• January 25, 2017

    January Round Up

    OOoooh man.  This month isn’t over yet?  Really?  Still going for about one more week, eh?

    I’m pretty darn over it.

    First of all: the snow.  Good gracious God in heaven, the snow.  This January we’ve broken records with the snow.  Now, I am a mountain girl and totally ok with snow and all that…. But this city of mine ain’t really ready to deal with what Mother Nature is layin’ down!  I actually shoveled the street in front of my house a couple weeks ago.  Yes, you read that right, I shoveled the street.  Frankly, there were no other options besides staying home for all of January.  So. Yeah.

    You’d think with all that snow, I would have had lots of time to read lots of books.  Joke’s on you though, because I was shoveling all that snow in my street instead of reading.  For January, I was only able to just keep up with my book club requirements with A Day of Honey by Annia Ciazadlo and Gulp by Mary Roach.  I enjoyed A Day of Honey, but I really loved Gulp.  She is super provocative and sarcastic – it actually made me think about Jenny Lawson’s books a lot.  Can’t wait to see what the other ladies at book club think about it!

    There were a couple of new (well, new and new to me) shows I have been enjoying.  The first was A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix.  Can I just say that Neil Patrick Harris is a genius?  And that I love him?  It. Is. So. Good.  The second show I’ve been obsessing over is Jane the Virgin, which I never thought I’d say.  Actually, I never thought I’d watch it, let alone love it.  For those skeptics like I once was… just give it a try.  It’s way too complicated to really explain here, but it’s basically an Americanized telenovela with all the drama you’d expect, but also with lots of great humor to balance it out.  Please, just go watch a few episodes, ok?  Ok.

    This month we are also starting up a new D&D campaign, so I’ve been doing some character building.  I’ll be playing a gnome wizard named Moonie Mugglewump and I’m really excited about her!  Think, Luna from Harry Potter mixed with Kvothe from the Kingkiller Chronicles and a bit of Judy Hopps from Zootopia.  Fun, right?  First game is this weekend, so we’ll see how I get back in the swing of it all!

    Aaaand the last thing I have to share with you for January is that I’ve started a Bullet Journal.  I’ll do another more detailed post sometime about bullet journaling, but suffice it to say that I like the layout options and tracking method a lot so far.  I have been enjoying the creative aspects and also use it to help with mindfulness.  I am not a great artist, but there is hope, I think, for me yet!

    So, there you have it.  This was my… interesting… January (sans political issues/concerns/ fears/hopes/whatever because this should be a happy place for me and for anyone out there who is reading).  Here’s hoping that February will have better surprises in store!

  • December 28, 2016

    December Round Up

    feature-image

    Whelp, looks like I managed to miss most of December, huh?  *sigh*  My goal was to have a homemade Christmas, which we did… but I totally underestimated how much time that would consume!  So, here we are with the monthly round  up and I’ll try to touch on everything we enjoyed this past month!

    dining-room

    nativity

    As soon as Thanksgiving was over (ok, ok, ok… a little, teensy bit before it was really over) I pulled out all of my Christmas decorations and went to town on our house.  And since I felt like we needed a little extra cheer this year, I found a pencil tree to put in our entry way too!  So.  Two trees.  I threatened to put up a third, but lost the oomph to do it.  Ah, well, there’s always next year, eh?

    little-tree

    big-tree

    2015

    Then it was time to get started on my Homemade Christmas goal from my 30 before 30 list!

    ornaments-in-progress

    stitches

    The first craft I started was these beautiful Nordic inspired ornaments.  These became gifts for family and friends and were a lot of fun to make!  We also decorated our own home with them – we tried to stick to a red and white theme this year and they added something really special on the tree.

    cookies

    In addition to ornaments, we gave friends and family Christmas cookies.  I made so. many. cookies.  And I learned how to use a cookie press (I think I need one of my own now…) for Danish vanilla cookies.  Oh, and the bread!  I made eggnog bread  and monkey bread for Christmas morning!  I was in the kitchen a lot this December!  *nods*  So glad my folks took care of us for Christmas dinner!

    crafty-nativity

    Another craft project I worked on was this beautiful nativity.  I’ve always been frustrated that I can’t find a realistic nativity with Middle Eastern people – Jesus was not white, ya’ll!  Anyway, I loved the concept of the silhouettes, so that solved it all for me!  :)  Click here for full instructions and info on where to get the vinyl designs.  The last step is to spray the glass with Frosted Glass spray paint stuff… but it’s been so cold this December, I was afraid the temperatures would ruin the paint.  Next year, it’ll be frosty glass!

    socks

    Another favorite thing I did this month was the Secret Santa at work.  I always get too into it, but it’s really fun to spoil one of the amazing women I work with and let her know how much I appreciate her!  And I’ll admit, I kind of like being spoiled by someone else too!  Anyway, the most hilarious gift I received this year was socks with bandanna wearing corgi’s on them.  So silly – I really love them!  I think Ollie approves too…

    ollie

    I didn’t have a lot of time for things other than all the crazy Christmas shenanigans, so I didn’t really consume much media.  I did make it out to see Fantastic Beasts  and Where to Find Them early in the month and Rogue One the weekend it came out.  I also caught Hairspray Live on NBC and I read one book for book club – Yes Chef, by Marcus Samuelsson.  We stayed home a lot and watched old Christmas movies while I worked on crafts too, so that was fun.

    frosty

    And there you have it!  I’m pretty sure that’s all I’ve got for this month!  Sure felt busier than it looks like it was… but I learned my lesson!  I will start Christmas crafts way earlier next year!  I hope you enjoyed your holidays this year and felt the love of friends and family.  Best wishes for a safe and happy new year – see you in 2017!

  • December 30, 2015

    Christmas in Our New Home

    Feature-Image

    Moving is hard, ya’ll.  Know what’s harder?  Moving right before Christmas.

    Oh. Mah. Gawd.

    Fortunately, I can tell you that we did survive and managed to have a nice Christmas and everything on top of it all.  We even managed to host a Christmas/Housewarming Party complete with homemade cookies!

    But certainly you aren’t here to hear about my struggles.  I know what you are really here for: pictures!  So, without further ado, here is what Christmas in our new home was like:

    I love getting hand written cards!

    I love getting hand written cards!

     

    Deer

     

    Flowers from my in-laws.

    Flowers from my in-laws.

     

    So much food!

    So much food!

     

    And, of course, an owl!

    And, of course, an owl!

     

    I hope you all had a wonderful, exciting Christmas and find yourself feeling very blessed in the new year to come!

  • December 31, 2014

    New Year’s Traditions Around the World

    Happy New Year!

    It’s that time again… time to make changes, start new, and look forward to a whole new trip around the sun.  Of course, something so exciting as starting a new year comes steeped in traditions, superstitions, and downright nutty events.  I have never liked the party scene on New Year’s (too many people, too much booze… what can I say, I’m an old lady and always have been), but I do find the customs and traditions surrounding the holiday fascinating.

    For instance, in the South US, it’s a tradition to eat black-eyed peas. The black-eyed peas symbolize coins and eating them insures economic prosperity for the coming year.  If you are like me, though, you have no idea how to prepare black eyed peas… but, give this recipe  a try and let me know how it works out for you.  :)

    In South America and Spain, it’s believed the color of your undergarments will influence what kind of year you’ll have. Tradition holds that yellow underwear will bring prosperity and success, red and pink will bring love and romance, blue will promote health and wellness, white will lead to peace and harmony, and green will ensure health and well-being.

    Also in Spain, they eat 12 grapes for 12 months of good luck. But there is a bit of a trick to it, to bring a year’s worth of good luck, you have to start eating the grapes exactly when the clock strikes midnight, then eat one for each toll of the clock.  And all of the grapes must be eaten (meaning fully swallowed) before the tolls of the clock are ended.

    In the Philippines, people wear polka dots because the circle represents prosperity. Coins are kept in pockets and are rattled together to attract wealth.

    Probably the most famous tradition in the United States is the New Year ball drop in New York, right before midnight. Thousands of people gather to watch the ball in person and on television; they party and kiss under its shining light and start the New Year jubilant and probably hammered.  This tradition is so glamorous and fun that many cities have chosen to follow in New York’s path and drop things that represent different communities in celebration:

    • In Boise Idaho, a car sized potato is dropped from the US Bank building in downtown Boise. Idaho is known for its potatoes, so I guess that dropping a potato makes sense (I wonder, though, if they eat mashed potatoes afterwards?  ba-duh-bum).
    • And in Tempe, Arizona, a Giant Tortilla Chip is dropped (sponsored by Tostitos Tortilla Chips).  Apparently the accompanying party is massive and includes fireworks and, I presume, a lot of salsa.
    • Plymouth, Wisconsin drops an 80-pound decorated cheese wedge from a 100 ft. ladder truck in a tribute to the region’s dairy industry.
    • Perhaps my favorite thing to drop on New Year’s, though, comes from Mobile, Alabama where a 600-pound, Moon Pie is lowered from the RSA Tower.  There is also a Mardi Gras parade where moon pies are thrown instead of (or with?) beaded necklaces.  That’s a party I might actually want to go to.  Ha!

    Despite the charm and hilarity of these traditions, the Midnight Kiss is probably the most widely participated in event of New Year celebrations around the world.  The reason you are supposed to kiss someone at midnight is to ward off a year of coldness and lack of affection.  And probably to ensure you start the year off with fun and excitement. 

    So, this New Year’s Eve, I hope you are all eating beans, wearing colorful (maybe polka dotted) underpants, and kissing someone you love!

  • December 24, 2014

    Throwback Thursday on a Wednesday

    Happy Christmas Eve, everyone!

    Since it is almost Christmas and I need a tiny break, I am implementing Throwback Thursday on a Wednesday!  I hope you love it as much as it embarrasses me.

    *grin*

    ThrowbackThursdayonWednesday

    Sorry for the fuzzy looking picture… I scanned a really old photograph and this is the best I could make it look.

    This is a picture of me at Christmas with a pretty traditional tree (for my house growing up).  We used to drive out to the forest and cut our own trees.  My dad would take the tape measure out and we’d find the biggest tree that would physically fit into our living room.

    Sometimes it wouldn’t actually fit… many a year (the one pictured included) we’d have to cut the trunk shorter because the tree was too tall.  There was another year where the girth of the tree was such that nobody could fit on the couch.  It was actually kind of a little joke between my Dad and me to get the biggest tree in the forest and make my Mom crazy at the same time.

    Anyway, I hope y’all have a great Christmas!  Stay warm and safe and don’t drink and drive, kids.

  • December 17, 2014

    Top 5 Christmas Traditions

    Tree

    Ok ya’ll, time for a Christmas Top Five!

    *grin*

    I love Christmas and all of the transitions that go along with it!  Get ready for a few of my favorite things!

    1. Decorating the house

    Decorations

    Santa

    2. Looking at Christmas Lights

    Overkill-Lights

    The Grinch is stealing the lights!  (Hard to see in this picture, I know... but so cute in real life!)

    The Grinch is stealing the lights! (Hard to see in this picture, I know… but so cute in real life!)

    Deer

    In addition to looking at lights, Hubby and I have stepped it up a notch the past couple of years and do Light BINGO!  I make up two bingo sheets with typical decorations (eg: Santa, Snoopy, a nativity, etc.) and then we search out those things.  Whoever gets a row crossed off first, wins!  Fun, right?  :)

    3. Yearly Ornaments

    New-Ornament

    Every year we buy a new ornament for the tree with the year on it. If we go somewhere during the year, we try to get an ornament from that place… this year it came from Canada!

    4. Christmas Music

    5. Wrapping Gifts

    Wrapping-Gifts

    My aunt used to send the most beautifully wrapped packages that made me feel so special since I knew she took extra care to make them look nice. I love carrying on that tradition!

  • November 19, 2014

    Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread

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    Baby, it’s cold outside!  And let me tell you, there is nothing like snow on the ground and ice in the air to make me want to spend all day in my kitchen making lovely treats!  So, today you’re in luck, because it’s freezing outside!

    While I love to bake, I have very little talent and even less patience for rolling dough and other time consuming things like that.  This makes monkey bread one of my favorite things to make… tastes just like cinnamon rolls, but without all the hassle!

    This recipe for monkey bread is special for fall, though, with the addition of pumpkin and pumpkin spice!  I hope you love it as much as I do… maybe even enough to make for Thanksgiving breakfast?  *hint hint*

     

    Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread Recipe

    By Erin Published: November 19, 2014

      Baby, it's cold outside!  And let me tell you, there is nothing like snow on the ground and ice in the air to make me want to spend …

      Ingredients

      Instructions

      1. Gather Ingredients.
      2. Heat Oven to 350. For the Dough: Combine butter and sugar. Add 3 egg whites and beat until frothy. Add pumpkin puree, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla. Mix well.
      3. For the filling: Combine final three ingredients in a separate bowl until crumbly.
      4. Put rounded tablespoons of the dough in a baking pan, sprinkle in the filling. Continue until all dough and filling is used.
      5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until bread tests cleanly with toothpick. Enjoy!
       

    • January 1, 2014

      Resolutions

      New Year 2014

      Happy New Year!

      I don’t usually pay much attention to the New Year and traditions that typically accompany it, but I have to tell you, I’m kinda feeling it this year.  It is so easy for me to get stuck in a rut of the day-to-day and forget that there can be so much more in life.  So many things to learn and aspire to.

      I really want 2014 to be different.  I’m getting better at stepping outside my comfort zone, but I’m really not where I want to be yet.

      So, without further ado, I present my New Year’s Resolutions and Goals for your reading pleasure:

      1.  This year I will update the blog on time (Wednesdays)

      2. Take more pictures

      3. Have more adventures and try new things

      4. I will make more health conscious decisions with regards to food and exercise

      5. I will practice more self care (e.g.: yoga, relaxing with a book, walking the dog, etc.) to help cope with stress and anxiety

      6. Read my way through the alphabet (in no particular order, because that would be really hard)

      Now I just hope I can get these good habits started and really maintain them all year!  As I go throughout the year, I’ll be sure to keep you up to date.  :)