A Valentine’s date with the dude

Last night Jon and I got dressed up and ventured onto the high street of Lindfield for a romantic V-day dinner at The Limes, a tiny, appropriately intimate restaurant. It ended up being a great choice. Five thoughtful courses (and nothing that made Jon sick except for the glass of champagne we started out with, which counts as a win in my book). It was just….nice! I’m always thankful for a little quality time with my dude, especially after a rough few months. It really seems like things are getting better.

Also, he understands my undying love of owls. A real catch!

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Jon’s birthday fun times!

Birthday! On Monday, Jon turned 28, and we celebrated with a day of hanging out and wandering around Brighton. Awesomely enough, the company he works for gives you a half day off on your birthday. Lucky duck.

We picked up a new pair of jeans for Jon (our new diet has solved most of his health problems and made him shed a couple of inches around the waist in the process, turning my already thin husband positively waif-like) and I gave him the fabulous watch he’s been wanting. We had a delicious sushi lunch at Yo! Sushi and an amazing steak dinner at a cute/weird little pub that evening with Jon’s parents and siblings. When we came home we toasted my favorite dude with some paleo-friendly brownies I made earlier that turned out astonishingly great (served with whipped coconut cream!). As you can see, most of Jon’s birthday revolved around eating. He’s pretty easy to please, when it comes down to it. And as far as I can tell he had a great day, which he 100% deserves.

Here’s to hoping 28 is a great year for Jon (and for me too, haha). Birthday, wooo!

our christmas

We had a lovely, if a bit melancholy on my part, Christmas. I’m so bad at being away from home around the holidays! It’s not as if I’m dying to be back in Ohio, but as it is I think I’m doing fine, I’m spending time with Jon and we’re opening presents and running around doing all the Christmassy things and then-bam!-I’m crying in Jon’s old bedroom at his parents’ house on Christmas eve because I miss my mom.

Expat life, dudes. Harrumph.

But really, our Christmas was nice. This was perhaps the first year ever that I ticked nearly every box in the imaginary checklist in my mind of what I want to do before the big day arrives-make and send good cards to people I love, buy and wrap (and ship) presents, make cookies, drink mulled wine, have various get togethers, wear fabulous sweaters, decorate and enjoy our tree, watch all my favorite Christmas movies…..all of it. It’s quite a list. And this year, without stressing, it all came together. And I’m thankful for that, and for a nice partner who indulges my childlike enjoyment of this season.

jonashleychristmas2012

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A Christmas Cookie Party

One of my favorite, warm-fuzzy Christmas memories from my childhood was our annual Christmas cookie making. My sister, my mom, my grandma and I, all piled in Grandma Monk’s tiny kitchen, the tiny old-fashioned radio blaring Grandma’s preferred tunes of the 50s and 60s, flour and powdered sugar and colored icing and cookie cutters everywhere. We made snowmen and trees, snowflakes and stars and santas, too. So many tuppperware boxes full of our productions, enough to last for weeks until there were only a few sad, stale little treats left.

christmas cookies

I’ve made Christmas cookies every year, in every place I’ve found myself when the holiday season rolls around. It’s my little way of going back to that time, when I was young, in my grandmother’s kitchen, with my favorite women. And some day I’ll do it with my own kids-but that’s still pretty far away, I think.

christmas cookies

This year Jon and I invited some of our friends over for some casual cookie making, accompanied by hot chocolate (with a bit of Bailey’s in it) and some mulled wine. We listened to some records, made high art (as seen above, some people are so artistic!) and watched some fun holiday movies and cooking shows on tv.

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