forward to that every day. There’s just a feeling I get when I’m up and about before 6:00 AM that makes me feel good about life.
There are more, of course, but these are the things that have been rolling around in my head since the other night. I should make it a tradition to make a list like this every year as a way to remember the things that make me happy.
Of course I also love beach vacations, shopping sprees, and meeting my goal weight, but this was really about the things I can enjoy on a daily basis, not a wish list. That’s also for another post.