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Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

One would have thought I’d be jumping at the chance to decorate the new house for Christmas however, that wasn’t exactly the case this year.  I couldn’t find my motivation, but I think I couldn’t find motivation because I couldn’t find my vision!  I had no clue what to do with the new house this year.  I knew I wanted candles in the windows and wreaths on the windows.

After Thanksgiving, I ran to Michael’s and picked up some garland for the porch.  I really wanted to use spot lights for the outside of the house but due to the elevation, we couldn’t get them to look right. So we ended up outside one night just putting white lights on the garland.  As it turned out, it looked good.

The house Christmas Eve. The neighborhood did luminaries.
The white tree.
The white tree topper. I found the gold topper and added a bow.

As the outside was coming together, inside was slowly getting started.  I think the tree was up for a week without any decorations, whoops.  Slowly I started to make my way around the house.  I purchased a 6ft white tree from Amazon in November that I planned to put in the dining room.  I bought a bag full of pink ornaments at our neighborhood garage sale back in the summer, so I needed a tree. 😉  Matt was not happy about the white tree, hehe.  I also had my dad build a rustic box for the dining room table.  I filled it with leftover ornaments, and it may still be sitting on the table because I love it!

Rustic box.

The stairs got some light garland I found at Kirkland’s on sale and the fireplace ended up with some greenery picks from Hobby Lobby.  The tree was put in the back corner of the living room and was slowly decorated.  It wasn’t my favorite tree so I’ll have to try harder next year.  My nutcrackers filled the tops of the built-in’s beside the fireplace.  Then I have to figure out what to do with my newly acquired buffet.  Mom gave it to me a few months ago and I still need to paint it but it’s currently on the back wall in the living room.  I added some wooden frames above it and put leftover wreaths in the middle.  This might have been my favorite decorating idea!  The frames will also be painted and I will put some pics from our last trip to London in them at some point.

The buffet with the framed wreaths!
Fireplace with greenery.


I didn’t take a ton of pics this year.


Deck the halls

Deck the halls

The other day I received a Big Lots ad.  I normally trash them straight away but the subject caught my eye.  Christmas stuff was on sale.  I’m looking for a new tree so I decided to check out the ad.  While I didn’t see any trees I felt would work, I did see a pair of 4.5 foot lighted trees in urns for $35.00.  Umm sold!  I called the Big Lots near my office but they were out so I called the store closest to my house and they still had some in stock.  I ran to Big Lots after work and picked up my new trees.

I got home and put them together and got them fluffed and ready for outside.  Then Matt asks how I plan to light them.  Umm, I don’t know.  He’s the outside light guy!  Since our timer only had one additional plug and the cords on the trees weren’t long enough I was unable to immediately plug them in.  I ran to Lowes on Saturday and found a cool split plug.  It’s a little bigger than we needed but I’m sure it will come in handy.  I now have the icicle lights, and both trees plugged into the timer.  YAY!



That left my wreath.  I guess sitting in the garage for a year didn’t do much for the lights because when Matt plugged it in a few weeks ago it didn’t work.  I picked up more lights and I told  Matt I’d redo them yesterday.  About 3 pm he grabs the wreath and starts trying to take the lights off only to realize they were clipped in place.  He spent the next half hour or so taking them off while I took a quick nap.  I woke to find new, working, lights on the wreath.  I fluffed and secured a few of the new lights before reattaching the bow and adding a few Christmas ornaments. It’s not my best Christmas wreath by far but it will do.  So now I think I have all of my Christmas stuff up and in place.  With the exception of the table.  I think I want to do a little more with it but I’m not sure what.  I feel like table settings are my weakness.





With love

With love

The other week when the Sandy Hook shootings occurred, the only thing I could think about was all of the families that would have unopened presents under their trees. Presents for children who would never return home. Little did I know that our family would face the same fate.

Sunday Matt’s parents called to let us know that Patrick, his younger brother, was sick with food poisoning and they were headed to ATL to see him. He wouldn’t have enough time to come home since he was sick. Their plan was to spend Christmas morning with Patrick and they would meet us at their house later in the day. This seemed to work well for us since we had planned to spend Christmas Eve with my parents, have Christmas morning with the two of us, and head to their house a little later in the day.

Yesterday Matt and I had a few errands to run before my parents came over. We got home around 2 pm when Matt received a call from his dad. I could hear Steve through Matt’s phone. He said he had bad news, then I heard him say Patrick was gone. Almost immediately I saw the tears.

Once Matt was off the phone I grabbed him and hugged him. He laid on me crying while I called my parents to let them know what had happened. Mom and dad couldn’t believe the news and I told them I’d call later.

Matt and I laid on the couch for awhile. I finally managed to get him to go upstairs and lie down. I called my parents and told them to come over. I couldn’t sit in the house in silence. And truthfully, I wanted them there. They came over a little while later and we talked for a while. I filled them in with what I knew but it still wasn’t much. At this point, it looked like Patrick had slipped in the bathroom and hit his head. An accident.

A little later Matt came downstairs and we talked and had a few drinks. I attempted to make dinner and we opened gifts. It really helped to keep out minds busy. Matt managed to get some our clothes washed and dried and put away. Anything to keep busy. After dinner mom and dad left and Matt and I busied ourselves with house work. We finally agreed to open gifts so we could leave first thing Christmas morning. Matt thought we should drive to ATL to be with his parents.

Neither of us slept much last night and around 7 this morning we got up and got ready to leave. We left Raleigh around 9 and made it to ATL by 3pm. We talked to his parents and they recounted the events of the day before. Then we headed to the hotel lounge for a few drinks. We talked and teared up and finally managed to eat a little.

Tomorrow we will go back to Patrick’s and pack his things, then we will head back to Jill and Steve’s house in Thursday.

The past day has been filled with tons of fb posts from Patrick’s friends. There’re are tons of heartfelt posts all saying the same thing, what a great guy Patrick was and how much he will be missed. The words are so hard to read but at the same time it’s wonderful to see how many people’s lives he touched.

We love you Patrick!


Family Christmas Weekend

Family Christmas Weekend

Now that my parents are back in NC and my cousin and her husband live in Greensboro, I thought it would be fun for us to have a “family Christmas”.  The weekend of the 15th worked best for everyone so the ladies started planning.  Matt and I provided the turkey and we split up the side dishes.

Everyone arrived at our house around 1:00 pm on Saturday.  Matt already had the turkey in the fryer and I was just about done making the rolls.  We stood around and talked for a while and then mom started pushing people to open gifts.  My dad had carried a large box into the house but I had no idea what it was or who it was for.  Mom told me it was for me and Matt (but mostly me) and to open it.  I was super surprised to find a 3 ft tall nutcracker in the box!  WOO HOO!  Last year I decided I wanted to start collecting them and then a few weeks ago mom and I saw one and I mentioned how cool it would be to have one beside the fire place.  🙂  (PS I’m on instagram set to private but you add me I will accept – aukelly)


After we opened our gifts, we started cooking dinner.  We planned it perfectly and the turkey was cooked and cooled just about the time the side dishes were finished.


I’m not super crazy about my table setting.  I think it needed *more* but I love the reindeer I found at Home Goods after Thanksgiving.  My plates were from the dollar store a few years ago and I found red placemats at Wal-Mart on Friday.  I used ornaments I had laying around for a project as place cards for everyone.


All in all I think everyone had a wonderful time.  It was great to see my cousin and her husband for a few hours since Matt and I will head to the beach on Christmas day.

thanksgiving fam



Christmas decor

Christmas decor

Here are a few pics of our holiday decorations so far.

Our Tree

The Mantel with my Nutcrackers

I am now collecting Nutcrackers. I need more!

Wreaths for the windows

I think I really need to do all 4 windows. Mom said she would pick up 2 additional wreaths if I wanted.

I have a few printables sitting around plus a few nutcrackers that I printed on old book pages. I saw the idea on Etsy and feel in love with them so I ran to Goodwill a week or so ago to find used books. I didn’t really find what I was looking for but it works for now.


Holiday Humbug?

Holiday Humbug?

I feel like Thanksgiving was super early this year and I’m having problems getting into the Christmas spirit. Last Friday Mom and I braved the crowds, at lunch, to do a little Black Friday shopping. We found a few items and I bought a few more gifts for Matt.

When we finally got home, I pulled in to the driveway and what did I see, Christmas lights on the house! My awesome husband had put them up without me even mentioning it. I think he grumbled something about it being cold as balls over the weekend and Friday was in the 60’s. 🙂 Whatever, I now have lights up outside!

On Sunday he asked if I wanted to help him get the Christmas stuff out of the attic, to which I grumbled, NO! I wanted to have a super lazy day and I had no interest at all in starting to decorate. I still have no interest. My goal all along had been to decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving so hopefully I will be more in the spirit by Friday.

I have decided I want to hang some wreaths on the 2nd floor windows. This could be a challenge but Matt has said he will help. He probably would prefer I not kill myself trying to get them up. Hopefully the windows open for cleaning and we can just stick them out that way. If not I have plans to hang them from the 3rd floor windows using fishing line. Should be interesting. 🙂

Happy Tuesday!


All that glitters

All that glitters

Currently are my fingernails.  One of my Christmas presents was a gift card to Ulta.  Thanks to Pinterest I’ve been dying to find some glitter nail polish.  Today at lunch, during a monsoon I might add, I ran to Ulta.  I must say I was pretty disappointed with their selection.  There were only a few bottles of glitter polish.  I finally found a cool bottle of pink glitter.  My idea was to put it over darker polish that I had.  As I was walking around the store I found a clearance table with some Sally Hanson polish.  This set has 3 bottles of polish for 5.00.  Score!  One of the colors is a light purplish grey (the name isn’t on the bottle).

After Matt and I got home from the grocery store I started to work on my nails.  Five coats later I have amazingly awesome nails!  I must admit they are a little flashy for my taste but New Year’s Eve is just a few days away and they do look festive!

Sorry for the crap picture.  I couldn’t really get a good pic of the colors.


Christmas shopping – done!

Christmas shopping – done!

Matt and I were pretty busy this past weekend.  The weekend literally felt like it flew by.  On Saturday we headed to the mall and began our Christmas shopping.  Several hours, and several locations later, we had almost everything for everyone crossed off our lists.  I was pretty excited we managed to get almost all of our Christmas shopping done.

I know he is still working on a few more things for me and I just have one more item to find for him.  I finished up everything else today at lunch. 😉  Go me!  Thankfully I have Friday off so I can finish up his last gift and get my parent’s gifts in the mail.

Happy Hump Day!


Fa la la la Ficus Tree

Fa la la la Ficus Tree

Last year our company started a “friendly” competition between the business units.  The objective was to decorate a ficus tree for Christmas using only office supplies.  Our floor threw ourselves into the spirit of competition (I mean we will do anything for a beer Friday) and had what we thought was a pretty outstanding tree.  One floor only used food items such as crackers and condiments and another was only allowed to work on their tree after hours (boo).  Needless to say our tree blew the competition away.

This year we knew we needed to step up our game.  I mean as the winners of the last competition we knew we had to “beat” ourselves.  Well forks that is EXACTLY what we did.  For 2 days straight one of my co-workers decorated our Ficus with a little help from myself and a few others.  We are fortunate that our marketing group is pretty awesome so they had some wonderful ideas and helped out.  I almost felt as though we were cheating having them on our team.  After 2 days of cutting and copying we had a tree that was worthy of a win.  It had focus and direction, a color scheme and was pretty darn amazing, if I do say so myself.  (Everyone else thought it was amazing too, I think even Martha Stewart would like it.)  Well apparently not everyone thought it was amazing, because son of a bitch we lost!  Yeah we were all shocked.

After the winner was announced a few people went next door to see the winning tree.  Let me just say that the bar we set last year was not met.  (And I’m going to tell you the tree we did last year pales in comparison to this year’s tree.)  It seemed pretty obvious to several of us that they didn’t just stick to “office supply” items.  Our group tried to be diligent and follow the rules, for the most part. 😉 But really we we used items we had.

So I don’t have pic of the winning tree for 2011 but I do have a pics of our trees from both years.  As you will see the 2011 tree should have set the gold standard for Ficus tree decorating.


As you can see we were pretty creative.  We used what we had and it was a pretty good tree.  Good enough to win the prize last year.  And that pic is not even the finished tree, it was close but not finished.


But this year’s tree.  Well what can you say?!?!?!  It’s specatacular.  We used balloons as a tree skirt.  Spider webs from Halloween for snow and clouds.  We used solo cups as spiral thingys.  We even hung a PHONEBOOTH from the sky!!!!!  Please tell me how this is NOT a winning tree?


I’m officially a collector

I’m officially a collector

Of Nutcrackers!  YAY!  For years my mom has collected Santa’s for Christmas.  Each year I normally add one to her collection.  Needless to say it’s gotten pretty large.  So a few weeks ago I was in the mall, walking past the Christmas store, when this amazing Nutcracker caught my eye.  He was purple and amazing.  At that minute I knew that’s what I wanted to collect.  I said something to my mom that I wanted to collect them.  A few days ago she told me she put something in the mail for us.  She said we could go ahead and open it before Christmas.

For the past 2 days I’ve been waiting on mom’s package to arrive.  Finally this morning it was at the door when Matt left for work.  I was excited to get home and open our gift.  And of course what did mom send?  She sent me 2 Nutcrackers, a little cheese plate and a stress ball for Matt. 😉

I put my our Nutcrackers on the fireplace mantel.  They look beautiful.

A crappy pic but you get the idea.


ETA:  I wrote this last week but for some reason it didn’t get published.