Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Part 1 of Holiday Tour of My Home

I heard a blurb on HGTV the other day... it was a commercial of the designers talking about holiday decorations.  One of them said "I mean you don't want your house to look like it's Santa's house!".  I thought to myself, "You don't?"  No seriously, that isn't my goal, but I do love Christmas decorations. 

I'm starting my Holiday Tour of My Home today with the outside decorations and the entry of my house.  One reason is because that is the only part that doesn't look like a tornado has just blown through it, and partly because I'm finishing everything.  I'm going to do photos of the rest (maybe video too), but tonight, Part One is just a video tour. 

Please excuse my scratchy throat and congested-can-hardly-breath voice...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Busy Bee

I have been a busy bee since I got home from my parents on Thursday night...well with the exception of my allergies getting the better of me for most of Saturday.  I did get myself together and go to dinner with my bloggy friend Courtney on Saturday night.  It was great seeing her because we had let too much time pass since we last got together and we ate some yummy food at Patrizio's.

I've decorated almost the whole house.  All of the big trees are now done.  I still have a little tree in my office to decorate.  I'm wavering on whether to do my the winter village set up in my bedroom.  I'll probably flake out on that again this year and tote that storage bin back out to the garage.  I have tried taking pictures of everything.  I need some photographic training because I cannot get my decorations to look as good in the picture as they do in real life.  Be very afraid... I may try video and see if that's any better.  Y'all better hope not or I'll be posting a video tour instead of a photographic tour!

Here is a sneak peak of the bedroom tree.  I snapped this with the iphone tonight...


I also got all the gifts in the appropriate boxes and did some wrapping tonight.  Sitting on the floor wrapping is one of the most crippling activities you can do!  I have got to finish my shopping soon, or I'm going to totally wig-out!

Finally, keeping me busy is the fact that this is the last week of classes and finals are next week.  So I'm finishing up grading papers and writing exams.  I'm so ready for the break!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! 

Lola and I went to Nocona yesterday afternoon.  I stopped by one set of grandparents on the way through their little town.  My grandma had started her holiday baking with some homemade fudge...yum.  Then we went to my other grandparents where my Dad and Uncle cooked up a fried-food-palooza....fish, quail, wild turkey, pheasant, and french fries.  It was so good and my Dad bought tarter sauce from a place across the river (that's Oklahoma to those of us living 15 miles south of the Red River...it's rarely referred to as Oklahoma, but almost always as "across the river") that makes the best you've ever had and I eat by the ton, which made it all even better!

The big cold front came through during the night and kept me up with the howling winds on my north facing bedroom.  But it was so cold when we woke up this morning, which in my opinion, was wholly better than the 82' it was yesterday!  I even got to see my first snow flakes and sleet of the season! 

Mom and I cooked up a storm all morning and then went to my grandparent's house for lunch.  Tonight, Lola and I headed back to McKinney with a box of leftovers and some deviled eggs that my other grandma had made and set aside for me to get on my way back home.  Now I'm just catching up reading blogs and watching football.  Poor Lola is so tired she crawled up on her bed within minutes of getting home and is snoozing up a storm right now.

It was a good holiday.  I'm so thankful that I got to go home and be with family, especially that I got to see all 4 of my grandparents.   Hope you all had a great day.

P.S. The photo taking was a total fail.  Not one photo!

Monday, November 22, 2010

In Limbo

I am living in seasonal limbo right now...

Exhibit A~  The blog. 

From this...
to this...
I got an itch to see my adorable  Holiday/Winter design and my sweet blog designer, Traci, put it back up on the blog for me today.  I know I'm jumping the gun by 5 days, and while "Baby it's Hot Outside" would better fit today, it's one thing I don't have to worry about "decorating" next weekend. 

Exhibit B~ The front of my house. 

Notice the pumpkins and wreath in the same shot
On Saturday I put up out all my outdoor Christmas lights with the exception of my front porch garland and wreath and the wreath between my garage doors.  My neighbors were mocking me, but don't worry, when it is a high of 50 degrees with possible rain this weekend, I'll be mocking them when they are outside decorating!  I don't have them turned on yet, in case you were wondering. 

Exhibit C~ My living room.

Let me point your attention to both Pumpkin AND Christmas Tree in the same photo...
I got the idea this weekend that I was going to do some advanced decorating.  Specifically, I thought it would be really nice if I could get the decorating stuff that I dread doing done.  So that way, I can just do the fun stuff next weekend.  I didn't intend to make a mess, or really take down any of my Thanksgiving decor, but as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men...

Thanksgiving decorations got partially dismantled and made a disaster area of my kitchen...
One of the things I planned to do was put together a new piece that I wanted to make for my mantle.  I intended to put it together on the floor and then store it in the garage until next weekend.  Building the piece, I  made quite a mess.  It looked like a glitter factory had exploded!
I finally decided that it just had to go up on the mantle so that I could see what it really looked like and what needed to be tweaked.
I'm happy with how it turned out
Now for the rest of my plan... fluffing trees.  I HATE fluffing trees.  In my opinion, it is the most horrible part of decorating.  I hope to get all three of my big trees up and fluffed this week so that when I decide to decorate on Friday, the worst part is already behind me.

That explains why my tree is up in the living room already.  I started with the LR tree because it is new.  I got a 9 foot tree as a birthday present and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how much more impact the 9 foot tree provides to the room over the 7 1/2 foot tree that I've always had in there.
So this is my life in seasonal limbo right now!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I haven't had much going on this week worthy of blogging about, so I'll just make a random list of things today...

(1) School is winding down. I only have class next Monday and then I have the rest of the week without class. I am just beside myself with excitement. After T-giving, I only have one week of classes left and then one week of final exams. Then I have 5 weeks off before Spring starts up.


(2) I think I have to get started on Christmas decorations this weekend. It looks like the weather is going to be on the cool side the weekend after T-giving, so I'm thinking outside lights this year and inside after T-giving.

(3) Speaking of the outside lights... last year all my Clark Griswold-like decorations blew out my front porch electric plug.  Then sometime later I noticed that my back porch plug wasn't working either.  I figured that there was either a GFCI plug that had switched off or it was a fuse.  I looked and tested things all over the house.  I couldn't find any fuses in the breaker box that weren't attached to the porches and something else and all the "something else" was still working, so that ruled out the fuse.  I went to every single GFCI plug I knew of and made sure it wasn't blown.  No luck.  I finally called an electrician out this week and he was suppose to come today, but then I got a call this morning and the electrician told me he was about 80% certain it was a GFCI issue and that I had a GFCI plug in the garage.  I didn't know there was one in the garage because I have so much crap in my garage.  He gave me a couple of hints about where it was likely located and sure enough, I found it and fixed the problem myself!  Wasn't that so nice of the electrician?

(4) I'm really wanting to make sausage balls this weekend.

(5) I also feel the need to make some pumpkin bread and pumpkin bread cupcakes with cream cheese icing.  That may also happen sometime soon in my kitchen.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Truth and Nothing But the Truth

Scene:  This weekend Mom and I were at Barnes and Noble.  After having trouble coming up with what I want for Christmas, I had decided to take the e-reader plunge and get a Nook (you know because they have cuter cases than a Kindle).

B&N Guy: Do you want the extended warranty plan?  It's $50, but covers any problems for 2 years.

Me:  Any problems?

B&N Guy: Yes, even if you drop it and break it, it is covered.

Me:  Really!?!

Mom:  With her luck, I think we'll take it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Set Your Alarm!

Set Your Alarm! There will need to be a 4 a.m. wake-up in Spring or Summer 2011 because Prince William & Kate Middleton are finally getting married!  Love, Love, Love a Royal Wedding!  I will wake up super early and watch every single second.  In fact, I've been streaming BBC on my computer all morning!  I don't want to miss a second of anything.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My marathon

My Mom came to town on Friday for our annual Christmas shopping weekend. She lives where there are basically no stores, so we shop like there is no tomorrow when she is here.  She got here about 10:30 Friday morning, and we have shopped non-stop until today at 1:30.  I shopped until I dropped on Friday, but then we kept going and going and going.  It was my personal version of a marathon.

Friday we hit up Target and Toys-R-Us and got all the toy gifts for the Angel Tree kids that we buy for every year (We know who the kids are because Mom's in charge of the Angel Tree at church.  We buy for the exact same kids every single year.  We know what we have bought them in the past and what they like.  Mom also lets the browse through the Toys-R-Us catalog and make their wish lists).  Then we did the outlet mall and Dillards.

Saturday we went to a real mall for Nordstrom, Sephora, Williams-Sonoma, Bath & Body Works, JC Penny, etc.  Then we left the mall for The Container Store and Sur La Table.  Then after eating lunch, we went to look at a Building Supply Store for Mom's bathroom re-do.  Then Hobby Lobby, and Lowe's for the remodel again.  We were in Lowe's for a considerable period of time and Mom then decided it was too late in the day for her to go on home, so we continued to shop and went to TJ Maxx/Homegoods until they closed.  We grabbed some Chick-fil-A and then went to Wal-Mart at about 10:00 last night.

Today, we went to Half Price Books, JC Penny (again) to return what we bought yesterday and re-purchase it with a $15 off coupon that was in the paper today, Target (again), & TJ Maxx (again...see a pattern?).

Whew.  I'm beyond tired.  Mom got all her shopping done... and I'm very excited about the selection of Christmas presents I'm getting!  I got some of my shopping done, but pretty much know what I need to finish everything out (after the next payday!).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Irresistible

I could not resist purchasing this ornament today
It is SO Lola!
I just KNOW that this dog is working as a model on the side and has a secret bank account that she's not telling me about!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens...

...Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. 
Brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things!

Okay, not so much the whiskers on kittens since I'm allergic, but below I am listing a few of my favorite things.  I figured it Queen O can do it, so can I (and btw, I'm on pins and needles awaiting her favorite things episode this year because I know it's going to be a blowout!)

I have my fav's categorized for you.  And a little disclosure...for the most part, I tried to only select things that I actually have, use and love!  There are a few books that I don't have yet, but have heard great things about and drooled over in the store!

Food:

Many people like to send food gifts to friends and family and I've included some of my favs.  If you aren't sending them as gifts, they would be great for gatherings.
Cheesecake Factory's Red Velvet Cheesecake is now at Sam's Club (it's not 4 small layers as shown, but two larger layers...one red velvet cake and one cheesecake).

Carnegie Deli Cheesecakes.  If you've never had these cheesecakes, then you haven't lived!

Apples from Mrs. Prindables...so many varieties to choose from.

These iced cookies from Cheryl's are good.  Really, really good. 


Clothing & Accessories:

These all make great gifts, but also would make a great gift for yourself!
Both pairs of gloves are from Echo Designs.  These are a must have for those with iphones.  There are little magic things on the thumb and pointer fingers that enable you to answer, dial, etc. on your iphone without having to risk frostbite!  I got a pair last Christmas, but now they have all these cute designs like the quilted ones and the ones with ruffles.

This little ruffle cardigan is by Bobeau and can be found at Nordstrom.  I have it in black and grey and LOVE it.  It's only in limited sizes and colors right now because it is on sale, but this brand has lots of cute & fun cardigans.

Shoes:

Aaaahhhhhh.  Shoes.  How do I love thee....let me count the ways!
These are some of my favorite shoes for winter.

Ugg House Shoes are the way to go.  They last so well and are so warm and cozy.  They have the moccasins,  slide-on slippers, flat slippers, and sweater-y slippers  I have these that are pictured because my Lola pulls the slip-on kind off my feet as if they were one of her toys.

Good old Classic Ugg Short Boots (not the mini ones, not the tall ones) are so hard to beat.  Order a size smaller in these than what you really wear (this advise comes from someone who didn't figure this out until until she was on pair #3).

Tall Boots....specifically a great low heel boot.  They are the go-to-shoe this fall paired with leggings, jeggings or skinny-jeans.

Beauty Products:
This is a hard category for me to narrow down a list of favs! 

Right now, I'm loving my this new concealer by Temptu. It covers dark circles and has good moisturizer built right in.  You can get it at Sephora.

I use Rosebud's Strawberry Lip Balm every single night before bed.

I'm crazy for anything Korres.  I love the Honey-Thyme Moisture Mask, Honey-Thyme Moisturizer, and the Pomegranate Face Scrub.  Their products are all Eco-certified too.  You can get it at Sephora or Ulta, or at the link I provided.


Cookbooks:


There are so many great cookbooks out there, but what I really love are the baking books. 


Cooking Gadgets:

Here are some of my "wouldn't want to live without items" for the Kitchen

A good panini press will turn your boring old sandwich into a culinary treat!  I got one from Breville last year and LOVE it.  (and it is currently on Sale at W-S!)

An Amco Avocado pitter/slicer is now a must in my opinion!  If only I had had this $10-15 little gadget, I would have personally saved well over $6000 (oh yeah, and a finger!)!!!!  You can find it on Amazon or in W-S stores.

Spoonulas are my number one go to item in the kitchen.  I have several.  You can never have too many!

Melamine bowls are fabulous.  These have great little rubber rings around the bottom so they don't move all over the counter when you are stirring and they have pouring spouts.  I got one of these sets in pink several years back when there were only three bowls in the set, but now they come with four, which is even better!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shutterfly Cards

Look at these cute note cards that I just ordered from Shutterfly!

Classic Without Edge 5x7 folded card
Unique party invitations and announcements by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Dazzling Lime Print 5x7 folded card
Unique party invitations and announcements by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thanksgiving Decorations and Recipes

While I'd like to get started decking the halls for Christmas right after Halloween as I've been known to do in year's past, I'm trying to not skip over Thanksgiving.  The problem is that I don't have a ton of Thanksgiving decorations because when it is time to think Thanksgiving, the stores are thinking Christmas!  Next year I will try to be better...I'm on the lookout for a couple of turkeys (of course I have specific ones in mind). 

Here are the Thanksgiving decorations in my house...

The mantle tweaked from Halloween
With the addition of pilgrims
and Indians
and a cornucopia
The dining table is the same as it was for Halloween
but the Kitchen table has a different center piece
a new purchase of turkey parts has enabled me to turn this pumpkin into a turkey
The front door
flag
a very pumpkin welcome...

I also wanted to share a couple of my favorite side dishes for Thanksgiving.  They will both change your life.  Make them.  Make them now.  Make them for Thanksgiving.  Make them for Christmas.  They are always great!

The first is a Sweet Potato Casserole.  This is honestly the best I've ever had.  People who don't like sweet potatoes find that they LOVE this.  Truth be known, it should probably be in the dessert category instead of the side dishes because it is THAT GOOD!  It's from Southern Living and so is this photo

The other one is called Swiss Green Beans.  It is different than the "normal" green bean casserole made with cream of whatever and  those onion things on top.  This is better.  Way better.

I don't have a picture to show you, but here's the recipe:

4 Tbsp. butter (including 2 Tbsp. melted butter for topping)
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 grated onion
1 cup sour cream
4 cups drained French style green beans
1/2 pound swiss cheese
2 cups corn flakes

Melt 2 Tbsp. of butter in large saute pan/skillet.  Stir in flour, salt, pepper, sugar and onion.  Add in sour cream gradually, stirring constantly.  Cook until thickened.  Add drained green beans and heat thoroughly.

Pour into a greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.  Grate cheese* and sprinkle over the top.  Crush corn flakes and mix with 2 Tbsp. of melted butter.  Spread on top of cheese. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Serve when super hot so that cheese is still nice and melted.

* I have used sliced swiss cheese before and it worked fine, so if you cannot find pre-grated swiss cheese and want to save some time, you can go that route.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

The Early Bird Gets the Worm...and the discount on Holiday cards!  I started shopping for Christmas cards several weeks ago.  I like to do things early in case you haven't figured that out yet!  Anyway, one reason that I started early was because many card sites offered discounts to us early birds.  I looked at several sites and came to the conclusion that Shutterfly has, without a doubt, the cutest card templates.

Shutterfly's selection is really endless... They have folding cards, they have flat cards on stationery, and they have the classic photo cards

I placed my order and got them really quickly.  I couldn't be more pleased with them!  I'm not going to show you the ones that I got selected right now, but I will show you the runners up...


While on shutterfly's website, I started looking at all the other great products that they offer and quickly discovered that this could become an addiction!  Will y'all think I'm crazy if you get a photo card for every stinking holiday?  You know if I do Thanksgiving...


and follow that up with Christmas, and then New Year's....

Shutterfly can also satisfy my love for personalized stationery.  Check out these adorable note cards...

I love getting free stuff.  Usually, I pass along the free offers to my readers, but this time, I'm claiming my 50 free cards for writing this blog!  However, if you are interested in entering to win by creating your own post, you can enter HERE.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Are you making a list?

I'm making a list, and checking it twice...

Really, I'm doing pretty good on the Christmas purchases.  I have already checked a few people off my list, and then I purchased two more Christmas presents today.  I have a coupon for another store tomorrow, so that will be another person done.  How is your Christmas/Hanukkah shopping going?

If you need anything from Overstock, and surely you need something for someone from Overstock since they sell just about everything, then I'm providing you a little extra...

A non-expiring code for 10% off! 

One of the things that I love about Overstock is that they only charge $3 for shipping (because I'm cheap like that and hate to pay for shipping)!  Also (I guess depending on where you live), no tax! 

Check out Overstock, they've got something for everyone on your list, even my Mom's Christmas list which consists of gutting her bathroom down to the studs and remodeling... see I can get her faucets there!

Here's the code:  ?121728?    

But wait, there's more (do I sound like an infomercial???).  If you order electronics you can get free shipping with this code:  202234

Happy Shopping!

All the ideas and opinions expressed are my own. No monetary compensation was received for doing this post, however, I was provided with a discount code.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Random Monday

Here's my random list of thoughts for today:

(1) I'm wondering how many days it is going to take me to catch up on sleep? 

(2) Halloween Wrap-Up:  I had more trick-or-treaters than last year.  I decided that there is no need for scary decorations when you have Lola.   She hates Halloween and hates the kids.  When I open the door enough to try and slide outside (usually with kids trying to come inside...why?), Lola turns into Cujo.  She caused every single kid to jump.  I mean literally jump.  I'm not sure, but a couple may have peed their pants.  I finally had to put her in my room for the duration of the night.

Since Lola hates Halloween so bad, I'm thankful I don't live where my parents do...they had enough candy for 450 kids and ran out! 

(3) Otterbox came out with cute colors!  And the best part is that they have a 90 day return policy and I am about a week out from that deadline, so I can get a new one and send the black one back.  I'm not going to lie, this 85 days of having a non-pink case has been rough!


(4) Today is my cousin's birthday.  The reason why I'm noting this is because she is 11.  She was born my second year of law school.  My uncle flew me from Lubbock to Dallas on November 2nd of that year to meet baby Gracie.  This makes me feel old.  I wanted to also include my friends from way back then who remember when Gracie was born into the feeling old state that I'm in now.

(5) Tonight is do or die for the Texas Rangers.  Come on Rangers!  Pull out a win!


(6) Tomorrow is election day.  I'm pretty happy about that because I'm beyond tired of the horrible advertisements on tv.  But remember to vote!  If you don't vote, you don't get to complain!

 

2009 sweet cheeky designs sweet cheeky designs

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