A Denver Home Companion | advent calendar

i don’t start decorating the house for christmas (except for hanging my mistletoe when it first arrives to me by post mail) until december 1. but i know there are many of you out there (including my hubby’s dear family) that kicks off christmas festivities the weekend after thanksgiving. 12/1 and the weekend after thanksgiving coincide this year so i had to get a jump on planning for our family advent activities. last year i posted the tutorial for our DIY advent calendar. using that same calendar, i’ve come up with some different activities, tweaked now that ramona is older and more enthusiastic about celebrating. here’s what we have planned for each night of advent. 

  1. decorate the house for christmas. not too hard since our home is teeny.
  2. make paper snowflakes while watching it’s a wonderful life (don’t forget the popcorn!)
  3. make a list of christmas wishes, including non-tangible things.
  4. read about the birth of Christ.
  5. call pops (ramona’s grandpa) to wish him a happy birthday!
  6. find the treats that old st. nick left in our shoes.
  7. declutter for christmas — what can we donate, regift, toss, upcycle?
  8. pick out the perfect christmas candle. watch a christmas story.
  9. let’s do some sledding (after praying for snow first!)
  10. make a christmas wreath for the front door
  11. make gingerbread homes with her buddy max.
  12. make saffron buns
  13. have a candlelit dinner in honor of sta. lucia day
  14. make christmas cards for ramona to send out to friends and family.
  15. take a morning winter hike. watch the remake of miracle on 34th street (jp’s in it!)
  16. head out to see zoo lights or go on a family drive to see neighborhood lights.
  17. dance party to christmas albums.
  18. definitely splurge on a sweet treat for breakfast
  19. spend the evening drinking hot cocoa and reading our christmas and winter books.
  20. make pepperkakor cookies and enjoy them with eggnog.
  21. let’s walk downtown and put money in strangers’ meters!
  22. hot cocoa, popcorn, and another christmas movie. let’s do elf this time!
  23. establish thoughtful new years resolutions. follow up with home alone.
  24. swedish dinner w friends, grasshopper pie, leave cookies & milk out for santa, and open one small gift.
  25. merry christmas! stockings, story of christ, strata, and presents.

what do you and your family do to make the lead up to christmas morning special and significant?

A Denver Home Companion | mistletoe

that being said, i couldn’t help but hang up the real live mistletoe that arrived at my doorstep tout suite. i’ve made sure i catch jp under there at least a handful of times a day. smooch!

i’ve got lots extra! interested in some? i can send some to your doorstep for $5 (includes shipping!). just email me with your paypal email address and i’ll invoice you and, most likely, get it out that same day.


A Denver Home Companion | quiet moments

it’s that time, right before the holidays. the autumn has settled in and the winter is drawing near. plans for thanksgiving and christmas are starting to move around in my head but i’m not ready to give in to the hype just yet. ever? for now, i’m enjoying my quiet moments, my cozy home, my fall candle, my space free of decorations. before things get a little more hectic. i am reminding myself that things only need to be as complicated as i allow them. here’s to simplicity.

take a breath. take it in. enjoy and be thankful for what you have. 


A Denver Home Companion | wicked witch of the west halloween costume

is she not the most adorable wicked witch ever? the green face paint was not as much of an ordeal to put on as i anticipated — she sat there so calm and serious (like her haircut) and did her absolute best not to touch it until it was dry. even refraining from talking fully so as not to disturb the drying paint (which led to her drooling bc she wouldn’t close her mouth all of the way which led to a paint-free spot around her chin by the end of the night). and then we were off!

A Denver Home Companion | wicked witch of the west halloween costumeA Denver Home Companion | wicked witch of the west halloween costume

jp’s parents joined us on our venture, which was to lead us through the lower highland up to root down for dinner. jp dressed as himself a lumberjack. and i put on some silly eyelashes and called it a day. ramona seemed less than enthused, not really understanding what was about to happen.

A Denver Home Companion | wicked witch of the west halloween costume

like senior citizens headed to their blue plate specials we began our trek when there was still ample light in the sky; surely we were many homes’ first knocking and begging guests. but whatever annoyance was displayed with our early biddings, you could see melt away when they looked at little miss ramona all dressed in black and green-faced, saying eagerly: trick or treat! and then, after they’d placed a fistful of candy in her basket, would stand there, staring, waiting for more. ha! we did our best to teach her to say “happy halloween” and then walk back to us but we often had little success in that. which worked to her advantage bc people fell for her ploy and more often than not put another stash of candy in her basket. smart girl.

A Denver Home Companion | wicked witch of the west halloween costume

soon after she was pointing at every single house (even the sketchy drug dens and hoarder homes) saying, “let’s go there! TRICK OR TREAT!” and i’m not surprised that my little brave one, independent and fearless and in love with people, ambled up to every front door on her own, on a mission. i think this holiday is going to be a hit with her in the years to come.

and because it’s fun and for posterity, photos my parents sent me as a little girl on halloween:

A Denver Home Companion | vintage halloween costumesA Denver Home Companion | vintage halloween costumes

A Denver Home Companion | colorado makers

this past weekend we headed to the western slope to join the colorado makers at a harvest party at peak spirits farm distillery. we helped pick some grapes. well, helped until ramona–overzealous for the sweet fruits–fell into the bucket, hit her head, fell onto me pushing me into a thistle bush. ouch. from then on we schmoozed with the good folks from black eye coffee, r.l. linden & co, and basta. other wonderful makers were there including ritual chocolate, dram apothecary, stitch & hammer, western daughters, and crooked stave.

A Denver Home Companion | colorado makersA Denver Home Companion | colorado makers

after a tour of the farm, we laid out blankets and enjoyed the bounty: pizza, tasty meats and cheeses, cocktails, beer, and wine. there was music and chatting and some other little ones for ramona to run around with. at one point they were playing on a fertilizer truck and we just laughed, loving the fact that everything on the farm is organic and biodynamic. the colorado makers plan to host monthly gatherings to showcase what is happening and being made by skilled craftspeople around colorado. make sure to follow them on facebook to be notified of upcoming events.

A Denver Home Companion | colorado makersA Denver Home Companion | harvest weekend

after hotchkiss, we headed back to vail for a weekend with jp’s family. it was wet and cold–definitely the first weekend of fall–so we hung low for most of the time. we did find the most amazing pirate ship playground to take mo to to get her wiggles out. during lovely extended family weekends it’s always nice to steal away for some powerdriver family time.

A Denver Home Companion | weekend in vailA Denver Home Companion | weekend in vailA Denver Home Companion | weekend in vailA Denver Home Companion | weekend in vailA Denver Home Companion | weekend in vailA Denver Home Companion | weekend in vail