Wednesday, December 30, 2015

101 in 1001, Round 2 - Update 8

I can't believe that Christmas is over and it's New Year's Eve tomorrow!  Seriously, where has this year gone?!

Okay, I know the last part of my year was spent enjoying holiday movies but where did the rest of it go?!  One of the tasks on my 101 in 1001 list is to watch 25 Christmas movies each Christmas season of the challenge and this year I managed to squeeze in 26!  I was hoping to watch a few more - so many good ones I didn't get around to - but there's always next year!  Here are the 26 I enjoyed this year:

1.  Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

2.  Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

3.  Frosty the Snowman

4.  Frosty Returns

5.  Elf - This one is a must every year for Mitch and me.

6.  Trading Christmas (Hallmark) - One of the best movies I watched this year and I would even venture to say it's made it on my list of favorites.  I will definitely watch it again next year if it's on.

7.  On Strike for Christmas  (Lifetime)

8.  The Flight Before Christmas  (Lifetime)

9.  Crown for Christmas (Hallmark)

10.  'Tis the Season for Love (Hallmark)

11.  A Very Merry Mix-Up (Hallmark) - I've seen this movie before and really liked it so I had to watch it again.  It will probably make it on my list again next year if it's on.

12.  Christmas Under Wraps (Hallmark) - I watched this movie last year and enjoyed it so I watched it again this year.  I enjoyed it just as must this year but don't think it's Christmasy enough to justify watching it again next year.

13.  A Royal Christmas (Hallmark)

14.  12 Dates of Christmas (ABC Family) - This movie was so awesome; I do believe I'm going to add it to my Christmas list next year!  I can't believe I'd never seen it until this year!

15.  12 Gifts of Christmas (Hallmark)

16.  A Christmas Detour (Hallmark) - One of my least favorite movies I watched this season.  I will not be watching it again in the future.

17.  Family for Christmas (Hallmark)

18.  Holiday in Handcuffs - This movie has become one of my yearly musts.

19.  Home Alone

20.  Becoming Santa (Lifetime)

21.  Christmas Incorporated (Hallmark)

22.  The Christmas Ornament (Hallmark) - Ditto to #6!

23.  Wish Upon a Christmas (Lifetime)

24.  Just in Time for Christmas (Hallmark)

25.  Mistletoe Over Manhattan (Hallmark)

26.  National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - Another must every year for Mitch and me.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

101 in 1001, Round 2 - Update 7

One of the goals on my 101 in 1001 list is to read one Christmas novel each Christmas season of the challenge.  Last night I finished the book I chose this year.

I found A Christmas Blizzard by Garrison Keillor at the library's used book sale and thought it sounded like a fun read.

Snow is falling all across Minnesota as Mr. and Mrs. James Sparrow awaken in their modest Minneapolis apartment.  She adores Christmas; he loathes it.  Even nauseated, suffering from a stomach bug, she yearns to see The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol while he yearns only to fly to Hawaii and escape the joyless joy, the relentless marketing, and that dreadful pa-rum-pum-pum-pum song on the radio.  An urgent phone call from his cousin sends James flying off to his hometown of Looseleaf, North Dakota, into a heavy blizzard.  As he hunkers down in an ice house to weather the storm, stranded among his loony relatives, he is visited by a parade of figures who deliver him an epiphany worth of the season, just in time to receive Mrs. Sparrow's wonderful Christmas gift.  

This book was quite the opposite of a fun read.  While short at less than 200 pages, it was an excruciating read that felt about ten times longer than it was.  About one-third of the way into the novel I discovered it was awful and started avoiding it.  When I realized I was running out of time to pick and complete an entirely new Christmas novel, I had to force myself to open the book and trudge through nearly every single sentence.  The plot was lacking, the sentences and conversations poorly constructed, and the characters annoying and unrealistic.  Plus, Keillor obviously doesn't know North Dakota.  I can honestly say this is one of the worst books I've ever read.

At least the cover was fun.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thursday 13: 2015 Etsy Christmas Finds

I cannot believe that next week is Christmas!  This joyous season sure is flying by!

Time for one of my favorite Thursday 13s: Items I wouldn't mind finding under my tree on Christmas morning!  (All photos from the Etsy shop.  Click on the description to visit the shops.)

1.  Adorable Santa riding a polar bear.

2. Not only would this sleigh book folding pattern be a fun activity but it would also give me a great item to display in my library (provided it looked like a sleigh - HA!).

3.  Fun Christmas tree snow globe necklace.

4.  I think this Fa La La La La banner would look great strung across my piano.

5.  I'm so in love with these vintage elves.

6.  Super cute mini tree ornaments.

7.  Pretty Be Merry sweater.

8.  I already own a wonderful nativity set but this pottery version is quite pretty.

9.  Sweet stuffed candy canes.

10.  Gorgeous Christmas painting.  This artist's work actually made an appearance on my list last year as well.  

11.  Charming horse drawn sleigh.

12.  I've discovered I really like milk glass.  I also really like holly (how could I not?).  Obviously I was drawn to these milk glass holly coffee cups.

13.  Beautiful 12 Days of Christmas print.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Seven Years Old

Our little girl turned seven years old yesterday!  I know I said it last year but I'm still going to say it again: where has the time gone?!

And like last year, Mitch and I got Crickett a little cake from a local dog bakery to help her celebrate her special day.

Happy Birthday to our beautiful little girl!  We are beyond blessed to have you in our lives!  Love you so very much!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

101 in 1001, Round 2 - Update 6

Today I got my very first piano!  It's strange but so very exciting to know that this beauty is mine and I can sit down and play in my own home any time I want (well, almost any time - I'm sure Mitch and Crickett still want to sleep at night)!

I knew I wanted a piano when I had my own house.  I also knew that I wanted that piano to be an old upright.  Upright pianos are beautiful not only for their size but the lovely little details that make them so unique.

Once our basement was complete and we settled in with the furniture, I started perusing the local classified ad website for pianos.  Mitch and I looked at two pianos during the last week in November and I was sold on this one.  Not only was she beautiful, she was free!  The only cost we incurred (thus far) was hiring a moving company to get her from the previous owner's house to our house.

She isn't perfect but I never expected to find an old piano that was.  She has her fair share of chips, knicks, and scratches but there is history here and there is something very special about that.  Mitch and I will be getting her cleaned, tuned, and repaired (a minor - hoping minor! - pedal issue) in the near future and then it will be time to get these rusty fingers back in piano-playing shape!  I can't wait!

So while I may not have technically "bought" a piano, I now own one and can cross this task off my 101 in 1001 list.  What a wonderful day!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

2015 Ornaments

Christmas cheer has hit me full-force this year and boy am I having a wonderful time during the most wonderful time of the year!  I've gone nuts decorating, buying more decorations, and then decorating some more.  A Christmas book has been started, Christmas movies are being watched every chance I get, and two pans of my Christmas pretzels have been made (and almost completely consumed - solely by me!)  I'm hoping to share more photos and tidbits throughout the month but first things first:  2015 ornaments!

Mitch and I continued our tradition of bringing home a vacation Christmas ornament.  The Carnival Cruise Ship joined our collection during our Alaskan cruise.

And our Hallmark Keepsake ornament:

Dasher's Delivery

Santa needs a lot of help
to get letters where they should be.
He uses lots of speedy ways
like "Dasher's Delivery!"

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful Day 26

Thankful Day 26:  Today and every single minute of every single day, I'm thankful for the amazing family I have.  It was a wonderful holiday full of delicious food and fun people.  I'm beyond blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thankful Days 19 Through 25

I can't believe tomorrow is Thanksgiving!

Thankful Day 19:  I'm thankful for cheap heat that allows us to have our home nice and toasty.

Thankful Day 20:  I'm thankful for beautiful music played in a beautiful building.

I will share more about this later since it was a task is on my 101 in 1001 list.

Thankful Day 21:  I'm thankful for my wonderful girlfriends.  So blessed to have their friendships!

Thankful Day 22:  I'm thankful for Sunday dinners and dominoes at my father-in-law's (even if I do have to put up with him and my husband picking on me!).

Thankful Day 23:  I'm thankful for Excedrin Migraine.  It helps me through some painful days.

Thankful Day 24:  I couldn't narrow it down today!  (1)  I'm thankful for craft stores and fun crafting machines.  Can't wait to find some time to start playing with my new Cricut!  (2)  I'm thankful for awesome co-workers who will spend their lunch hour with me - in public, no less!  (3)  I'm thankful for super glue that is holding my Santa's broken arm together.  (4)  I'm thankful for the area's classified website that is connecting me to people who have beautiful pianos available.

Thankful Day 25:  I'm thankful for a cozy evening on the couch watching adorable Pixar movies.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thankful Days 17 & 18

Thankful Day 17:  I'm thankful for a warm, comfy bed.  (A bed that usually has an adorable pup in it.)

Thankful Day 18:  Today I'm thankful I made it to work safely.  Freezing rain made driving conditions less than ideal; I passed four accidents on my five mile route.  I'm also thankful for the cautious drivers that were on the road with me.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Thankful Days 12 Through 16

Thankful Day 12:  Today I'm thankful for those little acts of kindness from strangers that put a smile on your face all day long.

This morning on my way to work I let a truck merge into my lane when no one else would, despite the fact that he was signalling and driving politely (that can't be said for most people at that time of day).  The driver merged over again and as we passed one another, he looked over smiling and gave me a thumbs-up.  It's all about small gestures to make each other's days a little brighter.

Thankful Day 13:  On heartbreaking days like today, I'm thankful for those who are spreading love instead of hate.  Sending prayers to Paris.

Thankful Day 14:  I'm thankful for all the laughter in my life.  I'm blessed to know so many people with such wonderful senses of humor.

Thankful Day 15:  I'm thankful I an do laundry from the comfort and convenience of my own home.

Thankful Day 16:  I'm thankful for the beautiful weather we are having this month.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thankful Days 9, 10, and 11

Thankful Day 9:   Today I'm thankful for the little bit of quality time I got with my cousin while she was in town.  Love her so much!  (Photo from one of our 2007 adventures!)

Thankful Day 10:  Today I'm thankful for a job I love.

I'm so very lucky to have a job that I don't mind going to every day and that doesn't much feel like work when I'm there.

Thankful Day 11:  Today I'm thankful for the men and women who have served or are currently serving our country.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Thankful Days 7 & 8

Thankful Day 7:  Today I'm thankful for Saturday morning breakfasts with my husband and parents.

My parents have long been "regulars" at the diner we frequent Saturday mornings and Mitch and I have joined those ranks during this past year or so.  The waitresses and cooks know all our names and orders, share stories about their lives with us.  It makes the experience even more enjoyable.  And did I mention the food is absolutely wonderful?  Diners are the best!

Thankful Day 8:  Today I'm thankful for sunny Sunday afternoons.

One of the little reasons I enjoy weekends is being home to watch the sunshine travel through the house.

Sunday Smile

Friday, November 6, 2015

Thankful Days 5 & 6

Thankful Day 5:  Today I'm thankful for music.  I love that I can always find something to listen to no matter what mood I'm in.  Music truly is magical.  (And, yes, I know I'm old school, burning CDs for my car.)

Thankful Day 6:  Today I'm thankful for thrift stores where other people's trash becomes my treasure.  So many fun items you can't find just anywhere.  Why yes, I would love a dog wearing glasses, reading a book in a shoe for my library!