Friday, December 24, 2010

MIA holiday

So I'm sure you've noticed I've been MIA for a couple weeks! Sorry for the lack of posting, but I've been out and about enjoying holiday celebrations, vacationing in the mountains, and soaking up break time from school with friends and family. I truly love this time of year! The next few days are going to be just as packed with holiday celebrations with family and I can't wait! I'll be back next week sharing some of the after Christmas specials I've found! Until then, may you have a blessed Christmas with family and all those you love!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

On the 12th day of Christmas


Well today is the last day of the Christmas link up with Cait @theblessedlife. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have! Today's topic: Christmas musings! I missed several days of the link up so I've decided to share some of my favorites that I just wasn't quite able to participate in!

Day 8-Letter to Santa
Dear Santa,
I know I've been blessed with so many amazing things in my life. I don't really want many material things for Christmas so here is my perfect Christmas list.
1. To find joy in the little things in life. I know most people say they want to be happy, but for me happiness is a mood...not a destination.
2. To find more comfort in my faith. This has been such a battle for me over the past year and I'm not sure why. I continually pray for God to move my heart back to him and provide me with His comfort, yet I still struggle with this on a daily basis. I'm not sure what's wrong, but I pray for my relationship with the Lord to become stronger over the next year.
3. To not be RIFed this year. It added so much stress to my life last year, but it taught me how to be more responsible with my money and to be much more frugal. I was thankful that it happened once...I'm not sure I could take it again.
4. I would love a multitude of 2 hour delays this winter. We don't have to make it up and it allows me to snuggle with my pup for just a bit longer in the morning. Just enough of both worlds.
5. World peace

And now for my material list (all dreams of course).
1. Colts season tickets
2. A return trip to Europe
3. New TV for my living room (saving is in the works)
4. A new dishwasher that ACTUALLY cleans gunk off of my dishes
5. An organized garage


Day 10-Christmas decorations

I'm obviously not going to share them all, but here are a few of my inside ones. Its snowing out right now and I don't feel like going outside to take pictures of the outdoor ones.

Hutch in the kitchen with all my houses on it

Train on top of the TV


Sophie and I in front of the tree! Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

On the 11th day of Christmas


Today in the link up is thrifty Christmas ideas! This is the first year I've really reined it in on my Christmas spending. I've learned some major things this year so here are a few from my newly acquired thrifty side.

-Use your stockpile for gifts!
Hate to say this, but I am going to admit that I use some of my toiletry items from playing the drugstore game for gifts. My family does stocking stuffers of toiletry items so I stock up all year long. Bodywash, razors, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and contact solution are great fillers!

-Shop online and use coupon codes
This year I bought a number of things on the internet during Cyber Monday and found online coupon codes to make things even cheaper. I didn't have to make a trip to the store and had everything sent to me in great packaging for free.

-Don't just buy at Christmas time
Why not be on the lookout for closeouts or clearance items that will make great gifts all year long? My favorite places for clearance and closeouts are Target, Walmart, Marshalls, and Big Lots.

-Collect MyPoints giftcards for shopping
I mentioned in a prior post about Mypoints! I just LOVE LOVE LOVE them! You get points for reading emails and making online purchases. You can then redeem points for giftcards. Why not rack up the points all year long, order some giftcards, and purchase Christmas gifts with those? Interested in Mypoints? Send me a message with your email address and I will send you a referral link to help out my classroom fund!

-When in doubt, don't buy it!
Cait said it first, but I'll be reitterating it over and over. If you can't afford it, don't buy it. Your friends and family members will NOT care if it costs hundreds of $ or if you get it from the dollar store. It is the thought that counts.

Head over to theblessedlife to link up!

Monday, December 6, 2010

On the 6th day of Christmas....


Today is DIY holiday decoration day at theblessedlife! Head on over to link up! I don't have much time to write today because I've been busy getting the Christmas tree this afternoon and I desperately need a good nights sleep before an all day conference for the next two days. I'm feeling slightly uneasy about being out of school for 2 days while my kiddos are working on their final projects, but I know it must be done. I haven't missed yet this year and that always throws me. I know they will be alright despite the fact that they hate change.

Below are two pictures of DIY projects I did this year thus far. I've made quite a few things over the past few years, but all are still put up since I'm a tad bit behind on my decorating. The first is a glass vase filled with holiday ornaments. I love how simple, but elegant this looks.

This is my "wreath" on my front door. I took a silver wreath that I got the day after Christmas last year at the Dollar store for $.50 and wrapped it with some blue and silver ribbon I also got for $.50 at Dollar Tree. I used my lovely hot glue gun to tack it down and secure it. Then I attached various blue, silver, and white ornaments I got at Dollar Tree in packages of 5 last year. I think it looks pretty good and I've gotten a number of compliments on what I've started referring to as my "Colts Wreath." Since I have been given so many of my grandmother's ornaments, I really had no need for them to be on the tree anymore.

I'm not too crafty, but I think this works. I also bought 2 premade stockings last year on clearance and had the family and consumer sciences teacher at school embroider them with Sophie and Kelly. I'll show pictures when I get them back from her at the end of the week. Cheap, custom made certainly sounds good to me!

Don't forget to head over to theblessedlife to link up with your favorite holiday DIY projects!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holiday recipes


Today Cait @theblessed life asked us to share our favorite holiday recipes! Here is mine!

Tree-Shaped Crescent Veggie Appetizers
2 (8 ounce) cans Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups finely chopped assorted vegetables (I use bell peppers, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, carrot, cucumber and green onions)

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove dough from cans in rolled sections (2 sections from each can); do not unroll. Cut each section into 8 slices (16 slices from each can).
Place slices, cut side down, on ungreased cookie sheets to form trees. To form each tree, start by placing 1 slice for top; arrange 2 slices just below, with sides touching. Continue arranging row of 3 slices, then row of 4 slices, ending with row of 5 slices. Use remaining slice for trunk. Refrigerate one tree.
Bake one tree at 375 degrees F. for 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute; carefully loosen with pancake turner and slide onto wire rack to cool. Bake and cool second tree.
Place each tree on serving platter. In small bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, dill and garlic powder; blend until smooth. Spread mixture over both trees. Decorate trees with assorted vegetable pieces. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate until serving time. To serve, pull apart slices of tree.

Head over to theblessedlife to link up!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Birthdays and memories

Ok so to catch you all up here are a few updates!

Yesterday was Sophie's 1st birthday! She got some yummy canned food that she loved! I also gave her some presents including a new soft toy, a package of Busy Bones, some new tennis balls, and Beggin Strips! She got a little taste of the treats, but I didn't want to go overboard. Happy Birthday Sophie!

Today we're getting somewhere between 2-4 inches of snow in Indy! Loving this weather. It's been a nice morning with some relaxing time on the couch watching Property Ladder and drinking some coffee. I love days like this! Check out these pictures of Sophie enjoying her first snowfall.

Cait @theblessedlife has posted Day 4 of the 12 days of Christmas! Today's subject: Christmas memories.

We've had some very funny Christmas memories over the years. Like the year we were all sick on Christmas and we couldn't eat anything. The Christmas when my mom stayed up all night trying to keep the goldfish alive, yet one didn't make it. We named our remaining fish Holiday and he (or she?) lived for like 7 or 8 years! The Christmas with the infamous picture (one of the FEW in this department) of Kristin and I actually hugging each other. Plus we have to love the year my dad bought her a Purdue sweatshirt with his IU credit card since she was looking to attend Purdue (Thank you Kristin for picking a better Big Ten school-Ohio State). The hysterical memories of dad buying me sweaters with shoulder pads since he thought they would be great for teaching....seriously? Memories of reading Kristin Twas the Night Before Christmas and planning out our notes to leave with the cookies for Santa. Even the year I insisted Santa must be diabetic since he was so fat so we left him sugar free treats.

This year will be my 2nd Christmas on my own and my first with a puppy so I'm sure there will be many interesting tid bits since with a 1 year old dog and a tree in the house. I can only imagine how this is going to end up! My favorite memory from last year was getting my first Christmas tree. My parents helped me pick it up from Lowe's and bring it home. I spent the whole night listening to Christmas music, drinking hot coco (that was spiked with some Bailey's) and finished up the night watching Elf. So wonderful! This year I haven't gotten the tree up yet, but I'm pretty sure it'll be Monday night when it happens! I can't wait! Here is a picture of my tree from last year. I'm hoping this year it will be just as beautiful.

Head over to theblessedlife to link up!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas card

So today we're talking about Christmas traditions on the link up. We have so many I cannot even begin to name them all! My favorite tradition is drinking eggnog and watching Christmas movies on Christmas Eve. We also drive past the Reynold's Farm Equipment store in Fishers after church to see all the beautiful lights on Christmas Eve. For those who aren't from this area, the John Deere store decks out several acres of their property with Christmas lights and moving animations for the season. We compare the new additions every year. It is the coolest!

Floral Elegance Christmas Card
Make a statement with Shutterfly Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Here is my first shot at my Christmas card tradition I mentioned yesterday. I finally got Sophie to pose (sit still with lots of bribery) for this pretty shot in front of our fireplace. I had originally wanted a colorful and spunky card, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE how classy this looks. It made me feel like a real grown up. What do you all think? I couldn't be happier with it. I've made a few projects like this, but this is BY FAR my favorite! Visit Cait @theblessedlife for more of the 12 days of Christmas!!!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas is not a date. It is a state of mind.

What a great quote by Mary Ellen Chase to sum up this entire holiday season? I mentioned earlier today that this time of year reminds me of tradition. Last year, I went to the mailbox on a chilly December afternoon to find a couple of bills, some junk mail, and an envelope from my parents. Inside was the typical Christmas card they buy from the American Humane Society with a picture of a golden retriever on the outside. I opened the card to find the pre-printed inscription.

Merry Christmas!
Love, Dave, Sue, Kristin, and Madison

Ummmm...was I no longer in the family? I felt like perhaps I had died. I'm not going to lie...I cried. What would everyone think? Why did I feel so hurt by something so small? The answer: tradition. I had expected those cards over the years, be it my college dorm room or apartment, but I was always ON the card. Even the dog made the card, but not their own daughter?

And so begins my new tradition this year. Photo Christmas cards from Shutterfly! Sophie, my perfect pooch, and I have been attempted to pose for some pictures in front of the fireplace a la classic American family because I'm so in love with these designs. I've only managed to get one decent picture since she is a wiggle worm, but here are a few of my favorite designs (you can click on the card for direct links if you like the design).

Simple and elegant, I believe this would be perfect for the a busy family.

This colorful option would be great for those black and white photos of the kids. I think it would be awesome paired with a picture of kiddos in the snow. I love the classic and colorful blend.

Noel is my favorite word of the season. My mantle has a large decoration with this word, my stocking holders contain the word, and my favorite Christmas song is The First Noel. Simply beautiful...

But the winner is....

This card perfectly matches my personality. A little tradition, a little modern, a little funky, and yet it contains a certain simplicity.

Not only do they have photo cards for the holidays, but they have cards for just about everything you could need! Consider Shutterfly for other big life event announcements. I've included links to my favorites in these categories as well!

-We've moved announcements (my favorite one)

-Baby Announcements (my favorite one)

-Save the date cards (my favorite one)

Although I don't need any of the above quite yet, its nice to know that its really a one stop shop for all major event announcements! Enjoy hunting for your favorite Christmas cards! Maybe it'll start a new tradition for you as well. Happy holidays and merry Christmas!

Christmas link up


I am linking up today with Cait @ theblessedlife to talk about my favorite holiday ever...Christmas! The question today is: What does Christmas mean to you?
Growing up, Christmas was about presents. I'm not going to pretend that my family was deeply religious or overly materialistic, but indeed the joy of the season came from getting exactly what I wanted. Once I got to college, it became more about family because it was one of the few times I would get to go to Indianapolis to visit my family. Last year was my first Christmas living on my own and it certainly got me thinking more about the meaning of Christmas. Christmas for me has become about tradition. We do the same things at my parent's house every year and now that I have my own home, I've started to follow my own traditions. I am so thankful for all God has blessed me with so many of these traditions, I feel closer to Him and to my family. I have posted in the past about receiving my grandmother's hand me downs upon moving into my house. Many of these include Christmas decorations that are now placed all over my home. It makes me feel much closer to her knowing that even when she is gone, her memory is still there everyday. I find comfort in the fact that she is in heaven looking down at her decorations adorning the walls and tables of my beautiful home.

Head over to theblessedlife to join in the fun Christmas link up! Cait will have this going on for 12 wonderful days!