Catching up…{12/30-12/31}

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

WHAT?  Only TWO more days of 2013?? Yikes.

*The day before the last day of the year we watched our very last Christmas movie of the season…”The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”  There’s nothing like a good Hallmark movie to end the year :)

*This year New Year’s Eve was my holiday off!  Even though we don’t go crazy celebrating and we definitely don’t go out, I still love having this day off.  It’s just really nice to say goodbye to the old year and welcome in the new year.

*With that being said, I DID have to work the night before New Year’s Eve so I was pretty tired that night.  Our plans…Chinese food and ?? a movie.  However, I happened to see that there was a Chopped marathon on The Food Network and so that’s what we did…FIVE hours of Chopped…I loved it!  The worst thing was that the marathon ended at 11 pm…I was SO tired at that point!  I wish it had ended at midnight, I could have said “Happy New Year!” and then hopped into bed.  Instead, I felt like 11p-12a was THE LONGEST HOUR of the whole year!   But I did it…I managed to stay awake til the stroke of midnight and then my bootie was scooting up to bed!

*Very exciting…while I was sleeping on New Year’s Eve Kimm’s brother came over and fixed our broken drawer…now when we open it, it doesn’t dip to the ground precariously!  Oh, it is the little things.

*Wishing all my family and friends the best new year ever!  Remember, if you are better than you were yesterday, it was a good day :)

Published in: on December 31, 2013 at 11:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Catching up…{12/24-12/29}

Sunday, December 29, 2013

*This was my holiday on…which meant working Christmas Eve into Christmas Day.  Normally this would kind of bum me out, but that was back when I worked 7p-7a.  Now that I don’t have to go into work until 11pm…it opens up a whole bunch more time.  I spent Christmas Eve watching Christmas movies with Kimm and her brother (“Mickey’s Christmas Special,” “Sesame Street Christmas Special,” the Christmas episode of Will and Grace (with The Nutcracker), and “The Grinch”).  It was a lot of fun!

*Work on Christmas Eve was not that bad.  There is always a nice feeling about working the holiday…a comraderie with your fellow workers who are also anxiously awaiting going home to loved ones.  Everyone just feels a little bit nicer :)  I prepared a plate of Christmas candy for every unit in the hospital which I delivered on my rounds!

*Christmas morning I got home and had a nice “Merry Christmas” phone call from my mom.  Then I had a very delicious bagel with my cup of coffee before heading to bed.

*We headed over to Kimm’s parent’s house about 5 pm.  A yummy Christmas dinner (mashed potatoes, stuffing, broccoli casserole, carrots, cranberries, crescent rolls, wine).  After eating, Kimm, her brother and her mom did the dishes while her dad and I retired to the living room…we both got sucked in to a Hallmark Christmas movie :)  After the dishes were done (2 hours later!  – Kimm’s brother is VERY particular about getting the dishes clean!) we opened stockings and gifts.  We were all blessed with more than we needed but the best part was just being with family.  Of course Christmas is always a bit bittersweet for me because I am so far away from my own family…

*Christmas was a late night for us…we didn’t get home until after 1 am!  This old lady was very tired :)

*We slept in on the day after Christmas and then lazily enjoyed “our” Christmas!  Bagels and coffee again and then stockings and gifts.  Again….so blessed.  But the best gifts of Christmas were the smiles I saw and the laughter I heard…

*We spent the remainder of “our” Christmas just relaxing…which was SO nice.  We watched “A Christmas Story” (classic!), ate appetizers (crescent rolls stuffed with cheese, pizza rolls) and dozed off a bit too.  The PERFECT day :)

*I was so happy to be able to take a holiday day after Christmas which extended my days off to FOUR!  That is pretty much unheard of considering now I generally get no more than two days off in a row.  It was glorious.  First of all I was able to catch up on some much-needed sleep and that just made me so energetic and ambitious.  Not to mention, there is always something so invigorating about the start of a new year.  I just felt like cleaning and organizing :)

*Kimm and I treated ourselves to iPod nanos as our “big” Christmas gifts to each other…she got blue and I got green.  Can’t wait to load up the music!

*It was back to work on Sunday night but I honestly didn’t mind.  Like I said, feeling well rested totally changed my perspective and made me realize how important sleep is to me.  It will definitely be a goal of mine this upcoming year to focus on getting enough sleep!

*I’m anxious to finalize my New Year’s Resolutions!

Published in: on December 29, 2013 at 7:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Favorites, 2013: Week 52 (THE LAST ONE!)

Friday, December 27, 2013

WOW!  I can’t believe I did a FULL year of Friday Favorites…of course a lot of them were late…but they got done and that is the important thing :)

So…Christmas is over.

Did you have a nice one?

I did :)

I do find however, that there is a lot of build up…and then it is over in the blink of an eye.  But I do feel that this year I truly appreciated the entire month…not just the one day.

Without further ado….here are my favorites from this week!

Favorite chocolateSalted Caramel Brownie Bites…these just look SO good!

Salted Caramel Brownie Bites

~~Photo and recipe…Inside BruCrew Life

Favorite cool post27 Incredible Views You’d Only See If You Were A Bird (~~BuzzFeed).  Here’s a sneak peak…how COOL!

New York City

Favorite finance advice…if you are anything like so many people who make resolutions during the new year, we all want to save more money…The Simple Dollar is one blog you don’t want to leave out of your feeder to help you achieve your financial goals.

How Much House Can I Afford?

Does Micro-Frugality Matter?

Four Little Habits That Have Helped Me Immensely in My Personal Finance Journey

Little Steps: 100 Great Tips For Saving Money For Those Just Getting Started

Favorite homemadeMy Great Grandma’s Gingerbread…I just love recipes like this that are passed down from generation to generation!

Gingerbread

~~Photo and recipe…Eat, Live, Run

Favorite organizational posts…it’s the new year soon…you KNOW you want to do it!

Apartment Therapy’s January Cure (~~Apartment Therapy)…23 days to a more organized home…

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home (~~Money Saving Mom)…it’s only a month!

Favorite positive postThe Quote to Inspire Everything I Do in 2014 and Beyond (~~Roni’s Weigh)

Favorite thought to take with me (and you!) into the new year

If you are better today

Published in: on December 27, 2013 at 7:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Catching up…(12/8-12/23)

Monday, December 23, 2013

*Trying my very hardest to relax a bit this holiday season…so far I think I’m doing pretty good!

*All of Kimm’s Christmas gifts are bought!

*Christmas movies are being watched…”Little Women,” “The Holiday,” “Christmas Story,” “The Santa Clause,” “Rudolph,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “White Christmas,” “The Christmas Blessing.”  I just LOVE watching Christmas movies :)

*Christmas cards got mailed on Tuesday the 10th!  Not too bad.

*Stocking stuff bought!

*Our roof vents and plumbing stacks got re-sealed.  Supposedly they were never done right (as told to us by the guy who cleared our gutters this year) and can let in a lot of rain…Kimm was looking back at our home inspection and sure enough, the guy who had inspected it had also mentioned it…too bad we never got it done before moving in…well, better late than never.

*The 12th was our FIVE year anniversary of buying the house…WOW.

*The 13th was our FIVE year anniversary of moving into the house…crazy how fast time goes by.

*We went to a cookie exchange this year!  I made my Sugar Coconut Raspberry Thumprint Cookies (with White Chocolate Glaze!).   It was fun…Kimm thought that our cookies were the best :)  I had a good time…probably drinking a full bottle of wine helped!

*We FINALLY made it to the Captain Charles Leonard House!  They had an open house where “Captain Leonard” told a little about the history of the house…it was cool.   We sat at a table with two older ladies…one of them happened to live on our street…small world!

*We’ve had a couple of snow storms.  I haven’t minded the shoveling.  There is something very peaceful about being outside in the still after a snow storm and just shoveling.   Thankfully both times it snowed I wasn’t at work…that is never much fun.

*Survivor is done now too.  Great show this season.  Can’t wait for the next one already.

*It took Kimm and I all day to make the Christmas candy.  Very tiring!

*We delivered the candy the next day and that was a task as well…over 5 hours!  We are re-considering what we do for candy and who we give it to next year.

*The wrapping is done too!

*Christmas is in TWO days!!!

Published in: on December 23, 2013 at 8:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Favorites, 2013: Week 51

Friday, December 20, 2013

F.I.V.E (!!!!!) days until Christmas!!

Are you ready??

My favorites this week…

Favorite sweet biteGingerbread Oreo Truffle Bark…I love the interesting combination of flavors.

Gingerbread Bark

~~Photo and recipe…Inside BruCrew Life

Favorite finance posts

The Reality of Inheritance

Self-Discipline, Budgeting, and the “Personal Tax”

How to Approach Retirement Catch-Up

(~~The Simple Dollar)

Favorite cold lick…now that I have my ice cream maker I am ALL about different ice creams…this one will be a definite try this year at some point!

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

~~Photo and recipe…Iowa Girl Eats

Favorite “feel good” posts…we all need a little boost during the holiday season!

10 Gifts You Deserve to Give Yourself (~~Marc and Angel Hack Life)

Two Years After Losing His Wife to Cancer, A Man Re-Created His Wedding Photos With Their Young Daughter.  What a wonderful treasure for this little girl! (~~BuzzFeed)

Favorite Christmas truth

Christmas Tree

Published in: on December 20, 2013 at 6:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Favorites, 2013: Week 50

Friday, December 13, 2013

Only 12 days until Christmas!!

My favorites from the week…

Favorite boozy sipHomemade Amaretto…love this almond-y liquor!

Homemade Amaretto

~~Photo and recipe…shutterbean

Favorite finance adviceYou Don’t Regret the Good Small Choices (~~The Simple Dollar)

Favorite snackMom’s Seasoned Pretzels….I NEED to make these!

Seasoned Pretzels

~~Photo and recipe…Sally’s Baking Addiction

Favorite nursing post10 Things Nurses Don’t Want You to Know (~~HubPages)

Favorite cakeLemon Cheesecake Cake….this looks awfully similar to the delicious Olive Garden Lemon Cake I LOVE…and  my birthday IS next month…

Lemon Cheesecake Cake

~~Photo and recipe…Inside BruCrew Life

Favorite interesting reads

11 Life Lessons from Ellen DeGeneres…I love Ellen! (~~Run to the Finish)

5 Secret Ways to Save at Amazon.com (You’ve Never Heard Of).  I’m going to have to try one or two of these.  (~~The Greenbacks Gal)

Favorite breakfast combo

Cinnamon Roll Latte

Cinnamon Roll Latte

~~Photo and recipe…Kitchen Simplicity

Streusel Topped Wild Blueberry Coffee Cake

Struesal Topped Wild Blueberry Coffee Cake

~~Photo and recipe…Sweet Tooth Sweet Life

Favorite Christmas crafts

Super Easy Homemade Cinnamon Ornaments

Cinnamon Ornaments

~~Photo and instructions…Back To Her Roots

DIY Winter Wreath

Winter Wreath

~~Photo and instructions…Love Grows Wild

Favorite fancy barSpiked Mocha Mousse Bars…yumm!

Spiked Mocha Mousse Bars

~~Photo and recipe…Willow Bird Baking

Favorite fun winter treatMaple Syrup Snow Taffy…I AM doing this sometime this winter :)

Maple Syrup Snow Taffy

~~Photo and recipe…Back To Her Roots

Favorite moment of winter serenity

Winter Birds

Published in: on December 13, 2013 at 4:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Catching up…(11/29-12/7)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

*Here we are…December already!  And I know it is going to FLY by.  Seriously, I think that December is the fastest month of the whole year.

*We got our Christmas tree!  The day after Thanksgiving! We picked out a Frasier fir again this year and it is beautiful :)  It gave us a little bit of trouble getting it into the base of the tree stand, but don’t worry, we won!  It took a lot of energy so thank goodness we ordered out pizza that night.  We are smart about that.

*We spent the next two days getting our house Christmas-fied!  Silly us, we thought we could do it all in one day.  Hmm…I’m thinking that we have so much Christmas stuff that we need to plan TWO days to get it all done.  Part of the reason it took so much longer is because now, along with the one big tree, we also have three smaller trees that get dolled up too!  However, it was worth the wait…I love our home at Christmas time!  (pics to come)

*We’ve started watching our Christmas movies…so far we’ve seen…”Alvin and the Chipmunks” and “Christmas with the Kranks” (a TRUE classic…SO FUNNY).

*We finally got our Christmas lists done…nothing like waiting til the last minute!

*This was a VERY busy week with work.  In addition to my regularly scheduled hours, I worked an extra night because the other night supervisor was out sick.  Oh this was so hard.  I really didn’t want to have to go in, but I was really the only other person who could.  It meant working four in a row (ugh), with only one off, then back on again for two.  Just meant not much time with Kimm and that I was pretty much tired all week long.

*Kimm and I did manage to get out and see a movie at the Agawam Theater…Enough Said — I liked it!

*The Christmas cards are pretty much all done.  Okay, let me re-phrase that…they are all addressed, many of them have their message written inside…there are still a pile that I will be taking to work with me to finish writing the messages inside…the goal–mailed by Monday.

*We made it to the Christmas Tree party at our friend’s house this year.  Even though I had to work that night we headed over early at 5 pm and were out before 8 pm.  Funny story about that party…so whenever we go to parties we know there is usually not much food that we can eat.  But at this party we were able to eat some fresh bread with dill dip (awesome) and what I thought was mozzarella sticks (HA…turns out that they were chicken sticks).  However, I think I had a little too much to imbibe and just thought that they tasted like a weird mozzarella stick!  So now when people ask me how long I’ve been a vegetarian…what should I answer?!   Oh and they had a ton of cake pops…first time having one….I tried one with coconut…it was pretty good!

*I’m going to be SO happy to have two days off in a row this next week!

Published in: on December 7, 2013 at 7:58 pm  Comments (1)  

Friday Favorites, 2013: Week 49

Friday, December 6, 2013

December already??

I’m determined that among all the hustle and bustle I WILL enjoy the quiet moments of Christmas…like the twinkly lights on the tree, watching Christmas movies while sipping on eggnog, the quiet of the winter night.

Here are my favorites from this week…

Favorite positive postA Helpful Guide to Stop Comparing Ourselves to Others (~~becoming minimalist).  VERY important to remember….especially during the holiday season where it always seems that someone is doing everything faster, smarter, and more beautiful…we all have our own traditions and it is way too easy to get caught up in comparing our lives to others and then feeling like we come up short.

Favorite holiday sipHomemade Egg Nog.  LOVE this holiday drink and would love to try making it myself!

Eggnog

~~Photo and recipe…Little House Living

Favorite finance advice

(Almost) Everything Useful I’ve Learned about Personal Finance in Ten Sentences

What You Sacrifice Today for a Better Tomorrow

(~~The Simple Dollar)

Favorite happy drinkHomemade Bailey’s Irish Cream Liquor…now this could make a girl happy during the holidays :)

Bailey's

~~Photo and recipe…How Sweet It Is

Favorite inspiration15 of Nelson Mandela’s best quotes…my favorite…“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”  HOW TRUE. (~~USA Today)

Favorite sweets

Cookie Butter and Chocolate Blossoms…a new twist on a holiday favorite!

Cookie Butter Blossoms

~~Photo and recipe…Yellow Bliss Road

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

~~Photo and recipe…Cookies and Cups

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

~~Photo and recipe…What Megan’s Making

No Bake Coconut Pecan Praline Cookies…you had me at NO BAKE!

Coconut Praline Cookies

~~Photo and recipe…Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Favorite interesting read….Why Does Everything Have To Be So Special? (~~Mary Organizes)

Favorite healthy main meal…with all the sweet treats floating around in blog world it’s nice to have some healthy main meals to fill up on!  This Light and Healthy Cabbage Soup (with Easy Cheese Toasts) sounds delicious!

Cabbage Soup

~~Photo and recipe…Willow Bird Baking

Favorite Christmas funny

Santa funny

Make it a great week!

Published in: on December 6, 2013 at 11:43 am  Comments (1)  

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas in our home this year…

503

520

521

522

523

524

525

526

527

528

669

665

666

667

Published in: on December 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Favorites, 2013: Week 48

Friday, November 29, 2013

LAST week in November!!!

You know, as well as I do that it’s all a blur from this point forward…my hope is to slow it down just a bit and truly enjoy the special moments of the holiday season.

I wish the same for you.

My favorites from the week…

Favorite cinnamon stuff

Shortcut Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

Shortcut Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

~~Recipe and photo…Iowa Girl Eats

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

~~Recipe and photo…Oh My! Sugar High

Cinnamon Roll Middles (the best part, right!!)

Cinnamon Roll Middles

~~Recipe and photo…Oh, Bite It!

Favorite positive post9 Things Happy, Successful People Choose to Ignore (~~Marc and Angel Hack Life).   Things I need to work on…ignoring each day’s little frustrations (even though I am getting better at this!), the necessary pain and hard work of growth (why do I always think it should come easy??), insignificant busywork (so easy to fall into), impatient thoughts (I always want it now!), the mind’s endless stream of doubts (no explanation necessary).

Favorite comboPraline Brownies (chocolate and brown sugar…umm, YES!)

Praline brownies

~~Recipe and photo…Cookies and Cups

Favorite nursing post10 Hilarious Types of Nurses You’ve Probably Met (~~Mighty Nurse).  I am probably closest to “the humorless nurse.”

Favorite yeasty recipe….I love my pizza dough, but this looks really good…Homemade Pizza Crust Recipe.  A little more work with more rising time but it looks so poofy :)

Homemade Pizza Crust

~~Recipe and photo…Sally’s Baking Addiction

Favorite “coming out” postComing Out as a Modern Family (~~The New York Times).  Love Maria Bello and love her son’s response when she said she was romantically involved with another woman… “Mom, love is love, whatever you are.”

Favorite indulgenceBrown Butter Pecan Gooey Butter Cake with Spiked Whipped Cream

Gooey butter cake

~~Recipe and photo….Willow Bird Baking

Favorite truth

Wonderful time

Published in: on November 29, 2013 at 7:56 pm  Comments (1)  
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