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handmade christmas

This year my siblings and I decided to make gifts for the family instead of spending bundles of cash. It worked out swimmingly.

For my mother: tea cup candle

For my father: caramel corn

For my sister: word art

And the "for my brother" will have to wait. It needs to be re-glued and therefore was not photographed. You would think whoever made that gift would make sure that it was properly glued before presenting it to the receiver. Ahem.

one thing is certain. I have caught the crafty bug. Stay tuned for a cool mirror DIY project!

the merriest

This week has been a whirlwind of activity - mostly because we are making a lot of presents this year, which is fun but time consuming. I'll share all about that next week.

But for now...Merry Christmas!! I hope it's the merriest.

image found here

list update # 1

Since it's been about a month since I first posted about my list, I thought it was time for an update.

10) renew our passports the new passports are super groovy. if you haven't renewed yours in a while, you should. You'll be impressed. If you don't have a passport - get one!
12) attend more community functions - we attended the lighting of the city's Christmas tree. We sang carols. It was awesome.
19) establish a weekly date night we have actually been going on Saturday mornings. It still counts.
20) organize laundry room REALLY happy about this one!
21) love people at work that are hard to love. I'm working on this one. It's hard. I'm praying a lot.

Pretty good so far right?

and the cutest thing i've ever seen award goes to...

this little guy:

cutest thing ever right? I thought so! My co-worker made him and a bunch of his little mice friends for a cookie exchange we had at work. He's made up of a chocolate covered maraschino cherry, a Hershey kiss, almond slivers, and a bit of frosting. Clever!


I had a muffin in my desk drawer that has been staring me in the face for the last two days, and I was not looking forward to eating it because I thought it was carrot with raisins...I cut into it....what's this? I see???'s gingerbread walnut....YUM.


tree time

One of my all time favorite Christmas traditions: chopping down a tree

Piling in the car, turning the radio up and singing along, hearing my sister complain about Neil Diamond....perfection.

Piling out of the car, traipsing through the snow - although this year we sadly had little - and searching for the tree that will reside for the next several weeks in our living room.

Then there's that moment. The moment when you see from afar the perfect little tree. Then you claim it by taking a picture in front of it.

chop chop chop

saw saw saw

hooray for tree chopping!

Stay tuned for pics of the tree all pretty and decorated.

hit the road cone!

Our dog has now been a cone head for 5 weeks. Five. Weeks. That is like a million weeks in dog years right?! It sure feels like it. We have had it up to here (I'm gesturing with my hand close to my head right now) with that stupid cone! Olive doesn't seem to mind it all that much. She's still happy as a clam.

Ok...dont pay any attention to the fact that she looks quite sad in these photos. I'm telling you...she's happy.

This is what happened. Olive is a digger. She loves to dig holes in our back yard. It's pretty much her number one passion in life besides eating and playing fetch. Because of her crazy digging habits, she broke a nail. That doesn't sound that bad, but it was. Real bad. Her foot was swollen and puffy and then it was a big open sore. Gross. That ushered in Wretched Cone Phase I.

Then she had her woman parts removed. This was seriously no big deal compared with the foot fiasco. But alas...this ushered in Wretched Cone Phase II. And unfortunately these two phases were back to back bringing the total weeks of cone wearing to FIVE!


Beware of the cone.


My amazing, caring husband

Crazy cone head dog

A house that has endless possibilities

Our God who loves us when we don't deserve to be loved

Super supportive family members

Clothes in my closet

Food in my pantry

A paid off car


Perfect rug that took tons of effort to find

Beautiful friendships both near and far


Christmas music

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

image via the nourishing gormet

28 things

Last year after I turned 26, I made a "27 things I want to do before I turn 27" list. I regret to inform you that I did not accomplish everything on that list. Rats. But I decided that's ok, and some things will carry over to my "28 things" list and some things that are not that important to me anymore will just fall off into oblivion.

These are the things that were accomplished from my 27 things list. You can see the original list here and here. And since this list was never finished, I added some things that were major accomplishments this year.

2)Get my picture project done check
9)Make my own cleaning supplies done - this was really easy
14)Get a funky bundt pan gift from my parents
16)Start an herb garden maybe I should have said "start and tend" and herb garden.
17)Go on a girls trip woot woot!
19)Pay off the car sooo happy about this one!
20)Re-learn how to knit I knit (knitted?) a blankie for Elijah
24)Buy a house yep
25)Get and train a puppy train is a relative term
26)Actively get involved in a ministry New Wineskins Ministry. God is doing cool stuff
27)learn how to edit html code boo ya!

Here's my list for this year:

1)Go to the Global Market
2)Finish our wedding album
3)Get a bike (or find my old one?)
4)Get Dave's bike fixed
5)Go on bike rides with Dave
6)participate in a race
7)Take a road trip with Dave
8)Attend an auction
9)purchase a sewing machine
10)Renew our passports
11)Use our passports
12)Attend more community functions
13)Paint the kitchen
14)Paint our bedroom
15)finish porch project
16)Start on library project
17)plot out and plant perennial garden
18)File all our important papers
19)Establish a weekly date night
20)Organize laundry room
21)Love people at work that are hard to love
22)Bake something once a week
23)Clean out and organize garage
24)Plan a few "weekend getaways" to fun little towns in the area
25)Spend more time with our grandparents
26)Organize the closets. All of them.
27)Save up for and purchase a DSLR camera and lenses
28)Learn how to use camera in # 27

There you have it. I'm going to try and do a follow up post once a month so I can keep myself accountable to accomplishing more of the list than I did last year.

I love lists.

olive's nemesis

The rake.
I believe that deep down in her heart she truly feels that our rake in an evil being bent on destroying her little dog life, therefore it must be destroyed.

She may look sweet and innocent, but don't let her fool you. As soon as Mr. Rake enters the scene she quickly morphs into Olive the wonder dog with one thing on her mind: the rakes total and complete annihilation. That's right. Total and complete.

Note to rakes everywhere:
if you have fulfilled your yearly duties, please stay safely locked in the garage. There's just no telling when Olive may feel the need to rid the entire world of you evil monsters.

faraway friends

Our friends Caleb and Amanda came to stay with us last week. They are our faraway friends. They live in Australia and haven't been in town for a few years. They don't have much Mexican food in Australia so that was high on their "to do" list. But after eating Mexican for several days in a row, their stomachs said, "move on!" so they did. We ate a lot of good food while they were in town.

It was so great to spend time with our faraway friends and the weather even cooperated and gave us above average temps almost every day!

Amanda is a photographer and takes really amazing pictures. I would share her website with you, but I don't think it's done yet. Caleb? Is it done yet? She's also a musician (I know, right? Those Aussies. So talented) and you should check out her band: Margaret Helen King. They are on itunes. I promise you will love them.

Now all we have to do is figure out how to get them here more often. OR we need to start saving our pennies so we can visit the land down under!

mustache goes to the orchard

Traditions. I love them. I'm all about the things you do "every year" especially around the holidays. It just makes an already special time more special.
Going to the apple orchard is very high on my "must do" list for the fall. It's a tradition. We go to the same apple orchard every year. We taste and pick apples. We buy apple turnovers and listen to live polka music. We board a giant wagon pulled by a tractor to get to our desired apple picking destination.

This year things didn't go exactly as planned.

As we drove up the long driveway of Minnesota Harvest and got to the expansive grass parking lot we were shocked to find it nearly empty. We parked right up by the barn (which in previous years was impossible due to the sheer volume of people) and wandered in with confusion written all over our faces. Thankfully someone was good enough to explain this Twilight Zone-esque scene before us. A leak in the roof had been discovered the night before and most of the big barn was shut down. WHAT?! Do you know what that meant? No apple turnovers. No polka music. No 237 kids running around with sticky faces having melt downs because they were told they had reached their apple donut limit. WHAT?!

We did leave with apples but we did not pick them. Sad day.

Thankfully the other part of our tradition was enjoyed. We had lunch at Emma Krumbees and it was delicious. And something new was added to the tradition:

Jim's Apple Farm

This place is wondrous to behold. it's stuffed to the gills with old fashion candy, root beer, honey, jam, sauces of all kinds, pastries, jerky. It was awesome. And you know what else is awesome? The fact that Dave was still sporing his mustache from his Halloween costume the night before.

its not a pitchfork!

Pumpkin carving almost didn't happen this year. The fall has been incredibly busy for us, but thankfully we figured out how to fit it in.

We ended up carving on my birthday which made it even more special.

Even though mine looks like the devil's pitchfork, it's really not. It is supposed to be a candelabra with the bottom part on a second pumpkin. I had this grand idea of stacking them and having the carving span the two pumpkins. Alas...I ran out of time, leaving me with a pitchfork. I was even asked by some trick or treaters if it was a pitchfork. Rats.

Thanks Mom and Dad for letting us carve at your house and for the use of your big sharp knives!

burger jones birthday

Can I just say that Burger Jones is delicious? Thanks. Burger Jones is delicious. We dined there the other night for my birthday and all left with clogged arteries, full stomachs and smiling faces.

This is mostly going to be a picture post. I'm just warning you.

Behold the deliciousness:

Yes, as a matter of fact, those are fries smothered in gravy. How good of you to ask. I was skeptical at first as well, but don't knock it until you try it!

I just love sparklers. They make me happy.
So does this guy:

And this place:

Try it sometime!

best buns in town

A few weeks ago, Dave and I had a Saturday morning date and went to this little place called Isles Bun Company in uptown. Whoa. That place is amazing. If you live in the area, run, don't walk, to this tiny little aroma filled, goodness serving, giant mixer using slice of heaven as soon as you can!
Thank you. Your life will forever be changed.

As you can see, weeks later, I'm still drooling over this place. It's that good.

in the club

Dave and I spent the weekend visiting our friends in LA. They are really our family, but sometimes I think of family more as friends. Like my sister, she's more of a best friend than a sister. It's supposed to be a good thing. It didn't really come out right.

Anyway, our time with Justin and Autumn is always amazing, and this time may have taken the cake because we were invited to join them at Disney's exclusive supper club called Club 33. Walt Disney crafted this club back in the 50's to entertain his friends and celebrities, and now it is used for basically the same thing. You have to be a member to dine there - or just have the right connections!

The cuisine was delicious, the fellowship charming and the atmosphere perfect.

Here is a whole group picture courtesy of our new friend Karissa.

(pictured here are our new friends Mallory, Jeff, Karissa and Paul. And Justin and Autumn of course. Oh, and us.)

We had an extremely knowledgeable waiter - Alistair - who relayed some of the history, took us on a little tour and answered all of our questions. It was pretty much the coolest thing ever. Seriously.

And the perfect night ended with a magical walk down main street at a near empty Disneyland.

(this picture also thanks to Karissa)

Ronal is the new Ronald

The McDonald's by our house is ridiculous. Particularly the sign they use to advertise new products and such. I'm not sure if they just don't have enough of those little plastic letters, or if they are not paying attention, or if they have employed a 5 year old to change the sign, but they are always missing letters, or are grammatically incorrect or a certain, important letter has fallen down. One thing is for sure, it always sends us into fits of laughter. Here are a few examples. I really wish I had pictures of these signs, but alas...I have none.

"Cool off with a iced mocha"

I don't know about you, but it drives me crazy when people don't use "an" in front of words that begin in a vowel. It just grates on my you know? And it just sounds wrong.

"Enjoy our new aspberry shakes"

This was one of those tragic moments when an important letter had fallen down. It was supposed to be "raspberry shakes"

"try a browni melt"

What's a browni melt?? I don't think I want to find out. Gross.

And our favorite so far...

"Meet Ronal this Saturday at 3"

Ronald was booked so they had settle for Ronal. Poor kids.

Dear MacDonald's in our neighborhood,
Thanks for keeping us constantly entertained. We have yet to try one of your advertised new items. Maybe if you started spelling them correctly....

Thanks Obama!

While Jessica decided to use her fun money for something very practical, mine was a little less.....

Meet my new rival

He currently holds a world record...1,050,200 points. I've decided I needed a tool that would help me TAKE HIM DOWN!

I thought I would need something that would make every nerd stuck in 1981 quake with envy...

It's going to be tough, and I'm going to see a lot of these...but it'll be worth it...