Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Red Writing's TWOC - #11 Wrapping Paper

*Okay, so I'm behind. Red Writing's TWOC are over but I'm still two weeks behind. I may not finish on time but I am going to finish. :-)

my box of goodies

I enjoy wrapping packages. I always have. I'll admit I don't enjoy it as much now as I used to because nowadays I'm doing it super last minute. But I still like it. I buy a few new rolls of paper each year. I search around for just the perfect roll that screams at me "BUY ME"! Of course I never use an entire roll every year because I have so many to choose from so my wrapping collection is quite big. Then there are the sacks. I try very hard to not use sacks for presents that my family opens on Christmas morning. I usually succeed. I will use sacks for secret santa or a few odds and ends here or there, but there is just something about tearing into wrapping paper that shouts Christmas Morning! Let's not forget about the tissue paper. Last year, or the year before, I came across some red, white, and green tissue paper with glitter. Perfect! Although I have recently realized it's quite messy. I don't mind glitter but after wrapping up a gift last week I found it all over my couch. A little annoying, but still beautiful.
Last, but certainly not least are the bows. There are the traditional bows that come in sacks. You know, the ones that are various colors and you just peal the paper off and stick them on. Mom showed me a few years ago how to give these bows a little kick. She had seen someone at her school do it. You just cut the loops, except for the middle one, with scissors and it opens it up a bit and gives it a flower effect. Now every year I snazz up my bows like this.
I do try to make a few bows of my own out of ribbon. There is not always time for this but it is a nice added touch to any gift. Last year after a family get together there were a ton of handmade bows, that my aunt had made, about to be thrown away. I snatched these up and have already reused them this year. And what's even better, is when the people you exchange presents with leave without their homemade bows in hand. Then you get to use them again! :-) I'm in charge of the giveaway this week for the TWOC. This prize will consist of a bag of bows, various sacks, homemade bows, and gift tags that can be used for next year.
I actually didn't wrap this gift but thought it was a cute sack used at our secret santa exchange at work.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy 33rd Anniversary!

Happy 33rd Anniversary Mom & Dad!

Thank you for the wonderful example you are to us. We love you!

I'll Be Home For Christmas‏

I had to work on Christmas Eve. Our company never closes except for Christmas Day. They do however let us off two hours early on Christmas Eve, which I suppose is better than nothing, but as I sit at my desk and think about my loved ones getting a jump start on the holiday I get a little bitter. ;-) And of course I didn't save any vacation days for the holidays. That would have made too much sense. So I arrived at 9 on Christmas Eve, but only had to work until 4. I already had most everything packed and in the car since I hadn't been home for a week due to dog-sitting. I just needed to run home, grab a few odds and ends, get my presents for the family, and Jax (Sylvest had already arrived in Decatur via Mom & Courtney on Sunday). The forecast for Thursday was snow. The weather forecast called for snow and said it would start in the afternoon/evening. It actually started snowing pretty early in the day and the flakes were big. At first it didn't look like it was sticking but the more it snowed the more it started to accumulate. I kept looking out our 4th floor window as the snow progressed (see pics below). It was fun to watch and was definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

My family called early on in the day to say it was snowing there, an hour away. Around 1 they told me the roads were starting to get a bit slick and wondered if I could leave early. I think they were pretty worried I wouldn't make it home for Christmas. I popped off and told Courtney that Jax and I would make it even if it took us 5 hours. Little did I know that this would ring somewhat true. My supervisor and VP were off on Thursday so I went to our sister team's supervisor and asked if there was anyway I could take off early due to the weather. He told me the roads weren't bad (because they really weren't too bad in our area at the time) and said that he couldn't let me leave because we had so much work to be done. I didn't argue and just told my family I couldn't leave early and that I would call them when Jax and I left town. I jumped up and walked out at 4, gathered up stuff at my apt, and was on the road to Decatur at 4:38. The snow was piling up here but the roads didn't seem icy at all. I hopped on the tollway and drove a bit slower than normal, but it really wasn't too bad. I thought "Oh good, my family over-exaggerated, these roads are fine". I was making good progress. The snow was falling pretty heavy and the wind was whipping it across the road but other cars had made pretty good ruts and I was doing fine. My family continued to call me quite often as they had done all afternoon while at work. Something you must understand is that my father is a worry wart. He comes from a LONG line of worry warts. He's also a retired Highway Patrolman. He's seen all the bad stuff and it's pretty much never left his mind. So when one of his own is in a potentially dangerous situation he goes into worry overdrive. Mom said she didn't even have to worry because he was doing enough for the both of them. Anyway, the phone calls kept coming to check on my progress. I made it to Denton and the snow started to get thicker, it was getting dark, and the ruts were much harder to see, but I was still trucking along fine. Slow, but fine. Jax would NOT hush. He meowed the entire way. He'd been alone for 2 days since I was away dog-sitting and the minute I got home I grabbed him up and put him in a crate. He did not care for this. He's also not the best traveler and tends to meow a lot anyway. Let me tell ya, this did NOT help my nerves. Somewhere along the way I noticed that my windshield had cracked. As if I needed any more drama. I had a small knick in the windshield and with the combo of ice, snow, using my windshield wipers, and defroster it cracked. :( I was happy to be getting closer to Decatur. I was getting VERY tired (as I hadn't had a lot of sleep lately) and visibility was getting worse and worse. I just wanted to be done with this. Dad called to see where I was and I told him I was coming up on Imperial (a company on the outskirts of town). All of a sudden I topped a hill and all I could see was a stream of break lights. As far as the eye could see it was break lights. Dad & I figured someone must have had a wreak. We hung up and I sat there. I sat, and sat, and sat, and sat. It was awful. Dad called back to say he'd called the police dept. (of course he had) and they said it was very slick in that section of the road and people were jack-knifing. Crap! I'm already super stressed out, I have no clue how long this is going to take, and I have GOT to pee. I sat there for what seemed like forever and didn't move. The line of cars started to move forward finally but the Dodge pickup in front of me was having issues. His back wheels were just spinning on the snow/ice and he wasn't moving anywhere. I backed up to give him some room but no matter how much backing he did he couldn't get any traction. After a few cars started to go around him I joined in. I felt bad leaving him behind but there was nothing I could do for him. Of course we get around him and then sit forever again. We move just a little bit and then sit. A BMW was having lots of issues as well. The guy driving couldn't get any traction either and his back tires just kept spinning. A man up ahead got out of his truck to try to help him and the minute he stepped out he slipped and was face down on the road. He laid there for a few seconds and then tried getting up with the help of someone else. At this point the sand truck arrived. OUR HERO! The truck started dispersing sand along the road and specifically on the BMW, which was FINALLY able to go after all the sand. We slowly but surely inched along and made it into town.

I was dying. At one point I thought I might have to use the bathroom in my car so the minute I got to the Shell station I hopped out and went in. I didn't know how much longer it might take me to get to mom and dad's since I didn't know what was up ahead of me. I hopped back in my car and tried to take off but I couldn't get out of the parking lot. I had HAD it. This freakin' sucked! I called my parents and started to cry. I couldn't get out of the blasted parking lot and all I wanted to do was be home. My dad said he would jump in the car and come get me. I really didn't want him to have to do this. We didn't both need to be out in this mess. I tried to leave the parking lot in a different direction and this time I made it would, got onto the highway, flipped around and slowly headed to mom and dad's. I pulled in the driveway at 7:45. It had taken me over THREE hours to get there when it normally takes me one. It was awful. I was stressed to the max and in the worse mood. Everyone came out to help me unload. Mom & Dad's drive way was full on huge snow drifts and the yard was covered in deep snow. The official report is that Decatur got 5". The ground was still really covered when I left for work this morning and we are supposed to get more snow on Tuesday. I will not be doing any traveling then!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Red Writing's TWOC - #10 Holiday Parties

One of my favorite things about Christmas are the parties. I look forward to them all year long! :-) One of my favorite parties that I attend yearly is Keelie's Annual Girlie Christmas Party. This year is the 6th annual party. Keelie invites close friends and family, who are girls of course. She always has a fantastic buffet of goodies for us when we arrive. We all bring 3-4 dozen cookies for dessert, as well as a cookie exchange at the end of the night. I love going home with goodies everyone has made. The party is always the Sunday before Christmas, which makes it THIS coming Sunday. Whoo hoo! Keelie added a few different elements last year. She told everyone to wear Christmas PJ's, as well as instructed everyone to bring an ornament. When everyone arrived at the party she told them to pin their ornaments to them and then told them not say a designated word. If you said it, you lost your ornament and the person that caught you got it. Sounds pretty fun to me. I actually missed the party last year, for the first time EVER. An attack of a killer stomach virus will do that to ya. But I'll be there this year and will have two years of partying built up. We also all bring a $15 gift for a Chinese gift exchange. This year Keelie told everyone to bring Christmas platters or cookie jars. I'm excited to see what all the ladies will bring. And of course we try to fit in a game or two. A big hit in years past has been Catch Phrase. Bunko and Mad Gab didn't go over as well. I look forward to this party and will definitely be posting pictures!

Mom, Court, & me at Girlie Party '07

2007 - Me & Keelie

all the treats

This week is a busy one for me party wise. Tomorrow I have my Bible Study Christmas Party. We are having a potluck and doing a $5 gift card exchange. This is a fun little group and I have really enjoyed getting to know these people better. I'm excited to have a fellowship night tomorrow. I'm also excited for the gift exchange. Those always get a little crazy.

Saturday evening I have another Christmas Party in Little Elm at the Martin's house. Their 4 year old Emma is hosting! Hehe! Beth told me they worked on the cookies for the party last night. Fun! We are going to snack and just hang out. It'll be a fun crowd. Emma is such a cutie-patootie.

Then of course we are partying all week at work as we do Secret Santa. Secret Santa is a tricky little game. It's a gamble really. You can be really excited or really disappointed. I won't even go into the catastrophe's of years past. Like the time in 5th grade that I got a painted, unfinished, ceramic Easter bunny. No, Christmas is not about the gifts, that's true. I fared pretty well today. I received water and Reese's pieces in a cute little stocking. We'll see how the rest of the week goes.

Merry Christmas! Party like a...Santa Claus?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Red Writing's TWOC - #9 O Christmas Tree

As of last Sunday my Christmas tree is up! I have a rule. No decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Some years it's hard to abide by, but in the end my rule wins out. I just feel that if I decorate before Thanksgiving that Thanksgiving is just skipped over. So like any good rule follower I waited until after the Thanksgiving holiday and then drug out all my goodies last Sunday. I don't know if I'm just slow, too much of a perfectionist when it comes to decorating, or what, but it takes me ALL day, or at least all afternoon, to decorate my tiny apartment. I like things to look a certain way though so I guess that's what takes me forever. I love it though! Especially once it's all completed. My tree is largely decorated with purple and silver accents, with other ornaments thrown in here and there.

Dragging out the 7 foot pre-lit tree. This was an awesome purchase at Wal-Mart 7 years ago. It only cost around $70 and has been a fantastic tree. I haven't even had the troubles of the lights not working (knock on wood) that some of my friends have with their pre-lits over the years. I love my tree!
The minute I opened the box this year my cat Sylvester hopped in and starting eating the tree. He does this EVERY year. For the life of me I do not understand why he eats the Christmas tree...but he does. It's so annoying. Because it eventually comes back up and I'm given the all too gross chore of cleaning it up. He ended up being locked in the bedroom so I could decorate.

All set up. Time to spread out the branches. That's my LEAST fav part.

Four crates hold my Christmas decor. They are busting at the seams though and that doesn't even included my wreath or the random knick knacks I didn't pack away and found around the apt after the fact. They ended up in random boxes in storage.

This year I tried something a little different. Instead of wrapping my beads around the tree (which I despise doing) I tied them to the top the tree and just let them fall down the sides and I kind of wound them around the branches some. This was much easier. I decided to do the same thing with some ribbon as well. I think it added a cute touch. And as you can see I use a star and huge bow at the top.

End result. My decorations and purple tree skirt that my mom bought me a few years ago, which I love. The skirt starts out perfect and then 5 min later the kitties mess it up and it stays crazy the rest of the season.

More ornaments!

O Christmas Tree!

Red Writing's TWOC - #8 Christmas Wreaths

Okay, so I'm really behind on Red Writing's TWOC. The week of Thanksgiving we were supposed to have done our Christmas Wreaths. I'm going to blame my sinus infection, bronchitis, that pesky thing called work, and busy Thanksgiving week on not getting mine done. Okay, enough excuses. I FINALLY completed it yesterday. I actually took the Christmas wreath that I had made around 6 years ago, ripped everything off of it, and created a new wreath. The new one is a bit gaudy, but as Keelie told me, that's what Christmas is. :) I call it my HoHoHo wreath. You can see why. ;-)


new huge bow

positioned on the wreath

end result - didn't really take pics along the way like I intended ;P

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Red Writing's TWOC - #7 Accent Craft No. 2

This week on Red Writing's TWOC we are exploring accent crafts again. I have to admit that both times we've done accent crafts that I wasn't too thrilled about them...until I started searching for ideas. I just didn't know what I wanted to do or how to go about finding some ideas. Pretty much my lazy side was showing through. However, Better Homes and Gardens never lets me down. :-) This week I stumbled across TWO items that I am very interested in making. I'm not positive I'll get them both done, but I have high hopes.

This NOEL craft is made with papier-mache letters, which I KNOW I can purchase at Hobby Lobby. I also know that Hobby Lobby has some great scrapbook paper & paint that I can use to cover the letters. I feel like this craft will be pretty easy and will add some fun Christmas flair to my apartment.

I really fell in love with these floral packages when I saw them on the BHG website. They look elegant and don't seem that difficult to make. However I haven't attempted them yet so we shall see. The website says all you have to do is cover a block of florist's foam with button mums (I may branch out and try something different), stick a pearl-head pin through the center to secure the flowers to the foam (I may just hot glue, unless that will melt the foam?), and tie it with a ribbon. Simple enough, right? Let's just hope the materials don't break the bank.

I plan on sharing my finished products once they have been created. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Red Writing's TWOC - #6 Shopping

This week on Red Writing's Twelve Weeks of Christmas the topic is SHOPPING! I guess I'm a pretty typical girl in that I LOVE shopping...for others, as well as myself. ;-) Although I keep an eye out half the year for Christmas gifts for people, and have been known to buy something in July as a Christmas present, I typically make myself a list of people to buy for and present options come late October or early November. I ask my family and friends what's on their lists and go from there. Obviously I try to factor in a reasonable budget, but I'm not the best at that. I get all wrapped up in the shopping of the season and forget about how much I've spent. I try to be done with my shopping around two weeks before Christmas. Later than that and I just get annoyed at the mall or any other places I run to for presents. There are way too many people out and about during this time of year. Haha. But of course there are always a few gifts that I run to get closer to Christmas day and tell myself I'll do better the next year. ;-) I've bought one or two gifts already this year but the real shopping starts this Sunday. Keelie & I have a shopping date already set up. This will include lunch, shopping, and a movie to wind down from our busy shopping day. Then, the day after Thanksgiving, better known as BLACK FRIDAY, Rashahn & I will be hitting the stores and sales in the wee hours of the morning before I have to go to work at 9 that day. Trust me, I will only be half awake at work and will bet on not being productive, but it's SO worth it! There are a few people that I have no idea what to buy them, which makes shopping less fun and productive because I am having to go in blindly. Hopefully I'll come up with something suitable!

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Red Writing's TWOC - #5 Homemade Gifts

I thought all week long about what homemade gift I could make for someone this season. I thought it over a lot and still hadn't come to a conclusion. Finally, after looking at the coming week's Hobby Lobby circular I realized what I was going to make...Christmas Ornaments. I made my Christmas shopping list yesterday and there are some people that I'm not exchanging gifts with, but still wanted to get them a little something and I decided I'd buy them ornaments. Now I've decided I'm going to MAKE the ornaments. Hobby Lobby has 'Ready-to-Decorate Glass Ornaments' for 40% off this week. Whooo! They have clear, frosted, and iridescent ornaments to pick from. I'm pretty excited. I have NO CLUE what designs I will make or what they will look like when I'm done but I'm pretty pumped. I'll definitely share the finished product with you all!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bow Making‏

A few years ago, probably more like 5 or 6 years, Jenny, Kristin, & I got together at my apartment. Jenny & I decided we wanted to make Fall wreaths so off to the craft store we went. Kristin opted to watch and hang out. Her choice was probably smartest. Ha! We gathered our supplies, which included a grapevine wreath, Fall ribbon, a little scarecrow, some fake corn, etc. and headed back to my apartment to craft. We thought we did a pretty good job twisting the ribbon around the wreath and hot gluing the embellishments on. Then came the hard part. We needed bows for the wreaths. We didn't know how to make bows. What were we going to do? Well, I had the bright idea (at least I think it was me, if it was Jenny she can totally have the credit) to just make little loops, staple them, and hot glue them on and if we made enough it'd look like a bow. Sad, I know. So that is how my Fall wreath has been the past 5 or 6 years. Pretty rigged and a little ghetto. To the untrained eye it's not obvious. But to the professional bow maker, I'm pretty sure it is.

ghetto bow

after tearing the ghetto bow off the wreath

Through the years I ended up buying myself a bow maker, instructions included, and learned how to make bows. I can even do them now without the bow maker but I prefer it because it makes it easier. So I decided that I need to make a new bow for my Fall wreath. I still have the same ribbon we used all those years ago. I guess we thought we'd use more. If we'd done them the correct way we might have. I made a new bow a few weeks ago and think it turned out well. I tore off the fake bow loops and hot glued the new one down. Now my wreath is complete. I guarantee you no one but me will ever notice that the bow kinda changed. Oh well, I did it for me. I'm pretty sure I'll always laugh and think of that Saturday afternoon we made the wreaths when I see mine hanging on my door. Happy Fall!

making the new bow

Ta da!

Reba McEntire

I love Reba. Always have, always will. I wanted to be her when I was younger. No, I can't sing, but she has red hair like I do and therefore, I wanted to be her. lol. She's always been my favorite...always. I LOVED the big hair days. That's when I REALLY wanted to be her. I've seen her in concert multiple times. There were the Six Flags years. Growing up we had season tickets to Six Flags so we went a lot, and we also went to a lot of the concerts in the Music Mill Amphitheater. We saw Reba there TWICE. She was AMAZING. I think that is when my love of concerts began. She was a FANTASTIC performer. I loved how she would change clothes throughout the concert. She'd leave the stage for 1 min and come back in something more amazing than she had on a minute ago. I saw her back in 2004 at Nokia Theater. She was fantastic there as well. We had pretty awesome seats which made the experience that much better. Sugarland opened for her. They were nobodies back then, but I digress. We went to the first event at Cowboy Stadium back in June, which was a Reba McEntire/George Strait concert. As true to form, she was excellent. I also love her TV that aired from 2001-2007. I watch it in reruns all the time and I was thrilled when Vanessa gave me 4 seasons of it for my birthday! Whooo!

So of course back in September when Courtney called and told me she was coming to Allen I was in to going to the concert. Court, Heather, & I headed to the first event ever at the Allen Event Center last night to see my beloved Reba. The Allen Event Center is definitely the smallest venue I've ever seen her in. It was also a different crowd then your normal country concerts. I didn't seen any of the half-dressed girls getting drunk, which was pretty refreshing. It was a much older crowd. The seats at the center were incredibly uncomfortable though, just an fyi incase you visit this venue in the future. If you are not a size 0 you will not enjoy this seating experience, but despite that, Reba was GREAT. She sang a lot of the songs off her new album, which is awesome, as well as the old stuff. As usual I walked away thinking about how terrific she is. Other performers may come and go, but Reba...well, she'll always be my favorite.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

I had a lot of fun this Halloween.

Leigh Ann, Leah, & I carved pumpkins.

We went to Azle for a Halloween party with the family. Court & Heather were 80's girls!

I was a witch and Jenna was a cat bride. lol.

I dressed up at work as well. Yes, I'm a cat with a litter box. The litter box consisted of oats, granola, chocolate icing, and tootsie rolls. It look like the real thing! Belinda came with pink hair.

After work on Friday I headed over to Robert & Rashahn's where Rashahn (Tinkerbell), Abby (Bumble Bee), & I took pics in our costumes. Robert got home and we watched 'The Secret Window'. Very creepy and Halloween appropriate. Then we carved pumpkins.

Jax & Sylvest got into the spirit too. Jax really enjoyed sniffing the pumpkins.

Sylvest didn't enjoy costume time very much.

Yesterday I headed to a Halloween party at Lacy's. Here Lindsay, Leah, & Lacy start the night off!

I came in my cat attire again and everyone thought the litter box was pretty gross. Leah was a witch. Check out her awesome spiderweb tights!

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

I've always enjoyed dressing up for Halloween...then and now.
1981 - I'm Cookie Monster & Keelie's a Clown
1986 - Trick-or-Treating with our neighbors and best friends
Superwoman - Courtney, Cheerleader - Keelie, Football Player - John, & Cheerleader - me
1987 - Mrs. Jordan's 2nd Grade Class - Decatur Elementary School
1991 - Heading to school - me as a hobo and Courtney a clown

1991 - Freakin' out the trick-or-treater's at Mom & Dad's with Patrick, Courtney, & Amanda

2007 - Dressing up & pumpkin carving at my apt - Leah, Marge, Leigh Ann, & me

2007 - Heading out to the Haunted Forest - Marge, Paul, Riley, Leah, Leigh Ann, & me

2007 - Countrywide - Me & Rashahn as Thing 1 & Thing 2

2008 - Countrywide - Superman (Robert) & The Wicked Witch (me)