Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - We're headed over to the Eatons' place to play Wii and socialize. I hear they have a chocolate fountain which I'm pretty pumped about. I'm bringing Pizza Fondue to share.
Sidenote- the Eatons are expecting their first child (they announced last week) and we are so happy for them. With that announcement though, I'm the last of my local friends to not have a baby. I'm not old, but I am feeling left behind.
Tuesday - Beef Bourguignon. I was just going to do a plain ol pot roast in the slow cooker, but why not strap a fancy name to it instead and then boast about it on my blog?
Wednesday - the King Ranch Casserole that I never got around to last week because of roll-out at J.Crew
Thursday - Hungarian Layered Cabbage, using venison. I'll be using my Godmother's recipe, who is from Hungary and went back there a few years ago. I don't have the recipe near me but it is very similar to this one.
Friday - Ham (frozen from Christmas) rice stroganoff (just rice with the leftover sauce from last week that I froze) and cooked carrots.

I'd love to hear what yall are making too. If you've come across any recipes you think I should try, leave them in the comments. I'd like to try some new things next week. We like everything!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Welcoming a new member of the family

My parents have finally listened to my requests for a brother and have adopted Charlie (new name coming soon)!
I should go ahead and clarify that Charlie is a Jack Russell Terrier mix. They already have Maggie, a yellow lab at home. She's 12 and never grew out of doing bad puppy things. I'm a little worried she'll teach this new dog all her old tricks. I don't think they had any intention of getting a new dog right now but they love our Eddie and they saw his picture in the paper and couldn't resist sending my dad to go check him out. This is just about the worst idea ever if objectivity is supposed to be a goal. There is no way in heaven or on earth my dad is going to go meet a homeless dog and not come home with him. That's how we got our last dog, Marcy. And it is a farce that Charlie is visiting my parents"for a sleepover." They have 5 days to decide whether to keep him or send him back to the shelter and I can confidently tell you that dog is going no where until he's ready for burial.
As far as the name goes, Charlie is what they gave him at the shelter but I don't think he really responds to it yet. That's the name of my ex-boyfriend though and my parents are sensitive enough not to use it. They have always had girl dogs and followed a very specific pattern of naming. We've had:
In keeping with the trend they are considering naming this dog Marley, but I think that's been pigeonholed by that lovable numskull lab. We temporarily took in a boxer who was called Marley, there's also Matty and Manny. But maybe it's time to break that tradition and give this dog his own name. I can't wait to meet him this weekend!

I don't know if I really have any influence of the choice, but if you were them, what would you name that dog?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Clothes Should Cost $5

I thought I'd share with you something that I believe in. I feel pretty strongly about this and try to live by it. Clothes should cost no more than $5... per wear, that is.

The essence of this belief is that if you're going to wear something and get good use of it then it doesn't really matter how much you spent on it, it's worth it. Alternately, it doesn't matter how good a deal seems on something, if you're not going to wear it, you paid way too much.

The first time I thought of clothes this way was in middle school when I just had to have Doc Martens. Give me a break, it was the mid 90s and everyone else was wearing them too. Anyway they were about $130 and my parents got me a pair of Mary-Jane style ones for Christmas. I ended up winning a pair of Doc Marten sandals from Buckle through a scratch off promotion they had a year later. That was pretty cool. I loved these shoes! I wore them almost every day and felt great about myself in them. Anyway, one of my mom's friends found out that she had spent that much money on a pair of shoes for an 11 year old and about threw a fit. I remember hearing my mom explain to her that for as often as I wore them, she could have paid $400 for them and they still would have been worth it.

The $5 part is arbitrary. My budget works out that this is a pretty fair number for most clothes. You might want to get your clothes down to being a dollar a wear, or maybe you're lucky enough to be able to afford $20 a wear, I don't presume to know. Of course, since this is my rule, I'm able to make exceptions to it if I want to. For special occasion outfits, especially dresses, I allow $10 a wear, but when I hear myself starting to say "well this is a really special occasion, $100 for this wear is fine," I try to put a halt on that. Apparently my wedding was special enough to spend $400 on a dress I will only wear once. I don't regret that at all. This is how I can try to be responsible with my (and mostly Brian's) money. It's how I can buy brand names and not feel guilty in the slightest and also how I can pass up sales without getting sucked it. The pieces that will last forever and get the most wear out of my closet should cost more, and I can try out the trends too as long as they're cheap. It works for me and I would be honored if you'd try it.

Let's practice, shall we?

This tank is adorable, don't you think? And for $14.80, from Forever 21, I think we can definitely afford this. Now with that huge bow, we probably won't want to wear it all the time, people are going to remember. And it's very likely that it will stretch out and the sequins will fall off, so it won't last forever. But in order to get it down to $5 a wear, we'd only have to wear it 3 times. I think that's totally doable. Once with a flouncy black skirt and a cardigan on top with cute heels. Once with jeans and sandals, and once with black slacks and a blazer. It's a go.

I'm a sucker for Paige Jeans. They fit beautifully, they're long enough to wear with heels, extremely flattering. At $189, there are much cheaper options out there. We should probably choose one of those. If we really have our hearts set on them though, are they worth the cost? At least the way I wear jeans, sure they are! If we wore them only once a week they'd have proved their place in our closet by mid October. Now, if we could find them on sale, that'd be even better.

Last example.

How fabulous are these booties? And they'd go great with our tank and jeans and about a hundred other pieces in our wardrobe! Oh my goodness, they're on sale for 55% off! Yeah, but they're still $472! We'd have to wear them 95 times before they'd be worth it. OK, make that 85 because we'd definitely wear them on a few special occasions. They're suede so we could only wear them about 25 weeks a year if we push it. Once a week for almost 4 years? I don't pretend to be a fashion expert but I'm going to predict that they won't be considered that fabulous four years from now. For my money, it's a pass. But hey, if you still get them, could I borrow them sometime?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday Daybook


Outside my window... it's looking like Spring. Surely this is too good to last.

I am thinking... that things might really turn around for this country. I'm heartened by Scott Brown's victory in Mass last night.!

I am thankful for... a discount of up to 60% at J.Crew and early viewing of the Spring inventory

I am wearing... a plum colored tunic with smocking around the neck and chest with black wool trousers and black peep toe heels. Also the crystal earrings my cousin Kristy gave me when I was in her wedding

I am remembering... how much fun we had in New York last time we visited in September for Nicki's wedding

I am going... to get my hair cut after school. I've had about all I can take of this shagginess. 2 inches or so should be enough

I am currently reading... oh I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't finished It Sucked and then I Cried. I'm sure I'll be done by tonight and ready to start something new.

I am hoping... to come across the perfect job posting in the next couple weeks, and that I get it

On my mind... Brian's uncle David who is in Berlin in a coma that was brought on by a leaking mitral valve. Please pray for him.

Noticing that... on the days I eat breakfast I actually get hungrier by lunch than when I don't.

Pondering these words...
when in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I don't usually go around contemplating the Declaration of Independence, but it has come up a few times lately. First at Life Teen on Sunday then at the Republican Women meeting on Monday and now on the announcements this morning. Maybe it's time I did think a little more about this founding document.

From the kitchen... the refrigerator needs to be clean out before I bring home groceries this weekend.

Around the house... Eddie and Sandy are getting retrained to sleep outside now that the freezing weather is over. They're not happy about it.

One of my favorite things... new socks!

From my picture journal...
our honeymoon suite at El Dorado Royale. I sure wouldn't mind being back there.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Monday- King Ranch Casserole (my mom's recipe that's actually casserole, not gooey stuff slopped on a plate) and pinto beans
Tuesday- Venison stew in the slow cooker and homemade bread
Wednesday- Roasted pork loin with sweet potato ioven chips and peas
Thursday- meatball stroganoff, corn and citrus salad
Friday- Potato soup and spinach salad

I'm not really following any recipes except the King Ranch one, otherwise I'd link to them. The $5 Dinner Mom ones from last week turned out sooo well! I'll definitely be drawing from that cookbook much more. Brian spent a good part of yesterday making ground venison, so we'll be using that quite a bit in coming weeks too. What are you having this week? Anything I should try?

The Story of the Aggie Overalls

Or How I Learned that I am not crafty

I think they have generally gone out of style because I wasn't able to find any decent pictures through Google searching, but about 8 years ago when I started college at A&M it was very popular for students to purchase normal denim overalls (ugh!) then decorate them pretty wildly with maroon and white fabric and paint with their name, Aggie sayings and their class year. They look a little something like this, only girls' ended up much cuter! Usually. My roommate, Kasia, and I, being the proudest members of the Fightin Texas Aggie Class of 2006 set out to make some of our own. I swear to y'all I dress in a pretty conservative, preppy, in-style way the vast majority of the time. I am not a hick and never wore overalls to class or anything like that. But it was tradition at games. So we set out for Wal-Mart to get the overalls. Hobby Lobby to pick up the fabrics and ribbons and at Michael's we got some iron on transfers and paint, for a grand total exceeding $50. That's a lot for an unemployed freshman. We came home to our dorm room which was decorated in matching blue and yellow floral Polo everything and set about planning out our overalls designs. From the beginning I was nervous and insecure about what I could make out of mine because my handwriting, while much improved from when I earned a D in penmanship in 1st grade, is not the cute girly style I wanted it to be. I had Kasia outline most of what I wanted to make. Once I had a plan I started getting really excited. I just knew I was going to be a darling Aggie girl in my overalls.
Oh how wrong I was! The carnage that resulted once the crafting of it began can scarcely be appreciated without witnessing it. The first thing that happened left me physically as well as emotionally scarred. You can tell because I'm still talking about it 8 years later! I was trying to make an iron on transfer ATM out of some cute fabric with our mascot Reveille on it. All we had though was one of those made-for-dorms 3 inch tall ironing boards so I was sitting Indian style on the floor using it when I slipped and burned the heck out of my calf with the iron. If I had done that today you would have heard obscenities for days, but in those days I think I just went straight to crying. The scar on my calf remains. It took quite a bit to console me but eventually I went back to work and got the fabric ironed on. Next step was to outline it in paint and add a few more details with the ribbon. I'm left handed and have always smeared my writing as I go. Any of y'all have that problem? When you use markers does the pinky side of your hand end up looking like it was used in a prize fight? Mine does. And even though i tried my hardest I ended up smearing paint around my project causing a great deal of frustration.
Keep in mind that Miss Perfect roommate is having no trouble with her overalls and is just about to leave them to start drying. Thinking I need a break I do some dramatic flop onto my bed knocking my cute yellow throw pillow with the big navy buttons off my bed and onto the floor where it falls smack dab in the middle of Kasia's overalls and gets maroon paint all over it. Somehow her overalls were not wrecked in the process. I apologize profusely and get back to work. After a couple hours more I have something that isn't completely awful looking so I put on the finishing touches and then let it dry. My high school sweetheart (who I dated until the end of Freshman year) comes over and admires my work and takes me out while the overalls stay and dry. No don't ask me how the next little disaster happens but somehow upon arriving back home I take off the little black dress that is still hanging in my closet and the red kitten heels with the bows (remember this is 2002) and one of them ends up, you guessed where, on my overalls smudging the paint that wasn't too bad and gets ruined in the process with a huge white smudge on the toe. At this point I gather up the throw pillow, the red heels, the overalls with all my hard work poured into them, the rest of the fabric, paint, ribbon and brushes that I had spent about a week's allowance on and haul them down the three flights of stairs where they got dropped into the dumpster. The end. I did take a few pictures of the casualties that I would gladly show you so you'd understand but they're stuck on my college years desk top that will no longer turn on but that my dad won't let me get rid of for fear that my identity will be stollen.
If you were me, you would give up crafting, too, right? I did, for about 6 years. Slowly but surely over the last year and half though I've been drawn back to trying my hand at a few crafts. If it's fool proof, and doesn't involve any real artistry, I've done alright at them. I made an adorable Minnie Mouse costume, some decorations for our house, a few Christmas gifts, and yesterday I just finished a birthday present for my good friend. I'd post a picture but she might read and I haven't given it to her yet. I find myself drawn to the craft blogs on my reader more and more and reading with hope some of the ideas in my Martha Stewart Living and other magazines. If you remember, I resolved to learn to sew in 2010 and I'll let you know if that successfully opens any more doors to projects. If you are working on a craft that you think even I could possibly succeed at, please post it in the comments section. Even though it's been years, you can see that I still have quite a bit to overcome in order to consider myself a crafter.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Helping out Haiti and Getting to know you!

Dear Keely at MannLand 5 is being wonderfully generous by donating $.25 for every blogger that links to her Getting to Know You Sunday post this week. I haven't participated before, but if it means I get to help ease the suffering there just a tiny bit, then by all means. Hubs and I have prayerfully considered what we can give to the relief causes and done that already, but please join in this week to do a little more. Why not?

1. Hair color..Au naturale..or not?
Au naturale. It has always been that way with the exception of 2 week-long experiments with semi-permanent color. Thing is, no one could tell the difference because I chose colors to be just a little more red and it ended up that nothing changed.

2. If somebody has food in their teeth or lipstick on their teeth do you tell them?
Oh I tell them discreetly if at all possible. Who wants to go around confidently all day only to find out that you should have been hiding out with that THING on your face?

3. Would you rather have a million dollars or your vision of the perfect body?
A million dollars! My husband loves me the way I am and that's enough for me. Besides, as a millionaire I could probably get a little work done if necessary.

4. Favorite magazine?
Real Simple. I have learned so much from that mag and gotten many great ideas. Of course I'm always drawn to the recipes first. I could probably read it just for the design though, the layout and images seem to put me at peace.

5. Bra style..Lacy or plain?
A little lace on the side or the middle is nice but I don't need my breasts to look like a topographical map through my shirt with all-over texture.

6. If you walked into Victoria's Secret..would you most likely come out with something sexy or comfy?
Something pretty, but we'll see. I have a gift card from Christmas waiting to be spent.

7. Do you fake and bake?
I have but I don't. I had access to a tanning bed included in my rent at the apartment complex I lived at for 2 1/2 years. I used it a few times just to feel like I was getting my money's worth. I do enough damage to my skin just being outside as much as possible during the summer that I don't need to add to it year-round.

8. What's your favorite body part on a man?
Brian has terrific legs!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rainy day book

Outside my window... 2 1/2 inches of rain have fallen so far, and it's not supposed to let up until tomorrow afternoon

I am thankful for... strawberries even in winter

I am wearing... jeans, navy Tory Burch flats, Aggie tailgating t-shirt and pink Patagonia fleece, and pearls

I am remembering... the time I tried to make Aggie overalls and what a disaster that was. I think I'll post about that in the next day or two

I am going... to have a wonderful time with my mom this weekend. And my husband too if he doesn't get to go hunting

I am currently reading... It Sucked and then I Cried by Heather Armstrong. I have laughed out loud so many times so far!

I am hoping... that the square foot garden hubs and I are planting works way better than the last garden we tried. I'll post about those plans soon too

On my mind... making plans to clean my house. how can I get maximum impact for about 30 minutes of work

Noticing that... I still don't have feeling in my finger. It's worrying me a little bit

Pondering these words... Dilate-to live longer. That's the joke I put on the board today.

From the kitchen... If you don't have anything else, muenster cheese will work fine with the beef enchiladas. I figured that out last night.

Around the house... things are looking pretty boring and bare lately. I can't wait to start adding a few Valentine's things then decorate for spring after that

One of my favorite things...Hot Tamales candy

From my picture journal...

Me and Momma from Christmas. Neither of us is looking great, but that's ok.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mrs. York, I have a question

Where did you go to school? Did you like it? Was it sick? Was it gay?
What do you think about every single other school in Texas? What about the ones in Utah? What is your opinion on Boston?
Which is better, dead end occupation A or dead end occupation B?
How long do I have to go to school to be a surgical assistant? nurse? surgeon? pediatric cardio-cranial surgeon specializing in disease I've never heard of?
If I made a ______ on my SAT will I fail out? What if I take it again?
Do you think $38,000 is too much to pay per semester?

This is how I know it's college week here. And the powers-that-be are laying it on these kids thick.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Expressing Gratitude

I am a big believer in etiquette. I try to follow the mores of our social code so that others around me feel comfortable and appreciated. I also want others to think well of me and of my parents for teaching me the ins and outs of etiquette. One of the ways this comes up is with thank you notes. I have to say I just finished mine from Christmas. I'm a little embarrassed by this as I should have been quicker to express my gratitude for those who gave us gifts this year and who hosted us for Christmas parties and as overnight guests.

But I think I'm not alone in having a tough time manning up and writing them. I have a feeling that you might face the same anxiety at having to express yourself in a handwritten note that I do and might respond with similar procrastination. My husband balks at the idea of having to write thank you notes even though his parents taught him well too. A few reasons for this are that we have just come out of our wedding season which included four showers, a bachelorette party, a rehearsal dinner and large wedding. I have written hundreds of thank you notes over the last year, and Brian helped, he probably wrote about 50. Even though we genuinely feel very blessed and grateful for the generosity our friends and family poured out to us, this can be wearying and I don't think either of us have quite recovered from it. Second, I didn't receive any gifts by mail this year. All the gifts I gave and received were opened right in front of the other person and that is how they can know that I am thankful for it. My eyes lit up, I gasped, I gushed, hugged, complimented and thanked immediately. That's how I really express my gratitude. A few weeks later, when I'm bored and home alone I remember with love and thanksgiving all that I received this year, but it isn't the same as in the moment. Third, thank you notes are supposed to be a practice of people of all ages, but around me it seems that it's only required of children. The adults in my life have very rarely thanked me for what I have given them and I don't really expect them to, but it is definitely expected that I as well as my cousins write thank you notes to our elders. There is definitely judgement when some one fails to receive a thank you note. I know this not because I've ever not sent one, but because a few that I have sent around the wedding weren't received. The USPS isn't nearly as perfect as they'd have you believe. The people who had given to us and not gotten a note in return brought it up with my parents, some in a gentle way and others more accusatory, but you know exactly what they're thinking when they say "oh did Erin receive the gift we sent? We never heard from her." I've had to call these people and insist that yes I did receive their gift, loved it, said as much, and just hate that they didn't know it all this time. One of these calls was the day before yesterday for my hairdresser from back home.

I really hope that I don't sound like a brat having said all this. I just know that some of my friends share the same feelings and that you might as well. But for a moment I will express how good it feels to receive a thank you note. I have gotten two recently, from girls my age and it meant quite a lot to me to know that they thought enough of me to respond in writing. I know that this is why we have the custom of thanking each other with a handwritten note rather than just the words, and I wouldn't wish to be excused from the task of thanking others. In the end it does me good to be encouraged to sit down and express my gratitude properly. So often I forget my many blessings and the people in my life who have given of themselves generously. So as a gentle reminder, if you haven't written your thank you notes yet, do so. It might make you feel good. And if you don't receive one, give that person the benefit of the doubt. It might just be lost in the mail!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Well I didn't win the $5 Dinner Mom cookbook that I hoped I would, but I went ahead and bought it. These recipes all come from that book which came in on Saturday.
Monday - Meatloaf, Macaroni and Peas
Tuesday- Baked Chicken and Acorn Squash with rice
Wednesday- Spaghetti with Italian sausage, salad and garlic bread
Thursday- beef enchiladas with pintos and Spanish rice
Friday- Broiled lemon pepper trout, zucchini and corn

In order to make all this, this week I will need to buy orange juice, acorn squash and zucchini. I have everything else already. It's another great use-it-up week!

I didn't post this until tonight because I didn't want to put a jinx on the meatloaf. Believe it or not, I haven't repeated a recipe since we got married. Meatloaf is the first thing I will *try* to make twice. The first time I made it was a few months ago. I think it had turned out pretty well but the last step before adding a glaze was draining off any extra grease that had come up while baking. I held my pretty Paula Deen loaf pan over the sink, and tilted it for the grease to run out but my oven mit slipped and I burned my middle finger. I reacted a little bit dramatically and ended up dumping 3/4 of the meatloaf into a dirty sink. I fussed and fitted and my poor husband and myself were left with a sorry hunk of meat to share. Tonight's version was more successful. We both ate till we were full and have lunch packed for tomorrow. I credit the success to my pitiful whine when it was time to drain "honey, I need you in here." He stepped up like a pro!

A couple words about how my day has started

The Good:
-It's college week here at school so I get to wear A&M shirts all week long! I don't think I even did that as a freshman.
-My Grandpa in New York sent me this recipe for Peanut Butter Pie. It sounds delish and so easy so I think I'll try it this week. Let me know how it turns out if you make it before I do.


1 (8 ounce) package Cream Cheese
1 1/2 cups confectioner sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup milk
1 (16oz. [or 2 8oz.] ) package of whipped topping, Thawed.
2 (9 inch) prepared Graham Cracker crusts

1- Beat together cream cheese and confectioner sugar. Mix in peanut butter and milk. Beat untill smooth. Fold in whipped topping.
2- Spoon into two 9 inch graham cracker pie shells, cover, and freeze untill firm.

The Bad:
-Bible Study is tonight and despite having had like 3 weeks to read 1 Samuel, I haven't.
-The medical terminology discs that I needed for 1st period aren't here yet, so I'll be letting them watch House and pick out the medical terms they hope to learn this semester.

The Ugly:
-My jerk of a dog pooped on a sweater that had fallen to the floor of my closet this morning. I spent valuable getting ready time cleaning it up. What did I ever do to deserve that?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday Daybook


Outside my window... the coldest it's been all year! I'm glad Eddie is wearing his jacket

I am thinking... up interactive ways I can teach the skeletal and muscular system to high schoolers

I am thankful for... midnight prayers that help calm my mind

I am wearing... J.Crew from head to toe. my ivory Elizabeth blouse with a cashmere cardigan over it that has navy, green and yellow stripes, chinos, and tan ballet flats.

I am remembering... what a great year 2009 was and all the big, big events that took place!

I am going... baby gift shopping after school

I am currently reading... the All About Me pages that I've been having students fill out. Trying to learn the new ones for this semester

I am hoping... for peace for one of my students. I know the high school drama sucks

On my mind... nursing school applications. Should I go ahead and apply this year? or wait and really try at teaching for at least a year

Noticing that... my afternoons are starting to get really boring with all this tv watching. Time to start being more creative.

Pondering these words... ultramicroscopicsilicovolcanopneumoconiosis

From the kitchen... tonight is pork chops, mashed potatoes and collard greens. I'm thinking I'll make the chops with some of my apple butter.

Around the house... it's about time to start taking down Christmas decorations, but what should go up in their place? I'm not ready for spring things yet.

One of my favorite things... McDonald's hash browns. Why do they have to be SO bad for me?

From my picture journal...
My beautiful bridesmaids! Get to know the two on the right at Coffee Chocolate & Wine and My Dreams Coming True

Find more Simple Woman's Daybooks here

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

10 committments for 2010

1. Keep up with this blog! Here I am off to a great start; we're 5 days into the year and I'm just now peeking my head out.
2. Spend more time being grateful and satisfied with all that I have and less time talking about what more I want!
3. Be back down to wedding weight, at least, by our one year anniversary, and engagement weight by 2011. Love really packs on the pounds, don't you think?
4. Find a real job, something permanent, that requires a college degree at least! Bonus if it's something I actually studied.
5. Be a better wife according to God's plan. I'm not saying I'm a bad one, I just want to keep getting better.
6. Make a baby?
7. Learn to sew.
8. Find a place to volunteer on a consistent basis. I'm still a little put out that the animal shelter and Children's museum seem to not need anyone. But I miss giving of my time.
9. Watch all the Academy Award winners for Best Picture. Made easy by Netflix!
10. Call at least one person I love on the phone each week. Mom, Dad, and Brian don't count. I'm trying to reach out.

What are you trying to achieve this year? Anything you think I ought to add to my list?

Break's over! Happy New Year

I wrote this post as the first one back, but then I figured I'd wait to post it until I could add some pictures in. Looking through all the pictures I took of the holidays I realized none of them really related to anything I was talking about so, here it is, with very little value added. I might just post a few pictures later for the fun of it.

I hope you enjoyed your holidays as much as I did. Brian and I ran all over Texas celebrating with people we love and we sure did have a time at it! I put off coming back to the blog for a few days because I didn't want to write a doozy of a recap post but I couldn't exactly ignore the last couple weeks when they were such nice ones. Insead, here are the highlights of the holidays for us.

1. Walking on the beach of South Padre Island on Christmas day and I don't mind bragging about it! My Aunt Nancy hosted and that's where she lives. Some years it's nice enough to wear shorts and wade in the water and then I really better than. This year it was pretty cold and kind of ugly, but if you're lucky enough to be at the beach, then you're lucky enough and I sure was!

2. My Christmas decorations. I didn't do a tour of homes like so many of my blog friends did because we celebrate Advent right up until Christmas Eve so my decorations don't get put up till that last week or so. This year I really didn't want to spend a lot of money buying new stuff so this year's theme was "use what's already paid for." It turned out quite nicely if I do say so. I love my popcorn and cranberry garland, gift wrapped front door, and old books stacked up to display the most important parts of the decor. I also love the lights and beads on the majestic palm in our bedroom. It'll be up until Wednesday when the Wise Men get here.

3. Christmas cards! I love checking the mail year round, but this time of the year it's even more exciting because we received Christmas greetings from so many family members and friends and sent them out too! We have a whole heap of them displayed in the entryway and it makes me quite happy to see them there. I'm a little ticked off with the USPS though. First wedding and shower invitations, then thank you notes, and now Christmas cards! Quit losing my stuff! I'm counting on you to let my loved ones know I'm thinking of them and you're letting me down. Shape up and fly right!

4. Getting spoiled by all the great gifts I got and the wonderful reactions about the ones I gave. Brian and I use the "something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read" guidelines to keep things interesting and sort of fair. In past years one or both of us have had to return or exchange things and there's always a couple of duds it seems like, but this yearit was not like that at all! Every gift was the perfect gift and will be well used!

For Him:

Something he wanted: remote control meat thermometer for smoking and grilling

Something he needed: Craftsman tool chest. This thing is 5 ft of manliness and he's already built little organizational compartments inside the drawers for his sockets and such

Something to wear: A brown Patagonia fleece because sometimes camo just doesn't fit the dress code.

Something to read: road maps from of the best scenic drives around Austin, San Antonio and Houston. I'm not buying that boy another book until he finishes the job on the countless others he's started.

For Me:

Something I wanted: An antique (from 1906) kitchen scale in perfect condition! Layla at The Lettered Cottage inspired me to ask for this. It'll go much better in my dream kitchen than in the country fruits one I'm renting but I love it even now.

Something I needed: A navy Jon Hart with my new initials to be my teacher bag.

Something to wear: a really pretty, perfectly me sleepshirt. It's feminine and comfy which is sometimes hard to do in the winter.

Something to read: The Pictorial History of New Braunfels. I read it at an old woman that I used to work for's house and loved it! If I'm going to live here, I better know something about it.

Our family was also incredibly generous with us and I want for nothing!

5. Movies streaming directly to our tv! We used some Christmas money to buy a BlueRay player and we can stream Netlix movies straight to it! This has encouraged our new couch potato status and its the real reason I haven't written yet this year. I might have mentioned that Brian sold our working DVD player in a garage sale a couple months ago so even though we don't have an HDTV yet, it made sense to use to get the BlueRay because someday we will have one and in the meantime my streaming queue is getting quite lengthy.

6. New Years Eve party at the Huckaby house! It was a blast ringing in the new year with our dearest friends, play games, hanging out, eating too much and drinking too much. which brings me to my next point

7. Cooking a bona fide Southern New Years Day meal for 12, then serving 3 because everyone was hungover. I sawthemthe night before, and know that they weren't making it up. That means more black eyed peas for us and they kicked right in! I found my pearls that had been missing since June after just testing one pea while I was making them. They were last seen at my final bridal shower but were gone by the wedding, then found 6 months later in the bottom of a medicine drawer. I swear I take better care of my jewelry than that, but maybe I'll find my missing diamond earring next new years.

8. Celebrating 6 months of marital bliss yesterday with my hubby! He brought me flowers and we tried out a quaint new pizza parlor where they lit a fire just for us and we talked all mushy gushy, I love it! I love him and our life together and couldn't think of asking for more!