Traveling Murphy’s Wine Advent Calendar – UPDATED

A couple years ago I posted this blog post that paired a homemade wine advent calendar (not the $99 one you buy with half bottles at Cooper’s Hawk) with a date idea. Well, I wanted to edit the nightly activities a little so that even single people could get in on the fun. We can all have fun drinking wine and getting in the holiday spirit.

All bottles will have the date you are supposed to drink them and also have a small activity or date night to go with it. So open a bottle of wine and see where it takes you.

25 Days – Open the bottle, play some holiday music and put up your Christmas Tree! (If you already have your tree up then start putting up the crazy snowman collection or little village.)
24 Days – Melt some white chocolate chips, pop some popcorn and combine for a perfect snack to enjoy while watching a Christmas movie.
Movie Suggestions: The Family Man or The Holiday
23 Days- Do not wait until the last minute, get those Christmas cards out!E-Cards count this year since we are all so attached to our phones.
22 Days- Make a Sangria with the wine of the night!
21 Days- Holiday Food Showdown! Pick your favorite holiday dish and challenge your partner to a competition to see who can make it the best. This is a great event to do with a friend if you do not have a significant other. 
20 Days- Put on some holiday music, pour some glasses of wine and make dinner together.
Dinner Suggestion: Spaghetti with Homemade Meatballs
19 Days- How well do you know your wine? Create a mini blind wine tasting to see who can name the most wines. Take three bottles of wine and put them in paper bags so no one knows which one is which.
18 Days- Pour some wine and grab your favorite board game for a night of competition. A couple of our favorites include Catan and Phase 10. This would be a great night to invite over a group of friends! More wine. 
17 Days- Pick up one of the gingerbread houses or villages from the store and spend the night decorating.
16 Days- Make some cinnamon rolls for breakfast and pair it with a Riesling or Ice Wine.IMG_2703
15 Days- Monday is Movie Night! Surprise your spouse with your favorite Christmas movie.
14 Days- Grab a roll of cookie dough from the store or pull out the family recipe and make some Christmas cookies. We all know cookies pair perfect with a glass of wine.
13 Days- Buy some glass ornaments and write your memories for this year. Mike and I started this tradition nine years ago and we love doing this together every year. This is a great tradition to start with the kids or even just yourself. So many little things make up your great year so remember them all. 
12 Days- Tonight is the perfect night for some Spiced Wine! Heat it up and pour it in a cute holiday mug. Great excuse to use those boot mugs we all have from Christkindlmarket.
11 Days- Let’s create some popcorn garland for the Christmas tree!
10 Days- Load up the car. We are going to look at all the Christmas Lights and do a scavenger hunt. When you come home warm up with a nice glass of wine.
9 Days- Christmas movie marathon! Stay in your pajamas all day and enjoy some wine.
Movie Recommendations: Love Actually, The Family Stone and The Drummer Boy
8 Days- Let’s finish our holiday shopping early. Go shopping as a couple and then celebrate finishing your list with some wine!
7 Days- Today is perfect for ordering pizza and wrapping a couple gifts. I recommend a bottle of Pinot Noir for this pairing
6 Days- Put on some holiday music and make a romantic dinner. Make sure it pairs with the wine of the night!
5 Days- Pour a glass of wine and watch a holiday movie on tv. I keep the Hallmark Channel on 24/7 from November 1st through December 25 so that I am always in the holiday spirit. 
4 Days- Let’s wrap all the gifts!
3 Days- Exchange ornaments!
2 Days- Fashion show! Let’s try on some outfits and see what we are going to wear tonight and tomorrow.
1 Day- Merry Christmas!

Some of these things will not work for your schedule but you can save them for days that will. The point is to have fun this holiday season.

Wine Tip – Please support your local wineries! #ShopLocal
Check out this website to find the closest Illinois winery. 

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Food Tip for Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Does anyone else have issues with their mashed potatoes appearing gummy? I learned a little trick this weekend to make sure your potatoes stay fluffy.

Food Tip- Bring the milk to room temperature before you mix it with the potatoes. It has also been recommended to make sure the butter is melted before you add it. 

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Coffee Cheers!

Good Morning! I am sending everyone a #CoffeeCheers. Just figured out how to work this coffee machine so I will be trying some ​new coffee flavors this morning.

Cheers, 

Traveling Murphy

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Fall Bucket List for 2017

The weather was starting to feel like fall in the Chicago Suburbs and then we had a “heat wave” hit the last couple days. We had just enough cool weather to get me thinking about fall. Check out my fall bucket list.

Now that you see what I will be up to this fall let me know the activities you would add to this list. So many fun ways to get out and celebrate this amazing season of hoodies and PSL. 

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Naperville Wine Festival 2017

It has been a busy week in the Murphy house. I spent the week on the East coast traveling for work. Came home just in time for the kick-off of Naperville Wine Festival. We gathered a group of friends together, headed out for a night of wine and live music.


A big change this year is the location. Last year the event was right off Route 59 near TopGolf. This year the event was at the historical Naper Settlement.  Naper Settlement is a great outdoor drinking event venue because attendees have a lot of space to spread out and it is also right next to downtown Naperville. Works great for winos looking for some food after enjoying the event.


One of the things my friends really enjoyed was that even though the tickets are a little pricier than most Illinois wine events you got 20 drink tickets. 20 wine tickets is huge! Naperville Wine Festival has so many wine options so it is great they give you enough to tickets to really explore.


We had some Illinois wine options. Lynfred Winery was there pouring one of my favorite fall wines Oktoberfest. This wine was a big hit with my friends. Cooper’s Hawk Winery was also there. Be warned since these are two very well known wineries in Illinois the lines were long but the team was great at keeping it moving. These two booths are right next to each other so make sure you stop to say hi while filling your glass.


Make sure to stop by the FunJet Vacations booth for a chance to win a free vacation, have a fun photo opp and grab some free vacation themed drinks. We started in this booth and had way too much fun. Makes me crave another vacation…


If you do not have plans tonight you have to check out the last night of Naperville Wine Festival. 20 tickets to explore wines from across the country.


Cheers!
Traveling Murphy

 

Naperville Wine Festival
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Naper Settlement – 523 S. Webster Street, Naperville – directions 

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Bloody Mary Alternatives

Last weekend we went with friends to check out the Bloody Mary list at Art & Alma’s Century Inn in Burlington. They offer so many twists to the original Bloody Mary it is hard to pick. Mike went with one with tequila rather than vodka and I tried any of them that added sour cheese. If you have never mixed sour cream into your Bloody Mary you are missing out. 

Art & Alma’s Century Inn

125 N. Main Street, Burlington, Illinois

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Happy National White Wine Day!

Happy National White Wine Day! I love celebrating any holiday that gives me an excuse to enjoy wine. I share a lot of red wine photos but when I go out with my friends I always try the Pinot Grigio. 


* This photo was taken at Galena Cellars Tasting Room on Third Street in Geneva. They expanded their outdoor patio this year so more people can enjoy people watching while drinking wine.

What is your white wine of choice? 

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