Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Decorating

Tradition in my family is that you spend the weekend after Turkey Day setting up the Christmas tree and any other decorations you might have.  I am no disappointment to this family tradition.  I especially like it since we have more then just the tree as far as decorations go.  I figure if your going to go to all the effort of setting them up, you might as well enjoy them for a month before you have to take them down.

After much debating about where the tree was going to go in our tiny apartment, we finally settled on an area and began assembly.  It's still a little sad looking, but I refuse to buy a new one until we have a house.  Our Charlie Brown tree will just have to work one or two more years.

It's sparsley populated with ornaments as well good reason other then we're cheap.  What are ya gonna do?

I had debated setting up my tiny village, but after a little encouragement from Michael, I finally decided to go for it.

My new addition this year was our stocking holders from Hobby Lobby:

And this NOEL sign I made was also an addition.  I repurposed one of our framed P's from the wedding, and spray painted the frame red as well as the wooden letters that spelled NOEL.  I pretty much followed the same instructions as when I made our burlap picture display for the wedding as far as covering it in burlap, and then gluing the wooden letters to the burlap.

I'm still thinking about tackeling a burlap ruffle tree skirt, but this project will probably have to wait for another weekend.  And looking back on my pictures, I'm debating asking for a new camera.  I'm not really sure how much longer these iPhone pics are going to work for me :/

Sunday, November 25, 2012

WHOOP! Aggies 10-2 Season!

Our first year in the SEC and we came out winners!  We were able to finish the season with a 10-2 record, only losing to Florida and LSU, and upsetting Alabama who was ranked #1!

We were actually able to meet some of my friends from college for one of the last games, and enjoyed an afternoon of tailgating and a visit to North Gate.  We had a lot of fun, and it was exciting getting to catch up with everybody.  You might remember the blonde pictured below, Wendy.  She was one of my bridesmaids in our wedding. We haven't seen each other since the wedding, and it was great getting to see her and her husband (and other's) again. 

Can't wait to do it again!  Might have to make this a annual thing ;)  (especially now that we're only a 2 hour ride from College Station!).

(life size Jenga! was WAY more fun the regular size)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sprinkle Cake Balls

Watch out Martha.

Just kidding.  I make one dessert and it goes straight to my head.  Or rather my waist line :/

Getting side tracked.....I need to focus.

So, I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!  We were able to spend the day with family and nobody killed anybody....WINNING!  We usually all get together at my Grandfather's house and everyone participates by bringing a side dish.  I have been exempt (at least in my mind) the last couple of year's because I am usually driving in from Dallas.  However, since we live down here now, I knew Michael and I would need to participate.  So while Michael was making mashed potatoes (that turned out deliscious!), I decided I was going to make cake balls.  Below is the easiest recipe ever.  Enjoy!

1/2 cup softend butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flout
1 cup yellow cake mix
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
16 oz white dipping chocolate


1. Beat together butter and sugar using an electric mixer. 
2. Add vanilla, cake mix, flour, salt, and mix thoroughly.
3. Add roughly 3 tbsp of milk.  It should give the mix a doughey consistency.
4. Mix in sprinkles to personal taste by hand.  (I like more so I added more.)
5. Roll the dough into one inch balls, then place on foiled cookie sheet.  Chill for 15 minutes or so.
6. Melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals.  It melts pretty quick.
7. Use a spoon or some sort of utensil (whatever works best for you), to dip the balls into the melted chocolate.  I found that using a spoon was best to toss the ball in the chocolate, and then fish it back out.
8. Immediately cover with sprinkles.  Once the chocolate hardens, the sprinkles wont stick anymore.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Getting Our German On

This weekend we were able to go to Wurstfest in New Braunfels, TX and celebrate a little bit of my German heritage.   Mainly, drinking beer and listening to Ooomp Pah music.  It was a lot of fun, although it was VERY crowded.  I think we shouldn't have picked the last weekend to go, but it's the only weekend all our friends could get together with everybody's crazy work schedule.  We had a great time and I'm pretty sure we'll be visiting again next year.  But maybe we'll pick opening weekend this time instead of closing weekend :/


Oh! And I almost forgot.  Before we got our German on at Wurstfest, we were able to watch the Aggies kick #1 ranked Bama all over the field!  WHOOP!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Divided We Stand

Sorry for skipping yesterday. After writing my post the day before, I figured I would follow it up yesterday (*fingers were crossed*) with a celebratory post of how the Republicans swept the swing states, stayed in control of the House, and even picked up a few seats in the Senate. But with the election day voting split between the Republican House and the Democratic Senate and Presidency, I'm not sure how any Americans can rest easy.

In a nut shell, it will be another four years of nothing getting done. And before anyone gets their panties in a twist about me shoving my beliefs and whatnot down their throat, hear me out.  I'm not saying this because Obama was reelected, and I wanted Romney. I'm saying this because of the split between the House and Senate. They haven't been able to work together the last two years, what makes us think they can work together the next four? And now we expect both sides to compromise their principals and work together? When the most is at stake? I hate to break it to people, but it's not going to happen.  As much as we want to sit around the fire and sing kumbaya (spelling? idk), it's not going to happen.  The men and women we chose to represent us in government positions are normal people just like you and me.  They're stubborn.  They have faults.  And they were elected running on certain positions and if they don't follow thru with those positions, then they will lose the next election.

Honestly, I can't blame politicians for running on a platform and then standing firm.  I voted for certain people who made promises.  If they chose to not keep these promises, or vote in a way that would break them, I would not vote for them the next time around.  Simple as that. What I'm most disappointed in is the American people.  They don't seem to be able to pick a side anymore.  They can't seem to determine for themselves what principals they are going to stand for, then choose a candidate/side that most represents them. I just don't understand how a Republican House Representative or Republican Governor can be voted in, but a Republican President cannot.  Some of these voting blocks (Ohio, North Dakota, I'm looking at you), did that very thing.

I just don't get it.  These two parties are so clearly different.  They are divided on every issue imaginable, from economic policy to foreign oil independence.  There clearly is a difference.  Just pick a side people!

"He who stands for nothing will fall for anything" - Alexander Hamilton

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

Well, it's FINALLY here. I feel like this election has taken forever to get here.  I'm excited, but slightly anxious as to how this will all end up.

Just as a reference point: over the last four years, I have been laid off once, worked two part time jobs for a total of 50+ hours a week, and have been without healthcare longer than I would like to admit. My husband (then boyfriend/fiancé) has been laid off twice and is also without healthcare. While we haven't had to dip into our savings thanks to my somewhat permanent job, saving anymore for our future house is currently on hold. Luckily we don't have kids or an exorbitnant amount of debt, or we might have been up the metaphorical "shit creek" long ago. Thanks to good parenting and preparation, we aren't nearly as bad as others in our current situation.

As I check the news periodically thru the day, I have to ignore those who say that voting doesn't matter.  Or voting won't change anything, followed up with a sneer. I have to believe they're wrong. Voting matters. Who is President, matters.  Whomever is chosen to lead our country will set forth a plan and an ideology that they believe we, as a country, should follow. 

Now, I didn't write this post today to ram down anyone's throat the way I believe or the news station that I watch/listen to.  All I can do is look at the facts, since frankly, I'm tired of everybody's "spin" on things.

Looking at the facts:
1. The US is $16 trillion in debt (I don't care who's fault it is anymore)
2. Unemployment is at 7.9% (I think I hate this stat most of all since it's impacted me the most)
3. Gas has practically doubled
4. We're looking at a fiscal cliff at the end of the year that could send us into another financial tailspin (higher taxes, implementation of Obamacare, debt ceiling being reached AGAIN)

All I ask myself this election day (in a Reaganesque kind of way (even though I was barely alive)) is am I better off now then I was four years ago?

My answer is no.  What is your answer?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanksgiving Decor

Into the box goes the Halloween decor, and to my Holiday Pinterest board I go.  Once again, I wanted something easy since we still live in an apartment, and I don't have that much room to work with.  The following caught my eye......

Image via ADiamondInTheStuff

 Image via ChooseToThrive

After Halloween, I'd had my fill of pumpkins, so I chose to go with the bottle idea.  Keeping in mind I would need six bottles and six letters of some sort since I liked the simple "THANKS", off to Hobby Lobby I went.

After wandering around for a few minutes, I finally decided on a clear wine bottle to hold the wheat stalks.  The hardest part was deciding on the lettering.  I had anticipated that I would end up stenciling the letters on, but after visiting the ON SALE(!!!!) Halloween decor, I found these vinyl adhesive letters.  It was a hard choice between the pre-made letters and the glass marker, but eventually I came to my senses and spent the extra $2 on the vinyl letters.  The marker was cheaper, but 1. when would I ever need a glass marker again? and 2. did I really want to spend however long it would take to stencil the letters on in the hopes of me not coloring outsides the lines and making it look like a child did it?  The answer to both questions was no, I would never need a glass marker, and yes I wanted it to look nice.

Along with two bunches of wheat stalks, the total was about $35.  I probably could have saved about $10 on the bottles if I had waited for the bottles to be 50% off (since we all know Hobby Lobby runs its stuff on sale every other week!), but I was ready to do this project this weekend and I didn't want to wait.  After spreading out my loot on the table, and a mere five minutes later, I had six bottles that spelled out THANKS.

It was pretty simple I must say. I lined up the bottles and added the wheat, but something was still missing.  After revisiting my Pinterest inspiration above, I realized what I was missing.  Burlap! (duh)

And with that, I was done!  Even Michael said it looks nice, and that is definitely a win in my books.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Vegas Baby!

I might have a problem.  I'm ADDICTED!  Luckily for me, its not gambling, but it is still quite expensive.

I FREAKING LOVE VEGAS!  That's my new dirty little secret.

If you remember, I previously teased you with our trip to Vegas, and now I'm here to share.

We ended up going for my Aunt's birthday with a lot of their friends, which turned out really good for us.  1. We were able to get a free room because they've all been there so many times it was comped for them and 2. We didn't have to search around for decent/cheap food or spend all day walking the strip trying to find a good casino.  They already knew where the good stuff was!

We ended up spending four days and four nights (got there around 10pm Thursday night), and stayed at Harrah's:

We spent most of our night's gambling at Margaritaville and The Flamingo:

One evening, we all took a limo to downtown Las Vegas.  They had a light show that played every hour, as well as a zip line that we road, and plenty of casino's down there as well!

Another evening, we went and saw the Blue Man Group.  Michael had been wanting to see it since his bachelor party (which also happened to be in Vegas), so I gave in.  It was pretty fun and definitely worth seeing (except it's no longer playing anymore, womp womp).

One thing that I will probably do more of next time is take advantage of the all day buffet!  Basically, it's six hotels that participate, and you pay one price to eat at as many of them in a day as you want.  We did visit the all you can eat seafood buffet (can't remember which hotel, sorry), and it is on the list of the six hotels so I think we'll get our money's worth.

All in all we had a great time, and I definitely can't WAIT to go back!