Friday, November 30, 2012

Dear Friday

Dear Friday,

I'm so happy you are here!

I'm really looking forward to the Denton Holiday Lights Festival tonight!

Dear Scale,

The numbers are dropping again! :) But, I'm pretty certain that we need new batteries for you. As much as I would love it, I seriously doubt I dropped 5 lbs overnight!

Dear House,

You have seriously got to get clean! I am going to loose it if I have to step over one more thing!
Yes, I know there isn't room for all the stuff we own. 5 months until we move - I'm starting to pack now!

Dear Hannukah,

Its the first year we're planning to celebrate you and I haven't even bought a Menorah... I'm excited about this new tradition, but it's going to take some getting used to! 

(But check out this really cute DIY Menorah!)
DIY menorah.

Dear Work,

The Christmas party is officially booked and I wash my hands of it! I can't wait until next year when I can make my replacement plan the Christmas party and save myself this headache!

Dear Husband,

Thank you for being so understanding and patient with me. I know I can be a pain in the toosh! I appreciate you being a good sport!

Dear A & P,

I'm so excited about seeing you guys for dinner tomorrow night!! You've been in Lewisville (aka 30 minutes from me!!) for a few months and this is only our 3rd time to see each other.  Tomorrow night will be a great start to making a better effort!

Happy Friday!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Be Part Of The Stable Few

AFA's Naughty or Nice list

Bloggers for Christmas

I'm just curious how many of you will shop at one store over another based on their stance on Christmas?

As we were driving to see family over Thanksgiving, I stumbled upon American Family Radio.
I don't know if I've just always missed out on their station in our area, or maybe it just isn't broadcast here (doubtful considering we're a huge area!).

Anywho - they were talking about their naughty or nice list - categorizing retailers by their stance on Christmas.

I personally, won't boycott a company for not saying "Christmas", but you can bet your bottom dollar that I will go out of my way to support those who do. Which normally means that all my shopping is completed in Christmas supported stores and I never make it to the others.

Color Code: 
BLUE: An AFA "5-Star" rated company that promotes and celebrates Christmas on an exceptional basis.
GREEN: Company uses the term "Christmas" on a regular basis, we consider that company Christmas-friendly.
YELLOW: Company refers to Christmas infrequently, or in a single advertising medium, but not in others.
RED: Company may use "Christmas" sparingly in a single or unique product description, but as a company, does not recognize it.

Companies For "Christmas"
AFA Online Store
ACE Hardware
Bass Pro Shops
Bed Bath & Beyond
Best Buy
Big Lots
Collective Brands
CVS Pharmacy
Dick's Sporting Goods
Dollar General
Dollar Tree
H.E.B. Stores
Hancock Fabrics
Harris Teeter Stores
Hobby Lobby
Home Shopping Network
JC Penney
JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts Stores
L.L. Bean
Michael's Stores
Neiman Marcus
Office Max
Pier One Imports
Rite Aid
Sam's Club
Scheels Sporting Goods
Super D Drug Stores
TJ Maxx
Toys R Us
True Value
Companies marginal on "Christmas"
Bath & Body Works
Hy-Vee Stores
Whole Foods
Companies AGAINST "Christmas"
Banana Republic
Barnes & Noble
Family Dollar
Foot Locker
Gap Stores BOYCOTT!
Limited Brands
Office Depot
Radio Shack
Victoria's Secret


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A plea for my Sanity

I am so frustrated!!

I cannot for the life of me figure out how to post buttons on my side bar.

I know it's supposed to be easy - I'm not great with computers, but I have to be missing something somewhere!

I've read article after article detailing how to do this and I. Just. Can't. Figure. It. Out.

{can you tell I'm about ready to scream??}

I am 90% positive that my problem lies in the fact that every  tutorial I have read says that my interface/dashboard WHATEVER should look like this...

But it doesn't. Mine looks like this:

I've tried reverting back to a classic design; copying & pasting my html codes for the blog design into that template designer... and all that got me was a blog looking like a list of html codes. :(

I've tried finding where in the html code these buttons should go and pasting the html code in but no such luck.

Suggestions?? Do you know of some amazing Tutorial I just haven't found? Am I just really missing something major?

Any help is appreciated because I seriously screamed at the computer this afternoon. Mind you, this is the fourth wasted afternoon I've spent fooling around with this crap.

Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday!

{My Christmas Drool List}
How cute are these "stocking" pillows?!?

there are some cute dollar store stockings out there... just fill them with cotton batting, sew the tops.. instant holiday throw pillows!

As cards come in, punch a corner on each one and added it to a metal ring with some decorative ribbon. Coffee table ready. Love, love this....

I've always wanted to have a holiday open house and invite people to drop in when they have time.
We really want to have an open house next year!
Pinner says: "Cinnamon ornaments-- we have these ornaments on our tree from about 20 years ago and they STILL smell amazing! I'm glad to now know how to make them."
Making Cinnamon Ornaments!

for our future kiddos

I've made blankets this way but I never thought to stuff them and make a dog bed! Would work as a floor pillow for kids' reading nook in the playroom.

Christmas gifts for all.

Follow me on Pinterest!
Leave your link in my comments & I'll follow you too!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My DIY Christmas Gift Guide

{Lauren... yes you Lauren - do NOT read this!

Decorations, to fill in some of the gaps on our tree (we try to only buy a few ornaments a year, they add up quickly!)

I'm thinking about combining two recipes to make them smell good!

Pinner says: "Cinnamon ornaments-- we have these ornaments on our tree from about 20 years ago and they STILL smell amazing! I'm glad to now know how to make them."

 In our Office we all exchange gifts, and we also do a stocking stuffing thing where everyone has a huge stocking that we stuff with little items ($5 or less per person) and everyone gets the same thing.

I haven't decided on the stocking stuffers, but I wanted to make something for everyone for individual gifts. What is better than food??

My mom used to make this for us, but I couldn't find her recipe anywhere - so where did I turn?
Pinterest of course!

popcorn cake - I've actually made this before LOVE it!! : )

My thoughts are, it's something the entire family can enjoy (we exchange these gifts as we bolt out the door before Christmas), and will travel well for those headed off on long road trips!

John wants to take something to his office as well, so I will be making popcorn cake balls for him to take {I'm thinking baseball size} and maybe some chocolate bark or chocolate covered pretzles.

For my Aunt I am wanting to make an Advent Calendar.
I'm not 100% sure I have time for this, but I am going to try awfully hard!

50 Cool DIY Advent Calendars

I thought it would be a nice activity for her and the kiddos. They work really hard to keep the focus of the holiday on Jesus, rather than Santa and trees. So I'm thinking that something neutral like this would work well!

For our Fur Babies we always like to get them a little something.
It's usually just a bone or new chew toy.
A couple of years ago we got them nice, big beds.
Well, it's time to replace those beds, but I'm not interested in spending that kind of money again.

I've made blankets this way but I never thought to stuff them and make a dog bed! Would work as a floor pillow for kids' reading nook in the playroom.

For my friends {including Lauren - disclaimer at top}, Infinity Scarfs!

5 Minute Infinity Scarf- 1 yard of fabric and 5 minutes and you have an awesome scarf!

Do you make DIY Christmas gifts?
What is on  your DIY list this year?

Monday, November 26, 2012

"You've got to be kidding me..."

...those were my words when I walked into the kitchen last night after dinner.

John and I had just had a discussion about chores around the house.
I take full responsibility, in October with a crazy tax deadline I didn't have as much time for chores and around the house work - so my sweet, wonderful husband picked up the slack.

Only problem was, I never really took back my part of the chores.
SO, I agreed (rightfully so) to start carrying my weight again.

Then I walk into the kitchen and notice soap oozing out of the sides of the dishwasher.
Suds were everwhere!!
"Ummm... John???"

I open the dishwasher, to find the source and what do I see?

Photo taken after suds had decreased greatly...

His response?
"Oh yeah, we ran out of dishwasher gel"
So he used Dish soap!

Copious amounts of Dish Soap!!

... cue comment about kidding me...

Thanksgiving Chaos!

Angry birds is all the rage!
Thursday morning we loaded up and went to Georgetown to spend Thanksgiving day with John's family.
It was great to see his Grandparents!
I love them, they're great! I really wish we could see them more often!
John's Mother and Step-father came a little after us on Thursday too.
It was really nice seeing them.
Watching John's Mom with her Dad is great!
I really like seeing the family dynamic there.

The kids Loved decorating their Tree!
Friday afternoon we drove from Georgetown to Whitewright to see my family.
We haven't gotten to see them since the spring so it was great to spend time with everyone, especially the kiddos! Even better, my Uncle was in from Phoenix so seeing him was an added bonus!
We stayed there through Saturday afternoon.

Our Thanksgiving was busy and there was {a lot} of driving and delicious food!
I hope that you and your family had a blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Troubling Times

When I was in High School, I was with my Aunt & Uncle when they received word that friends of theirs would be getting a divorce.  For the Aunt & Uncle it was troubling and upsetting news.

A marriage had failed.
I didn't understand why this was upsetting to them.
After all, it wasn't their marriage.

In such a season of Joy and Thankfulness, John and I received some bad news.

Dear friends of ours will be ending their marriage after several years and a beautiful baby.
This will be the first set of friends we have getting a divorce.

The reason of their impending divorce aren't relevant to this post, or my place to discuss.
John and I both found it so disconcerting, upsetting.
I still don't really know what to say about it. Or how to understand and process it.
It's a very consuming thought for us at this time.

Though there will be much more lamenting their situation; I am reminded:
Do not judge a book by its cover. We would have never guessed that there were problems in their marriage.
We looked up to them & their marriage so much.

In this time of year, remember all the things we have to be grateful for and pray for those who are experiencing troubling times.

If you would please send up a little prayer for our friends.
And, if you would, say a prayer for your marriage and your married friends.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Girl Meets World?!?!

{Please excuse my Highly sketchy news source}

Snakkle snagged exclusive video from Worst Audition Ever featuring '90s sitcom darling Danielle Fishel--aka "Topanga" from Boy Meets World--telling about her horror movie audition nightmare. It's a scream! (Includes some profanity.)

According to Examiner, Boy Meets World is returning as a spin off!!

Cory & Topenga will return as parents of a middle school daughter!

Can I just tell you how excited I would be for this show??

You know what would be an amazing thing to have?? All the seasons of Boy Meets World on DVD!
*Hint, hint, Christmas hint!*

What do you think? Would it be great? or Should it have been left alone?

(I'm just saying, even if it's awful, I'd still probably watch it!)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I am Thankful.

{I'm sure you're all sick of the obligatory Thankful posts,
but here is mine to add to the mix.}

 Keep calm and give thanks

I am thankful for...

... a husband who loves me unconditionally; who loves ME for who I am {quirks and all!}

... a family who is constantly supportive and loving.

...a job, when so many are going without, my job pays me well, provides a support system, cares about me as a person - not just a cog in a wheel.

... a Father who sent his SON, providing me Salvation.

...a father who generously gave John and I a roof over our heads.

...brothers who have grown into wonderful men and the best of friends.

... becoming a part of the Thirty-One family! I have formed friendships with people near & far! I work with (not for!) an amazing company and am able to additionally contribute to my family's' financial freedom!

... Friends who are an extra family! Such a blessing! extended family, that though there may be distance is still very close to my heart.

... a Nation that provides me the freedom to express my beliefs and opinions.

I hope that you and your family have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Splitting the Holidays

I'm having some serious trouble splitting the holidays!

Growing up, Grandma (mom's mom) was widowed and Mom was an only child, so from the time I was about 8 on, Grandma just joined in on the Pierce family holidays. We never really split them.

That won't really work for John and I.

John's Grandfather recommended splitting every other year, which is what we do as of now.
So Thanksgiving this year is with his family, so Christmas is with mine.
Next year it will be flipped.

As my mothers illness developed and she started imparting wisdom that she knew she wouldn't be around years later to pass along one of her recomendations to me was that as an immediate family, John and I make our own holiday traditions. Particularly Christmas Eve

I couldn't agree more. We always went to my grandparents house for Christmas Eve, so when they passed away - the holiday didn't feel like a holiday anymore. Our traditions were basically gone with them.  Starting the first Christmas after we have little ones, I will insist that Christmas Eve is spent in our house with them going to bed in their own beds that night.

That will totally mess up our system of every other.
And how can you even create traditions when you are constantly flip flopping where you are? 

 How do all of you seasoned married ladies do it?

my take on Black Friday

Every year there is a lot of talk about Black Friday leading up to the largest shopping day of the year.

I think Black Friday is great - there are a lot of people out there who love it and it is a great boost for our economy!

What I don't love, is the opening of stores on Thanksgiving Day.

I was watching The View on Monday, all the employee strikes and petitions against working Thanksgiving day were the topic of choice. 

The justification that so many use for it being "okay" for stores to be open on Thanksgiving Day is that employees are well compensated for their time spent away from their families. 

If you haven't worked retail, particularly "Big Box" retail, let me tell you how it works.
YOU are selected to work, if you are the "new kid". Not because you're new, but because they don't pay you Holiday pay yet!  Of course Corporate tells America, "but they're compensated" or "we asked for volunteers". And yes, if you walk into your neighborhood Walmart, there will be some employees working receiving Holiday pay. The majority however, will be separated from their families running a register at their normal hourly wage, and chances are they didn't get a say in it.

How do I know? The first Thanksgiving without my Mom, the same year that I graduated college and couldn't find work; I worked at Walmart in the photo department. 

Thanksgiving Day I worked a full 8 hour shift.
I tried to explain that I wanted to be with my family... but I was the new kid.
Everyone else in my department would have gotten Holiday pay to work.

I went home, ate a quick "thanksgiving" meal with John (my then-fiance who was also working at a different Walmart and having to work Thanksgiving), slept for a couple of hours and went back to work. From Thanksgiving Day into Black Friday, I worked 20 out of a 24 hour period. No holiday pay, no overtime pay. Squat {except of course the barely above minimum wage I was earning}.

I had then crossed over into a new pay period, so later that week I showed up to my scheduled shift and was sent home because I was going to get over time - oh no!


I get it, America is all about convenience, so there's no way that stores are going to all shut down on Thanksgiving. I don't see why we can't go back to the days of my childhood though, your local grocery store opened for a few hours in the morning to assist those (like me) who would forget an essential ingredient in the days festivities. Then about noon, close their doors so that their employees can spend time with their families before having to be back at the crack of dawn the next day to assist the crazy crowds of Holiday Shoppers.

So... Shopping/ working on black Friday at 3am or midnight is "good .. But shopping/ working at 9pm on thanksgiving is "bad". #hmm

The issue isn't the 9:00 pm store openings... it's the fact they were open all day!
{and by the way, it makes it nearly impossible for thousands to travel on Thanksgiving}

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Literary Junkies Book Club {1}

 I am so excited to be a part of this Link-Up!
It is being hosted by Taylor {at Goings on in Texas} and Lesley {at by the Porchlight}
This is our first link party & is a part of our new Literary Junkies book club!

By the Porchlight
{my goal for this week is to figure out how the heck to put this button on my sidebar... I'm blogger challenged}
1) What book are you currently reading? Give us a little synopsis and your review.
I'm currently reading Skipping Christmas by John Grisham.
The husband is a huge Grisham fan and loved this book, I love the movie so we decided I'll read it and we'll watch the movie together this weekend!
I love the book so far! It's funny, a light read and so accurate about the funny consumerism that Christmas has become. 

2) What are your 3 favorite books of all time?
I'm not good at picking individual books... I like authors and genres; but if I had to pick, I'd say:
1. The Great Gatsby 
2. Harry Potter {I know it's 7 books, but I love the series!!}
3. Okay, I can't decide for #3. But I love everything by Jennifer Weiner

3) What is your "approach" upon entering a bookstore? Where do you immediately head after entering through the front door?
There are two book stores I usually go to. The first being Denton's very own Recycled Books & Movies. If you're a Dentonite - we call it "The Purple Opera House on the Square".
I love walking into this book store and smelling the aroma of all the old books!

My first stop is always the sales racks outside! I can't tell you how many times I've picked up great, popular reads for $1 or $2!!

I occasionally go to Barnes & Nobles.
I honestly don't like paying their prices (I'm cheap, I know) but I love the environment!
Nothing is better than going there, parking my hiney in a chair with a cup of coffee and a great book!

My next book to read will be Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern!
I can't wait to link up & join in on the twitter party to discuss the book!

A Christmas Quest!

I'm being cheap... or as I now like to say it, I'm sticking to my budget!

I didn't budget for many holiday decorations in November, and I'd prefer to not spend a fortune on items in December, since of course that is when most of our gift shopping will take place.

We ran to Target the other night for lights for Johns desk and for clear ornaments for me to make our wedding invitation ornament.

I came across this awesome tinsel tree! I love it!
It collapses down onto itself so it can easily be stored in a box, it comes with a stand and is basically fluffy tinsel on a wire in the shape of a tree.

It's not at all a traditional decoration... and John actually likes it!!
{the man who believes it aught to be sacrilegious to have any Christmas ornaments in colors other than red and green...}

I want one!! {or three}
They're already sold out online (as you can see...), so I doubt they'll last long in the stores.

Have you seen a DIY for this type of tree?
Collapsible is key.

What do you think? Is it worth making them, or should I just go shell out $20 a pop?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Projects

I'm feeling adventurous... we'll see how many of these projects actually get finished in time for Christmas.

Aim for the stars, right?

To start the project off right - I actually made a couple of the ornaments I've been meaning to do for a year!!

Our wedding invitation cut into strips, curled and placed in a clear bauble!
{excuse the lack of pretty Christmas lights, we decided against lighting our tree this year}

Save the wedding invitation of friends (or yours) and cut it up into strips for them to use at Christmas. : )

Idea List:
ornament made with key from you & hubby's first house or house you grew up in! adorable!

*l could do this to our cheap gold and red baubls to make them unique and pretty for next to nothing

Ruffled Christmas tree - pretty

Activities include: Make hot chocolate and stir with candy canes 
Make a treat and take it to a friend 
Watch a christmas movie and eat popcorn 
Go out for a Christmas treat 
Do something nice for someone 
Drive around and look for Christmas lights

Do you have any MUST do DIY projects for the Christmas Season?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christmas Cards

Today is the beginning of our Christmas quest.
If we're going to send out Christmas cards this year, I've got to get them ordered asap.

Are Christmas Cards, or letters a tradition for your family?
Did you carry it over into your own household?

When my brothers and I were young I know my mother always wrote Christmas letters – then life got busy (we became less cute) and the letters turned into generic cards. 

Then even the generic manger scenes stopped with time and ever increasing busy lives. 

All that being said, I think it is a great tradition!

When John and I were dating and things were getting serious, I was so excited for us to send Christmas cards together!  It was an interesting dynamic for us; For John, Christmas cards were a nice gesture and you picked the cutest ones there. For me, Christmas cards are a way of connecting with family you don't see often and an opportunity to demonstrate that I believe in keeping Christ in CHRISTmas.

He wanted cuddly puppies, I wanted a Biblically accurate manger scene.
Over time we have compromised to a photo card, including pictures of our very own cuddly doggies, a holiday greeting and a select verse.

As with any other holiday tradition, I think it is all about what matters to you, the sender.

During the holiday season when I have friends and family around I wish them a Merry Christmas, our holiday correspondences are always Christmas cards with a Biblical message somewhere in it because that is what is important to us!

When I visit friends during Hanukkah, I am happy to receive the greeting “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Holidays” and I return the selected greeting. They probably got my Christmas card too, and I likely received their Holiday photo.

I’m not sure how we have gotten to the place we are at where saying “Happy Holidays” has become offensive to those celebrating a select holiday, and a specific greeting is an assault to someone celebrating a different holiday.

I bid to you, a Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Friday & Random thoughts from the week...

~ ~Jacob is home from college!! He kick started his Thanksgiving break by scheduling ETBU's jazz band at Sanger High School for a concert concluding their tour.

~ ~I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week, I haven't given one thought to what I'm cooking, but the great part of the holidays with John's family is it gives me a break from cooking because his Grandmother loves handling all of it!

~ ~It's just going to have to be okay that our Christmas tree is up before Thanksgiving. We aren't going to be home for Turkey Day, or all that weekend. Then we are busy all December long, if it doesn't go up now - I don't know when it will.

~ ~I am not the person who needs to be making exceptions to the firewall. I can't even figure out how to put a button on my sidebar. Trust me, we should pay someone to make firewall exceptions!

~ ~Ultimate call screening. I answer the phone at the office, they ask for me - "I'm sorry, Rebekah isn't available right now, would you like her voicemail?", because I just don't feel like dealing with that right now...

~ ~I have unintentionally joined in with No Shave November... I can't find my razor anywhere! (I will be going to the store this weekend)

~ ~It is the cost of doing business to have credit and debit card fees. I do not find it acceptable for you to directly pass them on to me as a penalty for using the most common form of payment!  If I can pay with a credit card to a street vendor in the Big Easy - I should be able to do the same for my freaking utilities!

~ ~ My Uncle BD is coming back to Texas from Arizona for Thanksgiving!! I can't wait to see him! We miss him so much!!

Some pictures from ETBU's preformance and lunch today.

Excuse the Crap Phone picture...

Bubba Jacob!

Bubbas Joshie with Jacob!
I have never seen a group of people so excited about "real" food!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Proud Dentonite!

Okay, so I'm not really a Dentonite - but I might as well be! 
I was born in Denton, I work in Denton and almost everything social we do is in Denton!

Denton has been rated as the #1 Best Small Town in the USA by Business Insider!

I'm proud to work in one of the Mom & Pop shops that makes our town unique!

1. Denton, Texas

Monday, November 12, 2012

Doggie Love

I have always loved animals, but I've never been that person who personifies her pets. That is, until John and I started dating! 

As the relationship between J & I developed and grew, I found myself working for approval from his dog, yes his dog! Until the day that Chloe died, she was less than thrilled that another woman had come into Johns life!

I'm always taking pictures of our pets, particularly our doggy Clyde & all the awkward ways he sits. I thought it was high time I shared some with you!

John & Clyde hugging in the driveway
{excuse the mess...} Clyde likes to sit like this! No clue why!?!
Boots the cat likes to put each limb on either side of the couch. True laziness!
Clyde & Daddy like to cuddle
He has the WHOLE couch and look how he likes to sleep!
A close up of how silly his mouth looks when he sleeps!
Pepper is always overjoyed that "DADDY IS HOME!!!"