Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas Wrap Up

Another Christmas (and birthday) has come and gone. Since there are 12 days of Christmas with Christmas day only being the first day of Christmas I am leaving my decorations up for another week or so but the actual holiday has passed.

My husband and I spend a lovely Christmas Eve with his family and managed to not take a single picture. After an early morning workout to counteract all that I would be eating over the next few days we headed over to my brother in law and sister in law's house for a brunch of filipino breakfast foods.  We spent the afternoon playing games and after dinner we opened gifts. We did a secret santa with my husband's family so it was fun to give the gifts to the person I drew. Our tree looked so pretty with all the presents under it before we set our to give them to our families.
After dinner and presents on Christmas Eve we drove down to my parent's house so we could wake up there on Christmas morning. I didn't take any pictures of their tree before we opened presents but I got myself and my sisters new flannel pajamas to lounge in all day. We exchanged presents with my family, had breakfast and relaxed a bit before it was time to prepare for Christmas dinner.

My mom and her two siblings take turns hosting Christmas dinner so it is only at my parents' house every third year. This year was a year they were hosting so we all got voluntold to help set up. My husband and I set the tables and then helped my sister fold the napkins into fancy tree shapes. Thank you YouTube! Everyone was very impressed with the fancy napkins and with three people folding them they actually didn't take too long.

I rounded up my sisters before everyone got there to take a sisters photos.  I decided to go comfy this year and wore a very flowy dress with a cutout in the back. I thought about wearing a belt but decided against it.

We always have prime rib and Yorkshire pudding along with some sort of vegetable for Christmas dinner. Since my birthday is on Christmas there is always birthday cake of some sort, candles and singing as part of Christmas dinner.

We always have 2 trifles for dessert.  One version is high octane that most people eat and the other is low octane for those who don't want as much alcohol (or in the past were far under 21). For New Year's Eve with my husband's family I am trying my hand at not only a trifle but a prime rib and Yorkshire pudding so wish me luck. I have seen all of this made many many times and sort of helped make some of it but have never made any of it on my own.

In addition to the trifle since it is my birthday I always get to pick something to be my birthday cake. I am not a huge cake fan so I always pick some sort ice cream cake/pie.  This pie is layers of coffee ice cream, crushed chocolate cookies, sliced almonds, crushed Heath bars and chocolate sauce.

After a lovely Christmas we were exhausted and everyone in the house headed to bed early. The next morning I had a lovely breakfast of leftover ice cream pie and eggnog!  We met a couple of my cousins for lunch before packing up and heading back home to prepare to head back to work on Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Back with a What's Up Wednesday

It has been months since I did one but I decided it was time for a What's Up Wednesday.

What we're eating this week:  I made a big pot of spaghettini sauce this weekend so that will take care of many of our meals.  Our niece is having a birthday on Thursday so we are going out to celebrate that night.

What I'm reminiscing about: 
I am reminiscing years of Christmas past and looking forward to celebrating this year. I love that I get to see my whole family at Christmas and I appreciate it even more now that my sisters live on the other side of the country.

What I'm loving: I am loving the Christmas season and all that goes with it. I love seeing houses all lit up at night as I drive home at night (though this doesn't mean I like it getting dark so early) and I love coming home to my Christmas tree all lit up.

What we've been up to: After a fairly eventful summer and fall we have been trying to have a quiet winter.  We have spent evenings at home and enjoyed all of Christmas ornaments.

What I'm dreading: I am not really dreading anything at the moment though I am always dreading cleaning my house since no matter how many times I clean it it just doesn't stay clean.

What I'm working on: I am working on wrapping up the last of the Christmas presents I have bought for my family and friends.  Everything is purchases and the last couple of things arrive from Amazon tomorrow. This years tree will soon look a lot like last years tree all surrounded by presents.

What I'm excited about: I am super excited about seeing my family this weekend for Christmas and I am also super excited that I am going to Disney World with my parents and one of my sisters in January. We are taking advantage of MLK weekend and making a long weekend even longer. As much as I go to Disneyland I have not been to Disney World in years so I am super excited to see what has changed since the last time I was there. This also gives me an opportunity to wear all my Disney accessories.

What I'm watching/reading: My husband and I have finally jumped on the bandwagon and are watching the Walking Dead. We are about 6 seasons behind so it gives us lots to watch. I spend half the time covering my eyes because it is so gory but it it still interesting.

What I'm listening to: Mostly whatever comes on my Pandora which is usually a mix of country and a random mix of 90s-00s pop music.  Everyone needs some Britney in their life every once in a while.

What I'm wearing: Between Christmas shopping for other people and this whole having a broken foot thing I have not been doing too much shopping for myself. I did manage to snag a new pair of fun flannel pajamas and this fabulous night shirt to wear this winter.

What I'm doing this weekend: All things Christmas obviously! We are spending Christmas Eve with my husband's family and then driving down to my parents' house to spend Christmas with my family. Along with it being Christmas it is also my birthday so I am looking forward to celebrating that too.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

All Those Christmas Events

December is probably my favorite month of the year but it is a month that seems to just fly by. There are so many fun things to do and only so much time.  

Obviously I decorate my house but working full time I probably spend almost as much time (if not more) awake at work so it makes sense that I make my desk festive. I strung up lights and garland across my desk to make it nice and festive.  I put those fun window clings on my glass wall but they are really hard to get a good picture of without having half the office in the background of the picture so you are out of luck on that. We even have an office Christmas tree this year because we are in a temporary space and have the extra room. You can see in the background that even my guard dragon has some festive "snow" under her.

Every year Nordstrom has a fancy holiday shopping night for people who have Nordstrom cards and spend enough money to be at least level 2. Even though I have never had a problem spending enough to be level 2 as an employee I was never able to go as a guest since I was working. Last year I was eligible to go but ended up not able to because of some illness in the family so this year was my first year actually being able to go.  This year I took my glass of wine and wondered around the store doing a bunch of my Christmas shopping and it was lovely. It didn't hurt that I got bonus points on all my purchases for the evening.

The weekend after Thanksgiving my husband and I went with his family into the Santa Cruz mountains to cut down a tree. The drive up there was quite the adventure due to some very narrow and curvy roads but it was beautiful once we got there.

Since I work for the government we don't have fancy cocktail parties to celebrate the end of the year but we do manage to celebrate anyway. My unit the other smallest unit usually go out to a holiday lunch together and we have some sort of gift exchange. This year we decided to go with a tacky holiday ornament.

I found a squirrel wearing underpants and decided that it was a perfect thing for me to bring. Isn't he hilarious? He was a big hit at the lunch.

Last week we had our whole department annual holiday meeting.  This meeting consists of a big potluck, a talent portion where people perform and we play games, a ugly sweater contest and then a white elephant exchange. I of course took the opportunity to dress up.  I couldn't wear my outfit all day because I had afternoon meetings besides the fact that it was itchy as all get out.  I left the fun antlers on all day but the rest of the outfit only lasted for the party.

For the ugly sweater contest I decided to go all out head to toe tacky. You can't really see it in the picture but I am even wearing some fabulous jeweled tights.  I ended up winning the award for most festive!

We set up a photo background to take funny pictures throughout the party.

The best part of the party by far is the white elephant gift exchange.  There is even a theme song to this exchange. People go all out to bring the most random and funny things for the exchange.  This year I brought a Hot Dudes Reading calendar and a package of bacon and egg gummies.  They were a big hit and were stolen the maximum number of times.  I always leave this party with my abs killing me from laughing so much! I am sure I will be seeing that calendar at someones desk all of next year!
Last Friday night I had a little date night with my husband and after we went to dinner we headed to our city's Christmas in the Park. I love looking at all the different trees so we took a little detour into a hotel to look at their lobby all decorated up for Christmas.

Such a fun evening look at all the pretty lights and decorations.  The weather was cool enough to get all bundled up in our coats but no so cold that we were actually cold.  

After so many fun Christmas events the next week is full of birthday events not just for me but for my brother in law and niece too.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My Christmas Tree

I have no shortage of ornaments for my tree.  In fact many of the ornaments end up not even on my tree.  I do use many of the ornaments in other ways in my decor but there are generally at least a few ornaments that don't even make it out each year.

Among my many ornaments I have quite a few that have stories behind them so I thought I would talk about a few of those.  This A ornament is one of my newest additions to my collection.  I bought this last year while out shopping for presents for other people. I had just gotten married and I was excited to have something on our tree that represented this new marriage. I have yet to legally change my name but A will be my new last initial soon.

My husband didn't come into adulthood with a collection of ornaments like I did so our first Christmas together the whole tree was full of my ornaments.  I wanted him to have something on the tree that wasn't "mine" so bought him this beer ornament.  I used a permanent marker to write his name on it and I signed the bottom for him. We now have multiple joint ornaments but his was the first one that was his.

It is no secret that Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie so it is probably not a surprise that I have multiple ornaments from the movie.  Last year I got this Belle shoe and a few years ago I got this fairly large Belle with a huge tule skirt.  I also have a Mrs. Potts and a little Chip ornaments somewhere on the tree!

I got this guard at Buckingham Palace about 5 years ago when I went to England to watch one of my best friends get married.  Funny story is that I bought matching ones for my sisters and I but since the wedding was in September I put them away to save for Christmas. Christmas came and went and I had put them "somewhere safe" so I completely forgot to get them out and give them to my sisters. I gave them to them the next year instead!

All throughout my childhood I always knew what my grandparents were going to give me for my birthday.  Every year I (and my sisters and cousins) got some version of the same thing so that we developed a collection by the time we were eighteen.  The collections were everything from mirrors to birdhouses to nutcrackers. Every year I got a Santa Claus of some sort since my birthday is on Christmas. These are two of my childhood Santas.

As my birthday is on Christmas it is only fitting that I have a happy birthday ornament on my tree too.

Now that you have seen bits and pieces of my tree it seems only fitting that you see the whole thing in all its glory


Monday, December 12, 2016

The Rest of My Christmas Decorations

Last week I showed some of my Christmas decorations and I am back today to show the rest of them.

Our first Christmas together my brother-in-law and sister-in-law gave this plant to my husband and I. We have managed to keep it alive for the past 4 years and with its Christmas pot it is only fitting that it is a part of my decor.  The scent of the candle is Snow Berry and it smells amazing.  I have a hard time finding fall and winter scented candles because I just don't like the scent of cinnamon so when I find one that I like I usually buy more than one.  Since the top of the candle is gold I decided to use gold as the main color in the rest of my coffee table decor too. 

After much hard work I managed to get my dining table cleared off in time to put up my Christmas decorations.  I did this mix of red and green and silver balls in my wooden bowl last year and I liked it so much that I didn't alter it at all this year.  I put a fun plaid table cloth that I got from my mother-in-laws house on the table and called it a day.

A cute little tree and some more ornament balls sit on one side of my shelf.

I tend to like shiny things but I went a little more rustic for my wreath since it sits on the door all by itself so it doesn't have to coordinate with any of my other decorations.

This year the last part of my decorations I completed was my tree.  It sat there with just lights on it for a few days but now it finally has its ornaments too.  Come back tomorrow to hear all about the decorations on my tree.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Some Christmas Decorations

I am still working on my tree but I figured I would show you some of my other Christmas that I have put up so far.  I am by no means done yet (#noshortageofdecorations) but I have go a bunch of them up.

I love real wreaths but I always find that they dry out so quickly in our condo no matter how much I spritz them with water. I think it must be the heater or something. Since I can't seem to have a real wreath I have settled for a couple of nice fake ones. I bought a real wreath the other day at Trader Joe's and am going to take it to work. My office is always cold so maybe it will survive there.

It is no secret that I am quite fond of glitter and sparkly things so this fun sign is perfect. I got the glass tree a few years ago but Target still has a similar one.

My parents have these big gold paper mache reindeer that they put up every year on a ledge in their house. I found this cute little version of a reindeer a couple of years ago and he is great friends with my wooden Santa. 

These two Santas are just a piece of the collection of Santas that I have amassed over the years. I used to get a Santa each year for my birthday from my grandparents.  I think only one of the Santas didn't survive my childhood so I have no shortage of Santas.

I have more decorations to put out and a whole tree to decorate but my house if feeling very festive so far and I am happy. I am doing a bit each night after work so I should have the whole thing done by the end of the weekend for sure.