Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Eve 2011

This year, we decided to do another fondue party (I think its now tradition). And just like last year, we had way too much food, but it was all so good.

We were excited that Todd & Randi (and their cute little boy) could join us for the night. The gummy bears and marshmallows were a big hit for the little guy. 

Since everything was so good last year, we decided to make all the sauces again. We had Parmesan Fondue, Cider Cheese Fondue, Strawberry Fondue, Caramel sauce and melted chocolate. It was all so good! For a while we just all stood around the crockpots dipping our food. I don't think it was until round two (of many rounds) of eating that we finally started using plates. 

We also had meat for the guys. Josh brought elk steaks (sorry no picture of that). Then Kim & Brandon brought meatballs and the little mini hot dogs. 

Then they also brought bacon wrapped tator tots. Those were such a hit, they were halfway gone before I could get a picture.

We each got some fun new Wii games for Christmas, so we spent the night playing Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Just Dance 3, a Broadway Dance game, Mario Cart and other games. We always have such a blast with everyone when we get together.

At midnight we watched the ball drop (well, I guess that was a replay for us since we are 2 hours behind). Then we went outside and lit off a few fireworks that were left over from July. Thankfully it wasn't near as cold as last year. In fact, Josh says it was 64 degrees warmer then last year. Last year, when we got to the party it was a negative 32 degrees. This year it was 32 degrees, but in the positives.

Josh and I stayed the night at Andrew & Jessica's and the next morning we went out to breakfast. Because of our small town, it was hard to find somewhere open. We had a blast and are already talking about what we want to do next year.

2011 Resultions - The Results

I didn't quite meet all of my resolutions for 2011, but really, this was the 1st year I've actually wrote out a list of resolutions, so just that was a big deal for me. Then to see how well I did on them, that was a big deal too.

1. Craft more. Yep, I did that. I had gotten specific and said I wanted to get into card making. I started out strong on that. But then I seemed to burn out. I did make Mother's Day cards for our moms and grandma's and I think they each loved getting a handmade card for me. Also this year, I handmade my Christmas cards. I made about 80 and I think that is what burned me out on cards. But I made enough that I already have next years cards ready.

I hand made most of my Christmas gifts again and LOVED that. My scrapbooks turned out so wonderful. And I loved making the coasters and now seeing them around the office. I think my favorite craft of the year was my nephew blocks; I love looking at those every day. I'll just stare at them and think "what cute nephews I have."

2. Exercise. This is the goal I set already planning on failing. Getting in shape seems to be EVERY ONE'S goal so I felt pressured to make sure it was on my list. When I set this goal I had NO idea that I would end the year 5 sizes smaller and 60 pounds lighter! What an amazing feeling. I worked hard, but it paid off. And I am proud of myself, I showed the world that you can make it a New Year's Resolution to loose weight and follow through with it. Well, I did set it in January, but didn't actually work on it until March. But 10 months of the year is pretty good, if I must say so myself.

3. Save for a cruise. Let's just say that I'm still working on this one. And since the cruise is only 4 months away its time I got serious. But it is booked and our passports are in the process of being made.

4. Housework. Hm, maybe this will have to be on next years list too.

5. Pay the truck off. I LOVE paying off vehicles, but it feels even better to pay them off early. :) I think overall, we paid it off 7 months earlier then our term on the loan.

6. Health issues. My PCOS did fine, right up until the end of the year. I'm now on a new period regulation pill (aka birth control, but I have the no sperm for that), hopefully it will help get my body back to normal.

I also had some foot pain that I finally addressed. I can't remember when, but it was around May, I finally went to see a doctor. My right foot has always hurt. I can't remember a time when it didn't. Some days its not too bad, but other days I can't hardly walk on it. Turns out I have plantar fasciitis. My doctor was great and talked about all of my options. I ended up leaving with some semi-custom arch supports and a cortisone shot. The arch support don't fit in most of my shoes, but I have found that Sketcher's Shape Up shoes work just as well. I have a pair of sneakers for exercise and then some nicer dress type shoes for work. But sometimes I still cave and wear my sexy shoes. By the end of the day my feet are killing me, so I don't do that often. Some other things that help are some foot stretching exercises (that I never remember to do) and icing my foot when the pain is bad. The best way is to freeze a pop bottle full of water. Then I can just roll my foot over it. The cortisone shot helped for about 6 weeks, then the pain slowly came back. It took me until December to finally go get another shot. This one has not worked as well. Right now I'm undecided about what I want to do. My doctor told me there is a surgery I can have, but I'm not ready to consider that, at least not yet.

7. Just enjoy life more. 2011 was an awesome year for me.

Now I just need to decide on some goals for 2012....

Christmas Tree Kit

In December, I got a few kits from the Idea Closet. But because it was such a busy month, I was only able to get one put together. I'll just have to get the other kits done before next Christmas.

Books Read in 2011

Here is a list of the books I read in 2011. Eighty-seven books total. 

"Run Away Home" by Jennie Hansen
"Journey Home" by Jennie Hansen
"Coming Home" by Jennie Hansen
"When Tomorrow Comes" by Jennie Hansen
Once Upon a Time Series "Water Song" by Suzanne Weyn

"The Highwayman of Tanglewood" by Marcia Lynn McClure
"Search for the Bark Warwick" by Sherry Ann Miller
"Search for the Bark Warwick II" by Sherry Ann Miller
"The River Path" by Jennie Hansen
"A Crimson Frost" by Marcia Lynn McClure

"Saphyre Snow" by Marcia Lynn McClure
"Beneath the Honeysuckle Vine" by Marcia Lynn McClure
"The Visions of Ranson Lake" by Marcia Lynn McClure
"Charly" Jack Weyland
"Sam" Jack Weyland

"Mark of Royalty"  by Jennifer K. Clark & Stephonie K. Williams
"Courting Miss Lancaster" Sarah M Eden
"Adam's Story" by Jack Weyland
Once Upon a Time Series "The Night Dance" by Suzanne Weyn
"Kissing Cousins" by Marcia Lynn McClure

"Flower of the Winds" by Dorothy Keddington
"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J. K. Rowley
"Born for Thorton's Sake" by Marcia Lynn McClure
"Love Me" by Marcia Lynn McClure
"Mrs. Mike" by Benedict & Nancy Freedman

"The Time of Aspen Falls" by Marcia Lynn McClure
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #3, "Moraility For Beautiful Girls" by Alexander McCall Smith
"Captive Heart" by Michelle Paige Holmes
"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by J. K. Rowley
"The Kiss of a Stranger" by Sarah M. Eden

"Stardust" by Neil Gaiman
Once Upon a Time Series "The World Above" by Cameron Dokey
"Beyond Summer Dreams" by Jennie Hansen
"All I Hold Dear" by Jennie Hansen
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J. K. Rowley

"The Prairie Prince" by Marcia Lynn McClure
"Relentless" by Clair Poulson
"Lost and Found" by Clair Poulson
"The Guise of a Gentleman" by Donna Hatch
"To Catch a Pirate" by Jade Parker

"Fragrance of Lilacs A Love Story" by Alene Roberts 
"Marley & Me" by John Grogan
"Masquerade" by Sierra St. James
"The Ball's in her Court" by Heather Justesen
"Rebound" by Heather Justesen

Once Upon a Time Series "Violet Eyes" by Debbie Viguie
"Shackles of Honor" by Marcia Lynn McClure
"The Rogue Knight" by Marcia Lynn McClure
Once Upon a Time Series "Wild Orchid" by Cameron Dokey
Once Upon a Time Series "Scarlet Moon" by Debbie Viguie

"The Walk" by Richard Paul Evans
"Miles to Go" by Richard Paul Evans
"Weathered too Young" by Marcia Lynn McClure
Once Upon a Time Series "Midnight Pearls" by Debbie Viguie
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" by J. K. Rowling

"The Windswept Flame" by Marcia Lynn McClure
"Blank Slate" by Heather Justesen
"The Light of the Lovers' Moon" by Marcia Lynn McClure
"Kiss in the Dark" by Marcia Lynn McClure
"Bandit's Hope" by Marcia Gruver 

"Pipit's Song" by Alene Roberts
"Sweet Cherry Ray" by Marcia Lynn McClure
Once Upon a Time Series " Beauty Sleep" by Cameron Dokey
"Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter" by Jennifer Grant
"Divine Deception" by Marcia Lynn McClure

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" by J. K. Rowley
Once Upon a Time Series "The Crimson Thread" by Suzanne Weyn
Once Upon a Time Series "The Storyteller's Daughter" by Cameron Dokey
"Take a Walk With Me" by Marcia Lynn McClure
"The Trove of the Passion Room" by Marcia Lynn McClure

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" by J. K. Rowley
"The Blog" by Carolyn Adams Hanchett
"The Pirate Ruse" by Marcia Lynn McClure
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" by J. K. Rowley
"The Sound of Rain" by Anita Stansfield

"A Distant Thunder" by Anita Stansfield
"Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen
"Winds of Hope" by Anita Stansfield
Once Upon a Time Series "Golden" by Cameron Dokey
"The Whispered Kiss" by Marcia Lynn McClure

Once Upon a Time Series "The Diamond Secret" by Suzanne Weyn
"Frenchman's Creek" by Daphne Du Maurier
"The Haunting of Autumn Lake" by Marcia Lynn McClure
"The Tide of Mermaid Tears" by Marcia Lynn McClure
Once Upon a Time Series "Belle" by Cameron Dokey

"The Chimney Sweep Charm" Marcia Lynn McClure
"Romantic Vignettes" by Marcia Lynn McClure

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Josh's 30th Birthday

Josh turned 30 yesterday. He thinks that makes him an old man. :p But since 30 isn't that far for me, I refuse to believe 30 is old.
We weren't able to really surprise each other for Christmas, but I was able to figure out a few surprises for his birthday.

 He's been complaining that he needs a new ice fishing pole. I was nervous to buy it on my own. I tried out a few in the store and then bought my favorite. I lucked out and bought the exact one he's been looking at.

 He's also been complaining that he needed more coyote traps. One day I got him to mention a specific kind. I knew the website he likes to buy from, so I went there and was able to find them pretty easy. But since I'm addicted to Amazon and get free shipping on most items, I decided to check there first. I was surprised Amazon had them, but they did and for the exact same price. So I ordered from Amazon. Then when Josh would ask about his birthday I would just tell him, "I found something on Amazon I'm pretty sure you'll like." He had no idea! He was thrilled when he opened the box to see it had SIX coyote traps inside.

The rest of his birthday loot included a box of cinnamon muddy bears and 2 new Wii games, Guitar Hero 5 and a Cabela's hunting game.

His birthday cake turned out kind of disastrous, so no picture of it. He wanted a chocolate cake with his grandma's fluffy white frosting. Usually I just make a regular cake and frost the top, but this time I wanted to make a round cake. Turns out the frosting is gooey and won't stick to the cake, gravity slowly pushes it downward. By the time we were ready to eat it, the cake was only covered in a thin layer of frosting and the rest had pooled around the bottom of the cake. But it was still delish.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Christmas

Our presents, wrapped in paper to match the colors of our tree. Can you tell I have OCD?

In the 10 years we've been married, we've never done stockings. But this year we decided to start. On a side note, there is a tree skirt that matches my stocking. It was sold out this year, but I hope to get it before next year.

Josh's stocking included:
a Chocolate orange
Reese's Snowman
Kit Kat Bars
Nutcracker Snickers
9 suckers
$30 in iTune cards
Ear buds
A book light
an Avocado peeler.

Funny story on the book light. In February, I bought a book light while on a trip so I could read while he slept. A few months later, while at home, we decided to read before bed. Josh told me we should get a second book light so we can read in bed. I told him if we were both going to read in bed, we could just leave the light on. Its been a long running joke since then.

Until 3 weeks ago when the power went out while we were eating dinner. We lit a candle to finish eating dinner, but after that we were bored. We decided to read, but we had to share the book light. We cuddled together, clipped the book light on my book and then each read different books. After a minute Josh told me he was right, we clearly needed a second book light. So the next day, I went online and ordered him one.

My stocking included:
Reese's Snowman
Kit Kat Bars
Nutcracker Snickers
A cat necklace
the Pampered Chef Bamboo serving set
Two Rascal Flatts CD's
$50 iTunes gift card

After opening our stockings, we had breakfast. Last year, Josh made crepe's. They were so good we decided to have them again this year.

Josh's gift are on the left. I gave him:
A new hoodie
the 2012 Big Game Calendar
A hunting cookbook
New winter camo (Excpet the pants were sold out, so those will be coming later.)
Rock Band Country Track Pack 2 Wii game
Cabela's Hunting 2012 Wii game
My gifts are on the right. Josh gave me:
An iHome alarm clock
a jewelry box
a pie pastry mat
Just Dance 3 Wii game
bathrobe w/ matching slippers

We each loved our gifts, but I was surprised at how much Josh loved the cook book. It was one of those after thought gifts. Randi thought she had seen a Halloween cookbook, so I gave her a check so she could get it for me. But when she went to get it, she realized it was a hunting cookbook. I told her to get it anyways. Then I just set it aside until Christmas. I'm so glad I decided to get it for him.

And he LOVES his new Wii games. He immediately put in Rock Band and played it until I had to pull him away so we could go to dinner at his parents. Well, I played it too, but not near as much. I only like playing the guitars. I played with him until I rubbed a sore spot on my thumb. But when I quit playing to get ready, he just kept playing. And then he played it again that night and again last night.

I love my iHome alarm clock. It has so many features. And the jewelry box was just what I needed. Until now, my jewelry was just thrown randomly on my dresser. It was a pain to find matching earrings and then to remember what necklaces and bracelets I had to match different outfits.

I was so excited that Barb gave me pj pants that happen to match my bathrobe and slippers.

Christmas was fabulous. But only just the beginning of our celebrations. Josh turned 30 today and I turn 29 in two weeks. Then a month later we will celebrate our 11th anniversary. Guess I should figure out what I want for my birthday.

Christmas with Josh's family

For Tyler: (I also got him a tow truck toy, but forgot to put it in the picture.) I bought each of my nephews the "I'd rather be with my aunt" shirt this fall. It was so hard to keep them until Christmas.

For Preston: (I also got him a transformer that you build on your own, but forgot to put it in the picture.)

Just a few of my favorite pages that I made for Barbara & Melanie.

I forgot to take a picture of Natalie & Dallon's gift. They got a wildlife calendar (so did Matt & Colter) and then an assortment of Pampered Chef kitchen items. Then I also gave them a copy of the cookbook I made a few years ago. I told Dallon to make sure Natalie knew his favorite cookie recipe was in there.

The boys were playing around with some of Dallon's old cowboy hats.

Dallon bought Josh a tripod connection thing and got me a gift certificate to my favorite salon. Melanie & her family gave Josh a gift certificate to Sportsman's Warehouse and me a gift certificate to the Dress Barn. Josh's parents gave us each a pair of pj pants, a jar of Barb's holiday jam (which is already nearly gone, Josh loves that stuff), some chocolates and a Visa gift card that we plan to use on our cruise.

Christmas with my family

We spent Christmas Eve with my mom's family. Since we weren't going to be there the next day, my siblings and I did our gift exchange then.

For John:

For Alden: (He wanted money to put towards his Wii fund.) 

For Daxsen:

For Valex:
I also bought the boys a play tunnel and a toy that rolls balls around on the floor, but I forgot to take a picture before wrapping it. As you can tell, their aunt Savannah loves to spoil them.

For my mom and sister, I made them each a scrapbook. I also did the same for Josh's mom and sister. I have been working on these books since August. I also made myself one at the same time, so total, I made 6 books. When stacked on top of each other, they were 2 feet tall. I've only included a few pictures of my favorite pages. 

I know its not normally a good thing to make your mom cry, but when I make my own gifts that is exactly the reaction I hope for. And the reaction I got. My mom and sister loved their books. The next day, my dad called to wish my a Merry Christmas and Vanessa had shown him her book and he loved it too. I hope to make this a tradition and help them build their books every year. 

Since my mom's family was able to be there, she asked one of John's friends to come take our picture. We took a few pictures before we realized John was missing. (He was upstairs playing xBox.) But I love how Daxsen and Valex look in this picture, so I had to include it.

My 2nd favorite part of the night was everyone telling me how good I look. Two days before, I hit the big 60 pounds lost mark. I decided that deserved a few new clothes so I could show it off during Christmas dinner and celebrations.

My absolute favorite part of the night was cuddling with Daxsen. We walked in the door that night, I took my coat off and then made a beeline for Vanessa so I could take him from her. I held him through all of dinner and then through most of opening presents. Right at the end my grandma begged for him by trying to convince me it would be easier to open gifts with both hands. I finally gave him up because she lives further away and doesn't see him as often. I wouldn't have passed him off to anyone else.

My uncle Glade and Tamara gave us a tub of popcorn. My aunt Renee and Janet gave us some money. My grandma gave us some mints. She gave everyone else cherry chocolates, but didn't want to screw up my hard work on my diet so she gave us the mints instead. I love that she thought of me that way. 

My brother Alden gave us a house plant and a box of stuff to start a kitchen herb garden. John gave us an itunes gifts card. Vanessa & her family gave us money that we are going to put aside for our cruise. But what I loved most was the card and the note she wrote inside. I love that I'm finally getting closer to my siblings and I love that they love it too.

My mom combined our Christmas gifts with our birthday gifts. Josh got a gift card to Cabala's. I got an assortment of Pampered Chef stuff that I've been wanting. I can't wait to use it all. I got the large bamboo tongs, the mini wire whisk and the three sizes of scoops. I also got the cake pedestal as an early birthday gift.