Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 non-resolution review.

well, 'tis the season for self-reflection and grandiose goals. so let's have a little look-see at how well i managed to do with this year's non-resolutions:

run a 5k. did the Color Run this fall. ran the whole thing. so much fun.

have pretty flower beds. we mulched a lot. i planted two little bushes, and zero flowers. we're heading in the right direction.

finish reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy & watch the movies with the hubs. done. also watched the second installment of the Hobbit.

go skiing. did it. loved it. hoping to go again this winter.

get real curtains on my windows. kind of. there are placeholder curtains in the fireplace room. there are curtains in my dining room and front room. they are all different lengths. i don't know how that happened.

have regular personal time with God. whoops.

ride my bike. a lot. whoops again.

maintain my weight. i think i did reasonably well with this. haven't actually weighed myself to compare, but i'm happy with my body right now.

finish Mansfield Park. haha nope.

read more non-fiction books. eh, not so much. i actually think all the books i've read this year have been fiction, and i just started the Divergent series so...yeah no.

clean out my closet. i did that once. it could probably use another go round...

make my marriage a priority. we did date nights pretty regularly this year. i feel like we are in a good place right now. i also feel like there is always room for improvement in this area.

go to the dentist. did it. twice. going back again this week for fillings. fun.

close my other bank account. ugh. nope.

put new music on my iPod. nope.

go to Wyoming. labor day camping weekend for the win!

apply for the PE exam. applied. application accepted. have to sign up for the review class. this is going to happen.

organize the craft corner. did it. love it. have actually managed to keep it pretty clean.

do a pull up. hahahahahahaha nope.

take more pictures of me and Mark together. there is definitely room for improvement on this one. lots of improvement.

finish Mark's quilt. done.

get a sewing machine. yes! Merry Christmas to me from Mark!

go to the beach. twice. love it.

split the guest room back into two. not even close. got a lodger in the basement instead.

implement a new budget. nope. maybe next year.

try at least one new healthy recipe per month. i think i tried a few new recipes this year. we also tried a whole new meal planning system for a few months. and if you count juice recipes we've tried over the past few weeks, i might have accumulated 12 over the year. i'm giving myself partial credit on this one.

so with a grand total of 14.5 items out of 26, (i was generous with my half-credits, ok?) i completed 56% of my non-resolutions for this year. if i ever got that kind of a grade in school (high school or even college) i would be ashamed of myself. but surprisingly, i feel pretty good about this past year; what i accomplished, what i made some progress on, and what i can carry over into next year.

fingers crossed i can take some time this week to spend some time looking forward to the new year before it gets here...

Friday, December 27, 2013

my favorite gift of the year.

last year, i gave a lot of homemade Christmas gifts - wooden signs, soap dispensers, personalized mugs, large paintings, i was gettin' all pinteresty all over the place. and i loved every minute of the madness.
this year, i did more shopping than i did crafting, and i am thrilled with all of the gifts i am giving. but when it comes to homemade gifts, i have to say that i might have outdone myself this year on one of the most epic homemade gifts i have ever made: a personalized stationary bottle opener for my brother-in-law-in-law. 

i got the idea for a bottle opener from one of those lame gift guide lists that are all over the internet in December, and i knew it would make a perfect gift. but i also knew that instead of spending $34 plus shipping to buy the finished product, i could probably make a better version for less. so i did.

i found a stationary bottle opener online, and decided to add a cap catcher for good measure. i designed the sign in powerpoint, (with some inspiration found here) prepped and cut and stained the wood, then finally painted it over the weekend. i applied the third and final coat of poly around 10:30pm on Christmas Eve, and then finished putting it all together Christmas morning. considering i ordered all the parts on December 2, i didn't think it would wind up being so down to the wire, but i guess that's just how it goes sometimes.

all told, i invested $22 in the opener and the cap catcher, and several hours of quality time spent with some powertools and my paintbrushes. the finished product is so worth it. i am ridiculously happy with how it all turned out, and was even more thrilled that Russ liked it too! i'm not sure if people are supposed to have favorite gifts that they have given, but this is definitely mine for this year.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

blessed holiday.

back at work today.
blessed with the sight of surprise snow falling outside my window.

blessed with a little time off work this week to spend with family.
blessed with a loving and encouraging husband.
blessed with a lazy Christmas morning at home.
blessed with a rare Santa sighting in Maryland.
blessed with so much.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

consider them decked.

the halls, that is. my house has been decorated for Christmas since the weekend after Thanksgiving - its just taken me until Christmas Eve to take any pictures of it. i blame the lack of sunlight and an overabundance of craziness this holiday season. today was the first day all month i had time and sunlight on my side.

please note that all of these pictures are carefully framed because i have yet to actually clean the house today, and i figured if i waited until everything was clean i would have ran out of sunlight. again.

let's start this little tour in the dining room:

the dining room decor can mostly be attributed to my mom: she picked up the awesome oversize ornaments at a yardsale this summer, and then sent these three home with us in our carry-ons because they didn't match her color scheme. she also mailed us our advent wreath for our first married Christmas.

i decided to display Christmas cards on the big mirror this year. they are hung with command hooks, fishing line, and binder clips. because nothing says festive quite like office supplies. in years past, cards were displayed in the kitchen, or in a basket on the dining room table. if you don't see your card here, its probably because you didn't send us one. (or we haven't gotten it yet. haven't checked the mail today)

on the not-a-credenza in the front room, we have these happy snowmen. they are a cookie jar, but sadly there are no cookies inside. i did very little baking this year and gave most all of the cookies away, and the few that were deemed not good enough to gift didn't stick around long enough to make it into the jar. they were delicious.

you've already met Harold the Third, but he's just so good looking i had to show him to you again. plus: presents!

the clear glass lamps in the fireplace room are filled with ornaments, and our santa tray is patiently waiting for his big moment to shine tonight.

i love our nativity set, another gift from my parents. it lives on the mantel and did i mention how much i love it?

one thing we overlooked last year in the design and construction of our mantel was the matter of stockings. the old nails were removed from the brick, and a new solution was never implemented. we bought cup hooks this year, but ran out of time to install them, so for this year our stockings are hung on the empty firewood holder.

i am really bummed that i'm not going home to spend Christmas with my parents this year, but with so much sentimentality in my decor, (seriously, my mom either made or gifted us everything in these pictures) its almost like being home for Christmas. almost.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

of trees and gifts.

'twas the weekend after thanksgiving, and barely december,
when the hubs and i made some memories to remember.
the trees were all leaned in the lot with great care,
knowing that lazy tree shoppers would be there.
you know the ones, like the hubs and me,
who can't muster the energy to chop their own tree.
we wandered just briefly, then to our delight -
Harold the Third was right there in our sights!

Mark paid the nice man and in no time flat,
Harold was tied up on the roof - just like that!
back at home, after lunch, and with our four hands,
we expertly secured Harold upright in his stand.

we strung twinkle lights: green, pink, yellow, and blue,
then followed with snowflakes and ornaments too!
and i sat in the dark just admiring the glow,
so thankful for Christmas and  the love that God shows.

He sent us his Son, in a way quite provincial
to die in our place because we are sinful.
and i celebrate that with all of my might,
so Merry Christmas to all! May your season be bright!

Monday, December 16, 2013

winter sunrise.

for the past few years, winter has chosen not to venture even slightly south of the Mason-Dixon line. but this year, we have had more snow in the past week than what accumulated in the past two years combined, and it has stayed cold enough that it didn't immediately melt away. not only does a layer of snow on the ground make the world look more festive, but it also makes a lovely backdrop for an early morning masterpiece to paint the world the most stunning shade of pink.
undedited, because God is just that good.