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Monthly Archives: December 2011

This year was a whirlwind for us.  January 3rd marked two years of marital bliss.  January 9th, 2012 will mark a year since William had his accident and lost teeth…a saga that is still on going!  (BIG prayers that he’ll be done soon).  At the end of the Spring, we found out William had been accepted into PSU for graduate school.  In preparation to move, we went through 6 houses before finding one (including being scammed on Craigslist once), packed up everything we own, said goodbye to all of our friends and family and moved 2600 miles away from home.  OH! And we lost our cat along the way.

July and August marked a new home, new city, new job, new school, new friends, and a new kitty.  We celebrated our birthdays in September and October with new friends and finally were able to go home to see family over both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My prayer is that we handled 2011 with as much grace and poise as possible, but if I’m honest with myself I know that has not always been the case.  Through and through, my sweet husband has been my strength and I would not have made it through this year in one piece without him.  He experienced more breakdowns (from me) this year than one man should ever have to live through (God love him).

And after all of that, after the tears and homesickness and fear like I’ve never known, God has granted peace.  2012 will be a wonderful year and I am thankful to be here to see its beginnings.

“Give me a chance, I want to change my ways, because I can’t live here and look the same. Let me look up, let me look to Your face, and set me in my place, oh Lord, set me in my place.  The day is dawning and I am just rising, I pray my strength won’t fail, I pray my strength won’t fail.  The day is dawning and I am just rising, I pray my strength won’t fail, my strength”.

My parents, William, and I on Christmas Eve 2011.

Happy New Years from Mr. and Mrs. Fancy Pants!

Screen shot from my phone of the SFERRA App.

Rarely do I find an iPhone app that I am just crazy about.  I like apps, don’t get me wrong, but I am not one that has 6,000 apps on my iPhone.  My tried and true method is (now make sure you take note of this, it might change your life) if I download it, use it twice, then forget about it, probably isn’t worth my time.  Genius, I know.

All of that said, I have found the most wonderful app!  It is a Southern woman’s DREAM!  Well maybe not all Southern women, but a large majority of us.  Like any good lady from the South, I have several sets of dishes.  I swore that I wouldn’t be this way when I got married, but I am.  Sadly (or not so sadly). So, because I am finding myself with china galore, I make sure that we use it!  Because why else do we have it!?  My weakness, though, is not for dishes or china.  It is cloth table linens.  Don’t ask me why, how, when, or where…I just love them.  And yes, every time we sit down at the table for dinner, we use cloth napkins.  None of this paper towel stuff.

100% Linen napkins from SFERRA; RE: Martha Stewart Living [November 2011 magazine]

Now, back to the app.  I was looking back through my November 2011 edition of Martha Steward Living and happened upon the above picture.  I am certain I missed it the first go-around otherwise I would have purchased these already.  I ventured to SFERRA‘s website to check out these amazing linen napkins and what doth my eyes see?!  OVER 100 COLORS OF 100% LINEN NAPKINS.  (in multiple sizes no less!)  Man was I excited and I hadn’t even happened upon the good part yet!

I am perusing their site and noticed that they have a free iPhone/iPad app!  It’s called Linens by SFERRA and it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.  (Download it here)  The app allows you to coordinate your table linens to match perfectly with your dishes and china.  You take a photo of your dinnerware, touch any color on the image and instantly get its match from SFERRA’s 101 colors of Festival table linens.  It.  Is.  Amazing.

Linen Colors by SFERRA

The pictures above are from me messing around with two of my sets of china.  You can see that they give you several coordinating options to choose from.  If you don’t like those selections, you just touch a different part of the dish (i.e. another color or area) and a whole new set of options come up. You can select up to 3 coordinating colors and buy them right from the app!

Their dinner napkins aren’t quite in my price range, however they have two sizes of cocktail napkins. (this I know because I noticed a 6×6 square napkin in the photos on the website but they weren’t listed to buy, so I called their support line and they added the 6×6 option back on the site.  SO if you end up buying some 6×6 napkins, I’ll take the credit for it! :))

I ended up purchasing two sets of 6″x6″ napkins: one set in Curry, one set in Grey.  (Which happen to be the colors pictured above in the Martha Stewart add–Martha does know best…)  BOTH colors were recommended for my sets of dishes so they’ll work with both!  That’s all I have for today…just one great app that just coordinated my new cocktail napkins with my dishes perfectly.  What more could a girl ask for!?

Have I mentioned how much I love these ladies?!

I had been looking forward to our next supper club for weeks!  And like always, these ladies never cease to be amazing and fun.  Casey and Ashley co-hosted our December supper club in the Pearl district in Downtown Portland!  Our significant others were also invited which made it SO fun!  All of the girls were able to make it except for our sweet Camden who had given birth to her first baby the day before!  (Woo Woo Camden!  We missed you!)  I am sad to say I did not take a picture of all of our food!  I’m not sure what is wrong with me!  It was a spread like you’ve never seen!

Beautiful invitation for our December JLP Supper Club!

The theme was surf ‘n turf!  Ashley made an incredible pork tenderloin and Casey had fantastic salmon!  I brought bacon wrapped green bean bundles (a family favorite) and a mushroom and rice dish.  We also had roasted potatoes, candied yams, a spinach salad with pecans and pears, AMAZING cornbread, and spaetzle!  I had never had spaetzle before but I loved it!  We had a bread pudding dessert and peppermint bark that was melt in your mouth good.  And after typing all of that out I’m regretting once again that I didn’t take a picture!

Beautiful ladies. Courtney, Caitlin, Shannon, and Larissa
Hostess with the mostess! Casey and I!
More lovely ladies! Ashley, Kate, myself, and Casey.

William had met a few of the guys before, but I am so glad he got to met the rest of the gang. Everyone mixed and mingled so well…not sure why we wouldn’t but it is wonderful how well we all get along.  We do all share one important thing in common…the South (well other than Shannon and she’s our Northerner that we love dearly).  One thing is for sure about Southern women, we’ve never met a stranger!  There is so much personality in the room when we all get together–makes for a wonderful time!

Funny side note, this picture pose was not my idea, however my mom has a photo just like this of her and her sister and some of their cousins at the beach years ago.  They have tried to recreate the picture a few times at different family gatherings and it always made me laugh.  Now look at me…doing the can can pose myself, WHICH I might add was no small feat in that pencil skirt!  And I would like to give a supreme shout out to Miss Courtney who has an excellently pointed toe in this picture!

If you only knew how hard this photo was to take…
Courtney and I…and me with a hilarious face because Ashley’s dog was licking my chin.
The OTHER hostess with the mostess!

A good time was had by all!  Already looking forward to January’s dinner!  Love love LOVE these girls!!!

Funny side note about Mrs. Ashley who I’m posing with in the above picture.  Her and her husband are amazing and we love them so much already.  But, when we were first meeting we realized that we have some really good mutual friends!  Ashley grew up right down the street from one of my little sisters in Pi Phi from college, AND Alex is in a program car dealership owners with a good friend of mine from home!  Texarkana is a small place my friends…but we get around apparently!  (in a good way!)  Small, small world!

The whole gang!
Here we are! Days 6-10 of gift giving.

I’m telling you, ABC Family has ruined the phrase “25 Days of Christmas” for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it that they play Christmas movies for the entire month of December, but I cannot hear “25 Days of Christmas” without expecting something having to do with a Harry Potter Weekend or Harry Potter network television premiere to follow.  Ah well.

I apologize for being MIA for basically all of December.  It was busy.  Very busy.  But we’re back to the grind after traveling home to see family for the holidays.  I wanted to make sure I finished posting about William’s 25 Christmas gifts so today we have days 6-10.

  • Day 6: A Kitchen Sink!  He was so confused by this gift.  I found it at Next Adventure and it’s basically a collapsable kitchen sink for camping.  I thought it was great.  He was quite confused and humored (thus his face in the picture)
  • Day 7: New undies!  And yes, I made him pose in them.
  • Day 8: A new bow tie!  I love a man in a bow tie!
  • Day 9: NIKE store gift card.  I have no doubt he’ll have NO trouble finding something to spend that on.
  • Day 10: This is Washington D.C. by M. Sasek.  It’s not a holiday without an M. Sasek book for his collection.

**Please note his attire on day 10.  This was the night of our Redneck Christmas party and he made himself a make-shift package by sewing a bow on his sweatshirt.  Festive.

Not really.  No one is getting any golden rings.  But the song inspired me to try something a little different this year with William’s Christmas gifts.  Instead of getting him one or a couple of bigger gifts, I decided to try (within a set budget) to get him 25 gifts.  One for every day of December.

All his presents wrapped up tight!  As a side note, I am so pleased with my wrapping choices for this year.  Brown craft paper, alternating 3 types of thick ribbon, topped with red or green raffia! 

I had several reasons behind wanting to do this.  I start celebrating Christmas the day after Halloween. Thanksgiving is a nice hiccup in the middle, but basically to me all roads are headed towards the most wonderful time of the year.  We have a house rule, however, that I am not allowed to talk about Christmas (and if I do I am not to expect William to share my enthusiasm or get my feelings hurt should he not share my feelings) prior to the day after Thanksgiving.  He, and 90% of America, like to enjoy Thanksgiving before Christmas sets in.  I thought starting him off unwrapping presents on Dec. 1 might get him all excited earlier!  And it seems to have worked!  Ha!

We’re through day 5 (thus the 5 golden rings title)!  He’s collected some goodies!  I’ve snapped a photo of him every day so I can document everything.  How precious is this kiddo?

So I don't know how to use Photoshop or Illustrator or anything of the like...so this is my attempt at showing you Days 1-5 out of Word! Probably should have my husband teach me a better method, huh?

  • Day 1: New scarf (Really needed because it is so cold here!  I actually had this as Day 21’s present but moved it so he could be using it sooner!)
  • Day 2: His FIRST Alabama tshirt!  So proud.
  • Day 3: Tooth ornament (Tradition!  I give him an ornament every year, and how fitting that this year’s is a tooth as he is still missing his!)
  • Day 4: Pocket-knife/camping tool (He’s really needed one of these as well–every time we go to the airport they confiscate his pocket knives)
  • Day 5: Shoelaces!

This Christmas marks several firsts.  Some I’m excited about, some not so much.  Tomorrow will mark the FIRST time in my 25 years of life I chopped down my own Christmas tree.  THIS I am very excited about.  I researched a lot of tree farms (and there were a lot to choose from).  But, I have made my selection.  We’re headed to Helvetia Christmas Tree Farms in Beaverton, OR.  I grabbed these from their website.

Getting them all ready to go to their Christmas home!
Check out all of those trees in the background! And if someone has to be carryin’ a tree…it isn’t going to be me!  Sorry Mr. Fancy Pants.

I’ve picked out exactly where I want to have the tree.  I think we need a tall, skinny one.  We have pretty high ceilings so I’m looking for an 8 footer.  We’ve got sunshine in the forecast for Portland tomorrow (shocking for this time of year) and we’re headed out early!  We’re going to have breakfast at our favorite spot and then head out!  Cannot.  Wait.

On another note, I start decorating our home tomorrow for the first time alone.  My mom has been with me every year to make our apartment Christmasy and wonderful.  This year I’m on my own and there is SUCH pressure!  Mr. Fancy Pants is helpful for the tree but decorating isn’t his cup of tea.  I’m not sure if I have mentioned it before but Mr. Fancy Pants has a serious glitter aversion.  I have to limit the amount of glittery decor that enters our house in December or he’s not a happy camper!  Not sure if you’ve ever noticed, but the words Christmas and glitter are almost interchangeable (not in the meaning or what they stand for–that’s not what I mean, it’s just EVERYTHING has glitter).

This is also the first year for me to do a count down of Christmas presents for Mr. Fancy Pants.  I’ll dedicate a couple of posts to this but for your previewing pleasure, I’ve included days 1 and 2 captured below.  One the first day of Christmas his true love gave to him…a Pendleton scarf!  And on the second day of Christmas his true love gave to him…an Alabama tshirt!

Days 1 and 2 down…23 to go!

I started him out with good ones.  All of them aren’t so fancy.  I bought 25 gifts and stayed (almost) at my budget.  So expect to see some funny stuff over the next 23 days.  I thought this would be a fun change to the norm, and we have to travel to Texas with every gift we’re giving this year, so I was thinking ahead!  We’ll only have to travel with the last 3 of his gifts!

T-minus 1 week until our annual Christmas party!  We will miss all of our Austin friends this year but are excited about the plans for the celebration!  AND Mr. Fancy Pants finished our Christmas card today and it’s off to be letter pressed.  He never ceases to amaze me.  I hope everyone has survived the Thanksgiving turkey coma and have pulled on their Christmastime britches!  We sure have!