Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry (day after) Christmas!

Two days after my last post, something BIG happened!  I'm still working on putting together that post, so in the meantime, a glimpse into the happenings of the past couple weeks.

Josh and I celebrated our Christmas early on Sunday evening.  Out of sight is a crazy house turned upside down from packing.  This is our little corner of peace!

Josh spoiled me with the tablet I've been pining over for some time.  I love it!

One of my favorite holiday recipes: mint brownies.  I made these for my company's potluck and again to bring to my family for our goodie exchange.  I could eat the whole pan by myself!  I'll post the recipe soon, I promise!

An easy devil's food cake box mix recipe improvised with some holiday mint M&Ms.

Another easy box cake mix recipe using French vanilla cake mix and some Christmas sprinkles.

Christmas Eve at my parents' home.  Ricky looks so festive and majestic!

Now instead of running to open presents at the wee hours of the morning as we did as children, we gather around the table for breakfast first.  A new family favorite is this delicious cranberry orange buttermilk cake.

Christmas morning.  The Santa tree topper is probably as old as I am and has taken a couple falls.  Even with a few bumps and bruises, us "kids" refuse to let my mom replace it.  It's just one of those traditions we can't let go!

Ricky Ricardo stands guard over my gifts.  My family truly spoiled me again this year!

This Christmas was yet another reminder of how blessed I am to have such an amazing family.  It's nice to be able to surround yourself with the people you love most and recharge your mental batteries.  And while my siblings and I are all grown, having my 3 year old niece around really makes Christmas come alive again with excitement.

The next few days will be busy as we move into our new home and try to get settled in before the new year gets in full swing.  I normally spend New Year's Eve/Day with my family, barely making it to midnight to watch the ball drop!  This year, however, Josh and I are going to spend this time together enjoying a low key dinner at our favorite Italian spot downtown, Cibo.  I'm looking forward to the new year and can't wait to see some big goals come to fruition.  Now to make that resolution list!

Merry (belated) Christmas and a Happy New Year to you!  May the new year bring all the health, wealth, and happiness you deserve!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Good News!

You may remember from last week's post, I mentioned my stress over not having found a rental home with just over 3 weeks left til our move-out date.  Well the stars and moon aligned just right and we found and were approved for the perfect property!  It was the last house I had found and was my last hope.  After just stepping in the front door, both Josh and I knew it was the one and thank goodness!  Now to just transfer all the utilities/bills and to pack!

Last weekend I spent some time with my family to celebrate my mom and younger sister's birthdays.  While there, my sister and I put one of my holiday pins to practice and made some festive headbands for my niece and ourselves.  It was a quick, easy, and cheap project coming in at only $4 for 8 headbands thanks to the Dollar Tree and the dollar section at Target.  Everyone got in on the festivities!  We also picked out the family Christmas tree, a tradition we hold onto whether it be chopping down our own as we did in earlier years or picking one from the Home Depot parking lot.  While I thought this little guy was adorable, it didn't make the cut!

This weekend I have plans to begin my holiday baking, starting with my favorite mint chocolate brownies for my company's holiday potluck.  I live for these brownies and I know you will, too, once you try it for yourself.  Recipe to come soon!

As Christmas approaches and I've crossed house hunting off my list of to-dos, I've also managed to cross off a few more people on my shopping list.  What a relief!  I feel like I'm able to enjoy the holiday more now.  Even Ricky is feeling the holiday cheer!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Countdown

Christmas is less than 3 weeks away.  Three weeks, folks!  As much of a planner as I am, I am not prepared for this Christmas at all.  Josh and I picked out our tree on Sunday and plan to decorate it today, and I got most of our decorations up Sunday while watching a marathon of Who The *&$% Did I Marry? on Netflix (so festive, right?!), but that is about as far as I've gotten with our holiday preparations.  Normally I would have most, if not all, of my shopping done by this time but I don't even think I've completed half of it. Enter holiday stress eating!

 Like Santa, I like making lists.  In fact, I live by my lists and rely on them to keep me straight.  Even if I go out of town to my parents' for a weekend, I make a list of items to pack or sure as sh*t I will forget something.  And so every year I make a list of what to get each member of my family (and Josh's family as well).  Over the years we've also started a group email thread for everyone to include a few items from their wishlist.  This is probably the first time I've been stumped about what to ask for--is that a sign that I'm a legit grown up now?!  I've got my shopping list ready but I haven't had much time to cross everyone off yet so I'm feeling the pressure and hoping to be done in the next week.  Oh the pressure!

On top of preparing for the holidays, Josh and I are moving into a new place the weekend after Christmas since our current home goes on the market in January.  Where are we moving, you ask?  No freakin clue!  Enter more holiday stress eating.  We were initially hoping to buy a house this year but decided we should save up more over the next year in order to have a better down payment and competitive edge if need be.  We're hoping to have our new residence locked down in the next week because not knowing where you're going to live is kind of a big deal in my book!  Plus, there's all the logistics of forwarding your mail, utilities, packing, and the actual move just over three weeks.  Again with the three weeks, folks!

In the lead up to Christmas, I'm trying to stay in the moment and in the spirit as much as possible.  The older I get, the more it seems like time just flies by so I'm trying to soak it all in and enjoy every moment possible.  In the meantime, I've rounded up a few recipes to try and a few quick DIY projects I'm hoping to complete so all my pinning doesn't go to waste!  Now that November has passed (where the heck did that time go?), I'm shifting from all recipes pumpkin to all things mint and chocolatey.  Nothing puts me more in the mood than dark chocolate and candy canes, even more so if they are part of a cookie/cupcake/whoopie pie!  Check back in throughout the month to see some of my holiday festivities!

If you have any great holiday recipes, traditions, or projects, I'd love to hear about them!