Esther 4:14b

"...and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this."

Thursday, December 31, 2009

My “Bucket List” for 2010

new years

Happy New Year’s Eve! Any big plans for tonight? It’s snowing outside and I have two movies waiting for me to pick up at the Red box on my way home from work. Tonight I’m going to watch movies while snuggled in front of the fire with my hubby. Hopefully we’ll be able to stay awake until midnight, but our track record the past couple years hasn’t been too good. Ha!

I’m not one to make resolutions normally, but I do want to list a few things I am looking forward to or hoping to accomplish in 2010.

Here is my “bucket list” for this year in no particular order:

  1. Watch the Vancouver Olympics (we saw the bobsled course here and here)
  2. Go skiing in Aspen with my hubby
  3. Watch hubby enjoy serving another year as mayor
  4. Celebrate my “baby” bro’s graduation from college
  5. Spend Christmas in Tennessee with my family
  6. Finally move out of my in-laws house after two years and into our own place for the first time ever in our married life
  7. Expand our family, Lord willing
  8. Purchase the 95 acre ranch my hubby has wanted for years
  9. Build the guest house/garage on the ranch to live in while we build the main house (this will help accomplish #6)
  10. Pay cash for everything we purchase
  11. Pay off our last student loans and all our credit card debt
  12. Visit with my nephews
  13. Travel to Turkey with my parents (as long as #7 hasn’t happened yet)
  14. Finish renovating the kitchen in our “flip” house
  15. Look into renting or selling the “flip” house
  16. Faithfully complete the P90X workout routine
  17. Transfer my shop location to Etsy to hopefully increase traffic and sales
  18. Let my husband know every day how much he is cherished and appreciated
  19. Get back into a consistent size 4 pant (only have to drop 5 pounds)
  20. Take a cake decorating class
  21. Giveaway or sell a lot of things I no longer use
  22. Organize our mounds of paperwork
  23. Celebrate the birth of a “nephew” on hubby’s side of the family
  24. Get even more connected with the start-up church we’re attending
  25. Grow my hair out and get a new hairstyle
  26. Faithfully write our new Compassion sponsor child each month
  27. Craft more
  28. Read more
  29. Watch less TV
  30. And for my mom, travel to NYC with my mother

What are your resolutions or bucket list items for 2010?

P.S. We find out this Sunday if my hubby gets elected to serve as mayor again, so please be praying his wish comes true.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Some Changes Have Been Made

As long as you’re not reading this blog via a reader, I’m sure you noticed some changes I made to the layout in the past couple days.

In an effort to bring in a little extra income each month, I decided to give ad sense and other similar things a test drive.

I tried to put the buttons in places where they’re not annoying yet still visible. However, I care more about this blog being user-friendly than I do the few dollars it may bring in each month so if the ads are bothersome, please let me know.

It really is the best. Ever.

PW's Lasagna

Last night I finally gave in to the rave reviews this lasagna has received and decided to try it for myself.

And let me tell you.

It really is the best lasagna. EVER.

And thank goodness because I didn’t get home until after 6pm and it took over 3 hours 30 minutes for my water to boil for the stinkin’ noodles and the whole time I was telling my hubby that it was really going to be worth the wait.

Boy was I glad it turned out delicious or he might still be upset that I feed him at 7:30pm two nights in a row!

Do yourself a favor. If you have never made Pioneer Woman’s lasagna go buy all the ingredients and make it tonight.

My mouth is already preparing itself for another serving of it tonight.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Dinner

I volunteered to make Christmas dinner this year. After all, I figured it was only fair seeing how we invited one of hubby’s friends and my boss and his son and daughter over. Unfortunately, only our friend is able to make it (my boss says he’s too much of a bah humbug this year to be good company!) so it’s not going to be as big of a group as originally thought, but I’m still having fun with the menu and table setting.

For the menu, I’m mainly making the items my mom used to make when we were growing up with one or two additions and a couple twists on others.

Here is my menu:

  • Pineapple Glazed Ham (using one of my mother-in-law’s recipes)
  • Corn Casserole
  • Raspberry Jello Salad
  • Rosemary Butter Rolls (my addition)
  • Green Bean Casserole (my family never has this, but my hubby likes it so I make it for him the holidays we’re with his side of the family)
  • Oven Roasted Asparagus (my addition)
  • Spinach Dip
  • Pineapple Casserole (the version from my hubby’s side of the family)
  • Spicy Sweet Potatoes
  • Cranberry Cocktails (cranberry juice and sprite) 
  • Brownie & Peppermint Pie (my addition)

Here are the recipes if you’re interested:


1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup maple-flavored syrup
¼ cup Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
1 (5 lb) whole fully cooked boneless ham
Whole cloves
1 T cornstarch
1 (20-oz) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix sugar, syrup and mustard until well blended; set aside. Score ham with sharp knife; insert cloves into ham as desired. Place ham on rack in shallow baking pan. Bake 2 hours or until ham reaches an internal temperature of 140° when tested in center with meat thermometer, brushing occasionally with ½ cup of the syrup mixture after 1½ hours. Mix remaining syrup mixture with cornstarch and pineapple with its liquid in saucepan; cook on medium-high heat until mixture comes to boil and thickens, stirring constantly. Serve with sliced ham.


16 oz. can crushed pineapple
20 oz. frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
2 3 oz. pkg. raspberry jello
2 c. applesauce
½ c. chopped pecans

Drain pineapple and raspberries, reserving juices. Place in large bowl and set aside. Add enough water to juice to measure one cup. Pour into saucepan; bring to boil. Remove from heat and stir in jello until dissolved. Pour over fruit mixture. Add applesauce and pecans. Pour into serving dish. Chill until set. Makes 12 servings.


Asparagus (how ever much you need for your group)
Olive oil

Wash and trim asparagus (how ever much you need to feed your group). Lay in a single layer on foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until asparagus shrivel to about half their size and are super delicious. If you have to, you can roast them at a lower temp for a longer period of time.


½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 medium cans of pineapple chunks or tidbits
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 stick melted margarine
1 stack of Ritz crackers, crushed

Drain pineapple but save 3 tablespoons of juice.  Mix the sugar, flour, juice and pineapple together.  Place in a greased casserole dish.  Sprinkle cheese on top. Melt butter and mix with crushed crackers.  Sprinkle on top. Bake on 350 for 30 minutes.  Or if you want to make it ahead of time, bake if to 25 minutes and keep in fridge.  Take it out about 30 minutes ahead of time to thaw out then bake for 10-15 minutes to heat.



3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
2 T. olive or canola oil
2 T. brown sugar
1 t. chili powder
½ t. salt
¼ t. cayenne pepper

In large resealable plastic bag, toss potatoes and oil. Add remaining ingredients; toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 11 x 7 inch baking dish. Bake uncovered at 400 for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring every 15 minutes. Serves 8.



*I haven’t ever made this and am not using a recipe, so I don’t know how it will turn out*

Brownie mix (and items to make it according to pkg)
Peppermint ice cream
Hot fudge

Mix brownie mix according to pkg directions. Spread in the bottom of a greased springform pan. Bake brownies until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely. Spread softened ice cream on top. Freeze until ice cream hardens. Spread hot fudge on top and freeze. Thaw at room temp about 20-30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bling baby, bling

*12/29/09* Linking up to Kimba's DIY Party. See more projects here.*

If you’ve opened a magazine this year that has even a page dedicated to fashion, you have no doubt seen the jewelry craze that is all the rage…the bib necklace.

I was watching Martha the other day and she had a guest on giving a tutorial on how to make your own bib necklace. Of course I was all over this and had to get the supplies to make one of my own. All you need is some satin ribbon, felt, acrylic jewels and fabric glue.

A cute top to wear with your bib necklace is nice too. Thankfully I had a coupon for $10 worth of free stuff from JC Penny so I found a cute purple top with a ruffle neckline. Purple is very in this season too so it works out great.

Last night I arranged all my gems and glued them on and today I’m sporting my “WWE Wrestling Belt” as my husband dubbed it. Men! They just don’t get fashion! At least he said it was for the lightweight division. :)

What do you think?
This necklace cost me less than $10 to make and they are easily retailing anywhere between $50 to over $500 depending on what magazine you’re reading.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Gift Idea – Sewing Projects

Here are the last two homemade gifts I made this year. I just recently relearned how to sew and am trying to broaden my sewing skills. I made a half retro apron for my sister and a fun sock monkey for my nephew. They opened them a week ago when they celebrated Christmas with our parents and both gifts were quite a hit!

For the apron, I followed a pattern from a book I picked up at the library called A is for Apron. There are lots of cute patterns in the book, but it didn’t get great reviews because the instructions are kind of haphazard and the patterns aren’t always correct.

My sister likes retro things so I thought this half apron would be cute. I picked up the fabric at Wal-Mart for less than $4 total, so it was a very reasonable project. My mother-in-law (who used to sew wedding dresses for a living) showed me how to use interfacing to make the waistband stiffer and how to line it to give it a more finished look because the book ignored both of these things. I think for my first piece of “clothing” it came out pretty good! And, it only took me a couple of hours.

Retro Half Apron

I had ironed it, but then it got folded up in my luggage and I pulled it out quick to model it, so please ignore the wrinkles in these photos. Also, the waist band is made to be tied in the back, but it could also tie in the front like I show it here.

Retro Half Apron Lining
The other project I made was a sock monkey for my nephew. I found the tube socks at Target for $3.50 and had all the batting. This took longer to make than the apron because the ears, mouth, arms and tail were all sewed on by hand extra well to make sure no little toddler hands could yank them off easily. I posted more about this here. This is what the monkey looked like when I was finished:

sock monkey

Here is the cutie opening the gift and checking out his new friend.

Braden with Sock Monkey_2

Here he is in his little chair carrying on a conversation with him.

Braden with Sock Monkey

Looks like the sock monkey was quite the hit!

I’m linking up to Kimba’s DIY day with this post. Hop on over to check out more projects.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thank a Troop

Many people in my family and many friends currently serve or have served in all branches of the military. At this time of year especially, it's important to remember our troops serving overseas. Please click here to send them a free card.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snowman Comics

Someone sent me these while I was posting about the predicted snowstorm. How fitting!

Enjoy! Click on each one to enlarge it in a new window.

Untitled-TrueColor-11 Untitled-TrueColor-02 Untitled-TrueColor-03 Untitled-TrueColor-04 Untitled-TrueColor-05 Untitled-TrueColor-06 Untitled-TrueColor-07 Untitled-TrueColor-08 Untitled-TrueColor-09 Untitled-TrueColor-10

I love you snow, but please wait a little longer

First off, I wanted to clarify that in my post from yesterday I was in no way implying that there is never the proper time or place to wish someone "Happy Hanukkah" or that one shouldn't celebrate Hanukkah. I was more just commenting that people shouldn't be offended by the greeting of "Merry Christmas" because it's a holiday that is inclusive of all people.

Now, back to the snow.

Tomorrow hubby and I are supposed to be meeting up with our friend Katie and her new man in NYC. Today hubby is in Georgia for business and his flight is supposed to get back in to Philadelphia tomorrow at 8:30am -just in time for me to pick him up and make the trek into the city before our friends bus arrives from DC. We have grand plans for lunch at our favorite mexican restaurant, ice skating in central park, viewing the Rockefeller center tree, window shopping the Macy's christmas windows, and enjoying a delicious cupcake from one of our favorite little bakeries.

Well, there's one tiny little problem.

We're supposed to get snow starting tonight. Lots and lots of snow. 3-10 inches worth of snow.

While I'm normally all up for a snowstorm, I really need this one to hold off until hubby's plane makes it in tomorrow. I'd be so disappointed if our friends make the journey all the way from DC to NYC and then we don't get to see them because hubs flight is delayed.

If we didn't have this day in NYC planned, and if hubby wasn't travelling home tomorrow, I'd be estatic about possibly being snowed in this weekend. As it is, I'm praying the storm holds off until at least 9am tomorrow. Please join me in this prayer?

And, if we're able to have our day in the city as planned, I'll make sure to post photos next week! Enjoy your last weekend before Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What's so bad about "Merry Christmas"?

Last night was the last city council meeting for the year. I try to make it to every meeting (which is twice a month) to support my hubby who serves on the council. The first and last meetings of the year are sometimes the most entertaining.

The thing that was mind boggling to me last night was how many people in the public had to come up to wish everyone a joyous holiday by saying, "Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and to all you Seinfeld fans, Happy Festivus."

What is wrong with us?

Why can't we just say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah" depending on which background we're from? Why is it that people are so offended if they receive a holiday greeting that is of a different faith? Personally, I'd rather hear "Happy Hanukkah" than "Happy Holidays".

But really, what is wrong with all of us wishing one another "Merry Christmas"?

After all, it's historical fact that this country was founded on Christian religious beliefs. Christmas is the only one of the three holidays that has major religious undertones. Hanukkah is not a major religious holiday for Judaism. According to Wikipedia, "Hanukkah is not mentioned in the Bible and was never considered a major holiday in Judaism, but it has become much more visible and widely celebrated in modern times, mainly because it falls around the same time as Christmas and has national Jewish overtones that have been emphasized since the establishment of the State of Israel" and according to the Official Kwanzaa website, Kwanzaa is "a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense."

A few things I glean from these quotes: 1. Hanukkah is really only for those of a Jewish background and 2. Kwanzaa is only for those of African decent.

Here's the thing about Christmas, though... IT'S FOR EVERYONE!

Christ didn't come to earth as a baby, die on the cross, and rise again just for the Jews. He didn't do it just for the Africans. He did it for EVERYONE!

I've had enough of political correctness, and that my dear readers, is why I strongly believe in wishing everyone a "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" After all, it is the only one of the three holidays that really does include all of us.

P.S. I'm not saying don't celebrate other religions holidays. Personally, I enjoy celebrating a Seder feast around Easter because as a believer there is so much more meaning in that Jewish feast when you understand that the Messiah has already come.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Newest Addition to our Family

This sweet baby was born last night. Hopefully today hubs will be able to learn whether it's a bull or a heifer.

Nothing like a cute new born calf.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Baking

In continuation with the handcrafted Christmas gift kick I’m on this year, I decided to spend Saturday in a baking frenzy so I’d have lots of treats to give away. Here was my list for the day:

  1. Cake Balls (about 5 dozen)
  2. Chocolate Truffles with Sea Salt (about 4 dozen)
  3. Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix (made enough for 4 pint size jars)
  4. Homemade Marshmallows (I halved the recipe)
  5. Savannah Bow Ties (about 4 dozen)
  6. White Chocolate Chunk & Dried Cherry Cookies (a little over 9 dozen)
  7. Corn Chowder (for dinner)
  8. 3 loaves of French bread (for dinner)

I’m proud to say I accomplished all of it on Saturday besides the marshmallows and bow ties because I decided to go see a local remake of Scrooge with my in-laws, but I finished those items after church on Sunday.

Here are my reviews for numbers 1 to 6 (and I’m sure the first two will be sacrilegious to some readers!):

1. Cake Balls – Everybody it seems raves about these little treats Bakerella has made so popular. Personally, after tasting them, they were so not worth the time and mess. I have a major sweet tooth and these were too sweet for me. Maybe if I used only half the frosting they’d be better, but honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever make them again.

2. Chocolate Truffles with Sea Salt – I’ve tried a few different recipes from the Pioneer Woman lately and they’ve all been hit or miss. These looked delicious, though, and I stowed them away in my brain until now. They were rather easy to make and pretty tasty, but I’m not a big fan of the sea salt. Plus, it made my chocolate look weird the next day. I might make these again, but more likely I’ll keep searching for a raspberry truffle recipe.

3. Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix – This had received mix reviews, but unfortunately the most helpful ones weren’t posted until after I made it. Seems these newer reviewers had the same thoughts I did. This mix has a good beginning, but it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of chocolaty taste. Tonight I’m going to dump all my jars out and add more cocoa powder and powder sugar as these reviewers suggest and see if it helps.

4. Homemade Marshmallows – Not being a big marshmallow fan (unless it’s in hot cocoa or on a s’more) I’m not going to review these based on taste (although they did have a nice marshmallow flavor). I don’t know if it’s because I halved the recipe or what, but my marshmallows were not pourable at all. I used a candy thermometer and followed the directions exactly, but half of my mixture got left in the mixing bowl and the part that made it into the pan never spread into a smooth layer. I may try these again, but most likely not.

5. Savannah Bow Ties – Hubby and I saw Paula Deen make these a couple years ago and have made them every Christmas since then. They are pretty yummy. Expensive and tedious to make, but yummy.

6. White Chocolate Chunk & Dried Cherry Cookies – This is one of the Christmas cookies my mom makes every year and hubby’s favorite of hers. It’s based on the Mrs. Field’s chocolate chip cookie recipe and is very good. Here is the recipe:

White Chocolate Chunk & Dried Cherry Cookies

5 c. old fashioned oats
4 sticks butter
2 c. each brown and white sugar
4 eggs
2 t. vanilla
4 c. flour
1 t. salt
2 t. each baking powder and soda
24 oz. white chocolate chips
3 c. dried cherries (can substitute cherry flavored craisins)

Blend oats to fine powder. Mix butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In separate bowl combine oatmeal, flour, baking powder, and soda. Add to butter mixture. Blend well. Stir in chips and nuts. Roll into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 –12 minutes.

Makes: Approx. 9 dozen

holiday baking
Here are my treats all finished and ready to be packaged. I picked up 6 Martha Stewart craft boxes from Michael’s because they were 50% off. Each one has four different compartments so I included four of each of the following: cake balls, white chocolate-dried cherry cookies, savannah bow ties and chocolate truffles with sea salt. Hubby is going to give these away to people he works with. The hot cocoa and marshmallows will be packaged nicely and given away to some of hubby’s clients or friends and the rest will be enjoyed by our family or taken to my office.

What are some of your favorite holiday baking recipes?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

“Worst Procedure of the Day” Award

I posted here and here a little bit about how I’ve been having some stomach issues we’re trying to figure out. On the 2nd I had the fun experience of going for a colonoscopy.

When I walked in to the office, I was by far the youngest patient there that day if not ever. Once I changed into my lovely little gown again (maybe I should think about designing some more stylish ones if I’m going to have to be wearing them this frequently) it was on to the oh so comfortable hospital bed to await my turn to be knocked out and examined. As I’m waiting, I notice all the patients two to three times my age being wheeled out from the exam room are awake and conversing with the nurses and enjoying a nice little snack.

Boy a snack sure sounded good. I hadn’t had anything to eat since before midnight on the 31st and it was now 2:30pm on the 2nd. This hypoglycemic girl was starting to get a little “hangry”. Ha! Don’t remember where I heard that word, but it sums up the mad moods that accompany extreme hunger perfectly.

Then it was my turn to get wheeled back in. I remembered them asking me to lie on my left side and I remember thinking how it hurt a little when the doctor placed the anesthesia into my iv, but that’s all I remembered until they were waking me up 40 minutes AFTER they had already wheeled me in to recovery. And, they were only waking me up so they could all go home!

In fact, the doctor actually told me I was their worst procedure of the day because it was the most difficult. Who would have thought the 28 year old would cause more problems than the 80 year old grandpa?

Turns out the reason why I was sleeping so soundly was because they had to give me a double dose of anesthesia to compensate for getting around my newly discovered twisted colon and removing a polyp.

They called me this past Monday to tell me the results of the biopsy (it’s benign) and to tell me that the doctor would like to see me in his office again in 6 months and that I’m supposed to go for another colonoscopy in 3 years. When I asked her what I’m supposed to do about my symptoms in the next six months her response was “oh, if they still bother you, come in sooner.” Well, HELLO! of course they still bother me.

So basically, I’ve gone through countless blood tests, drank tons of barium for x-rays, went for a CT scan and suffered through the “worst procedure of the day” colonoscopy only to be told “come back in six months.” Are you kidding me?! I thought after three doctors I’d finally have some answers, but I guess not.

Man, I really should have gone on to medical school like originally planned so I could at least treat myself.

At least I got a free pair of warm socks out of the deal.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Gift Idea – Magazine Subscription

I always have a hard time thinking of what handcrafted items I could make for the men in the family. I know they all love food, but at the same time, that just doesn’t seem like a substantial enough gift for a relative.

One thing that I received last year was a few different magazine subscriptions and I have loved looking through each issue when it arrives in the mail monthly. That gave me the idea to give them each a subscription of their own.

My brother-in-law is originally from Montana and loves all things associated with hunting and fishing. I thought there would be no better thing than a subscription to Field & Stream. A simple Google search provided me a place to get the subscription for 80% off the cover price.

My dad enjoys remodeling homes and lending us a hand renovating our 1906 house. He also loves watching This Old House. Hubby receives the magazine and it is full of great ideas and info on how to tackle certain remodeling projects. I thought this would be perfect for my dad and turns out I was right. I found a very affordable subscription on They have tons of different magazine subscriptions available for $5 right now.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Gift Idea - Jewelry

This year I have really developed a love for crafting jewelry. Every year I try to make as many handcrafted gifts as I can for Christmas, and this year was no exception. I made three different jewelry items to give as gifts this year.

The first is for my brother’s girlfriend, Leah. The variety of colors reminds me of her bright personality. I love this cuff bracelet so much I almost kept it for myself because it goes with absolutely everything. It would look fabulous with jeans and a simple bright colored top.


Cuff bracelets are really in vogue right now so I’m excited to see what different combos I can make. This bracelet uses black wood spacers and chips of Italian Milfori glass.


The next thing I made was a bracelet for my friend Sonja. I posted recently that she just learned she has stage 4 cancer. We were hoping to be able to get in touch while I was visiting family for Thanksgiving, but were unable to because I had a cold and she couldn’t afford to be exposed to germs. This bracelet uses pink glass beads, pink Swarovski crystals, and cream Czech glass pearls. I chose pink because her cancer started as breast cancer.


I also made two pairs of earrings for my mom. One was gold chandelier earrings and the other was sterling silver with a clear Swarovski crystal and black pearls I got on our honeymoon trip to the Cook Islands. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of those before I gave them to her, but I liked them so much I’ll probably be making myself a pair of each shortly and will post a photo then.

Making your own jewelry is a fun and easy craft to learn. There are tons of beads available at your local craft store. If you want better pricing and plan on making lots of jewelry, I suggest purchasing from Fire Mountain Gems. Their selection and pricing is awesome and they have great customer service.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gift Ideas: Packaging

I was reading Money Saving Mom this morning to see if there were any coupon deals and she had a link to this awesome tutorial on How to Make a Gift Bow from Recycled Materials.

If you're anything like me, you have TONS of magazines lying around (thanks to the free subscriptions M.S.M. tells us about) that you could use to make bows. I definitely think I'll have to make some to use.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Endless Holiday Music

I love listening to Christmas music all December long, but I’ve always had a difficult time finding a station that played a good mix of the traditional Christian Christmas carols and the whimsical holiday songs.

I remembered reading about Pandora not too long ago so I figured I’d check it out and all I can say is it is FABULOUS!

It was so easy to plug in artists, songs, and types of music that I was looking for and it came up with a great playlist for me. I’ve been listening to it all day at work for over a week and I rarely hear the same song by the same artist. Plus, there are hardly any commercial breaks (maybe one 10 second one an hour if that).

I know I will definitely be tuning to Pandora for my annual Christmas music fix and most likely for my daily work playlists after the holiday.

Have you ever used Pandora? I just wish there was a way I could download some of the songs onto my iTunes so I can load them on my iPod shuffle.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Gift Ideas: Donations

I’m happy to say that I have been all done with my Christmas “shopping” since before Thanksgiving. “Shopping” is in quotes because I didn’t actually visit a single store to purchase any gift. Every year I try to make as many gifts as I can and this year is no exception. The only store I visited was the craft store for a few supplies that I didn’t already have on hand.

Plus, this year I only had to “shop” for my side of the family because my hubby’s family decided to not exchange gifts this year due to the economy. Instead, we’re going to celebrate by having our traditional Christmas Eve dinner at hubby’s grandma’s house and then I’m  hosting a dinner on Christmas Day.

We did still want to get something for our grandparents, though. I was trying to think of something that they’d all really enjoy besides the basic coffee or bath and body products. Personally, I know I have way too many of those kinds of gifts just sitting around in drawers taking up space.

After a little thought, we decided to donate things such as mosquito nets, seeds, half of an alpaca, or a Bible in their name via World Vision.

Over Thanksgiving, we celebrated Christmas with two sets of my grandparents and they both loved their gifts. They said it was great because they really didn’t need more stuff, and they’d much rather have us spend our money for a good cause. I was so delighted that their response was the exact response I thought they’d have.

If you’re looking for a great gift idea for someone who doesn’t need anything, then seriously consider making a donation in their name. The World Vision Gift Catalog is perfect because there is a wide variety of gifts in many different price ranges.

Over the next few days I’ll post other Christmas gift ideas I’m using this year in case you’re interested.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!


I finally had the opportunity to put the tree up and decorate this past Saturday. I really wanted a live tree this year, but because we ended up received the first snow of the year on Saturday (yippee!!) and because my checkbook is running a little low, I decided to stick with the artificial tree.

In an attempt to save myself a little effort this year, I only decorated the half of the tree that you can actually see. It was so much easier to just string the lights from left to right and back again instead of having to squeeze in the corner to wrap them all the way around the tree.

When I came down Sunday morning to a beautiful fire roaring in the fireplace thanks to may wonderful husband, I just had to snap a picture.

Here are a few more of different spots around the room:




P.S. Thanks for your patience during my absence from blogging. I have a lot of pictures of things to post soon and I’m hoping to start on my holiday baking this coming weekend, so I’ll post recipes as I go along as well.