A New Year’s Party & Getaway

Hubs and I love to throw a party, and he indicated that he’d love a New Year’s Wine and Cheese party to usher in 2016 consider that DONE. We asked all guests to bring a wine and cheese to share (though some went rouge and brought beer, to everyone’s enjoyment) and we provided some sweets as well. I never saw the need for “wine charms” or “wine markers” until 5 hours before the party, so we stopped at Cost Plus World Market. We’re frugal and I refused to pay $15 for bits of plastic and instead picked up gift tags that I tied onto glasses. I made a fruity punch (a blend of apple, cranberry, pomegranate, and cherry juice with diced up apples and oranges in) that guests could add their own mixer into (IMO-champs). Funny story—while we were registering back in the day, we passed a drink dispenser and J said, “babe, would you ever want one?” to which I sheepishly replied “I already have one.” The dispenser has gotten a lot of love at our parties! The party was fun and full of good friends and we all made it to midnight for a champagne toast. The party continued late into the night (I fell asleep on the sofa).

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The next morning we were awake bright and early and we saw some friends off and we took ourselves off to Durham, North Carolina for a weekend retreat.

The weekend was full of some decent food, a brewery, and we took in some lovely sights. Highlights included the Duke gardens and the brewery. J often says it does not matter what you it is just who you are with that is important and that proved true. We stayed frugal on this trip and ate dinners in and on Saturday night since we did not want to go back to our hotel at 6:30 we walked around a mall and we had so much fun window shopping and laughing at ridiculous items (and fell in like with expensive sheets). We did not consider how taxing a 6 hour drive was and we were wiped out by the time we got home, but I would not have changed our plans in the slightest. I love weekends with my love!

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Christmas Presents between the T’s

Last year J and I did something I always wanted to do, a 3-gift policy of something needed, wanted, and to watch or read.

This year I excitedly requested to do this again and was shut down QUICKLY. Since hubs was not feeling to do that again, we went back to the drawing board. First, we set a spending limit (which as the story progresses goes down and down). Then, we asked what the other wanted. I had already received my life’s best gift (J) so I was pretty satisfied. And having just gotten done getting married we are still using new kitchen gadgets and gizmos (and the few remaining items on our registry do not lend themselves to sweet husband and wife gifts at the moment…knives, anyone?) and our house is full. I got a lot of new clothes for work and was not wanting anything in that department, and while jewelry is always welcome, I just came off of getting a beautiful piece for birthday so I was good there too. J wanted NOTHING, so that kinda made the limit moot.

I then suggested doing stockings (and I LOVE stockings) but again, there wasn’t a lot we needed (and I also did not finish crafting the stockings in time for Christmas).

Our next suggestion was something for home—we are both wanting new bedding and new throw pillows for the couch. We both moved forward with bedding, but then I found the last of a giftcard that will cover the bedding so that got temporarily tabled to a February project.

Still wanting to exchange something, we gave each other a $15 limit and said good luck!

When we opened our gifts at the beach and we both opened socks to each other! J has a soft spot for patterened socks and I had fun picking them out for him. He noticed I liked lace topped boot socks on Shark Tank and ordered me a pair. It’ll probably always make me smile that the T’s first Christmas gift to one another was socks.

Christmas Week Recap

Compliments of my employer, I had an entire paid week off for the holiday season. My husband, who had ample vacation time, was quick to cash in some time and we had a week off together! However, Christmas celebrations started about a week before that with a full Sunday in Athens. We tried to pack in the most visits as possible, and enjoyed non-crowded shopping in Athens where we picked up gifts for a family who my workplace adopted for the holidays. The next Saturday before our week off we got ourselves packed and then I went to a concert with Brookie. The concert was JohnnySwim and they are so talented! I had a great time, and granny here really appreciated the fact that we also had seats in the venue.

On Sunday morning we go to get up early to get down to the beach and BAM. Headache from hades, to the point I could not hold my head up. We get out the door about an hour and a half later and the headache just would not go away (foreshadowing). We met the Mr.’s parents and grandad about 2 hours from the beach and I rallied for the visit, but then pleaded with Joe again to drive the rest of the way. After a stop at Wal-Mart and Red Box to rent Jurassic World and made it to the house.

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This cart contents said: I don’t feel so good.

The headache was joined by its BFF nausea and the next few hours were spent going from bad to worse. Side note, Jurassic World was a surprisingly awesome watch (worth the hype, who woulda figured?).

Monday morning was felt with marginal better feelings, a large bowl of sherbet (to J’s dismay), and after a long beach walk I was feeling pretty awesome! A visit with the grands and then we went to try dinner. Mistake #2, body said “I hate food!” and back to sherbet and pretzels I went.

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Beach walks are better with this one.

The following morning we got ourselves together, went for a rainy beach walk, and departed for Albany (with me finally driving for once!). Our time in Albany was spent with lots of family. There was cooking, eating, Trains, prezzies, walking, resting, and more cooking and eating. We went back to Atlanta on Saturday and had a full Sunday of going to church and cleaning and sorting out our apartment.

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Competition is FIERCE.

Christmas Decorations, Crafting, and Baking 2015

It is easy to report on the baking and crafting front for Christmas 2015. Baking—none (75 degree days do not lend themselves to wanting to heat my house up with the oven) and I’m only working on two Christmas crafts—an ornament (more on that later) and our stockings. Our stockings did not get done before Christmas (still a WIP) but that’s okay since we did not do stockings this year (another story, another post).

Decorations though, that’s another story! The T’s trimmed the tree in early December and it was so fun! Last year we did not get up a tree (long distance dating followed by 2 weeks in South Georgia did not lend themselves to the efforts of J putting up a tree) so this year it was our “first Christmas tree!” and I have not had a Christmas tree in almost 7 years (rosemary trees barely count). I had helped haul J’s Christmas tree box and decorations between the moves and I was excited to finally build the tree. J was in charge of putting up the tree while I continued to lug out boxes of decorations and unwrap them (that sounds excessive. There were 2 boxes).

I excitedly went to the tree once Joe had it completed and could hardly stifle my laughter.

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The tree was a 1982 beauty that left a little to be desired…OMG. We were cracking up together at the tree’s sparseness. Newlyweds, let’s just say that Christmas decorations and traditions are two areas where CLEAR differences in opinions and backgrounds becomes quickly apparent.

Area one: Lights

J was charged with putting up the lights and finished in lightning speed…because he made one strand stretch through the ENTIRE tree. While the tree isn’t much, it (IMO) needed more than one strand because THE MORE LIGHTS THE MORE MERRIMENT. I took off his attempt and then did it myself while talking about how you have to wrap the limbs, and really fill up the tree. J is a saint in most ways, and let me have at it (and even agreeing on the more lights, more better mentality).

Area two: Tree decorating

While I was carefully lighting up the tree, I asked J, “love, what do you think about those trees that are all white lights, or have a theme?” It was clearly a leading question, as in leading towards something I like. J goes, “I make fun of those trees.” And just like that, visions of trees in white lights dashed from my head. In the T’s future will be trees full of color FOREVER. And never topped with a bow.

I’ve heard of knock-down drag-out fights between couples over differences in Christmas celebration opinions, and I acknowledge that we’re fortunate to have missed out on most of those. We were both completely willing to budge to the other’s request or whim. Things that are important to me tend to be important to him. The smooth sailing may be rocked once children are entered into the T equation (we already have expressed our differences on Santa…I’m a strong no, he’s a strong yes), but for now, it was fa-la-laing all the day long in the T home.

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Fall 2015 Snapshot

Fall 2015 included a lot of biggies…learning my way in the city, learning a new job, learning to be a wife…lots of learning and adjusting. Here are a few snapshots of Fall (which if I do not blog or journal…I will not remember):

We hosted a Halloween game night, which prompted us to finally hang up pictures on the wall and unpack our china cabinet. This may surprise many, but for the most part I don’t give a huge flip on picture hanging. I eyeball it, put in the nail, and about 99% of the time I’m entirely satisfied. Enter J:

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I love my engineer.

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We went as Roger and Anita from 101 Dalmatian’s for our costumes!

I attended my first (and last) wine festival…last because I like pacing myself over a glass of wine instead of non-stop samplings for hours.

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For Thanksgiving we travelled north to visit my (our) family and had the best time:

We took hikes (and celebrated me turning 30 with a hike!):

We also celebrated me turning 30 with a tasty dinner at Empire State South:

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He really is the cutest.

And my beloved church in Athens had the grand opening of their building!

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And some favorites came in from Scotland.

And that was a snapshot of our fall!

New job, new clothes.

The lack of blogging can be attributed nearly 100% to my funemployment switching over to real employment. I cannot be more thankful for where I work at and working is a blast. One fun part of the new job was getting to begin a total big-girl, business professional wardrobe.

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New love: Talbots. #dontjudge

I logged lots of time in dressing rooms in the week before I started work looking for appropriate duds. Hindsight says I should have gotten a few outfits then gone for more once I was in the office. I thought I’d be all about wearing trousers in this new job, forgetting I hate them. Guess what? I still hate them, but I now have quite  a few really nice pairs that I force myself to wear on a regular basis.

I did consider how I bought shoes one of my shining moments though! I hate buying shoes. Hate-hate-hate it. One night while I was lamenting my lack of finding acceptable shoes it hit me to order a boat-load, then return the extras.

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It was fantastic. I had a great time AT HOME trying on ALL the shoes I was possibly interested in, and returning the 4 pairs I did not like. The only drawback was hauling them up the stairs and then back out, but hey, small price.

I did want a grown-up lady bag, so I enlisted the help of my favorite Aunt C to aid in finding me one. She found a stellar one on sale in Wisconsin that I ordered (and visited in real life the next day to confirm how much I loved it). With it being cold now I prefer a book bag so I can keep my hands in my pocket, but I can’t wait to use it in the spring-early fall.

And that’s my work wardrobe! Spring edition will include NO pants, and more dresses.

Ice Cream! Finally.

We received some really awesome presents at our wedding and one that hubs was most excited about was the Kitchenaid Ice Cream maker attachment. Reviews talked about how very easy it was to have “fresh, homemade ice cream in no time.” Why it does take very little time for ice cream base to become ice cream, it does take HOURS of forethought and prep-work to get to having ice cream in your bowl.
Step one, the bowl. The bowl has to be frozen for at least 15 hours. I may or may have not have a small freezing problem (Freeze everything!) and bulk buy frozen broccoli. We are pretty short on freezer space in the T home. Getting the bowl into the freezer takes adult Tetris to make it fit, and prayers that nothing will smack you in the face when you open the door.
Step two, the base. I went to the grocery store last week and purchased all my ingredients (even grabbing the next to last half-and-half containers). I get home to read through the directions and BAM! This awesome mixture you make has to cool for at least 8 hours. And the mixture you cook requires moving often times hot liquid back and forth between two pans. On Sunday prep day, that is just something you don’t want to read. I despondently called out to hubs, “you’re getting ice cream later this week.” Making the base wasn’t too bad once I read through the directions in entirety a few times (a necessary kitchen skill anyway) and got it made with minimal spillage and no burns.
Step three, assemble the attachment. It took two YouTube videos to figure out how to put on the drive attachment, but after that it was smooth sailing (and it was ridiculously easy to put on. So easy that we doubted it).
Step four, make ice cream. And here is when it is really easy. Turn on the machine. Pour in the base. Set the timer. Go about your business, add in mix ins if you’d like (in our case, Oreo cookies), let it finish, enjoy. Our first endeavor was a bit soupy, but I am chalking that up to amateur problems.
AND WE ARE DONE. And having ice cream.
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