Monthly Archives: December 2013

Christmastime is here!

I cannot believe Christmas is in three days! I usually really don’t like when people say that. I mean, it’s been coming all year, it didn’t just appear. But this year has felt different, maybe because Thanksgiving was later, or because stores seem to be putting up Christmas stuff earlier. And now here at the last minute we’re all distracted by Duck Dynasty rather than the beautiful season of Christ’s birth.

I really love Christmas. The best part of Christmas is what it’s really all about- the birth of Jesus and Him coming into the world in love to save us. But I also enjoy the lights, decorations, shopping, music, and baking! All make it such an exciting time of the year.

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is decorating the house, inside and out. I don’t really have a theme to my decorations as some people do, I just find things I like and hope it all works together. If I had to come up with a theme name, it would be “Hobby Lobby” because almost every decoration is from there. LOVE me some Hob Lob.

So come along on a tour of our house decorated for the Christmas season!

IMG_4392We bought our tree back in 2010, our first married Christmas. We bought most of the ornaments then too, but have collected more along the way. Some of the ornaments are from decorations used at our wedding, and some were decorations at my in-law’s 40th anniversary party last year. There are lots of penguins (I love penguins!) and lots of tractors  (my hubby loves tractors!). We even have some tractor lights.

IMG_4223I love the garland on the mantle. It works so perfectly with the tree and fireplace. It all comes together like such a perfect Christmas picture.

IMG_4330Most of my life I have hoped to someday have a full Christmas village. We don’t have a great place for it, but one day this season I was at Walmart and came across the village pieces and just decided to buy some and hope I would find a good place! So my village is small, but hopefully will grow each year! So far there is a Bakery, Tree Farm, Horse & Carriage, carolers, people making s’mores, a dog house, and a few trees. I love it so much!!!

IMG_4319I want Jesus and our Nativity to be the focal point of our Christmas decor, so I decided to put it on our entryway table. I bought that table runner at Hobby Lobby just to add a little, and that is a red snowflake Scentsy with Festival of Trees scent in it- my favorite at Christmas!

IMG_4356My mom gave me this chalkboard a while back, and while she was at my house over Thanksgiving she wrote this. It’s so perfect! It makes me happy each time I see it and adds some festiveness to our kitchen.

IMG_4318 DSC02245We have red and white lights outside- not LED. I haven’t felt like making that upgrade yet… I just don’t like the look of the LEDs. I love my little tree by the front door. Seeing my house lit up at night makes me happy each evening. I’ve noticed not many people put up Christmas lights this year. So sad! But we have us a few others on our street so that’s nice.

Thanks for coming along and checking out our decor!

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Our 3rd Anniversary

On November 20th we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary! As I may have mentioned before, we are celebrators. Michael will never be one of those husbands who forgets his anniversary because we start talking about it and planning months in advance. (Though, I’m sure that may change once we have kids… I hear they take up quite a bit of time….).

For gifts, we use this opportunity to be creative and we go by the traditional/modern gift lists. Since it’s so close to Christmas, we will get “real” presents then, and we love having a theme and thinking outside the box for the anniversary. 3rd Anniversary gifts are leather (traditional) and crystal/glass (modern). Kind of a challenge on a small budget!

My gifts to him: a belt, leather key chain I made him from a kit, and the Leather Scentsy bar (here’s a secret: he’s more into the Scentsy than I am….).

His gifts to me: a pretty cross covered in broken glass and a beautiful leather journal to use as a “couple’s journal” (he has always been such a thoughtful gift giver).

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After gifts, we had a dinner at Olive Garden and then drove to my parents house in Houston to leave Oliver with them and head out for a New Orleans trip the next day! We only had 2.5 days in New Orleans, but we were able to do a lot in that time!

Here is our trip told through pictures!:

Dinner at Gumbo Shop. Delicious! I don't eat seafood, but I did branch out and try the red beans and rice- so glad I did!

Dinner at Gumbo Shop. Delicious! I don’t eat seafood, but I did branch out and try the red beans and rice- so glad I did!

Cafe du Monde. We went in the early evening, so we beat the crowd and it was so delicious and relaxing!

Cafe du Monde. We went in the early evening, so we beat the crowd and it was so delicious and relaxing!

We are not gamblers, but set a limit and wanted to have some fun! We ended up winning over $200! Came out ahead by a lot.

We are not gamblers, but set a limit and wanted to have some fun at Harrah’s! We ended up winning over $200! Came out ahead by a lot.

We went on a ride on the Steamboat Natchez. This was my husband's favorite part- I think because you got to go into the engine room and watch the steam engines work.

We went on a ride on the Steamboat Natchez. This was my husband’s favorite part- I think because you got to go into the engine room and watch the steam engines work.

The National World War Two Museum is not to be missed while in NOLA! But plan to spend several hours there. We only had two hours there before they closed and we had to rush! So many interesting things to read and look at.

The National World War Two Museum is not to be missed while in NOLA! But plan to spend several hours there. We only had two hours there before they closed and we had to rush! So many interesting things to read and look at.

On our last morning we explored the French Quarter and had hurricanes at Pat O'Brien's.

On our last morning we explored the French Quarter and had hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s.

Oak Alley Plantation. My favorite part of the trip.

Oak Alley Plantation. My favorite part of the trip.

What a great 3rd anniversary!

What a great 3rd anniversary!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What I’ve Been Reading- November 2013

I read quite a variety this month… non-fiction, new adult fiction, and Christian fiction.

Prophet’s Prey– Sam Brower (Non-fiction, 2011) : Fascinating, and sickening, look into Warren Jeffs, the FLDS, and polygamy. The author was a private investigator who spent many years looking into this religion and knew the ins and outs and had first-hand sources. But, he isn’t an author, and that made it hard to read at times. Overly detailed, repetitive, confusing timeline, hard to keep track of everyone involved in the story. But, even with the writing issues, it is still an excellent source for information on the church and Jeffs. In the book, Brower makes reference to a few other books written by former FLDS members that I hope to read soon.

Losing It– Cora Carmack (Fiction, 2012): This book is written by a best friend of one of my best friends. So, I had to read it, even though it’s a bit on the scandalous side. I actually read it one night. It was a very fun story with some great characters that are so easy to connect with and care about.

Faking It– Cora Carmack (Fiction, 2013):  Carmack’s second book. Again, scandalous, but fun, sweet, and funny. Really enjoyed the story.

Fifteen Minutes– Karen Kingsbury (Fiction, 2013): As I mentioned in September’s post, I am a huge fan of Kingsbury. Her books are so meaningful and draw you in to the story in a way that I’ve never experienced before. Fifteen Minutes is no different. Though, I would say it’s not my favorite book of hers. It felt kind of fake/contrived, especially with multiple references to pop culture. But it’s an interesting look into fame and family and following God’s leading.

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M&M Chocolate Oat Bars

I saw this dessert on Pinterest and was so excited to make it. It’s basically oatmeal cookies with fudge in between, topped with M&Ms. It seemed sort of like a fall dessert, though as the recipe points out, you can just change the M&M’s out to make it themed for any holiday and time of the year!

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M&M Chocolate Oat BarsLil’ Luna

  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 bag milk chocolate chips
  • 2 TBSP butter, softened
  • 1 cup M&Ms (For the fall version, I bought a “large” size bag and picked out the red, yellow, orange, and brown. Then you get to eat the rest!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, mix oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and 1 cup softened butter with a spoon. Remove 1 cup and set aside.
  3. Press remaining mixture into the bottom of a greased 9×13 pan.
  4. In a small pot, melt condensed milk, chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of butter over low-medium heat. Stir constantly until chips are melted and all is mixed well.
  5. Pour chocolate chip mixture over the bottom layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle leftover cup of oat mixture over the chocolate.
  6. Top with M&Ms and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting, if you can! (I couldn’t wait!)

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