Monday, December 30, 2013

New additions...

...Not to the family! To the Christmas tree, of course. : )

We have a great collection of ornaments on our tree - they have come from different travels over the years, we've gotten some as gifts, we've inherited some. It's an interesting combination - I would say the three predominating themes are Disney, Steelers football, and musical instruments (which is funny, because in order, that's our interest, his interest, and my interest... haha).

I decided to share some of our new ornaments this year!

Here is one I found in Boston when we were there for my graduation in May:

We got these when we were honeymooning in Disney in July:

The castle actually lights up and changes colors, the same way the real Cinderella's castle does at Christmas. Most of the time, though, I have it turned off - it's in front of a white light so it still has a nice glow!

My mom gave us this ornament to celebrate the real addition to our family this year:

She's such a sleepy puppy... she's conked out next to me on the couch right now. She spent most of yesterday sleeping too - I think she's still recovering from the excitement of the past week! She's also pretty smelly, LOL. She is going to the groomer for the first time later today... I usually give her a bath once a week, but she really needs a hair cut and ear cleaning too, and I'm not going to try either of those on my own!

And finally, here is an ornament that we inherited this year from my uncle. My aunts saved his Christmas decorations and all of us - grandma, my parents, my aunts and uncles, and all of my cousins - got a special ornament and decoration from his collection to remember him by. We got this beautiful gold ornament from Hawaii, which was my uncle's favorite place:

It's been a roller coaster year, full of ups and downs... A. and I bought our new house, I got my Masters' in Music Ed and also got full-time work teaching music again; we got married and went on our Disney honeymoon and got Penny. So many good things and good times spent with people we love. But there were also so many health problems in my family this year, especially with my dad, and then we lost both Uncle Bill and Aunt Sis. So while we have much to be thankful for as we reflect on the year, I will also be remembering them and praying for good health for everyone in 2014.

Thanks for sticking with me as I started this blogging journey this year! See you in 2014!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Snowflake Swap : )

This year I was inspired by Becky to participate in The Snowflake Swap!

I was paired up with Erinn from It's the Journey. Here is the information I got from Erinn:

orange/coral/turquoise/purple/yellow and other bright colors 
all kinds of tea
good books (both in real and kindle form)
itunes gift cards for dance class music

I found Erinn a mug with a multitude of bright colors. I also found a cute little sleigh of flavored tea and stuck an iTunes gift card in the sleigh. : ) To top it off I included a couple of peanut butter meltaways from a local candy store... they are SO addictive and I am glad she also enjoyed them!

I was away at my parents' from Christmas day until this morning, but when I got home this afternoon there were TWO packages waiting for me! YAY! I'm so spoiled.

In the first package, I had a card from Erinn, a delicious smelling grapefruit-lemongrass candle, two cute pairs of socks, and purple Essie nail polish.

The candle - it smells sooooooooo good! It's a really unique scent. I love the socks! They are cute and "winter-y" without being strictly Christmas. And I pretty much immediately tried the nail polish. I took advantage of a sleepy puppy and a football-distracted husband and painted my nails for the first time in weeks:

I looooooooooooove purple. And Essie nail polish is such good quality.

Then, I opened the other package, which is from Alaska! So cool. Erinn lives in Washington but is originally from Alaska, so she sent me some Alaskan coffee. I haven't dipped into it yet, but I can smell it through the package, and it smells rich and delicious. Also, I mean, it's from Alaska. 

Since I have an Eko-Brew re-usable K-Cup for our Keurig machine, I can also use this coffee in the Keurig. : )

EDIT 1/2/14: WOW, I am an idiot! I finally got around to cleaning up after the holidays, and as I was folding gift bags (reuse, people!) I found ANOTHER gift from Erinn wrapped in tissue paper in the bottom of the bag! She also sent me a dear little glass whale ornament. I love new ornaments for my tree, especially from different places, so thanks Erinn! : )

It was nice communicating with Erinn and talking to someone new, so I was really glad I participated in the Swap. It was also fun to anticipate getting a package in the mail! I am enjoying reading the other posts in the link-up, as well- it seems like everyone got paired up with someone who lives a good distance away, so we all got to experience some different products. Fun fact: I have already been following Erinn's blog for a while due to participating in the My HP Fix link-ups!

Anyway, it was nice to have a little Christmas at the end of Christmas week and extend the holiday a bit. : ) Thanks again Erinn, and have a great week, everyone!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!

Well, I'm sitting here and both dogs are peacefully sleeping, so I'm seizing the opportunity to write a little holiday recap : )

I spent Christmas Eve with A's family and we had a wonderful evening. Since we have two adorable nephews courtesy of A's sister and brother-in-law, it was fun to have piles of toys and fun things for them to open. We had a delicious dinner and enjoyed opening gifts together. I left a little early to go to church; I found a candlelit Christmas Eve service that did not disappoint. It wasn't the same as my church, but I was so glad I went, and it ended the same way - with the lighting of the candles and singing "Silent Night." There were some awesome singers in the congregation, so that was cool too.

On Christmas morning, A, Penny, and I woke up and opened presents. It's Penny's first Christmas so she was a little leery about tissue paper at first. After a few presents she really got into it, though. : )

I got A an iPod, Batman t-shirt, and Office mug. He got me a beautiful snowflake necklace, earrings, and a gift card to the spa... oh yeah!

Then we loaded up the car and drove an hour and 45 minutes to get to my hometown and parents' house... my mom decided we should bring Penny to my grandparents' for gift opening there. That was a little nuts. Next year, she's staying in her pen at my parents' house. It was so nice to see my family all together and spend time with them. My grandparents got us a fire pit! I am so excited to start building our patio next summer and roast some marshmallows. I never thought I'd say this because I'm not a very outdoorsy person, but I'm excited to work in the yard. : )

After that we went back to my parents' house for Christmas #5 (the first one was on Sunday, then of course we had Christmas Eve, our own Christmas morning, and my grandparents' Christmas day). This was also fun. A and I were so excited to give one gift in particular to my brother. When no one was giving me Christmas ideas for them, I told them I was just going to go on Amazon and look up "ridiculous gifts" and start ordering things. I did go on there and found strange things, including a yodeling pickle and this treasure:

I laughed so hard that I cried. I was in the bedroom and A was in the living room when I found this. I just kept laughing and laughing and I couldn't tell him why I was laughing so hard, so he came in and saw it on my computer screen and laughed too - but I think mostly at me, for laughing/crying so hard.

It's so ridiculous. I can't even. Why is there a market for this?


We totally ordered it for my brother, and it was so fantastic. We all got another good laugh and then he wore it for a few hours. : )

At my parents', my brother gave me Golden Snitch earrings! He said he also ordered a Deathly Hallows necklace for me, and wrapped it and everything, but it is lost - we can't find it anywhere. (I hope it didn't accidentally get thrown away with the wrapping paper...) My mom got me a Harry Potter hoodie that Becky originally tagged on Pinterest... I love it. I'm such a nerd. 

I also got plenty of new books to read, and some nice new sweaters that I have been wearing in this frigid weather. We all agreed that we spent way too much on each other this Christmas, and next year we need to cut down a lot, especially since we are planning a family Disney trip in early 2015. : )

Christmas evening, my parents had a kind of "open house" for both sides of the family to drop by, and mostly everyone did. It was a nice night and I ate way too much food, and unfortunately A missed it because he had to drive back home - he had to work yesterday and today. He's coming back tomorrow and we're having a game night with my friends from out of town - so excited!

Speaking of which, I went to see Saving Mr. Banks with my bff S last night. It was wonderful. I loved it, despite the older couple who sat behind us and kept a commentary running the whole time - I don't think the guy really understood what was going on, and he kept repeating lines that the woman couldn't hear. Anyway, if you are a Disney fan, the movie is a must. I loved it so much. I laughed. I cried. I'll own it on Blu-ray, I'm sure.

I still need to see Frozen and Anchorman 2.

Anyway, the natives are starting to get restless - which means Penny will probably start jumping on my parents' dog again, they will fight over toys, growl at each other, and I will need to manage the circus. Ah. At least I could throw together an update while the peace lasted!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying this time of the year! Take it easy!

Monday, December 23, 2013

I just like to smile, smiling's my favorite!

Today I decided to share some of my favorite quotes from different Christmas movies... some of them have Gifs, some of them don't, but they're all poignant, sweet, or just plain fun. : )

"I'm sorry I ruined your lives and crammed eleven cookies into the VCR." - Buddy the Elf, Elf


"There's no greater gift than friendship." - The Conductor, The Polar Express

The Polar Express

"Remember, no man is a failure who has friends." - Clarence, It's a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life

"You can be too old for a lot of things, but you're never too old to be afraid!" - Marley, Home Alone

Home Alone

"Well, if I can't have any fun I might as well leave!" - Snow Miser, The Year Without a Santa Clause

Last Holiday

"Iris, if you were a melody... I used only the good notes." - Miles, The Holiday

"I like corny. I'm looking for corny in my life." - Iris, The Holiday

The Holiday

"My dear partner, when what's left of you gets around to what's left to be gotten, what's left to be gotten won't be worth getting whatever it is you've got left." - Phil, White Christmas

"Count your blessings instead of sheep, and you'll fall asleep counting your blessings." - Bob, White Christmas

Karen: "There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus Christ?"
Daisy: "Duh." - Love Actually

"I HATE UNCLE JAMIE!" - Love Actually
(my love of this line is ironic considering that Jamie & Aurelia are clearly the best)

The Santa Clause

There are so many Christmas movies that it's hard to include them all... What is a quote from your favorite Christmas movie?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Christmas Carol - All is calm.

Note: If you are viewing this from an iPhone, iPad, etc. you may not be able to see the videos embedded in the post. 

I've been going through many different Christmas carols over the past few weeks, and hopefully I've introduced some people to some new versions of these songs or reminded you of some of your old favorites.

Today I'm going to discuss one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time - Silent Night.

Silent Night was originally written by Franz Gruber, and when I was researching the song for my concert program notes a few weeks ago, I discovered that it originally was written to be rather upbeat, instead of the lullaby-like form it has today. I think, given the translation of the lyrics, the slower tempo fits better.

If you look at the original manuscript, you'll see it is marked "moderato" which means "moderately" (not "adagio" or "andante" which would indicate a slower tempo), and the accompaniment also seems to indicate that the original performance was more upbeat - more of an "oom pah pah" feel. BUT that is my personal interpretation of the manuscript! I'm not saying it's right : )

If you are interested in the history of this song, I found this video on YouTube - it's a little lengthy for a YouTube video, but I thought it was neat. : )

The reason Silent Night is one of my favorites is very personal. Church has always been a very important part of my life- I grew up attending one church, and the people there are like my family. Every year there have been Christmas Eve services- early, late, sometimes one, sometimes two, but there is always at least one and this year is the first year I can think of that I will not be attending. (I actually don't remember much about last year's service because I was so miserably sick... but I was there!)

Anyway, there is usually a live nativity and special music; when I was younger and there was a huge Sunday School, we even did plays and musicals. But my favorite part, every year, is when the lights go out and we all light candles, spreading the light to each other, while singing Silent Night. The organ music goes out on the last verse and we all raise our candles, singing a cappella.

This is a picture I took from my spot in the choir loft a few years ago.

I think because I am so used to this manner of performance, I prefer very simple versions of Silent Night. When people start ad-libbing and riffing on the melody, it bothers me because I feel like it doesn't stay true to the nature of the song. If you are singing "Silent Night, Holy Night, All is calm, all is bright... sleep in heavenly peace" it doesn't seem like the right opportunity to show off your prowess with vocal turns and cadenzas.

Here are some of my favorites:

Bing Crosby
You really can't go wrong with Bing. 

Josh Groban
I know not everyone is in love with Josh's voice, but I think this performance is lovely.

Sometimes I like Jewel's music. Sometimes I don't. But every time this version of Silent Night comes on I listen the whole way through. 

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Give a little bit of your love to me

It's been a rough day.

I needed to finish some last minute Christmas shopping (never again will I put it off this long) and decided to embark on a brave journey to KMart, PetSmart, and Target. Traffic was nuts. Parking lots were nuts. I was going nuts. But luckily I was finding the things I went out for.

Then in the middle of Target I got a call from my mom. I'd already talked to her twice this morning, so I figured she either found something else while she was out shopping or remembered something she'd forgotten to tell me or ask me. Instead, I heard the catch of her voice and the words no one ever wants to hear- "I have some bad news."

My Aunt Sis, who was 91, was hit by a car in my hometown this morning. She will be celebrating Christmas in heaven this year.

My heart is breaking for my Grandma. Now in one year she's lost both a son and her sister. One of her best friends, Gina, had a stroke a couple weeks ago. You'd always see the three of them together at our family functions - Grandma, Gina, and Aunt Sis.

This is the first time I've had to deal with a "public" death in the family. One of my friends was hit by a car and died when I was 12, but social media didn't really exist then. My grandpa and my uncle were both taken from us by diseases - both tragedies, but private tragedies that weren't really broadcast in the papers or online other than through our family. But because Aunt Sis was hit by a car on a major thoroughfare, the accident shut down the road and was major news. The news published it on their facebook site. Immediately people started commenting.

Now, I'm not going to pretend I know anything about what happened in the accident. Nor would I expect to be the first person to know that information. My grandma, my dad and my aunts and uncles - they should be the first ones to know (Aunt Sis didn't have any kids). I'm her great-niece. I love her very much, but I'm not demanding details right now. I understand the public has a right to know what happened. I don't know why she was crossing that busy road in particular, and I have no explanations as to how the accident occurred.


I know that my great-aunt, like my grandma, was fiercely independent and also very competent for her age. She would walk and ride the bus instead of waiting for someone to give her a ride somewhere. I'm sure she was preparing for her annual Christmas party and had the holidays on her mind, just like everyone else.

I read the comments on the news story.

I was so touched because so many of them were kind words - thoughts, prayers, sending well wishes to the family, witnesses, and first responders. Sympathy for a shocking and tragic loss at this time of year. There was so much kindness and my heart felt so full and appreciative for these strangers who were thinking of us.

Then people, as they will, started throwing in their opinions and judgments.

Where was our family? Why wasn't anyone driving her where she needed to go? Was the driver of the car that hit her going too fast or not paying attention, or both? Obviously the family of the woman is lazy and uncaring. Probably the driver was flying over the hill. Clearly it was illegal for a pedestrian to cross the road at that place.

Maybe I'm a little sadistic for continuing to read the comments, but I can't tell you how much pain I felt once people started calling my family lazy and uncaring. That's not the case at all. We ALL love Aunt Sis, and any one of us would have given her a ride had she asked. But I'm sure she just wanted to go somewhere, so she went.

I am praying for the driver of the car, because I am sure they are also feeling broken. I am praying for the witnesses and the first responders, because I would never, ever want to see an accident like that happen or bear witness to the aftermath. I am praying fiercely for my grandmother and all of my family. My heart is heavy because I'm not with any of them right now.

But I know, in my heart, that from here on out, when a news story breaks online, that I am going to try my hardest to be less judgmental and more compassionate.

Aunt Sis in the photo booth at our wedding in July

Rest in peace, Aunt Sis.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Carols: Sweet hymns of Joy


I am so excited. I have my second Christmas concert tomorrow night; there is snow on the ground; my house is finally completely decorated; and I'm waiting for my gift from The Snowflake Swap. YAY!

Today I'm continuing my Christmas carol series... this song was on the radio pretty much every time I was in the car today, so I took it as a sign that it was supposed to be the next on my list.

There are some Christmas songs, especially hymn-like songs, that I prefer to be simpler in timbre and texture. One of my favorites is O Holy Night.

First of all, the words are gorgeous.

It's a French song from the nineteenth century, and the English translation of the original text is a little different than the English lyrics you will hear in the recordings below:

Midnight, Christians, it is the solemn hour,
When God as man descended unto us
To erase the stain of original sin
And to end the wrath of His Father.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night that gives it a Saviour.
Interesting, but not quite with the same effect as the familiar version I love so much:

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
My hands down favorite version of O Holy Night is the performance by Martina McBride.

Another version I really enjoy is the Celine Dion recording. I was a huge Celine fan growing up!

The recording by Josh Groban is also very nice - he holds that last note forever and year. What a guy.

The first time I fell in love with this song was in Home Alone, when Kevin goes into the church and runs into Marley. They have their heart-to-heart with this song playing in the background.

I've been saving a few of my favorite carols for the end, so look for more of them in the days to come! In the meantime, I hope you are all enjoying the awesome things the Christmas season offers - go to a local high school concert and support their music program - they work hard to prepare the music and most of the time you will find that the music is of pretty good quality : )

Until next time!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Carols: my top played tunes!

Well hey there!

Today was a very productive day - I cleaned house from top to bottom, gave the puppy a bath, finished wrapping presents, and- oh yeah- made a fantastic fondue dinner with my husband. I'll chalk this one up as a win in the books. : )

Instead of investigating different versions of Christmas carols today, I decided to check out the top played songs on my huge list of Christmas songs. Here are my top 5:

1) I Need a Silent Night - Amy Grant
If you've never heard this song, it's so beautiful and sincere. I think it's important to stop and remember the "reason for the season" in the middle of all of the holiday insanity - even though I love it and enjoy it all. I have to keep reminding myself to do that this year.

2) We Need a Little Christmas - Angela Lansbury
Totally classic - from the musical Mame! Always gets me in a good mood.

3) Cold December Night - Michael Buble
I didn't realize I listened to this song so many times! Michael's Christmas album is one of my favorite albums of all time.

4) Frosty the Snowman - Michael Buble feat. The Puppini Sisters
I love these recordings on Michael's Christmas album with The Puppini Sisters (who are not actually sisters). Their harmonies are reminiscent of recordings by The Andrews Sisters, who ruled in the mid-twentieth century (Think "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy")

5) We Three Kings (When They Saw the Star) - Disney's Candlelight Processional
Going to see Disney's Candlelight Processional was one of the best musical experiences of my life. I went with my family in 2003 - we went to Tutta Italia for dinner and then went to see the concert, with narrator Gary Sinese. I love this album and this arrangement of We Three Kings! If you ever get the chance to go - DO IT.

Rounding out the top 10 are:
6) "Thankful" - Josh Groban
7) "Trepak" - Tchaikovsky (The Nutcracker)
8) "Sleigh Ride" - Leroy Anderson
9) "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" - Sandi Patty
10) "Jingle Bells" - Straight No Chaser

Do you have any favorite Christmas carols I haven't touched on yet?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Cosmo fix

Sometimes, in this crazy blog world I've come to know and love this year, I get on one of those YouTube-like chain binges where I keep clicking on different people who comment on different things and I go check out their blogs. One day while I was doing this I found Christina's blog, and since she was also wedding-planning and in a similar stage of life as me, I started following her. (If this was real life, that would be extremely creepy. Since it's a blog, it's not that weird.)

Anyway, so Christina posted this Cosmo-esque survey she found at Erin's blog, which she follows. I have been a subscriber to Cosmo for about five years now, so I immediately recognized the format of the quiz Cosmo gives their cover girls to fill out. Here's an example:

The answers are normally funny and entertaining, so when I saw that Erin created a downloadable version to fill out, I was like YES!

Enjoy! : )

Sunday, December 8, 2013

"If a book is well written, I always find it too short." - Jane Austen

(The title of this entry is ironic because of my previous struggles with reading Pride and Prejudice. I just can't. I still don't care about Elizabeth or Darcy or Charlotte or any of them.)

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! It's been snowing all day, and now we have freezing rain on top of everything, so we have a two-hour delay for school tomorrow. That's fine with me - I don't want a snow day because I don't want to have to make it up later. The winter wonderland outside is very pretty, though : )

You might remember that in July (you know... like half a year ago, when it was warm and sunny for more than like 6 hours) I did this post where I made a list of books to read. Clearly I didn't complete the book challenge, but I have been reading the books! I did not forget about it.

Here's a rundown of my progress:

  • 5: Freebie! Read any book you'd like, as long as it follows the above rules. Have a Little Faith: The Story of a Last Request (Mitch Albom) - I LOVED this book. I wrote about it in this post

  • 5: Read a book that is less than 150 pages long. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg) - This was a cute book as well, also reviewed in this post

  • 10: Read a book with a color in the title. Silver Linings Playbook (Matthew Quick) - I haven't read this one yet! Waiting to hopefully get some Amazon gift cards for Christmas. 

  • 10: Read a book that is not the first in its series. Insurgent (Veronica Roth) - I have to say this is not my favorite series ever, but I did like the second book more than the first one, so I guess I might as well read the third. Here's my thing with Roth though - she pretty much kills everyone. If you get that sick of your characters, write a new series. :-\

  • 15: Read a book it seems everyone but you has read! The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Stieg Larsson) - Still haven't read it. My dad owns it so I'll probably borrow it and read it over Christmas. 

  • 15: Read a banned book. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) - another one I haven't gotten around to yet... 

  • 20: Read a book written by a celebrity. Bossypants (Tina Fey) - This is on my Christmas list!

  • 20: Read a nonfiction book that is not a memoir. Looking for God in Harry Potter (John Granger) - This had so much potential to be interesting... but it wasn't that awesome. 

  • 20: Read a book that takes place in a state you have never been in. 11/22/63 (Stephen King) - Texas - Haven't read this one yet either.

  • 25: Read a book that is at least 400 pages long. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) - This one I at least downloaded onto my Kindle.

  • 25: Read a book with a main character who shares your first name. The Clique (Lisi Harrison) - This was one of the most vapid, stupid books I have ever read. It's a YA series geared toward adolescent girls. I would never give it to a daughter of mine, because not only was the writing poor, but the characters were all so shallow and it seemed like the author's main concern was recapping fashion choices. Two thumbs down. 

"The Pretty Committee" on the left. BARF. These girls are supposed to be in 7th grade.

  • 30: Read a book written by an author who was born in the same year as you. The Darkest Minds (Alexandra Bracken) - 1987 - Haven't gotten around to this one yet either.

However, I have also read these books, that were not on the list - 
The Book Thief - this one was hard to get into at first, because the format was weird, but once I finally got going I couldn't put it down. 

The Musician's Daughter (excellent, especially for music nerds like me)

The entire Little House series (re-read, but it was fun)
The Beyonders: A World without Heroes
Spirit Animals: Book 1 - Wild Born
The Hangman's Daughter
Peter and the Starcatchers
aaaaand I'm currently reading "Handle with Care" by Jodi Picoult. 

My school library card is helping me find lots of new books so I don't have to keep re-reading the ones I have... so I'm hoping to get the most use out of it that I can. : )

Happy reading!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Christmas Carol: The Christmas Song

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping off your nose..."

Yep. That's what I thought the lyrics were until I got older and realized that would be a little sadistic.

This is another one of those songs of which I have a ton of copies. Here's the thing though - I really don't like when more operatic (or "warbly" singers) try to take on more "pop" sounding songs. For example, I love Andrea Bocelli, but on his Christmas album, his recordings of "White Christmas" and "Jingle Bells" do nothing for me. His take on The Christmas Song isn't bad, but it's not my favorite, so it's not listed here.

The most well-known version of this song is the Nat King Cole version:

The version with Natalie Cole singing along with Nat is also pretty special... I have really grown to love Natalie's voice this holiday season.

My favorite version of The Christmas Song this year is a new discovery for me, a recording by Francesca Battistelli:

It's definitely an upbeat version of the song!

Another one I enjoy is the version by my guy, Michael Buble. I am so excited for his upcoming third annual Christmas special!

A classic version of the song is the Mel Torme & Judy Garland version. Mel Torme is the guy who wrote the song, and Judy Garland is... JUDY GARLAND. DUH.

Other versions I have in my vast iTunes library include Josh Groban, Charlotte Church, Sandi Patty, Straight No Chaser, Kenny G, and Celine Dion. 

Do you have a favorite version of The Christmas Song? Or have you ever messed up its lyrics? : )

Monday, December 2, 2013


I'm taking a break from the Christmas music and turning to Christmas TV. There are a couple times of year when advertisers seem to go out for commercials, and Christmas is one of them. I am a sucker for a good commercial - it can make me laugh, or cry, or just give me warm fuzzies inside. Here are a few of my favorite Christmas commercials from years past : )

Hershey Kiss bell choir

Eat 'N' Park tree and star

Pampers "Silent Night"


Gamestop Three-armed Family

Cracks me up every time.

Any of the Crazy Target Lady commercials : )

This last one is an image, not the actual commercial, but still... so funny.

Do you have any favorite Christmas commercials? : )

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Giving thanks: Final installment

"I'll have more time to blog over the holidays," she said. HA HA! Joke's on me.

It has been a really nice week, albeit busy, so here I am on December 1st, finally wrapping up my thanks for November. (Here you can find links to the first installment, the second installment, and the third installment.)

I think I owe... 9 things? I am thankful for. (Math, ugh.)

1. I am thankful for FAMILY, both big and small. On Thanksgiving we went to dinner at A.'s parents house, where 45 family members gathered together. You read that right. Forty-five. A.'s parents have a nice house, but it is by no means extremely large, so it was definitely crowded. But it was nice to see everyone and have everyone together, enjoying some really delicious food!

2. I am thankful that now that it's December, and after Thanksgiving, people may finally stop griping about Christmas music, decorations, shopping, etc. 'TIS THE SEASON!!!!

This seems about right.... from

3. I'm thankful that even though one of my best friends lives on the opposite coast and can't come home for Thanksgiving, that he can come home for Christmas and that we were able to Skype yesterday. Ah, the wonders of technology!

4. I am very thankful that I could come home for the day after Thanksgiving, and that I can spend some time visiting with my family before I have to go back to school next week. It's nice to be home for a little while. : )

5. I'm thankful that A. and I could go "shopping" with my brother on Black Friday evening... we were looking for an ugly Christmas sweater and some board games, so our main objectives were people watching and making fun of very strange gifts and expensively priced items that we saw. We bought a bottle of water at Macy's for $2 to make our purchase over $30 (it was $29.99) and use a $10 off coupon. My brother started calling it a bottle of God's tears, since it was twice as much as a normal bottle of water.

You can't spill this precious water, gleaned from the cleanest, freshest springs in Pennsylvania.

6. I am thankful for game nights with my high school friends. Not many of them are left in town, and some made it in just for the holiday, but it's nice that we were still able to gather and play a game and enjoy each other's company. Last night's game of choice was "Loaded Questions."

7. I'm so, so grateful for my wonderful husband. We've had so much to be thankful for this year - my Masters and full time job; our new house; our wedding and honeymoon; our puppy. But if he didn't always have my back, life would be very difficult indeed. He's the best. 

8. I am thankful for our new pastor at church. Our old pastor was nice, but he was ready to retire and he had a lot of health issues. Our new pastor is breathing new life into the church, and I really enjoy listening to him speak. 

9. And finally, I am thankful for Becky, because without her blogging and linking to her posts on Facebook, I probably never would have been inspired to start this blog in the first place. : ) 

Happy (late) Thanksgiving everyone - I hope you enjoyed your holiday and found you had a lot to be thankful for this year!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Giving thanks: Third installment

I'm back for round three of giving thanks for November! I'm running a little late this week but I'm still going to list seven things. : )

(Round one of my list of things I'm grateful for can be found here, and round two can be found here!)

So, here are seven more things I am grateful for, in no particular order:

1) To be safe and warm under a solid roof as I hear the wind blow furiously outside. Brrrr! Winter is here!

2) Seeing Christmas lights at night... especially where we live, there are so many dark country roads, and when people put up Christmas lights, it's like a beacon in a cold winter night. : )

3) Being able to work with some really awesome people. I'm lucky that my band staff and the other members of the music department are so easy to talk to and work with!

4) Facebook. That might sound weird, but facebook really allows me to keep in touch with friends and family - and as my friends have spread all over the country in recent years (literally - California, Arizona, Indiana, Georgia, Virginia...) it's nice to live in a digital age where it's so easy to stay up to date on what's going on. I still like to send cards, but sometimes it's nice to send a message or write a wall post the minute I have something on my mind. 

5) Real books. : ) Whether they're on my Kindle or actually honest-to-goodness print books, I love being able to escape from the stress of real life into a good book. 

Lately I've been re-reading all of the Little House books, which were my favorites when I was little. 

6) The travel experiences I've been able to have. This morning I was thinking about all of the places I've been and how lucky I am to be able to travel. I've gone on a road trip through New England with my friends; I've been to Europe on a musical tour; I've been to New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., and San Francisco; I've been to Disney World and New Orleans. I've been up and down the east coast on different beaches. 

7) and my wonderful parents... I wouldn't have been to most of those places without them. In fact, I'm not sure where I'd be without them, but I doubt it would be the same situation I am in now. I'm so lucky to have such loving and supportive parents. We might not always see eye to eye but I love them very, very much and I'm extremely grateful for everything they have done for me.

I'll try to get my next Christmas carol post up soon... until then, thanks for checking in! : )