December 29, 2017

Christmas 2017...

Merry (belated) Christmas y'all. I hope your Christmas was amazing and that you were surrounded by friends and family. 

I had a wonderful Christmas with my family. I spent most of the weekend before the big day doing things I love - helping my Mama wrap presents, baking Christmas goodies, and watching Christmas movies. This was the third year of our Christmas Eve tradition of having appetizers for supper and I went all out with a huge spread of food. There was SO much leftover, apparently I overestimated how much the 6 of us could eat (my brother and his family spend Christmas Eve with his in-laws). This was also the 4th (or 5th?) year of our Annual Christmas Eve Twinkle Tour. Just before we were about to head out our family friends stopped by to pick up a baking tray I had made up for them so we had a quick visit with them before heading out on our Twinkle Tour. We always make hot chocolate before we head out so we can sip hot chocolate while looking at all the lights - this was the first year that Graycie didn't spill her hot chocolate all over my SUV! I had told the girls to avoid looking at the 'Grand Finale' house, a house in town that goes all out every single year, as we drove past streets where you could catch a glimpse of it and Graycie kept thinking every house was the 'Grand Finale' house. When we got back to the house the girls and my sister headed home to get ready for Santa to come (and so my sister could assemble the desks that the girls got for Christmas - she was up until 3 am!). I went to bed around midnight and put on Christmas Vacation to watch - pretty sure I made it 10 minutes in and I was out. 




This year was the first time in forever that I actually 'slept in' on Christmas morning. I didn't wake up until 7:00 - most years I can't sleep at all! I guess that's what happens when you completely exhaust yourself by spending two full days on your feet cooking and baking before Christmas. I did some last minute tidying so I wouldn't have to worry about it later on in the day and then settled in on the couch and drank coffee out of a festive mug while it was still dark outside and the tree was lit up. I LOVE getting up early on Christmas morning to enjoy the darkness - it reminds me of my childhood because we would get up at 3:00/4:00 and open gifts while it was still pitch black outside and everything was lit up from the Christmas lights - they just make me so happy. I hauled all of my presents upstairs and then helped my Mama carry all of hers out of the spare bedroom - there was barely any room left on the living room floor. My Mama goes overboard every year just like I do. Once my sister and nieces arrived we just had to wait for my brother and his family to get to the house. It was torture for my nieces to see all of their presents but not be able to open any so finally we left them open up their 'stockings' that my Mama had put together for them. That occupied them until the rest of the family showed up because they had L.O.L Dolls to unwrap and that takes sooooo long.

This was Q's first Christmas and he got completely spoiled. He wasn't very interested in unwrapping his presents but he did seem to love all of them! Everyone in the family was spoiled and we all got some great gifts. I can't wait to put mine to use! There was so much going on Christmas morning that I completely forgot about my DSLR (it was sitting on the counter, I just forgot to actually use it) so I only have iPhone photos from the whole day. Whooops!

I made mimosas and we drank those while we opened presents and then my Dad made his Annual Christmas Brunch. After brunch my parents still had to open up their presents, I think it was around 1:30 when we were finally done with all the presents. The rest of the day seemed to fly by. My SIL had made some dips and I had a ton leftover from Christmas Eve supper so we brought those out and snacked on them throughout the afternoon and then before we knew it it was time for Turkey and all the fixings - my favourite! My Mama always outdoes herself every year and we were all in food comas after supper. We kept up with our tradition of playing the Home Alone Drinking Game and then we tried out a new game my parents had given me - Hearing Things. It was lots of fun and there were lots of laughs. It is so hard to concentrate on what you're supposed to be doing in the game when you have the headphones on with the background noise! 
I was sad to see another Christmas go by so fast but I'm still in full on Christmas mode - watching Christmas movies, listening to Christmas music, and eating all the Christmas goodies. The countdown to Christmas 2018 is officially on!

Links + Love (December 2017)...

This peppermint scrub is everything. I received it as a Christmas gift from one of my work families last Christmas and finally found the link to the same one so I can make myself some more!

I finally got my hands on a couple jars of this at the end of November and I wish I could put it on everything. Now I just need to get some of this in my life. 

I received these Canada Olympic mitts as a Christmas gift from one of my work families and I LOVE them. I can finally put my 2010 Vancouver mitts into retirement. 

I've been living in this vest (in black) since October. I ordered this one at the end of November and it's perfect for the -40 weather we've had in SE SK for almost a week straight. Brrrr!

This game is so much fun to play! My entire family played it on Christmas night - from my parents to my nieces so it really is fun for the whole family. There were even tears during the game because it is SO funny to hear everyone trying to guess what their partner is saying.

I had included this bag on my Christmas Wish List and was lucky to be gifted in from MN. I am obsessed with it y'all. It is the perfect size for toting everything back and forth to work and would work great for throwing everything in for a day trip. Love it!

For some reason I usually only make this during the Christmas season (I should change that...) but I haven't had a chance to make it yet this year. I'm sure I'll enjoy it at some point in January though. I've even packaged it up before and given as gifts. So yummy!

Happy Friday!

December 20, 2017

What's Up Wednesday (December 2017)...

Happy humpday y'all!  Only 5 days until Christmas - what?! Every year in January I feel a little melancholy and I usually chalk it up to Christmas being over for another year and having to wait so long for it to come back again but considering I swear yesterday was New Year's Eve I really can't say it took that long for another Christmas to get here!

I'm about 90% ready for Christmas, which to me is huge. There's just a few little things to finish up and then Christmas will be here. I.can't.wait. Something I am a little behind on though is my goal to publish 12 blog posts in December. It's still feasible but the days just got away from me earlier in the month and I had planned on having a few more up the first couple of weeks. Nothing I can do about it now though! But for today I'm linking up for the last What's Up Wednesday of 2017. 

What I'm Eating This Week...
All the leftovers to clear out the fridge before Christmas. I did a lot of cooking last week because MN was here - we had chicken alfredo one night, creamy chicken noodle soup the next night because there were still leftovers from the rotisserie chicken I had bought, and then on Friday night my brother and SIL came over and we had homemade burrito bowls before we went curling. I can never just cook small amounts so all the food could have fed about 10 people for each meal so there was LOTS of leftovers. I've also been eating a lot of Christmas goodies that I've baked. Eeek. At least the holidays are the perfect excuse to indulge!

What I'm Reminiscing About...
Past Christmases. The different presents that I got, the different ways my Mama has decorated the tree over the years, the loud, crazy family suppers on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, etc.  I've also been thinking back on the trip to Mexico that I took 5 years ago for my friends wedding (I actually can't believe it's been 5 years already, it doesn't seem like it's been 5 years since I've been on a beach!). While I was doing up some of my Christmas baking a couple days ago I realized that I only have a few tablespoons left of the vanilla that I brought back from Mexico so I definitely need to get back there. Nothings beats vanilla straight from Mexico. My grandparents used to bring it back to us in huge bottles when they would go down to Mexico while visiting my aunt and uncle in Texas so I've been a vanilla snob even since I was little. 

What I'm Loving...
The Christmas season. I love the lights, the trees, the decorations, the food, the time with friends and family - the whole atmosphere of Christmas. I just love it so much! 

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What I've Been Up To...
Trying to get everything done for Christmas before Christmas Eve. The last couple of years I was working two jobs and there just wasn't enough time for everything so with 'extra' time this year I wanted to try and get everything done before Christmas so I would have time to just enjoy the Christmas season. This will be the first time in years that I won't be wrapping presents on Christmas Eve/Christmas morning. Hallelujah! Almost all of my Christmas baking is complete, I just have a few more things to make on Friday night/Saturday morning that don't freeze well and then I'm done. 

What I'm Working On...
Lists upon lists upon lists. My to do list for this weekend and my 2018 Goals are my current priorities. 

What I'm Excited About...
Christmas, obviously. I'm really excited to see my nephew's reaction to everything because it's his first Christmas. He just turned 10 months old so I can't wait to see if he's interested in opening gifts and playing with what he got. I went a little overboard in buying for him... whoops. My nieces were both born in September so they were too young to really be interested in Christmas for their first Christmases. 

What I'm Watching...
All the Christmas movies. All of them. I watch at least one every night before bed and I have SOOO many PVR'd that I need to find time to watch. I've also been watching a lot of Vlogmas YouTube videos while getting ready in the mornings. 

What I'm Reading...
I haven't picked up a book in a couple weeks because all things Christmas have been consuming my life but the book currently on my nightstand is Sharp Objects. I'm hoping to finish reading it on Boxing Day because work is closed this year so it'll just be a day of downtime. 

What I'm Listening To...
Christmas music. And only Christmas music. Check out my Christmas Favourites Playlist here (it was supposed to publish yesterday but didn't so today is a two post kind of day. Oh well!)

What I'm Wearing...
Lululemon yoga pants and a cozy sweatshirt. But most days when I'm at home with no plans to go anywhere I wear Christmas pajamas. Friday is Christmas Pajama Day at work and I can't wait to wear one of my new pairs of Christmas jammies - I just can't decide which ones to go with because I love them all!

What I'm Doing This Weekend...
Relaxing and enjoying the last couple of days before Christmas. Almost all of my presents are wrapped (I'm going to finish up the few that aren't tonight) so for once I won't have that to worry about on Christmas Eve. Some friends might get together on Saturday night for girls night (or 'Friendsmas') - it just depends how prepared everyone else is for Christmas. I plan on staying in Christmas pj's most of the weekend while watching Christmas movies and drinking hot chocolate or coffee out of a festive mug. Sounds perfect to me! This will be the third year of appetizers for supper on Christmas Eve so I just need to figure out what else we're going to have. So far I plan on making bruschetta flatbread, greek dip, dry garlic ribs, mozza sticks, and taco dip but I'm sure I'll find something else on Pinterest to add to it to! 

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month...
A fresh start. I know, I know you don't have to start over with things in January but I like a clean slate so that's just what I'm going with.  I really need to get back into some better habits - exercising regularly, following a skincare routine, getting to bed by a certain time each night, etc. etc. so as soon as the ball drops on NYE then it is ON. I did really well the first half of 2017 with my goals for 2017 and then things just kind of fell apart from there...

What Else is New...
MN was here last week to visit me and my family before Christmas. We went curling on Friday night with my brother and SIL and it was MN's first time ever. We had a lot of fun and it really made me wish I could do it more often (I even had a dream about it last night haha). On Saturday night we played Pub Trivia, one of the new games I got MN for Christmas, and Scattergories. I forgot how much I love Scattergories! Pub Trivia was also really fun, I think I need to get another one to keep in the GWN so we always have one to play. MN and I exchanged gifts while he was here - he got me the Lululemon bag that I had posted about (I LOVE it) as well as the original Beauty and the Beast on Blu Ray/DVD + a gift card to Patina, a store in St.Paul that I am obsessed with. I can't wait to go shopping! 
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Christmas Favourites Playlist...

I'm that person that starts listening to Christmas music on November 1st, as soon as Halloween is officially over. To be honest, I might even randomly listen to Christmas music in March, May, or July if I feel like it. It's all I have listened to all day long at work (I'm at my computer probably 6-7 hours of my day most days) since November 1st. I may not decorate until after Remembrance Day but the music starts on the first of the month and probably always will. I am such a happy camper on the day that Prime Country on XM becomes the Christmas channel. I'm a geek, I know.

There are soooo many recordings of popular Christmas songs from different artists but there are some versions that I LOVE and others that I can't stand, even though they're the same song. So I thought I'd share a peek into some of my favourites that play on repeat all day long for me. There are currently 102 different songs on my Spotify playlist but these are my favourites out of all of them. 
  1. Silent Night - Emily Ann Roberts
  2. Christmas Must Be Something More - Taylor Swift 
  3. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) - Martina McBride
  4. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
  5. Carol of the Bells - Home Alone Soundtrack 
  6. My Grown Up Christmas List - Kelly Clarkson
  7. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Little Big Town 
  8. Little Drummer Boy - Faith Hill 
  9. Mary, Did You Know - Pentatonix 
  10. Do You Hear What I Hear - Carrie Underwood 
  11. White Christmas - Holiday Rockers
  12. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
  13. My Only Wish (This Year) - Britney Spears 
  14. Ribbons and Bows - Kacey Musgraves
  15. Can You See - Fifth Harmony
  16. Christmas Time- Christina Aguilera 
  17. Christmas Comin' Round Again - Scotty McCreery 
  18. Run Run Rudolph - Luke Bryan 
  19. Where Are You Christmas - Faith Hill
  20. Home for Christmas (Holiday Version) - Danity Kane
  21. I'll Be Home For Christmas - Aly & AJ
  22. Oh Holy Night - Kelly Clarkson
  23. Do You Hear What I Hear? - Destiny's Child Feat. Kelly Rowland
  24. Away In A Manger - Martina McBride
  25. Once Upon A December - Deana Carter
  26. Last Christmas - Hilary Duff
  27. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - Celine Dion 
  28. The Christmas Song (Holiday Remix) - Christina Aguilera 
  29. Love Me Like You (Christmas Remix) - Little Mix 
  30. Deck the Halls - George Strait 
These are not ranked in order, just as they played on Spotify while I made the list. I also have a CD in my car that I burnt many, many moons ago that only has Christmas music on it. I'd say it's at least 10 years old? I can't believe it even still plays considering how beat up it is and how often it gets played throughout November/December. Just call me Christmas obsessed!


What's Your Favourite Christmas Song?

December 15, 2017

Holiday Bucket List 2017...

Are y'all having a hard time believing the fact that there are only two weekends left before Christmas? Because I sure am! And I don't really count next weekend as a full weekend because Christmas Eve is on Sunday. So that really only leaves three days of weekend time to get everything done before Christmas. Yikes!

I'm finally getting around to posting my 2017 Holiday Bucket List. A little late, I know. I have already crossed some of the items off but wanted to have a clean copy posted first. (Also, please ignore my terrible drawing 'skills' haha). 

 MN got to the GWN on Wednesday afternoon so things have been super busy around here. This morning we have to run into 'the city' super quick to grab a few things and then we are spending the day with my brother and sister in law (and nephew) playing games and having 'Mexican and Margaritas' night for supper (an old Christmas tradition that is being brought back this year). Then after supper we are going curling -  I can't wait! MN has never been before so I'm super excited for him to curl for the first time. He enjoys watching it on tv so I hope he likes it! It worked out so perfect that the local curling club is holding an open curling night tonight. 

MN has to head back to St.Paul on Sunday morning so we still have a couple of days to work on crossing some things off my list in between all of our other plans. Fingers crossed I make a good dent in it!
What's on your Holiday Bucket List?

December 13, 2017

Currently (December 2017)...

Happy Humpday y'all! Life has just been a whirlwind of all.the.Christmas things lately. Between decorating at home and at work, doing a lot of my Christmas baking, Cookie Swap, wrapping gifts, crafting, watching all.the.Christmas movies, etc., etc. the days have just flown by and I cannot believe there's less than two weeks until Christmas - eeek! I still have plans for lots of posts before Christmas, I've just been finishing them up, and first up is my Currently post for December.

Currently...

Reading Sharp Objects. I finally finished The Identicals while on the train a couple of weeks ago and I can't believe how long it took me to get into it and finish it because I actually really enjoyed it. 

Listening to a Hallmark Christmas Movie playing in the background while I write this (Naughty or Nice). And I've still just been listening to my Christmas playlist on Spotify all.day.long while at work.  

Celebrating the Christmas season. I love this time of year so much and I just want to fit a ton of things in before it's all over. 

Watching all the Christmas movies. I signed up for Amazon Prime through Amazon.com (I usually only use Amazon.ca and Prime through it is useless to me because they can't guarantee 2 day shipment to my rural area) right before I left for MN a couple weeks ago just so that I could order Hallmark Christmas movies (I can't get them in Canada and don't have the Hallmark channel) and have them delivered to MN's place. I haven't watched all the classics yet (Home Alone, The Santa Clause, Elf, Christmas Vacation, etc.) because I want to save them for closer to Christmas so all the cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies have been on rotation. 

Working on some Christmas craft projects. Hopefully I'll get them done before Christmas!

Drinking a Creme Brulee Latte from McDonalds. I had to run into 'the city' this morning to get a Pap test (sorry, TMI) so I rewarded myself with the latte but didn't get a chance to drink it all before I had to go to work in the afternoon. I am obsessed with them, I wish I spent more time in 'the city' - they're a total dupe for Starbucks' Caramel Brulee Latte but waaay cheaper so I defintely love that part!

Waiting for a couple more packages to arrive in the mail. I love the convenience of online shopping because croweded stores around this time of year make me super stabby but I hate having to wait for my packages to arrive. Two of them have already gotten lost and had to be replaced. So annoying!

Wearing new Christmas jammies that I picked up in Target. I love them so much! 

Anticipating MN getting here. In the year and half that we've been dating we've never driven to see each other, we always take the train (aside from when I drove with my brother, SIL, and nephew in September for the Jays games) but he decided that he was going to drive this time so I'm super anxious about him being on the roads in the Winter. I've mentioned driving down there in the Summer and both him and my parents objected to it but he decides to do it in the Winter - it makes no sense!

Loving that I only have 2 more small presents to buy and then I am completely done! My Mama is heading to Minot tonight with my cousin to do some shopping so she is going to look for one of them for me and the other one I might have to order online and give after Christmas (I doubt it would arrive in time) because I can't find it in stores anywhere. I have a few more gifts to wrap, hoping to get that done tonight, so I'm way ahead of the game this year compared to normal. 

Making a list checking it twice of what I need to complete for my Christmas baking. I want to send trays back home with MN for his family and for himself and I'm off work Thursday and Friday while MN is here so I'm hoping to get a lot of them finished so I can send a variety of items and then it will just be the ones that need to be fresh that I will do on the 22nd/23rd. 

What's your favourite homemade Christmas treat?

December 6, 2017

December Goals (2017)...

Happy December y'all! I was away for most of last week and am just finally getting back into a routine from being gone so I'm just now getting a chance to sit down and write out my goals for December (still can't believe this year is almost over...). But first, my November goals progress. 

In November I Wanted To...
Learn how to dutch braid 
I've practiced a few times but I'm still not confident enough in my skills to actually leave the house with them in. And y'all - it hurts to hold my arms up for that long while I braid! 

Order 2017 photos 
Once again, no. At this rate it will be 2020 before I get them ordered...

Get back into a fitness routine
Not exactly... I did do yoga a couple of times during the month so at least there's that but I definitely didn't get to where I wanted to. 

Sew something 
MN bought Krickit some bandanas at the State Fair in August but they were too big and she kept getting her leg caught so I sewed one of them so that her collar can go through it so that won't happen anymore. I also mended a pair of leggings that had a hole in the thigh. I did have to get my SIL to help me thread my sewing machine, it had been that long since I had touched it. Yikes

Start my Christmas baking
I barely made a dent in it but I did start so I can still cross it off. This weekend is my big baking weekend to get everything ready for Cookie Swap and then the following weekend I'll probably make a few more things before finishing up with cinnamon rolls the weekend before Christmas. I love baking during the Christmas season!

Decorate for Christmas 
I make sure to wait until after Remembrance Day to start decorating and because I was in Yorkton overnight on the 11th and didn't get home until late the night of the 12th I put all my decorations out and got my tree up on the 13th of November. I've been loving snuggling up under my Christmas flannel sheets at night while watching a Christmas movie with all my lights on.

Wrap gifts and complete at least 50% of my shopping
This is the first year in a loooong time that I've been this ahead of the game. I have about 1/4 of my presents wrapped (and will be finishing what I can tonight) and only have a few presents to buy for my parents and I am DONE. It feels soooo good to not have to worry about all of that and can instead focus on enjoying the Christmas season 

Read a book 
I read two books in November, which for me isn't that many but considering I didn't read a single one in October it's still better than that. I finally finished The Identicals and also read Kiss Mommy Goodbye . I can't believe it took me this long to finish The Identicals - it did start off a little slow but once I got into it I breezed through it and finished it within an hour and a half of being on the train last Tuesday night. 

Order Christmas cards 
I ordered cards through Shutterfly during the Black Friday sale and can't wait until they get here! 

Try a new restaurant 
MN and I went to 7th Street Social in St.Paul last Thursday night. MN has been before but this was my first time. He always gets the fish and chips because he says the fish is really good (I don't eat anything that swims so I'll take his word for it) and I had the Chicken Parm Pasta. It was delish and I'd definitely go back and probably order the same thing because of how good it was. I'm a creature of habit, what can I say

7 out of 10 completed, that's not so bad! Now onto my December goals.


In December I Want To...

Publish at least 12 blog posts
Considering I only published 6 in November and it's already the 6th of the month and this is my first post this is a pretty lofty goal for me but I do have lots of fun ideas for posts this month so I'm going to attempt it at least 

Complete everything from my Fall Bucket List 
I technically have until the 20th to complete everything before Winter officially starts but since I've been in full on Christmas mode for weeks already I'd like to get this completed asap

Send out Christmas cards
They should arrive before next Wednesday and then I can get them in the mail/deliver to local friends/family. Hopefully they actually arrive when they are supposed to. Let's not talk about the year that they were supposed to arrive before Christmas and I got them at the end of January...

Workout at least 10 times 
I'm sick of feeling like crap and hiding behind baggy sweaters. 10 times doesn't seem like that many  but since I've been saying I'm going to get back into a fitness routine since I fell out of one (probably in July?) and haven't I'm going to ease myself into it. And if I over accomplish this goal then great! 

Craft something 
I have lots of ideas and hopefully will get more than one done but just so I don't stress myself out I'll stick with one for the sake of my goals

Watch a Christmas movie every night before bed 
I'll probably still be doing this well into January...

Try two new recipes from my Mmm Mmm Good board 
I finally got my hands on some Rice a Roni Long Grain and Wild Rice (it's not sold in Canada) so I'm definitely going to finally try this recipe 

Cross everything off of my Holiday Bucket List (coming later this week)
I am so excited for this. I love lists and I love the holiday season so put the two things together and I'm a happy camper

Since I'll also be crossing things off of my Holiday Bucket List I'm going to leave it at 8 goals for the month just so I don't overwhelm myself. 

What are your goals for December?