I've only met a few lovies who don't like this beautiful stuff below. I don't see quite how they don't love it, but whatevs. I love chocolate. I'm not like, addicted, or anything...but we're definitely buddies.
So, you can see how jazzed I am when I head off to the grocery store for ketchup, salsa & buns and ended up buying 9 bags...yup, that's right... Christmas clearance, hello!?!?! All sorts of Dove chocolates that are normally almost $4/bag are only $1.50?!?! yes, please! and Hershey's kisses (even in mint, truffle & my favorite -- peppermint), too!!!
Obviously, I'm playing catch up on our Christmas season. I've been absent from the blogger world & even husband was like, "I haven't read anything from you in a while!" Side thought, that made me happy that husband reads my stuff! :) Even if he doesn't have an interest in this month's favorite nail polish color...or whatever my latest rambling is... :)
ANYWAYS, the explanation for the title of this post. I'll have to check with husband to make sure my facts are straight, but here goes nothing...
Adam's best guy friend, Drew, and his wife, Alyssa, have a little gal named Cameron. One day mister Drew gave husband a call/text & asked him if he could pretend to be an elf because Cam really wanted to talk to an elf. Adam of course obliged, but didn't know what his name was, so asked. Drew said to just come up with something, so the first thing that came to mind was Bernard (is that an elf in SantaClaus? I think it is, actually). Drew also mentioned they were getting a tree, so husband had tucked that away.
Cam called & was so excited to talk to Bernard the elf. She was sort of quiet & shy, but Drew said she was just freaking out after she got off the phone. Adam... I mean, Bernard, chatted with her about the tree & being a good little girl & all the other normal things that elves & kids talk about...
Adam just thought this was the cutest when he was telling me! Especially how excited Cam was. And then, Drew called again to say that Cam wanted to chat with a lady elf. Thus, me. So, she called & we chatted about Santa, the toy shop, her Christmas tree & other normalcies of elf life. The only part that threw me off guard was when she asked where I lived. I panicked & said I lived with Bernard (as I franticly walked over to Adam & was like, "Where do we live?!"). I told her Bernard & I lived in the toy shop & she was pretty disappointed that we didn't live under ground, for some reason...anyways, it was super cute & we got a 'good job' from the parents.
Husband had this great idea of sending her some elf gear! How sweet, right? So, we actually found an elf costume-thing at Target. We packaged it right up with the note you see above. Cameron's response? "Daddy, they want me to be an elf!"
How cute, right?
And here's just some other Christmas packages & our Christmas cards. I love Christmas cards & just getting fun mail, in general. I thought about emailing cards or something like that, but there's just something fun about it... very spirited & it's fun to open mail that's not junk! So, I decided to just do it! Haven't missed a year yet!
Sort of funny is that my brother is like, "Jace! We have 3 kids & you have none! How is you Christmas Letter longer than ours!?" Good point... :)
Hello all & happy Sunday-Funday. I love Sunday because we focus on hanging out & doing NOTHING after church. Husband is watching the Bears right now & I am putzing on Craigslist, trying to get rid of some coats that I have had for way too long. Ever do that? Just need to purge? I am crossing my fingers that I can sell these & get some extra room in my closet... as a side benefit, more cash! Perfect.
Anyways, I just wanted to share with you...DRUMROLL PLEASE... our Christmas cookies this year! Yes, technically we made them on Thanksgiving & my mama says that this will be a tradition every year! I say PERFECT! We had a blast & they turned out great! With lots of sisters & nieces, this is a perfect project for us while the boys are hanging out, watching sports, or sleeping! Or maybe us doing this is what makes them do that? Who knows...
Without further ado, our Christmas cookies...
Well, these are our 'mixing bowls' to come up with some fun colors...but we're getting there!
My mom had these all baked before we got there. I must tell you, my mom has always been SUPER talented at this. People back home always use to want my mama to decorate cookies & cakes for them (for ALL occasions)! She still does sometimes, but has had some carpal tunnel & hand surgeries, so she can't as often! However, they are still so beautiful & I'm glad she is passing on this family tradition!
here they are, people! Just a few of my ones to begin with! She makes the cookies AND frosting from scratch...YUM! If you'd like the recipe, comment below!
My beautiful, talented mama & I decorating cookies!
These are a huge hit with the inlaws & well, really anyone. Plus, I mixed the colors super bright because let's face it, they're more fun!
And don't be alarmed... you may find husband, brothers & daddys in the living room taking a snoozer while you prepare them a yummy treat! SIDENOTE, how cute is that blanket husband is under?! My mama found it at a garage sale! SCORE! I think it looks like an Easter egg... or a Christmas cookie!
Hope you like! If you're local & you want to buy some, send me a message! :)
i found this stocking hat at Wal-Mart for $9.99...what a deal, right? It may've been mine if it wasn't so huge! Anyways, I took a picture to show the husband. When I showed it to him, he was like, "Oh cool... where'd you see that at?" I was like, "What do you mean? That's me at Wal-Mart!" He's like, "Oh man, I thought that was like a little 12 year old boy in it or something!" And scene.
I mean, I guess with no make up & all covered up, it's an easy mistake? ah! anyways, no hard feelings, just hilarity I wanted to share! :o)
There's no doubt about it that my favorite thing to wear is black & ivory...well, those are like my favorite colors to do anything with. staples, if you will. especially when you sass them up with some neon! a couple Sundays ago was no exception. I've worn this a couple times to church & it's a fav. I think I've had that dress for getting close to 10 YEARS! I'm not even kidding -- that's CRAZY! but I love it -- no shame. I think I got it from Kohl's for like under $10, too. Definitely gotten it's use. No intentions of stopping either!
Found that cute belt for $1 at Rue21 -- yup! Normally I don't shop there because there stuff doesn't always last too long, but for $1, this thing has been great! I've worn it a few different times & can wear it around my hips through jeans, too. Love it. Those polka dot bracelets are a couple of my favs! I think they were like $2 from Forever21 years back. Love keeping old stuff & using it over & over! That jacket has been in my closet for over 5 years. I think I found it at like a Kmart or something when I first moved away from mom&dad's! :) And those tights! Some clearance rack when I used to work at The Limited, I think... super cute! But sometimes tights sure do squeeze the life outta your tummy! sidenote!
Oh, and husband was making fun of me... This isn't how he normally looks. It's just, sometimes when I'm like, "Picture time!", he does this sassy, sarcastic, GQ-esque looke... oh, husband! ha!
When I don't know who I'm going to be giving a gift to, it can be tough to figure out what to get... you just sort of have to wing it! So, when a gal from work organized a White Elephant-type gift giving, I just sort of got a bunch of random cuties!
Last year when we did Secret Santa, I got the girl all of the winter essentials: chap stick, lotion, kleenex, hot cocoa, scarf, gloves, etc... she loved that, too...
Vintage NYC calendar...courtesy of Target $1 section. Yes, please.
beDelectable. Have you ever heard of them? I hadn't...ever. But then husband & I went to Kohl's because mommy&daddy-o had given us some Kohl's Cash & we found these little beauties. our favorite (yes, that's right -- OUR -- because husband was even pleasantly suprised at how much his little sniffer liked 'em) was the strawberry. Honestly you guys, it smelled like Strawberries & Creme CremeSavers! MMM. The others were good, but that one was the best.
Lots of notepads, pens & cards courtesy of Target $1 section. Don't you love that section? Best gifts.
And then there is Thelma's. I have had Thelma's one other time at another job. As a thank you to me & a coworker, a patient of ours had Thelma's warm chocolate chip cookies delivered with 1/2 gallon of milk. HOW COOL IS THAT, PEOPLE? Milk & cookies? That's sure to put a smile on anyone's face! I didn't even realize it was the same place!
This time there was a couple other cookies that were okay, but I remember the warm chocolate chip being fantastic. There's something so thoughtful about it. And check out this BOX! Isn't this the neatest? I was captivated! And then you open it & it looks like a little oven! So clever & charming!
I was so excited that we all had to take a picture together!!! :)
Adam has been sick for at least or close-to 2 weeks & I got sick last Saturday. Since we finally landed home at 2:00 a.m. Christmas morning, we've just been sleeping & resting, pretty much. I've watched more episodes of 19 & Counting than I'd like to admit, drank more OJ than I maybe ever have, consumed more packets of Emergen-C in a short time than I want & honestly, am getting restless.
We stayed home Thursday & slept pretty much all day. Thankfully, our physician was able to get us in & we got a z-pac, in addition to cough syrup. I guess we both have bronchitis & sinusitis. We're on the up&up though. Adam was able to work Friday, even though feeling a bit crummy. And tonight has been a big turn around for me.
Adam has been playing a very strict nurse, which I'm not-so-secretly thankful for. He is such a good husband. Even went & bought me ice-cream because it sounded good for my throat. I told him to surprise me with the flavor & he found local, homemade peppermint! on sale! that's my man! :) perfect.
Anyways, as husband says & husband's dad said, "You just play the cards you're dealt!" And that's what we're doing. Even though we're not feeling well, we're trying to look at the positives:
-this sickness is not terminal & just requires a lot of tissues
-we have a nice, warm bed to rest in
-we have some tv to consume us when awake (HA)
-i've got some Bible studying done & husband some reading
So, just trying to be positive in everything. And also to praise Him through our perception of good & praise Him through our perception of bad!
If you read my post here, you know Adam & I focused a little more on giving to other people, rather than receiving ourselves. That's not to say that we weren't blessed with many other things, but we were able to ask for the blessing of gifting to others in need.
A couple organizations we had received from this year were Samaritan's Purse & Heifer International. Samaritan's Purse (the same people who do Operation Christmas Child) is near & dear to us because in addition to the donations & helping others with food, water, animals, etc...they also are 'helping in Jesus name'.
Here is a little ditty from their website:
The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) gives a clear picture of God's desire for us to help those in desperate need wherever we find them. For 35 years, Samaritan's Purse has followed Christ's command by aiding the world's poor, sick, and suffering. We are an effective means of reaching hurting people in countries around the globe with food, medicine, and other assistance in the Name of Jesus Christ. This, in turn, earns us a hearing for the Gospel, the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
We had never heard of Heifer International until this year, but it's pretty much the same without being Christ-centered, is my understanding at least. We are thankful for each & every gift of a donation we received because it will be a blessing to others. I have been praying over these gifts that the Lord multiplies them like the fish & bread.
We went over to our pastor & his wife's home a month or so ago. We had the opportunity to fellowship with them until late & it was a blast. Sarah, our pastor's wife, had said they were receiving a goat donation in their family's name from her mother. One thing that she said as we were chatting, is that, she would much rather have her kiddos see that they are getting a gift like that that will help other people in the name of Jesus, than getting countless other plastic things that will break. That doesn't meant the other things aren't appreciated, but Adam & I feel the same way. I thought that was so wise. Your kiddos will see that & learn a servant's/giving heart young. There is even a catalog to look through, so you can pick something out for someone else!
I'll admit, selfishly, I like getting things on my list. But I felt my heart being pulled in this direction. To give to others. It wasn't easy at first, but I could just cry when I think about the blessing this will be to others. It can seriously change lives. It can produce jobs, money, nourishment, and the list goes on & on to our brothers & sisters in Christ.
Anyways, I just wanted to share this from my heart. Again, it's not that we're against gifts -- we're not! They're so fun! And can be a blessing, a relationship-builder, so thoughtful, etc... But in addition to them, we were overwhelmed with the joy this has brought us & will bring to others & we wanted to share!
Here are a few of the goodies that I received this year (if you want a link of any, just comment below)!
One thing that has been laid upon our heart's this year is others in need. There are plenty of things on Adam & my 'wish list', but when we really look at what the Lord has blessed us with, it's significant. We have food. We have clothing. We have shelter. We have each other. The list goes on & on.
One analogy that our pastor was ministering about was a father with a few kiddos. One of his kiddos is rich & with extravagant means. His other kiddo is starving with no food, water. His other kiddo has no shoes so gets much infection. Instead of helping his brothers & sisters, he keeps all the wealth for himself & let them starve & be sick. This is analogous to us all being children of God. And when one of us is blessed, we are able to help others who have less & need.
Now, I am totally NOT saying gifts are bad... no, no, no... They can actually be really beneficial... relationship builders, thoughtfulness, blessings, etc... I'm just saying for Adam & I, this is how we felt this year. We knew there would be a want to get us more (& we appreciate that, too), so we did put other things on our list, but we did put this at the start of our Christmas List:
rather than a physical gift, feel free to donate something in my name. a ministry close to my heart is Samaritan's Purse. you can buy a family/person in need a goat, drinking water, etc...there are many things that people in all different countries are needing & what a blessing this could/would be! http://www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/gift-catalog/
Adam & I both received donations to Samaritan's Purse for 'wherever the need is most' in our name. In addition to that, someone will receive baby chicks in my name! And lastly from a dear friend (who didn't even see our lists), we received a donation to Heifer International for a Basket of Hope (rabbits & a starter flock of chickens). All of these gifts can provide food for nourishment, cam boost income through sales of eggs & offspring, and help people/communities thrive. These gifts were actually husband's favorites!
Thanks to everyone for their thoughtfulness this year while we celebrated the birth of our Lord Jesus!
I hadn't until I just kept hearing the ads non-stop on the radio. Then I realized it was coming to our church! We were asked to help volunteer at the event! Adam is always willing to help, but wasn't too sure about an all-girls event with screaming tweens! He did a great job & we had a good time!
Basically, Secret Keeper Girl Tour that we helped at is a Christ-centered mother/daughter concert/date night! It's for tweens & is focused on sharing the gospel with girls, as well as chatting to them about boys, modesty, friendships & much more. It was founded by Dannah Gresh to be a fun night becoming God-Crazy! It was so cute getting to see all of these little girls & their mommys, some with CRAZY hair, getting so excited to go to this concert & worship!
Adam was able to take tickets at the door & use this cool little scanner thing & I got to be the head of the merchandise table (which sort of scared me because I was the go-to & we all just got a crash-course)! However, I had an absolute blast. I'm not kidding -- one of the funnest nights I've had in a while. There's was so much pink, brightness & glitter! Even the iPad cases we were taking payments on were completely glitter (the resin kind that doesn't get everywhere)! :) By the way, have you ever heard of Square? That's what we used to take payments & it was the coolest! If I ever really get up & going with Etsy or something, I'll definitely be looking into that! :)
What a fun rush it was to have hundreds of moms & daughters & yelling "Who's ready?" or "Who's next?" I know that doesn't appeal to many, but I was a rolling! And it was fun because even through the madness, I was able to smile & be a kind heart to all of these little gals & their moms.
Sidenote, the 'training girl', Britney, I think? was so sweet. Such a cute, woman of God. And her little southern twang helped, too! And she's getting engaged/married soon? So happy for her & her future! :) She told us she thought we were the most darling little couple, too! Score! :)
My outfit! It definitely fit in well with the Secret Keeper Girl theme! However, this sweater-dress thing...ugh. It kept riding up on me...I was so worried because hello! part of this whole sha-bang is MODESTY, people! And a dress riding up is NOT! ah! I also caught a sharp part of a corner & put a run in my tights -- bummer! :( Other than that, love it!
This is obviously my super adorable husband who sacrificed a night to come hang out with a few thousand screaming 12 year old girls! He's going to be a great daddy! And he's just an all around great guy & I am thankful for him!
Some of the stage props before go-time! Those are real balloons -- I touched them to be sure! :)
And then us little nuggets after the rush! I think before intermission or before the end of the night? I don't know...!? Either way, check out the poster behind me & go HERE for some great resources on Godly literature for moms, kids, even boys!
Sidenote, this night was an encouragement for me personally, too. Adam & I try to give a lot of our time as another form of giving besides tithe. We try to volunteer lots in our church as a way of serving others & God. We were chatting with a couple ladies & they expressed much gratitude & thanks for us. They were saying how much they appreciated our serving hearts & that they were so grateful! And that even though we haven't been there for a super-long time, so many people know who we are just because of that & know they can call on us! What an encouragement that was to hear. I think God put that gratitude in their hearts to be an encouragement for me! :)
Mister A taking a little breather before we pack up for the night & the final rush!
Just wanted to share this neat little fellowship we were able to be a part of. It was a great time & a great encouragement! If you ever have an opportunity to go with your daughter, I recommend it, even though I didn't get to see much of the show (I was told it was great & useful from some Christian mommy friends)!
Every year (usually) around Thanksgiving & Christmas & New Year's, my side of the family has this tradition of getting a hotel to stay at. So, we ventured out the weekend of the 20th-22nd & had ourselves a much-enjoyed hang out session before Christmas festivities began!
You know there are little kiddos running around when we're playing with ABC blocks... oh, who am I kidding, I do that anyways... i kid, i kid...
Here are some of the Christmas gifts that I had wrapped. I'll be honest, I was going to do all of them with the brown craft paper, but it was so frustrating...and I just am not that good at wrapping. So, I cheated & used some of the candy cane looking paper...by the way, found it at Dollar Tree - BAM! The gingham you see is actually packing tape! :) Easy & festive!
How cute are these houndstooth labels? Loved 'em.
I forgot to rotate this picture, but I thought my sister, Lyndsey, did a super cute wrapping job! The damask is one of my favorite patterns (used in our wedding) & the lime green & red is such a cute accent, I had to take a picture!
My littlest nephew, Blake, and his little tootsies while we were at the hotel!
I was trying to show you this shirt, but the picture is blurry! If you look at the above pic, you can see the entire thing is sequins! $3.59 special at Goodwill! I even washed it & my washer/dryer was FILLED to the brim with sequins. So, there's a lot on there. It was kind of a joke, but I just like weird, loud, bright stuff, too. I thought it was funny. My mom said she thought it was 'gorgeous', bless her heart...my sisters were all kinda laughing...and my little niece, Addison, goes, "Oh, Aunt J, you just look beautiful!" HA, so sweet.
And mister A with some new tools! :)
What a busy year it's been. Lots of drive-time, but that's okay because when I haven't fallen asleep, husband & I usually have really great chat sessions & jam sessions. :)
-December 20-22nd was spent at the hotel.
-Side trip on Dec. 21st for my grandma's Christmas
-December 23rd was my mom & dad's Christmas
-December 24th was Adam's side Christmas
-December 25th we were finally back home: safe & sick
Hope that you all had the Merriest Christmas & don't forget the Reason for the Season -- Christ's BIRTHDAY! :) Happy Birthday, Jesus! Thanks for coming to save us!