The Good, The Bad, & The Cheesy

I’ve been hitting the Christmas movies hard this year. Have you watched any Hallmark or Netflix movies yet? I took myย Christmas streaming list seriously and decided to report back. If you’ve watched any of these cheesy love stories let’s discuss in the comments!

Road to Christmas (Hallmark 2018)
Good: I really loved the cross-country trip. The map visual was cute. I felt like the chemistry between Maggie and Danny was great, too.
Bad: The snowman contest left me going w.t.f.
Cheesy: The draaaamaaa was ridiculous, both between the bros and between Maggie & Danny.

Christmas Wonderland (Hallmark 2018)
Good: The acting is surprising really, really great in this movie. Even the kids are talented.
Bad: Her job behavior is sh*t. I think she enjoys her job and I think she’s good at her job… but everyone gives her crap because she moved to NYC to paint and now she’s an art dealer with no inspiration or free time. She’s just a successful adult. *eyeroll* Also, she treated her boss and assistant kinda sh*tty, too.
Cheesy: The godawful dance scene. Things were so good until that point.

The Princess Switch (Netflix 2018)
Good: The setting for this movie is stunning. I also appreciated the deception with minimal drama.
Bad: I wanted her baking career to be more of a thing. She’s not excited about it and it seems like no one else is either.
Cheesy: I mean… the acting is a little cheesy. And the romances. But that’s why we watch, right?

A Christmas Prince (Netflix 2017)
Good: Princess Emily. She was quick and witty from the start but not in a bratty way. I thought her bond and honestly with Amber was a plus. And the prince before he shaved. And the scenery.
Bad: The prince’s bad acting when he’s in proper royal mode.
Cheesy: I hate Amber’s acting. I won’t lie. It all feels forced- including the chemistry.

A Christmas Prince: The ย Royal Wedding (Netflix 2018)
Good: It’s a different character, but her dad is great. I love him. Same with Mr. Zabala.
Bad: The peak moment with the bad guy was anticlimactic. That could’ve been cooler.
Cheesy: The wedding itself. YAWN.

The Holiday Calendar (Netflix 2018)
Good: I thought the love triangle was tastefully done.
Bad: Josh’s hair. Sorry, but it’s distracting and I don’t like the style.
Cheesy: The stupid camera thing Abby and Josh do. Honestly. *eyeroll*

Christmas Inheritance (Netflix 2017)
Good: I definitely started crying during the snowstorm when Ellie helped out. Also, the self awareness of the cheese factor is refreshing. I liked it. The letter reading part made me sob, too. WTF.
Bad: The drama for the sake of drama is a little much at times- especially regarding Ellie and her image and her reputation.
Cheesy: The change of heart when she holds a baby. Apparently her ovaries woke up & saved the day. Also, the end, but that’s a good thing since that’s what we’re all looking for.

I also watched:

  • The Grinch (2018)
  • White Christmas (1954)
  • The Santa Clause 1, 2, & 3
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – FINALLY

My favorite was definitely Christmas Inheritance. Let’s hear it for the film where the leading lady DOESN’T have to give up her career!

What was your favorite? Which one(s) didn’t you like?

Christmas Movies to Stream

I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving. No denying it now- we’re officially officially into the Christmas seasonย ๐ŸŽ„

Last year I put together a list of classic Christmas movies and I did my best to watch as many as I could. I’m married to someone with a heart slightly larger than the Grinch (pre-Cindy Lou Who), so we don’t binge holiday films every single night. (You can bet your ass I still play holiday music all the time, though.) We almost always watch The Polar Express and The Santa Clause, though. And I like to watch Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas and all the 1970s stop motion films.

Anyway, this year I’m talking over the apps and watching some cheesy Netflix (& Hulu & Amazon Prime) Christmas movies. I kind of feel like those platforms are giving Hallmark a run for its money! Here are the movies I want to see:

The Royal Ones
A Christmas Prince
A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding
The Princess Switch

The Convenient Love Ones
Holiday Engagement
Christmas With A View
A Christmas in NY (hulu)

The Small Town Feels Ones
Christmas Inheritance
Coffee Shop
A Merry Friggin’ Christmas (Amazon Prime)

The Magical Ones
The Holiday Calendar
The Christmas Chronicles
How Sarah Got Her Wings

The Classics
The Grinch
White Christmas
Love Actually
Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas
Miracle on 34th Street (hulu)
It’s a Wonderful Life (Amazon Prime)

I should note that I’ve already watched A Christmas Prince and The Princess Switch. (Yay, sick days.) Both were cheesy but cute. Which is the norm, I think. Lol. All of these are Netflix films unless otherwise noted.

What holiday movies are you streaming this year?

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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??

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 (๐Ÿ˜) 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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! ๐ŸŽ„