Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy! Happy!

Today is the Captain's birthday so we are incognito for the rest of the holiday.

In the spirit of Christmas and the fact that my love is a huge geek and lover of all things Star Wars this one is for him.

Have a wonderful holiday and here's hoping it is all shiny and bright.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Let's get this holiday started!

We are on the countdown to the weekend.  I am so excited about Christmas.  I don't know if you guys can tell it or not, but I am just a little bit into the holidays.  I love them.  It's not about the presents.  Okay, okay, it's not all about the presents. 

For me the best part of the holiday season truly is giving.  I love the look on some one's face when you have picked out that perfect gift just with them in mind.  My Gram was a big believer in this season.  Not that I got everything I wanted.  We lived on a fixed income, but she always made Christmas really special and for that I feel truly blessed.

She always said when it comes to the holidays there are a few simple rules. 

1.  Always wrap your gifts.  No gift bags in our house.  To her they screamed LAZY and I have to admit that while I didn't agree with everything she said while I was growing up...okay, wait.  Who am I kidding with that?  I didn't agree with anything she said while I was growing up.  Part of my charm.  (When I look back on it I don't know how she didn't kill me?)  It seems some of her life lessons did indeed rub off on my.  I would like to say I practice this to this day, but I don't.  Sometimes I just run out of time and gift bags are easy.  But I do agree that any package wrapped and decked out in bows is way prettier than something just plopped into a gift bag.

2.  If you take the time to wrap it, accessorize it.  We always put ribbon on the presents in my house.  I don't think my Gram would have considered herself crafty, but she was.  She would use big ribbons to make her own bows.  And she dressed every box as if it were going to the Academy Awards.  There weren't a lot of presents under the tree but the ones that were there always looked fabulous.  Kind of made us not want to open them.  But we pushed through that.  Yeah, sometimes that was hard.

3.  And her final rule.  If you think you cooked enough; cook more.  My Gram always cooked for the holidays as if we were entertaining my entire high school.  We had enough food to feed a third world country.  We dined on leftovers for days.  I know I get my love of cooking from her and feel pretty blessed by that, and I also know that when I am in the kitchen cooking this holiday season I will feel her presence, but not in a scary-ghost-haunting way.  More like a you're-doing-a-good-job kind of way.  At least until I put the cornbread in my dressing.  We had very different opinions on what constituted a good dressing.

So from me to you....Happy Holidays. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

My new dirty word.

I am on a diet moratorium until January 1.


Because telling myself I am on a diet has been sabotaging my efforts to continue my weight loss.  I am sure it is that and not the fact I am on in full on make-the-candy mode and have to try everything I make.

In case you didn't know this about me, I take decking the halls very seriously this time of year.  I put lights everywhere.  Inside and out.  I have up four Christmas trees and I'm only counting the ones over three feet.  So, yes- there really are more.

I estimated it and we have about 35 strands of lights up around the house.  I have lights on top of the entertainment center, around the doors, in the trees and even above the cabinets in kitchen.  But we were talking about my weight loss remember?

At the beginning of this month I was still keeping off the fifteen pounds I had shed and was feeling pretty optimistic.  Then the gifts started arriving from friends and neighbors.  I am really big on homemade gifts.  I love them.  To me they say love like no other gift can and I am normally on the receiving end of a lot of home baked gifts.

Last year I made the mistake of announcing I love a particular hazelnut chocolate.  No lie, I think I have received twenty packages of them.  If I didn't like them so much I might have thought to re-gift those, but no such luck guys because these are my favorites.  So I have been sneaking chocolates every chance I get and avoiding the scale at all costs.

In all fairness I don't think my weight has crept up that much maybe a pound or two, because I am keeping tracking of how my clothes feel, but no way are you guys getting any of my hazelnut chocolates.  Sorry.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Terri.

Remember when I told you at the beginning of the month I had a lot of friends and family members with birthday's this month?

Well, here's another one.

Sending out a great big Happy B-Day to my sister-in-law, Terri.

Hope 42 treats you as great as it's treating me!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Hungry: Life as we knew it.

Our selection for this month's read was Life as we knew it  by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Description as borrowed from Amazon:

It's almost the end of Miranda's sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver's license. When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda's voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options. Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over.

This month Abby posed a good question in the form of a book.

What if this happened to us?

I wish I could say I loved reading this book.  I didn't.

I wish I could say this one didn't give me nightmares.  I can't.

I wish I could say this one ended with some ray of hope.  It didn't.

This was a tough read for me.  As I told the ladies during our Tuesday night discussion, I had to put it down every few chapters and go get my holiday back on with some Fa-la-la-la Lifetime. 

This book was well written.  It was compelling.  And I know, I know it won't be leaving me any time soon.  Pfeffer did a great job with the voices of each characters.  The mom sounds just like you would expect her to sound in the face of such doom.  Her determination in taking care of her family at the cost of all else struck a cord in me.  The older and younger brothers are equally as well rounded and you really feel for this family as they are forced to face bleaker and bleaker conditions.

The scenes are believable and even gut wrenching at times.  There were moments when I felt as if I were sitting with Miranda or even walking in her shoes.  Through the first chapters, after this catastrophic event has happened, her age shines through with her naievete' in believing things will get back to normal.  This is a coming of age story that showcases hard choices and even harder outcomes. 

While this isn't in my 'I love it' category, I need to be fair here and admit it has more to do with the subject matter than how the book was written.  This was definitely a page turner and even when I didn't want to be riveted, I was.  When I finished this story my heart hurt.  Literally, it hurt.  There were a few moments of suspended disbelief, especially toward the end, but overall this is a solid story that will leaving you asking the question: what if this really did happen to us?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My November Reading List.

We had a meeting of the minds last night.  The Book Hungry Club got together for our monthly read and greet and during which time I was reminded that I have not done an update read list since...well...October.

I am so ashamed.

So I thought this would be a good time to update you guys and give you my reading goals for next year. 

I am shooting for twenty books a month next year.  I know I can do it, and I will.  For me the summer months are always bigger months because we spend so much time on the water.  Anyway, here is my list for November:

This month I read two cook books back to back.  I love cook books and can't get enough of them.  In fact I have three on my Christmas list this year.

Michael Symon's Live to Cook: This was a great book with a lot of info for beginning cooks plus I really liked the resources he included.  There were some recipes using cuts of meat I don't think I ever want to try, but it's nice knowing I have recipes if I ever get a hankering for pig's ears.

Cook Like a Rock Star: 125 Recipes, Lessons and Culinary Secrets by Anne Burrell.  I really liked the way this cook book was laid out.  How she does the prep ahead of time.  I have always cooked that way but it was nice to know I was reading a cook book where the chef encourages that completely.

Must Love Mistletoe by Christie Ridgway.  This was a re-read for me.  Since it's Xmas time and all.  I loved it the first time and wasn't disappointed with my second go around.  Mainly I downloaded this one because I found it for free on Amazon.  Thank you Amazon!

Not Another New Years' by Christie Ridgway.  I don't know how I missed this one the first time around, but was glad I snagged it when I did.  Another cheap one from Amazon and I really enjoyed it.

Heat Wave by Richard Castle:  This was a bookhungry selection and I even picked it.  At the end of the day I wasn't overly impressed.

Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis:  The final in her Lucky Harbor Trilogy.  Or at least the final in her first Lucky Harbor Trilogy.  I have to admit I loved the male lead in this story way more than the female lead.  He was just all male.

Freedom from PCOS by Katie Humprey: If this doesn't show you how diverse my reading goes, nothing will.  If you don't know what PCOS is you wouldn't be interested in the book.

Against the Odds: Kathryn Shay is another must read author for me.  All of her books from her back list are making their way to Kindle and I couldn't be happier.  This is one of my favorites.  I can't tell you why except Nathan, her hero is one I fall in love with each time I read it.

I have downloaded about 200 books onto my kindle to read.  Some of them were free, okay, a lot of them were free and I am hoping to find some great authors in the mix.  Every once in a while I get lucky.  I will give you my December read as we closer to the end of the month.  But tell me, what are you reading?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Light it up!

What a great weekend!

Not only did I get a new pair of smoking hot shoes...I also finished the wrapping of all the presents. 

But the best is the video we finally got of the house.  Check it out.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Giving Thanks!

TGIF and what I am thankful for today.
Christmas Tree in the Living Room 1 of 4

1.  Of course, it's Friday.
2.  I have two great books to read this weekend. (I have to be ready for Book Hungry and the other one I have been waiting for.  Guess which one I am starting with?)
3.  I am going Christmas shopping this weekend to hang with some besties and the best part...all of my shopping is all done. (Insert evil laugh.)
4.  Crisp mornings so I can drink hot tea.
5.  Cool evenings which gives me just one more reason to snuggle with the Captain.
6.  Bacon. (Do I even need to say anymore?)
7.  All the cheesy Christmas shows on Hallmark and Lifetime this weekend.
8.  Wrapped gifts.
9.  Get to make the fudge this weekend.
10.  And last but not's Friday!  (Okay so I used that one twice, but I am sooooo grateful for it that it seemed appropriate.)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Something to belive in

Normally I am disappointed with the offerings in the way of movies.  Last week if you had asked the last good movie I had seen I would have had to think about it.  And it wouldn't have been a romantic comedy.

This week all of that changed.  I got three good ones in a row.  Okay, they weren't all romcom's, but close.

So just in case your looking for something good to watch here are my recommendations.

1.  Crazy Stupid Love
2.  Friends with Benefits
3.  Super 8

Crazy Stupid Love reminded me of movies of yesteryear.  It has a twist at the end I didn't see coming and I appreciated that.  Friends with Benefits totally showcases Justin Timberlake and his comedic talent.  Mila Kunis wasn't too bad either.  Easily one of my newest favorite RomCom's.  Finally Super 8.  I had no interest in watching this movie, but the Captain convinced me.  Was I glad I did.  The story was fresh, the cast great and there were some one liners in this movie that I snorted over.  That's right, I snorted. 

So if your looking for something great to watch this weekend, here you go.  Have you seen them? Did you like them? 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Kiddo!

Update:  This was scheduled to post Friday.  I think I am blogger challenged.  Either that or I am really stupid.  So I am going with challenged.  

Today my niece Kylie turns three.  Wow, how time flies.  Of course her mom doesn't think so.  She is worn out by this kid.  But she amuses me tremendously.

On Wednesday she went to see Santa.  Here she is with Santa and her daddy.  She refused to sit on Santa's lap for the pic.  Guess she doesn't quite trust the old dude in red.  Yet.  But, she did agree to take the pic as long as her dad came over so she could sit on his lap.

While she was sat on her Dad's lap Santa asked what she wanted for Christmas.  She gave him  her list which I understand took some time.  This kid wants a lot of stuff.

After she was done Santa asked, "Well, have you been naughty or nice this year?" 

Kylie leaned back into her dad and replied, "I have been nice!"

Santa questioned her, "Are you sure?"

Kylie, from the mouth of a three year old, "Uh huh, cause if I'm naughty Mommy will smack my ass."

And my sister in law couldn't understand where that came from. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's beginning to feel somewhat like Christmas

Today is December 1.  Can you believe it?  Yeah, me either.

We have a lot going on this month and not just Christmas.  Although it would be nice if we could just concentrate on the holiday, we can't.  There are a ton of birthday's this month we have to celebrate including the Captain's.  Two sister-in-law's, one sister, one niece, three friends and of course the big Kahunas, which falls on the 23rd of the month.

Most of my decorating is done in the  house.  I know, I know, I am an over achiever.  This year I limited myself to four Christmas trees.  In my defense...oh, who am I kidding.  I have no defense other than to say that I love this time of year and this holiday. 

We aren't going to visit any family this year.  The Captain and I are going to go it alone.  But not really.  We will be spending Christmas Day having dinner with some of our friends here. 

Last year when we were making the trek to Michigan to visit with my husbands little brothers we had a stop over in Indiana.  I don't remember the name of the place only that the lady at the restaurant where we stopped pointed out the John Mellencamp was from there.  While were there I found a blue Christmas tree.  It's artificial (I guess the fact that it's blue kind of gave that away, right?) and I have waited a whole year to put it up.  

You can see it here.  It makes me smile in joy just to look at it.  Maybe I should have put some sort of sappy warning on this post, just to give you guys a heads up.  Isn't she a beauty?  Today the Christmas music goes on and tomorrow we put the lights up outside and I promise to share some video with you guys on how that turns out. 

In the meantime...have a great day!  Let's get this holiday season kicked off right.  This song always gets me into the Christmas spirit.  Hey!  Don't judge.