Tuesday, November 30, 2010

12 Days of Christmas, Day Eight


When you get right down to it, there are two things that come to mind when I'm thinking about my least favorite thing about the holidays.

More often than not, they go hand-in-hand.


 and 2) SCROOGE'S

Other non-desirable things about the holidays:

Nutcrackers scare the living bejeezus out of me.
No explanation, they're just creepy.

 Multi-Colored Lights on a House STRESS me out.
I can handle any solid color or even a nice pattern of rotating colors, but when they are all jumbled in together it makes my heart race (not in a good way).


Monday, November 29, 2010

12 Days of Christmas, Day Seven


 Holiday season has hit us with full force this month, and I haven't found the time to stop a breathe. I actually told my husband last night that I was excited to come to work today for some R&R, ha! Sad, but true.

With the help of my handy-dandy little Cricut, I have made several sets of personalized Christmas ornaments. Pictured below is the first set that I've created, so they haven't been perfected yet. I made two additional sets last week but failed to take a picture before I gifted them away.

We're decorating our office for Christmas, and somehow I have been left in charge of this activity. I'm going for bright, electric colors (and maybe some animal print--hehe). That's what they get for leaving me in charge :)  I'll try to snap some pictures to update you later in the week.......

Here are some other inspirational pieces for my Christmas ornament creations:


Sunday, November 28, 2010

12 Days of Christmas, Day Six


Alright, alright, since you've asked......
These gifts appear in no particular order of desire. :)

Sound of Music on Blu-Ray

 Rain Boots

 Sweep Me Off My Feet, MAC Brush Collection

Paula Deen, 9x13 Sheet Pan with Silicone Protector

 Paula Deen Covered Casserole Dish
 Taylor Swift "Speak Now"

Jason Alden "My Kinda Party"

Outdoor Insulated Boots

Buck Commander

And, in honor of hunting season, a few wishful thinking toys.....
(I will probably NEVER own these in my lifetime)

 Thompson Center Rifles

Mathews Passion

And, last but not least, the Polaris Sportsman XP 850
(in Red or Real Tree)

I'm always good with a few gift cards (Hobby Lobby, JC Penney Home Store, Bass Pro Shop, Victoria's Secret) There are things I desire that are not on my list such as home decor items, window treatments, additional clothing, and of course, bras! :)  All-in-all, I'm a pretty easy girl to buy presents for--I like anything pink and sparkly AND anything camo! If you find a combination of the two, you'd be my best friend for life. 


Saturday, November 27, 2010

12 Days of Christmas, Day Five


Tough one. Really. Tough.

I'm going to have to narrow it down to these two favorites:

I watch ELF all year round :)

"I'm singing....I'm in a store and I'm siiiiiiingiiiiiing."

"Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?"

"I just like to smile. Smilings my favorite."

Aaahhh, it never gets old with me.

....and not just any 'ol Rudolph will do, this one we affectionately call "Fuzzy Rudolph" at our house. I got this last year for Christmas in a box set of Christmas classics.  It's not Christmas season unless you've watched Fuzzy Rudolph.

And, of course, there are some notable movies that I associate with Christmas and my childhood:

The Grinch. My dad's all-time favorite holiday movie. We watched this every Christmas season in our household growing up.

 There's just something magical about Polar Express. I remember reading the book often as a child, so naturally I was stoked when the movie came out.  It still gives me warm fuzzies :)
I'm obviously a child of the 80s-90s era, because THIS is the Miracle on 34th Street  that I fell in love with.....not the classic, what?!

Good 'ol Home Alone. I'm pretty sure I still own this on VHS, still hasn't made the upgrade list yet. 

 If you're a hip girl around my age(ish), don't act like you haven't seen Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's "To Grandmothers House We Go."   Seriously. wanted. to. be. them.

 And, lastly, what's a holiday season without an Earnest movie? ....making a close tie for first place is "Earnest Goes to Camp." :)

There you have my Christmas Movie List Extrodinare.  I'm tempted to tackle all these movies during December just for 'old times sake :)


Friday, November 26, 2010

12 Days of Christmas, Day Four


I'm no professional budgeter, trust me. I like to enjoy my money here, cause I know it ain't going with me in the end. The older I become, though, the more frugal I get.  Here is my two cents when it comes to a budget friendly holiday season--cause who doesn't like to have money left over when the holidays are all said and done?!

1) If you don't remember anything else that I've said about your holiday season and budget, remember this: don't lose sight of the reason for our Christmas celebration. JESUS is the REASON for the SEASON.

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and we will call him Immanuel."  --Isaiah 7:14

Let your Christmas celebrations also be a time of Thanksgiving for the multitude of blessings in your life. It's so easy to lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas with the way the media markets Christmas. When I'm feeling frustrated that I can't go buy everyone the most spectacular, expensive gift....when I'm frustrated that it's not practical to go buy all new Christmas decorations.....when I'm frustrated that we didn't get new lights for our shrubs.....when I'm frustrated that there aren't enough hours in the day to play the good elf....I simply remember the REAL meaning of my celebration, and it always puts it back into perspective for me.

2) Shop with cash. Once you've created a list of gifts, taking cash on your shopping excursion will help provide a visual for your spending.

3) Don't hesitate to give a baked or homemade gift. Baked goods (cookies, fudge, candies, breads, etc) can be so inexpensive to make, and I believe they make gift-receivers feel all warm and fuzzy inside :) 

Without having children around at the holidays, Alan and I like to spoil each other--we do a good job of it! I know that there will be more pressure to provide GREAT gifts once we have children.  My wish for our family is that Christmas will always stay about Jesus, our family, and our traditions...and, of course, that we never fall in the downward spiral of letting it get out of control in a worldly sense.

That's the only wisdom I got for y'all. Sorry for the seriousness of the post, I'll get off my soapbox now :)

.....by the way, as your reading this, I'm up in a tree stand waiting on the perfect deer to come along. As of this moment, they are predicting the temperature to be 23-degrees about the time I'm getting to the woods. Yikes! Say a little prayer that a nice big buck with 8+ points comes along :)


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

12 Days of Christmas, Day Three


On our first married Christmas, Alan surprised me with some diamond earrings! :) I dont think they have come out of my ears since. I always supply him with a plentiful list; however, these were not on my list. This was so thoughtful, meaningful, and special of him to do for his new wife on our first Christmas as a married couple.

I was always the first child to present my entire family with a Christmas list--I guess I've never been shy about asking for things. During upper elementary and middle school one thing always topped my list: my own phone line! :) I wanted so bad to be cool like everyone else. Well, I eventually got my "own" phone line whenever the good 'ol dial up internet made its way into our household. As the years passed by my Christmas list progressed to the "Spreadsheet of Gifts." Haha. It's cool that you're laughing right now. I spent plenty of time creating my family an entire spreadsheet that had my wish list broke down into price categories.  I'm going to go ahead and confess to this now, during our early years I even created Alan a Power Point presentation with my Christmas List :)  I'm hardcore, what can I say?!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

12 Days of Christmas, Day Two


I'm not the one to give any Black Friday advice, mostly because I avoid it like the black plague. As a matter of fact, other than a few odds and ends for my husband, I am DONE Christmas shopping for the year--Naughty Santa gifts and all :)

I prefer to start Christmas shopping in the September-October time frame. I start a little large list of people that we have to purchase gifts for during the holiday season, and it makes it easy for me to keep my eye out for unique, fun gifts!  I'm a big craft-show goer, and having my list handy allows me to purchase more personalized gifts during the fall season.  I feel that when I wait until the last minute, I'm forced to go to our mall and purchase a regular, run-of-the-mill item from a big chain store.  Not that there is anything wrong with those gifts (there are plenty of them on my list), it's just not my gift-giving style.

I LOVE giving gifts, but my funds don't allow for me to purchase things for everybody. For friends, acquaintances, and coworkers I prefer to stick with a homemade craft or food goodies.  I can use my handy-dandy Cricut to personalize anything! :)

I know I don't offer a lot of wisdom when it comes to shortcuts, tricks, and savings during the holiday rush, but now you know my gift-giving secrets.


Monday, November 22, 2010

12 Days of Christmas, Day One

Ladies, ladies, ladies (and gentlemen)....obviously I have become addicted to these "blog challenges." I'm participating in another one--12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge--sponsored by Molly and Aly.

Without further adieu, welcome to DAY ONE! :)
Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!


Growing up we always had our family holiday traditions; however, those have been thrown out the window with marriage and growing families.  This is such a fun time for our growing family, spending the holidays with each other and creating new traditions. We have welcomed TWO new babies to the family this year alone--one on each side  :)

As a child, our first official family Christmas event was selecting our Christmas tree. We always had a live tree, which is a tradition that Alan and I will carry on at our house!  Each year we also had our family cookie decorating competition, I took the title several years :)  On Christmas Eve day, my dad would make clam chowder (which I would not eat) and my grandparents would come over for lunch. Then, we would proceed to family bowling, boys versus girls style! I come from a competitive household.  Christmas Eve was spent at my Aunt and Uncle's house with our entire extended family. That is one of my absolute FAVORITE meals of the entire year, each person brings the same dish every year--main course, beans and cornbread! YUM!  Christmas morning our immediate family would join at our house for gifts, I was always the early bird that set the time for this event!  I would spend the early afternoon hours at my dad's parents house for present opening and a meal, and the evening hours with my mom's side of the family for another meal. Obviously, my family is ALL about good food :)

Marriage has changed this WHOLE process for me.  Unfortunately, Alan and I work crazy schedules, so these traditions are hard to maintain. Fortunately, our families are very flexible so we get to participate in all the fun holiday events :) Take Thanksgiving for example, this year we're having Thanksgiving with my parents on Saturday night. Looking at it this way, I get a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday!

.....Alan and I will have traditions that we will set once we are blessed with children. For now, we just work around our schedules to enjoy holiday time with ALL our family!  A typical holiday at our house includes visits to: my parents, Alan's mom, Alan's dad, Alan's paternal grandparents, my paternal grandparents, and a visit with Alan's step-dad.  Of course, each of our stops include yummy food--a few stops include some football viewing and a couple stops include a Naughty Santa gift exchange.  To us, the most important part of the holidays is spending time with our incredible family! We consider it a HUGE blessing that we have so many places to be and people to see :)

I'm looking forward to reading about YOUR family traditions!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Husband, the Hero

My husband got home from the station a little later than normal today, because he was up all night running calls.  Sounds tiresome, but my boy lives for good fires!  :)  He said they had spent some time out on a difficult extrication from a car wreck, in which a man died, and they had just pulled back into the station when they got the house fire call.  I so proud of him and his fellow firefighters, not just anyone would have the endurance to face a difficult night like this in which you have to be awake, attentive, and energized to perform life-saving tasks.  He's my hero at home every day, but I also love that he is a hero to many other people.

I posted a few short videos from the fire last night to my facebook, because I couldn't figure out how to get the on my blog--bleh!  Feel free to mosey on over there to check them out!

That is actually Alan on the nozzle during a controlled night burn.  During his training--five years ago--they have a controlled burn at night and they set up bleachers so that family members can come watch their favorite firefighters do what they do best!