Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reverb 10 - Day 25

December 25 – Photo:  Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.


This photo captures me the most for 2010. It was taken by a classmate of mine from college, Heather, right after my college graduation ceremony from Northern Arizona University up in Flagstaff, Arizona.  It reveals the me that I had worked so hard to be. It is a photo that captured a moment of completely happiness and accomplishment...the day that I finally graduated from college. And I was able to share the moment with the two most important people in my life, my son and husband. I love this photo of me...It shows how happy I am for accomplishing one of the most important goals in my life.



To read more about my college journey click here.

Reverb 10 - Day 24

December 24 Prompt – Everything’s OK: What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

This year has been a year of healing for me and there have been so many, many moments that I was able to sit back and realize that "everything's OK!" It is such an amazing feeling after being through so much. The amazing moments of going on a family vacation. Finally graduating from college. My son going to preschool.

But the moments when it happens the most are not big events. For me they are the quiet moments. They happen at night when I go in to check on my son when he is asleep and I caress his sweet little face. Or when I am laying outside holding hands with my family on a blanket looking at the stars. They happen when I am alone with nothing but a good book and a glass of wine. Sitting on the couch with my husbands arm around my shoulders watching a movie. 

They happen in the moments that are calm. The ones that are filled with the most love, contentment and the realization that I am living a life better than I ever could have hoped...because it is all OK. This is the life that I was meant to live and I am so very grateful and happy to live it!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reverb 10 - Day 22

December 22 – Travel: How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? 

During 2010 I only traveled to places that I could get to by car in 5 hours or less. I needed to stay close to home this year. I needed my small family this year and they needed me. A few brief trips were taken to celebrate milestones. The milestone of my 10 year anniversary, a trip to participate in my graduation ceremony & a trip to celebrate my graduation and finally a short weekend away to the mountains during the hottest part of summer with good friends. The trips were all short, but absolutely perfect. They were just the respite that I needed...short little breaks from reality to give me the strength to go back to real life with a new renewed spirit.

In 2011 I plan to begin to travel again. And the trips are BIG! We are planning our first family trip to Disneyland and my son is so very excited. He can't stop talking about getting to go to where Mickey Mouse lives. We will also be joined by my Sister in Law and her kids and should be a great trip with many memories! The big trip for me will be in August...I have agreed to join a team and participate in the Portland to Coast relay up in Oregon with some old friends from high school. I can't wait to do it...I think that it will be so much fun! I'm sure that there will be smaller trips throughout the year. Trips to the mountains and trips to Vegas, but nothing in writing.

2011 is going to be a big year and I can't wait!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chocolate Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies

The holiday baking for this season seemed to go on, and on, and on...Usually my husband helps me, but he worked this entire weekend so it was just me and the little one doing our best to get it all done. I also have been feeling a little bit under the weather, so I definitely didn't do quite as much as I typically do each year. But I did get the chance to try a few new recipes that I have been collecting throughout the year.

The first of my new recipes was an easy little sandwich cookie. What I like best about the cookie is that it makes a great impression on anyone that you give it too and it is very simple to make because it is made with a boxed cake mix. You can dress it up like I did with some holiday sprinkles, or roll it in crushed peppermint candies for an even more festive touch. You can use store-bought frosting or make your own...it's completely up to you!

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

For the Cookie:

  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • ½ cups Vegetable Oil
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix, 18.25 Oz
1) Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2) Lightly whisk eggs and oil in a medium bowl.
3) Mix in flour and cake mix until well blended.
4) Roll into 1 inch balls (squish them down a little to flatten) and bake for 8-10 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet.
5) Cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Filling:
You can either make your own favorite frosting or use a store bought pre-made frosting. It's your choice!

I made my own frosting...here is my recipe for my favorite marshmallow flavored one!
  • 1 package Reduced Fat Or Regular Cream Cheese, Softened (8 Ounces)
  • 1 jar Kraft Marshmallow Creme (7 Ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1) In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, marshmallow creme and vanilla extract until well blended.
2) Spread about 2 Tablespoons of frosting onto the bottom of one cookie and then place another cookie on top, bottom sides facing in.
3) Repeat with remaining cookies and frosting.

Enjoy!








Monday, December 20, 2010

Reverb 10 - Day 19

Reverb 10 Day 19 – Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

Healing is such a hard thing for me to discuss because what I need healing on is such a personal issue. It is healing from being hurt and deceived by someone very close to me. Someone that I trusted and believed in. But I have been working on the healing. It has been hard. So very, very hard. There is still a lot of anger. There is still a lot of resentment. But I know that I need to give both of these things up or I will never heal. I will never be whole again.

There are days that are good. Days that I forget all of the anger. Days that I forget the resentment and hurt. Days that I finally feel whole again. Days that I am my old self. The one that was happy, the one that had hope and believed in people. The old me that trusted and loved easily. This is how I know that I am finally healing...the good days far outnumber the bad days. It has not always been that way.

Part of my healing is finding a good balance between the "old" me and the "new" me, a balance that doesn't include anger and resentment. A healed me will be one that can move forward from my experience, and while not forgetting what happened, I will be able to learn from it.

And I will be healed one day. I know it deep down inside. I know it in my core. I will completely forgive. I will not hold resentment in my heart. I will be whole again. It is my wish for myself. It is what I want more than anything right now.

I will be healed, I just know it...I need for it to happen. For me. For my son. For my husband and my marriage. It will happen one day...I just know it. 2011 will be a great year. A year of continued healing. I see it happening. I see it and I believe it.



 

Reverb 10 - Day 17

Reverb10 - Day 17: Lesson Learned–What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? 

The best thing that I learned was that I couldn't wait around for others to do things when something is important to me. I found that I was constantly waiting for things to happen. What I learned was that I needed to take action in order for my life to move forward instead of always waiting.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. I just hate that word. It was something that I have always done. Waiting.

Waiting for people to accept me.

Waiting for things to come to me.

Waiting for my chance.

I instead have decided to just start taking my chances. Now I find myself doing things rather than waiting for things. And I now feel so much more in control of my life. And happy. Truly happy because I am now a part of what happens in my life instead of watching my life pass me by.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Buttons - A Kid-Friendly Holiday Recipe

Last night I began embarking on my annual Christmas baking. It is a huge endeavor. It is usually planned out for about a week. Shopping must be done. Lists must be made. And hours are spent in the kitchen. This year, however I have an extra pair of hands to help me. My little munchkin. He just loves to help mommy bake in the kitchen...mostly because he likes to taste test everything and lick the beaters. I don't blame him though...if the batter & frosting didn't go straight to my hips (and thighs...and belly...and ass) then I would be doing the exact same thing!

Since I have a little helper this year, I had to modify my usual list of goodies to include some items that are very kids friendly. Things that are easy for the little hands to help out with. The first of my posts about Christmas goodies is a little recipe called Buttons. It is a very simple (but yummy!) recipe that uses only 3 ingredients and your little ones will have so much fun making them!


Buttons

Ingredients
  • 70 Round or Checkerboard Pretzels
  • 70 Hershey Kisses
  • 70 Red & Green M&M's
Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees
2) Place pretzels on a baking sheet
3) Top each pretzel with an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss
4) Place in oven for 5 minutes to soften the kisses. (Note: the kisses will not lose their shape)
5) Press a M&M on top of each Kiss
6) Let your "Button" sit and the chocolate of the kiss harden back up. Enjoy!

These are really good and a great holiday project that the kids will have so much fun making. You can modify it for different holidays all year round! Use the red & pink M&M's for Valentines day; Use the Easter or Halloween ones during their seasons; Or you could use different types of Kisses (caramel, hugs, etc.) The possibilities are practically endless!

Enjoy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Yep...I actually made these!


How awesome are they?!?

On Monday of this week I was lucky enough to be invited to a cookie Christmas party...but it wasn't your typical cookie party. It was a Christmas Cookie Decorating Party hosted by the awesome Terri over at Fresh Cut Flours. Seriously, who doesn't love a party that includes cookies, sangria and lots and lots of frosting?

It was so much fun and I got to learn something that I have always wanted to. I picked up some great design tips and techniques along with a super goody-bag that included her recipes for the cookies and buttercream frosting. And I got to decorate and bring home a dozen cookies...I can't wait to try it on my own at home!

Check out her blog for some great photos of cookies!

Happy Friday and hopefully you have all of your shopping done so that you don't have to fight those crowds since it's the last weekend before Christmas!



Smart and Trendy Moms



Friend Finding Fridays

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reverb 10 - Day 16

Reverb10-Day 16: Friendship–How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

Oh, my...friendship is one of the common themes that has come up over the past year. Good friendships, renewed friendships, ruined friendships, new friendships...it has been a big year for me in this part of my life.

The biggest change that came from a friendship was a change that came in a sudden burst. While most of what I went through is way to hard for me to get into because it involves my little one and his safety and I am still so upset and hurt by what happened that I can't write about it yet without crying. Let it just be said that people are sometimes not what you think...even when that someone is a person you would have considered to be one of your closest and most trusted friends. Because of the event that I went though this past year, I now realize how much I treasure honesty and trustworthiness and how much one event can effect all other relationships in your life. I came to the realization that I am someone that trusts too easily and quickly and that doing so can hurt you and your family in ways that you can't imagine.

But on the other hand, because of what happened I realized that I also needed to have more friends. I needed to put more effort into surrounding myself with other women that have the same goals and interests as I do and I am so very glad that I did. I have met some wonderful women this past year that I am lucky to count as friends.

This has been the year of the friendship and no matter whether the memory/event was good or bad I appreciate and embrace all that has happened and I know that it has helped me to grow as both a mother and a person and I don't regret anything!

Reverb 10 - Days 14 & 15

Reverb 10 - Day 14: What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? 

The one thing that I appreciate most from the past year is my education and the sacrifices that were made to receive it. I finally graduated from college this past May. It is something that I have wanted to do for years, but because of one reason or another I have had excuses for not finishing. But after some life changing events a couple of years ago, I made the decision to finish...no matter what it takes. And it took a lot. A lot of money. A lot of time away from my family. A lot of missed sleep staying up late doing homework. And a lot of encouragement from my friends and husband.

I appreciate all that went into me getting my degree. And I love each and everyone that helped me along the way. I know that I have told them...but I really do appreciate everything that was done for me. I would never have finished without the help that I received. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!


Reverb 10 - Day 15: Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

There are so many memories that I want to capture, but the ones that are most important to me are:

1) My son's third birthday party
2) My 10 anniversary trip with my husband and our subsequent renewing of our vows
3) Graduating from college with my bachelors degree
4) Getting house guests from back home...both my best friend and her family & my dad and stepmom
5) Our family trip up to the mountains this summer with our good friends the Moore's
6) A quick weekend trip to Vegas with my hubby this summer to see Garth Brooks in concert
7) Game nights with friends
8) Making great new friends!




Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What is Playing Wednesday

I just got a new tribute album and I LOVE it. It is Coal Miner's Daughter - A Tribute to Loretta Lynn. I just love good, traditional country music and it's nice to hear more contemporary artists take on some of Loretta Lynn's greatest hits. Some of the artists on it are The White Stripes, Paramore, Faith Hill, Lucinda Williams and Miranda Lambert. Check it out!






Happy Wednesday! I hope that you are all getting everything done for Christmas and taking time to enjoy the holiday season!




We Bit of Me Wednesday

I am once again joining in on Leigh's we bit of me wednesday over on her blog. She always has some of the best questions! So here are my answers. If you want to join in just copy the questions, answer them on your own blog and go on over to her blog and link up!



{one} did you buy a Christmas tree this year?
No, I didn't buy one, but I do have a Christmas tree. Ever since moving to AZ we have had a fake tree...I just can't deal with having to pay an arm & leg for a real one that will dry out in the hot, dry desert air. I do miss the smell of a real one though!

{two} what is your favorite holiday tradition?
My favorite holiday tradition is my husband cooking up eggs benedict on Christmas morning. Such a delicious morning treat!

{three} do you open your gifts on Christmas eve or Christmas day?
Christmas day! But I do let Caleb open one gift on Christmas eve. 

{four} at what age did you stop believing in santa claus?
Probably somewhere around the 10 year old area. I don't really remember.

{five} do you fill stockings?
Yes, yes, yes! It's one of my favorite things to buy and put together.

{six} handmade presents or store bought presents?
Mostly store bought, but homemade is always welcome!

{seven} do you have a favorite Christmas meal?
My hubby's stepdad makes the BEST beef tenderloin and gravy in the world. I just love it!

{eight} is your Christmas tree real or artificial?
Artificial

{nine} what is your favorite Christmas song?
I have a couple of favorites: The Happiest Christmas Tree by Nat King Cole, Baby It's Cold Outside by Dean Martin & my favorite traditional song is Angels We Have Heard on High.

{ten} did you send out christmas cards this year?
Not yet, but the plan is to address them tonight and get them out in the mail tomorrow. (Along with the gifts that need to be mailed)



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's Party Time!

Ahhh...I know it's been a couple of days since I last posted, but I have been super busy. And I've had a little bit of a holiday hangover. My husband and I hosted our first Christmas party in over 7 years and I must say that we pulled it off and it was a great party!

For me a good party is all about having great friends, food and drink and we had all three! The theme was a wine tasting and hors d'oeuvres party...so our focus was most definitely on the food and drink. We provided all of the food and asked each of our guests to bring their favorite bottle of wine to share with everyone. It is a great way to try new wines and maybe find a new favorite one.

As for the food, I went all out. I made stuffed mushrooms, hot bacon cheese dip, sweet onion dip, bacon wrapped pineapple bites, sausage cream cheese rolls, shrimp cocktail, baked brie with cranberries and apples, Jarlsberg cheese dip, fresh pesto for dipping, two kinds of bruschetta, had a large cheese platter and for the finishing touch I borrowed a chocolate fountain from a friend.

We had such a great time celebrating with our friends and hosting the party that I completely forgot to take photos...but the food, the friends and the night really were amazing! I just thought that I would share with you the recipes that were most requested after the party.

The first is the Baked Sweet Onion Dip, which was my favorite item of the night. It was my first time making it and I absolutely LOVED it. It was cheesy deliciousness and the sweet onion flavor was just amazing! The second dish is another dip, the Bacon Cheese dip. It was just yummy! And the third one was actually one of the easiest dishes of the night...but everyone just scarfed it down. The brown sugar leaves such a great caramelization on the bacon that you can't stop with just one...and no one at the party did.


Baked Sweet Onion Dip
from white on rice couple
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese (very softened)
  • 1 cup mayo 
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper
    Crusty bread or crackers
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl, place softened cream cheese. The cream cheese must be very, very, soft (like spreadable butter) to allow all ingredients to blend evenly together. If your cream cheese needs to soften more, place in microwave for a few seconds.
2. Add mayo, parmesan cheese, onions and fresh cracked black pepper to soft cream cheese till everything is mixed thoroughly.
3. Place mixture in ramekins or any oven safe dishes. Bake slowly, for about 30-45 minutes for all ingredients to cook together. When the top crust is brown, almost burnt looking then the dip is ready. The darker brown the crust of the dip becomes, the better the flavors are cooked.
4. Serve with your favorite bread and crackers.


Hot Bacon Cheese Spread
Adapted from Taste Of Home
  • 1 unsliced round loaf bread
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) Mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 7 bacon strips, diced and fried
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red chile flakes
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Combine all ingredients in a large bowl & spoon into an over safe dish and bake for 45 minutes or until heated through.
3) Serve with bread cubes and crackers.



Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Bites
  • 1 lb of bacon
  • 1 can of pineapple chunks - drained
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
1) Set oven to 375F.
2) Cut the pound of bacon in half.
3) Put the brown sugar in a shallow bowl.
4) Take a half a slice of bacon and dredge it through the brown sugar. Put a chunk of pineapple on one end of the bacon slice and roll up. Secure with a toothpick.
5) Place pineapple rolls on a rack on top of a foil-lined jelly roll pan.
6) Bake for at least 25 minutes, or until the bacon looks brown and crispy.

All of these appetizers would be great to have at with your Christmas dinner or served at a New Year's party...or just for an evening at home with your family!

Have a great rest of the week!

 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Birthday Invitations

I just finished designing and having printed up Caleb's Birthday invites for his 4th birthday party and I just wanted to share them because I think that they turned out so freakin' cute!


He chose to have a themed party this year because he completely loves Toy Story and Woody from the movie. Now I am just trying to come up with some games that we can play that go along with the theme. Any suggestion?

 

Reverb 10 - Day 11

I’m signed up for Reverb10,  so during the month of December I’ll be receiving a daily email prompting me to reflect on the past year and manifest the year to come. (Click on the button on the right sidebar for more information)


11 Things - What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? 

I don't need to fit in - I need to work on the fact that I am different and accepting myself for who and what I am. I don't need to be liked by everyone, I don't need to fit in. If I can do this, it will free myself from so much self doubt and add to my confidence. It will also help me to be a better example for my child.

I don't need to be first - I am such a Type A personality and so competitive that I always need to be first...always the best...always right. It hurts friendships, coworkers and my husband. I don't need to be first, I just need to be the best that I can and accept where ever that takes me. If I didn't worry so much about beating everyone else or always being right I would be happier.

I don't need so much stuff - There is no reason for my home to have clutter. There is no real reason for us to have so much stuff. It's time to start paring down to just the essentials. It will make cleaning my home easier and quicker and leave me more time for what's important: family.

I don't need plastic water bottles - I have already made the decision to be more environmentally conscious in the new year and one way that I will do this is to stop buying bottled water. I will add a filter to my kitchen faucet and refill containers at home. It is the least that I can do to stop filling up the landfills and help our planet.

I don't need to worry so much - After making a decision I worry. I worry and over think just about everything in my life. I just need to accept a decision after it is made and move on. No need to worry about the consequences...those will come no matter how much or how little I worry. It will help me to sleep better, thus improving my health and attitude.

I don't need to diet - I just need to make a decision to eat better. Pigeon-holing myself into a particular diet is not healthy because it them consumes me and when I fail I begin feeling self-hatred. Just concentrating on living an overall healthier lifestyle is a better choice for me.

I don't need to be around negative people - I can make the decision about who I want to be around and who I don't want to be around. I don't need to be around negative people just because I feel obligated to or because they are family, old friends, etc. I can choose to walk away...it is in my power.

I don't need to feel regret - The past is the past and I don't need to worry about it and feel any regrets. I can't change what has happened, only move forward and head boldly in the directions of my decisions.

I don't need to be an expert in parenting - I don't need to read all the books, I don't need to consult experts or poll everyone that I know when it comes to parenting. I just need to follow my gut and do what feels best for me and my family.

I don't need excuses - I need to stop making excuses about why I am not doing something. I just need to get off my butt and do it.

I don't need unnecessary obligations - I don't need to do something just because I feel obligated to. I need to stop saying "yes", when I really mean "no." People will understand and the ones that don't shouldn't be in my life.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Why it's important to get family photos

So, in what seems to be the theme of the year for me, I got a little bit of a late start on the Christmas cards. Me late on something...no, it never happens. Now I know that you are thinking...it's only the 10th of December. You're not late at all...but for me I usually have the cards already in the mail at this point, so I feel behind. Very behind. And with the little get together that we are hosting this weekend, I probably won't get the cards into the mail until Monday or Tuesday and that is late, oh so very late!

Since having a kiddo, we have done a photo card each year and I have always made sure to get our photos taken professionally, but this year we haven't had the time nor have we had the money to get our photos done, so I had to go searching through the archives of photos that I have taken to find something that would work for the card.

The unfortunate thing about using our own photos is that I am the photographer for our family and that translates into mommy is never in any photos...almost every photo is just of Caleb or of Caleb & Chris, but no family photos. Boooo to that!!!

So here is our Christmas Card this year:


So because of the whole no family photo thing, I just went with a super cute one of Caleb and everyone that gets this will just have to try to remember what Chris & I look like. Hopefully their memories pull up the skinny Jenn! (ps. we got our cards at Costco this year...and they are awesome! Easy to do, done in 24 hours and you can get 50 cards for only $14.99. Score!)

And yes, a select few of you will be getting this handsome little devil to hang on your fridge. Be jealous everyone...be very jealous!

I hope that you all have a fabulous weekend, whether it be celebrating season with some holiday parties, getting some Christmas shopping done or just hanging around the house. Have a great one!


 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My how the times have changed

Things definitely change when you become a parent. It used to be so easy to just get up and go. Go anywhere that you wanted. At any time that you wanted. To anywhere that you wanted.

But, having a child completely changes that. There are no more spontaneous dates with your spouse. There are no more late night, last minute meet-ups with friends at the local bar. No more spur of the weekend trips away. Now it seems like everything needs to be planned. Preschool/daycare informed. Babysitters set up. Nap times & meal plans taken into account.

But, as my husband and I unfortunately learned this week, even planning in advance doesn’t always mean that everything goes as planned. A few months ago I had bought tickets to go see Hair with my husband as a date night and we were pretty excited to do and see it.  (Well…at least I was, he was just obliging my request for him to attend, as a good husband should!) We arranged for a babysitter months ago, we confirmed with her a week ago, last night we sent her a text to remind her and set a firm time for her to come and guess what happened? Yep, we got a text back that she had forgotten and had other plans. Ugh! With it being the night before and during the holiday season, it is next to impossible to find a babysitter that doesn’t already have plans. So, needless to say, our plans are cancelled and the tickets were given to a good friend that is really excited at the chance to go.

My how things have changed in my life…4 years ago, there would have been no depending on someone else in order for us to get a night out together. We would have just went and had a great time, no worrying about others or scrambling at the last minute to find a sitter. But now…now, things are so very different, and the strange thing is that I wouldn’t want things any other way!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reverb 10 - Days 6, 7 & 8

I got a little bit behind on the Reverb10 challenge, but I made a promise to myself to make sure to do all of the prompts so I'm doing a little catching up tonight. Here it goes:


Reverb10 - Day 6 - What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

For me this is a pretty easy one because being creative and making things is what I do. At work I do graphic design, so I am lucky enough to be able to get paid to be creative. At home I enjoy photography and baking, so I am constantly making things...whether they are to eat or they are just to look at, I am always making things.


Reverb10 - Day 7 - Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

For me I found community through many different things and in many surprising places during 2010. This was the year that I joined the blogging community. I have "met" some very wonderful people in the blogging world. I have also learned so much and connected with so many people that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to. I have learned more about how to be more creative and added to my knowledge in certain subjects; I have learned how to be a better parent and that I am not alone in certain parenting situations; I have learned that friendship and connections can come in many different ways. The blogging community is so large and amazing and I am so glad to be a part of it.

I have also joined a community in which the common bond is being a parent. This is the year that my son started going to preschool and he also joined a team sport. I have been able to bond and become friends with other mothers and fathers of preschoolers and I have learned so much from our interactions.

For 2011 I would like to connect more with other women and men that enjoy baking and cooking like I do. I would like to become close with them to be able to share more about what we do and how we do it. I learn so much from others and I want to excel in this endeavor in my life, while I am not looking at this as something that I want to make money at...I just want to learn more about something that I absolutely love doing!

Reverb10 - Day 8 - Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

It is such a hard thing to think about what makes me different from everyone else...most of my life I have found myself wanting to be like everyone else and just fit in. I didn't want to be noticed...I just wanted to liked. But as I have gotten older I have been able to connect more with who I really am. I have learned that loving who I am (all of who I am) has helped me to be more confident, more self assured and in turn, I find myself less worried about fitting in and making sure that others like me. Instead, I find my differences are what draws others to me. Others that like me for what and who I am, instead of who I try to be.

Some of the differences that I celebrate about myself are my quirkiness, my quick wit and my sensitivity. I am also a complete and total geek and I love being one...I love horror movies, I have crushes on obscure celebrities, I get addicted to television shows, I am a voracious reader and I always seek out the newest technology. All of these differences are what make me special...they are the things that add up to who I am and I love that I am different than everyone else. I wouldn't want to be just anyone...I want to be me!


What is Playing Wednesday

I'm a little bit late posting this up today, but I am full on in the swing of all things holiday and I am trying to get my act together because my husband and I are throwing a Christmas get together this Saturday for a couple of friends and neighbors and I am sooo very behind on the planning and cleaning. Especially the cleaning! Ahhhh!

Alright, now that I have that off my chest on to What is Playing Wednesday.

With the current season that we are in, what is playing most of the time in my car or on my iTunes at Christmas music. So this past weekend I dug through the archives and found some of my favorite collections of Christmas music and I found my all time favorite Christmas recordings. I think that since we are having the party and I'm looking for the right music for it, that I have definitely found myself going for the more "chill" Christmas music this year.

Here is a little sampling of my favorites this year!



Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


Have a great rest of the week and take some time to enjoy some great Christmas music!



We Bit of Me Wednesday


So today I decided to join in on Leigh's we bit of me wednesday over on her blog. She always has some of the best questions! So here are my answers. If you want to join in just copy the questions, answer them on your own blog and go on over to her blog and link up! (Plus you can check out her etsy shop for some amazingly cute vintage inspired jewelry!)


{one} if you were granted three wishes, what would they be?
This is a hard one...1) Good health for my family; 2) Never having to worry about money again; 3)

{two} who is your favorite author?
I don't really have a favorite author. I have so many that I love! My two favorite books are One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. If you haven't read either one of those books, you must!

{three} what crowd were you involved in during high school?
Not any particular group. I had many friends! I grew up in a small town and most of my friends were the same ones that I was friends with in grade school...we all got along and I still am friends with many of the same people from high schoool. It's one of the best parts of growing up in a small town!

{four} what is your favorite thing to do when you have time to yourself?
Read or take photos.

{five} do you have any hidden talents?
I'm very creative and I have a great eye for things creative. Photography, scrapbooking, card making, etc.

{six} can you fake any accents?
No...I'm totally bad at them, but I sure do love to do them anyways.

{seven} have you ever been mentioned in the newspaper?
Yep....I work for a publishing firm that does monthly newspapers so my name is in print all the time in the staff box! Haha!

{eight} have you ever been arrested?
Nope, never.

{nine} what is your favorite job you’ve had?
The one that I have right now. I have learned so much and I have made some amazing friends with some of my coworkers.

{ten} do you have any scars?
Yep. I am one clumsy lady and I have scars everywhere to prove it. Plus the amazingly large scar from my child being ripped violently out of my abdomen. :-)


Happy Wednesday!




Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reverb 10 - Day 5

Let Go - What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

This year I have finally let go of my expectations.

Now, I'm not saying that having expectations is wrong, but the way that I used expectations in how I lived my life, they are. I am someone that used to set expectations for everyone and everything so high that it is almost impossible for anyone or anything to match up to what I want them to be. This has made for some very big letdowns in my life. But these letdowns are not because someone or something wasn't all that it could be...they usually were. It was MY fault that they were "letdowns." In my mind I had set things to such a high standard, that even if I had completed the task it would not have been even close to what I had imagined.

So, this year I made the concerted effort to stop having these expectations and it helped me to see and appreciate others for who and what they really were. I was able to finally love the people around me for who they are, not what I wanted or expected them to be. By doing this I was also able to appreciate events and goings on in my life without a constant big check-list going on in my mind. If I took my son to something that I was really excited for him to experience and he didn't like it, I didn't let it get me down. If our vacation had a few hiccups along the way, I didn't let it destroy all of my memories for the trip, nor did I let those few hiccups overshadow the rest of the trip. I have finally begun to enjoy life and all that it has to offer me.

Letting go of my expectations was one of the best things that I have ever done and I am so glad that I did it!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reverb 10 - Day 4

Wonder - How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Wonder is such an easy thing to have when you live with a small child. They open your eyes to the beauty of the simple. They joy in things that they experience is just absolutely contagious.  My little one is my doorway to wonder. His naturally inquisitive nature helps me to experience the "old" things anew. I find myself chasing butterflies, waiting outside for the sunset, pointing out beautiful flowers and taking time at night to lay on a blanket staring at the stars all because of my little wonder. The joy that he brings into my life is almost too difficult to put into words, but the wonder that I experience because of him is amazing. And beautiful. It makes my life full, more full than I ever imagined it to be.


Thank you Caleb...because of you, both my heart and eyes are open to the wonder that this world holds.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Reverb 10 - Day 3

Moment - Pick one moment in which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (textures, smells, voices, noises, color).

I'm not going to lie, my marriage has not always been perfect. It has not always been rosy. I've been married for over 10 years now and and I know that all couples that have been married for this long, or even longer, go through rough patches. Our marriage has had it's share of tough times,  but somehow we found our way back to each other and are more in love than ever. Things are good...really good and we have finally learned how to keep them good. It is work, but it is all worth it. My "moment" is a celebration of my marriage.

This past March my husband and I took a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We chose to go there because it is where we celebrated our Honeymoon and we knew that it was the right place to celebrate being together...just like at the beginning of our marriage. While we were there my husband surprised me by asking if I wanted to renew our vows. Of course I said yes and on March 8, 2010 we were remarried. But not in a typical way, but in a way that we would never forget! We have already had our big white wedding so this time we decided to do a cheesy Vegas-style wedding. A bright, shiny Elvis officiated wedding!


It was crazy, fun and just the way that we wanted to celebrate...A lighthearted way to begin the next 10 years! It was most definitely the most "alive" moment that I have experienced this year. This moment was a ceremony celebrating that we were at the beginning of a new time in our marriage. A moment that exceeded my expectations. A moment that I will forever treasure. A moment that I was able to share with my best friend and love of my life.


A Little Something For Me

I went out Black Friday shopping last week with a friend and while I made sure to pick up stuff for my family (and boy did I get some awesome deals!) I also picked up a "little" something for myself! It is something that I have wanted for years, but never got. Something that I have hinted at numerous times to my husband, but never got. Something that was on my wedding registry over 10 years ago, but never got.

So I finally just took the plunge...with the help of coupons, Kohl's cash and rebates I finally got myself a KitchenAid 5 Qt Artisan Stand Mixer in Onyx Black for an awesome price!


And it is just the perfect addition to my kitchen...it fits right in doesn't it?


I have already been using it! Mashed potatoes and cupcakes have already broken the mixer in and all of the Christmas cookies that I plan to make as gifts this holiday season are just waiting to get mixed in this sucker! Merry Christmas to me!

 
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