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Welcome to Awakening Wonders . . .

The place where I share passionate life adventures of travel, photography, the arts, culinary delights, decorating, and everything else that awakens my spirit. Everyday life is filled with wondrous things and embraceable moments, but only if we allow ourselves to be fully awakened.

I look forward to awakening your senses to the simple wonders that are all around us. I feel that we are destined to become soulful adventurers!

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You Won My Heart . . .

This Valentine’s Day and every day, I am very grateful for you!

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Thanks to the mother of Valentine cards Esther Howland, who in 1840 began selling the first mass-produced Valentine cards in America; I have this small collection of charming cards given to me from my schoolmates when I was a young child. I am grateful my thoughtful mother saved them for me as I continue to swoon over them and use them in my Valentine decorating each year. Note the special candle heart – it was the first heart my husband gave me besides his own! Over the years, it has obtained a few nicks and dents, survived multiple moves, and 44 years of divine Valentine celebrations!

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This very special southern Valentine card belonged to my mother who received it in the 1940’s. I love how it opens to the purple hoop skirt. I will never know who gave her this Valentine, but being the romantic that I am, I hope it was my father!

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I like to celebrate the love of Valentine’s Day throughout the month of February. This year I created a heart-themed festive tablescape for our kitchen. The festival of cupids, hearts, romantic statements of love and flowers continues to make my heart sing with joy!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with people who celebrate you!

 

Sweaters, Mittens and Mugs

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The last few weeks there has been a chill in the Texas air. Some might say its cold! I believe the best way to handle the chill is to celebrate with special friends. This morning I was surrounded by the homespun comfort of seeing my dear friends pull out a sweater and/or mittens from my stack of collectibles from our international travel sojourns (photo sweaters are from Greece, Italy and Sweden). Donning fun sweaters and mittens makes hanging out on the patio while sipping homemade hot chocolate much more enjoyable! For me, memories abound of the sweet, elderly Greek woman on the island of Mykonos who spent half an hour proudly showing us her hand knit sweaters threaded with love. There were so many lovely sweaters to choose from, I had to purchase three!

This time of the year, I like to entice our guests with a couple of magical hot chocolate drinks. When I am in the mood for a healthy hot chocolate, my recipe of choice is the one created by the Food Babe.  I have only made it with coconut milk.

Food Babe’s – Hot Chocolate Recipe (Serves 2)

  • 2 and ½ cups of nut milk (coconut or almond)
  • 4 – Tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 – Tablespoons of maca powder
  • 2 – Dates pitted
  • Pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Place ingredients in a small sauce pan and slowly warm to temperature desired.

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When I need a bit of spice, I make the Barefoot Contessa recipe, which is divine! I love how she has combined the sweetness of sugar with the warm notes of cayenne pepper and hints of cinnamon.

Barefoot Contessa’s – Mexican Hot Chocolate (Serves 2-3 cups)

  • 2 – Cups whole milk
  • 1 – Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 4 and ½ ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • ½-teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 – teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Small pinch of ground cayenne pepper
  • Long cinnamon sticks for stirrers (optional)

Place the milk and brown sugar in a medium saucepan and bring just to simmer. Off the heat, whisk in the chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Allow to steep for 3 minutes. Reheat the mixture over low heat until it almost comes to a simmer.  Pour into mugs, add cinnamon stirrers.

Cheers to a chill in the air! I would love to hear about your favorite hot chocolate recipes. Do share!

O Christmas Tree . . .

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Welcome to our first Christmas home tour we are delighted you are here!

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The joyous and blissful festival of Christmas is upon us and I have decorated our living room using shades of shimmering golds and silvers. The tree is bejeweled with glass, crystal, silver and gold ornaments that smile of elegance.

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In this close-up, notice the hand-blown glass ball in the lower right corner of the photograph. A very dear and talented friend and owner of Gordon Design, Rochester, Minnesota, created it.  We cherish him and his beautiful work!

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My family will be enjoying a tempting feast on Christmas Eve at this setting in our cozy dining room. The Italian country damask fabric chairs, which I love, channeled my Christmas decorating to embrace a warm tonal palette this season. The Christmas tree is adorned with miniature golden pears and pheasant feathers. Pheasant feathers complements of my nephew in northern Minnesota. Thanks James!

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While our kitchen breathes the scents of the glorious holidays, I chose a traditional red and green tartan to grace our table and tree. It is very bright and cheery, and oh so Christmassy!  It’s my husband’s favorite setting this year!

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I decorated one of our guest bedrooms with a little French attitude. The leopard accents are frivolous and yet sophisticated.  The tree decorated with adorable snowwomen dressed in leopard coats dancing with snowflakes among gold Eiffel Towers. Joyeux Noel to all our wonderful French relatives!

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Is there anything more romantic then watching stars or waiting for Santa Claus under the Texas skies? Since we spend many of our evenings trying to count the billion stars shining down ever so bright on us, it was only fitting we dress our master bedroom tree in stars and an artsy half-moon.  Of course Santa Claus completes the design.

Thanks for visiting our home.  May all the good things in life be yours during this Christmas season and through out the coming year. Wishing you moments of peace, love and joy.  Embrace the wonder of it all!

 

Jingle, Jingle, Jingle . . .

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Last weekend we celebrated my Norwegian heritage at the Norwegian County Christmas Town and Heritage Village at Clifton, TX. With Lefsa and Krumkake dancing in our heads it was time to browse the Magnolia-esque style finds at the New Market at the Mill, visit with Texas western artists displaying beautiful artwork, and search antique stores for special collectibles.

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At  the Bosque County Emporium I spotted this vintage floral sofa and I so thought of the endless decorating possibilities.

Coming soon my 2018 Christmas tour of my home!