Thursday, December 26, 2013

Live & Learn :: Lessons From Kaleb

It is time for another installment of Live & Learn, a lovely link up hosted by four lovely ladies, where we share the funny, silly, and terrible lessons we have learned.

Life As Always

I was lucky enough to spend some quality time with my adorable nephew, Kaleb over Christmas. I thought I would share with you all today, the lessons this tiny guy shared with me.

1. It is always a good time for a cookie.
Remember all of these cookies, we are still working our way though them.

2. Shots are best administered to the face, preferably the cheek or the nose.

Grandma gave Kaleb a Fisher Price Doctor Kit for Christmas, who knew Kaleb would skip right to botox injections, but let me you tell you, I have never looked better!

See, I am about to get a shot in the neck in this picture.

3. When playing hide and seek, you should always hide in the same spot. They will never look for you in that spot more than once and when they do finally find you, it will be hilarious!

4. Uncle Joel makes the best trampoline. It is best to wait for Joel to close his eyes, then pounce.

So there you have it, four life lessons that I have learned in the last few days thanks to my nephew, Kaleb. What a little character!

Be sure to stop by the link-up and see what everyone has been learning!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Joel and I are enjoying the holiday with family, but I wanted to stop by to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
Peace and Joy!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Warm Up:: Cookie Day!

The weekend before Christmas is always packed up full of all kinds of activities and this year was no different. Joel and I finished up our Christmas shopping, we meet up with the Odell family for a holiday get together and the icing on the cake was Saturday morning, when I headed over to my sister's house to meet up with the rest of the extended family for a James Family Cookie Day!

For several years now, my mom's side of the family gets together to bake a billion cookies and decorate them. We all take home our favorites and the extra cookies are saved for the Christmas Eve family gathering. It is really fun to see how creative my family is. Everyone loves Cookie Day and we all really get into decorating the cookies.

Porter and Kaleb entertain themselves as we get everything set up. 

Check out the ugly sweater cookies! So cute! 

I made a Joel cookie, a me cookie and a Jack cookie. 

Did you know if you turn a gingerbread man cookie upside down, you can make a reindeer cookie? 

Here are all the cookies we baked and frosted together.
There are even more cookies under production in the kitchen! Too many cookies!
All the lovely bakers!
Me, Shaina, Riley, Tonna, Sidney, Betty, Maddie, Jackie, Moriah, Holli, Pat, Anne, Farrah, Leann, Karen, Porter, Janice, Kaleb, Tiffany and Jaisha 

The table was such a mess! Such a glorious, delicious mess!
Can you believe that Christmas Eve is tomorrow?! Joel and I will be traveling around to visit friends and family this holiday season, so posts might be sparse and few, but what else is new right?!
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chalk to the Rescue!

Life As Always
For this week's Live & Learn Link-Up, I was pretty stumped for a topic. I have been racking my brain trying to think of something that wouldn't disappoint or put people to sleep. But then it dawned on me while I was doing laundry last night, I knew just what to post.

Chalk to the Rescue!
So, I might be a messy eater. Scratch that, I am a messy eater. I always seem to get something on my clothes and if you toss in a bit of alcohol, then I am guaranteed to get something on my clothes. So it really shouldn't have been a big surprise when unpacking from my recent trip to Leavenworth, that I found small, orange spots on my brand new, cream colored Lululemon sweatshirt. I wanted to cry. Don't judge me - it isn't every day that I treat myself to a $108.00 sweatshirt, it is more like never. To be honest, it was my carrot-on-a-string reward for finishing my first half marathon without walking one step. So I was heartbroken to see that I had been so careless.
So how was I going to get greasy microwave popcorn stains out of my beautiful sweatshirt?
Easy, with chalk!
This was early in the night and my sweatshirt was still pristine.
Within hours, I will be dropping microwave popcorn all over this adorable sweatshirt with careless abandonment.
That's right. The white stuff that you used to doodle on the sidewalk or write on a chalkboard with, is amazing for getting grease out of your clothes. Just scribble with a piece of white chalk on top of the grease stain until you can't see anything but white chalk. I'm not sure you need to use that much chalk, but I figure the more the better, right? Then just toss the garment in the washer and wash like normal. Ta-Dah! Grease stains gone.
I have even used this trick on grease stains that have been through the dryer and are stubborn as ever. It seems to work on any type of fabric. So I now keep a small box of white chalk in my laundry room and I scribble away at the sign of any grease stain.
There you have it. My not so exciting, but still useful Live & Learn lesson! Be sure to stop by the link up and check out the great posts! So much learning to be done!
Life As Always

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Social :: Holiday Special

This week's Sunday Social has a fun holiday theme. Let's get started...

1. What is your favorite Holiday Movies/TV Specials?

Every year I have to watch Home Alone, Love Actually, Christmas Vacation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Bad Santa, and A Christmas Story. I am sure I am forgetting a good one, but this list seemed pretty good to me!

2. Do you do any volunteering during the holidays if so what?
If not what would you do?
I help organize the office Giving Tree toy drive for our local Salvation Army. Last year the office collected over 50 toys for kids in our community. 

3. What is your favorite toy received as a child for the holidays?
Easy. Miss Bunny. My cousin Leann gave me a giant (about two and a half feet tall) stuffed rabbit my first Christmas in Washington, after moving with my family from Utah. She was my constant companion growing up and I still have her with me.

4. What was your must have item in high school for the holidays? 
I wanted a hair straightener so bad, that I went crazy when I opened it on Christmas day. I can still remember my dad being confused as to what it was. "What do you mean it straightens your hair? Your hair is already straight, don't you mean it curls your hair?" Good thing my mom knew how to hook a girl up!

5. What do you do on Christmas Eve?
If you are Jewish what does your family do for Hanukkah?
Joel and I typically travel about two hours north of home to be with my family on Christmas Eve. My entire extended family on my mom's side gathers together at my aunt's house for way too much food, way too much wine, and a really, really good time! We do a white elephant gift exchange and watch the little kids open their stockings. The guys play blackjack and my dad is always the dealer. It is so much fun! This has the tradition in my family ever since I was five and we moved back to Washington.
This was Christmas Eve last year. I have a big family, this is just the girls!
Sunday Social
I'm linking up with Ashley and Neely for this week's Sunday Social.
Be sure to check out the other great posts this week!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rabbits Are Naughty

One thing I have learned in my life is that rabbits are really naughty. They are bad little bunnies.

:: The Truth About Rabbits::

The day I brought Jack Rabbit home.
For more than eight years, I had a pet rabbit, Jack. In the middle of those years, I had a second rabbit, Katie. So yeah, I'm kind of an expert. For those of you who don't know, Jack and Katie lived in the house much like a cat. They used a litter box, had the run of the house for the most part and were trained not to jump on the furniture. Don't get me wrong, Jack and Katie were amazing pets. (For some reason, I couldn't find many pictures of Katie, so this post features Jack).

:: Perks to Having A Pet Rabbit ::

They love to watch Saturday morning TV with you.
They enjoy playing video games with you.
They love hanging out at the pool, all day.
They enjoy going for walks at the park.
They are great at playing hide and seek. (He's behind the curtain.)

:: What No One Tells You About Pet Rabbits ::
They WILL eat anything and everything in sight. This was a pillow from my sofa.
They think Christmas trees are for dinner and Christmas tree lights are for dessert.
They will eat your homework.
Sorry for the blurry picture, but you try to catch a homework eating rabbit in the action!
They believe you washed your clothes so they could make a bed in your laundry basket.
Have you seen how much a rabbit will shed!
If you try to punish them with a time out in their cage, they will spend the time plotting their revenge.
They will make a giant mess in your apartment while you are at school and blame it on your roommate.

Rabbits require extreme measures to get them out of a hiding spot.
They will get themselves stuck in the craziest spots - like behind the entertainment stand.

So there you have it. All the things that no one will tell you about having a pet rabbit. Would I have still brought Jack home had I know the whole truth - certainly. But I would have been better prepared for the craziness that is owning a fluffy little bunny. Oh well, Live and Learn!

Life As Always
I'm linking up with Jamie, Lindsey, Jenni and Sarah for this week's
Live & Learn Thursday!
Be sure to stop by the link- up and check out all the other fun posts!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

This or That :: Winter Edition

Let's make it a Link Up Tuesday, shall we!

I'm joining Candra, Jodi, Kristine, and Katie for this week's This or That: Winter Edition.

This or That Link Up

1. Fashionable snow boots
or practical snow boots?
I think my snow boats fall under both categories. They are warm, durable, and actually keep my feet warm when I'm out in the snow and they don't look half bad either.
I like it when I have both function and looks!

- - -

2. Hat or ear muffs?
I much prefer hats. I am always cold and I feel like hats help you stay warmer better. Although I did just pick up a really cute knit headband thingy while I was in Leavenworth the other weekend and I am loving it!

- - -

3. Snowed in or playing out in the snow?
Playing out the snow! This year Joel and I have a few ski trips planned and I can't wait.
I love the snow.
- - -

4. Sledding or snow tubing?
Sledding! We didn't really have any hills around our house when I was growing up, so my dad would tie our sleds to the back of his Jeep and drive us around the fields. The only way to go sledding in my opinion. Well, alright, that downhill sledding ain't too bad either.
Julie was too little to join us on the sleds this time around, so she would cheer us on from the back of the jeep.
- - -

5. Almost winter or winter’s almost over?
Amost winter. I tend to get bored with a season by the time it is over. I think it is because Joel and I keep busy enjoying what season has to ofer. Like right now, I am over pumpkin patches and apple orchards - I am ready for ski lifts, woodsy cabins, and snow!

The Best Things About Christmas. Ever.

There is something special about the Christmas season that brings out the kid in everyone. Christmas really is a magical time of the year, so I thought I would join up with Helene and Taylor to share a few of the things during the holiday season that make me feel like a kid again!

:: Cookies! ::

Not only is this a picture of me at Christmas time, but it is a picture of me stealing pieces of my favorite cookies ever! I would kill for a plate of spice cookies, still warm from the oven, and a cup of milk right now! Best cookies ever and my mom always made makes them for us at Christmas time.

:: Presents! ::

I can still remember how hard it was to fall asleep on Christmas eve knowing that in the morning the living room was going to be filled to brim with toys! AND some of those toys would have your name on them! (And the ones that didn't have your name on them, you can just steal from your sister later.) Oh the agony of picking which present to open first and which present to save until the end, oh the decisions to make! Then, just when you think you have opened every last gift, you remember with great joy that your stocking is still full! Oh what a wonderful world it is!

:: Snow! ::

Me, Julie, and Jackie with our little Snowman
Nothing makes the holiday seem brighter than snow, because with snow comes Snow Days! Every child's dream come true is a snow day! Immediately after getting the-best-news-in-the-universe, my sisters and I would eat our breakfast as fast as we could, before yanking on our snow gear and getting outside. We would stay out there as long as we could, making snowmen, building igloos, throwing snowballs, and having a ball.

So there you have it, just a few of the magical things at Christmas time that make me feel like a kid again. Be sure to check out The Daily Tay and Helene in Between for more holiday magic!

The Daily Tay

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Social

Sunday Social
I'm linking up with Neely and Ashley for this week's Sunday Social.

1. What is the wallpaper on your cell phone?

This is the home screen for my phone.

Here is the lock screen for my phone.

2. What do you keep beside your bed?

My nightstand has the typical stuff on it; lamp, alarm clock, cell phone charger, kindle, kindle charger, a couple real books, lotion, and my water bottle.

3. What is your least favorite chore?

Dusting! I hate that chore so much. It is such a pain and the absolute worst is dusting window blinds!

4. If you could eliminate one thing from your daily routine, what would it be?

Shaving. It takes forever when you have long legs like I do. I would do anything to have all my leg hair permanently removed, so I could have perfectly smooth, shorts-ready legs at all times!

5. What do you do to vent anger?

I get busy. Sometimes I go to the gym. Sometimes I deep clean my house or organize the growing numbers of files on my computer. Getting busy with an activity helps to focus my mind on something else and accomplishing tasks makes me feel positive.

6. What is your favorite holiday of the year and why?

I think my favorite holiday is New Year's Day. It always comes after a night spent with good friends celebrating another wonderful year. I love the feeling of a brand new year laid out before me with all the potential of new adventures, excitement, and challenges.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Skipping Class :: The Wrong Way

Okay, let's be honest. We have all done things that we are not proud of. In fact I am sure that all of us have done things that we wish we could just earase from our pasts. You know, those "life lesson" moments that "build character". Yeah, those moments. Well, here is one of my mine.

I am a tall girl. I have always been tall. I was that girl in middle school. The one that towered over all the other girls, having hit my growth spurt before anyone else in my peer group. Strike one. I also wore glasses and had braces. Strikes two and three. I wasn't the most coordinated person and I certainly wasn't the most fashionable. I would probably describe myself as that kid that got picked for all the make-overs. You know the type.

So I was willing to do pretty much anything to fit in. So when my best friend Nichole's gym locker wouldn't open that fateful day in eighth grade, what is a girl to do? We skipped class. She was too scared to tell our male gym teacher that she couldn't get her locker open as he had a bit of an anger problem. I mean he would have to track down the one female gym teacher, who was never around, get her to go in the girls locker room to help the poor female student, all while his class was left to their own devices in the gym. Pretty much a recipe for disaster. The nerve of that poor female student.

We pretended to change using the stuff from my locker, which opened just fine. I don't have to explain myself here. My friend was having a major life crisis and I wasn't about to don some smelly gym outfit and ditch her. Once the locker room cleared out, we headed back across campus where we hung out in the girls bathroom. This bathroom, you should know, was across the hall from the front office. I'm not kidding. That was best spot we could think of to hide out while breaking the rules. So smart, I know.

While we were hiding out in the bathroom, the school counselor came into the bathroom to do her thing. Nichole and I hid in the stall next to her, crouching on the toilet together to prevent her from seeing our shoes, of course - I mean, come on, we weren't stupid! I heard things. Frightening things. I heard sounds and smelled smells that should only come out a man from south of the border who spent the previous night drinking heavily and eating burritos. I'm not kidding. This is the stuff that movies are made out of.  We witnessed soething that no one should ever have to suffer through in silence. But we bore our burden. What else were we to do?

It really shouldn't be a big surprise to anyone that we were caught. We were called to the Principal's office during the next period, to find both of our mom's sitting in his office waiting for us. It was terrible. I was so ashamed and terrified at the same moment. We were first time offenders, so we were sentenced to one Saturday school and lucky for us, Saturday was the next day.

The worst wasn't over yet though, I had to tell my dad. I can distinctly remember sitting in chair from the moment I got home from school, waiting for my dad to come home from work, so I could tell him what I did. I don't remember if I was grounded or not, but I do remember the overwhelming sense of disappointment. The worst feeling ever.

My story doesn't end here though. You see, my mom was so flustered by the fact her daughter was now delinquent youth, she accidentally left the car door ajar. All night. So when we got in the car to drive to Saturday school the next morning, the car battery was dead. SHE HAD TO CALL MY GRANDMA TO COME GET ME. That's right. Now my Grandma knew the terrible truth about me. I wanted to die. By the time I got to school to serve my time, I was fifteen minutes late, which meant I had to stay fifteen minutes longer and pick up trash IN FRONT OF THE SCHOOL.

That's me, there in the middle. A tall, dorky eighth grader.
Those. Glasses.

Let 's just say, I got a lot better at hiding while skipping school. What? Did you think this was enough to make me never skip class again? Well, I won't lie, it worked for awhile, but then I got my driver's license and the game changed. Oh well, you live and you learn!

Life As Always

I'm linking up with Jamie, Lindsey, Jenni and Sarah for this week's
Live & Learn Thursday!