We kicked off the new year with a small herd of deer wandering through the backyard. Somehow I haven’t shared any deer pictures on the blog before?! There are quite a few deer in the neighborhood. It’s not uncommon to see them out and about, particularly at dusk. In 2016, I fortunate enough to snap pictures of deer right in the yard a few times. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen the couple shots of the doe and fawn we saw over the spring and summer (here and here). I didn’t share any fall deer snaps here, though.
There were three deer wandering through this time. They stopped for a few minutes to graze. I’m not sure what they were eating, to be honest. There’s not much growing this time of year! But they found something to nibble, and then they moved along to the neighbor’s yard. I’m a city girl and have never lived anywhere this remote before, so it’s still quite the novelty to see so much wildlife in the yard. (We even had a fox visitor this fall!)
Over the weekend, we had our first major snowfall of the 16-17 winter. I’ve been on the beaches in southeast WI in the winter plenty of times. But I had never been on the beach, watching Lake Michigan, as it was snowing. Needless to say, it was a very neat experience. The views were so different from what you’ll see during the spring, summer, or fall (remember the rainbow I saw back in September?).
I’m structuring my late fall through early spring monthly highlights posts a little differently than my late spring through early fall highlights posts. There are happenings that I want to share here but not as many specific events (i.e. outdoor concerts, festivals). Hopefully, that makes sense, and you’ll stick with me through these less photo heavy months and more text heavy updates.
I know that it’s sort of a given this time of year, but this November, I’ve been extra conscious about taking time every day to count my blessings and be grateful for what I have. Over a two-week span at the beginning of the month, two friends lost parents (one of whom passed away not even two months after receiving a cancer diagnosis), one friend lost a grandparent, Jon Schmidt of the Piano Guys lost his daughter Annie in a tragic hiking accident, and Rob’s beloved Bella crossed the rainbow bridge after a 15+ month battle with cancer.
I have my own daily struggles and uncertainty in life. We all do, I know. Watching people I love suffer incredibly unfair, heart-wretching death of their loved ones puts things in perspective. Jake and I have faced multiple major challenges during our married life and continue to face challenges, but we have so much to be grateful for, too. I have been mindful of my blessings every single day this month, especially as I pray for those close to me who have faced loss.
For Thanksgiving, we stayed close to home, which is sort of the best thing ever. One of the major reasons we live in southeast WI is to be close to family. It’s so great to be able to drive a couple hours or less for major holidays and then get back home to your own bed (and kitties) that night.
My in-laws cooked on Thanksgiving, and then I cooked for myself, Jake, and my parents the day after, which meant my cooking was pretty straightforward and involved chicken (and a little steak) instead of turkey. Recipes: chicken and vegetables / sweet potato casserole / rolls / cranberry sauce / pumpkin pie (with a homemade flaky pie crust from How to Cook Everything). The rolls recipe is now up on the blog, just in time for Christmas and New Year’s meals! So excited! I’m not a big “it’s not X holiday unless we have X food” person. Except for these rolls. They’ve been a family tradition ever since I was little. It was so much fun getting to cook with my mom. We hadn’t cooked together like that in years.
Jake and I concluded the weekend with holiday decorating. We always get a real tree, which I look forward to all year. I’ve been filling in some finishing touches this past week, but we got the bulk of our decorations up during the last few days in November. I shared a few of the new decorations I picked up this year over here.
Otherwise, I’ve been working on the final adoption home study tasks, finishing up or at least making progress on a bunch of home projects, and working on lots of posts for the blog. Over the next month or so, I’m really excited to share some new DIY projects including DIY holiday wall art (the canvas art tutorial is already up right here) and my made over file cabinet (all pictured above!), more Christmas and general winter inspiration, best of 2016 (both photos and what I’ve been reading), and 2017 goals.
Finally, one of the highlights of November was seeing a fox right in our yard. There are foxes in the neighborhood. I’ve seen a few from a distance before but never one so close. He’s wandered through a few times now, always on the go, hence I’ve only snapped a few pictures of him. I can’t get over the dark red fur color.
How was your November? Are you mostly focused on the holidays this month or do you have other events going on as well?
This October was one of those beautiful Octobers where the leaves stay colorful for several weeks and it’s warm enough to enjoy the beautiful colors. I know I complain because I get sick of everyone I know and Pinterest shoving fall in my face every single day. But I actually get it when fall is, you know, kind of perfect.
10/10: Domes Fall Harvest Festival show. I love visiting the Domes for their seasonal shows. You can see my full set of photos from the show over here.
10/13: China Lights. I promise this is the last time I’m talking about China Lights on this blog. I’m so glad I got to see this amazing exhibit during its run in Milwaukee. Check out my full China Lights post here.
10/14: Lindsey Stirling. We saw Lindsey Stirling in Milwaukee as part of her Brave Enough tour for her new album. (Remember how I was talking about her t-shirts? I ended up wearing this one.) Her show was intense, really loud with tons of lighting effects, but amazing. I’ve really never seen anything like it before. I loved learning more about her newest album and how she got where she is today.
10/16: Holy Hill. My in-laws had never been to Holy Hill and wanted to go during fall to see the colors. As previously mentioned, the leaves are on point this year, and the colors didn’t disappoint.
While we were up that way, we also got to see Jim Zamzow’s annual Halloween display. (See last year’s display over here.)
It wouldn’t be a Wisconsin holiday display without something Packers.
10/17: Grant Park. Grant Park is one of the quintessential locations in Milwaukee to visit in the fall. The day I went, it was sunny and warm enough to be outside in a t-shirt and jeans. Again, kind of a perfect fall.
The Grant Park waterfall flow varies quite a bit from month to month, but it’s running full force right now.
10/19-10/23: New Orleans. Obviously, one of the biggest highlights of October was our trip to New Orleans. I put together a separate post about New Orleans over here.
10/28: MAM After Dark: Steampunk.Jake and I have been attending the Milwaukee Art Museum After Dark events regularly ever since we moved to Milwaukee. Steampunk was the perfect theme for Halloween and the current 1920s German cinema exhibit. Our costumes are never exactly the same from one event to the next, but you can see a few more pictures of our steampunk get up in my August 2016 highlights post.
10/29: Book of Mormon. We kicked off the 16-17 Broadway season in Milwaukee with the Book of Mormon. It’s the only show I’ve ever seen three times in three years, and I’d see it again if they brought it back to Milwaukee next year. If you ever get a chance to see it and haven’t already, please get a ticket. For nearly two years, every time someone talked about Salt Lake City, Jake and I would always have to make the joke about how it’s not a real place, it’s a metaphor. Then I kind of forgot about it for a while. Now that we’ve seen the show again, that joke is coming back.
10/30: Neighborhood trick-or-treating. We live in an area where most neighborhoods don’t have trick-or-treating on Halloween, which I find really sad. At least our neighborhood hours ran long enough that kids could trick-or-treat in the dark. This was our first Halloween in this house so I didn’t know what to expect. But we got a good turnout, about 60 kids. I splurged on full-size candy bars. Several kids literally screamed over full-sized Kit-Kat bars. A successful Halloween, right?
What are you up to in November?
Any fun local events I should check out?
Another month has flown by, as always. Today I’m sharing just a few highlights from September.
9/3: Silverwood Farm Fall Horse Trials. I have a family friend who trains show horses. In the 10+ years we’ve known her, we’d never seen her compete. So we made it a priority and got to the Silverwood fall trials. Many of you know that I’m a city girl. As such, I know next to nothing about horses and am way out of my comfort zone being around and photographing them, but it was so neat.
9/4: Wind Point Lighthouse tour. The lighthouse offers monthly climbs from June through October. It’s awesome to get a brand new perspective of a place you visit frequently. We learned a little bit of its history and admired the sweeping views of the grounds as well as Milwaukee, Racine, and Lake Michigan.
9/16: Lincoln Park. No, I wasn’t visiting Lincoln Park in Chicago, I was visiting the little Lincoln Park in Kenosha. I had to run a quick errand down that way and stopped over at the park for a bit. It’s home to a beautiful sunken garden. It’s also where Jake and I had our engagement pictures taken just over 10 years ago.
9/17-9/18: Doors Open Milwaukee. The long-awaited Doors Open was awesome. I hit 15 sites in all and would have made it to even more but I had another commitment on Sunday. We had absolutely perfect weather for it, high 70s and sunny both days. I took nearly 1,000 images and will still be sorting through them for quite a while. Over the next couple of months, I’ll have several longer posts with more pictures of select sites here on the blog.
9/18: Joey’s baptism. Our good friends Joe and Melitta had their little guy baptized the same weekend as Doors Open. He was the fourth generation to get baptized in that exact church. I was very honored to help create this image of all four generations.
9/24: Milwaukee County Zoo. Jake had a professional event in Milwaukee in the morning and then we were going to straight to PetFest (see below). So I went with him and among other things, went to the zoo for a while. It was cooler and not very crowded, and lots of the animals were really active.
9/24: Fromm PetFest. My littlest sister-in-law is one of the organizers for the Fromm PetFest so we wanted to stop by for a while. It was really neat. They had various events for the dogs (i.e. agility training, lure courses) and tons of vendor booths, and of course, there were dogs everywhere. My mother-in-law came up for it, too, and we went out for pizza afterward.
Finally, this month, I made it to four regular MSO concerts and two neighborhood MSO events. It’s the current director’s last season so they’re pulling out all the stops, and I’m going to as many of the concerts as I can.
What are you up to in October?
Any fun local events I should check out?