Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Advent Calendar Days 11-16

Here are days 11-16 of my advent calendar.
Day 11: a fun gift bag
 filled with all kinds of art supplies: some stickers, chipboard, flowers, jewelry
 Day 12 is a cute little wooden box
 inside is a couple of cute animals and a fun bead
 Day 13 a cigar box I altered with some dictionary paper, vintage trim and a beaded butterfly
 Inside is some Dove peppermint bark and the RAK that Kathy at Kluless made for me
 Day 14 is another cigar box
 inside more random stuff, some washi tape, trim, toys, old keys
 Day15 is a metal box
 Inside a brass W I bought wrapped in a fancy napkin
 Day 16 an old box
 and inside: lots of buttons
December 13th was the day to start opening my gifts for the 12 Days of Christmas swap, I have gotten some cool gifts. Those pictures will be up after Christmas.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Next Tuesday I leave for vacation, so I won't be participating in the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. Time magazine has selected The Ebola Fighters as their person of the year for 2014. Do you agree, and if so who would you say is a close second? If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen?
I honestly don't pay attention to the news, so I have no idea.
2. This question comes to you courtesy of Susan who blogs over at Stew Mama Says. She knows we have a wedding happening any minute now, and she asks, 'What's your favorite-something old? something new? something borrowed? something blue in your home?  Be sure you hop over and say hi to Susan today! 
Something old: my house, it was built in 1899, and has a ton of character. Though my parents moved out of the first two floors (I rent the third floor), so I don't get to see a lot of the character anymore
Something new: I'm gonna go with the giant minion that I bought at a garage sale this summer, while he's not exactly new, he is new to me and I smile every time I see him.
Something borrowed: Let's go with library books, I love reading and I work at a library, so can't go wrong there.
Something blue: A handmade stocking I got in a swap a few years ago, technically it's blue and white, but close enough.
3. Fudge-yay or nay? Your favorite flavor? Do you make it yourself? With nuts or without?  
I'm not a big fudge fan, I find it a little too sugary.
4. December 17th is Wright Brothers Day, commemorating the first successful flights made by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  How old were you when you made your first flight? Do you like to fly? Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk or other parts of the North Carolina Outer Banks? 
I believe we flew to Florida to whatever Disney park is there when I was very young, like couldn't walk by myself young. I don't recall any of that trip.
I'm not a big fan of flying, mostly because I don't do it that much.
I have not been anywhere in North Carolina.

 5. Do the people in your family tend to follow a particular career path, and if so what's the path?
Nope. My mom has a masters in childhood education (I think), she used to work at a preschool, was a council person when I was a kid, started working in an office at the university later, and now teaches college kids to sew.
My dad has a general business degree and basically worked at a radio station since he graduated college.
My brother has a BS in MIS and does something with computers.
I have a BS in sociology/criminal justice and I work at a library, an events center and sporadically at a bookstore. And I believe I'll be applying for more jobs in the new year.

 6. What is one thing you absolutely, positively must accomplish today?
I have to go to a work party (cause I made dessert, and who doesn't like free food), other than that not much. I'm trying to finish a book that's due soon.

 7. This Christmas I hope___________________________________.
for warm weather

 8. Insert your own random thought here.
Like I said earlier, I'm leaving on vacation next Tuesday, so I won't be participating in Hodgepodge next week. I hope everyone has a great Christmas.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I need a penpal

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Advent Calendar Days 5-10

Here are some more of my advent calendar gifts.
Day 5, just a regular jewelry box
 Inside, some butterfly pins.
Day 6 was just wrapped.
 Inside is a cute painting of a bird I picked up at a garage sale this summer.
Day 7 is a tiny box I bought at a garage sale
 And inside a couple Hello Kitty pieces, a figurine and a keychain, both picked up at garage sales.
Day 8 a box I got a birthday present in
 And inside a cute crotched doll I bought at an art festival
 Day 9, a cute glass box
 Inside a copper roadrunner keychain and a Christmas unicorn figurine.
 Day 10, a coin purse
 and inside some pins, the mice are from Etsy as well as the ginkgo leaf pendant, the elephant, two dogs, flower and mouse with glasses I've picked up through the years.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

It's time for Hodgepodge. Head on over to Joyce's blog to see other answers.

1. What is one new holiday tradition you'd like to establish, or one you've established recently, say in the last year or two?
I don't have an answer for this one, I'll be very intrigued to see what other people answer though. I did do a post on what I miss this year, go here to read it.

 2. It's the second week of December. Have you sipped a cup of eggnog yet this month? No, I usually just buy the individual size ones at Fareway and drink one of those. I'm not a big fan of eggnog, and that size is about as much as I can handle.
Wrapped a gift? Yes, I have most of my gifts wrapped.
Opened a gift? I have, I made myself an Advent calendar this year, go here to see the first few days.
Kissed someone under the mistletoe? Nope, no mistletoe or anyone to kiss around here
Lit a candle? Nope, I don't keep a lot of candles around the house, though I did get one in my Cozy Box Swap.
Eaten a Christmas cookie? Nope, none of those around either.
Seen Santa in person? I saw him through the window the other day, does that count?
Watched a Christmas movie or special? I just watched my regular Thanksgiving movie the other day, I'm a bit behind in my holiday movies.

 3. Do you think it's better to be an adult or a child at Christmastime? Explain.
I like both. I like having the excitement of a child, I have never been able to sleep on Christmas Eve, I just have so much anticipation about Christmas. One of the things I loved when I started earning my own money was picking out the perfect gift for people, I associate that part with being an adult.

 4. It's often said, 'Good things come to those who wait'...agree or disagree? Why?
I think so. I have this huge box sitting on my floor waiting for the 13th when my 12 Days of Christmas swap gifts can be opened. I imagine a lot of good things in it. 

 5. What's the last sweet thing you baked? Did you keep it, take it to a party/event, or give it away?
I made a chess pie for Thanksgiving and I'll be making another for a work holiday party next week. It's kinda like custard, it's really good, but it never seems to set up all the way in the middle. That hasn't stopped anyone from eating it though.

6.  This question comes to us courtesy of Jhona who blogs over at The Red House at the End of the Lane. Everyone hop over and say hi to Jhona this week!  Here is her question... "I heard an actor talk about how he makes a conscious choice to talk to people in elevators.  He chooses to connect, make eye contact, and converse. Do you talk to people/strangers when you're in an elevator or any other place where you might have to wait together? Why or why not?"
I don't usually take elevators, I got stuck in one once and that was less than pleasant. When I am in an elevator, I don't talk to other people. I guess I'm just so much in my own little world I don't really pay attention to much else.

 7. Are you on the naughty or nice list this year? What put you there?
I'm gonna go with the nice list. I try to do nice things to people all year long.

 8. Insert your own random thought here.
Today (Tuesday), I'm going to help my parents pack to move. They are finally getting into their condo tomorrow and I know they're looking forward to it. My parents bought a condo in an old school here in town, they sold their house in May and moved out in August, unfortunately their condo wasn't ready yet, so they've been living in a small (for them) 2 bedroom apartment across town. They are scrunched in there with some of their antique furniture they didn't want to put in storage. Tomorrow (Wednesday) they finally get to unpack everything into their permanent home. I've seen the condo in it's almost done state. It will be neat to see it with all their stuff in it, and see what stuff they can't fit in it.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Advent Calendar

Every year I say I'm going to make myself an advent calendar at the beginning of the year. And then every year it becomes December and I haven't made one. I put one together this year sometime in August. Basically, I took stuff I'd found in my apartment and forgot about, some recent garage sale finds, and even some recent other purchases. I just found containers that things would fit in and numbered them randomly. Here's my collection of containers:
 Day 1 was a box my brother brought back from Australia.
 Inside it was a key chain and a rock I found in my apartment.
 Day 2 was a paper covered box
 Inside was a mixture of owls, some from garage sales, the button from a button bag, the felt ones and flat metal one from the Etsy swap I joined recently.
 Day 3 was a beautiful tea box I picked up at the library
 Inside were a couple of wooden turtles I picked up at a garage sale
 And today was an Altoids tin
 Inside a group of cute magnets picked up at the same garage sale as the turtles.

I remember some of the things I put in the boxes, others not so much, I think it will be fun. Plus, starting on the 13th I get to open presents from my partner in the 12 Days of Christmas swap.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

200th Hodgepodge

Happy Bicentennial Hodgepodge!!

1. What is something in your life right now that feels a little 'hodgepodge'?
Money. mostly my lack of it. Looking at my money situation I'm going to have to get another job, and I am so not looking forward to that.

 2. What does 'peace on earth, goodwill to men' mean to you?
Being courteous and nice to everyone you meet

 3. Which edible treat you are most looking forward to sampling this December?
My aunt's goodie basket. She usually sends me a box of cookies/goodies in the mail. I made sure to tell her how much I loved them and was looking forward to mine this year.

 4. It's that most wonderful time of the year...do you agree, and if so why is it so wonderful?  If not, what would you say is the most wonderful time of the year?
I think people are nicer this time of year, but I also think they are more stressed. My co worker was telling me of things that were bothering her yesterday, and then she stopped and said she shouldn't be doing that because it doesn't do anyone any good. Between getting together with family and expectations to get the best gift, it does get a little stressful.

 5. What was the last word you looked up in a dictionary (actual or online) and why?
confidentiality. Something came up at work where it didn't seem we were doing this correctly, I wasn't sure how to spell it.

 6. Besides a Christmas tree, what is your favorite thing to decorate this time of year?
I just like getting out my decorations. Last year I had a lot more furniture to decorate, but I got rid of my biggest item in the anticipation of moving this past August. This year, I had to be a little creative with my decorating. I did have less stuff because I got rid of a bunch of my snowmen decorations as well, but I still seem to have way too much. I added nails to bookshelves to hang my decorations on.

 7. Share one thing you've learned (about yourself, people, or anything at all) in the Wednesday Hodgepodge, or through blogging in general.
You get more comments when you visit other people's blogs, even if you don't leave a comment. To me, I know people have read my blog when they leave a comment. I get so few comments on here, I'm not sure people actually read my blog.

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.
As you know, we're going to Charleston for Christmas. I've been perusing a few sites and books, but I still don't really know what we're going to do. We're staying on Spring St, which isn't at the center of town. We're getting in late on the 23rd, so not doing much that day. I think we'll be wrapping presents and getting ready for Christmas on the 24th, we're staying at a house, so most likely we'll be making our own Christmas dinner. Since we're flying we can't wrap our presents before we go, so that will be happening.
That leaves the 26th, 27th and a bit of the 28th, as we're leaving late that day. I want to go to the market, but I'm not sure it will be open, I also want to go to the aquarium.
Does anyone have any suggestions for restaurants we should go to while we're there? Or anything we have to visit?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday traditions

I'm not sure this year's holidays will feel right. My parents have their moving date into the condo, a little over a week away. I don't think they'll be doing much Christmas decorating as we won't be here to celebrate it.

Our holidays usually start with my brother flying in for this past week, and us basically hanging out all week. Then there's the annual shopping trip at HyVee on Wednesday, and my brother staying up to flip the turkey in the brine bucket on Wednesday night. On Thanksgiving, we start early with preparing, sometime during they day, they call me and ask me to pre heat my oven at some temperature for the twice baked potatoes, and then when everything's ready and downstairs we eat. Afterwards, we generally just hang out watching TV, and then Thanksgiving night we watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles, when most of us fall asleep in the middle of it, waking up at the end to go to our respective beds.
Black Friday starts at about 10AM or so, when we start pulling out the Christmas decorations. We always get the 3-foot tree out to decorate with mostly Santa's my mother has collected, there are a few ornaments that have been on our trees for years including the ceramic treasure chest that I have no idea what the meaning is, and the two paper bells with my brother's and my pictures in them.
We'll probably pull out the stockings and stocking holders to stick on the antique mantle above the marble fireplace, so we can start filling those up.
There's always a few favorite Santa's that come out every year, such as the 3-foot one mom ties to one of the mantle columns and the New Orleans one dad and I picked out for her one year and sent it back. There's also the two wooden Rudolph's someone made for my brother and I that sit in front of the fireplace.
Then my brother flies back to his home sometime on Friday afternoon.
Somewhere in between Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas, me and mom will pull out the other required decorations for the house. Such as the lighted garland for the front porch. Once upon a time, my dad, my brother and I would hang the multi-colored lights up and down every column, all across the top of the porch and across the railings on the bottom. But, after years of having the tiny little plastic hooks break from the bitter cold Iowa weather, we switched to pre-lit garland along the railing with big red bows at the columns.
There's also the garland to go on the staircase with tiny gold bows tied around the posts, plus some for the top of the French doors so everything matches in the entryway.
 Sometimes we'll dig out the 3-foot tree that holds the brass houses. I'm not sure when, but some year, my mom bought all these tiny brass houses that are all different styles of houses and they congregate on a tree on the bench in entryway.
Last year, I tried to convince her to bring out all 500+ Santa's she has so she could figure out which ones she wanted to get rid of to be ready for their move into the condo. We got quite a few out, but not all of them, and she told me she couldn't get rid of any.

The week of Christmas, my brother will fly in with his girlfriend (new tradition lately), and they'll help with meals and getting the last few presents under the tree and balancing the last few stocking stuffers on top of overflowing stockings.
Christmas morning was me being up wickedly early, because no matter how old I am (or where I am, a few years I went home with my ex for Christmas), I never can sleep on Christmas Eve. So, I'll come down early, where my mother will already be up putting caramel rolls in the oven. I will start sorting out presents and deciding who's sitting where in the living room, and wait in anticipation as the rest of the crew gets up for the day.
After everything's opened, there's generally a little clean-up of wrapping paper, and sorting things into boxes to cart up to separate rooms, then my brother will start cooking lunch.

We don't do much after that, mostly hanging out watching movies or playing with toys. Sometime before the 31st, my brother and his girlfriend will fly back home, and the holidays will be over.

This year, we're going to Charleston, SC for Christmas. I have a few snowmen/Christmas decorations out, but I did get rid of quite a few in our garage sales this past summer. I also have less surfaces to decorate them with, and I've never been excited to take off all my regular decorations to bring out the snowmen. I will probably bring out my ceramic Christmas tree (you know the ones with brightly colored plastic pieces in holes cut into it with a lightbulb underneath), kinda like my grandparents had when I was younger. I'm a little wary of the wires underneath, so I won't plug it in, but I might hang a few more snowmen on it.
My parents probably won't get much out, as I said they will be moving into their condo soon, and with us going away, it's probably more work than it's worth to bring out decorations.

The end of an era has arrived. I guess it will be fun to see how we make new traditions next year in their condo