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”:

ronald_trees-ley
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!

. . .

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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Things I’m Thinking About

It’s Labor Day, yo! Happy Labor Day! (Well, to the US folk…)

Since it’s a holiday I get today off from work.
When my brain’s not busy doing work/daily routine stuff it’s busy thinking about random stuff…

My local yoga studio is offering a 30 day yoga challenge starting Sept. 12th. For $60 you can sign up to take a yoga class every day for a month. It’s an amazing deal, but only if you actually go to class. Their classes are held any time between 5:30 am and 7:30 pm. This is their second time offering this challenge and I’m so tempted but sooo doubtful (of myself, ha).

Chelsea had her baby and I am SO excited for her & Ryan!! Here’s a pic of the new family  ❤︎

On Saturday I’m starting a new volunteer opportunity. I’m super pumped about it and I plan to blog about it soon. Obviously it has to do with animals 🙂

My grey hair is coming back with a vengeance. Good thing I have a hair appt. on Thursday.

I’m in a book rut- I’m currently just reading one book and I don’t care about it. I need to start a good one soon…

On Saturday, all by 10 o’clock am, I made the bed, folded laundry, enjoyed a doughnut and cup of tea, finished the book I was reading (no, not the one I just complained about), and took the dogs on a long walk. I felt pretty dang accomplished and adult-ed.

I think I kicked my caffeine habit a few months ago, but now it’s back. Dagnabbit.

My baby brother & new sister were in town this weekend & I’m so glad I got to spend ample time with them!

In college we didn’t get Labor Day off and I was cheesed about it every year, but as a graduate I totally get it. I hadn’t really labored yet- I didn’t deserve the day. (Haha, I’m kind of kidding. I’m still irked we didn’t get the day off.) Whatev, guys. I have the day off today so I’m letting bygones be bygones.

Short and sweet and random. Go swim in a pool or crash a BBQ once you’re done here 🙂

summer swim

Today is the last day I’m allowing “summer” to be a part of my vocabulary until 2017.
Byeeeeee, Summer!

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The Holiday Weekend

It’s been a while since I posted a weekend recap- mainly because my weekends are typically laid back and slow- but this past weekend we crammed a lot into those beautiful three days of freedom!

F R I D A Y

If you’re new here you might not know that I gave all four years of my high school life to my school’s band program. I lived, breathed, ate, and slept band (or drumline). My town still has a strong band program and part of the reason for that is the healthy support of alumni. At the end of my high school career a new tradition was started for alumni band members to come back and march in the 4th of July parade with the current band. This alumni parade happens every four years and this year happened to be it.

In this video the very first person you see conducting (in red) is K’s friend. (He’s a band director is central OH who we don’t get to see very often.) The next person you see conducting- the wonderful older woman in black- is Mrs. Graham. She’s the saint who keeps music alive in our area and beyond. She is the most dedicated, hard working, kind, selfless person you will ever meet. She’s smart and sassy and everything in between. She’s the one who heads up this crazy event every 4 years. The current students are in white, the alumni are in red. There are over 200 alumni.

K and I were both band nerds percussionist in school, but we didn’t sign up to march in the parade this year. Instead, we cheered from the sidelines and attended the alumni banquet/reunion afterward. It was nice to see friends from my school years, K’s high school years, and even my dad’s years in band. (K was four years ahead of me in school so we have a wide mix of friends. My dad is a band alumni, too, but he’s a little rusty when it comes to playing an instrument now.)

S A T U R D A Y

On Saturday morning my doll of a husband headed off to a “man’s breakfast” without me. (Turd.) I spent the morning picking up the house and weeding the driveway and cuddling the dogs. When he finished breakfast he stopped at home quick before jetting off to another boys-only event. This time, a bachelor party for my brother in Columbus, Ohio.

My homemade breakfast :)
My homemade breakfast 🙂 eggs & peppers and a smoothie

I spent the afternoon cooking some food, cleaning some nooks, and getting ready for evening festivities. I put together some Turkey Salad Skewers, left the pups at home, and joined my parents at family-friends’ pool party. This was one of three parties I was invited to, but I only made it to this one. After some pool time I drove my little introverted booty back home and snuggled into bed with the dogs to watch the NASCAR race 🙂

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I came home to be with Lylee for the fireworks. We live close to the city park where they set them off and we don’t like to leave her on the 4th of July. Enzo, of course, couldn’t possibly care less. We can actually see the high fireworks from the backyard and he sat on the patio furniture and watched them. Ha.

S U N D A Y

K returned to me around 5 am which disturbed my slumber and ruined my plans to attend church. We ended up getting a late start and I had just enough time to run to the grocery store & whip up a Berry Cheesecake Salad for an afternoon cookout at K’s aunt and uncle’s house. We spent some time sipping adult beverages with his family before popping out to my parents for a second and then heading to my grandparents’ house for an evening dinner. (We typically get together on Sunday nights with my family at my grandparents’ house, but this Sunday my grandparents also had guests in town which made dinner even more eventful.)

A some point in the evening one of my four cousins made a comment about going to see Finding Dory at the drive-ins. After much debate and discussion (and a few sparklers) we decided that I should take my four cousins to the movies. (Cousins’ ages range between 8 and 17.) K opted to go home and take advantage of the empty house so I loaded up my car and we went to the first feature at the drive-ins. The movie was cute- more humor and less sadness than Nemo.

M O N D A Y

On flag holidays (Memorial/4th/Labor) my family all meets bright and early in Amish County for some breakfast. K and I opted for a productively lazy day after that. He hardwired the new garage door opener into the garage (so glad I married a handyman!) and I left town for a bit to shop for vacation! (There are lots of stores about a half hour north of us.) I snagged a dress shirt, a t-shirt, some sunglasses, and a pair of flip-flops at NY&Co for $25 🙂 I also got some goodies at Target.

Since I’m a total psycho I started packing for vacation as soon as I got home. (We don’t leave for another few days… ha.) I realized I needed my big suitcase from my parents’ house so we hopped in the car and headed out there. On our way back into town we stopped at First Town Days- which is the city’s 4th of July festival at the park- and got some deliciously bad food for dinner: two sausages on a bun, fair fries, and sugary lemonade. We ended the night/weekend on the front porch in the chairs K put together.

Holiday_weekend_3

This week mirrors the craziness that was my weekend… We have dinners and vet appointments and last minute chores and get-togethers and a wedding. (Yes, I am counting down the days to vacation. Ha.) But what’s life without a little excitement, right?

Linking up today/tomorrow with Kristen & Gretch for What’s New With You?

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What's New With You

#Hashtag-Schmashtag

It’s Wednesday and I am so total ready to just check out. #ButICan’t

Today I’m linking up with:
Laura and Lauren and Nadine and Kathy and Alanna and Sarah (Plucky)! (Whew, that was a long one!)
Time to confess…

Since Sunday I have worked 24 hours at my full time gig & 6 hours at the part time place, spent 8 hours in a car, survived IKEA, and attended a major sporting event. #BringOnTheHolidays #IWorkRetailOnBlackFriday #ICoordinateAWeddingOnSaturday #I’mPrayingForSundayToArrive

We spent Monday night in #CLE watching the #Cavs beat the Orlando basketball people… (I don’t know who they are…) #IStillDon’tGetSports #WeBoughtShirtsToFitIn

Speaking of sports… my one true love just wrapped up another season and I have to wait until next year for more races #IAlreadyMissYouNASCAR #Let’sGoRacing

south park gif

Fallout Boy is in my top 3 favorite bands. I feel like that alone is a confession… #EmoKid4Ever #WhereIsYourBoyTonight #Guy-liner&SkinnyJeans

I will do everything in my power to avoid letting my food touch on my plate tomorrow. #ExceptMashedPotatoesAndGravy #YummmmyMashedPotatoes

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Monday I gushed about the blog world, but we have some crazy-cool IRL friends, too. #ThanksForTheTickets,Nic&Erx #ThanksForGoingWithUs,Woz&Kelsey #ThanksForHangingChristmasLightsWithMe,Kayla

I’m secretly looking forward to working retail on Black Friday… I know that’s weird. #Hello6am #IWantToSeeCrazyPeople

And on that note, I’m off to work a full day and then enjoy four days off from my full time job! Woot woot!

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Favorite side dish? Are you venturing out Thursday night or Friday morning to score some deals??

-Louise

Hashtaghumpday

hump

HUMPDAY CONFESSIONS

Halloween Costumes | Part 3

Three days until Halloween!! The rest of my week consists of last minute costume details, pumpkin carving, house cleaning, and food prepping! In hindsight, I should’ve written a post about dog costumes, especially since Ly & Enzo will be adorable this year, but I just didn’t have the time/interest. I did write a few costumes posts and a party-prep article:

Today I will share some last minute costumes that are easy to assemble and can be made with household staples or a quick trip to the store!

Cat
Last night our local mall had a two hour trick-or-treat event. Since I work part-time at a retail store there I was lucky enough to be scheduled & pass out candy! I had to come up with a costume fast and my mom just happened to have ears and a tail in her costume box. Add some black clothes, a little make-up, and voila!

halloween_costumes

. . .

Medusa
In college I had the genius idea to buy a white bed sheet, find some plastic snakes at the dollar store, and experiment with fake lashes. Medusa was a super easy costume to whip together in a day!

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(Another shot of cute little Dobby.)

. . .

Cowgirl
Everyone has a flannel shirt. Hat and boots are optional so long as you can braid in some pigtails and dot your cheeks with freckles! (I actually dress like this sometimes (sans the freckles), so it’s not really a costume to me… haha.)

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(source)

. . .

Ninja Turtle
This one takes a little more effort, but my friend Sarah made these costumes with some ribbon, green shirts, and paint!

halloween_costume

. . .

A Witch
If you don’t have a witch’s hat lying around I bet you can find one at ANY store this time of year. Spice things up and use some hair chalk to turn your locks green or glue beetles to nylon stockings and make people squirm!

halloween_costumes
marthastewart.com

In case you’re wondering, our costumes are coming along quite nicely. We have a local costume store in town that rents costumes so I have a green dress on hold for Saturday. Kyle’s costume is a DIY project and I think we finally have all the pieces.

He would be upset if I revealed his costume before the party so I’ll tell you about the dogs instead 🙂 Enzo will be Buzz Lightyear (a costumes that has served us well three years in a row) and Lylee is going as Crush the turtle from Finding Nemo!

Do you dress up your pets? Have you ever been a “monster” (i.e. witch, vampire, ghost) for Halloween?

-Louise

The Best Halloween Movies!

YOU GUYS! IT’S OCTOBER! IT’S FINALLY OCTOBER!

I love this month ❤️ Breathe in that magical air- the air that shakes leaves from trees and carries the smell of campfires and cinnamon. YUM!

October rewards us for making it through the end-of-winter blues, rainy days of spring, and disgustingly hot days of summer. And she never ever fails. October brings my birthday & Enzo’s birthday each year, in addition to my favorite holiday: HALLOWEEN! This year it also brings a weekend get-away for K and I, as well as a wedding for K’s brother and future wife! This month is the bee’s knees crow’s beak (because it’s fall now).

Since we’re all gearing up for the most mystical eve of all- All Hallows’ Eve– I figure what better way to celebrate the season than Halloween movies? I know ABC Family does a “13 Days of Halloween“, but this year their list is a little lifeless (and not in a good way). They leave out a bunch of great movies (probably because of trademark rights) and included ones that don’t relate to the holiday at all. It’s an ok list, but don’t miss out on these great flicks either!

(I’m on a movie-kick this week!)

Halloween_Movies

Beetlejuice (PG) | 1988
I love this movie. It is my favorite Halloween movie. (I know that as a 90’s kid I should worship Hocus Pocus, but I just don’t. Sorry not sorry.) This film is directed by Tim Burton and it’s genius. Honestly, when isn’t Michael Keaton genius? Actually, the entire cast is beautiful: Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis (LOVE), Winona Ryder. Even if you’ve seen it, get it out and watch it again. Show your kids. It’s a classic.

Hotel Transylvania (PG) | 2012
This is a super cute movie and one for the whole family. There are so many big names voicing vampires, werewolves, and other ghouls. Halloween element aside, it’s a great movie about growing up, letting go, and trusting those you love. Pop some popcorn and warm up the apple cider! A sequel is in the works, too, so keep an eye out!

The Brothers Grimm (PG-13) | 2005
Heath Ledger? Yep. Matt Damon? Sounds good. This movie has just the right amount of creepy weirdness to make your skin tingle. You can watch this one any time of the year, but Halloween is a perfect occasion. If you have a fear of horses (like me) it makes this movie extra spooky.

Harry Potter (PG) | 2001 & 2004
ABC Family has HP on their list, but they have the wrong movies. If you’re staying true to Halloween you should watch the first movie (Sorcerer’s Stone) and the third movie (Prisoner of Azkaban). They at least reference Halloween in the first film (“TROLLLL! TROLL IN THE DUNGEON!”)  and the third one has a werewolf. If we’re being honest, though, witches and wizards and muggles are relevant all year long, not just Halloween.

Monster House (PG) | 2006
This is a kids movie, but it totally creeps me out. I mean, the house tries to kill them. Monsters under the bed are cake compared to a demonic house! Like Hotel Transylvania, this movie has quite a few celebrity voices. It’s not my favorite Halloween movie, but if you haven’t seen it it’s worth a movie night.

The Craft (R) | 1996
Here’s the scary one. I first saw this film in high school and it still creeps me out. Think A Great and Terrible Beauty plus Mean Girls? Plus some witchcraft. It’s a girls’-sleepover-kind of movie, but the kind you sneak from your older sister’s bedroom and watch once everyone has gone to sleep.

Don’t forget about the classics like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

I also discovered some movies I’ve never seen that will be on my list this year!

  • The Witches (PG) | 1990
  • Young Frankenstein (PG) | 1974
  • The Haunting | 1963
  • The Monster Squad (PG-13) | 1987
  • Creepshow (R) | 1982

Honestly, I don’t enjoy gore. Most of these movies are good for the family and won’t cause too many nightmares. I like to be spooked, but not scared, so my list is (mostly) PG!

. . .

Brace yourselves, because 90% of this blog will be fall/Halloween-related this month. We will talk about the benefits of fall, Halloween costumes, and birthday goodness. Also, I throw a big Halloween party for all our friends at the end of the month, so I’ll blog about party prep, too! Are you feeling as good as I am about this month? I hope so!

What’s your favorite part about fall? Do you have your Halloween costume picked out yet?

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| My Grateful Heart |

This year we spent the 4th of July with family and friends. The morning started out with a family breakfast at a local Amish restaurant (YUM!) and progressed with afternoon bottle shooting at my parents’ house, ending with a company cookout in the evening. Overall, it was a busy day!

Our evening cookout was about 50 miles north of our home. Since Lylee is terrified of thunder/big noises (and we live about 0.25 miles from our local firework-shooting park) we decided to pack up the dogs and take them with us. They travel well and behave relatively well so they were welcomed into our hosts’ home with open arms. Half of my evening was spent holding (65lbs) Lylee while the city fireworks were going off in the distance, but I didn’t mind and she appreciated it. (Enzo could not care less about thunder, fireworks, sirens, tornadoes, hurricanes, and apocalypses.)

On the way home all three of my loves PASSED. OUT. (as in K, Lylee, and Enzo). In that moment I knew what my Monday grateful heart post would be about. To quote my best friend’s Facebook post: Things aren’t always easy but they sure are great. I always think my heart can’t love my little 8-paw, 2-human family any harder, but then I catch two sleeping dogs in my rear view mirror and a tired husband in the passenger seat and my heart explodes.

Another grateful heart moment occurred on Sunday as I sat on my living room couch reflecting on the holiday. My best friend Erica texted and offered some much needed advice, then invited me over to visit with her & Baby Elliot. How lucky I am to have such wonderful friends.

July

It was an absolutely wonderful weekend; I’m still reeling. How happy and humbled I am to be an American, a Christian, and a very, very loved human being. And it’s all just luck of the draw.

I hope your weekend was just as fabulous! What did you do? Any cookouts or pool parties? Do you ever target shoot in your parents’ backyard?

-Louise

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey