Life has been very full lately! Busy work schedules and a visit from family, everyday scheduled things, plus Christmas preparations. It's been a good kind of busy. And this weekend we have lots of downtime planned, which I'm so looking forward to.

A few of my favorite things this week:

My parents and brother came to visit Austin! We went for a hike at a local park, climbed trees(!), visited the botanical garden and the 360 bridge, ate bar-b-que, and had milkshakes for supper one night.

My mom, who is a super talented quilter, made a beautiful quilt for our bed. I've always loved our bedroom, but now it feels much warmer.  I couldn't help taking lots of photos of it. Thank you, mom! When Nicholas uses the term awesome, you know he really likes something :)

We visited Austin's Trail of Lights with some friends. Beautiful and chilly, which made me really happy. We won't get snow, but if I can wear my hand knits, everything feels more seasonally appropriate for this Minnesotan.

And generally, enjoying all the little Christmas cheer in our home. Our Christmas tree lights are pretty much always on.

On my fun to-do list:

  • Letter-writing! If I owe you a letter, please know you'll be getting one soon :)
  • a few last-minute trips to the posts office to mail Christmas-y things
  • Laundry. Even though it's probably my favorite household task (especially folding clean clothes, mmm!) when I'm sleepy and between shifts, the poor laundry basket is the first thing to be neglected.
  • Tidy up and vacuum, so that we can look forward to a clean home when we return.
  • Bake/prepare a few snacks to bring on the plane when we fly to Chicago next week. I'm thinking these gf scandinavian thumbprint cookies or these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (of course!), almonds, and some packable fruit.

& I keep thinking about this verse:

I will live to enjoy the light, because he redeemed my soul. 

My aim is for this to be the focus of my heart and at the forefront of my mind this Christmas.  

What's left on your Christmas to-do list? What are you enjoying about this season? Also, Thank you to those who sent me gingerbread recipes! I'm so excited to try some new recipes. I prefer to think of baking as not just Christmas cookies, but winter cookies.