I don't know if my family really has any "traditions" but I can tell you what we normally do...
This is the only picture from Christmas time that I could find easily without digging into endless amounts of photo books...
Starting with the weeks leading up to Christmas: *Growing up my mom would always spend an entireweekend if not two weekends baking cookies, she would bake approx. 20-25 differnt types of cookies and would make a cookie tray to some of their top customers, family, and close friends.. When I would go with my mom to deliver the cookies, people's faces would just light up when we walked in as they knew why we were there each year. As the years have gone by for several reasons some of the main ones being my parents sold their nursery business, we don't get together as often with our extended family, and let's be honest a main reason is cause we can't consume all those lovely sweets and not have to work out for 6+ hours a day to try and work it off like we could when my parents were younger and even myself. So now my mom spends one Saturday at the first of December baking approx 7-10 differnt types of cookies and we give them to a few close family friends and I bring a tray to both of Brian's parents houses.
*I remember waking up every morning in the month of December and going straight to the advent calendar in the kitchen to move the little mouse to the next day and counting how many more days till the "25th"
*Growing up my family would always cook chicken and dumplings (or some sort of warm dish) Christmas Eve night, as my mom was cooking I would be busy in the living room sorting out the presents to each person's designated stack to open. The presents we opened Christmas Eve were from "my parents" and my brother and I would exchange our gifts we picked out for each other, we would wake up Christmas morning to our visit from Santa Claus!!!! After going through those gifts we would head to our Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw's house where we would eat and do Christmas with my mom's side of the family. As my brother and I have grown older things have changed a little...
* The past few years my family has gone to Christmas Eve Church service then out to eat at a semi-nice restaurant then home to open all of our gifts. Santa still comes Christmas morning and fills our stockings with goodies like gift cards, toiletries, small items, etc etc - My mom has always been the best about making everything fair for my brother and I.. I can't Thank her enough for this!! She spends extra time as she is wrapping gifts through out the month and writes down what is in each box and what kind of paper it is wrapped in (she makes a visual note) then normally on the 23rd or 24th she pulls them all back out from under the tree and numbers them, we have to open #1 at the same time then #2 and so on... The gift normally has the same $ value or is the same "type" of gift, a dvd, socks, shirt, etc..
*On Christmas day we normally always take our time getting ready and head over to my dad's cousins who you might know as Auntie Cousin Joy (she gave herself this name when we were little kids, she didn't want to just be a cousin, she wanted to more of an Aunt for us and boy was she ever!) But since my sweet Auntie Cousin Joy passed away at the beginning of this year, things will be differnt this year.. I'm not sure what the plan is to be honest! I feel like I am giving you a novel of each thing, so I am just going to briefly mention a few other things we do:
- We all get a pack of socks every year, its a huge joke with the 4 of us.. We get all excited when we open them and act like it's a package of gold! - I have made my Dad a photo wall calendar and my mom a photo desktop calendar of pictures from the previous year for the past 7+ years.. I normally try and theme them out, one year I did a pic from when we were young and a pic of the past year for every month (diff pics each month of course) I also try and put a pic of something significant for that month (March My B-day, pic of me.. Sept parents Anniv, pic of them.. December pic of Christmas from the year before etc etc) - One of my closest friends Rebekah celebrates with us every year if she can not make it home to her parents, this year she went home for Thanksgiving so she will be spending Christmas with us - I get our puppies a new costume/shirt/hat every year.. It's a HUGE hit for the family, my dad talks about it all year especially a lot as we get closer to the holiday.. - This is not a good thing... As I've gotten older and harder to shop for, I pretty much know about 70% of what I'm getting.. I'm normally with my mom when she buys it or I order it online and give it to her, ha... My poor mom tries so hard to still find ways to surprise me, she's just too sweet!
I guess that's enough of what we do every year!
I'd like to briefly list a few things I want to do with my little family in the future:
-Collect an ornament every year, I love giving themed ornaments that pertain to what that person likes or enjoys doing.. -Teach my kids the real meaning behind Christmas at an early age - Participate in "Elf on the shelf" every year!
- Help them believe in Santa for as long as possible.... -Leave cookies for Santa -Do the Advent Calendar together every day -Watch Charlie Brown's Christmas Story every year -Listen to Christmas music as we decorate -Volunteer/give to the orphans a couple times during the Holiday season - Never forget the Reason For The Season! -Do crafts together -Take Family Christmas Pictures every year -Be stress free as we try to spend time with all of our families -Build a Snowman (out of sand) on the beach at least once -Dress up every Christmas Eve -Spend Christmas day in our PJ's
Can you tell I will be your "typical" over achiever mom.. EEK!!!
I have recently discovered the oh so precious Dogeared brand at Nordstrom.. They have a few to choose from in store at Nordstrom but TONS more on the retailers website (click below)
I have been wanting a new "everyday" necklace for quite some time but just haven't found the right one, I have my Wax Poetic charm necklace (click below) that I wear often but mainly only when I have on a cute shirt or outfit in general.. And I still want a few new charms and a little jewel to add to this necklace but want something more simple I can wear everyday with t-shirts etc.
So now that you have all that extra info... The point of this post, I want to start collecting a variety of the Dogeared necklace's, they are not cheap so I do not expect to have a "collection" of them anytime soon but you gotta start somewhere right? So who better to start this wonderful collection for me then my lovely fiance?!?! Here's a few idea designs I like that I sent over to him via email today!
This is my fav to get from him with the little diamond in the corner
I like the simplicity of this one... It's also on the same chain that my wax poetic charms are on
I love the sideways look on this one.. I'm such a simple girl but yet sometimes just need a little difference in that simpleness!
This one is on the card "new beginnings" not sure if it is relevant for us but I still love the little heart! There are tons of differnt categories (hence why I want to start collecting them, I can continue to get some throughout my life) that have really really cute ones and they all come on neat little cards that have a meaning behind them, I'm all about the sentimental gifts! Here's a few of my other favs:
One of my favorite thoughts is, "its the little things" eek which reminds me I have a few blog posts I need to finish....
I really love this petite little heart.. They also have a "Bridal" section, even though I don't know when exactly.. I will be getting married one day and this little section is oh so perfect!
This little Faith one is just precious to me! I like how the cross sits off the chain
Although I don't have anything wish bone.. Heart's and Wish Bone's are 2 of my favorite symbols!
One other thing I have recently fallen in love with and want to start collecting... But once again they are pricey and I can only wear a few at a time so I can't collect too many...
I love stack-able rings, I have been wanting some every since I first laid eyes on Stella & Dot's cute band set ones a few years ago.. I have been eying Robindira Unsworth's for a little while now but have yet to see them in person!
(click on pic for website)
I am more of a silver person, so I hope she comes out with some more soon although I do love many of the gold ones on the website.. This is the only silver one I see, its a good starter one though ;)
So what do you think? Know anyone that has any of these pieces of jewelry? Have anything you recently started collecting that you just love?
pics used: Dogeared website and Unsworth's website
I'm excited to participate in Aly & Molly's First Annual "12 Days of Christmas" blog challenge! Some of you may have seen this on some other blogs you follow and yes it started last Monday on November 22 but for more than one reason (too busy to commit to blogging everyday, not in the full swing Holiday spirit yet, wanted to gather my thoughts for the various posts) I am not starting till today. So some of my posts (number 2) might not fit with the week after Thanksgiving but I'm OK with that :)
Here's the topics: (silly girls chose 14, they couldn't seem to narrow it down to 12)
Day 1: Christmas/Holiday traditions Day 2: Black Friday/General Shopping Tips & Tricks Day 3: Most meaningful gift/best gift you've received Day 4: Tips/Tricks to a Budget Friendly holiday season Day 5: Favorite Holiday Movie/TV Show Special Day 6: Gift ideas (what do YOU want? We all have family/friends reading our blogs...so let them know!) Day 7: Holiday Craft/DIY (If you don't make anything, what do you WISH you could make?) Day 8: Least favorite thing about the Holidays Day 9: Favorite Holiday recipe Day 10: Favorite Christmas Songs/Caroles Day 11: New Year Resolutions Day 12: Show us your decorations (indoor/outdoor) Day 13: Favorite Cookie Recipe Day 14: Oprah's Favorite Things: What item(s) would you want if you were in the audience?
If you know me.. You know I'm ALL about coupons and savings! I rarely order anything online without having some kind of promo code.. So when I saw this blog post on some other blog's I had to jump on the bandwagon and contact Shutterfly (side not, even if I didn't stumble upon this awesome deal, I would still be ordering my Christmas cards from shutterfly this year)
So here's the deal: Contact shutter fly by filling out this form.. They will contact you soon via email with the required info of what you need to do (blog about the giveaway, at least 150 words, promote it, email them back.. and they send you the promo code) Easy enough, right?
I have used Shutterfly on numerous occasions for various events, I have always been very pleased with the customer service, quality of products, variety of products, and also pricing!
This is our Christmas Card I sent out last year (ordered from Shutterfly)
(sorry it's upside down.. It doesn't show up that way when I upload it)
I was very excited a few weeks ago when I received a shutterfly Holiday catalog in the mail for the first year..
(once again, sorry for the upside down pic)
Here's a few of my favorites from Shutterfly's Christmas Cards for 2010:
This is my absolute favorite style, they have other one's like it using diff colors and designs.. But I LOVE the "Top 10 moments in 2010" what a fun way to share with your family and friends what exciting things have gone on the past year with your family! I think this is especially neat if you have little ones who are discovering new things, if you took family vacations, switched jobs, bought a new house etc etc.. With my family, I don't know what I would put as my brother and I are older, but still a top fav!! *I'm not sure if this one is included in the "50 free" because it's not in the Christmas Card section, its under it's own tab in a sub-category.. just FYI
I love this one cause of the 3 stack and caption between each, so you can briefly include some info about your family but also have plenty of space for pics.. I also like this one (not that you have to do this) how they used self taken pics, not all professional pics...
This is a fav cause I like the colors and how it's kinda short and to the point! I really really like that it says Merry Christmas, It might sound silly but I very seldom purchase anything rather it be a card, home decor, etc. that says Happy Holidays
How fun is this one? I love how you can do a pic for each month, this will be perfect for me in the future with my little family with the unbelievable amount of pics I take each month!
Now I need your help/thoughts? For my family Christmas card, do I put a pic on it with my fiance and the 4 of us or just my family? Yes he is defiantly a part of our family already but not "officially" I know a lot of people don't see it as a big deal.. But I do, it sometimes bothers me when people include boyfriends/girlfriends etc in their family pics when they aren't officially part of the family, sorry if that sounds mean or harsh...
I hope some of my fellow bloggers take the 15 mins. to do this deal! Every penny saved counts, especially during the Holidays :)
I am participating in MaMa Dew's So What Wednesdays for the first time this week.. We'll see how I do!
So what if...
* I make all my extra money by getting to paid to hang out with all my most favorite kids.. I hate taking money from their parents cause it's more of a treat for me to see them and spend time with them, but I'm just a college student, I have to make money some how, right? I watched my 2 little 11 yr old and 16 yr old all last week and weekend.. I'm watching my baby Allie as we speak, (she is sleeping, haha) I also watched her Monday and will on Friday.. and I watched my other future flower girl Andi Jane and her brother's Ethan and Joesiah yesterday right after school till 11 last night
*I volunteer too much, I enjoy it!
*I try my hardest to stay in as much touch with my close friends as possible, rather it be simply writing on their facebooks, texting, emailing, calling, or better yet seeing them!
*I send at least 1 card a week to someone rather it be a Birthday, Anniversary, Thinking Of You, Miss You, Congrats, Good Luck, Thank You, or Just For Fun card! Speaking of, I have 3 sitting on my desk right now that I need to get out, one being my God Sister's 1st Anniversary card that was this past Sunday... eek!
*I am not being able to make weekly dinner/shopping dates with my girlfriends like I used to ALWAYS do because I am doing boot camp Mon, Wed, and Thursday... I'm working on my health and fitness for myself :)
*I take too many pics...
*I normally have my Christmas shopping half done at this point or at least the whole list made and I have not bought one thing yet and really have no idea what I want to get people..
*I get tired of things easily/quickly like my cell phone case, purses, certain routines...
*I love planning anything and everything!
*I talk to my dogs like they are people and always greet them hello and tell them goodbye
*I am already ready for summer weekends at Bernard (the river house) and it's only November and just now starting to get "cold" I love the quality time I spend with my parents and fiance down there and we def didn't get enough of it this year!
*My main Christmas present from my parents is already sitting in my closet... My mom got me my pair of Lucchese Cowgirl Boots I've been wanting for years, we had to pre order them cause they are not sold anywhere in Houston and they came in early.. There supposed to be in her closet but she doesn't have room..haha!
*I graduated high school in 2003 and not finishing college till 2011, I've had some set backs and had to take off a couple years..
*I think the shows "Jersey Shore" and all of the "Real Housewives" are stupid.. I'm entitled to my own opinion right?
*I am obsessed with Tervis Tumblers and that's all I use at home and if I'm at a friends house and they have one in the cabinet I always tend to grab it...
*I get my feelings hurt when I feel like people only talk to or hang out with me when it's convenient for them and then they aren't too concerned with your life just about their own..
*I have 3 "draft" posts waiting to be finished so I can post them on my blog
This is actually pretty fun and I could go on and on but I will stop here.. I think all of you should play along, you know you want to!!!
So some might think it's silly but I think it's fun...
I think it's neat to have expression on your car, expression as in your interests... Some might think it's tacky that that I have too much on my back window but I like it and have made sure that it's not "too much" and that all my stickers match and do not color clash, yes I am OCD enough to make sure that even that matches!
I currenlty have on my back window: (this changes often, but these set of stickers have been on there for a while) Top center: Liquid Force (wakeboard brand I ride and love) Bottom left: Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Lifetime member sticker (the description basically sums it up and I am very proud of this one, this is something I have wanted to be a part of since I was a little girl) Bottom center: GCWA (Gulf Coast Wakeboarding Association- Houston's wake boarding club that I have made friends through, go to most of the tournaments, and my dad is a sponsor of) Bottom Left: CCA ( Coastal Conservation Association- Fishing Association across America but big in Texas, I can't say this completely relates to me, but my fiance is a die hard fisherman, as is my Dad, You don't hear or see me fishing often now but when Brian get's a better boat for me to go out on and we can go to better water's, I will become a die hard with him, as of now I support the organization, I enjoy going to their banquets and silent auctions, so I represent on my car :))
So now that brings me to my license plate.... I got my first car when I turned 16, I debated on a personalized plate for years and finally got it when I was 18 and kept the car till I was 22.. Side note real quick: I love love love Texas, yes some people say they love Texas and enjoy living here etc. but I literally have that weird obsession with the state of Texas, you might be singing this in your head as you read..
So when I was debating on what plate to get, I knew I wanted "God Bless Texas." I though ok no one is going to have this and have the exact name I want on it, so I called the DPS to check on the avlaiblity of "Jenn" nope someone in Texas already has it, after asking a few more and finding out more names were taken then I ever though possible I hung up the phone set down and made a list of anything with abbreviations of my name, Texas, favorite number, and on and on and this is what I finally came up with
So now I'm ready for get another one for my car now! I don't know what I want though, I don't want it to be "too much" also I don't know if I want it personalized or just a personal plate with random letters/numbers.. Thoughts?
Here are some ones that have caught my eye:
I'm liking these new plain colored plates that Texas has come out with, but once again idk about the color's cause I'm way too ocd for the colors to clash, red could look good or possibly just plain black although I LOVE the Orange one!!!!
I also really like the UH one, I have nothing representing my future alma mater. I used to have a sticker but then felt kinda weird being 25, still in school and representing my school.. Idk don't ask!
There is the HLSR one, which I already mentioned I have the sticker above, but I could take that off.. I love what it says at the bottom of the plate!!
There is also CCA, which I also mentioned having the sticker above, and don't think I need fish on my car, although I think my fiance would really never question why he is marrying me again, haha!!
There is also the CASA plate which I discussed a few posts back about just completing the training to become a CASA worker, but I just completed the training last month and am not very inovolved yet so I would feel kinda silly getting this one..
So ladies, what do you think? Any suggestions on which plate I should get or if I should get it with a personalized word or just the standard state issued letter/number mix?
All suggestions/comments appreciated!
All pictures used are from the Texas DPS website (minus my old plate)