So, lest next year rolls around and I look at Geoff and ask him what the heck we did that we want to repeat and he looks at me blankly and says "I like everything we did last year," I'm am documenting some of the favorite traditions we have enjoyed this past Christmas.

  1. Fondue (3 courses) on Christmas Eve
  2. Wrapping all the presents in coordinating wrapping paper, complete with ribbons and bows.
  3. Writing the "to" and "from" on the gifts with silly clues as to what is inside (not that the writer even remembers what the heck they meant come Christmas morning).  One of my favorites this year: To - Going Bananas; From -  Already Gone on this gem.  
  4. Gift to the Savior (if you want more detail on that one, let me know).
  5. Putting tasty treats in the dogs' stockings.  They were as excited to sit down around the tree as we were.  
  6. Spicy breakfast casserole.  Oh.  My.  Deliciousness.
  7. Singing together in church on/around Christmas.  
  8. Stream Christmas music on Pandora all season long while I cook/clean/do much of anything around the house.

That's all I can remember for now!  What are your favorite traditions?

Happy New Year.  Hope you are all gearing up for a great 2011!


Merry Christmas!

I don't know about you, but Geoff and I had a wonderful holiday. It was our first Christmas that was just the two of us. And, while we definitely missed having family and friends with us for the holiday, we made the most of it.

On Christmas Eve Geoff had to work, so I slept in a little bit and then got the house in tip-top shape. When he got home (early) from work, we started our day of fondue off with a cheese fondue appetizer and dipped asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and Italian bread while we played Yahtzee and Phase 10.

Then Geoff worked on moving the presents and the tree up upstairs (where we would open everything in the morning) while I prepared the second course of the fondue - the meat course. We enjoyed three types of meat (chicken, beef and pork) cooked up in the oil fondue with 4 dipping sauces while we watched Home Alone 2.
After the meat course we went upstairs and had the spiritual part of our Christmas Eve. We decided we were too stuffed for the final course (the chocolate fondue) and we each opened a present before heading off to bed.

Christmas morning arrived and Geoff tried to get me to wake up at 6:30am...I shrugged him off and we slept until about 9am. The dogs found their stockings right away (can't hid the smell of fresh treats and chewies from them). They chewed away, happy as little clams, the whole time we were opening presents. We opened all our presents one at a time, taking turns. It was so much fun to finally see what had been hiding in all of those packages. We got tons of fun stuff (which I won't list for you here) including Geoff's long-awaited 28-inch monitor and a granite-topped kitchen island that Geoff built for me - we'll be staining the wood soon (pictured below).
I made "Spicy Breakfast Casserole" which was so delicious we each overate. For dinner we had ham, garlic mashed potatoes, cheddar biscuits, and asparagus.

Sunday we sang a duet in church (Hark, the Herald Angels Sing) despite Geoff feeling pretty ill.

Overall it was a wonderful Christmas and I am so glad to have Geoff to share it all with me. There's no one else I'd rather have by my side!

Merry Christmas!



I've been writing the past couple weeks about our holiday adventures: cooking, parties, shopping, wrapping (and wrapping and wrapping), family, and snow. While all of these things are wonderful and fill me with joy, I'd like to get serious on you for a moment.

I want to share my faith, appreciation, and humility for the true reason for this holiday season. It is on Christmas that we have the opportunity to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The sacrifice that He willingly made for each of us should never be overshadowed by jolly old St. Nicholas or the price tags on all those things we want.

May each twinkling light on the decorated homes you drive past remind you of the star of Bethlehem that served as a guide to the shepherds and wise men so they could come and worship the newly born Savior. May each evergreen tree remind you of the eternal sacrifice and everlasting life that we have received because of His willingness to be born of the flesh. May each present under the tree remind you of the ultimate gift that we all received many, many years ago. And may the words of traditional Christmas hymns echo in your heart the joy and reverence that we should carry year-round.

"Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace. Hail the Son of Righteousness. Light and life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings. Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die; born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth."


Happy Doggydays

I've been enjoying this holiday season very much. Shopping, especially, has been very fun and surprisingly easy. I've snatched up a slew of fun presents to give to family, friends, and the hub and haven't found the process to be stressful or aggravating in the least.

As a dog owner, I'm a sucker for pet-themed items. I love little toys that squeak and candy-cane shaped raw-hides. Both my dogs have stockings and I love to stick delicious-smelling treats way down in the toe of the sock and watch them stick their whole heads inside in an attempt to find the source of the lovely smell.

So, I'm at TJ Maxx the other night when I come across their pet section. I'm finding the usual - collar tags and food bowls and toys and treats. And then I find this:
For a moment I am utterly speechless.

I mean...the "Legs Out Pet Carrier?"

"For maximum bonding time with your pet?"

My dogs are pretty laid back lil' guys...but if I shoved them into a baby carrier, I think they might turn vicious on me in a flash.

My advice to all you pet owners out there. If your idea of bonding with your dog is to wear him on your chest, maybe you should think about investing in a fish.


Spreading Some Cheer

Don't forget to check out this blog post and vote.

I'm feeling very accomplished this holiday season.

Last year our life was in a bit of a shambles as we practically lived out of our car for a couple weeks. Right around this time of the month on '09 we had packed up the moving truck and I had finished my final day of work at BYUB. We were driving across the desert to spend a week with my family in CA just to turn around again and drive back to Utah for Christmas and then we left on the 26th for ND.

Needless to say I did not have a Christmas tree, I did very little shopping or wrapping, very little baking, I did not send Christmas cards, I gave mediocre, last-minute gifts and although we were in the spirit of good cheer, we didn't get to enjoy much about the season.

This year has been a welcome respite from the turmoil of Christmas 2009 and I am proud to say I sent my Christmas cards and have already purchased and mailed out gifts for our family scattered about the country. (Riddle me this, why does it cost more and take longer to ship to Utah then it does to California? Moreover, why does it cost more to fly to Utah then to California?) I baked holiday-shaped sugar cookies and decorated them with the hub. We've got our little tree up in the perfect place in the house and presents are dotting the base of it. We've attended Christmas parties and gift exchanges. Stockings are hung (for all 4 of us) and it is a "marshmallow" world right outside our door.

In general it's been a wonderful season so far and I'm looking forward to every moment to come. Which is sure to include friends, sledding, building snowmen, singing in church, and much more.

Merry Christmas to all. And may "God bless us, every one."


Need Some Amusement?

Are you ready, friends? We are going to play a little game. For your reading pleasure I have compiled a list of my 10 best blog posts since my lil' blog's inception in 2008.

Please peruse them at you leisure and then come back and vote for you favorite out of the bunch. If you would like to entered to win a little holiday prize, also leave a comment here on this blog and include which blog post was your favorite.

And now, for the good stuff (in chronological order):
Voting closes December 21st at 2pm CST

Blog 1 which really must be
read in conjunction with this post.


Sky Mall: The Snuggie Edition

A few months back I wrote a blog post highlighting a few of my "favorite" items from the Sky Mall catalog. I was fortunate enough to be on a business trip last week and I got to peruse the Holiday edition of Sky Mall.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have likely come across a commercial for the confusing Snuggie product. Now, let me be frank, I own a Snuggie. However, I am as aware as you are that it is a STUPID product. A blanket with sleeves? Ever heard of a sweatshirt?

Anyhow, by whatever stroke of luck, the Snuggie has become quite a fad. So much, in fact, that you can now see 'knock-off' Snuggies practically everywhere you go. They have super-creative (note: sarcasm) names like "The Slanket", "The Cuddler", "The Dreamie", and my personal favorite "The Toasty Wrap."

So, imagine my amusement as I was flipping through the pages of the Sky Mall Catalog when I came across not 1, not 2, but 3 EXCITING new Snuggie varients.

1) The Electric Body Blanket

Yes, you read that right, "the world's first electric blanket with sleeves!" This is innovation at it's finest, folks. Finally I can "answer the phone" AND "stay toasty warm on the couch" OR "in a chair." That may be a Christmas miracle right there.

2) The Wish Wrap

I'm not even sure where to begin with this one. A Snuggie wrap that you can wear "around town?" (and, please note that the girl who is willing to wear her Snuggie as a wrap is also wearing a powder blue bodysuit). But that's not even where it's at its most confusing. Read on: "It features a Wish Pocket (TM) that lets you carry your fondest wishes with you wherever you go."
Firstly, let's give them a high five for trademarking the "wish pocket." Now they are safe from some other enterprising young soul who thinks that telling you what to put in your pocket is going to make him rich. And, seriously? My fondest wishes? In my pocket?

3) The Slanket Siamese

No, folks, this is not a joke. There is now a blanket out there for your purchase with not 1, not 2, but four sleeves. Okay, guys, go out and get one of these right away because the ladies...they are gonna be so jazzed when you take them home and suggest you share a slanket (please note sarcasm).


Holiday Daze

I'm so full of blogs, you wouldn't believe it. I just don't have the time to amuse you will all my antics as of late.

I've been adding notches to my stick as a "world traveler," entertaining a house full of wonderful guests, destroying yet another cell phone, decorating the Christmas tree, coordinating - and practicing for - the Christmas program for church on the 19th (I'm the ward music chair - more on that later), trying to finish up the letter for our Christmas cards so I can get those in the mail by the 10th, beginning my Christmas list so I can get all the gifts out to their recipients by the 15th, helping Geoff get everything settled for him to get back into the swing of school after the New Year, keeping up with some steep deadlines at work, and trying to figure out why holiday-themed commercials always make me teary-eyed.

As you can see, I've been a bit swamped. I'll try to take some time out some evening this week to do a proper blog. Here are a few pictures to keep you
satisfied until I'm able to do a little better. :)

Merry Christmas.