Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone has enjoyed the holiday season but mostly, I wish you each have your best year yet in 2013.

If you're on my family's holiday card list than please pretend you didn't see this photo. While this is the photo we used, it is a different version. Maybe you won't recognize it? That would be good.

I'm not sure it has always been like this, but for the past few years the best part of our holiday card photo is the process of taking the picture. Actually, my dad told a story tonight about one Christmas card from when I was a baby that makes me think that it hasn't always been as much fun as it is now. Apparently I was a bit of a pain in the ass as a toddler. Who would have guessed.

So, a few weeks ago my sister and I decided that sparklers would be fun for our New Years themed card. Well, that is all fine and dandy as long as you have approximately 8 million sparklers, good weather and at least one bottle of wine to help keep everyone's stress levels low.

By the end of this it took one self-timed camera, two different evenings, 90 regular size sparklers and 15 jumbo sparklers to finally get a photo where everyone looked somewhat normal. Someone's sparkler went out, someone blinked, someone's hair blew in their name it. I'm not exaggerating when I say we went through over 100 sparklers. Wine, people. Bring wine to your photo session. It makes the whole thing so entertaining!

The moral of the story is that I worked too hard getting this photo to just send it out on our awesome Shutterfly cards (the surprise photo on the back is awesome!). I had to share a version with you too.

Get those resolutions ready and bring on 2013. It's going to be a good one.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Holidays.

Once again, the holidays have been absolutely fantastic and a huge success. TC and I have been down in Atlanta relaxing and having fun with my friends and family - it's just what I needed.

We've had delicious meals, done some shopping (new boots for me!), spent time with my wonderful friends and logged many hours doing a whole bunch of nothing in my family's kitchen.

We had a wonderful Christmas morning full of all our usual family traditions. We also all had a good laugh while desperately trying to get a decent family photo for the belated Christmas card. I tell ya, there is never a dull moment around here.

Assuming we can stuff everything into our bags, TC and I are headed back to a very snowy Canada for New Years Eve. Luckily, we will still have several more days off that I can use to catch up on uploading photos and filling you all in on the details of our trip.

My boots and I will be back to your regular scheduled blogging soon. Hang in there.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Excitement.

The excitement for Christmas is killing me. I must have called home five times today. 

"Mom, can you make sure all my presents arrived?

"Marissa, I just texted you a photo of a dress. Do you think that its okay for church?

"Dad, what's the weather like down there?

"Mom, can I borrow your hair dryer all week?"

 Really, a bunch of nonsense questions that just gave me an excuse to call my family.

The Christmas festivities have already begun here in Canada. The other night we celebrated Christmas early with TC's family. We had a wonderful dinner and exchanged gifts. Just wait until you see what they got us! I'll be sure to share the details in a few months.

Tomorrow we're driving down to Maine to spend the night in Bangor. We do this every year and have established a traditional date night of dinner and a movie before heading to bed at a reasonable hour since we have an early flight the next morning. 

Christmas Eve afternoon we will finally land in Atlanta where we'll spend the week with my family. Warm(er) weather, here I come! My bags are packed, I'm ready to go. My mom's famous breakfast casserole and mimosas are calling my name. 

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and safe travels.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snow Day!

I just arrived home from a lovely evening out for drinks with some girlfriends. It was the perfect end to what has been a great day.

Last night the forecast said we were going to get 10-20 inches of snow. Sure enough, school was canceled for today, thus marking the second snow day this year. Hallelujah, my alarm clock was immediately turned off and I rolled back over and slept in for another few hours.

Once I finally dragged myself out of bed, TC and I braved the snowy roads and went out for breakfast. Then we hit up the grocery store for brown sugar so we could make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. For some reason a snowy day seems to call for warm cookies that are fresh out of the oven.

Once the cookies were made we bundled up in our snow pants and parkas and headed out to the front yard. The dogs came too but they didn't need to bundle up because they wear their fur coats all the time.

Mission Snowman was about to go down.

I'm a newbie to snowman building, but luckily for me TC is an expert. It wasn't long before he had rolled, literally, the bottom third of the snowman. Then he started the second ball and told me to keep rolling while he finished up the first ball. Again, I didn't really know what I was doing. This is probably why the middle piece became just as gigantic as the first.

When we went to lift the middle piece onto the bottom piece, well, it was heavy. Much too heavy for us to simply lift. We kicked some snow off of it to try to drop some weight and gave it another try. Right about then the weight of the snow knocked TC over.

There he lay.

On his back.

In the snow.

With a gigantic snowball on his chest.

He got his feet under it and was then able to wrangle it onto the bottom piece. I wish I had photos of this because it would have been priceless. Unfortunately I was too busy trying to help, all the while getting snow down my pants, up my pants and in my sleeves. We must have been quite the sight for the neighbors.

Our snowman finally came together once we scoured the yard and found acorns and rocks to serve as the finishing touches.

Maple kept trying to eat the arm to play fetch so she is forever fired from snowman building.

Snow days are so glorious because they always fall just when you really need a break. I have a to-do list that is a mile long. I could have spent today being productive and ticking things right off my list. But I didn't. Instead I spent the day with my awesome TC and did fun and festive things. As I walked out of the restaurant tonight I couldn't help but announce, "I love the holidays!"

And I do, especially when they are carefree and full of good times with my favorite people.

 Plus, pulling up to my house and seeing a huge snowman makes me laugh.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Stocking Stuffer.

My tree is up. Even better, its decorated. Last year I had ornaments hanging from the windows and messages of Joy! and Peace! sitting on the mantle. I didn't get around to all that fun stuff this year. I just didn't.

The truth is that I've been miserably sick with the world's worst sinus infection for the past few weeks. That, combined with working full time and taking a full load of online classes, has essentially wiped out my energy supplies. Decorating just hasn't been a huge priority. Hell, I haven't even been able to get dinner on the table.

But my tree has been up for weeks. Christmas trees make me feel good. I love the Normal Rockwell look of our mismatched ornaments, our colorful lights and the random purple star that sits on top. I just love it.

I got home later than usual from work today. My house was a mess when I walked in the door. Yet another victim of my sinusitis. Since I'm finally feeling a bit better I went to work with the vacuum. Clean houses make me feel like I'm in control of my life. Dirty houses...well, they make me feel like a mess. Plus, I had a big paper looming over my head and everyone knows that cleaning is the best way to procrastinate when there is homework to be done. I'm pretty sure we all learned that lesson in college. 

It didn't take too long, but I got my dishes put away, my living room picked up and my floors vacuumed. With a cup of green tea in hand, I sat down to write my paper. 

It wasn't going well. I quickly hit a wall. I couldn't think and couldn't type one more word. 

Just then, I noticed it. 

Sitting directly across from me, right in my line of vision, was my stocking - full! It wasn't just flatly hanging there. No, it was full to the brim with mystery objects. I didn't have a clue what they were or where they came from. Suddenly, the suspense was killing me.

As it turns out, TC had to make a stop at Bed Bath and Beyond today to pick up something for work. The store just opened this week so he'd never been in before. As he walked through the isles he randomly decided to pick up tons of fun stocking stuffers for me. Delicious smelling soaps, gourmet pepper, a new pair of kitchen tongs and crazy STRAWS! 

"Well, you really like drinking out of straws," he said. 

Yes. Yes, I do. And this is why I love you. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Winter Bucket List.

The bucket list I made for this fall went pretty well. I can't say that I checked off every single item, but I got pretty close. As it turns out, raking leaves isn't really that much fun.

Since we had our first bit of snow and, more importantly, our first snow day at work this week I think it is safe to say winter is here. Let's be honest, even without the snow it was -16 degrees this morning and it is completely dark at 4:45pm - winter is definitely here.

One of the secrets to surviving a Canadian winter is to have a really great jacket. And a great pair of boots. The other secret, the one that no one likes to admit, is to embrace winter and find a way to make the cold worth it.

This is no easy feat. This year, armed with a brand new pair of snow pants, I'm going to give this whole "embracing winter" thing another try.

This bucket list may seem like some pretty basic stuff. Sledding? Ice Skating? Shockingly, they have both managed to elude me the previous two winters. In fact, the only things on this bucket list that I've done in Canada are cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Oh, and having a fire. I'll admit that ice fishing is a bit ambitious, but I might as well go big, right?

What's on your winter bucket list?

Did I miss anything?

UPDATE: Yes. Yes, I did miss a few things.

  • Loose 10 pounds
  • Drape Christmas lights over Hobie and get a really awesome picture
  • Find and purchase the perfect brown boots. I know they're out there somewhere...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


1. This is how I'm wrapping all my presents this year. Craft paper, yarn and a crayon. I can't even begin to tell you how happy it makes me to not spend money on wrapping paper and fancy ribbons - I'd much rather put it toward the actual gift. Plus, it's pretty cute, right?

2. Way more exciting that silly wrapping paper - my beloved TC just got a shiny new job! He walked in the door to find a bottle of bubbly in celebration. I couldn't be more excited for him. 

3. This past weekend was full of parties. The first stop - a fabulous dinner to celebrate our good friend Mike's birthday. Christina cooked a fabulous dinner, everyone had a blast, and I enjoyed a glass of wine...or three.

4. I'm not quite sure how a whole year has passed, but sweet little Gwen is about to turn one. TC and I brought her a whole bag of foam blocks, and to show her appreciation she tried to eat them. I'm going to go ahead and take that as a compliment. 

5. I think the photo is pretty self explanatory.

It finally happened today. I could have cried. On the up side, school was canceled so I suppose it wasn't all bad.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cutting Down Our Tree.

I have a wonderful childhood memory of my family bundling up in our winter coats to go out into the woods in search of the perfect Christmas tree. It definitely was not the woods, however. That's just not my mom's style. I'm sure it was Christmas tree farm, but as a kid everything seemed bigger and better. 

Ahhh, the magic of childhood. 

The first year that TC and I were married we bypassed the whole Christmas tree thing. It sucked.

Last year we went to the local hardware store and bought a beautiful tree from the parking lot. 

This year, we stepped up our game and went to a real live Christmas tree farm.

Sitting just outside of town, this place is a family's working farm. We pulled into their driveway and drove around back to park behind the barn. It was perfectly adorable and just as picturesque as I hoped it would be.

As soon as we stepped out of the car we were greeted with the lovely cock-a-doodle-doo from a very large rooster.

Sharing the barn, but across the fence, were lots of what I thought were llamas. But now that I think about it, they may very well have been alpacas. I'm not much for farm animal identification, so please don't quote me on any of this. The point is, there were lots of adorable animals that added to my Norman Rockwell vision.

So, the mom came out of the barn and explained that we could walk around where ever we wanted. She said when we found our tree to drag it to the "road" and her husband would be by on the tractor to pick it up. Then her teenage son handed TC a big saw.

And off we went. 

It was really cold so we were bundled up in our warmest hats, coats and mitts. Canadians don't wear gloves. Nor do we wear mittens. We wear mitts. Yes, adults too.

We found the perfect tree almost immediately but we kept walking because we weren't ready to be done with our adventure. Plus, we needed to be sure that a really prefect tree wasn't just a few rows over. 

Eventually, the tractor came by and we had to laugh and tell the farmer that although we were clear across his farm the tree we wanted was way back by the barn and that we hadn't actually cut anything down yet. He chuckled and seemed to understand that we were just out there exploring and enjoying ourselves.

While he turned the tractor around TC and I headed back to our prefect tree. We headed straight for it and TC wasted no time making use of that shiny saw and cutting it down. He was so speedy I barely got the photo.

The tractor pulled up right at that moment and as TC carried the tree over, I got my favorite shot of the day. Look, a Christmas tree with legs!


As our tractor ride ended, I couldn't have been a more excited for Christmas. 

Knowing that such a great little adventure is just outside of town I don't think we'll ever go back to buying our tree in a parking lot.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gift Guide: They Didn't Know They Wanted It.

I don't know if you remember, but last year my friend Sally and I shared with you our brilliant gift guide. It was filled with some of our favorite things that we think most people would want - even if they don't know it!

This year, we've brainstormed again to put together another list of great ideas. If none of these are exactly what you're looking for than maybe they'll at least spark an idea in your head for the perfect present. Either way, if you're not done with your shopping, I hope this takes you one step closer.

To make life easier, I've put a direct link to the item in purple. Enjoy!

Nora Fleming Plates and Minis. This is a brilliant concept - choose a plate or bowl and then embellish it with whichever cute mini fits the occasion. They've got starfish, cupcakes, footballs, Santa hat, baby blocks and tons more. Perfect for parties and get-togethers.

Sea Bags. Love them. Love them. Love them. They're hand made in Maine from recycled sails. They're sturdy, functional and so cute. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes - big totes to a change purse to curtains and place mats!

Kate Spade Idiom Bangles. These bangles come in lots of colors and even a pattern or two. They can be worn alone or piled up. 

Dear Santa, I would like one of each. 

Depending on the design, priced from $32-$48 each.

Scarves. You can't go wrong. Aldo, J.Crew, Gap...anywhere really.

Drink Dispenser. I only use mine a few times a year, but when I use it - I use it. You can find them in several stores like Target, Pier 1 or Pottery Barn. Its perfect gift for a hostess!

Range from $25-$80

Over the ear headphones. It's the hipster in me, I guess. I want a pair sooooo bad. Perfect for plane rides or listening to tunes while working at your computer. Anyone who logs hours in either of these situations needs a pair - whether they know it or not.

Skull Candy will run you $30, but Beats by Dre will hurt a little more at $200.

50mm 1.8 Camera Lens. I feel like everyone has a fancy DSLR camera now. It probably came with a stock lens and they're enjoying it. This lens is hands down the best (and least) money you can spend to see major improvement and also have a lot of fun with. You know all the pretty photos people take with the background blurred out? This is how you do it.

The least expensive lens in town at $125. On sale now for $110.

Cute and fun, this metal chalkboard and magnetic heart is just plain awesome. It's big too - like 15 inches across! Perfect for the house.

A total steal at $14!!

Fabulous Sephora OPI Nail Polish Set. Don't let the Disney theme scare you. This collection is for all ages. This is Cinderella but the next one is Jasmine! It was all I could do not to buy it for myself last week. 

Reasonably priced at $25

Hilarious T-Shirts. Check out or I think this tee would be appropriate on most of us.

Depending, range from $10-$30

Fun Colored Sunglasses. Like these, from Faded Days. Who doesn't like a fabulous pair of sunglasses in a really fun color?

Depending on your color, priced from $16-28 per pair

Donut Maker by BabyCakes. How fun?! I want one. Sunbeam at Target makes a cute one too. There are also whoopie pie and cake pop makers. Every baker's dream! 

Reasonably priced at $25

Umbra Snap Frames. Finally, just because they're so much fun. They can stand alone, hang from the wall or have a magnet for the refrigerator. So much fun for Instagram photos!

Pack of 2 - $8, Pack of 9 - $25

Happy Shopping!