Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out With The Old, In With The New

And another year is just about in the books.....

I've spent the days since Christmas pretty much working on getting the old out. I've gotten rid of some stuff that was just taking up space in my kitchen and made room for my new Keurig coffee maker (LOVE it!). As I've been packing up Christmas decorations, I've been pulling out the ones we don't ever use and that don't have sentimental attachment to get them sent off to Goodwill. For the ones that we don't use but that ARE sentimental, I have put them aside to box into different boxes so I'm not toting them in and out every year. I hope I have a place to use them one day.

Its cathartic in a way to start the decluttering process. Once I finish with the decorations, I plan to work on other areas of the house to declutter in earnest. I'm tired of the house always being clutter factory. And I swear that stuff just multiplies!

I plan to ring in the New Year as I plan to spend the year itself -- low key, enjoying the warmth of my home with friends and NOT going out and spending a ton of money!

Here's hoping you have a joyous New Year, bright with all of the promises for new beginnings and hope for a fabulous 2014!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thing 2 Gets A Bargain Christmas, Too

I've always felt that Christmas includes the whole household, so my pups always have had a stocking full plus some other presents to make their holiday special. I've also found that giving them their own stuff tends to minimize their snuffling through the other presents under the tree!

This year was no different. I had bought a box of toys for Thing 2 as even at the age of 5 she still loves her squeaky toys. A couple of days before Christmas I was out and about doing some last minute grocery shopping. I realized I had a coupon for $5 off any purchase at Pet Supplies Plus. I figured I'd go in and pick up a box of treats or a special cookie or bone for Thing 2 to round out her Christmas goodies. When I got there, they had sales on several different treats, all of which I had pretty high dollar coupons for --- (BOGO, $1.50 off 1 and $2 off 1). So, I got busy matching up the sales and the coupons to get as much as I could without spending a ton. In the end I got all of those treats above for $3.42!

Spent:  $3.42
Saved: $24.23 or 88%

And Thing 2 is stocked up on treats for quite a while! And not jut the plain ole dog bones, but COOKIES!!!! (yeah, we call the special treats cookies!)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I Miss It Already

I love the Christmas Season -- the decorating, the cooking, the wrapping, all the preparations that go into it. I love the warmth of the lights from the tree as I curl up on the couch in the evenings. I love how happy my house looks all decked out with colored lights and silly inflatables greeting me as I get home from work. Yesterday, I took down the outside lights and put them up til next year. My yard looks kind of sad now.

I started putting up some of the Christmas decorations on the inside, but didn't get a whole lot done in that area. I had to totally rearrange my kitchen cabinets to accommodate some of my gifts. I've packed up some of the stuff that was old and put it aside for when the Princess has her own place. Some of it is just going off to Goodwill.

I took the whole week off of work this week, and can't believe its gone by so fast. We had a good Christmas -- the family parts were kind of stressful but the parts with just me and the Princess and those we spent with friends were great!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas  -- filled with joy and love! Let's make the good feelings of it last all year!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Baking, Baking, Baking

Today was my annual Christmas Cookie Bake Fest --- I spent 6 hours in the kitchen -- made 5 different types of cookies -- and dinner! We are going to be SO fat and happy by the time the holidays are over! Today I made Oreo Truffles, Brickle Haystacks, Layered Brownies (cookie dough, Reese's and triple chocolate brownie --- super rich!), Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies and Molasses Crinkles.

I make my Haystacks a bit different than most --- the Princess does not care for nuts at all, so years ago, on a whim I started adding Heath Bits O' Brickle and miniature marshmallows in place of the peanuts. It was a big hit -- and all of the family now prefers that version to the traditional. So, they are one of our holiday stand-bys.

The Princess wanted to take some to work tonight to share with her co-workers, so I put together a tin for her:

That should sweeten everyone's dispositions tonight! What's cooking in your kitchen?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hello, Vaycay!

I am officially off work for the next nine days! Woo hoo! Of course I think I will have more work here than at actual work, but oh well......

Tomorrow looks to be my baking day --- I think I picked up everything we need at the grocery stores today -- spent $75 at Aldi and $30 at Publix -- OUCH. But I think I should be able to get the baking done without having to do a last minute store run. Here's hoping at least!

Sunday, I plan to clean and wrap presents. And go out to dinner. Monday is more cooking (if my sis will ever tell me what I'm supposed to bring to the various events!) and then Christmas with my Dad. Tuesday, Christmas Eve at Mom's -- and then Christmas Day at my sister's. Lots of events. Christmas keeps expanding, but I'd kind of like to shrink it back a bit. More events = more stress.

All I want for Christmas is... a stress free holiday.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Feeling the Pressure

Tis the season to be stressed! Anybody else starting to freak out that Christmas is less than one week away? I still have those three presents to buy. Oodles of presents to wrap. The Princess and I put together our list of cookies we want to bake... 9 different kinds.... REALLY? Yikes. I still can't get anyone to decide on a menu for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so I don't know how to plan that or do the shopping for it either. I'm trying not be stressed this season.... but it doesn't seem to be going quite as I had planned.

Add to it, the Princess's iPod decided to start falling apart just over a week before Christmas... she's not really to blame as it is at least four years old and since I had already bought her entire Christmas.... well we decided to go halfsies on a new one. I found the 4th generation on Amazon (new) and we went with that, as it was less than a 5th generation -- plus it meant we didn't have to replace all of her accessories too! That however was not in my budget so I'm scrambling to work it in. Some would argue that an iPod is not the best thing to blow the budget on, but I dread the thought of living in a house with a Princess deprived of her music but I really don't like Murphy visiting right before Christmas.

How are you holding up to the pressure of the season?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Almost Done

I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping. I have three gifts left to buy. I think. One will be easy... the other two I'm kinda stumped. I've been waiting for it it hit me! But so far, no go..... One is for my Dad's fiancee... the other is for a friend who is just plain hard to buy for. So, I'll do some thinking. A lot of thinking I guess.

I also need to make my plans for my Christmas baking and cooking. So far, we don't have firm plans for exactly what Christmas meals we will do as a family, so I don't even know where to start. And I need to plan for what to take to a Christmas get together on Tuesday. I'm so uninspired!

Anyway, that's where I am right now... fun fun fun!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sick Day

Woke up at 3 a.m., sick.... ugh. So, looks like I'm staying home today. Fortunately, I'm completely up to date at work so I shouldn't be far behind when I go back tomorrow. Unfortunately, I'm supposed to be in our local Christmas Parade tonight with a group I volunteer for (and that I'm Vice President of). I wouldn't be so worried about it, except I missed the Halloween gig too being out sick. I hate to be undependable.

However, I just don't think it would be a good idea to go do another event if I skip work... even if I feel 100% better. Especially since our CFO might be at the parade since she lives in the same town and we were talking about it last week. I just don't think that would look right.

So, looks like a couch and bed day for me today... sigh.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rainy Days and Mondays

I'm starting to feel a bit waterlogged. Or maybe a tad bit prunish. I don't think we've seen the sun for more than a few seconds at a time in over a week. I miss Mr. Sun. Seriously though, I don't think we are going to have a break in all this until Wednesday or Thursday.

I probably shouldn't be griping though as tons of people have had to deal with rain in the form of snow and ice, so I guess we are a bit fortunate. Still, rainy days combined with Mondays.... ugh.

Lots on tap for this week -- its exam week and the Princess is stressed. After exams are complete, I need to get her textbooks returned to Amazon and Chegg. Still need to clean house as yesterday ended up focusing on getting the "office" in some sort of semblance of order. Still not there, but you can walk through it now. And laundry... tons of laundry..... and of course work work work. And need to pay bills. And make some phone calls. And I have a doctor's appointment this week.

So, that's how my week looks, rainy days and all. What's up for you this week?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Whole Day Spent Running Errands

Yesterday, I was planning to do some grocery shopping in the morning and then spend the rest of the day cleaning. Then I made a list of all the errands I needed to do and decided to do them all yesterday so that I wouldn't have to look decent today. I had several returns to make, plus groceries and gas, and some other items I needed to pick up. So, I loaded everything up and hit the road. I managed to hit 3 stores (Lowe's, Sam's, Walmart) before a headache hit me. And it was a doozy. Fun.

I managed to power through Target quickly and headed to the mall to make some exchanges and returns at Belk. That's when the stupid-holiday-driver syndrome really reared its ugly head. And honestly, my pounding head just couldn't deal with it. So, before I even pulled into a parking place, I decided to head to the grocery stores. A quick trip into Publix for coffee creamer that was bogo (putting it cheaper per ounce than even Aldi), almond milk and ice cream (yeah, if you haven't tried the Publix Santa's White Christmas ice cream and like coffee ice cream -- I highly recommend it!). Then on to Aldi..... we were low on most things because last week I only shopped for Thanksgiving cooking. I then high tailed it home, unloaded the groceries and everything else, put the stuff away, and sat down to watch the SEC Championship game.

Well, kind of sat down.... I did various little things around the house and eventually my headache went away. I truly hate though how much that stupid headache stopped me from getting my to do list accomplished though. I'll still have to make that trip to Belk this week -- fortunately the mall is pretty close to my office so I should be able to handle that during a lunch break. Tis the season to RUN RUN RUN!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wow! Time Flies!

I have been terribly neglectful lately. Time flies when you are busy busy busy --- I hope you all had a blessed and happy Thanksgiving and are gearing up for a joyous Christmas time (or whatever holiday you prefer!).

Things have been hopping around here.....

Sadly, our potential Thing 3 didn't work out. Sweet, sweet pup, but she went all alpha on Thing 2 and kept beating her up. Thing 2 was terrified of her and would hide behind us and just shake. Don't get me wrong, the pup is wonderful and sweet and tons of fun -- loves snuggles and playing with toys and exploring, but I think better suited to a home that doesn't already have a Thing in residence. If you are in the Birmingham area and looking for a sweet Thing -- let me know and I can tell you how to find out more about this really wonderful girl that needs a furever home.

Let's see, we have our halls decked and most of my Christmas shopping is complete. I've done a ton of it online this year as the deals have been pretty darn great for a lot of the things on my list. Still have a few presents to pick up, but for the most part, its just time to start wrapping.

FINALLY got my hands on my new niece during the Thanksgiving weekend. Cutest thing in the whole world. And so sweet. And smells so good. And SUCH a sweet baby. She loves her Aunt Sass. I cuddled and snuggled and rocked and bounced and made goofy faces and talked in ridiculous voice and loved every single minute of it.

So, that's what's been going on in my world! Time to catch up on some blogs!