I’ll Be Home For Christmas…

Everyone’s posted a holiday home tour but me (or so it seems ). Let’s fix that!
(Check out other people’s houses, too! Mattie, Emily, Taylor, Michelle)

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Typically the decorations go up mid-November, but we don’t get our tree until December. This year we really procrastinated. I knew I wanted a smaller one this year (and we set up a larger one in K’s company office), but I don’t know that I was picturing it this small… Perks to buying your tiny tree the Saturday before the holiday weekend? We got it half off. Say hello to $10 ‘Ronald Trees-ley”:

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Yep, he’s real. Both of them.

Ok… on to the house tour.

No house light this year. Just my sled & fox.
No house light this year. Just my sled & fox.
Favorite holiday spot in the house
Favorite holiday spot
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K and I are the snowmen, Ly is the “woof”, & Enzo is the fox

Ronald, Enzo, & Ly

If you missed it on IG here's one of my favorite ornaments!
If you missed it on Instagram here’s one of my favorite ornaments!
I think we have five nativity sets in our house...
I think we have five nativity sets…
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I love this little cutout in our house

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What a Christmas wreck... ha.
What a Christmas wreck… ha.

Where all the magic happens ;)

And there ya have it. We only decorate the first floor, although there is a pine candle in the basement. Sorry my pictures aren’t high quality… that’s just life!

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I’m going to get religious for a minute.

I am a firm believer in faith by example. Rarely do I mention religion here on my blog, but I don’t shy away from identifying as a Christian. It’s my hope that through acts of kindness and openminded-ness toward others I get across what I believe to be the important parts of being a Christian. I think that being ‘Christian’ means knowing that you are flawed, seeking forgiveness and wisdom, and spreading kindness and love to the other flawed humans (and animals) on this planet. We’re meant to love and take care of one another. I don’t think Jesus cares if you voted Republican or Democrat (or Independent). That doesn’t make you a better Christian. I don’t think Jesus cares where (or if) you got an education. That doesn’t make you a better Christian. I don’t think Jesus cares about your skin color, gender, pay grade, criminal record, or hobbies. I think that Christianity is about serving Christ- and since we have no idea what He looks like or when He’ll appear, it’s best to serve one another with a happy, genuine heart.

All that to say, Merry Christmas, friends! (And if you celebrate a holiday other than Christmas, I welcome your festive greeting! I do not feel like there is a war being waged on me or the holidays I celebrate, and I hope you feel the same.) If you’ve ever thought about visiting a church you should slip into one on Christmas Eve and listen to the story of the birth of Jesus. If you live near me and you’d like someone to go with I’d be more than happy to have you along!

If you are not a Christian or you celebrate another event this time of year: Happy Holidays!  ❤︎

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Regardless of your beliefs, spread a little love and cheer and kindness this weekend, friends! Thank you for your friendship here in Blogland ❤︎

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Sending Christmas Cheer

This is what I was going to post on Monday… Instead it’s coming at you today 🙂  Also, I know a lot of blogger are taking holiday breaks (good for you guys!!) but I’m keeping the posts coming M, W, F this week and next so if you get bored or need a real life break there will be something here to read. Haha!

Typically I am that Christmas psycho elf that has her holiday cards addressed, stamped, and ready to send on December 1st. This year I was dragging my feet and I mentioned that in Blogland. When Alexandra from My Favorite Things caught wind of my procrastination she offered to design the cards for us!

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I like my Christmas cards to be simple and positive. (This was last year’s card.) Alexandra hit the nail on the head with her design!

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I am in love with the return labels she made, too!

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Check out her website and Facebook for more designs!

Thank you so much, Alexandra! We love them!

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*I wasn’t paid to write this  🙂 I purchased my cards at a discounted priced, but these opinions are 100% my own!

The Blogger Christmas Cheer Exchange

Through blogging I’ve “met” some pretty fun people. Two of those ladies are Olya of The Siberian American and Mattie of Northwest Native! When these ladies shared the details of their Blogger Christmas Cheer Exchange on their blogs I was all about participating.

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Similar to their Valentine’s Day swap, the exchanging was anonymous and conducted through elfster. A few days after I sent some goodies to Nikki in Texas I received a package in the mail from a nameless Elf! (Turns out it was from Jess of To Sparkle Punch!) I’m so glad I participated because I got exactly what I’d wished for!

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A week or so after the package came (and Mattie revealed to me who my elf was), I got a Christmas note in the mail from Jess! Since she’d sent the goodies via Amazon she wanted to get in contact somehow to wish me a Merry Christmas! So sweet!

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Thank you so much for the Christmas gifts, Jess! And thanks for hosting, Olya & Mattie!

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Dear Santa…

Per request of family members (I swear they asked for this), I came up with some Christmas swag that I wouldn’t be opposed to receiving. Some is off my birthday wish list, but most of it is new. For the record, I don’t need any gifts… I just want a pretty tree, some time off work, and a cup of coco.

*Alternative title: dear-santa

So here we go… (Nothing is affiliated.)

Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets – illustrated version.
I needs it, Precious. [Er- wrong fandom.]

Any of these books: Cravings by Chrissy Teigen, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson

Sweatshirts.
I love a clever, witty sweatshirt. This one cracks me up. Also this one. And this one.  (Large)
(Seriously… I love sweatshirts.)

Taylor’s new dog shirt!
I have the original one but I love that this one alludes to more than one dog. (Runs small- XL)

Anything for the dogs… My brother and sister-in-law once gifted me a 3 month Bark Box subscription and I was more excited than the dogs to open it each month!

*Between gifts and donations and self-indulgences, I’ve acquired an electric griddle, a coffee maker, and a quality cookie sheet since my last wish list post 🙂

I started this post thinking I’d be able to list 100 things… but I really can’t think of anything I want or need. For family members that are frustrated with me over the short list: I always love books, candles, gift cards, and alcohol  😉

What’s on your Christmas wish list? Maybe it’ll give me some ideas!

EDIT: Erin just shared this website with me… And now I want this and this and this and this  😀 (Ladies t-shirt, sweatshirt, or racer back – probably a large)

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December Amazon Purchases 2015

This isn’t sponsored and I’m not being coerced. (However, if Amazon wants to give me a free year of Prime I won’t argue…) A while back I discovered that Rebecca Jo from Knit by God’s Hand frequently blogs about her Amazon purchases. (Here’s her most recent!) I think this is a crazy awesome idea!

Since Christmas is over I can finally share my recent December purchases!

Evelots Fleece Pet Blanket (grey)

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This was a Christmas gift for Lylee. I’m really bad about A) looking at dimensions and B) visualizing the dimensions once I know them. That said, the blanket is a little small, but I only needed it to cover the one couch cushion Ly-Bear frequents- and it does the job just fine! It’s fleece but it’s durable. Also, it’s was 3x’s less $$$ than a pet blanket from the stores!

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T-fal Ultimate Hard Anodized Durable Nonstick Cookware

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My brother & I (and our partners) decided to gift my mom new pots for Christmas. I had my heart set on Calphalon, but when I read the reviews I was really disappointed. After some research, I decided this T-fal set was the way to go. It says they are dishwasher safe, but I’ve firmly instructed my mom to hand-wash her pots. She’s been cooking with them and is quite pleased!

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Just Add Color: Mid-Century Modern Patterns & Mid-Century Modern Animals

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These were a gift for my brother-in-law and his wife! They’re actually both artists, so I was afraid coloring books might offended them, but they were pleased! The designs are a little larger than some of the teeny tiny floral books and pattern books I’ve seen, but that means you can do your own patterns in the larger shapes!

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Super Power Supply AC/DC Adapter Charger Cord Replacement for B&N Nook

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I couldn’t find my nook charger and I needed a way to read in bed when K wanted the lights off… I rarely use my Nook (obviously), but I decided it’s my best bet so I ordered a new charging cord. It’s a good replacement, though my original cord had an “n” on it that lit up when it was charging… I miss that. I guess that’s what I get for losing misplacing it.

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And those were my Amazon purchases for the month of December! I probably won’t do another post like this any time soon because I don’t shop frequently in spring/summer.

Did you order anything off Amazon for Christmas? Are you a prime member? I do love my free 2-day shipping!

** Off topic but… did you guys catch the (American) season premier of Downton Abbey??? Does anyone want to talk about it? Hahaha!

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The Last Bit of 2015 Confessions

Hi ya! It’s the last Wednesday of the year, my friends! I’m pretty focused on straightening up my house and keeping up with my work load and visiting with my baby brother while he’s home so I didn’t prep much for today… so how about some confessions??
(Linking up with Laura, Lauren, Kathy, and Nadine, of course!)

I am already planning 2016’s Halloween Party. I have the theme, date, and tentative guest list done. #WantAHint? #Let’sPartyLikeIt’s1999

I will have amazing hair when I become an old lady. First of all, my hair is already turning a metallic grey color. Secondly, when I let it air dry it gets all fluffy and old lady-like. #OldLadyFrenchTwists #GoingGreyAt25 #HairGoals

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Sometimes I catch myself sitting really weird… Like, chest out and my chin up. Or my chin down and I’m looking up with my eyes at the screen. Or my head is sideways… #WhyCan’tIAccidentallyHaveGoodPosture? #NoWonderMyBackHurts

So… on Monday I realized our electric bill was due so I very calmly logged onto the website and paid the +$2 fee to make an instant payment. I was feeling good until I remembered that I’d already sent in the payment last Wednesday. Oops. #ChristmasBrain #I’veGotNextMonthCoveredIGuess #Dammit

A few nights ago my dad, my brother, and I got into a heated political/religious debate. It’s so confusing how my dad (& mom) raise two people who have totally different beliefs from each other AND our parents… (K and my mom safely silently sat in the living room with their phone/iPad.) #AtLeastWeAllRejectTrump #ItEndedPeacefully #WhatHappenedToTheDaysWhenIWasTheControversialOne? #MyBrotherHasMeBeat

And now some Christmas confessions…

As the day progressed I got some amazing gifts and I was happy with everything, but I was especially looking for the illustrated HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone. When it didn’t show up under our tree or my parents’ tree I was a little sad… but then my mother-in-law gifted it to me! #Yaaaaaas #HappyChristmasHarry #BestMILEver

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I played Star Wars Monopoly on Christmas against my teenage cousins and my grandma… I dominate that galaxy, guys. I even held back a little and still dominated. #RealEstateMogul #JustCallMeTrump #ButActuallyDon’t

Let’s pretend like humility doesn’t exist for a hot second… I feel like the mother-loving Queen of Gifts this year. I bought my husband the cymbals he’s been wanting, I sent my niece and nephews their official Hogwarts letters, and I outfitted my brother and his fiancee with niffy, often-forgotten cooking and baking tools. #QueenOfChristmas #IKnowThat’sNotWhatIt’sAbout #ButILoveToSeeTheirFacesLightUp

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I also got my father-in-law a Gryffindor quidditch bathroom… #BestDaughterInLawEver #ItWasTheOnlyHouseLeft #ButHe’sABraveGryffindor

Did you guys see the moon halo/rainbow/ring on Christmas?? #What’sTheOfficialName? #ItWasPrettyNeat

My Christmas tree died halfway through December… #CarpetOfNeedles #ISwearIWateredIt #IKillPlants #It’sComingDownToday #Dammit

But I will never surrender to the fake tree. #RealTrees4ever

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How about some of my favorite holiday photos?

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The engagement gift K & I made for my brother and Christina
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Lylee was in heaven and my cute little husband was so happy with his cymbals!
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When the excitement of my dad’s Christmas gift finally sank in… (My mom is also an A+ gift-er.)
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All but one pillow were Christmas gifts to me!
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On Sunday night we took the Pageantry Innovations team out to dinner at Bravo for Christmas!

And now we’re on the eve of NYE! Enjoy the last two days of 2015, guys!!

-Louise

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Merry Christmas!!

Happy Holidays! Cheers!
I hope today is a wonderful day of family and celebration and food and love.

(If you’re a Christian like me let’s give a rousing Happy Birthday to Jesus!)

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If you find yourself bored this weekend and scrolling through Facebook or Instagram maybe you will find your way to this page and I can entertain you with this super interesting winter questionnaire all about me 😉 If you’re super engaged in the holiday celebration and you don’t have time then that’s ok, too! Merry Christmas, friend!

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What’s your go-to outfit in winter?
I love sweatshirts and leggings for around-the-house work. If I have to go in public I prefer skinny jeans, legwarmers, boots, and a sweater with a scarf.

 What’s winter like in your hometown?
Typically it’s chilly and rainy before the Christmas and snowy for most of Jan. & Feb. This year the weather is drunk and I’m annoyed. 55 degrees on Christmas is unacceptable.

Special winter recipes?
My mom & I make cutout cookies annually, but there are no secret Christmas recipes that come out this time of year. This year I made some dough for “Bretzeli” with my grandpa. K’s family always has a yummy spread, but we see most of those foods around Thanksgiving & Easter, too.

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Winter holiday traditions?
K and I always go pick out a tree together. Usually the dogs tag along, but this year it was just us. I’m also usually around when my parents decorate their tree. My favorite holiday tradition is the Christmas Eve service and then dinner/snacks at my grandma’s house afterward. I also always wear my penguin pants to bed on Christmas eve. And I have special white slippers for the morning.

Favorite winter activities?
Sitting by the fire, drinking cocoa, sledding, wrapping gifts.

Winter home decor?
Just in case you missed it, you can check that our right here!

Beauty regimen changes for winter?
I don’t do anything differently. I just make sure I keep moisturizer and lotion on hand for the dryness. I can already feel my face getting dry… Any advice from the experts?

Favorite holiday song?
I don’t really have a favorite on-the-radio pop tune… but I really love Angels We Have Heard on High. I’m also a big fan of anything older like Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby. Definitely nothing from the 90s and no Bieber.

Favorite holiday movie?
I love The Year Without a Santa Claus. It’s my favorite. I also enjoy The Polar Express, Love Actually, and The Family Stone.

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What changes about you in the winter?
I feel more relaxed during winter. I feel like the cold temperatures cool my blood and slow me down. Some people get depressed but I get serene.

Gift wrap or gift bags?
I prefer wrapping gifts 🙂 And I like opening wrapped gifts better, too!

Favorite warm drink for winter?
Hot cocoa with heavy/whipping cream. Or Starbuck’s Caramel Brulee latte. Or hot apple cider with caramel.

What are you excited for this season?
I’m just waiting for some snow, honestly… I’m excited to spend Christmas with my loved ones and pass out gifts to everyone. I’m also really excited for 2016- I think it’s going to be a wonderful year.

Autumn vs. Winter?
You can’t do this to me. I really, really love fall… but I’m always excited when winter arrives. (And right now I’m mad at fall because it’s stepping on winter’s toes.)

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Where do you spend Christmas?
Oh geez. Well, we go to church on Christmas Eve with my parents and then go to my grandma’s (Dad’s side) afterward for dinner/snacks. Then we usually stop by the in-laws’ house. On Christmas morning we spent a little time at our house with just the dogs. Then we give Ly a treat and pack up Enzo and head to my parents’ house and my mom’s parents join us. Then K and I head to his parents’ house for gifts. Then we take Enz back home and spend dinner at my aunt’s house (Dad’s side) for dinner and gifts. Then we usually go back to K’s parents’ house to spend time with his sister and her family (who arrive in town later in the afternoon). This year we will also be doing a dinner on the 26th with my mom’s parents. (And the PI company party is the 27th!)  WHEW.

Do you decorate after or before Thanksgiving?
I tend to put up some decor before Thanksgiving… but I leave my Thanksgiving/fall decorations up! (I just like to put up the mantel decorations.) We don’t get a tree until December, though!

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Oh, college… Our one and only snow day. (Obviously I’m the one accosting the snow pile.)

Peppermint or gingerbread?
Definitely not gingerbread… I guess peppermint, but I really only like candy canes.

What is one thing you asked for this Christmas?
A fitbit! And the new illustrated Harry Potter!

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(Thanks for the inspirations, Mattie!)

Have a wonderful, festive, cheery weekend,  my dears!

-Louise