Thursday, December 30, 2010

December Movie Reviews

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 : I was a bit afraid I would not like this one much because everybody kept talking about how dark it is and I do not usually like dark movies. But I think this would have to be one of my favorite of the Harry Potter series. Yes, it is dark, but the dark side of the movie is balanced out by the humor they add. Speaking of which, the humor in the movie is excellent. I laughed so much at some of the hilarious parts. It does leave you wanting more at the end, but how could it not, considering it is part 1?   LOVED IT!

The Chronicals of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader : If you have seen the other two Narnia movies, you must see this one as well. It wasn't my favorite one of the series, but it was still very enjoyable. My main complaint with the movie was the story telling part of it. They kind of condensed everything and the movie felt very rushed. There were elements in the story that could have been drawn out a lot more. Other than that, I felt the acting was decent, as well as the casting. As for seeing it in 3D...DON'T waste your money. It was not made for 3D at all and many scenes were too blurry for me.

Tangled : Anyone that knows me well, knows I am not a super huge Disney fan. As a kid, I liked some of their movies, but I was not the kid who wanted to own them all and watch them over and over (the Disney video games were more entertaining for me). So when I said I wanted to see this, my husband was a bit surprised. Everyone who had seen Tangled loved it though, so I had to give it a shot. The movie started out a bit slow, at least for the other people I sat with. But once the movie started picking up more, we all enjoyed it. The music was a bit churchy and sappy but still good. The story was super cute and fit in well with the other princess Disney movies. The characters were very well done. And the animation was great. I recommend this to anyone who loves a cute classic Disney movie, and to anybody looking for a clean movie to take the kids too. I think this will be a must own for many families.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty. - Imelda Marcos

I asked for these

for my birthday and my husband complied but I have decided that they look better in the picture and are not that practical for me. So I am trying to find another pair of shoes that I can exchange them for.

I kind of like these:

Can't decide though. Maybe I will go shopping tomorrow and look around before I make up my mind.

By the way, I am on the search for new boots but I always have a hard time finding any because of my thin legs. So far no luck. If anybody has found boots they like or knows of any that might fit me, please do share.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's Christmas.....


I hope you enjoy your Christmas, that you will be surrounded by those you love, and that you get lots of delicious food.

Here are some short videos to remind us of what this Christmas season really is all about.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel has been on my Netflix list for a while but because of it's topic, my husband kept putting other movies ahead of it. I finally got to watch it the other night after convincing him that it was my turn to pick the movie.

Coco Chanel is about the life of Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel, a French haute coutour fashion designer.  While this movie goes through the many stages of her life, it heavily focuses on two things: her love life and how she built her business. On the business end, you learn of the first accessory she makes, how Chanel No. 5 came about, and where we got the little black dress from.

Coco revolutionized fashion by focusing on how to make woman comfortable and fashionable.  Her philosophy was that woman should dress for themselves, not for their men. And fashion came from the streets, or it wasn't fashion. She was a bit wild spirited for the times, and a feminist for sure.

As I have read a bit more about her life, I have come to realize that the movie does leave out an important part of her life. While it touches on WWI, it skips WWII. And according to everything I have read, she barely escaped being arrested for ties to the Nazis. That would have been interesting to learn about but perhaps due to its controversially nature or the length of the movie, it was not included.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. The acting was good enough (if you can forgive the lack of French accents) and the story was interesting. I have never been into following current high fashion, but I do love watching movies and reading books that talk about the history of fashion designers. I would recommend this movie to anybody that has a similar interest in fashion.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mom has the best pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe ever. In fact, I love them so much I had my dad make them for my wedding reception (my mom was a bit too stressed to deal with baking). I have been wanting to make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for a while but haven't gotten around to getting the recipe yet so Saturday I compromised and I went with a random recipe from They turned good. Not as awesome as my moms, but close enough.

Click here for the recipe.

The only changes I made were based on the reviews. I added a few more spices to it. I added nutmeg, clove, and ginger as most other similiar recipes call for those spices to be added.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin

Candle in the Darkness is another book that I randomly grabbed off the shelves of the library. It is a historical novel about a girl who grows up in Richmond, Virginia during the time of slavery. She begins to find herself, as well as love, just as the Civil War starts. It is a story about love, hate, hope, struggle, sacrifices, and faith.

This novel took me a while to get through. It wasn't because I didn't like it, but because I have less time to read now and it is not necessarily a light and quick read (at least not for me). But I enjoyed every moment of this book and was a bit sad when I finished it.

I have read quite a bit of history about the Civil War and there tends to be debates about why the war happened, why the war ended, whose fault it was, etc., etc., But this book really put the war and that time period in perspective for me, and through the eyes of someone around my age.  It was a time of hard decisions, loss, and hatred. People on each side felt that their cause, and/or beliefs,  were more just than the other sides, whether they were or not. It happens in every time period and is the cause of many wars. I have just been getting into historical novels and have really enjoyed the perspective they give me, without having to read just hard cold facts. It is as if I am there. As if I can touch, feel, and taste what is going on.

Something unique about this novel, compared to the other historical novels I have read, is that is has a religious overtone to it. I quite enjoyed it. It talked a lot about God and Jesus Christ and the role they play in our lives. It made me ponder how often I put all my trust in God and give myself to him, rather than tell him how I want my life to be. It made me want to have more hope and faith, something I am always struggling with.

I am not a good critic of great writing but I do feel this book was well written. It flowed well, it fit the time period the story took place during, and it was descriptive without being too much so. I also thought the author did a good job in letting us get to know the different characters through their roles in the story, as well as through the dialogue. 

Overall, I would recommend this book to any girl/woman who likes historical novels and wouldn't mind the religious overtones of the book. It really gives the reader an interesting perspective of the Civil War.

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile." - Albert Einstein

I think giving to others is a very important aspect of life and is one of the most important virtues you could teach your children. With all the technology we have these days, how we can almost live our lives without stepping a foot out of our home because of the web access we have, being self centered as become very easy. But that does not make service obsolete or unimportant. It just serves to make it more important. Lives and societies are built and improved through sacrifice, service, giving, and random acts of kindness.

This Christmas season is an especially good time of year to help others. Christmas has gained the reputation, and perhaps a negative one at that, of being all about giving presents to your children and other loved ones. But it should not be all about you, and what you can provide for your kids or other family members. It should also be about Christ and everyone around us, especially the less fortunate. It is so easy to give, even if you have no extra money. Giving of your time or talents can be just as important.

It is so easy to form service focused Christmas traditions in your family.

You could:

Sacrifice some of your Christmas budget to buy toys for Toys for Tots.
Help at your local cold weather shelter.
Donate items to the cold weather shelter or other humanitarian groups.
Give money to organizations that help soldiers and their families.
Drop money in the red buckets of the bell ringers.
Pick a less fortunate family and fill in for Santa.
Secretly drop off treats to a neighbor.
Provide dinner for those working on Christmas Eve or Christmas.
Visit your older neighbors and help them decorate for Christmas or help them wrap their presents.

There are just so many things you could do. I can't even begin to touch on all of them. But I can urge you to find an act of service, or two, or three, that you can perform this Christmas season. And perhaps, if you enjoy it as much as I think you will, you can continue to perform acts of service throughout the new year.

For more ideas and information, read the post on Simple Moms about giving: Click Here!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hi Blog!

I have been working 10 + hour days this week. Thus the lack of blogging. But today it snowed so I got out of work a 1/2 hour early. Or 2 1/2 hours early compared to the rest of this week.  So I've decided to use the extra time to post a blog. A blog explaining the lack of blogging.

Happy Snow Day!!!

The End!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hallelujah Chorus

Our church is doing the Hallelujah Chorus on Sunday and I am hoping to go. Can't wait.

I am slow on posting this video up. It already made the rounds but I kept forgetting to post it. So too bad. You get to watch it yet again.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Best Taco Soup Recipe

I tried out Paula Deen's taco soup recipe the other night. Get it here!

It was sooo good. Everybody loved it. I have tried many taco soup recipes and I think this one was the best. I did make adaptions though, so below is my version of it:


  • 1 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chilies*
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix 
  • 2/3 of a can of chicken stock  (this adds flavor as well as makes it more soupy)
  • Crackers or tortilla chips, for serving
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Grated cheese, for garnish 

I actually halved the original recipe to the best of my ability so if you want to make the full amount you would have to adjust the amounts of beef, beans, tomatos, chilies, and chicken stock (refer to the original recipe for this).

Cook the beef and add some of your taco seasoning to it while it cooks. Then add everything to a crock pot, including the rest of the taco seasoning. Cook on low for at least 8 hours.

*I usually make this with green chiles and either put a few diced jalapenos in or put them in a bowl for others to add in on their own. When I made this the other day, I taste tested it and thought it was more spicy than usual. So I warned my mother in law about it. She tasted it and thought it was awesome but as she noticed how spicy it was too. When everyone noticed it, we discussed what would be making the soup so spicy. I was clueless at what it could be as diced chilies are not that spicy. Come to find out the can of green chilies I used was actually a can of diced jalapenos. And I used the whole can. Needles to say, everyone that loved hot food was happy I did it. My mother in law loved the soup but was only able to eat so much of it. I think if we ever had more people present for dinner,  I would make a full recipe and do half with green chilies and half with the jalapenos.

Tip: This soup freezes really well. So make room in your freezer and cook extra.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Recommendations and Tips for a Trip to Williamsburg:

1. If you are a history buff, you will need quite a few days here. There is historical Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown.

2. There are many fun shops like the Christmas Mouse and General Stour that are fun to go to.

3. We didn't do much of the historical site seeing. The only place we really toured was historical Jamestown. I am still debating with myself if we should have done the tour of historical Williamsburg. You don't need to pay to go, but you do if you want to go in most of the buildings. We didn't do it because it is a lot of money, but I think we will the next time we go. You miss quite a bit if you don't pay for the site seeing pass. For me, it wasn't so much about not seeing the insides of the buildings, though I do wish we had seen the Governors Mansion, but more about not getting all the historical tid bits from the tour guides.

4. There is a post office in historical Williamsburg. It also doubles as a store and this is where we purchased our one souvenir. The post office is actually a running post office and they still hand cancel the stamps there. Many people like to bring their Christmas cards there. One guy used to mail them a box of Christmas cards for them to hand cancel and send out each year. I find it fascinating. Maybe one year you receive a card sent from the historical Williamsburg post office. 

5. Jamestown is split up into two parts. There is the historical part which is $10 per person. It has a lot of history there so you can spend quite a few hours there. There is also the part of Jamestown, called Jamestown Settlement, that is set up with actors in a fake village so people can get the feel of what life was like back then. We did not do this because we didn't have any time left. But if you go with your kids, plan on taking them there. I forget how much it is, but I do know that it was more than $10 per person.

6. They have historical taverns that are still used as restaurants. Based on my research, they are fun to go to but a bit expensive. And you may need reservations to get in. If you ever go and want to have a historical eating experience, plan it ahead of time. I have never done this but I think it would be fun.

7. There are many ghost tours you can do. I do not know what the best one is, though I wish I did. We did  the mock witch trial. If you have any interest in that part of the history, I recommend it. It was so fun. It tied in perfectly with our honeymoon because Salem has a lot of witch trial history, which is one of the reasons we choose to do it over a ghost tour. I liked how they had actors for it but that they also gave the spectators (us) a chance to participate. They did a great job of bringing that time period to life.

8. Eat at SAL's by VICTOR. The guy that did our presentation recommend this restaurant so we decided to test it out. SO GOOD! It is authentic Italian food. I ordered the Pizza Caprese, even though I never order pizza at restaurants. And it did not let me down. It was one of the best Caprese pizzas I have ever had (Jon orders it a lot). It had so many tomatoes on it and so much flavor. This restaurant is not super expensive and you get fed well. My pizza was much bigger than I expected. I can't wait to go back the next time we are in Williamsburg.

9. If you love amusement parks, Bush Gardens is well known, much loved, and close by.

10. It is easy to make a day trip to the beach from Williamsburg.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Williamsburg, VA

As I mentioned over Thanksgiving break, Jon and I took a short trip to Williamsburg, VA. I was a little worried about it but it ended up being a great little mini vacation.

As I also mentioned in that post, we basically got the trip for free because we sat through one of those presentations where they try to sell you a vacation time share. First let me start out by saying that the presentation was not that bad. It went about an hour longer than it was suppose to, and the last 1/2 was a bit brutal because they spend that time trying to tell you that every excuse you have not to buy it, is not a valid excuse. But Jon and I knew what our goals were in life and that at the moment, spending money on a  time share did not fit into our plans. They did have a very convincing presentation though. I wouldn't be able to do this sort of thing all the time, but to do it every now and then wouldn't be too bad. Especially for a free vacation.

We went with the mentality that we were not paying much for this trip and that our focus would be to have fun and do lots of relaxing. Williamsburg is not a huge drive for us so we did not need to push ourselves to see everything. It was very nice to relax. We both really needed it and it gave us plenty of time to enjoy each other without worrying about what we should be doing. It was also fun to have that treat on my birthday.

But between the movies and the napping, we did do and see quite a few fun things.

 I seriously loved the Yankee Candle store. They have various rooms that sell different things like candles and christmas decorations. But the best part is the room where it's Christmas all year round. The room also has Santa and snow all year round. Seriously so cool. Just leave your money at home if you don't want to spend anything because as hard as I tried, I couldn't leave without buying something. The candles smelled too good.

 This church is very old. Many of our founding fathers went here.

They believe this baptismal font came from Europe and that it might be the one that was used to baptize Pocahontas.

 How would you love to live here at the Governors Mansion?

If you look closely, you will notice that there are apples in all of the crevices. Very unique. 

We walked around the William & Mary campus. It is a very old school but they have a pretty campus. This is a picture of me with my buddy. Can you guess who it is?

One of the historically important things about the land here is that it has many bodies of water. 

A very big blessing for America. 

Back in the day, someone donated a bunch of money to Williamsburg to refurbish it. After that, they passed a bunch of laws that keep Williamsburg from becoming developed. One of the benefits of this is the amount of wild animals around.

If you go to Jamestown, be sure to visit the glass making shop.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Little Blessings Yesterday

1st Blessing: I ran out yesterday to run a bunch of errands. And when I say a bunch, I mean a bunch. I was gone for about 5 hours. I accidentally locked my keys and my purse in my car in the parking lot of my third errand. I calmly went into the shop and asked if I could borrow a phone thinking I could call my parents house and they could call my husband who could then bring me my spare key. My old house number is the only number I still have memorized. Well as luck would have it, my parents had changed their number a few months ago and I completely forgot about that. When I realized I had no other numbers to call I became a bit panicky and about cried in front of all these strangers. But then I decided to go look on the windows of my car and see if there was a roadside assistant number on it. There was and after a brief call someone was sent out to help me. It took less than a 1/2 hour for them to get there and get my car unlocked, and it was free thanks to the company I bought my car from. I was soo grateful for that.

2nd Blessing: I was debating whether to buy a particular Groupon a couple of weeks ago. It was $24 for $50 worth of clothing at Nordstrom Rack. After days of debating I decided to buy it it because I do like that store, especially for their shoes. I was very surprised to find out I had $20 worth of credit on my account so I ended up getting the Groupon for $5. I went yesterday and when I got into the store and started to look around I began to wonder if it was a good idea to buy the Groupon. The main reason being that the Groupon was only good for a month and I wasn't sure if I would find anything in that period of time. The selection yesterday was not the greatest. After much looking around, I found a dress that was really cute. I tried it on though I was sure the size would be off and that it would make me look to old. But it was the only article of clothing I tried on that fit and looked good. I was in love. I ended up getting a pair of sweater tights and a dress for only $5 out of pocket. I have been wanting a new dress but it is rare for me to find one that fits and is modest. I am very thankful that I found one and that I basically got it for free.

3rd Blessing: The gift of friendship. I had begun to worry about whether a particular friendship of ours would hold up for very long because we no longer went to church together and were both very busy. But last night we went over there and hung out with them and a few other friends and it was so fun. Friendships take work, especially as you get older and life is no longer centered around hanging out, but they are worth the effort. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I don't often highlight giveaways on my blog but this particular giveaway showcases a very awesome company. Take a look at the giveaway yourself. And at the company. Maybe the product is a bit cheesy, but I think it is pretty cool despite that.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Benihana Birthday Deal

If there is a Benihana around where you live, you should check out their birthday club, The Chef's Table. They give out coupons for your birthday, good for the whole month, worth $30.

We took advantage of the offer for my birthday and tried out the restaurant for the first time. I had heard good reviews of this restaurant and was looking forward too it. My opinion boils down to the following: it was good and fun, but not the best steak house I have been too. The hubby said his chicken was a bit dry but I find that is usually how the chicken is. That is why I always get steak. My steak was maybe a bit overcook. Our waitress was an older grandma like lady. She was nice but not a good waitress so there were some ordering problems on our table that were not taken care of properly. And our drinks took forever to get refilled. Our chef was friendly and fun but the "show" was not as spectacular as other Japanese steak houses. It also didn't help that our table lacked engaging people.

As for price, it was perfect for us. The hubby's birthday is also in November so he had a birthday coupon too. We got a $60+ meal for only $5 (Not including tip. Yes, we tipped on the original price). But I don't think I would ever go without a coupon.

I think this restaurant has potential. It wasn't the best but it wasn't a bust. With different staff serving us, it might have been better. Either way, this is a great deal for a birthday. And it is an even better deal if the person that accompanies you also has a birthday that same month.

Today, I am thankful for work days that go relatively smoothly. Yesterday was horrific. Today went much better.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Life of a Working Girl

Sorry for the two day absence. I didn't have much time to post on my mini vacation and now I am back to the busy life of a working girl. Figuring out what my priorities are with my small amount of down time each night is a work in progress. I like to blog and want to continue doing it but my posts may either have to be shorter or less consistent. At least until after the Christmas season.

I don't have much time to post about my mini vacation tonight so I will leave you with this Sugar Cinnamon Almond recipe I made on Thanksgiving. Just know that when she says to mix it every 20 - 30 mins, that she is serious. I forgot about the last stirring and my almonds did burn (I couldn't help it. I was distracted by Cake Boss). I threw most of the burnt ones out which proved to be an unfortunate decision because my dad liked the burnt ones the best. It was a very easy recipe to follow and was good, though I might add a bit more cinnamon next time.

And to catch up on what I am thankful for:

I am thankful for the chance to be spoiled on my birthday. Though I could do without the singing at work next time. Too embarrasing.

I am thankful for the GPS I got Jon for a present last year. It has proved to be very useful. Jon thinks it has helped us avoid many fights, as I get super stressed out when we are lost. So thank you GPS.

I am thankful for our mini vacation. It really gave the hubby and I an opportunity to chillax together in a stress free environment for a few days and to catch up on our sleep.  

Friday, November 26, 2010

Today I Am Grateful for...

delicious holiday meals. I don't know what it was about our Thanksgiving meal yesterday, but it seemed even more amazing than usual. I ate so much. You don't even want to know how many helpings of sweet potatoes I ate. I ended up eating so much at dinner, I had to skip dessert. Can't wait for Christmas dinner.

Happy Birthday To Me

The hubby and I are having a great time out of town. Tomorrow is my birthday and I am looking forward to spending it in historic Williamsburg.  

I will be 25. Kind of scary. Though not as scary as my husband being 28 :).  But being 25 means that I only have 5 years to have all the children I can handle, as my goal was to have no children after the age of 30. For some reason, I doubt that goal will be met. Oh well.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope your Thanksgiving includes great food, great company, and lots of joy. Maybe you could take a few seconds or a few minutes to remember all that you have in life to be thankful for.

Here are some pictures from our quick trip to Georgetown this past weekend.

I love browsing in this store.

Of course we made a stop at Georgtown Cupcakes.

 This was the line . Luckily, we got there at a time when the line wasn't as long.

Such a pretty house.

Today I am thankful for good shopping deals. It makes Christmas easier and shopping more fun.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today I'm Grateful For...

good traffic. Thanks to the holidays, it was a breeze to get to work.

Did we just really just do that?

Tonight, Jon and I accepted to take one of those trips where you get a free hotel stay in exchange for sitting through a 90 min. presentation and telling them you don't want what they are selling. I am a bit unsure about this deal, and know that it will be a pain to sit through that presentation, but it will be nice to take a cheap trip to Williamsburg as I have been wanting to go there with Jon.

The real crazy part is that we are leaving in a few days. I don't want to miss any work next month, so we are leaving Thursday night after Thanksgiving dinner and coming back Sunday. I was hoping to have a relaxing weekend of birthday celebrations, shopping, watching movies, reading, and spending time on the Internet, but it looks like I will be relaxing somewhere else.

I am a bit in shock. This is the most spontaneous and maybe dumbest thing we have done. But hopefully it will all work out and be fun.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Since I have started working:

I can't keep up with laundry. You are probably saying in your head, "welcome to the real world." I think I just need to buy a bigger laundry basket and get over it.

I hardly cook. Thank goodness for the hubbies mother.

I still spend too much time online but now I have to fit it all into a few hours.

I have paper cuts all over my hands. I pretty much won't get my nails done until I stop working at this job. There is absolutely no reason why I should. Last Thursday was amazing. I cut myself with my razor, which I don't do that often. I got a pretty awesome paper cut. And then I cut myself with a knife. 3 band aids at once. Go me!

I found out that I can live for a long time without doing laundry. But that's because I can wear whatever I want to the job. Thank goodness.

I hardly see any of my friends.

And I am fine with staying in on a Friday night.

But that is okay with me because I am just thankful that I have a job that I enjoy and don't mind spending the day at.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jane Eyre's Daughter

The other week I went to the library and just walked up and down the shelfs grabbing books that looked or sounded interesting. Jane Eyre's Daughter was one of those books. I wasn't sure what to expect from a book that references one of my favorite all time classic books. But once I started reading it, I couldn't stop and I had to read it as fast as possible which meant Jon had a lot of free time without me.

I would give the book about a 4 out of a 5 star. It was well written and close enough to the language that was used in the classics like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. Close enough considering we don't speak or write like that anymore. I liked how it referenced to the original story but wasn't focused too much on Jane Eyre. It was it's own story. It was your classic story about love, pain, hardships, and joy. It was interesting and dramatic. But it was a bit too predictable. Predictability usually doesn't bother me. Almost all chick flicks are predictable. I just wish they had made the twists a bit more surprising. I also felt like the author could have made the book a bit longer and build up the last few chapters a bit more. The ending went by too fast and could have included a lot more. I am not even sure how I felt about the very ending and about the part of the plot it focused on. But I understand what the author was trying to do with it.

Over all, I am very glad I read this book. It was a relatively quick read and nice to have a shorter version of the classic novels. I haven't read Pride and Prejudice but now that I read this book, and remember how much I love Jane Eyre, I think I will tackel it soon. Speaking of which, I think this author has a similiarly done sequal for Pride and Prejudice.

Today, I am thankful that I only had to wait at the DMV for an hour and a half on Saturday and that my license is now renewed. I am a legal driver in a legal car. It was a close one this year. Good thing I didn't get pulled over (my registration was 2 months overdue. EEK!).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Family Photo

This picture was taken when my brother and his wife came to town. My younger sister looks disconnected from the rest of us because she was the one taking the picture. It was set on a timer but she kept having to run up to us and figure out where she was suppose to stand. It didn't help that she was the lonely one out. But that is what happens when all your kids are close together but one. Someday, Laura. Someday!

I think it turned out pretty good considering there was no dress code and we had to rush to take it. Pretty colors at least. Too bad my arms look awkward.

Here are some of just me and Jon.

I will never deny that we are very strange people.

Today, I am thankful for cameras. Where would we be without them? Blogs would be so boring. Memories would be forgotten. Random moments would be lost in time. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas Parties

When I started working at my job at the beginning of November, they were already talking about and getting excited for the Christmas party. I could kind of tell this party was taken seriously. Secret Santa worksheets were filled out with our wants, likes, and dislikes. People were already threatening to get crappy presents if they got your name. The date and restaurant name were chosen and announced. There were stories told about events that occurred at previous Christmas parties. So on and so forth.

But then today, I got the invite. And that's when I really figured out how serious they were about this Christmas party. Each invite had been partially hand painted. Someone took the time to hand paint each and every one with a winter scene so that we could have cute and unique Christmas cards. I then saw some cards that I believe are from past Christmas parties. There was one with a fancy origami Christmas tree clued to the front, one that had again been hand painted, and then one that had even been crossed stitched. They are pretty much collectibles. Crazy!

Basically, THEY REALLY TAKE THIS PARTY SERIOUSLY!!!! I am not sure I can party hard enough for them.

P.S. Today, I am thankful for sleep. For without it I would be crazy. And so would you.

Clever Chipotle Cup

My husband and I thought the Chipotle cup had a pretty clever quote on it.

Now go eat a chip!!!

Today, I am thankful for Chipotle (and chips). Chipotle = awesomeness in every bite.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today I am Thankful for...


Mine is coming up on the 27th, but today's is the hubbies. HAPPY BIRTHDAY HONEY!!!! You are the best husband ever. I am so glad you were still around and willing to date me when I finally decided that I liked you. I do not know, nor want to know, where I would be today if things had not worked out the way they did. I am and will be eternally grateful that we are married.

I hope you have a great birthday and that you like all your gifts. Maybe we should go get some cupcakes in Georgetown to celebrate???

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanks Cody for Standing Up for Our Flag

I do not believe there is anything wrong with displaying the American Flag in public. I do not find, nor think it should be found, offensive. And I find it odd and sad when people are asked to take the Flag down.
Did you hear about the boy who had the Flag on his bike, the one he used to ride to school everyday, because the school was getting complaints about it. The young man, Cody, was doing it to show his patriotism and honor the vets, including his grandfather.

Well, I bring this up, because I thought the public response to it was awesome.

Click here for the news story.

I like how they quite obviously showed how they felt but did it in a very peaceful way.

And of course, the schools decision has since been reversed.

P.S. Today I am thankful for my car. Despite it's hard experiences and many scratches, it performs it's task with great talent and preciseness.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Am Thankful For

a job. It took me a while to find one. While it was a relaxing break, I needed to start working again until the desire to work completely disappeared.

And because I forgot to post one for Monday, I am also thankful for Christmas. I love this holiday and the spirit it brings. I am sooo excited for it this year.

Great American Restaurants

If you live in the area, or the next time you visit, you have to go to a GAR restaurant. They are mainly, and perhaps only, in the Northern Virginia Region.

GAR restaurants include:

Jackson's (Has the best deviled eggs ever)
Sweetwater Tavern
Mike's American
Coastal Flats
Best Buns

Of those I mainly eat at Sweetwater because it is close to where I live. But I have been to a few others and each one I have been too is exeptionally good.

I gave my dad a gift card to Sweetwater and he took my mom there the other night. My mom isn't often impressed with restaurants. In fact, she usually just prefers salad bars. Haha! But that night she calls me and raves about Sweetwater. She said she was extremely surprised and impressed. That the meal was delicious and that they really knew what they were doing. I just said "Duh! That's why I go there all the time with Elizabeth (my friend. not myself)."

Great food! Excellent service! Great quality! What more could you ask for?

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Favorite Vendors from The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show

In no particular order here are my favorite vendors from the show (I have attached their website link to their names for many of these vendors just in case you want to check them out):

1. Gabriel's Desserts- The owner of this bakery is related to Paula Deen but we didn't know that until after we decided we loved them so no bias here. We taste tested the pumpkin bread early on in the day and decided we just had to buy a loaf of it. I bought two loafs of the bread and Amanda got one loaf of it as well as a loaf of the cran orange. They are an Atlanta city based restaurant and  bakery but do ship. Another popular item at the show, with Paula's recommendation, were the red velvet cupcakes. They were tempting to buy but I resisted.

2. Pork Barrel BBQ - Two guys own this company and they started it out of their home. Their sauce is pretty darn good. I ended up purchasing a bottle of one of their Sweet BBQ sauce.

3. The Perfect Pita - They were selling hummus at the event. I enjoyed tasting the different flavors and especially loved the jalapeno hummus. I ended up purchasing the roasted red pepper, or something like that, for my mom. The Perfect Pita is actually an eatery (or restaurant. Not sure what the technical term for this sort of place would be) where you can go and get fresh pita sandwiches. They have many locations in the area and I think I want to go try their food out sometime.

4.Cabot Produce - they were there promoting their cheese and boy was it good. We didn't do much cheese tasting so I don't have much to compare it to but I did really enjoy it. I even tried a horse radish cheese and wow was it strong.

5. Hello Cupcake - They made mini cupcakes for taste testing. They were really cute. We tried cookies and creme and it was good. Maybe not as amazing as Georgetown cupcakes but close enough. They are located in D.C.

6. Nephew - I purchased their Gostly Pumpkin BBQ Sauce. I thought it was somewhat original and delicious.

7. Grill Master Chuck - I also purchased one of his BBQ sauces. It was a hard decision but I ended up going with the Smokin' Chipotle BBQ Sauce. He was a friendly guy and had a lot of variety of flavors. He also sold dry rubs.

8. JD Gourmet - This is the vendor that had the jalapeno oil I was talking about in my previous post. Maybe someday I will splurge and buy some.

9. Tillen Farms - They specialize in pickled vegetables. If I hadn't already had so much to carry I probably would have gotten myself a bottle of their pickled asparagus. I am planning on purchasing these as a Christmas gift for someone that I happen to know loves pickled things. I might just have to treat myself sometime too.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show

Today, I am thankful for fun experiences and good times.

Saturday, my friend Amanda and I went to The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show. The show consisted of cooking demonstrations, tasting and entertaining workshops, celebrity presentations, celebrity events, and a hundred or so vendors that showed off their products.

Amanda and I went around to the vendors, tasted tested products, got free samples, and bought some of our favorite items. We also got to see Paula Deen live. It was sooo fun. Paula Deen didn't actually do much cooking. Her husband and another chef cooked up some stuffing, a turkey, and sweet potato cakes, while she mostly just gabbed. But she was sooo hilarious and fun that it was amazingly awesome. She is better than any comedy show. I wouldn't say I learned tons about cooking from her but I don't think I would have had it any other way.

Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray were also in attendance but you had to pay to go to every individual show and Paula Deen was our main choice. That and Rachael Ray was only around on Sunday which we couldn't have done. And while I am sure that the people who attended their events had a great time, there is no way they were as entertaining as Paula Deen.

As for the taste testing, we tasted cupcakes, pumpkin breads, rolls, cheese straws, olive oils, a thousand different bbq sauces, etc. My first thought was why would anybody want to spend the day taste testing olive oils. But then we had some spare time before the show so we went to one of the vendors booths. And let me tell you, taste testing olive oils is amazing. They had a jalapeno olive oil that was a close to perfection as you could get. I didn't buy any because olive oil isn't cheap but I do regret it. With all the money I did spend, I should have sucked it up and got me some amazing olive oil for dipping bread. I enjoyed taste testing the bbq sauces for about the first hour but then it gets to the point where they all begin to taste the same and you can't really taste anything that isn't as powerful as it. So I stopped overwhelming my taste buts and began to enjoy everything else. Like the pickled vegetables. Oh yum.

They have had this event every year for about 4 years and I can't imagine why it won't happen again next year. So we are already planning to attend again. Everybody should come with. It will totally be worth your time...and money!

Of course we had to take a picture by her picture.

This was Amanda's box of rice she won. I thought the word so clearly displayed on it made for a good description of our day.

We were a ways away from the stage so the best picture I could get was a picture of the screen.

Up next I will talk about some of my favorite vendors that were in attendance.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wutz up?

It has been a great weekend but it has really worn me out. I can barely keep my eyes open and it's not even eleven. I will try and write more Sunday or Monday. For now...

Today I am thankful for friends. They listen to my endless stories and yapping and keep me company through good times and bad times. Thank you!!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010


Today I am thankful for my family. I have learned to appreciate my family a lot more in the last few years and enjoy spending quality time with them.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day

Today I am thankful for my freedom and for the many men and woman who have given up so much to defend it.

So many men and woman freely make the choice to serve in the military to defend our freedom. Their choice to serve in the military truly is a sacrifice for them and their families. There is no country quite like ours and you should never forget that. You should also never forget those that help keep our country great. Soldiers sacrifice more for their jobs than most of us and do not get nearly enough compensation. So if a chance comes up to give something back, be it money or some type of service, do not turn your back. If you can only give a dollar, give a dollar. If you can give twenty, give twenty. If you can only offer free child care, then offer free child care. Especially remember those families whose dads or moms may not be home to celebrate Christmas with them. Christmas is a special time for every kid and it still can be despite a missing parent.

This handsome guy is my grandfather who was a member of the Air Force. He died in 2009 and I miss him even more than I ever thought I could. He happened to write a short autobiography and I found out about it after he passed away. It included a lot about his military service and his other accomplishments in life. I only wish I had taken the time to force him to tell me about his life while he was alive. I think I could have learned a lot. So perhaps the least we can do is listen to our veterans so that we can not only pass on their stories but so that we can learn valuable lessons from their lives.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Start of Christmas Season

I am extremely excited that it is the start of Christmas season. In fact, the other day we went to the store and I got so excited when I saw all the Christmas stuff. But then I remembered that we had no room for Christmas decore this year. So rather than get totally depressed, I bought tons of cute gift tags. Too many in fact. Oh well. It made me happy. Now to find my Nsync Christmas cd.

So to officially start off the Christmas season on my blog, I wanted to share with you a book that I just finished reading last night.

The Christmas Promise is a story about an older woman who learns to deal with the pain of a runaway child by giving to the poor and needy. It is Christmas season and she is gearing up for holiday season by getting together gift bags for the poor. But little does she know that her life is about to change forever through encounters with her unfriendly neighbor, a little boy whose mother she helps out, and a new young man who just moved into town to work security at the local department store.

The Christmas Promise is a heartwarming story about love, service, and learning to walk in other people's shoes before you judge them. It is a very quick read and might be a great way for you to kick off the holiday season.

Today I am thankful for books. Reading books is one of my few hobbies.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

To Be or Not To Be

Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it. ~Fyodor Dostoevsky 
I adapt alright to change but I still hate it. And I have been having a bit of a hard time lately because everything in my life has changed at once. I moved. I got a job after not having one for 9 months. And we  moved to a different ward at church (if you don't know what I mean by that just ask). Not to mention a few other life decisions I have been trying to make.

I have freaked out quite a few times this week. And today at church I skipped one of my meetings because I just couldn't handle introducing myself to so many new people when I was in a down mood. Instead I went and read my scriptures and listened to my old ward's sacrament meeting (again if you need clarification on what this is,  just ask).

I know it is lame and that I should take everything in stride and stop feeling sorry for myself, but sometimes I can't, and other times I won't.

Someone said something in sacrament today. Something about not being down and depressed about life because we have so much to be thankful for.

I know they are right. And I know I need to be happier and more thankful for what I do have. But sometimes it is just hard.

So in an effort to remind myself of all the reasons I have to be happy, I am going to take something that my friends are doing on facebook and do it on my blog. I would like to post something I am thankful for every day for the rest of November.

Today I am thankful for the times I enjoy my own cooking. And even more thankful that my husband enjoys my cooking almost all the time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Story Behind the Move

If you haven't caught on yet, the hubby and I recently made a move. We gave up our relatively nice two bedroom apartment for a much smaller space (we had a two bedroom so the husband had an office and we could have some storage space). We are now living in the basement of the hubby's parents house. We have a smaller bedroom, smaller bathroom, a hallway, and some storage space, to fit all of our belongings. I was freaking out about how all of our stuff would fit but it turned out pretty descent. The only problem we have yet to solve is where to put our coats and jackets and that is a very small issue.

It is a huge change though.

So why the change?

Up until Thursday, I had not worked much since January. I was laid off only a few months after our wedding (I am incredibly thankful the boss held out that long). I did get some unemployment (a subject for another time) but it ran out before we left for Europe. We were told our rent was going to go up but we figured we could talk them down. When we finally went to the leasing office we were told that because of the low rate of vacancies in the area they could not decrease the rate. We searched around a bit and realized that no matter where we moved our rent would end up increasing a couple hundred dollars. We decided we could deal with it even if it meant saving less, so we renewed our contract. During that time I had casually mentioned, half jokingly, that maybe we should move back into one of our parents homes. It was never an idea taken seriously because the thought of doing that about made me sick. But the thought of paying 1500 in rent a month also about made me sick.

So a few days after signing the lease, and after some discussion with the hubby's family, we decided that we should try and get the lease renewal torn up so we could move into the in laws house come the end of our contract. For reasons we don't really know, as we were told different things by different people, our lease was able to be torn up and forgotten about. They also allowed us to stay an extra month without paying extra in rent which was nice as month to month rent can be super expensive. I was also very thankful that they let us stay longer because it saved us from having to move out within two days of returning home from Europe.

Why did we spend all the money on Europe and then decide to move in to the in laws house to save money?

We had decided before getting married that we would have a relatively inexpensive honeymoon so that we could take a huge trip sometime later, preferably before having kids. The ideal destination was always Europe for us as I had never gone. We had casually mentioned during the summer that we needed to get out to Europe before my friend moved. So though we had been talking about taking a cruise this year for our anniversary, we ended up, at the last minute too, deciding that Europe was a better decision. So we planned a Europe trip within a few months. Something I don't recommend. Though I didn't have a real income coming in we still had a decent amount of savings and could afford it. But soon after we bought the tickets, we found out our rent really was going up and by a pretty large amount.

We knew that if we could afford a trip to Europe we could afford a couple hundred increase in our rent. The problem was more about how we were going to continue to save. I would no longer have any income coming in so we would spend the next handful of months or more making up for the savings we spent on Europe. Our savings would be small each month. This meant that the house that we knew we wanted to buy, would be farther off than we had hoped and would continue to be farther off if rent continued to increase and I continued to not find work.

Moving into the parent's home would decrease our rent by almost a thousand, automatically allowing us to make up for our Europe trip within two months, if not sooner. It would allow us to save up for a house a lot faster and stop dumping money into a place that would give us no return. And it would eliminate any stress that may come with me not finding a job. And if I happened to get a job, we would be able to save up even more money.

So we decided to make the move. It was a super stressful decision and after we went back on our renewed lease I cried myself to sleep for about a week. But I knew it was the right decision. And I knew it would keep me from feeling obligated to renew the unemployment. Something I had decided I would not under any condition do as I barely wanted to get it in the first place (especially because we were obviously better off than many people).

I was blessed to get a job right after the move. It is not the best paying job and not one I would have imagined myself doing, but it is fun and gets me out of the house. It will also help us build up our savings.

Savings is incredibly important to us. Not only do you never know when the main breadwinner may lose his/her job, or when you might need to pay for a broken down car or emergency hospital visits, but it is incredibly important to have a down payment when purchasing a home. Housing is incredibly expensive where we live and we will need a substantial down payment. We want to get a starter home within the next year or two, before housing prices have a chance to increase again. And we feel much better about saving our money for a future home rather than dumping it into an apartment.

Others may disagree with our decision. But it is right for us. And it will help us get ahead financially. Something that is becoming substantially harder these days. And we are not the only ones who have made the same decision or will be making the same decision.

This post was hard to write without sounding a bit snooty and needy. No matter how you look at it, Europe, unemployment, two bedroom apartment, and living in the in laws house should not be used in the same post. Sometimes I feel guilty about it. Guilty that we made the trip. Guilty that I took unemployment. Guilty that we had a two bedroom apartment instead of squeezing into a one bedroom.

But I do know a one bedroom would not have been much cheaper. That we had saved up specifically for the trip and did the one thing we had always planned to do before starting a family. That we will be able to move up in the world a lot faster having made this decision. And that I will finally be forced to learn some much needed and valuable lessons about patience and living with others.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Need....

cookie cooling racks. All my cookies stuck together today because I have no cooling racks so I threw them all on top of each other on a paper plate.

When you don't have something, it makes you realize how very useful it really is.

Now, it's just a matter of remembering that I need to go buy the cooling racks.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Can't Wait!

Thanks to GROUPON I am going to the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show to see Paula Deen do a bit of cooking. I don't even care if I am all the way in the back. I am just excited to be in the same room with her.

New Beginnings

After not working for 9 months, I start a new job today.

Wish me luck!

This might be the best post you get today because I will probably be exhausted when I get home.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oh Boy!!!

I know I am wanting in the grammar and spelling area. But even I can create a sentence better than this one:

"Your Light photo just helped created 175 hours of solar power!"

Please someone take that "ed" out. It's killing me.

Oh by the way, if your wondering (because I sure did) how photos can create solar power. It's through donations. So no magic here.

My Wish List For Winter 2010 Part 2

1. Socks - Winter and Knee High

Stripped Knee Socks in Purple; Pin Dot Knee Socks in Grey; Rugby Stripped Crew Socks

2. Shoes
Size 6.5

3. Book

The Confession: A Novel by John Grisham 

4. Other Accessories 

Size Medium/Large

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's Election Day


Make sure you know where you vote and what time the polls open and close. You don't want to miss your chance to vote because you didn't have this information correct.  

Monday, November 1, 2010

Electric Heater Love

As I referenced in a previous post, the hubby and I were moving.  We finished moving on Saturday but we have a lot of work ahead of us  to get our new location cleaned up, organized (see picture above) , and feeling like a home. I will have to do a post in the next day or two about where we moved to and why.

My father-in-law was kind enough to put this in our bedroom to keep us warm. I LOVE it! It is so cute.

I have never had a "fireplace" in my room. It is so romantic and pretty.  I am excited for it to keep us company through the winter. And one day, when we settle into a more permanent home,  I think I might have to buy one for the master bedroom. Why would I ever want to live without it now?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween

 Happy Halloween Weekend from the Hubby and I. We hope you have the chance to celebrate in some form and that you get to enjoy some of the yummy food and treats associate with this holiday and season. Just remember safety first. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's a Nice Day to...

go to the park.

It's almost November and there I was walking in short sleeves to the park. I love sweaters
(which usually requires the cold) but man does this weather feel good.

You know what else feels good? Talking to my husband while just chilling on the swings. I love swings. I love the hubby. And I love to talk. Good times!

After I get over whatever illness I have, I plan to try to make the following:

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Sugar Cinnamon Almonds

I don't believe in cooking while I am ill. I feel it's an easy way to make others sick. It's probably just another excuse I have conjured up but whatever. Soon though, I will make these delicious treats.

And that diet I was referring to in the other post. That will have to start in January. With our birthdays coming up, as well as the holidays, it would be a joke trying to start the diet now.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reason 10000 Why I Love My Husband

While heading to bed last night I tell him that we need to make some dietary changes. We needed to start eating healthier again. Then...

I wake up this morning to a box of Krispy Kreme donuts on the table. I will take that as his response.

Unfortunately, he knows that the way to my heart is a delicious box of donuts.


I laughed when I received an email last night that said the following :

A tornado watch remains in effect until 3 am edt wednsday for the following areas: D.C., Maryland, the
entire northern VA area....

It may sound serious to you but we never get tornadoes* in my immediate area, just tornado warning, and we usually receive these emails when there is a very bad storm going on or when we can tell it is about to start. But there wasn't a hint of rain last night when we went to bed. My husband even googled it to see if it was true.  The information he found said that severe storms were hitting the Midwest, which is not where we live. So we laughed it off and forgot about it. And 3 am passed and if it rained, we didn't wake up...

But then 5:30 hit and we were both jolted awake by the loudest noise I have ever heard coming from outside. It was raining cats and dogs and horses and cows. The rain was soooo loud. And it went on for a good period of time and neither one of us could fall asleep during it, which is unusual because we both sleep pretty well during rain storms. I have never heard anything like it. So I wont be surprised it someone tells me today that we had a tornado pass by close to us last night. Though the chances of it are slim. 

Despite the sleep interruption, and crazy loud noises, I am thankful it rained. Because that means we didn't get snow. Which means I can laugh at the people in Utah who have been waking up to a white ground in October.

*That statement is not completely accurate. I think there was a tornado close to where I live once before. I was at college though and it was far enough away that my family could watch it without being in danger.  Call me crazy but I was actually mad when I found out I had missed it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Hate Mondays Too

Facebookers are always updating their statuses about how Monday sucks. And yeah it is lame to have to get back into the work week but I am not sure I ever had the same hateful passion towards Mondays...until now. Yesterday was such a horrible day with the only break being when I got to spend time with my family.

I hit a truck and thus had my first real accident ever. I went home and cried, of course. Then we had to move a bunch of stuff. AND I HATE MOVING (If I lived in hell, I would rather stay there than move. That's how much I hate it).  And then I randomly got sick  (I swear I was just sick a couple months ago. I usually get one real bad sick spell a year and that's it. Marriage has made me a sicko) and had a terrible terrible terrible nights sleep. So now I am sick and yet have a list of things I need to do and I know I wont do. Oh and we are out of milk and have nothing in the house for a sick girl to eat. And I feel bad because I forgot to let my dad borrow the GPS. I don't usually forget things. I have just been so scatterbrained lately with everything.

Welp now that I have complained, I think a shower is in order. And if I can convince myself driving is worth it, I think I might go get a smoothie.  Robeks, anybody?

P.S. Thank you for the well wishes on the move. I hate moving too. It's absolutely too much work. If I had it my way I would never ever move. But if you live in Virginia and ever need help moving, be sure to let me know. I hate moving but I don't mind helping others do it.

Lets just all hop on a plane right now and meet up in Hawaii. I could use some sunshine.
What does this picture have to do with Hawaii, you might ask?  Each state was allowed to give the United States Capital two statues to represent their state. This is Hawaii's. By far the coolest looking one I saw.