Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Weekend Recap: Christmas Decorating

Hey all!  Happy Tuesday!  It's hard to believe that we are only a few days away from my very favorite holiday.  I took the entire week off of work, so I am a bit out of routine.  Which is why this post is coming to you a day late, and later in the day than normal.  I have been enjoying taking things easy!  

This past weekend my parents came to town to help me decorate for Christmas, hang a few things, and help me with a few little odds and ends around the house.  I took a half day on Friday, which was really nice.  I was just counting down the minutes til it was time to go home, because I was SO excited to get decorating.  I had gotten all my fall and Christmas tubs out the night before, so I was ready to 'defall' and get out alllll the Christmas.  Putting away didn't take too long, although I realized that since I bought quite a few new things this year for my fall decor, I needed an extra tub, haha!  We then put my dad to work, hanging a little shelf in the bathroom.  I can officially say that a room is totally complete in my place...even if it is just the half bathroom.  

Since the weather was really nice, we decided to tackle the outside decor first.  I had these lofty plans when I first started dreamy of my Christmas decorations with little trees flanking the front door, lighted garland around the door, lighted wreaths on even window...but reality set in with the cost of all that, I chose instead to keep it simple with a lighted wreath on the door, and a sled that my grandma had picked up earlier this year.  We used a strand of these battery operated lights, which are set to go on for 6 hours, and they worked really well!  My dad ran to Lowe's to get a few things to help secure the sled against the house, and we were good to go.

Next up were the trees and garland.  I had a prelit tree, but a few years ago a section wouldn't like up, and we could not find a replacement bulb that would work, so my mom and I took all the lights off, and put new lights on.  I treated it as prelit, still, and just would leave the lights on when putting it away.  Well, after a year or two of that, they were looking a little messy, so we took them all off, to then put back on.  It was kind of a pain, haha, but well worth it!  One of the things I was super excited about in this place was the fireplace, and the fact that the stairs weren't completely walled in.  I already had garland for the mantle, and then my parents had two pieces of leftover garland from their decor that we hooked together, and hung on the stairs.  I used battery operated lights for those, as well.  I keep them on pretty much the entire day that I am home, but next week, when I am back at work, I will set the timer so that they go on right before I get home in the evenings.  We had another little tree to work with - one for my bedroom.  I already had a little tree that I used to keep in my bedroom, but since I started collecting Shiny Brite ornaments, I wanted a larger one to put them all on.  We got that up, and lighted.  I think this is where we stopped for the first night, and felt really good about what we had accomplished.

all my shiny brite ornaments!

My mom was up super early on Saturday, so when I got up and came downstairs, she already had a few things placed and decorated.  It looked so pretty - I really can't wait to share my Christmas home tour.  

After more decorating and a yummy breakfast, my pastor and his wife stopped by.  They are downsizing a bit, and I purchased a rocker and a dresser from them.  They have gorgeous antiques, and I was SO excited to find these two pieces.  The rocker is in the living room (and it's sooooo comfortable), and the dresser is perfect for what I have in mind in the guest room.  When we were trying to come up with a good time for me to pick up, they kindly offered to bring it over.  SO very nice!  

Soon after that, we left my dad with a list of items to fix (running toliets, light panels, etc.) while my mom and I did a little shopping.  I actually didn't need all that much, which was pretty exciting for me.  When we decorated for fall, it just seemed like my old things weren't working and I needed to buy quite a few newer items.  This time, however, it all seemed to come together very well, and I only need to pick up a few little things.  We finished decorating, and all relaxed a bit before bed.

We had one more project to finish in the morning - hanging some things over my couch.  I am having a print framed, but I knew the dimensions, so we just cut a piece of wrapping paper to size, that way we could at least get the other items up.  It looks SO homey with things finally on the wall, and while I was a little worried that the bare spot would really bother me, it doesn't at all.  I am just so happy to have things on the wall!

Since my parents left later, I missed church, so instead brewed myself a cup of copy, and sat down to a few shows / Christmas books, with a couple loads of laundry in between.

As I mentioned earlier, I am off this week, so it was nice to take a break from prepping for the work week.  Especially after a busy few days getting the house ready for Christmas!

I will be back tomorrow with a recap of my Fall Bucket list, and then I will see you all back here next Monday, for a full recap of the holiday week!    

Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday Favorites: Snow, Amazon, Christmas Books, Ornament Exchange & Juggling the Holidays

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a few cents of commission at no additional cost to you.

Hey all!  Happy Friday!

1.  As I am typing this on Thursday afternoon, it is STILL snowing in St. Louis.  It started last night, and just keeps on going.  And let me tell you, I am here for it!  It's such a winter wonderland out there.  It's snowed THREE times in the last week, which I feel like is normally unheard of here at this time of the year.  It's actual snow, not a freezing rain mix that we normally get.  I finally went out and got a shovel Wednesday night - before I was just using a broom to clear it out, but with the inches they were calling for, I knew I needed something a bit more heavy duty.  I have a feeling I am going to need to do another round of shoveling shortly - the desk is almost completely covered again already!  This snow has gotten me in the Christmas mood, and cannot wait to get all my decorations out this weekend.  I have already started burning one of my favorite Christmas candles (Bath & Body Works Cinnamon Clove Buds - it smells exactly like my favorite Hot Cinnamon Sunset tea)...tis the season!  I will say, as much as I am loving the snow, I do hope it stops soon so that the roads get completely cleared and dried for the weekend.  I love snow when I am able to be at home and enjoy it, but once I have to be out and about it's game over.

2.  Speaking of decorations, I just want to sing the praises of Amazon.  For whatever reason, I didn't really make use of my Amazon Prime membership until more recently.  And now that is the first place I look for things.  I have battery operated string lights headed my way, as well as candles for my windows.  Both have timers, too, which is going to be so nice!  I can't wait to come home to everything lit up and cozy right as I step in the door.  

I also grabbed a pair of these Zella legging dupes Lindsay posted about last week.  I have been wanting to try Zella leggings for awhile, but it always seemed like I had other things I would rather spend the money on, and I am really partial to Reebok capris and leggings for working out.  But, I didn't have a great pair of leggings to wear out and about, or even just lounging at home, so I am excited to have these to fit that bill!

3.  This time of year I love reading holiday books.  I literally spent one of my lunches this week looking up Christmas books and requesting them from the library.  I think I may have requested 20 books or so.  Which is a bit ridiculous, because I don't think I am going to have enough time to read all those books...but hey, I can try!  I thought I would link up to my past holiday book reviews, in case you are a fan of holiday books like me!  

Christmas 2017 Reads 
Christmas 2016 Reads 

4.  Another favorite this week is the ornament exchange I am co hosting with other ladies.  We announced on Monday, but below are the details in case you missed it.  We would LOVE for you to join in spreading the Christmas cheer!

I am teaming up with two other ladies, Adrienne @ All Adrienne, and Jaclyn @ Coffee Pancakes & Dreams to host a fun ornament exchange!  Here are the details:

  • Sign up via Elfster (link here) by Monday, November 19th. (Please only sign up if you are absolutely able to participate - trust me when I say it is a huge bummer when you are matched with someone who doesn't follow through - I am speaking from experience!)  
  • Spending limit: no more than $10.00 (before shipping), or make something handmade!
  • Please ship your package no later than Monday, December 10th.
  • To spread the word / share your ornament, post online with the hashtag, #OrnamentExchange18, and/or link up with us on Monday, December 17th.
  • A few things to note:
    • To participate, you must reside in the U.S.
    • You do NOT have to be a blogger, or even have social media to participate.  This exchange is more about spreading Christmas cheer than anything!
    • Each person gives / receives one gift anonymously.  Who you give to is normally someone different than who gives to you.
5.  Something I think we can all relate to is the busyness that the holidays bring.  Whether it be travel, work functions, kids' events, or even just memory making (or all the aforementioned) - it can be tough juggling everything the holidays bring.  This month's Girl Chat link up was on that exact topic.  I didn't get a chance to check all the posts yesterday, but that's on the agenda for this weekend, because I am sure there are tips and tricks we can all benefit from.  You can click here to see my post, then scroll down to the bottom for all those that linked up!

Hope you all have a great weekend!  

Linking up with AndreaErikaThe Blended Blog.  

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Girl Chat: Tips for Juggling the Holiday Season

Hey all!  Happy Thursday!  It's time for this month's Girl Chat link up.  I will be honest...this reallllly snuck up on me.  I can't believe it is already the third week in November.  It's going to be the new year before we know it!

Here is what we have been chatting about throughout the year...

And today, it's all about the holidays.  It seems like the Christmas spirit has hit people even earlier than normal!  I don't know how many people I saw on social media decorating for Christmas, days after Halloween.  I am all for decorating early, but for some reason that first weekend just seemed TOO early for me, haha.  But, the bug bit me shortly after that weekend, because now I am chomping at the bit to get all decorated for Christmas.  Luckily, that is on the agenda for this weekend!

The holidays can tend to get crazy (an understatement?).  For me, it means travel, lots of gift buying, and scheduling - Christmas parties, and any other fun festive activities I want to do...which is pretty much all of them!  What helps me keep a handle everything?  Lists, lists, and more lists.

Lists for travel - I like to make a list of everything I need to pack.  From outfits, to toiletries, to gifts...it all gets written down.  When I just think of things in my head, I tend to get overwhelmed, and usually I forget something (or multiple things, haha!).  I write out the days, then think about what will be going on that day, check the weather...all that good stuff.  And, when I do think of things that I need to take with me (other than clothes / toiletries), I grab them while I am thinking of it and make a pile.  This makes it easy to review my list if everything is in one spot, and (usually) keeps me from forgetting things.

Lists for gift buying - I LOVE gift giving.  It is one of my favorite things.  I come by that honestly, because my mom is the same way.  To help keep track of the people I buy for, and how much I spend, I create an excel sheet that has a column for the person, the item, the actual cost, the budgeted cost, and the variance between actual and budgeted.  I'll be honest, I am not the best at budgeting for Christmas presents, but this year, with all I'd like to buy for the condo, I need to be better about sticking to an actual budget.

Lists for holiday fun - This is where a planner / calendar comes in handy, along with a list!  The holiday season seems like it gets shorter and shorter every year.  There is so much fun I want to fit in, but it never seems like there is nearly enough time to do it all!  One thing that helps is creating a bucket list - all the things I hope to do.  Usually that gets pared down a bit to be more realistic, but you gotta start somewhere!  I get out my planner / calendar, write down the events I know I have on specific days (Christmas work parties, church stuff, etc.) and then figure out where I can schedule all the other things in at.  It may be as simple as blocking off a night to go look at Christmas lights, but I find if I don't plan it on specific day, or write it down, odds are it probably isn't going to happen.  And even if it doesn't happen on that day, it's still at the front of my mind, simply because I wrote it down.  

Other than lists, I try to be early with things.  I know I mentioned above that I felt like people were decorating SO EARLY this year.  But honestly, doing the decorating early is so nice, and then you can just sit and enjoy during the holiday season.  And if you decorate early, you get more time to enjoy it.  Who doesn't want to that?!  (My family, that's who, haha!  They are fully in the 'you don't decorate until after Thanksgiving' camp.)  For me, having everything festive is something I make sure to do prior to Thanksgiving.  

Same goes with shopping - it always helps to get my shopping done early.  I have started shopping already, but I like to get the bulk of the items during Black Friday / Small Business Saturday when there are sales.  Although it does seem like there are some pretty darn good sales prior to Thanksgiving.  But my mom and I always go out the two days after, so that's why I say those two days specifically.  This way I can get things wrapped and under my tree.  Besides, if I am buying for co workers, or adopting a family, those things have to be done well in advance of Christmas anyways.  And, while I love the rush of all the people out shopping on Black Friday, any other day I would rather do without fighting the crowds for any last minute shopping.  So getting my shopping done early is key!    

Basically, making lists, and getting things done sooner than later are the two ways I juggle the most wonderful time of the year!

Now, for the link up.  Just grab our graphic, link up and let's get to chatting!  Make sure to stop by a few others linked up for an extra bit of girl chat! 

Danielle - Bloglovin' | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter 

Emily - Bloglovin' | Instagram | Pinterest 

Lindsay - Bloglovin' | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest 

Lizzie - Bloglovin' | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest 

Sierra - Bloglovin' | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

November 2018 Book Review

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a few cents of commission at no additional cost to you.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.  I went into this book not knowing what to think.  For awhile, all I read were raves about this book.  Until someone mentioned it be a bit 'controversial'...so I had to look that up.  I think that might have colored my view going into this, but at the same time, I just don't think it was for me.  I was super turned off by the intro letter.  I think had I not read that, I would have been a little more open minded, but it just rubbed me the wrong way a bit.  A lot of 'humble bragging' if you will...and a bit all over the place if I remember right.  There were a few good takeaways - one in which she talks about how you hate when people let you down, but if you think about it, you are the first person to let yourself down.  Example - giving yourself excuses on working out.  I know I have done that, but I never thought of it as 'breaking plans with myself'.  That struck me a bit.  Other than that, it just wasn't my cup of tea.  And while it's touted as a Christian book, I wouldn't necessarily characterize it that way.  All in all, I just wasn't a fan and the only reason I finished it was because I kept wanting to like it, if that makes sense?  I wanted to understand why everyone liked it so much, but I just never got there.   

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware.  I really enjoyed The Woman in Cabin 10, so I was excited when I saw this book at the library.  It didn't disappoint.  It's another thriller - a woman finds out she was left an inheritance, but she thinks they have the wrong person.  The book goes through her decision on whether or not to go try to collect, and then what the consequences of that decision are.  It kept me guessing - every way I thought it was going to end up was wrong.  And I feel like it is tied up nicely at the end, which is something I always enjoy in a book.

Us Against You by Fredrik Beckman.  This is the sequel to Beartown, which I read back in February (review here).  I loved it.  Truly loved this book.  An issue I had with Beartown was that I felt there were loose ends at the end.  Only to find out, that this book was coming out.  It picks up pretty much right where Beartown ended, and goodness, did it have me hooked.  And was it sad.  I cried a good portion of the end.  You get introduced to some new characters, and while it does have an epilogue, you still get a relatively closed ending.  I think it's worth reading Beartown first, but I do think that you can read this as a standalone book, too.

It was a relatively light reading month for me, but it's ramping back up and I am excited to read ALL the Christmas books!  I never found any good 'fall' books, but there is always next year!

Linking up with Steph.            

Monday, November 12, 2018

Weekend Recap + Ornament Exchange Announcement!

Hey all!  Today I have both the recap of my weekend and a fun announcement at the bottom - I am co-hosting an ornament exchange with some other lovely ladies!

First for the weekend.  I was a bit of a mess Friday.  My brother and his family came to visit me, and the forecast was calling for snow showers a good portion of their drive here.  This, of course, did not phase my brother, but I am a huge worrywart, especially when it's weather related (I hate driving in ANY type of precipitation, haha) so I was just counting down the hours until they arrived.  I had to run a few errands after work, then do a quick clean up before they arrived, so I was able to keep myself relatively busy.  Thankfully, they made it in one piece, even running into some sketchy weather.  What's funny about the whole worrying thing, is this week, I reading my devotional and the scripture that went with it, was about worrying and how by doing so you can't even add an hour to your life, so what does it do if it can't do that?!  Very fitting.  And obviously something I need to work on, haha.
first snow in my condo!

We were up early - them even more than me, since they are on Eastern time.  After breakfast (made by my brother - I felt like the worst host, haha!), we got ready to head out.  It was really fun, because my sister in law got ready in my bathroom, and we were able to talk make up and just catch up in general.  We made our way to The Magic House, which is a children's museum / activity center in St. Louis. It was my first time there, and oh my gosh.  That place is insane.  The sheer amount of people and kids there was ridiculous, and there were just so many cool things.  If you are ever in the area, and looking for something to do with kids, that is THE place to be!  We grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A, then headed back to my place.  My nephew went down for a nap, and we pretty much crashed on the couch, too.  I think we were all worn out!  Once my nephew woke up, we played, had dinner delivered, and played some more.  At one time, my brother and I were still putting together little puzzles, while my nephew had long moved on to a new toy, haha!  It was early to bed for them, and not too much later for me.

Another early morning on Sunday - and another breakfast compliments of my brother.  I literally got woken up, and minutes later had a hot breakfast on the table!  They left shortly after eating, and it was the sweetest thing, because my nephew said he didn't want to go and was going to stay with 'Auntie Em'.  I went on with my Sunday as usual after they left...Sunday school, church, and prepping for the week ahead.   

Now for the ornament exchange announcement!
I am teaming up with two other ladies, Adrienne @ All Adrienne, and Jaclyn @ Coffee Pancakes & Dreams to host a fun ornament exchange!  Here are the details:

  • Sign up via Elfster (link here) by Monday, November 19th. (Please only sign up if you are absolutely able to participate - trust me when I say it is a huge bummer when you are matched with someone who doesn't follow through - I am speaking from experience!)  
  • Spending limit: no more than $10.00 (before shipping), or make something handmade!
  • Please ship your package no later than Monday, December 10th.
  • To spread the word / share your ornament, post online with the hashtag, #OrnamentExchange18, and/or link up with us on Monday, December 17th.
  • A few things to note:
    • To participate, you must reside in the U.S.
    • You do NOT have to be a blogger, or even have social media to participate.  This exchange is more about spreading Christmas cheer than anything!
    • Each person gives / receives one gift anonymously.  Who you give to is normally someone different than who gives to you.
You all know much I love Christmas, and one of my favorite things each season is decorating the tree.  Many of the ornaments on my tree have meaning behind them...they were purchased on a trip, received as a gift, etc.  When Adrienne brought up the ornament exchange, I couldn't say yes quick enough!  I do hope you will consider joining us and spreading some Christmas cheer!  

Linking up with Biana anLindsay.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Friday Favorites: Blue Light Glasses, Christmas Shirts, Dresses, My Thoughtful Grandma & My Adorable Nephew

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a few cents of commission at no additional cost to you.

Happy Friday!  This week seemed like it just flew on by!  Normally when I have a short week (I was off Monday), the week seems even longer than normal.  Right now, though, I can hardly believe it is already Friday! 

1.  In early October, I went to the eye doctor for my regular check up.  One of the things I asked my doctor about was blue light glasses (glasses that have yellowish tinted lenses that help filter out the blue light from screens).  I sit in front of a computer the majority of the time at work, and I was getting some really bad headaches.  Turns out, the vision in one of my eyes actually got better (how is that even possible?!), which was probably causing the headaches.  But, she did say that if I am at a computer all day (then on my phone / ipad / computer again at night), it would be worthwhile to look into getting some blue light glasses.  I ended up ordering them, and have been using them on and off since.  I wanted to give it awhile to see how I liked them before sharing on here.  First thoughts?!  I was NOT a fan, at all.  I felt like it made my eyes more tired than before.  And while they don't have any type of prescription to them, when you look anywhere but at a screen, or close up, they kind of throw your vision off.  I was a bit bummed, because they weren't cheap.  But, I kept wearing them, and I am so glad I did, because I really do think they make a difference.  I wasn't wearing them consistently earlier this week and my eyes were killing me.  I plopped them on, and was instantly good to go.  As I mentioned, I ordered them from my doctor's office, but they have some really cute ones available on Amazon, and they are a fraction of the price that I paid for mine!  

2.  I missed the boat on getting a fall t shirt this year.  By the time I was looking for one, even with Amazon Prime, it wouldn't have gotten to me in time for the event I wanted to wear it to, and then it seemed silly with the weather getting straight up chilly (yesterday morning they were calling for snow!), especially since I had a pumpkin spice long sleeve shirt my mom had gotten for me.  I didn't want that to be the case for Christmas, so I started looking for options last week.  I was getting ready to order something, when I remembered that a friend from high school had her own business.  I shot her a message, what I wanted, and viola, it is being shipped to me as we speak!  I thought the pricing was really good, too.  My shirt, shipped, came to just under $18.00.  Much better than what I was seeing on Etsy, and very comparable (if not better) to Amazon.  If you are wanting some festive wear for the upcoming season, I highly suggest reaching out to Diane at AddyMack Designs.  She has both a Facebook and instagram page that you can reach out to her through.  It was so easy - I literally just sent her what I wanted - color, size, wording, etc. - and in less than a week, it's on its way to me.

3.  Speaking of clothes, I have been trying to come up with ideas for my Christmas list.  I am a big fan of Eliza J dresses, so I was perusing Nordstorm's website for them, when I saw that one of my very favorite dresses from last year is still available (on sale, too!).  And it comes in another color option - navy!  The wine only had limited sizes available, but the navy looks to be available in all sizes.  As for my Christmas wishlist, this dress may be going on it.  I think it would be perfect for work, and I love the green color...would make a great Christmas dress, too!

4.  My grandma is so sweet.  I got the mail the other day and found an envelope from her.  I wasn't expecting anything, so I had no idea what I would find.  Inside was a little note from her, along with a few magazine pages.  In her Midwest Living magazine, there was a little blurb about the Anheiser Busch Brewery Lights...something they do at Christmas.  She thought of me when she saw it, so she sent it over.  It was the best surprise!  I called to thank her, and we had the most random conversation, about everything from church to buffalo check plaid, haha.  Although I see my family (especially my mom and dad) on a regular basis, I still often wish I lived closer to everyone so that it would be easier to pop in and visit.  But then I probably wouldn't be getting little things sent in the mail, or have the phone calls that I do with my grandma, so I guess there is a silver lining in living away!

5.  I have to share this adorable picture of my nephew from Halloween.  Can he get any cuter?!

6.  (Bonus!)  It's hard to believe it, but next Thursday is already our Girl Chat link up!  This month we will be sharing how we juggle the holiday season.  We'd love for you to join up with us!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Sausage & Rice Casserole

Hey all!  Today I am sharing a recipe that is pure comfort food - sausage and rice casserole.  This is one of my dad's favorite recipes and one that my mom shared with me, so you know it's got to be good!  The dish itself is easy to throw together, and then all you need is some veggies, or a salad to round off the meal.

Sausage & Rice Casserole
1lb ground sausage
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
3/4 cup water
1 cup Minute rice
1 cream of soup (I used cream of celery soup.)
ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 8x8 baking dish with Pam.  Brown sausage.  Remove sausage, place on plate with paper towels to soak up some of the grease.  In the same pan used to brown the sausage, cook the onion and celery for 3 minutes.  Add rice, water, and soup.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add sausage, simmer for 2 minutes.  Pour mixture into baking dish and cook for 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

The leftovers are just as good - I have heated it up both just in the microwave, or covered on the stove with a little bit of water.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Weekend Recap: Netflix, Shopping & More Shopping!

Hey all!  Hope you had a great weekend!  Mine was extra long, since I took off Monday.  I have lots of days off lined up in the next few months and I am ready to take them, and enjoy the holiday season!

I will start with Thursday, since I was MIA on the blog Friday.  I woke up Thursday feeling like crap.  Since things were slow at work, and I didn't want this to develop into anything, I decided to take the day off.  After I initially woke up, I slept until 8:00 (pretty much unheard of for me!), stayed in bed and watched Netflix alllll day.  I have been stuck on Schitt's Creek, and finally finished it up on Friday night.  I can't wait for the next season!

Friday morning I was back to my normal routine.  Minus my beloved waffles and coffee.  That's always my 'end of the week' treat, but I didn't want to push it, so I just had some toast.  Work was pretty good.  I brought in pumpkin squares for a birthday (which were meant to be shared on Thursday), and then caught up with a coworker that got married back at the end of September.  He was sharing all of his wedding pictures, and they all were so great!  I did a little cleaning in the evening to prep for my mom's visit the following day.

Saturday morning I was up early to finish up my cleaning, and then before I knew it, my mom was here!  After a quick hour of visiting, we hit the road to do some shopping.  We stopped for lunch at home, then headed back out.  I swear we shopped almost as much as we do on Black Friday!  We didn't actually buy all that much, but did a lot of browsing.  It was fun!  I had a new soup recipe going in the crockpot, so when we finally get home, we finished that up, made up the salad and had dinner.  I cleaned up the mess that we made coming home with our packages and then we worked on a few decorating things before calling it a night.

Sunday we were both up early with the time change, and actually made good use of the time by moving my bookcase to the loft area, getting my books put away and decorating it a bit.  That area is really starting to come together.  Initially I didn't know what exactly I was looking for, so I didn't want to move anything only to move it again a short while after, but I am so glad my mom suggested it, because it looks so cute!  And helps to rid the eyesore of all my books bagged up.  I even found my VERY favorite picture of me and my dad I have been looking for for years!  We ended up doing some more decorating / measuring, and my mom stayed later than she thought, so she quickly got on the road and I took it easy.  It was so great to have her here, and I am always so sad to see her go.  On her way home, she stopped at a store closer to her that was having their Christmas open house.  She picked me up some wreaths, a swag and ribbon...all for $26!  It was kind of funny - lots of pictures sent over and lots of phone calls to discuss the options.  So nice of her to stop and check things out - I can't wait to put it all together when we decorate for Christmas!  The rest of the day was pretty low key.  Lots of laundry, and catching up on TV.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, I took off Monday.  It was a pretty low key day, start with waking up slow, and then a walk in the neighborhood.  Even though a lot of the trees have lost their leaves from the rain and wind we have had, it still is pretty out!  It was time to head out for lunch, do a little Whole Foods browsing, taking the scenic route home, with a stop at Hobby Lobby to pick up a Christmas tree.  I wanted a smaller tree for my bedroom, which will house my shiny brite ornaments, and Hobby Lobby had the best deal - a 4.5 foot tree with $30.00.  It's unlit, but that can be easily remedied.  It was a pretty dreary day all around, so it was nice to get home and snuggled up on the couch under a blanket.

I am already a little off on my days due to my 3 day weekend, but hopefully that means Friday will just get here that much faster!

Linking up with LindsayJenn and Jessi.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


voting quotes larry j. sabato

Whatever your views and beliefs may be, I hope that (if you haven't already) you go out and vote today!     

Monday, November 5, 2018

TBB Asks: Giving Thanks

1. Have you ever kept a Gratitude Journal? Yes or No?  Yes, I actually got one last year for Christmas.  I was really good at keeping up with it for the first three or four months of the year, but fell off the wagon.  I really want to get back to it, though!

2. Hosting Thanksgiving at your house? Yes or No?  No.  We always do Thanksgiving at my grandma's.  As my grandma has gotten older, my mom and aunt help do certain parts of the meal, so I usually help my mom get her stuff together.  

3. Favorite Food from The Thanksgiving Meal?  Um, everything?!  Honestly, I really like the sides the best.  The turkey is good, and I prefer dark meat, but I live for the broccoli cheese and rice casserole, dumplings, mashed potatoes, rolls...gosh my mouth is watering!
4. What one thing in Nature are you most grateful for?  It's a toss up between the trees and sunrises / sunsets.  I feel like trees are pretty at all stages - the colors of the fall, the emptiness of the winter, buds in the spring, and full greenery of summer.  But I am constantly amazed at the beauty of sunrises and sunsets.  

5. Pumpkin Pie: Yes or No?  I was never a huge pumpkin pie fan, but I have had a few tastes in more recent years that I have to say isn't too bad.  I am kind of weird, and don't necessarily like the pie crust.  But the pumpkin part with some whipped cream is pretty darn good!

6. Traditional Cookbook: Yes or No?  Um, yes.  Cookbooks are my jam.  We do have a few 'newer' recipes that make our Thanksgiving meal, but a lot of the tried and trues are passed down, or from cookbooks.  Like the cookbooks that the community put together for one reason or another, and have splatters all over them...those are the best cookbooks!

7. Oven Baked or Deep-Fried Turkey?  Oven baked.  I don't think I have ever had deep fried turkey!  I am sure it is delicious, though!

8. Thanksgiving Leftovers: Yes or No?  Oh yes!  Although, last year on the news, I remember hearing a story about how Thanksgiving leftovers don't last as long as you would think.  That was a bit disheartening to hear!

9. What is one household product your most grateful for?  Paper towels.  I feel like I am always reaching for a paper towel!

10. Are you most grateful for home cooked meals or restaurant meals?  Home cooked meals, for sure!  And don't get me wrong - I absolutely love going out to eat.  It's one of my favorite things.  But you cannot beat a home cooked meal!

Linking up with The Blended Blog and Lindsay.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

November 2018 Goals


November Goals

1.  Complete Christmas shopping.  My hope is that I will get all of my Christmas shopping done in November.  My mom and I do Black Friday / Small Business Saturday shopping, so that helps knock a chunk out of things, and then I usually just order whatever else online.  I like getting deals, but sometimes I feel it is exhausting to figure out where the best deal is...and it seems like anymore they have various deals / sales running until right before Christmas, and I just don't like waiting that long.

2.  Travel toiletry bags / checklists.  This is something I have been thinking about doing since I moved.  I would like to put together a toiletry bag for both when I travel to visit my parents, or when I travel for work, along with checklists for those items that will still need to be packed.  Hopefully I am explaining this well.  But I figure I can get all the little toiletries I need and have what I can, packed already, and then a checklist with the bigger / everyday items that I need to put in a bag, as well.  I originally thought I would just print off a bunch of copies, keep them in there, and use one for each time I am going somewhere, but after talking to Lindsay, I am taking her great idea of using page protectors, and a dry erase marker - that way I can keep the same page, and just mark on the page protector!  This is something that would have been handy for awhile now, but I never had the room to keep the extra things.  Now that I have a whole linen closet in my bathroom, I can spare the room!  I am not always the best packer, and can get forgetful at times, so I am hopeful that this will take away from of the stress, and also help me from forgetting things!    

3.  Clean out the freezer.  My freezer has gotten out of control and takes some serious maneuvering to close properly.  I need to do a quick clean out, or at least a reorg of things.  I would like to make a few freezer meals to have on hand, but right now there is just no room.  I think I have been holding onto things that in my mind, I will use, but then haven't and they probably just need to get pitched.  Or I need to plan meals around them to make sure they get used!          

October Goals

1.  Make four recipes from Magnolia Table.  Done!  This was pretty easy - I had SO many recipes I wanted to make, and I usually reserved Sunday nights to make them.  That way it allowed for the extra time that usually comes with making a new recipe for the first time.  The recipes I made were: Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sour Cream Enchiladas, Baked Chicken with Bacon Bottom and Wild Rice, Grilled Raspberry-Chipotle Pork Tenderloin.  I shared my thoughts on the first three recipes on my October Recipe Round Up, but didn't make the pork tenderloin until Tuesday night, so it wasn't included in that post.  My thoughts?  Eh.  First, I made a mistake and used a larger piece of pork.  But she did have noted in the recipe that the marinade was enough for two, so I figured it wouldn't be fine.  However, that obviously messed up with the cooking time.  And since I don't have a grill, I just use a grill pan, and the marinade was pretty messy.  All that said, even though I messed up on the execution, I didn't like the taste.  So I just don't think this one was for me.  I think I was expecting more of a kick / spice from the chipotle part, but really, it just tasted very sweet, at least in my opinion.  Still was super fun to try some new recipes out of the cookbook.  I definitely plan on continuing to do so!  

2.  Christmas lists.  I got this in on the very last day of the month, haha!  I have my list of people I want to get gifts for, a few that include ideas, and a very 'loose' budget set.  I have one gift that has been purchased, and I am ready to get shopping on the others!

3.  Decide on and order living room wall art.  I picked the print I want to go with.  It's called Summer's Ending, which seems fitting, since that marks the start of my favorite time of year!  I chose to go with a David Knowlton print, because my mom generously gave me one of hers that she is not using, which I plan to hang above the TV, so having one above the couch seemed like a great way to make things feel cohesive.  My mom has multiple pieces of his art at home, as does my grandma, so not only does it tie things together, it also gives me a sense of home, too!  I still haven't ordered it, but I need to figure out what exact size.  There are two that could work, but I want to ensure there is enough room for a mat, so I plan to figure that out this weekend when my mom is in town.  I still have a few frames I need to fill before the grouping is complete, but I am leaning towards just using scrapbook paper, which would be easy to pull together and also very budget friendly.

Linking up with Kristen.