Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Weekend!

Hello, my friends! What a truly wonderful Christmas "break" we had. I am so, so glad that I was able to have five full days off to enjoy the holiday. I think it really put me in the mood to celebrate and it allowed me to be completely prepared. What a blessing!

Friday I spent some time with my good friend Kaitlin, catching up and eating delicious scones. It also consisted of "date night" with Collin. We cooked dinner in (so good!) and then went and got frozen yogurt because we have a gift card!

Oh my goodness!!! He actually climbed into my lap to snuggle!!!
Seabass actually climbed into my lap to snuggle. I think as he's getting older he's calming down and wanting to snuggle more and more.
Such a delicious dinner tonight!
Chicken marinated in Italian dressing, oven-cooked asparagus, and honey butter rolls.
Delicious frozen yogurt for dessert!
Frozen yogurt topped with chocolate covered raisins.

Saturday I went to an open house for Kaitlin's ministry job. She works for EdgeCorps at Penn State mentoring and leading college students to Christ. Fantastic work that girl is doing. After that I went to Kohl's and helped my dad finish up his Christmas shopping. After running errands, that evening Collin and I stayed home, watched some Seinfeld and played video games.
My babies sleeping so peacefully.
My babies sleeping so peacefully Saturday morning while I read on the couch.
Just finished this great book!
I finished this book before leaving for the open house. I'm gonna review it soon on here!
Beautiful sky this morning!
Tonight's sunset was really quite pretty!
The sky was so pretty all day on Saturday! We deserved a nice sky though after the massive rain we had on Thursday evening/Friday.

Sunday was a great church service and afterwards Collin and I had lunch and then ran some more errands. After hitting the "chain stores" we decided to check out one of the local thrift stores. What a great decision that was! I got two pieces of clothing for $5 total, a Tommy Hilfiger, green gingham button down, and a pretty black and white dress. We also got an apple peeler/corer for $3 and a 7' artificial spruce Christmas tree for $3! And we got The Invention of Lying on DVD for $2! I think we made out really well! That evening we drove around to a few neighborhoods in the area and looked at Christmas lights. What a neat way to get in the Christmas mood!
So excited about my two thrift store clothing finds. We also got a 7' artificial spruce Christmas tree and an apple peeler/corer. All for $12!!
We're out looking at Christmas lights. And look who's staring at us from the window...
We saw this at one house driving around... a little creepy, no?
He's laying here just purring away. Except as I typed this Collin scared him and he ran away. =(

Monday (Christmas Eve), Collin had to work for about 5 hours that morning. I went to the chiropractor and finished getting stuff ready for the next morning. Once Collin got home though we watched Die Hard since it's a non-traditional Christmas movie and Collin is discussing it when he podcasts tonight. After that we played some video games until it was time to get dressed for church. We went to a 6pm Candlelight service at a church other than ours. My parents always host an Open House gathering on Christmas Eve that starts at 7:00 and we're usually still there or just leaving close to 11:00. Those are both the service times for our church. So the church across the street from my parents' house was very accommodating with their service times. And I'm glad we went. It was a great service! After church we spent the evening at my parents' house visiting with family and good friends. What a great evening we had!
Watching a pseudo-Christmas movie, Die Hard, with these handsome guys.
Watching Die Hard with these handsome guys.

Christmas morning was fantastic! I was so excited I woke up about 5am and couldn't deeply fall back asleep. So Collin and I got up around 7:15. We opened presents (he did really well and I love my gifts!!) and then had cinnamon rolls for breakfast while finishing Die Hard. Around 10:00 we headed to my parents' house to help make lunch. Once my sister and brother-in-law arrived about 12:45 we had a turkey lunch which was delicious! Then we opened presents and were all so spoiled! After present time we played my mom's new game, "Bubble Talk". If you've not heard of it, check it out. It's similar to "Apples to Apples" only you are captioning a picture instead of determining nouns to adjectives. We laughed pretty hard at some of the pictures and captions. About 4:30 we left my parents and heading to see Collin's parents. When we got there we had a delicious ham dinner. And afterwards we opened presents and got spoiled by Collin's parents also! After dinner we watched Christmas Vacation; it was only my second time seeing it!
Merry Christmas! Waiting for my sister and brother-in-law to get here to open presents and eat lunch!
The tree at my parents' with the presents waiting to be opened.
Best. Tshirt. Ever.
The new shirt I bought for Collin.
This dinner looks amazing!!
Lunch ready to eat on the table!
Happy Martin kitties sunning while we opened presents. Missing my babies though while we're out spending the day with our families.
My parent's cats sunning themselves while we opened presents.
Sitting in front of the in-laws pretty tree. We just finished watching "Christmas Vacation". =)
The in-laws' tree we gazed upon all evening!

All in all I would say it was a pretty fantastic Christmas!! We had such fun and it was filled with lots of family and friends and love and good food!

I hope your day (and weekend) was just as good as ours was! And may you carry the Christmas spirit with you all year through! After all, Christ is with us all year through!


Friday, December 21, 2012

And The Sun Will Rise

Happy Friday! I'm so excited! Not only is today Friday, but it's only 4 more days until Christmas!! Yay! It's really quite cloudy out today and a bit wet... It's not raining anymore, but we had some fierce wind and rain last night! I'm glad Collin and I got home before it got too nasty out! So, because I didn't get to see a pretty sunrise from my apartment this morning I'm reliving Tuesday's gorgeous sunrise here today with some pictures!


I hope you guys have a great weekend! I hope it's full of lots of fun Christmas preparations!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree!

I finally got some bokeh pictures of my Christmas tree! Since I don't have a true DSLR, the Nikon 1 is kind of a mix between DSLR and a point and shoot, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get any bokeh pictures because the camera likes to auto focus. However, I figured out a way to trick it!! I zoom in close to the tree and stand close focusing on a light. Then while holding down the shutter button slightly to "focus" I back away from the tree continuing to lightly press down the shutter button. Then when I'm far enough away and have the desired effect I want I push it down the rest of the way to get my photo! If you know of a better way to get bokeh shots with the Nikon 1, I am not opposed to hear them. This is what I figured out works for me. =)


I'm so excited that Christmas is in less than a week. 5 more days to be exact! And today is my Friday, and then I have a 5 day weekend!! =D Happy Thursday, friends.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

Yesterday I had a sick day. =( I started feeling icky on Monday evening. It started with a sore throat and I went to bed congested. Then I could barely sleep because my throat hurt so bad and I kept waking up not being able to swallow due to the pain. So I woke up Tuesday morning and my throat felt like knives were in there. I feel better today, thank goodness. Not 100%, but my throat is not nearly as bad and the congestion is mostly gone. At least while I was home yesterday I got to enjoy some relaxing, TV watching, play/snuggle with my kitties and wrap all my Christmas presents (with the exception of Collin's)!

The sunrise this morning was beautiful!
We had a gorgeous sunrise yesterday. I unfortunately woke up at my semi-normal time since I didn't know I would be too sick to go to work. But this sunrise made up for it. It was like the sky was on fire!
I tried to let him out of his cage but he just wanted to stay in there and chase his tail. lol
Seabass had been misbehaving so I put him in his cage for a few minutes to calm him down. I tried to let him out of his cage but he just wanted to stay in there and chase his tail. lol
This baby is so content just sleeping on his pillow on the couch.
Stank was so content just sleeping on "his" pillow on the couch yesterday. He barely moved.
At least a sick day is good for something... I got all my presents wrapped.
Most of my wrapped presents. Some I'd already put in their boxes to mail!

I hope that you have a good Wednesday, my friends! We've got our work "Dirty Santa" gift exchange today so that should be a lot of fun! It's always fun to see the gifts being passed around!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Need To Shop, Still?

*Before I start this post, I want to say that I was in no way sponsored to write this or review this site. I am doing this all on my own because I believe in what this company is doing and want to introduce my blog friends to this goodness!*

A couple weeks ago our church hosted a Handmade Gifts sale featuring items from the company Serrv. My friend Jeannie was coordinating this sale and so I helped her out a bit because I really thought it was a great concept. All the items that this company provided have been hand made by artisans of third-world countries. And all the profits from the sales of the items go directly to the artisans themselves. Serrv is a nonprofit organization so they do not take a commission from the pieces sold. The mission of Serrv is to eradicate poverty by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers in these third-world countries. From the Serrv website:

"We strive to enrich lives around the world and to inspire real change for the better.
Our work encompasses more than just buying and selling.
We offer prepayments so our partners can sustain their business.
Create new designs so they can build their markets.
Teach new skills so they can develop their craft.
Provide grants so they can expand their resources. "

I love what this company is doing! I love that they are providing resources for the artisans to continue with their business. I love that they are teaching them new skills and giving them support. I think this is a fantastic program and company. And the products that they sell are great! I love how unique they are and how much of a selection there is. I bought a few Christmas presents from Serrv this year and I know that I will continue to buy gifts (and things for myself) from them.

A few of my favorite things are (all captions are links to that item)

This Autumn Gem Necklace

This Coin Purse
This Orange Weekender Bag
This Orange Business Bag
This Wooden Cat Family
This Carved Floral Wall Hanger
This Autumn Basket

and so much more! They have WONDERFUL products. Go browse and look at the many different and wonderful products you can buy!

If you still have some Christmas shopping to do, check out Serrv. It's not too late to order from them (so long as you live on the East Coast/Midwest) to have your items shipped for Christmas! And the prices are quite good! I can guarantee the gifts you give will not be duplicate gifts! And the best part about it is, you're supporting a REALLY good cause. You can honestly feel good about gifting. Sometimes I hate the over commercialization of the holiday and that most of the products you buy come from China, a country not struggling at all. The gifts I've bought from Serrv are supporting someone who IS struggling; it's nice knowing I've given back in a way this Christmas season.

I urge you to check it out and consider buying some goodies from Serrv. And even if it's too late for your Christmas shopping, keep it in mind for other presents you may need to buy, or even for yourself for new home decor, fashion accessories, and even food!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Bringing Christmas Cheer

Last night I went caroling with my book club. We decided a few weeks ago that in lieu of our normal meeting we wanted to go caroling to some people in our church and to a few community places. I must say, we had SO much fun!! I hadn't laughed that hard in a while, either! Everywhere we went the people we sang to were very appreciative and it made us so happy to be able to bring a little joy to their day! There were only six of us that were able to go, but it was perfect! We all piled into an Explorer and drove around town. And we even got to sing to some people over the Bluetooth phone in the car. That was when we laughed the most, I do believe. =) So wonderful. I hadn't been caroling in quite a while and so it was wonderful to get to go and spread some Christmas cheer!

Our first stop of the evening was at the fire house where we wanted to sing to the volunteers on duty that night. There were actually only two guys at the station at the moment! There were 5 other people at the station but they were in a training class. So, we sang our best for those two men! Outside the firehouse was a big and beautiful tree! Before we left I snapped a few photos of it and want to share one with you today!

Caroling with my book club tonight and this pretty tree was in front of the firehouse!

If you get the opportunity to go caroling, I think you should go. It doesn't matter if you think you have a good voice or not. Just go make a joyful noise and bring some Christmas cheer! It's so fun and so worth it! Even when it's cold! And if you don't know what to sing, I'll give you a copy of the song book I made for our excursion; just ask me for it. 14 fun Christmas songs to choose from!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

Is there a better way to prepare for Christmas than by snuggling on the couch in your PJs with your husband and your cats while drinking hot chocolate? I'm sure there is, but this way was pretty great for us! It was a nice relaxing evening and one that definitely put me in the Christmas spirit!

Enjoying delicious hot chocolate made by Collin while lounging in my PJs.
That sweet face melts my heart. And he sure does love his daddy, just like I do!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Eskimo Kisses

This past weekend was a really delightful one. For the most part it was really relaxing and fun!

Friday was my day off and I spent it cleaning up around our apartment. I did have to come into work for about an hour to send some pallets off on a truck but it wasn't bad! The truck came a lot sooner than I expected so I was there for one hour instead of three! Then in the evening I cooked dinner and burned my fingers. =( It was so stupid but I pulled a pan out of the oven with butternut squash on it. I used the oven mitt to pull it out and set the pan on the stove to test and flip over the squash... well, I had the oven mitt on to touch the squash and I grabbed the pan to steady it with my other hand that DIDN'T have on an oven mitt. It touched for maybe a split second but it was the most excruciating pain!! I have never burned myself like that before and boy I don't ever want to again. My fingers throbbed ALL night. Fortunately it was a very slight 1st degree burn, I have no blistering and it actually is mostly healed now. The skin is just a little tight in the areas on my fingers that touched. But goodness. That was no fun. So after Collin finished making dinner and we ate, I finally put ornaments up on the tree! I'd been putting it off because I was afraid of Seabass attacking the tree and destroying my ornaments. So far he's only gotten two ornaments off and has only gotten in the tree once... Ha! I didn't put any on the bottom of the tree and none of my fragile ones are on. But it makes me happy! I'm gonna take more pictures possibly this week!

Eskimo kisses with a cat are the best.
Eskimo Kisses with a cat are the best!
He sleeps in the most funny positions! I'm just glad he's asleep and not terrorizing the house.
He sleeps in the most funny positions! I was just glad he was asleep and not terrorizing the house
I finally got some ornaments on the tree. Here's hoping the cats don't destroy them...

Saturday after Collin got off work we ran our usual errands. Then that evening we went to a local farm, Flat Iron Farms, and walked around the barns and shops. We saw lots of cool animals. And the light show is always awesome. They have SO many lights up around the driveway of the farm. And the main house has lights that are set to music. It's so great! After we were done looking around at the farm we went over to my sister's apartment where she and Tim fed us chili. It was delicious and they had so much food! I will be making the cheese dip and apple spice cake they had!

Bubby Knott's 002
The goats have this ramp they can climb up onto to get onto one of the pens. It's so fun to watch them up there!
Bubby Knott's 004
Bubby Knott's 006
Bubby Knott's 008
Miniature Ponies!
Bubby Knott's 009
Mom and baby goats
Bubby Knott's 011
Bubby Knott's 014
Alpaca (brown) and Llama (white and tan)
Bubby Knott's 015
Bubby Knott's 016
Miniature Donkeys
Bubby Knott's 017
Bubby Knott's 018
Bubby Knott's 021
This ginormous guy is a Watusi. I literally let out a shriek when I peered into his stall. It surprised me. And his horns are HUMONGOUS!
Bubby Knott's 023
This is a Joseph (or Four Horned) Sheep

Yesterday was a very "chill" day. Collin and I stayed home most of the day watching tv and laughing at and playing with our goofy cats. We did go out to find some chew toys for Seabass since he has decided that chewing on our pillows and comforter is now his new favorite thing. We've had to keep our bedroom door closed which makes our bedroom freezing! I hate it! Plus, it's less space the cats have to wander around in when the door is closed. Hopefully providing him with his own pillow he actually is allowed to chew on will prevent him from destroying our bedding... Anyway, we also finished up our Christmas shopping yesterday. Well, all except for one person. That makes me VERY happy. Now it's just the wrapping that needs to get done.

The boys are snuggly today!
Seabass never likes to lay on us and snuggle. So when he does I always try to document it!

 then, she {snapped}

How was your weekend? I hope it was as nice as mine. I am SO tired today though. For having a relaxing weekend I can't believe how tired I am. But oh well. I'll survive. =) Happy Monday!


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