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In the Christmas Spirit

December 14th, 2015

We had a fun weekend. Earlier in the week we discussed checking out Illumination at the arboretum since the temps were unseasonably warm, but I preferred Thursday due to crowd level. Unfortunately, it was super windy that day so we decided we would go on Friday. That afternoon I was mulling over whether I was up to dealing with people, and paying $24 for the privilege (and that’s with our member discount!). When I got home to check how many tickets were sold to get an idea of how crowded it would be, the entire evening was already sold out. Saturday evening as well. That’s 5000 tickets sold each night. Yikes! Problem solved. I wasn’t even that disappointed so that is proof it worked out for the best.

Nextdoor.com has a cool feature called a Cheer Map where residents add their favorite holiday decor in their neighborhood so I grabbed a bunch of addresses, plotted them in Google Maps, and programmed the GPS. Our first stop was a couple addresses in Wheaton. One was dubbed the Clark Griswold house but I wasn’t very impressed. See for yourself.

Clark Griswold House

It was pretty funny, however, when I heard the owner’s neighbor remark, “look, they are taking pictures of your house” because the guy was hanging out next door.

Our next stop was Noodles & Company for dinner and to pick up a gift card since ’tis the season for bonuses. After dinner we resumed our small tour which ended at Lilacia Park in Lombard. We typically visit the park only once a year when all their lilac bushes and tulips bloom. We had no idea they go out at Christmastime too. We were very impressed with the number of lights. They put Cosley Zoo, which we had also intended to visit, to shame.

Lilacia Park Holiday Lights

It was so nice strolling trough the park taking in the lights since the temps were around 50 degrees. We ended up skipping the zoo since it would pale in comparison. We might still visit at some point before the end of the month, however.

Our last stop of the evening was Target to grab some gifts. We are completely done with our shopping now! Now I just need to motivate myself to wrap Joe’s gifts.

Saturday we headed to the mall to use a Groupon that was going to expire in a week. First we stopped Payless where I picked up an infinity scarf for only $8 (50% off plus an additional 25% of coupon).

Infinity Scarf

I’ve wanted one for over a year but I’m pretty picky, not to mention too cheap to spend $20 on one.

Our next stop was Bath & Body Works because their hand soaps were on sale one day only for $2.50. Honestly, I find even $2.50 a bit overpriced but much better than their regular price of $6.50. I only intended to buy two bottles but ended up with four.

Bath & Body Works Hand Soaps

I wanted something holiday themed but I also am addicted to the Japanese Cherry Blossom thanks to my cousin who gave me a bottle over the summer. I put the Candy Cane Bliss by the kitchen sink and the Vanilla Bean Noel by the bathroom one. They both smell soooo good that I already know it will become an annual tradition to buy them on sale around the holidays.

We swung by Red Robin to buy a gift card (another bonus offer) before heading to the restaurant to redeem our Groupon at a place called Quick Fire Cafe. It was pretty dead and I was worried it was going to suck, especially because it’s Italian food which isn’t my favorite, but it was actually quite good. Service was fantastic, and even though I do not care for vodka sauce, theirs is amazing. It is award winning, though! Even the minestrone soup was impressive. One the rare occasion I’m looking for something fancier than spaghetti and meatballs I could see going there again.

Later in the afternoon I stopped at the library to pick up Christmas CDs I had placed on hold. With a mug of hot cocoa, my Yankee Candle Christmas Cookie candle burning, and Christmas music paying, we went to work decorating the house. Joe tackled the tree (which we decided to put in the dining room this year) while I decorated the fireplace mantel and CD cabinet.

Mantel

CD Cabinet

I decided I wanted to try bead garland this year which I bought at Walmart Sunday morning. It was a little more challenging than I expected, so halfway through stringing it on Sunday I gave up. I finally got the hang of it and finished decorating the tree Monday afternoon. I went with a red/green/silver scheme on the tree this year. Usually it’s random ornaments but I’ve wanted to do a more put together look for years now.

Christmas Tree

I think it came out quite nice!

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