Tuesday, November 30, 2010

25 Days of Christmas

Last year I blogged every day throughout the month of December and I loved it. It actually encouraged me to blog every day which I have kept up with all year. It's more than just blogging every day though. It is a great way to record how we celebrate Christmas and the entire holiday season. I know that it will be a lot of fun to look back at our first Christmas' as husband and wife and have all of those memories cataloged. As we start our family we'll have even more memories to record!

So tomorrow, I am kicking off our 25 days of Christmas for 2010. I even designed our own logo (seen above) to go along with the posts. I will post everyday to discuss something Christmas. We have so much going on, it shouldn't be too hard. We can't wait to share our Christmas happenings with all of you and hope you look forward to following along as we countdown to Christmas! First up tomorrow, our 2010 Christmas tree!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Things I'm loving: November

 1. Pomegranates
I know pomegranates have become the latest trend, but I have been eating them since I was a kid. They are one of my dad's favorite things and he has been eating them for as long as I remember. Michael had never had them before until last year and he has been hooked. We buy ours at Costco because they are the best I've ever found. We buy a case of 6 every week, we can't help ourselves! The season only lasts until January so we gotta get them while we can!

2. Fall Weather
This has definitely been one of the best Fall's I can remember. I mean how often do you get 60's and 70's in November? We had perfect weather for every outdoor activity we had planned this Fall and it was so nice. Hopefully we don't pay for all that nice weather with lots of snow and cold weather in December, January and February!

3. Thanksgiving with our families
The holidays are all about time spent with family and we love this time of year just for that reason. Thanksgiving seems like it is becoming a forgotten holiday since Christmas seems to get earlier and earlier each year. I think Thanksgiving is such a special holiday and we are lucky to be with all of our family on that day.

4. Christmas decor around the house
  I love decorating our house any season, but I definitely love decorating for Christmas. I definitely have the most decor for Christmas. It's always been tradition in our family to decorate the house for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. We still go to my parents the day after Thanksgiving to set up their tree. This year, since I was off of work the entire Thanksgiving week, I was really able to take my time and change things up a bit. I'm really happy with the results. I'll be doing a full post on our tree and all of our Christmas decor as part of my 25 days of Christmas posts.

5. Having my Christmas shopping done!
Last year, we were done Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving and it was so nice not having to worry about it all December long. We didn't have to go out to the mall every weekend and drive around parking lots for 20 minutes looking for a parking spot or deal with angry customers/retail workers. It was so glorious we decided we wanted to do the same thing again this year. Luckily, we don't have a ton of people to shop for so that makes it a little easier. I'm looking forward to another December of relaxation and soaking the holidays in, instead of complaining about them!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving weekend recap

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend. It was so nice to be off all week, I really enjoyed the break. I did some working out, shopping, crafting, Christmas decorating and of course Thanksgiving was in there too! The pictures tell the story best, so prepare for a lot of them!

On Tuesday I got all of the Christmas decorations out of storage

It is a lot of stuff to put in place, but it was a lot of fun!

On Wednesday I worked on a Christmas craft I had seen on one of my blogs. 

These were the final product!

Thursday was Thanksgiving and we relaxed in the morning before heading over to Michael's parents house. We were having dinner there before heading to celebrate with my side of the family at my Aunt Linda's house for dessert.

Michael and I

Jacob with his Mommy, it was his first Thanksgiving!

Auntie Sara and Jacob

Uncle Michael and Jacob

Everyone toasting to Thanksgiving!

Baby Jacob eyeballing some rolls

Jacob had his first taste of sweet potatoes but he was not too happy about it!

Luckily Uncle Michael was there to feed him a bottle so he didn't have to eat any more of those sweet potatoes!

On Friday, we did not get up and do any Black Friday shopping since we only have a couple more gifts to buy and didn't feel like dealing with the crowds. Anything we need could be bought online. We slept in and went to breakfast before heading down to my parents house. It's tradition that we set up my parent's Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. 

Teddy, Arla and Michael working on the lights

Lights done!

Next was the ribbon, Arla and Mom handled that part

Teddy and Dad supervised while enjoying a brew

Finally it was ornament time and everyone got in on the act

The finished product! My whole life is represented with memories on the tree

The final touch was to set-up my Dad's Disney train to run around the bottom of the tree

The tree all lit up at night

My Dad also unveiled the outside lights too, it looks beautiful!

We had fun putting up the tree and hanging out. We had some dinner and watched Kung Fu Panda before calling it a night and heading home. 

On Saturday, Michael and I got up and went to breakfast and then headed home to put up our Christmas tree! I have been dying to set up our new Christmas tree for months now since I bought it. It came together really quickly since it is pre-lit. We love it! It's so nice and full and the tall, slim-cut style fits perfectly in our family room. I will do the full reveal later this week but here is a picture of the tree set-up without any ribbon or ornaments on it.

She doesn't look this naked anymore, believe me!

After we were done decorating the tree we brought all the tubs back down to storage and cleaned things up. We relaxed in the afternoon and just watched some movies. For dinner Michael wanted to go to the new Chick-fil-A in Wheaton since he had never had it before. I had it about 10 years ago when I was in Georgia and I do remember it being really good. We figured since it's been open for a couple of weeks that it wouldn't be as crowded, but we were wrong! It was crazy busy, they even have a heated tent attached to the restaurant for additional seating because it's been so busy. We opted for drive-thru because it was packed inside. The sandwich was delicious just like I remembered and Michael loved it to. Granted, I wouldn't have camped out for it like some crazy people did when it opened, but it is really good.

It was a very long drive-thru line, but it was worth it!

My yummy chicken sandwich deluxe

Today we got up and went to breakfast and then headed to Costco and the grocery store.We always have fun walking around Costco and checking everything out. Before you know it, your cart fills up with all kinds of cool stuff! Our best deal of the day was a new Dyson vacuum. We have needed a new vacuum for a while and I was sick of picking up a cheap one for $100 and only having it last a couple of years. We got 40% off and it was a great deal. Of course I came home and put it together right away to test it out. It works awesome!

New vacuum - The Dyson Animal
After some shopping we headed home. We got changed and I set up a mini photo shoot to take our annual Christmas card picture. Porkchop wasn't really cooperating, but we got a good one for our card. I edited our pictures and got our Christmas card ordered from Shutterfly. I was able to get $100 worth of Christmas cards for free. All I had to pay was $8 for shipping. I hope Shutterfly does this every year for bloggers!

The rest of the day, we relaxed and watched some football. I did some baking and made a yummy Sunday dinner. We are just going to enjoy the rest of the night and pretend like tomorrow isn't Monday. I can't complain though, I had a great 9 days off. I only have 3 weeks of work and then I get 2 weeks off for Christmas. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I have lots of posts planned and I am starting our 25 Days of Christmas posts on December 1st!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Our week in pictures: 11/21 - 11/27

Sunday, November 21: Pasta alla vodka for Sunday dinner, yum!

Monday, November 22: The tubs of Christmas decorations are officially out!

 Tuesday, November 23: Porkchop looking pathetic. He hates when he can't be sitting on me so he wedges himself between me and the couch, and gives me the sad eyes, HA!

Wednesday, November 24: I am loving having time off of work, I was able to work in a craft day!

Thursday, November 25: Happy Thanksgiving!

 Friday, November 26: Putting up my parents Christmas tree, a day after Thanksgiving tradition!

 Saturday, November 27: Putting up our new Christmas tree, full reveal next week!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Here's hoping yours is full of good family, fun times and great food!

We will be having dinner with Michael's family and then heading to my Aunt Linda's for dessert with my family. I can't wait!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

I am so thankful...

1. I have an incredible husband and we make each other happy every day
2. We are surrounded by wonderful family and friends
3. Even after 9 months of trying, we remain hopeful and patient knowing it will happen when the time is right
4. We are happy, healthy, and truly enjoy our life
5. We have a warm, beautiful home to come home to every day

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This week I'm...

Loving: Being off work all week long, it's such a nice break!

Hating: Nothing at the moment, everything is great at the moment!

Craving: Turkey, I can't wait until Thursday! I have been watching so many Thanksgiving cooking shows, it is killing me!

Wanting: To get all of my Christmas shopping done by the end of the week, I'll almost there.

Reading: Lots of holiday recipes trying to figure out what is going to be on our Christmas baking list this year!

Watching: Christmas movies while putting up the Christmas decorations. Love Actually is first up this week, it's one of my favorites.

Listening to: I finally got to brake out the Christmas music, Mariah Carey's new Christmas album is getting a lot of air time today!

Looking forward to: Thanksgiving and putting up our Christmas decorations!

Monday, November 22, 2010

New recipe: Pasta alla vodka

This recipe is from Pioneer Woman. That's all you really need to know. If you don't know who Pioneer Woman is, you must live under a blogging rock. She is one of the few people who makes a living with her blog and she released a cook book last year. Still not convinced, she just beat Bobby Flay in a Thanksgiving Throwdown. Just make it, you'll be glad you did.

1 pound Pasta
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped Finely
2 cloves (to 3 Cloves) Garlic, Chopped
¾ cups (to 1 Cup) Vodka
1 can (About 14 Oz.) Tomato Puree
1 cup Heavy Cream
¼ teaspoons (to 1/2 Teaspoon) Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese


Start cooking your pasta as you start cooking the sauce. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. 

 When butter is melted, add in chopped onion and garlic. Stir and allow to cook for two minutes. 

 Pour in vodka. Stir and cook for three minutes. 

 Add in tomato puree and stir.

 Reduce heat to low and stir in cream. Allow to simmer, being careful not to overheat. 

 Stir in salt and pepper.

 Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water in case sauce is too thick. Splash in a little water if it needs it. Stir in Parmesan cheese.

 Toss pasta with sauce. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!