Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas time is here!

This year was filled with lots of celebrating the season with both of our families and some fun times and most importantly delicious food (like so much it makes me sick thinking about it!!).

We kicked off Christmas Eve with dinner at my parents house with my immediate family, my grandparents and my uncle.  I volunteered Jimmy to smoke a turkey for the evening.  Not sure how thrilled he was with that task, but I loved smoked turkey, so I wanted him to have a practice run before I selfishly make him make lots for us to eat.  And here it went from early in the morning until around 4:00 when we went over to my parents.  

All seasoned up and ready to cook!

We transported the hot turkey over to my parents house and then Jimmy wimped out and said he wasn't going to cut it...so my dad took over that one.  Look at how cute they are.  Haha.

Overall, it was completely delicious.  BUT - I only got to eat a little bit because I was so freaking stuffed from all the appetizers - check them all out.  Oh and there is my sister.

This is my angry that Jimmy is taking pictures of me....as usual.

After dinner, we took a nap and then headed off to the Christmas Eve candlelight service at Church of the Resurrection...which as usual was probably my favorite part of Christmas.  When you have thousands of people in the dark and then one candle spreads the light - pretty freaking powerful and representative of the meaning of Christmas!

So then it was Christmas morning - we opened up our stockings at home and gave the treats to the pups.  We didn't exchange big gifts, since we were heading on vacation early the next morning and we had some presents in mind for that trip.  We just hung out and then went over to my parents house to open presents there and then over to Red and Sue's house to celebrate with all of Jimmy's family!

Here's Jimmy.  Sweet picture.

There was DELICIOUS Mexican food served by the wonderful cook, my mother-in-law!  Then we spread out the presents to the kids and watched them open them....so fun.  Seeing their reactions is priceless!  And then it was time for the annual cousins PJ picture!  Look at how cute they are!

Haha - there wasn't a good one of everyone, but with 8 kids, I feel like that's pretty normal, right??

Overall, it was a wonderful Christmas season and then we whisked ourselves off to the west coast....

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holidays all over the house!

Believe it or not (I know it's hard for me too), but some people actually do read this blog.  It made me realize this the other day when I had a friend ask me if I had blogged about my Christmas decor this year.  Nope, I sure hadn't!  But I wanted to get these pictures up because it is oh so fun for me especially to have these pictures from years past and see some of the changes I have made with the holiday decorations in our house from year to year.  And it's fun to see how furniture, walls, etc change colors too!!

Flashback: Here are the posts of the decor from 2010 and 2009 (WOW - check out how dated our family room/mantle were!!)

Onto this year.  By the way, I had these pictures uploaded to my blog BEFORE Christmas, I swear, just didn't get around to posting them.  You know how that goes.

Ok - first off is an addition thanks to Hallmark and my husbands obsession with the Peanuts band (see all 4 of the characters??).  This was a big item he was selling to stores this year and he fell in love with it, so of course we had to have it.  And we got a set for all our nieces and nephews.  They are pretty cool because they wirelessly interact and place Christmas songs!

I decided it would be fun to hang some ornaments from our chandelier....it was fun.  However, people over 6 ft who sit at the table might not of thought so!!  Oh well!

And I FINALLY found a fun and easy way to display our Christmas cards (which might be one of my favorite things about this time of year!!).  Hang them on your huge pantry doors.  So fun!  We got some super cute ones this year too!!!  (I'm really hoping that in this same shot in 2012...the cabinets are white.  PLEASE!!)

And the mantle, complete with our ghetto stockings.  My grandma keeps asking me to pick out a pattern for her to use to make us stockings.  Yep, I haven't done that yet!

A few colorful snowmen found a new place (were upstairs last year) on the new console table in the family room.  I think that home fit them nicely.

And...the tree.  In all it's glory, minus the star at the top.  I wasn't motivated enough to add the star.  Then halfway through December I decided that I didn't like the tree there and thought of a new inventive place to display it that was SO much better.  And decided that would have to wait until next year.  But still, had to post a picture of the tree!  We stuck with the red/green/silver theme again this year!

And the Christmas lights...that my husband takes so much pride in and I love.  He stuck with the white lights (to his dismay and even with the constant insisting that he wants colored lights....) and put the "candy cane" on the tree again this year.  New additions?  The small candy canes in from of the living room windows and some blinking white lights in front of the walkway.  Well done Jam, well done!

That's Jimmy being creepy at the door.
And Milly and Willy sure didn't want to miss our on this post, so they immediately threw on their best Christmas attire and joined in the fun!

Now it's already time to take the decor down!  So crazy that Christmas is over!!!  Hope everyone had a very blessed holiday season!

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 Christmas Cards!

All right- as it's 2 days before Christmas (can you BELIEVE that it's so close!!?), I'm going to do a few Christmas themed posts!  One on our cards and tomorrow on the decor -  mainly so I can keep up with what I've done the past few years.

As in years past, we went with hallmark.com as our print-on-demand choice for holiday cards.  They had some new and fun options to choose from this year and we went with a 2 picture front so we could use one of the professional family pictures that Jimmy's parents had taken this summer and then a quick self timer shot of our family in front of the Christmas tree!

Most all of the cards should have arrived at their respective homes yesterday - however, I do have 8 more that I am sending out today.  And then done - another Christmas card for the record. 

I have to say that getting the mail this time of year might be one of my favorite things!  I love seeing all the fun cards and pictures that come.  I even hung them up on our cabinets this year - will have to take a picture of that too.

Happy holidays to everyone!  Hope everyone takes full advantage of this time of year to be thankful for all that they are blessed with!!

Check out our Christmas cards from 2010 and a preview shot from 2009 too!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hair debacle

Oh my goodness.  I think I'm finally ready to talk about this.  It was pretty traumatic...and I actually cannot fully correct it until this Friday....BUT I'll tell you the story.

So last November I put up a post about how I started dying my hair out of a box and how it was going to save me SO much money over my life because I loved it (read about that here).  And I kept with it.  About every 6-8 weeks, I would go to the store and buy the same hair dye (Clairol Nice & Easy), I would dye my hair and 25 or so minutes later, wahla!!  Done. So simple and easy, right?

Well enter this year in November on Thanksgiving day, no less.  I had bought a box of hair dye at CVS earlier that week and went about it.  Twenty five minutes later, I was in for a quite a surprise.  When I took the towel off my head, my roots were literally bright red.  Like the color of Jimmy's hair when it was long.....

Um, major freak out.  Like, call my mom and tell her I cannot go to my cousin's house because my hair.  She pretty much said, suck it up and go.  "You don't understand mom!!!!!  AHH!!"  I knew what had happened right away.  I need the color with a "D" on the end, which means that it tones down red undertones in your hair.  I picked up the wrong one, so totally my fault.  Well, I knew it wouldn't be best (nor did I have time) to run out and buy a new box that was the correct kind, so I found a big headband, put it on my head and went to Thanksgiving.  Of course no one noticed anything - except when Jimmy kept bringing it up (AH - I was so mad at him).

The next day, I went out and bought new hair dye (the correct kind) but then decided I should bite the bullet and call the 1-800 hotline on the box...hoping that they were working the day after Thanksgiving.    Lucky for me, they were.  The lady I talked to was SOOOO nice.  She asked me lots of questions and she came to the conclusion I had in that I just needed to use the other color.  And then she gave me a new mix (a little diluted with shampoo) to try this time.  I thanked her very much and she said I could dye it again in 6 weeks.  I'm going with 4 because my hair is still gross and kind of red (her mix toned down the red, but I had to change my part and still hate it because it is not brown...just kind of red).  The worse is in pictures.

This was right after.  See the picture below....

See the red tone with the big headband?  I was NOT happy

Here is a close up that weekend - after the "fix".  Not that bad....but it's gotten worse!!

Moral of this story?  Make sure you pick up the RIGHT hair dye when you are doing the at home.  If you are already a brunette....the lady from Clairol said that most will always need the ash tone to not pull out the red.  LESSON LEARNED.  Who knew that having your hair not the way you like it could be so miserable??

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Great Christmas gift - offer valid until 12/24!

Wow - this is too good to not post.  Jimmy loves going out to eat and I don't mind it either - except for the price tag!!  Restaurants.com has a great special going on today through 12/24 to get $25 restaurant gift cards (to certain places...) for only $1!  It's insane!

I might just be getting someone a few for some stocking stuffers.  But don't tell.


Check out the above link and enjoy!!!  Got to love great deals!

PS Make sure you check out the restrictions with the deals you are buying - most have minimum limits to purchase something and specify dine in, etc.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'm alive - school is done!

Oh my.  These last few weeks since Thanksgiving have been busy, stressful and fun all at the same time!!

The Thursday after Thanksgiving, I had a huge 20 min presentation and 20 page paper due, so that pretty much sucked up my life that week.  Fun, huh?  Well then that weekend it was time for Jimmy's 8th annual Christmas party (and yes, it's just Jimmy's Christmas party according to the evite....) at the Knights of Columbus hall.  As always, it was a great time with lots of great friends - old and new, so thanks again to all those that came out!!!

Saturday I didn't feel very well in the morning, so we decided for a movie day.  All day.  We got 3 movies from the red box...including Friends with Benefits (Jimmy opted not to watch....), Water for Elephants (I had read the book, but not seen the movie yet - pretty good) and some other boy movie that I think we watched and I actually liked. But obviously it wasn't that good because I cannot remember what it was.  Overall, it was a great day.

Sunday we had Jimmy's family over for the away chief's game at our house to enjoy some chili and family time.  It was delicious food, good times with the Carter's and all the kids!

Then the week flew by.  With dance class on Monday night, dinner and bridesmaid dress shopping with Lauren on Tuesday night, the Kappa Kappa Gamma homes tour on Wednesday night, class on Thursday night and then....off to Houston, TX on Friday night with Heather!!

You read that right - we had a good old fashioned girls weekend in Houston, TX to visit Vanessa and it was so fun!  Unfortunately...guess what?  It was so fun and relaxing, I literally took ZERO pictures.  I think overall there might have been 3 pictures taken.  One by Chris at their house because we went out to dinner on Saturday night and then two by Payson at dinner on Saturday.  I'm going to ahead and say that we  just had way too much fun and got in way too much good conversation to take pictures  - because we did!!

Quick run down of the trip:

- Heather and I are picked up in style by Vanessa and Liz (who made the drive from Austin, TX) at around 10PM at the airport
- Hung out on the Calcara's super comfy couch and I fell asleep sitting up (awesome, I know)
- Liz and I slept in until 9:30 - wow!!!!!
- We all headed out to pick up Payson from the airport - she flew in from Dallas
- Went to a delicious lunch
- Got to go see Katie and Barry's new house that they just moved into in Houston (it's so cute) and see her, Barry and their three sweet little dogs!
- Went back to Katy, TX and got some pedicures and relaxed! (eh - might have been a small car accident in here...)
- Met Katie back in midtown area for dinner (ended up at a place named Beaver's, courtesy of Liz, and it was pretty darn good)
- Back to V's house, back on the couch and back to sleep - we are REALLY cool if you can't tell!
- Up again and then grabbed some necessary Mexican food in Katy and then back to the airport to drop Payson off and bid adieu to Liz as she drove back to Austin
- Heather, Vanessa and I went to see the movie New Year's Eve before Heather and I's flight at 7PM
- Back to the airport, layover in Dallas, got on the flight from Dallas to KC - realized I left my Kindle in the other plane, Southwest airlines rocks and actually found it (YEAH!), back in KC around 10PM and home, then sleep
- Such a FUN weekend and I wish it could have lasted longer!!  So good to see all these girls and especially to get to spend some quality time with Hazel....I love their dog!

Heather and I returned late on Sunday night (to spare you details, luckily was able to get my lost kindle back thanks to the wonderful Southwest Airlines!) and I was beat!!  We skipped dance class on Monday night - mainly so I could sleep - and then it was another busy week.....

Tuesday was a meeting for a K-State scholarship committee that I am on and then Wednesday was a Bark for Life meeting!  Jimmy and I both took the day off on Wednesday to finish up our Christmas shopping, so since we were both home we got to take Milly and Willy to the meeting which was - eh...interesting.  They were welcome to attend (Bark for Life is an event that is being started in both Kansas and Missouri sponsored by the American Cancer Society that is a supplement to the Relay for Life race), but they will probably not be coming back.  Haha.

Thursday I had my final for my class (wahoo - officially done with my THIRD semester of grad school!)

Friday we went to dinner with my mom and sister (yum, Don Chilitos....) and then to Westport to a bingo themed birthday party for one of Jimmy's friend from work.  Saturday, we were able to relax and start some laundry during the day and then headed to Julia and Ben's house for their first annual ugly sweater party and white elephant exchange.  It was good friends and great food and hilarious presents!  Some of the presents people walked out the door with: condoms, lube, a beta fish, flaming dr. pepper shot...haha.  Jimmy walked out with Dunkin Donuts coffee and powdered donuts (after a vicious trade with Julia's sister) and I walked out with an "as seen on TV" pop tops that make soda cans into a bottle (hey, I thought they were cool!)

We ended the last 2 weeks yesterday with the chiefs game at Jimmy's parents house and with some of our nieces and nephews.  Whew.

Needless to say - I have started writing this post (and many others) like 5 times and haven't had a chance to finish them.  So here I am done.  Done with the boring 3 weeks recap - and ready to start up again with some super fun posts.  Thanks for sticking in there and hope everyone else has been hanging in there during this super busy holiday season!  Can you believe that Christmas is only 6 days away!??? AHH!!  So exciting!  We are headed our final dance class tonight - so I'll try to catch up on that!

P.S.  Have you ever tried Bear Creek soups?  They are my new favorite thing.  8 cups of water boiling and 15 minutes....and that's it, you have a delicious amount of soup!  I love the potato kinds!  That's what is for dinner at the Carter house tonight!  Good for a rainy, cold night!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thanksgiving #2 and #3

Unfortunately I have no pictures from the official Thanksgiving #2, but it was at my cousin Tina's new house in Liberty and it was so fun to see everyone from my mom's side of the family!!!  We were there on Thursday afternoon.

When we got back from that meal, we digested for a couple of hours and then around 7:30PM Jimmy, my sister and my dad headed to the Legends to see Tower Heist because it's strategically planned because when the movie gets out - it was BLACK FRIDAY time and the stores were open!  Jimmy and I did the same thing last year and got some killer new clothes at great prices at the outlet stores last year...so we convinced my sister that she need to go too!  We were there until around 11:45PM and then headed back home.  We did a quick drive by of the Target and Kohl's by my parents house ---- WOW!!  I was in shock at how many people were waiting in line.  We went back to bed for a few hours and got up again at 5AM to head to Lowe's for a great deal on a table saw (yes, I'm weird...).  Unfortunately, when we got there it was already gone because at Lowe's this year you could buy stuff online at midnight and they would save it for you in the store.  WTF!!!  We were so upset when we got there at 5:15AM and they were all gone.  But we don't give up that easy - we headed back home and got online and bought our own at another Lowe's in town and drove out there immediately to get it.  I haven't got to use it yet because I was super busy with school last week - but I will get it out soon!!!  Black Friday was so worth it this year!!!  On top of the great clothes, a table saw that was originally $149.99 by $69.99!!

Friday night I went to a new restaurant on the plaza called Gram and Dun with some high school girlfriends and it was SOO good to see everyone that was back in town and those that are just down the street!!  And the food was pretty freaking good too!

Ok - then EARLY on Saturday morning, we headed to my parents house and then piled into my mom's SUV and were off to Storm Lake, Iowa to visit my dad's side of the family for our Thanksgiving and Christmas up there!  It was a long drive, but we kept ourselves entertained and my sister and I slept most of the way.  When we finally arrived, we dropped my sister off at the hotel to shower and then headed to the Sugar Bowl, which is the Hallmark store in Storm Lake.  And after Jimmy talked to the owners a bit and we got an ornament and some beer bread, my dad got his hat - the one thing that he wanted.  Check it out - a monkey hat!!

My dad and my beautiful cousin Tammy before dinner!

We all headed to dinner at Lakeshore cafe for the annual Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner.  Then it was back to my grandparents apartment for the opening of some presents and dessert - my dad's favorite part.

Cousins (minus Todd and Emily who couldn't be there!)

Haha my grandma opened up a gift from my cousin that was a little snowmen and my other cousin's dog was entranced by it!

 Grandpa Bruns in his chair!

Opening up presents!

 My Aunt Sandy, Tammy, Lyndsay and me!

We left Iowa early on Sunday morning (short trip) because I had to be back in Kansas City for a meeting with my grad school group at the library at 3PM on Sunday and needed some time to do a quick cleaning of our house because we invited all our nieces and nephews over to watch Jingle, a movie that Hallmark made to supplement one of the interactive storybuddies that came out last Christmas.  We bought one for each of Jimmy's older brothers families last year, so we thought it would be fun for everyone to come over and watch it together.  Turned out that Norah got sick that day, so she, Maren and Will weren't able to make it - but all the other kids were.  And they loved it!!

Eli and Ben - loving the movie!

Most of the group - watching the movie!

 Katy LOVED it. She was so sad when Jingle couldn't find a home we thought she was going to start crying!  Now Jingle is in competition with Hello Kitty as her favorite toy!

Ben was also having fun with Willy - the real dog- and Jingle - the plush dog

Kenlie, Shellie and Emma (Shellie's niece from Houston - but she fit right in with the Carter family with that sweet red hair!)

After the movie was over, they broke out the Wii game.  Ben with the drums, Kenlie with the singing and Eli was the dancer.  It was pretty funny!  However, we cannot find the guitar...bummer!

But check out those SKILLS!!

It was quite the weekend with lots of fun, family and friends - pretty sure I was exhausted on Monday that I even convinced Jimmy to skip dance class to try to recover and get some sleep.  However, it was a great weekend with a lot to be thankful for.  A whole lot!!!!