Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Family and Friends

We've had some fun memories the past few days with our friends and family. I haven't had time to blog about each one individually, so they will all be compiled into this post!

My mom and I used to go to see The Nutcracker Ballet every year when I was young and since I've been an adult we started the tradition up again. The problem this year was that Jonathan and I were not able to make the trip to Toledo the weekend the Nutcracker was playing. My sister-in-law takes her daughters every year and invited my mom and me to go with them on Sunday. It was so interesting to see a different ballet company perform the same story. We had a great time going to brunch before and Starbucks afterwards!

Jonathan and I met up with Tim, Lindsy and Kennedy for a Christmas meal at Panera on Saturday. Lindsy made Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls for us and let me just say OH MY WORD! So good! I'm pretty sure that there is at least a full stick of butter in each roll:) We gave Kennedy her Christmas present from us and she was so precious! We gave her a purse with play makeup, keys, and cell phone and she was so excited! It was so sweet. She knew just what to do with the makeup too. My kind of girl!
Is this not the sweetest? She was thanking us for the present:)
Tonight we went to Smashing Tomato with Derek, Billie, and Eli for a Christmas dinner with them. When we walked in it was hilarious! Billie and I were wearing the EXACT same outfit! Our husbands were embarrassed so of course we had to take a picture! :) We had a great time with them!
Do we look like sisters or what? LOL!
It's so wonderful to be blessed with such wonderful friends in our lives. We cherish them all so much. It makes living far from family so much easier when your friends are practically family.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sales and Deals

So if you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, or if you know me well, you know that I LOVE a good sale! I don't buy anything without it being on sale or having a coupon.

Yesterday Billie and I went shopping for our hubbies and we ended up buying a couple things for ourselves:) hehe. I NEEDED boots (and when I say that I needed boots I mean that the ones I have were purchased back in 2001 and are so totally outdated that I don't ever wear them) and Billie needed some flat shoes so after a very full day of shopping and finding some great stuff for our hubbies, all while Billie was wearing Eli (he was perfect by the way...not even a peep out of him all day...he's going to be a good little shopper!) we headed over to Off Broadway shoes to shop for ourselves!

To say that I am ecstatic is an understatement. I am SO picky about shoes and boots are so expensive that they have to have a perfect toe, perfect heal, and perfect price for me to buy them. I couldn't find anything in the boot aisle, so we walked on back to the clearance racks at the back and sure enough I found 2 (TWO!!) pairs of boots on sale!! Wha??? Here are some pics and stats:

These are Michael Shannon shoes. Originally $120. Off Broadway price $89.90. They were 60% off (35.96) and since they were on clearance, all clearance was an additional 10% off. So the final price was $32.36!! They are a bit more pointy and spikey than I was looking for but I LOVE them! They are HOT!

These are Steve Madden shoes. (I love him!) Originally $99.00. Off Broadway price $69.90. They were 60% off (27.96) and also 10% off. So the final price was $25.16! Seriously, who buys boots for $25?? You can't even get the fake leather ones at Target for that!! I've never been a fan of the bootie style, but when I put them on my feet I was in love. They are soo cute with jeans and I think they will look hot with my sweater dress and tights that I'm wearing to The Nutcracker tomorrow! I wore them out today and they were soo comfy. I have a feeling they will be my favorite shoes!

Today I went to the Loft and all full priced items in the store were 40% off!! Wow! So, I grabbed a scarf that was $34.50 and thought that 40% off would be a perfect deal. Well...the girl rang it up and said that it was actually on Final Sale (not returnable) but they hadn't put the sticker on it yet, so it was only $4.88! WHAT?? Can I really be this lucky? The girl kinda laughed at me and asked if I wanted the other one that was on final sale too. I of course said YESYESYES! Then I went back to the scarves, picked out a full priced scarf (so I could get 40% off) for the person I was originally buying for. I of course am keeping one of the $4.88 scarves, but since they are both the same color, I have another one to give away. I have multiple females in my family I could give it to as a Christmas or birthday present. I wish I could give it to everyone. It's just soo cute and I can't get over that it was $30 off!!!!
I am aware that this is a horrible picture...that's just how much I love you all. I wanted you to see this beautiful $4 scarf!!

So that's all for now... I may be going back to the Loft to get another 40% off scarf...you can't go wrong with giving someone a scarf!

Friday, December 18, 2009

More Christmas Decorations

Yesterday Jonathan and I spent ALL day shopping for Christmas presents! Every year we take a day off work to try to beat the weekend crowds. We get all of our shopping done in one day and then come home and wrap all of the gifts. We were exhausted when we dropped in bed last night but we got so much done!

Here's a look at a few of our presents. I wasn't happy with the wrapping paper selection this year, but I think they ended up looking pretty cute. I like using actual ribbons and/or raffia for wrapping because I think they look prettier:) (Do you see that silver "B"? I got it yesterday at Kohl's for 65% off and I LOVE it! I have 5 different "B's" on the tree!)
Here is my redecorated tree from this post. What do you think? I went wild and crazy and did fun bright colors. I love it. It's in my kitchen and I just think it's so bright and fun! (And that box had a ding in the side so they gave it to me for $1!!)
And here are a few other decorations that I've found here and there on sales at some different stores. Can you tell I like reindeer? (Coda's posing in this one!) I see that some people decorate their dining room table with china and fancy center pieces to make it all pretty, but we use our table daily so that is just not practical for us! Maybe one day when we have a separate dining room.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

1 Corinthians 13 (Christmas Edition)

I read this post by Jon Weece, the senior pastor at the church I work for (but he doesn't use such titles...he goes by "Lead Follower"... He's pretty awesome like that) and just HAD to share it with you all.

Anyway, PLEASE head on over to his blog and read 1 Corinthians 13 in a whole new way. It will give you a great perspective for your Christmas!

(Maybe I should re-read it so I don't get caught up in the hustle and bustle that will be going on tomorrow as J and I take our annual day off work to do all of our Christmas shopping for our family. I always look forward to this day to spend it with my husband.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Outside Lights

I'll try to stay more positive than I was in my last post! Sometimes I just have to vent! :) I guess I was about a week early for the Nester's tour of Christmas! Oops! It's my first Christmas with a blog, so now I know for next year!! :) I got some great ideas for decorating from the other blogs though! Not that I could ever get through 500+ blogs!!

I went outside (we wont talk about the fact that I was in pj bottoms, a t-shirt and slippers. Hey! It was dark out!) and took pictures of the outside lights tonight! Jonathan surprised me one day and put them all up while I was out shopping! What a good husband! He even has to get up on the extension ladder to reach the peak of the garage and I wasn't there to hold the ladder!

I love the look of the white lights! A couple years ago we got a lighted circle tree and last year it died, so we found this little tree at Garden Ridge on the day after Thanksgiving and got it. (Too bad I found one two days later at Kroger that I liked better with more lights.) I really like the look of the tree since our bushes died and it's a bit bare in the front of our house. The little tree on the front porch matches the picture of the tree in my kitchen that I posted yesterday. It was a set of two, but we don't have room for two outside. I love this little tree. It was a great investment our first Christmas together. The urn it's in is soo heavy so I never have to worry about it during storms.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where are the decorations?

So do you all remember when I said I had more decorating to do? That the tree in my kitchen needed to be decorated??


I went to Target, Pier 1, and Hobby Lobby and lets just say I'm disappointed! I am so sick of stores rushing away the current holiday! I mean the Christmas stuff was up before Halloween and now that it's Christmas, all of the spring stuff is already taking over. I mean seriously! I found some cute stuff at Pier 1, but the prices weren't what I was willing to pay. (I'll wait till they go on sale and have them for next year.)

Did you know that Target has replaced the entire area where the winter coats were to bathing suits?? I mean, come on! No wonder I can never find a bathing suit when summer rolls around! I am not psychologically ready to go bathing suit shopping in December! Nor do I have somewhere to wear a bathing suit now! Target's Christmas section seems to be way smaller than normal!!

I went to Hobby Lobby after work on Friday and was sorely disappointed to find a bunch of employees moving all of the Christmas stuff to a smaller section. Yes, they were already putting up the spring stuff! So I walked the aisles and couldn't find anything I came in for. I asked a girl where I could find clear ornament balls (so I could make Kelly's cute ornaments) and she said they were all out. Then I asked where the mesh decorating stuff was and they were out of that too! I wanted to yell and say that we still have 2 weeks left till Christmas!!

I always thought that I was early by putting my tree up the day after Thanksgiving (which I found this year on blogs that I'm not and that lots of people do it before Thanksgiving). Before Thanksgiving I'm in a mood to buy harvest stuff not Christmas stuff! I know some of my friends that are just now putting their trees up. Where are they supposed to find decorations if the shelves are bare? I mean, one of my friends had to go on a hunt over Lexington just to find white Christmas lights!

I just had to get this off my chest and say for the record that I wish that we could enjoy the current season/holiday in the retail world!

Here is a pic of my very sad little tree that needs decorations! I had a specific idea of what I wanted it to look like, but I've given up on finding the decorative mesh and I might have to settle on something at Target. Something is better than nothing right?

It's like a sad little Charlie Brown tree! It needs help!! And fast!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Cookies!!

This past Saturday Jonathan and I drove up to Cincinnati to my brother and sister-in-law's house. My parents were in town visiting them and we had planned on getting together to make Christmas cookies. I'm not much of a baker (I'm good at keeping track of the timer!) but my mom is and it brings back wonderful Christmas memories!

We made 3 of my mom's cookie recipes! First, we made 3 batches of iced cookies. Yes, I said 3 BATCHES! It turned out to be over 140 cookies! I iced a few, but my dad mostly took care of icing the cookies and then my sister-in-law decorated them. She's always all about making them extra pretty! We like a lot of icing in our family! Soo good! Here are a couple pictures of the finished cookies while they were drying.
We were exhausted by the time we finished making those so we almost didn't make the other two types of cookies...but then we sucked it up and started another recipe! We made sugar cookies covered in green and red sprinkles, and also lime jello pressed cookies. (I wish I had pics of both of those kinds, but I don't. Sorry!) Now I have 4 Rubbermaid containers of cookies in my kitchen. Talk about temping!

Monday I ran 3 miles and I told Jonathan it was so that I could eat cookies without feeling guilty. Too bad I decided not to run tonight because of the 40mph wind and bitter cold! I just wasn't feeling up for it. Don't worry. I'll still eat a cookie or two...I'll just feel guilty:) No wonder people gain weight over the holidays!

And just because I think this is so cute, I have to show you all! We were attempting to pose Dakota for a picture for our Christmas card. We always hold him in our Christmas picture, but we took our picture at my brother's house so Dakota wasn't with us. We thought he should be on our card too though! This isn't the picture we ended up using, but seriously...isn't he the cutest little furball you've ever seen in a santa suit?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Free Christmas Templates!

Two posts in one day?? Yes!! (Don't miss my other post today.)

I had to share this great giveaway! Jamie from Designs by Jamie is giving away free Christmas templates today! Check out her blog and get one! Her designs are cute. (I'm totally asking for a blog make-over for Christmas!) What are you waiting for?? Go check it out!

A year ago was a Lifetime ago

Last year on this day our lives changed. We didn't know at the time, but God had some really great growing stuff planned for us and it all started last year exactly one week after Thanksgiving.

Even now, it's hard to think about the raw emotions that that day brought, but without that day happening, we would not be where we are today. Last year on this day, Jonathan lost his job. A year ago today the weight of the world was on our shoulders. How would we pay bills? How would we do Christmas? Who feels like celebrating a holiday when life looks so dark? Why would God let this happen to us? It was the hardest day I think we've ever been through. I remember just holding Jonathan. It was a hard day.

I started blogging not long after that because I had so many emotions and I didn't know what to do with them other than get them out. I had never been into journaling, so I thought maybe I would actually keep up with blogging.

Through those long, very dark days, we grew stronger as a couple and we grew closer to God. Somehow we were able to keep our heads up because of the strength that God gave us. We knew that He allowed this to happen and that He had plans for us and we just needed to follow Him.

So, we followed blindly. We had a great support system of friends and family through that time. I really think that unless you have actually been through losing a job, you don't understand how devastating it is and how how much you need others support and comfort.

After literally months of being told he was too qualified to even interview or get called back for any job, he finally got a call. It was for a temp job, but we were thrilled! It is nearly impossible to work for the University of Kentucky unless you know someone on the "inside", so when a temp job came open in the accounting department Jonathan jumped at the chance! Now, there is no way that he would have ever quit his job at the bank to take a temp job (that's just too far out on a limp than we would ever go), so we knew that God had this in His plans. Without that temp job, he would have never met the people necessary to have access to the permanent job that he did get. The job that was/is way better than any job at a bank! We are so blessed!

Its amazing to look back on our life to see where God's path has taken us. Now we are both (out of banking!) in better jobs (physically and mentally) and we've come out on the other side of that long and very dark tunnel holding hands and looking to God. I love Jonathan more and more with each day after watching him grow in such a hard season of life. Let me tell you, we never take our jobs for granted now! We cherish them!

Pretty awesome to think about. So today isn't a day to be forgotten. It's a celebration day. It's the celebration of the first anniversary of the day that our lives changed.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Decorations

On Black Friday, Jonathan and I got up early (ok, not really), I made Oven Toast (a family specialty breakfast that includes broiling bread with butter and brown sugar) because obviously we were trying to make a healthy choice. Then Jonathan made the climb into the nicely finished attic, which we didn't have at this time last year!

All of a sudden, our garage was FILLED with Rubbermaid boxes. I have some OCD tendencies and one is that all of my holiday decorations have to be in nice sealed boxes so they look all tidy! Well, we started opening up all of the boxes and we got a bit overwhelmed with how much crap...ahem...holiday stuff we have. So we decided to venture out to go shopping to get out of the house. Well it just so happens (we found this out last year) that the shoppers have left the stores by mid-afternoon and the stores still have sales! So we got a few little things (no serious shopping). Then we came come all rejuvenated and started decorating the tree.

I wanted to share some pics of my decorations with you since most of my family is long-distance and won't ever get to see my decorations in person. It's still a work in progress.

First is my tree. This tree has not changed since before we were even married. Well, the tree itself has (we had to get a pre-lit one) but I got most of these decorations for my tree in my apartment during my single days. I obviously like the look of it since I've kept it around for so many years. I thought of doing something different this year, and then we got the stuff out and I decided I still like it!
Next is my Willow tree nativity scene. Jonathan arranged it this year. Didn't he do a great job? Each year that we've been married, I have asked for more pieces to this set. Now I have the complete set and I love it! (Well, complete other than the platform but it's really expensive!)
This is my advent calendar. My mother-in-law gave it to us on our first Christmas we were married. I love it. It's from the Bombay Company (so sad it's gone) and we both enjoy putting the ornaments on it each day. (The ornaments are on magnets.) Growing up, I always did an advent calendar. Each day had a little rhyme about Jesus' birth story. I have such good memories of that. I can't wait to do that with our kids one day.Stockings. Our next house is going to have a fireplace! How else does Santa get in? Yes, Dakota gets a stocking! I love the reindeer holders!Here are some more random pictures:
(The cute snowman is from Pier 1 - love it!)
(This star was my tree topper. I got it when I worked at Pier 1 many years ago but it was so heavy that it didn't stay up on the tree well so I took off the holder and made it into a decoration instead.)
This giant reindeer was a gift from my mother-in-law the second year we were married. I love the holiday stuff she gives us! I look forward to it each year!
I just had to post this picture to show my new purchase at Bath and Body Works. Last night I walked in there and HAD to have this candle. I LOVE the scent and it's just so cute! I had a coupon for a free item with a $10 purchase, so I bought some new body wash and got this for free!! I need to find him a better place to sit though. (Please notice the Holiday Mint M&Ms that Billie so kindly got me hooked on!!)I love snowmen. This is my snowman tree next to my sink! It never changes each year. I like to leave the snowman nutcracker out all winter because who says that snowmen are Christmas-y? They are winter-y!This tree I got at Pier 1 after the season last year when it was like 75% off. I had watched it all season and wanted it so bad! I left it up all winter because I just loved it! (Please disregard the Pup-Peroni's on the counter - they have to be easily accessable for Cody. I'm sure you understand!)
I have a small tree that is still a work in progress. When I finish that I'll have to post more pictures. AND I think our outside lights look great, but it's raining so I'm not going outside to get a picture, so that will have to be later too.

After reading back through this post, I have two things to say: 1) I think I do too much shopping at Pier 1...ok maybe not:) and 2) if you made it to the bottom of this post then you deserve a prize!