Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blog Day

I’ve spent the better part of today writing several different posts trying to “catch up” on blogging. I backdated several of them to  more appropriate days for when they should have been written and posted. I am also linking to them here.  I still have more that I need to write!

Christmas Train and Santa, 2011
Christmas with Nana and PopPop in Branson
My Dough Ornaments
Christmas Decorations

That’s all for today!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Decorations, 2011

I love Christmas! I am always wanting to put up my Christmas decorations in October, and I think every year since Stephen and I have been married, I have had our trees up in November before Thanksgiving.

This year I was just so busy with school and sickness and life in general, I was slow getting up Christmas decorations. I put up my green tree the day after Thanksgiving, but it was that afternoon that I got so sick with a fever and spent the rest of Thanksgiving break curled in my bed.

I don’t remember when I finally put up my white tree, but it was probably mid-December. I love my white tree! Christopher helped with it. :)

Christopher had a blue tree in his room this year. I never took a picture of it while it was decorated, but here is a picture of it when we first put it together and plugged it in in the living room. I think this might be a repeat picture. He loved it!11 20 11_0235

I think this is the only picture of my green tree I got. I have no idea why I cut the top of the tree off.
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White tree!
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Rudy!
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Stephen seemed to be sick the whole month of December. Between working, school, and sleeping off sickness, he never had time to put up our outside lights. So, the TUESDAY before Christmas, while Stevo was at work, I took it upon myself to put up lights. I put up our inflatable snowman, candy canes that we bought on clearance last year, and attempted to put up the lights on our house. Right after I started doing that, my dad called and said he was on the way to help me. My dad didn’t even put lights up on his own house (my brother did it for him) so it was very sweet of him to come over to my house and put up mine for me!

sweet helper.

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Normally I wait until after the new year to take down all my Christmas deco, but this year I had it all down, including the exterior decorations, a few days after Christmas.  My house was crowded with three extra trees and 10 extra Boxer pups.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dough Ornaments

My mom started a tradition in the 90s when she was going to the War Eagle craft fair. She always bought a personalized Christmas ornament for our tree.  Next year I need to take a picture of all of them and document them on here. =)

When Christopher was born, I decided to do the same thing. Our first dough ornament I bought in Branson at the Landing from one of the street vendors.

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Last year, I didn’t get to go to Branson or to War Eagle, so I bought one online. Not as special, but it is still hand-written and personalized.

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This year, I went to War Eagle with my mom and Britney. We found a dough ornament booth and all three of us bought personalized ornaments for this year. I also bought one for my mother-in-law and gave it to her for her birthday. I think I will make it a tradition to give her a dough ornament each year for her birthday.

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This is the only picture I have of Deanna’s.
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I love our dough ornaments and look forward to seeing them on our tree every year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Card 2011

As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to design my own card this year.  I looked online for ideas (because let’s face it, I’m not that creative) and played around with a few ideas.  I wanted to do a double-sided card, but I had some questions about how to create it and kept meaning to go by a local print shop in town to ask them how I should do it… but time just got away from me and I ended up going with a one-sided card.  I had Britney take our family pictures (like the one in the post just before this one) but between my son not looking at the camera and my husband not looking at the camera (SIGH) I didn’t really have one picture of all three of us one that was Christmas-card worthy.  I ended up going with this shot of Christopher that I took before Britney took our family pictures.

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I did some basic editing to the picture in Photoshop and added the words “wish you joy” and I ended up with this:

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My original intention was for this to be the “front” of our card and then to do a “back” with a picture of all three of us, but like I said – I never got around to it.  I had almost decided not to do cards at all this year… but the thought of not having one just made me sad. So one Saturday morning when I really needed to be working on homework and finals junk, I decided to just add our name and a bible verse. I always want a bible verse on our Christmas cards. And instead of taking them up to the professional print shop in town, I just used my dad’s nice laser printer.

So after playing around with a few different layouts, my final Christmas Card was this:

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I wasn’t a hundred percent happy with my final product, but I think that it’s because I had originally envisioned so much more, you know? Stephen loves it. I like it.

I made a few rookie mistakes that I want to document for future reference.

  • The green letters in our last name look okay on the computer, but they were a little dark printed. I should have used a lighter background.
  • I over-edited the picture and it turned out a little grainy-looking when I printed it. Next time, run less actions on the picture and print it off before adding any words or graphics.
  • Use thicker paper. I used cardstock but it was still not as sturdy/thick as I would have liked. Next time I will probably use a print shop in town instead of printing them myself, so I will need to tell them to use a thick cardstock.
  • Make sure that I use pre-cut paper. I printed these 2 to a page and then had to cut them out using a scrapbook paper-cutter. It was an hour of my life that I’ll never get back. Also, I got the text really close the bottom of the card and it was a pain because if I got the paper cutter just a faction of an inch too close to the card, it cut off the bottom of my text. Pain. In. My. Rear.
  • Next time, start designing cards in September/October and have them ready to go to the print shop in November. Last-minute printing and addressing makes things so much more stressful than they need to be. :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas in Branson

Stephen’s mom and her new husband were not going to be able to make it to Mena for Christmas. Branson, Missouri is halfway between where they live and where we live, so we decided to meet there to celebrate Christmas this year. We weren’t sure we were going to be able to make it because of the puppies, but a sweet lady who Stephen works with (who also was buying two of the puppies for Christmas gifts) was nice enough to agree to keep the puppies at her house for the weekend. We were so thankful because we wouldn’t have been able to go without her taking care of them. (My parents and Tyler and Britney already had plans for Branson that weekend, as well.)

We headed to Branson the Thursday after finals. I had a great time! We followed my dad up there and beat Deanna and Leonard there, so we had lunch with my family at Fuddruckers. This is a staple for us whenever we go to Branson. Love it! I didn’t feel like dragging around my big camera, so all of my pictures from Branson are with my iPhone.

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C was too busy chewing their yummy chicken to smile for the camera!
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After eating, we headed to Silver Dollar City. We met up with Nana and PopPop while we were there!

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Christopher got to ride the frogs and the butterflies!
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That’s his little hand waving at me!
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Christopher riding the butterfly with Nana

C made friends with a little boy in the candy shoppe. :)
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Aunt B and Nana on the carousel.
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Christopher was afraid to ride the horses, so he and “GeeGee” (hard “G” sound – not GiGi) rode in the carriage.
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Me and B!
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We rode the train – it’s so pretty with all the lights around the park, and they have a really neat act featuring Grandpa telling the true story of Christmas.

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They have these trees every once in a while where every limb is covered in lights. I think they’re so pretty!
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Before we left, we had to stop and watch the Christmas tree/light show. It’s always really neat! This video is just one portion of the show.

SDC Christmas Show

That night when we got done at SDC we went to our condo and did Christmas with Deanna and Leonard. Deanna always gets us pajamas each year, which I love! Christopher got a “laptop” and some color-wonder crayons and some money to put in his bank account. Stephen and I got a new GPS unit and a little cash. It was a great Christmas! (No pics, unfortunately!)

On Friday, we did some outlet mall shopping and ate lunch at Taco Bell as a big group – my family and Stephen’s. After C’s LOOONG and much needed afternoon nap, we headed to the Branson Landing for dinner at Cantina Laredo (another Branson staple for us) with the whole group again. This was my family’s last night in Branson. We really enjoyed being able to do SDC and the Landing with them! I think this is the only picture I took on Friday:

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That’s how we kept Christopher entertained at the outlet mall. What’s funny is that he prefers for them not to be moving, so it’s free entertainment!

On Saturday, I was given permission to go shopping by myself because I didn’t finish all of my Christmas shopping on Friday. I started at Tanger Outlet Mall and then went on to the Landing. I think I shopped for 5 hours straight and when I was done this is what the back of the Murano looked like!
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Stephen will never let me go shopping by myself again. Ha!

Saturday afternoon we went to the Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks. This is where Deanna and Leonard tied the knot in October. They had a huge Christmas tree and a huge gingerbread house on display there.

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That night we ate at Olive Garden with Deanna and Leonard and then went back to the Landing for a little bit more shopping. Mainly Deanna at Kirklands - I had outshopped myself that morning!

We also made a stop at Krispy Kreme. I got this yummy-looking Red Velvet Cake donut. It wasn’t as good as I had anticipated. :(

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On Sunday morning, we loaded up our goodies and headed back home. We had a great trip and really enjoyed getting to spend time with Deanna and Leonard. I always enjoy it when both of our families are able to get together and spend time with each other. Since Deanna got married and moved away, I think we will be doing that less and less. This was a great way to meet up and enjoy each other’s company!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

kissy-kissy smoochie-smoochie!

Earlier in the semester I took a 6-week course over Adobe Photoshop. I had tried to teach it to myself but there are just so many different tools that I felt overwhelmed.  I knew that with some basic foundation and instruction I would be able to use it and teach myself more and more through online tutorials or trial-and-error. 

So after I finished this class this, I wanted to design my own cards this year.  After last year’s disaster with my Christmas cards, I was determined to be on the ball this year and have our pictures taken and cards designed/ordered/printed during the week of or week after Thanksgiving.  My sister-on-law Britney took our pictures in early/mid November but I just never got around to getting them printed.  I considered not sending cards out at all this year but I knew that I would be SO disappointed with myself if I didn’t.  I did design my own (although I WILL say that I got the idea for it from another photo/card website and added some stuff to it.)  I got them addressed and will mail them tomorrow and will post them on here next week sometime.  I made some rookie mistakes that I’ll be sure to correct in the future, but over all I’m pretty happy with them!

This picture is one that I almost used on our card, but I wasn’t sure how people would feel about kissy-kissy on a card…? I know that this is a popular pose right now and I LOVE the way it turned out for us, but would our aunts and uncles or co-workers like getting a Christmas card with Stephen and me kissing on it? I ended up not using it but thought I’d share it here.  I think I’m going to have it blown up to an 8x10!

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It’s 12:50am and I still haven’t packed for our trip to Branson this weekend. I guess I should go do that now. :)  Be back Sunday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christopher’s got mail! and Christmas break

Christopher got his first *real* piece of mail last week! My parents got him the Highlights “High Five” magazine for toddlers. He was so excited to have his own mail!

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Have I mentioned recently how much I LOVE this kid? He is so much fun right now. Challenging, but FUN.

In other news, my Christmas break is HERE! My last final is OVER! All I have left is student internship this spring and I will graduate this coming May 15 (at 3pm, in case you wanted to mark your calendars) with a Bachelor of Science in Education! I will also have a minor in Business Administration and will be licensed to teach Business and Technology classes to grades 7-12!  SO EXCITING!

I can’t believe the semester is over! This semester seriously FLEW by. I think the longest/hardest part was up to our fall break in mid-October. I’m SO ready to start my Christmas break with my little family. I have SO much I am wanting to do and I have no idea where to start.  No, wait – I DO know where I’m starting. SLEEP!  ha!

This last weekend has been crammed with homework and projects and presentations and last night I slept for about 3 hours on our COUCH (Stephen’s been sick for the last week and has been snoring SO SO BAD! I can’t sleep through it!  He’s been sleeping on the couch but I thought since I was already up late {3:30am!!} I would try sleeping on the couch.)  Anyway, I slept a few hours on the couch last night and woke up early to go to school and had a LONG day there. After I got Christopher home from my moms house and tucked into bed, I started a load in the dishwasher, fed the dogs, and parked my happy butt on the chaise lounge to watch The Biggest Loser finale. (And I haven’t moved since.)  Tomorrow I have to do laundry and pack for a trip to Branson this weekend to celebrate Christmas with Stephen’s mom and step-dad!  As for tonight -- I’m exhausted and my bed is definitely calling my name.

GOODNIGHT!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tyler and Britney

I mentioned that I took pictures of my brother and sister-in-law a few weekends ago. I am so proud of them! I thought they turned out really well. (This is me, tooting my own horn. toot! toot!)  She picked out three to share on her Christmas card so I thought I’d share a few of the others that she didn’t pick. I’ll share more later. These are all SOOC, so the color isn’t the best.

{Also, I just have to say: LESS THAN 24 hours till I’m DONE with this semester!!!!!!!!!!!!!}

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their sweet puppies, buddy and shelby

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