Amazon-ing for the Holidays

Back in November I shared a post with my recent Amazon purchases. Compared to that one, this list is a monster. Ha. Many, many Christmas gifts came from the smiling box. Nothing here is an affiliated link and I have to give props to Rebecca Jo for the post idea.

Let’s do this…

B O O K S

The Complete Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners: A No-Stree Meal Plan with Easy Recipes to Heal the Immune System
Purchased for my sis-in-law because she suffers from a very limiting chronic illness.

Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities
Purchased for my other sis-in-law because I thought she’d like the strange and interesting stories.

The Magic of Motherhood: The Good Stuff, the Hard Stuff, and Everything In Between
Purchased for my bff because she’s a momma who enjoys a good book.

So far the only feedback I’ve received has been from Erica who is loving The Magic of Motherhood!

The Sisters Brothers
Purchased for my husband’s grandfather because he loves westerns and I loved this book (& cover).

Q&A a Day for Kids: A Three-Year Journal
Purchased for my 10 year old cousin.

The Girls’ Doodle Book
Also purchased for my 10 year old cousin (who enjoys art)!

C L O T H I N G

Sanuk Women’s Yoga Duet Sandal
Purchased for my mom because she liked mine and these don’t go through the toes.

Eddie Bauer Men’s Cloud Layer Pro 1/4-Zip Pullover, heather grey
Purchased for my dad-in-law because I thought he’d like it and most of his clothes get ruined at work. #welderlife

yige Women’s High Waisted A-line Skirt Skater Pleated Full Midi-Skirt, green
Purchased for me because I liked it… lol.

Large Trojan – Mascot Crystal Post Earrings
Purchased for my mom because she’s a school teacher at a school district with a Trojan mascot.

E L E C T R O N I C S

Pawbo Life Wi-Fi Pet Camera
Includes 720p HD video, 2-way audio, video recording, treat dispenser, & laser game…
Purchased for K (from Lylee and Enzo).

Oh my gosh, we love this thing. We haven’t used the treat dispenser or the laser game, but the video aspect is awesome.

Homeweeks 100ML Auto Off Ultrasonic diffuser LED Colorful Night-Lighting Aroma Mist Maker
Purchased for my 16 year old cousin because she’s a teen who could use some de-stressing scents in her life.

Pure Body Naturals Pure Therapeutic Grade Top 6 Essential Oil Basic Kit
Includes lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, lemongrass, orange, and peppermint…
I gave Allie the orange and lavender scents from this kit. I kept the other 4 🙂

G A M E S

TableTopics Couples: Questions to Start Great Conversations
My brother and sis-in-law like to talk to each other (weirdos) so I got them this.

Codenames
Purchased for our niece and nephews.

Sleeping Queens
Also purchased for our niece and nephews.

O F F I C E * S U P P L I E S

Blue Skyle 2018 Laminated Erasable Wall Calendar, Double Sided, 36×24
Purchased for me at work. Ha. Super exciting.

MyLifeUNIT Fineliner Coloe Pen Set, 10 assorted colors
I got this for Amber in our blogger swap!

Bloom Daily Planners Classic Planner Sticker Sheets
I also got this for Amber!

K I T C H E N

Masterbuilt 30″ Digital Electric Smoker
Purchased for K as his “big gift.” Hopefully this means I get a few more nights off where dinner is concerned…

Star Wars Lightsaber Salt and Pepper Shakers
Purchased for my bro-in-law who also has the R2-D2 cookie jar.

Ello Cole Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mugs
Purchased one for Kayla and one for Aubrey. I freakin’ love these mugs.

Fred MY TAI Unbrella Drink Markers
Purchased for Aub. (Kayla got the wiener dog ones but I didn’t buy them on Amazon.)

S U P E R * R A N D O M * G I F T S

Knock Knock Personal Library Kit
Purchased for my 19 year old college cousin because she is anal about people borrowing her books. She makes us sign them out. #perfect

Schwinn Air Center Plus Floor Pump with Gauge
My brother wanted a bike pump so I got him a bike pump.

Wisdom Panel 3.0 Breed Identification DNA Test Kit
…obviously purchased for Ly and Enzo. Turns out A LOT of people took advantage of this sale on Amazon. I’ll share the results when we get them 😉

Funko POP! Marvel: Dancing Groot Bobble Action Figure
My dad loves Groot and he’s a child so I figured he’d love this bobble head. I was right.

Seeing all the money I spent (through Amazon alone) is quite shocking. Maybe these recaps are a bad idea… hahaha. Fortunately, everyone seemed to really love their stuff (and truthfully I really love gifting people).

What’d you get from Amazon this holiday season??

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Goodbye & Farewell 2017

It’s a week of recaps, my friends. First and foremost, this is my last post of 2017!

I hope you have a wonderful, fun, safe, exciting (or relaxing) end of the year!!

Happy New Year!

(You can either read on for my year-end recap or peace out from here 😉 )

My goals for 2017 were as follows:

Be Healthy. FAIL. Same weight and habits and vices going strong. *face palm*

Feel Less Guilty About Downtime. While I still enjoy multitasking, I definitely don’t feel guilty about indulging in some downtime.

Read more. I read 25 books in 2016. I read 33 this year.

Become a Morning Person. No… this didn’t happen. I’ve only recently started rolling out of bed a little earlier and a little less rushed…

Get on Schedule. Eh. Meal planning happened and all the holidays fell into place. This is a work in progress, but I’ll take it. *shrug*

In my opinion, 2017 was a challenging and transitional year…

The political climate this year was tense and frustrating and volatile. I don’t see that ceasing in 2018, but I’m going into the new year hopeful and hungry for equality and change and progress.

At the start of 2017 I join K at Pageantry Innovations. We sold our first home together over the summer and moved into a new one in October. We went to some weddings, watched a lot of NASCAR, and took a family vacation to the beach. K brought home a new vehicular baby and we checked some concerts off our bucket list. I quit biting my nails, I blogged consistently, and we hit a new milestone with the business. K turned 30, Enzo turned 4 (!), and Lylee turned 6 (!!). One of our favorite babies was born this year & lots of friends announced pregnancies, engagements, and new significant others. For us, it was a stressful year full of learning and change, but I wouldn’t take any of it back.

Baby Tobin | New Vette | February Brunch Date | San Antonio | K’s 30th Bday | Orchestra for Mom’s Bday | Family Pic | 4th Anniversary | Landscaping
Buckeye Country Superfest | Lylee turns 6 | Mid-Ohio Race | 4th of July on the USS NC | Bridal Brunch | Family Vacation at Sunset Beach, NC | Bridal Shower | Enzo turns 4 | Bridal Party
New house | Cedar Point with Honda | In-laws New Kitty | Rehearsal Dinner Pic | My Bday | Goofy Wedding Pic | Not-So-Baby Tobin | Halloween | The Babes

I remember coming out of 2016 feeling terrible. The end of 2017 doesn’t feel so bad.
Personally, I’m grateful for the year I had. I’m hoping 2018 proves to be an even better one.

(Recaps from 2016 and 2015. And 2014 for good measure, lol.)

How was your 2017?

A Very Christmasy Blog Post

(If you make it to the end you get some holiday home tour pics.)

Growing up in our house, the holidays were a pretty big thing. My mom is a teacher so when Fred & I were on winter break, she was home with us, too. Back in my day (😁) we didn’t decorate for Christmas before Turkey Day. Honestly, I don’t know how my mom fit all our Christmas fun into one month.

One evening in December we’d crawl into Dad’s truck and he’d take us to Fox’s Nursery to pick out a Christmas tree. Of course, once the tree was home you had to let it sit outside and “relax” the branches. A G O N Y for a child who wants to decorate it right. now. After a day or two Mom and Dad would wrestle the beast of a tree (always 7ft or taller) into the house and up to the living room. #yaysplitlevelhouses Then we’d decorate while sipping on eggnog.

For as long as I can remember, Mom has always made cutout cookies. She’d make the dough, refrigerate it (giving Fred and me about 24 to 48 hours to snack on it in the fridge when she wasn’t looking), and then we’d roll it out and punch out candy canes and trees and Santa sleighs. She’d get about an hour of decorating out of us before we got bored, swiped the 4 cookies we’d made, and disappeared to play while she finished up. To this day her cookies always look 5xs better than mine. I did not get the decorating genes.

Christmas Eve is my favorite, though. We’d always have a new outfit for the evening church service. We attended church with my grandparents and uncles and aunts so our pew was packed. At the end of a soft and cozy service, the lights would dim and we’d light our once-a-year personal candles and sing Silent Night. As an adult, my emotions sneak up on me and I cry during this part of the service. After church we’d shiver all the way back to the car and head to my grandparents’ house for sandwiches and punch and shrimp cocktail. My dad’s and uncle’s friends and their families used to come over, too. Then it was home to set out milk, cookies, and carrots, and off to bed.

When I was young & my grandparents lived in Chicago they’d travel to us on Christmas. (Some years we went there, but my memory is fuzzy on those years. They’ve since moved here.) My aunt and uncle from St. Louis would also come stay with us. That meant Audrey got displaced and tossed into Fred’s room since he had bunk beds. (I didn’t mind.) On December 25th around 4:30 or 5 am, Fred and I would creep to the top of the stairs and look down on the tree to see what Santa brought. (We were not allowed to go downstairs without the rest of the family.) We’d slip back to Fred’s room and lay in our bunks discussing what we saw. Mom’s rule was “sleep until (at least) 6am” so obviously at 5:55 were jumping on their bed and shoving their bathrobes in their faces. When we finally got them to the top of the stairs (6:08 am UGHHH) the morning was officially on and Christmas had begun!

The holiday has changed significantly, but these are my favorite memories from my childhood. Toss in shoveling the looong driveway we had and sledding on my grandparents’ big hill and Rascal bringing the Christmas tree down multiple times throughout the years. One year, the day after Christmas, we had to say goodbye to our family dog Bruno. Another year, also the day after Christmas, I totaled my car and spent the evening at the hospital. Not all my memories are happy, but the good outweigh the bad and my parents always figured out ways to keep the season cheery and festive.

For whatever reason, I just wanted to remember and share some of my favorite traditions of the season. And now, if you’re still here, enjoy some pics from the new house!

Why is this picture so terrible & blurry? I have no clue.

This is my “library” area, plus some dogs stuff and minus quite a few books (that are still packed up). We’re still needing to hang artwork and photos on the wall, too.

Happy Holidays, my friends! Enjoy the memories being made!

Linking up with Alexandra and Shea today!!

Holiday Q & A with TBB

I’ve wanted to link-up with The Blended Blog for a while, but this is the first time I remembered! Just in time for the holidays…

1 Real or Fake Tree?
I hope that I will always be in the real tree camp. Growing up we always had one real tree in the house at Christmastime. I didn’t know multiple trees was a thing. As an adult, I admit that we have a fake tree at the PI office and a fake tree on the ledge at home. Our main tree in the living room will be 100% real, though (when we get it).

2 Favorite Christmas Cookie?
I’m boring. I love my mom’s iced cut-out cookies. So good 🙂

3 Home on Christmas Morning or Travel?
I guess we technically travel? We drive about 10 miles out of town to my parents’ house in the morning, then we spend the afternoon/evening at K’s parents’ house (which is about 5 miles from our house)… We consider those places “home”, though. And we do a quick gift exchange when we wake up at our house with each other and the pups!

4 Clear or Colored Lights?
Honestly, I kind of like color on a tree, but clear on a house. We stick to clear, though. K has always preferred clear.

5 Send Christmas Cards?
Yep. Every year. I looove sending & receiving cards!

6 Favorite Christmas Present Received?
Uhhh… I’ve added a lot of pets to my family in December so let’s go with that! Enzo & Ly both came home on the 7th, my mom got me a bird on the 23rd one year (Noel!), and I got a hamster for Christmas once (his name was Jazz but he wasn’t healthy and he died pretty quickly).
Edit: I was reading other answers from bloggers and I remembered that one year I got my first cell phone. That was awesome 🙂 Also, Erica gave me/us a Lylee ornament one year and it’s seriously one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever gotten!

7 Favorite Christmas Present Given?
Our first year together I made K a fleece tie-blanket. For some reason that’s one of my favorites because I was so happy to give it to him. I love finding the perfect thing for him.

8 Stockings or No Stockings?
Wait… why wouldn’t you do stockings?? Of course stockings!

9 Christmas PJ’s?
Kind of? Every year on Christmas Eve I wear my penguin pj pants to bed. I don’t know why I’ve deemed them the Christmas pants, but it’s become a thing for me. Lol

10 Favorite Christmas Carol?
I love ‘Angels We Have Heard On High.’ Most Christmas music makes me happy. Exception include: Santa Baby, Last Christmas, & All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.

11 Favorite Holiday Tradition?
I like picking out the tree with K (and sometimes a dog or two). I also love decorating my parents’ tree, which we go over and do each year. And Christmas Eve service at the church!

family_photo
Coming at ya from 2015

12 Early Shopper or Last Minute?
I get 75 to 80% of my shopping done early, but I fully utilized Amazon Prime til the end and I like popping into stores and seeing the decor.

13 Favorite Christmas Movie or Show?
The claymation movies are my favorite. A Year Without A Santa Clause, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, etc. I also love watching John Wayne movies on Christmas Day.

14 Favorite Holiday Beverage?
I love hot beverages so winter is really my time to shine 😉 Hot chocolate, hot apple cider, Starbucks Caramel Brulee latte. Anything spiked with Southern Comfort… ha.

15 Cookies and Milk for Santa?
Of course. And some carrots for the reindeer!

Well that was fun! 🎄

Live Your Best Holiday Life Finale

As I mentioned earlier this month, Alexandra and Shea hosted this mindful month-long challenge and I decided to participate. Their LYBHolidayL challenge was a relaxing and healing way to take on November and the holidays 🙂 Now that it’s over, here’s how I finished the month out! (Check out the first half here!)

To kick us off, here’s the second half of the gratitude log:

November 16 – Set a bedtime alarm to prioritize sleep.
We dropped the ball on the 16th because we were catching up on the last few episodes of The Mindy Project, but we’ve been going to bed around 10pm every night which has been good for us!

November 17 – Share a gratitude quote on Instagram that speaks to you, inspire others!

November 18 – Take a load of items you no longer use to Goodwill/another thrift store!
After the move I made a pile of donation items. Of course I haven’t done anything with them. Until today 🙂

November 19 – Go for a fall walk
This day was m.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e. I definitely didn’t go on a hike. I went shopping. Ha. But next month I’m doing a girls’ weekend at a cabin with my friends & I’ll take my fall/winter walk then!

November 20 – Allow yourself a small indulgence this week (a sweet treat, a long bath, an item from your wish list)
I might have grabbed a Three Musketeers while checking out at the grocery store.

November 21 – Give yourself a manicure or pedicure
My nails are partially gelled (because I picked some of it off), but my toes were holding on to polish from… September? I didn’t repaint them, but I did strip the polish off my feet and give my toenails and cuticles some love.

November 22 – Unexpected color combo: pumpkin & blush
I had no blush items in my closet. K and I tried to take a mirror selfie just to record my outfit for the day, but we obviously need some practice. Lylee looks straight up lost.

November 23 – Put your phone away and just be present today… Facebook and Instagram can wait
Sooo… I kept my phone away as far as texting, IG, and FB were concerned… but Animal Crossing just released their Pocket Camp app and I’d be lying if I said I avoided that all day 😉 In my defense, I bonded with my cousins and K’s siblings and cousins over the app!

November 24 – Take a few minutes to look at old photos and reminisce
I’m in the process of setting up my office at home and every time I open a box or folder I find senior pictures of friends or prom pics of K and me. So sweet 🙂

November 25 – Have a hot cocoa date with your significant other, best friend, or other loved one
K and I woke up early to hit a hardware store. We swung by Starbucks for some cocoa (for him) and a latte (for me) before we made the trek!

The gel on my thumb is still intact so it makes for good pics 😉

November 26 – Call, text, FaceTime, etc. a friend or family member that you are not able to see this holiday. They’ll be glad to know that you are thinking of them!
As strange as it sounds, almost all my family lives near me. My uncle lives in St. Louis but he was home and we had a Thanksgiving lunch with him this day! Coincidence? I think not!

November 27 – Hand write a letter or note telling someone how grateful you are for them & why
Done!

November 28 – Discuss with family existing ideas for new holiday traditions, planning ahead will make pulling it off next month easier!
My brother & his wife live two hours away but come home for Christmas Eve and morning. This month we discussed his plan and now I know when he’ll be around and what dates we’ll have him in town for celebrating! (They head to her family for Xmas night and the days that follow.)

November 29 – Schedule 15 minutes to de-stress, break out that grown up coloring book
These are my favorite kind of puzzles to do. I can sit and fill these in for hours. De-stressing with a fill-in puzzle is the perfect 15 minute break!

November 30 – Try a new coffee, tea, or coffee creamer
I bought a new amaretto creamer! I don’t usually put anything but milk or half&half in my coffee, but it’s been a nice treat!


Thank you so much, Alexandra and Shea, for hosting this challenge! I definitely fudged some stuff in the second half, but the daily challenges were a reminder in self care and preservation. I definitely needed that this month.

Next month they’re keeping the fun going with these prompts!

I’m excited to join in when I can 🙂

A Christmas Movie List

I was typing out the Freeform 25 Days of Christmas movie list as I obsessively do every year and I thought to myself, ‘I should make an ultimate Christmas movie list for my blog!’

This isn’t an official challenge and you don’t need to keep track or put any pressure on yourself to finish (or even start!) this list, but I thought it’d be fun. I’ll probably report my progress some time at the end of the month. (And if you watched some of these in November it totally counts. I would never restrict Christmas cheer to December!)

Feel free to play along if you want to!

Claymations:
A Year Without a Santa Claus (AV) (F)
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (F)
Jack Frost (F)
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (F)
Rudolph’s Shiny New Year (F)

Animated/Kids:
The Nightmare Before Christmas (N) (F)
The Polar Express (AV) (F)
The Muppet Christmas Carol (HBO go)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (AV) (ABC go)
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (F)
Arthur Christmas (F)

The Classics
White Christmas (N)
It’s A Wonderful Life (AV)
Miracle on 34th Street (AV)
Holiday Inn
The Bishop’s Wife

The Contemporary Classics
Love Actually (N)
The Family Stone
The Holiday (N) (AV)
Jingle All the Way
Serendipity (N)
Trading Places

The Overly Played:
A Christmas Story (AV)
The Santa Clause [bonus points for each sequel watched] (N) (F)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation [uncensored, of course] (F -censored)
Home Alone (HBO go)
Elf (AV) (F)

Half-Hour Specials:
The Bells of Fraggle Rock
The Little Drummer Boy
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (F)
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas [animated]

BONUS: Weird Animated Movies From Our Past That We Barely Remember:
Babes in Toyland
The Nutcracker Prince
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

Edit… [Find it on: (H) hulu, (N) netflix, (AV) amazon video, (F) freeform]
Some of these might not be free. And some might be incorrect. Hey, I tried.

While I didn’t include Die Hard, it can be found on Amazon Video 😉

I know I’m missing a million movies. What are some of your favorites?

Happy Thanksgiving!

I feel like we were so overdue for a holiday, ya know? Thanksgiving arrived just in time.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by friends or family or pets or strangers- whatever or whomever you have that make you feel loved and grateful.

I addition to all the normal stuff (husband, dogs, fam, etc.), I’m incredibly thankful for the blogging community that I find myself immersed in daily. From the random packages to the planned gift swaps, from my blogger pen pal group to the people I email with and befriend on Facebook… I’m just really grateful for you all ❤︎

If you find yourself here over the holiday/weekend, I hope you know that I’m glad you’ve stopped by. If you’re looking for something to read while you wait for the guests to arrive or the turkey to cook or the bloating to subside 😉 be sure to check out these posts:

Have a great Thanksgiving & weekend!