May Blog Challenge

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Stealing

Questions for a New Year’s Eve Reflection Meme

From the archives!

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?  connections and friendships I have made 
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened? family drama
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?  getting to see my sister and her family including my 6 month old nephew
4. What was an unexpected obstacle? some things in my marriage
5. Pick three words to describe 2013.  blessed and tiring
6. What were the best books you read this year?  Harry Potter series
7. With whom were your most valuable relationships?  my daughter, my husband, God
8. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?  probably the physical change since starting the gym in May.
9. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?  become more forgiving (work in progress)
10. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?  reconnected with God, started going to church again
11. In what way(s) did you grow physically?  I've gained muscle and can run almost two miles
12. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?  I've met some of the best people all because I started blogging.  I cannot wait to one day actually meet them face to face.
13. What was the most enjoyable part of your work?  scrubbing the toilet...haha..not!  The time I have to volunteer.
14. What was the most challenging part of your work? costuming over 70 kids
15. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?  the internet
16. What was the best way you used your time this past year?  volunteering and spending time with my family
17. What was biggest thing you learned this past year? people are not who you think they are; everyone has demons some are just closer to the surface than others.
18. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2013 for you. How about 2014 is the year things are better.  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Catch up

I did not fall off the map; I have been busy trying to get my house back to somewhat normal state after Christmas threw up all over it.  My tree is down and my inside decorations are packed.  So here I am playing catch up:

Day 26: What is the best advice someone has ever given you?  

Besides "Treat people the way you want to be treated" I would go with "It's my life, it's now or never I ain't going to live forever"  - Bon Jovi.

I want to do as much as I possibly can.  That is part of the reason I am not able to decide on a college major.  I want to do it all.  I want to visit new places and revisit places I have already been.  I want to enjoy life because we don't know how long we have (now if I only had unlimited bank

Day 27: Today's challenge, if you choose to accept it:

Step away from the traditional blog post format. Record yourself singing a song, or reciting a poem or short story, then share it with us via YouTube or mp3 (recruit your friends and family to do it with you if you want). Alternatively, create a blog post that uses no written words (for example, pictures only, or drawings, or something else entirely different).

Day 28: What will you miss about 2013 (or alternatively what will you not miss)?

I will definitely not miss all the drama that has happened this year involving family.  The plus side to 2013 is I started blogging and made a few friends, which I am very grateful for.  

Ok, all the posts are caught up.  Here are pictures of the outside of the house.  Plus the new decorations going up next year.  I purchased them for half off after Christmas.  We also got new LED lights for the house.  Very excited.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

I love my animals.

There's a growing movement on Facebook called "Your First Dollar Spent", encouraging everyone to start the new year by giving to charity. Share your favorite charity(s) and tell us why they're near and dear to your heart

I would definitely have to say it would be the ASPCA.  Every time I am at Petsmart, I always add a dollar or more to the charity (not sure if its ASPCA, but it does go to local animal shelters).  Elexis and I plan on volunteering at the local animal shelter in the coming year.  We both love animals and want to help out.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

May you each have a very Merry Christmas.  I am so happy that you come and spend a tiny part of your day with me.  I have made some wonderful friends, who I will one day meet  in real life.  Thank you for all that you do.  


Here is our Christmas card this year.  

Outside decorations

Day 24: How do you feel about outdoor holiday decorations? Are you a fan of the giant inflatables? Prefer a minimalist approach? Have firm preferences on the color of the lights?

I am a big fan of outdoor decorations.  We not only decorate our house, but we do our neighbor's lights too (they are elderly).  We have white icicle lights on our house, along with a tree and wreath that both light up.  In our yard, we have a giant inflatable reindeer pulling Santa out of a chimney (yep we even have animated).  We have actually toned down our decorations over the years.  Mainly due to lack of time.  

I love to put out lights and go look at lights.  It brings such a festive feeling.  Unfortunately, because of all the melting ice, one set of our lights is now on the ground.  When my husband gets them back up, I will take a picture of the front of my house and post it.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

I'm best known for

Day 23: What are you best known for, in your family (or circle of friends)?

Probably my baking.  Everyone pretty much knows that I will bake something for any type of get together.  My mother in law's favorite is no-bake cookies so I will definitely be making some of those tomorrow (even though they are not baked).  I will probably also be making cupcakes or brownies for our Happy Birthday Jesus tradition.  

Now for my decorations from yesterday.  Like I said, I don't have a lot of decorations besides the tree, but here are pictures of the mantle with stockings and my foyer tree.  Also my favorite decoration is the Christmas card curio cabinet.  I love that people took the time out to send me a card.  

Tomorrow I will post some of my favorite ornaments.  :)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

My favorite decorations

Day 22: Show us your favorite holiday decorations.

Since I got started so late on this post, I will use a few pictures I already have, but save you all from cell phone pics until tomorrow and catch up with this one tomorrow.  I don't decorate a lot for Christmas simply because I don't really have the room.  I have to pretty much rearrange my entire living room to put my tree up, but I do love it and it is my favorite decoration.  

Sunday Stealing

A Christmas Meme

From the archives!

1.The Christmas song I can listen to even in June is... Believe by Josh Grobin and O Holy Night and Carol of the Bells

2.Hot Chocolate, Egg Nog or Mulled wine? None of the above, but the family loves hot chocolate

3.When do you put your decorations up? Tree goes up Thanksgiving weekend along with stockings and outside lights.

4. What are you having for Christmas dinner?  steak

5.What is your favorite Christmas tradition? being with my family

6. Have you ever gone Carol singing? yes, and it was fun!  It was when I was in middle and high school with my youth group

7. When did you learn the truth about Santa? What is that truth?  Santa will leave me presents on Christmas morning.

8. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? one ornament at a time...haha.  lights, garland ornaments, angel put on last by Elexis.

9. What's the best thing about Christmas? Christ and family

10. All I want for Christmas is... no drama, a fun relaxing day (last year was too much drama).

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice

Day 21: Today is the winter solstice - the 'shortest' day of the year for the northern hemisphere (the 'longest' for the southern). Do you do anything special to mark the occasion?

We didn't plan any magical events, but we did do a couple fun things.  Hubby and I went shopping for a little bit, didn't get much but it was fun for just the two of us.  I talked to a good friend for a couple of hours on the phone.  We finished off the evening watching The Polar Express (which of course included hot chocolate".  I didn't get a single gift wrapped today, but I got most of Elexis' wrapped yesterday.  We got her a couple more things today that I need to still wrap.  We had an ice storm overnight and it rained for most of the day, so I'm glad it was pretty low key.  Here are a couple of pictures I took of the ice storm.  
icicles on the house

One one of our spiral trees in our front yard.

I love that the grass is still green, but covered in ice.

On a branch outside

Inside I played around with shaped bokeh and my Christmas tree lights.  

And because it is Saturday and the end of the week, here are the pictures from the photo challenge for the week.

Day 15: lights - Joy on my house
Day 16: Makes you feel merry - baking warms my soul
Day 17: tree - my foyer tree (that used to be in my daughter's room).  It's fiber optic and I love all the colors of it.
Day 18: Big - big silver ball ornament at the mall.

Day 19: Tis the season to...bake and give goodie bags (these were for Elexis' teachers)
Day 20: What I am listening to  - Frozen - Let It Go.  It has been our family's favorite song (and soundtrack) since we saw the movie (the first time).
Day 21: On my door - My happy penguin that greets all visitors at the door.
Bonus: Elexis' donut on Friday, she couldn't wait to take a bite.  She gave him a lobotomy...ha!

I love baking

I have been on a baking streak ever since Thanksgiving.  I have gone through at least four pounds of butter, more than five pounds of flour, definitely 8 pounds of sugar, and two bottles of vanilla.  It is an understatement when I say that I love baking.  Baking brings me peace, it lets me think and reflect, it gives me purpose.  If I am tense, I would rather bake than get a massage.  I wouldn't be able to lay still on a table that long...ha!  My husband's work has been the recipients of most of these baked goods, but I did make cookies for Elexis' teachers this year.  Now for some pictures...

Gingerbread men, elves, and bears

sugar cookies

Elexis decorated this one

white cake snowballs, chocolate christmas tree cupcakes

peanut butter reindeer cookies

chocolate crinkle cookies

I also made no bake cookies, double chocolate chip cookies, regular chocolate chip cookies, and gluten free chocolate chip cookies.  Now I am itching to bake again. :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Homemade with Love

Day 20: Share your holiday crafting skills. What do you make, either for gifts, or for your yourself?

My holiday crafting skills this year were all baking.  I made tons of baked goods for several different people.  All were well accepted.  I really do have a post in the works on all the wonderful goodies I made, so I am going to use this prompt to write about a homemade gift I received yesterday.  

I have a friend named Samantha (who goes by Sam).  We have been friends for about six years.  I started going to my local Starbucks a lot so eventually I became friends with most of the staff up there.  Sam is actually the one that pushed me to apply (I was really good friends with the manager and assistant manager at the time, too).  After I started working there, Sam and I became even closer.  She wants nothing more than simply being my friend (some of my friends take advantage of my generosity of time, money, and talent...I am working on that).  We hung out a lot.  She is about ten years older than I am, and every time we are together we definitely always laugh and most of the time we cry too.  She is definitely one of my best friends.  When she got fired from Sbux (the new manager that came in was a tyrant, which ran off 16 of us baristas); they called me over and told me first because they knew I would be the most affected by it.  I, of course, burst out crying but I knew because seconds after it happened; Sam had already texted me.  Even after we didn't have Sbux in common anymore, we still continued our friendship.  I love her like a sister and I am so happy to call her one of my best friends.  

Her birthday is at the beginning of December, then we have Christmas, then my birthday at the beginning of January.  We have this certain penguin gift bag (made of cloth not paper) that I fill for her birthday, and she fills, and then I fill, and then she fills again for my birthday.  We have had this tradition for 4 years now (we also have a thing about penguins that made us laugh until we cried).  Well this year for Christmas she gave me the most thoughtful homemade gifts ever.  She made me a tote bag with an embroidered Mickey on one side and penguins on the other.  She also made me the most adorable apron with my name on it and the cutest tutu wearing hippo.  I have downloaded the pictures with my good camera yet, so you will have to make due with my cell phone pictures.  I love that she is so thoughtful and crafty.  She has made me a gift every year since we became really good friends.  She doesn't have a lot of money so they mean even more.  

Here is my apron.

One side of my tote bag.  She said he was not very fun to do because he is so large.  

I will share my baking craftiness tomorrow.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our tradition

What is your favorite group or family activity to do during the holiday season?

We decorate our tree together.  I put the tree up and the lights on and Elexis and my husband put the angel on top.  We all put on the ornaments.  We pop in a Christmas CD or pull it up on iTunes.  This has been our tradition since Elexis was born.  We used to decorate with a theme and had bulbs, now our ornaments are all special meaning ornaments. I love our tree.  

Another tradition is Christmas eve.  Elexis gets to open two presents.  She gets to open her new pajamas and a movie that we can watch that night.  Her pajamas are usually Marie from the Aristocats.  It's her favorite movie and I love that Walmart usually has Marie pajamas.  I'm quite excited for her to open her Christmas eve movie this year.  She has been obsessed with the movie Hugo more over Asa Butterfield.  Celebrity crushes have officially descended upon our house and Asa Butterfield is at the top.  I'm just glad he is still a teenager (he is 16...excactly 3 years and 18 days older than my daughter...she tells me all the time).  

Anyway, those are our traditions.  Tomorrow I wrap all of her presents, it is her last day of school for the year.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...or not

Baby, it's cold outside (at least in the Northern Hemisphere)! Do you prefer your holidays to be white, or would you rather spend them basking in the sun?

I like to have a white Christmas if I don't have to be anywhere or at least the roads clear.  A few years ago (2008 I believe); we got hit with a massive blizzard (at least to Oklahoma's standards) on Christmas eve.  We got somewhere in the vicinity of 18" of snow.  It took my husband 12 hours to get home and he was 25 miles away.  Luckily he was not one of the poor unfortunates that got stuck in the snow.  He did rescue as many as he could without a 4x4.  That same day my mom and my brother made a quick run into town (they live in a tiny suburb of Oklahoma City) to get some last minute items.  They wound up getting stuck in the snow and walking about a half mile to a nearby house.  We are lucky the people were home and let my mom and my brother stay the night there.  I am very thankful to complete strangers for taking my family in.  My dad rode the tractor the next morning and got my mom's truck unstuck.  Snow drifts were in the upwards of 3 feet.  Driving out on Christmas day (we didn't miss) it took us twice as long as it normally would have, but the drive was beautiful.  Everything was so still and quiet and covered with snow.  I do not wish another blizzard but having a pretty blanket of snow would be nice.  It makes the day seem more special and homey.

I've been busy today.  I got all my Christmas shopping done (yay).  I baked 7 dozen cookies and made fudge.  Now I get to put all of it together into goodie bags for my husband's work tomorrow.  And he was complaining that he had to sign his name to 40!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

There's that elf again...

Day 17: Elf on the Shelf - adorable childhood tradition or creepy stalker?  Discuss

This prompt made me chuckle.  I already discussed my thoughts on this here.  The more pictures I see the more I want to chuck that elf in the trash.  Here are my thoughts on some of the pictures I have seen on my Facebook (so these are people I know...I worry about my friends...haha).

Wow, your elf unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper...that's not wasteful and you get to clean it up...

Ok, so your elf is pretending to poop on is that teaching your child to behave?

Wow, you attached your elf to the ceiling fan...whose going to untangle the sting that gets caught in it?

Your elf is pretty inappropriate to be in a "hot tub of candy" with a girl doll...isn't he supposed to be kid friendly?

I just read up on what the concept of the elf is.  The elf is supposed to watch the children all day and fly to the North Pole and report to Santa each night.  He is then supposed to reappear in a different spot each morning.  The kids are not allowed to touch it because he is magical.  Yeah, I am going to go with creepy.  We will stick to good ole fashioned naughty and nice list.  haha.

Monday, December 16, 2013

My first time...Christmas style

Day 16: What is something you did/experienced for the first time this year?

How very fitting.  I did these things just today.

I made gingerbread men for the first time today.  And, I made them from scratch.  My house smells amazing!  Nobody in my family likes gingerbread (like I have never said that before...ha).  I don't care for it either.  I will be taking them to the Senior Citizen's Center tomorrow for them to enjoy.  They did turn out quite cute.  I loved decorating them.  These are crappy cell phone pictures and I plan on taking better ones tomorrow with my camera.
Mr & Mrs Gingerbread

I intentionally broke the leg off so I could make him sad.  

The second thing I did for the first time is go to the Yukon City Lights.  They were amazing.  So many wonderful lights.  I definitely want to make that a family tradition.  It was about 3 miles of lighted park.  All of them were sponsored displays and a lot of them went with a theme (like a dentist did a train called the 'Molar Express' and it had teeth on the railroad cars.  I took a lot of pictures with my cell phone and as soon as I get all those uploaded I will post them.  But for now here is a picture of the entrance.  

I cannot believe this month is half way over.  Holy moly where did the time go...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Wait, what?? I am an adult?

Day 15: What do you miss about your childhood holidays now that you are an adult?

What do you mean I am an adult?!?!  When did that happen?

I really miss the anticipation leading up to Christmas.  Days took fooorever.  It seemed Christmas was never going to get here.  Now I blink and it's 10 days before Christmas.  I still have no wrapped a single present and still have 4 or 5 more to buy.

I miss the anticipation of waiting; waiting to see Santa, waiting on Santa, waiting to open gifts and waiting my turn to open my present.  Part of the excitement was all the waiting.  It made it more magical.

I miss the big get togethers with all the extended family.  My mom's side isn't doing it this year and I  haven't seen some of my cousins on my dad's side in years.

I miss the joy of playing with new toys.  Now I have to put together new toys for others to play with. Or we have to go to the next family's Christmas (we do both of our families plus our own immediate family on Christmas day).  I usually don't get to play with my new toys until the day after.

Slowly getting into the Christmas spirit.  It helped going to church this morning and remembering what Christmas is.