More Cupcakes

During our Thanksgiving wanderings around Chicago, we stopped in at a random Italian restaurant (kind of like Fazoli’s, but not Fazoli’s). While we were there, one of the cashiers recommended we try out a cupcake place one street over. We were really glad we took his advice!

Once we got there I realized it was More Cupcakes, a bakery that I had read about online in a couple of different places.

I was excited to try a cupcake already, but when we got inside we found out they were having a giveaway – the first twenty people to come in got a box of four regular-sized cupcakes for free!

The free cupcakes - double chocolate, red velvet, salted caramel, and their eponymous More cupcake (chocolate with a cream filling)

Our family also got a set of six mini cupcakes, which we ate almost immediately – they were delicious!

I’d definitely recommend More cupcakes – they were friendly, and the cupcakes were very tasty!

Christmas Caroling

Mosaic Church went caroling for Christmas, and we had a lot of fun! The weather was chilly but mild – perfect for walking around and singing to empty houses. Before leaving we filled up on some delicious soups:

We split up into groups, and each group took fifteen of these gift bags to hand out and grabbed a bunch of these songbooks:

Then we set out. The first few houses our group sang at had no one home, but on about the fourth house –

Success!

Though most of the houses were empty, the people who were home seemed to appreciate our holiday spirit, and it was great fun to sing together with my fellow congregants.

Merry Christmas!

My Christmas so far has been great. My sister’s boyfriend was visiting when I got home, and he helped with baking enough treats for the three parties my mom was planning.

Pretty good gingerbread house, huh?

We had some family over for lunch on Sunday, and a party for our neighbors on Sunday night. Then we had family on my dad’s side over for dinner on Monday night. My two cousins are chefs, and one of them fixed these fantastic steaks, along with asparagus and a bouer blanc sauce. It was so good!

Getting ready to inhale those steaks. Daniel had three by himself!

My family celebrated our official Christmas early (on Tuesday), because my parents and brother went to Florida on Thursday to help my grandmother move up here to Nashville. My sister and I stayed behind, and on Christmas Eve we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch. For dinner we went to my aunt and uncle’s house and made our traditional rice and curry after going to their Christmas Eve service. It was a really laid-back, fun Christmas.

Our Christmas tree.

Those presents are alive!

Zoolights 2009

About a week ago I went to the zoo for their holiday light spectacular – Zoolights! The zoo puts up a bunch of lights, and opens at night for people to walk through and catch the holiday spirit. I went with a friend from Centro Maria, and we tried not to freeze while we checked out the sights. Here are some of my favorite pictures.

The small mammal house

Look at that cute baby elephant!

Path to the big cats (who were not out, boo)

Sleeping Tai Shan - he's going back to China soon. 😦

I used to sleep like that when I was a kid - half on the bed.

There were a surprising number of people dressed up like animals. The Coca-Cola polar bear was there taking free pictures:

And there was this guy:

Creepy, right?

But all in all Zoolights was pretty fun. Not sure it was worth $8, but I’m glad I went just to see what it was like.

My Holiday Decorations

I’m a nester. The aesthetics of my living space are very important to my happiness and well-being. Whenever I move into a new space, I am unable to sleep until I have arranged the furniture in the optimal configuration, and have all of my lamps/rugs/pictures in the right place. Yeah, this is weird, I know. But, being a nester also means I love holiday decorations! And, with a little help from my mom, I’ve got great ones.

I LOVE window clings. One year my mom bought me a set that remains unparalled in its awesomeness. It was a Christmas tree, with individual ornaments, a star, and presents. Fantastic! After hearing me reminisce about that cling for the umpteenth time, my mom surprised me with these sweet clings. Now Santa and Frosty are hanging out in my room!

Stocking (and crucifix).

Mom also bought me this great stocking from Old Navy. I love it! There are deer, birds, and a Christmas tree made out of the deers’ antlers. Sweet!

I got Christmas lights at Home Depot to complete my decorations. I put a strand around the outside so I could see them with the blinds closed, and a strand around the inside so they could be seen from outside with the blinds closed. Covering all my bases!

It looks pretty festive at night, if I do say so myself!

You can kind of see the stocking from outside, too!

Mosaic Christmas Party

Our Face-to-Face group at Mosaic had its Christmas party on Saturday night. I love my pastor’s family’s tree – it’s packed with ornaments, and each one has a story.

It reminded me of our tree at home, with so many unique ornaments. Here are two of my favorites:

Cute little koala bear. It has a jingle bell in its tummy!

Pat the Bunny!

We each brought a treat and a gift to exchange.

Jane picking from the pile of gifts.

I forgot about the gift exchange until thirty minutes before the party, which meant I showed up with two Glade candles from Giant. Fancy, huh? But I had a nice gift bag to put them in. My friend Michelle  went the opposite route – she brought good gifts, but wrapped them in a trash bag!

Fancy wrapping!

The gift exchange was fun, although my gift was picked exactly last. 😦 The gift I received was a Jupiter Jack, which is supposed to make your speaker phone transmit through your radio. It hasn’t worked so far, though, but it was a cool idea.  Everyone had fun stealing gifts from each other, and joking about the gifts they got/gave.

After the gift exchange some of us played Scattergories. I love Scattergories! I won this game, which was pretty sweet! Then we played Apples to Apples. I didn’t win, but I tied for second, which was okay.

I love hanging out with the people from Mosaic. We always have a great time. Although my pastor is pretty competitive, so the board games can get a little heated. It’s all in good fun, though!

Gift Wrapping at Mosaic

Yesterday morning the Mosaic Women’s Initiative held a gift wrapping party. Our church has been donating presents to give to the children nof Burmese refugees, and we wrapped those presents together. I overslept and came late, so I only got to wrap one present, but it was a good time.

Gift wrapping set-up in the back of the sanctuary.

Close-up of wrapping action.

Here’s a shot of our church’s “Chrismon” tree. The ornaments are called “Chrismons,” and they were made by kids (and some adults) in our congregation. They are symbols representing aspects of Jesus’s life or charcter. I’d never heard of them before this year, but I think they’re pretty cool.

Our church's Christmas tree.

I love Christmastime. Or Chrismontime, I guess!