Sunday, December 30, 2012

Oh, hello!

Just back in for a little "hello" and update of our week.

I haven't really been up to blogging lately because we've been busy jumping around spending time with families and now we have my sister in law and a friend over 'til the new year. If I don't blog until the new year, you know why.  It's not that I don't hate you all.

Christmas was very busy, but it was good.  We spent the morning with my dad, breakfast with my grandparents and extended family, then dinner with my mom.  The day after Christmas we took the 4 hour drive across the mountains to spend a few days with the in-laws.

We got a lot of homemade goodies from our family and, well, I'll share more on gifts later when we're done hanging out, unpacking, and get back to normal life.

We had some fun playing in the snow, though.

We went snowshoeing for the first time up on Mt. Baker.  The first trail was hard because we had to cut through a foot and a half of fresh powder.

Of course my husband said we had to do it.  It wouldn't be that hard.  Typical Nick.

We didn't go that far, but it was incredibly peaceful and serene. 

Later, we drove down the mountain and found a sno-park with a snowshoe trail that had been used all day.  It was so much better.  Not having to cut through new snow and just walking through a winter wonderland is so much more fun and more enjoyable.

 Left: my husband, the snow-ninja.

We also did some fun sledding with the in-laws later on.

And, I re-learned that my husband is crazy. 

Here's the proof.
Why yes, he is somersaulting down the hill in the bottom left. Proof.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

  I know it's not Christmas yet, but this week we'll be traveling in between families, across the mountains, and through the snow. 

I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  I hope you all have a blessed Christmas Day wherever you are!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jumbled Friday Thoughts

You know what happened last weekend that I am ashamed of?  I, Alison, got stressed out over Christmas.

Seriously, how could this have happened?  I blame a mixture of woman emotions, not enough sleep, and not enough endorphins in my body (in other words, not enough exercise).  It happened when I was finishing up the last of the Christmas present shopping and I couldn't figure out what to get two people.  I started to get a little frustrated because I just wanted to go home and not shop anymore.  Nick pointed out how ridiculous my being stressed out was and later - of course later because I too stubborn in the moment - I realized that a person, mostly me, should NEVER get stressed out about Christmas!  Presents are NOT what Christmas is about.  It's about the birth of Jesus Christ!  It's about giving, not oh-my-gosh-I-have-to-get-a-gift-for-everyone this year.

I lost it for one day.  The first time EVER and the last time.  I just needed to confess that to you all.  

On the topic of being bad, I'm bad at deep cleaning the house - you know, scrubbing the fridge, dryer-sheeting the trim, q-tipping the window tracks, vinegaring the floor... all those typical Pinterest deep cleaning recipes.  My excuse?  It's a rental.  I'll have to do it when we move out, so why do it now?  I did clean the fridge the other day, though.  Go me!


Want to know what blew my mind this week?  The fact that this guy, better known as Mose for all you Office geekos and nerdos, is the co-creator of Parks and Rec.  Crazy.

 Did you know that?  Now you know! - 10 points and a gold star to whoever knows what that's from.


You know what I'm frustrated about?  People and their current thoughts on gun control.  On NPR the other day there were people talking about having teachers being armed with concealed weapons - after the right training of course.  Honestly, I don't see how that is going to work well.  First off, having guns around children all the time just sounds like a bad idea.  There are a number of cases where kids find guns - even by police parents - and they end up hurting somebody else or themselves.  Secondly, I really don't think the answer to gun violence is to have more guns. 

I also don't believe that we need to ban guns in order to find peace in this world.  It's just not going to work.  People are people and they will find ways to get what they want.  That's why there are still drugs everywhere, even though they're illegal.   

And now, I'll stop ranting.


Look at this fabulous thrift store find I got last week.

Mmmm, so nice and cozy!  I think I want it around my house all year round, not just Christmas time.  That's okay, right?


On that warm and fuzzy note, enjoy this lovely Christmas song to end your week and begin your holiday weekend!

You must know that while this song is a joke, Nick and I still laugh each time we hear it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

MMI Questions

I'm tired and pooped.  I don't really have anything cool, interesting, or funny to post either.  I wish I had more funny things to say.  Hmm...this gives me an inspiration as I am writing this..  I'll share with you later.  Neener neener.

I am working twelve hour days this week.  12 hours.  I know that since I'm just a nanny this doesn't seem to bad, but it is when you have to be there at 5 and leave at 5:30.  Especially when all four of the girls aren't in school and they can wake up at ANYTIME in the morning.  One day it was 6, the other it was 10.  They don't warn you about these things, seriously.  

Anyways, since I don't have anything new and inspiring to share, I'm going to just go with some wonderful linkups that allow me to answer questions and not be creative or spontaneous.  That sounds nice.

I'm linking up with Breanna for some fun Christmas-y questions.

1) What was your favorite gift given to you as a child?
I honestly can't recall one.  Well, actually, I got an awesome doll house one year that I used all the time for the dolls that went with it, but mostly my barbies.  It was great.  The barbies were too big, but it was a great place for Kelly (you know, Barbie's littlest sister) to rebuild her life after running away from home or surviving the apocalypse with her Pokemon pets (yes, my brother's little Pokemon toys).

I can't believe I found a picture of it.  Ahh, such great memories erupting from my brain.

2) Christmas is almost here, what is that one Christmas song you could listen to on repeat?
O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  I love it.  My favorite version?  Well, I have two
Punch Brothers - unfortunately it's a new song and there is only a 30 second clip of it that I can upload to the blog, but you get the idea of it.  It's beautiful, acoustic, and so Punch Brothers-like.  My favorite.
You can listen to the full version on this Youtube playlist.

Sufjan Stevens

My least favorite version?  Well, not to hate on Neil Diamond, but this just ruins it for me.  

3) What are a few of the items on your Christmas list this year?
I actually wrote a post about this already - yes I overachieve.  I'll spare you details and you can just see it hereI'm actually lazy right now.  Oh wait - I'd like some IKEA curtains please.  Thank you!

4) Do you and your family have any special holiday traditions? Explain.
Well, since I was about 13 or so my grandparents have always had a breakfast at their house on Christmas morning with the whole family (about 15 or so) and there is usually either a theme to the breakfast and/or an envelope hidden under our placemat/chair.  The envelope tells us where we're going for our annual family vacation.  It's always fun to try and guess where we're going and it's even more fun to actually find out where we're going.  
Last year was Montana, the year before that was Eastern WA, and before that it's been Hawaii, Arizona, Mexico, British Columbia, and California.  I think this year it will be Oregon or BC again.  Maybe Montana or Washington, too.  I really have no idea, so I'll stop guessing.

5) Which do you prefer: wrapping paper or gift bags? Why?
There is nothing more satisfying than ripping apart wrapping paper, wading it into a ball and throwing it at someone.  Therfore, I choose gift bags.  Just kidding.


Saturday, December 15, 2012


 Don't worry.  This video from The Hobbit doesn't have any spoilers.  Just sheer manliness.  Turn up your sub-woofers and engulf yourself in it.

Can I just say, that this song from The Hobbit gave me chills in the theater.  There's something seriously awesome, manly, and chilling about a deep-voiced men's a capella group singing a chant.

Mmmm, so good.

Have I ever told you how wonderful Lord of the Rings is and how big of a fan I am?  No?  Well, I am.  Bet you couldn't have guessed from this post.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

DIY Christmas banner

12 days 'til Christmas!  How crazy is that?  I still have many gifts to make/buy.  Isn't it funny how that works?  A month ago I had just about all of our gifts figured out (minus a few) and now I'm scrambling to finish creating them!  Sheesh.

I have, however, been creating little Christmas goodies for me.  Selfish, I know.

I wanted to share this easy and cute DIY project that I did recently.

I stole borrowed the idea from this wonderful blog and made it my own.  She has her letters hung individually on a coat rack thing.  I didn't want to have to buy a wood board/coat rack so I decided to just make it into a banner instead.

Here's what you need:
CD's - enough for the word you are going to use.  We actually had a LOT of old mixed CDs and mix n match old computer programs.  I'm sure you could find some for cheap.
Paper - whatever patterns you want
Paint - to use for the stencils if you want
Christmas ribbon
Drill - or something to punch holes into CD's

Let's begin!

The first thing I did was to trace the CD's onto the patterned paper and cut them out.  Make sure you have enough so you can cover both sides of the CD.

You can either do this after gluing paper or before, but I chose to do this before.  Drill holes into your CD's one at a time.

It seems really scary - I had my husband do one first to test it out - but it really isn't.  Just drill down where you want the hole and once the hole goes through, drill back out.  I only cracked one CD while doing this.  If you go straight up and down you shouldn't crack any.

Glue on your patterned paper.  I just used mod podge and it worked great! Don't forget to glue it onto both sides.


After that, stencil the letters you want onto the CD's (or write them.  I have horrible handwriting, though),
poke holes where the drill hole is (I just used a pencil for that),
string your ribbon through (I tied the ribbon off so the CD's wouldn't slide around, but you do what you think is right),
and hang!

I love it and I only had to buy stencils and ribbon for this project (about $4 for them).  If you don't have enough CD's, just go buy some from a thrift store.  They usually have plenty.

Turn on your Christmas lights and enjoy :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My husband. The interviewee

Happy hump day everyone!

Today is a good day.  Do you know why?  Well, it's only 13 days 'til Christmas AND there is a special gift for you.


Wait for it...

An interview with my husband.

  The wonderful Nick - aka husband - has decided to grace us all with his presence in a few questions that I have asked him.  I'm going to put in a few comments in pink so you know they're from me. 

1.  How old are you and where did you grow up?
I am 22 and I grew up in Yakima, Washington.  For all you outsiders who think of Washington as being a cool, wet, and green place with a lot of liberals and rich entrepreneurs, Yakima is about as far from that as you can get.  I'll let you do your own geographical/demographic research, but you get the idea... it's a desert.

2.  How did we meet/start dating?
We met in band, and our first two attempts to hang out together resulted in awkward three-way hang-outs with other guys.  After that, I was determined to have you all to myself, so I invited you out to dinner after one of my concerts.  Despite my attempts to eschew awkwardness, the fact remained that I was wearing a tuxedo, and you were wearing jeans and a sweatshirt (I also recall that you weren't hungry, so you didn't eat anything).  I think our first REAL date was the day that I asked you out.  We went to the park and played frisbee and raced down the slide.  Then we made leaf-boats and sailed them down the canal.  Cute enough for me!  

Incredibly cute.

3.  What were your first impressions?
I thought you were a goof because you had a blue-painted saxophone.  But you were a cute goof.

4.  If you had to pick one hobby to have for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I think sailing would be a great hobby to have for life.  That way I would always be traveling.

5.  Do you like where you are right now?
Yes. I try to always like where I am.  I'm pretty adaptable and I try to find the good side in a situation.

Good answer and very true.  Sometimes it's annoying because all I want to do is complain, but you always have solutions and words of wisdom.

6.  Where do you see us in 10 years?
On a camping trip in South America... you'll be splashing in a pristine mountain river with the kids, and I'll be a day's climb up a giant rock face just above you.  

That sounds fabulous.  Let's do it.

7.  What would you do with a million dollars?
Buy some really expensive socks... and give them to a homeless person.  But seriously, that's way too much money for me to imagine.  Who knows, in this economy, by the time I got that much money it may not be worth anything anymore.  

8.  What is your favorite movie? 

If you don't want to watch the Youtube video, it's Machete.  This movie is ridiculous. Why did you have to pick this?!

9.  If you had to listen to three albums for the next 5 years, what would they be?
A Love Supreme: John Coltrane, Witness: Dave Douglas, Sufjan Stevens: Come on Feel the Illinois!

10.  One super power, go!
I know it's not very original, but flying really trumps all other superpowers.

11.  What's your favorite childhood memory?
Waaay too many to count.  Most of my good childhood memories involve me getting lost in my own world and doing something creative by myself.  Come to think of it, those are still some of my best times.

12.  What would you rather be doing right now?
Having sex with my wife on top of a mountain.

Well... you all know my real husband.  Nothing un-Nick-like about that.  

13.  What is one embarrassing moment you'd like to share?
The other night, while walking around town with my attractive and skinny wife and friends, I made an impulsively loud and kind of rude joke about fat people.  At that moment, we rounded the corner and found ourselves walking behind a rather large woman.  The women pretended not to notice, but I felt especially bad as she darted into a nearby dessert shop just a half a block  down!  I felt terrible!

14.  What is your favorite meal to make (since you're the main cook in the house)?
It's not very gourmet, but chicken super-bouritos are easy to make, very filling, and totally delicious.

YUM.  I agree.

15.  If you were stuck on a deserted island, how would you live and get off?
How does any lonely guy on a deserted island get off? (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

Again, real Nick here.

I hope you all enjoyed that little trip inside my husband's head.  He's a man.  Sometimes perverted, sometimes incredibly sweet, and sometimes just silly.  

I love him.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree

There's something so soothing and relaxing about a lighted Christmas tree.

We put ours up and immediately felt this "aaahhh" escape from me.

I've had the tree lit all the time while we're home.  It's been easy to do because the sun has decided to HIDE this past weekWhat is that?!

I told you all my plans for Christmas decorations/goodies last week and I wanted to share them with you now.  Most of them are done, some aren't being completed, and others are in desperate need of advice.

First off, we don't have a mantle, but if we did it would probably include these goodies:
Christmas ball tree, quote from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, violin playing snowman - thank you grandma, vintage horn [that still works! Yes we have played it many times :)], and my Scensty. 

You've already met these two cuties, who still don't have any names.  If you think of some, send them to me!

This project was actually quite frustrating and I'm probably going to fix it for next year, but let me tell you...

I started out with four square blocks that I sanded down.  I didn't want them to be plain, bright, and unfinished wood-like.  Did you follow me there?
So, I decided to stain the wood.  Being the cheap frugal person that I am I wanted to try out this homemade wood stain.  I followed it completely, even did less coffee grounds than said, and this is what happened.

It turned into this dark, evil, gothic wood block.  Not very Christmas-y if you ask me.  Nick said I should just paint it one color, but I didn't want to have just colored blocks.  Maybe that would look good, but I'm just not sold on it.  Instead of sanding down the wood again to get the original color (that would've taken a LONG time), I just painted the letters a different color.  It's not bad, but I'm not sold on it.  I'll probably change it for next year or use an ACTUAL wood stain.

Sometimes Pinterest isn't the greatest thing invented.

BUT, sometimes it is.  This project came from this pin.  I'll share my take on it later this week, but here's a sneak peek at it in all it's glory.

Last, but not least, I put a beautiful green yarn around a wreath and now I'm stuck.  I have no idea what to add to it to make it more Christmas/wintery and I don't want to go overboard.  I thought about ribbon, but that's too much.  I want more green to show.  So for now, this is a very sad wreath until I can decide what to do with him.

Any ideas to make him happy?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dear so and so


Dear week,  you have kept me so busy.  Seriously.  It took me TWO DAYS to find time to respond back to all of my readers' comments.  That's so sad!  I even got two extra days off this week and they were both filled with errands and busywork.  I won't complain, though, because two days off is really nice right now.  Especially when I get to spend it with my husband who also has those days off!

Dear Game of Thrones,  you have consumed my husband.  That's not a compliment.  You are crazy intense and sometimes gross, but actually really good.  It's like watching Lord of the Rings, but made more for men (there are half naked women - and men - throughout the whole show).


Dear Christmas tree, we are coming for you.  Today or tomorrow (haven't decided yet).  I am really bummed, though, because we aren't going to find you in the forest.  We just don't have enough time this weekend and we can't wait until next weekend because, well, we want to enjoy you at least a little bit before Christmas! 

Dear baby E, I'm so glad you entered into the world this weekend.  You are adorable and your parents are so happy to have you here.  I can't wait to play with you more and start working on fun gifts for you!  You also make me want to have a little boy of my own.  Someday... (no, don't get any ideas.  We're not pregnant!)

Dear oyster dome, you were awesome the other day.  The weather held up and didn't rain until we were done hiking and you provided an incredible view from the top.  Thank you!

I love the San Juan Islands!

Dear Google, why did you tell me that my picture upload limit was reached two days ago, but now I just uploaded a picture?  You don't make sense to me.  I hope you don't tell me that I can't upload anymore pictures.  What am I going to do then?!

Dear Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Rainn Wilson, you two have become pretty cool in our house lately.  JGL, you have shown us which is really fun to explore and you even have my husband wanting to contribute some music to the collaboration!  Plus, you aren't too bad on the eyes...
Rainn, I love you in the Office and your Soul Pancake stuff is awesome.  We usually watch your Metaphysical Milkshake episodes on youtube.  They're pretty fun, especially when you interview someone that we really like and respect... like this one with JGL.

Dear Settlers of Catan, you are an awesome game.  We played the other night for the first time after finding you at Goodwill and now we're hooked.  You are better than Monopoly and Risk combined!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Pinteresting Christmas

Remember that time I posted this post about November Pinterest goals?

Yeah... about that...

I honestly didn't do any of those.  They were great ideas, but they just didn't happen.
I think it might be because most of those required going out and buying certain things to make them with.  I don't just have rope, wood, small big headed nails, and whatnot just lying around ALL THE TIME. 


I wish I would've done one for Christmas because I have been cranking these Pinterest pins out like no other.

Like this one:

this one:

and this one:

 I'll share 'em all later.  Promise.

I also have a couple of awesome pins in the works (really.. I do.). 

Balloons + Yarn + Glue.  So easy and it'll look great!

A variation of this, but it's my inspiration.  It's so cute and hip and I already have the base for the wreath and cute yarn!

Why is Christmas time one of the best times to get super crafty?  I feel like I'm ten times more crafty in the winter.  Maybe it's 'cause we're cooped up all day and we're all in the giving mood to make crafts for everyone.  I'm sure that's my reason.  I still have too many crafts/gifts to make for people.  I even had them picked out a month ago!  Why haven't I started yet?!

Now onto some of the things that I really want to get done before Christmas.  This time it's really going to happen.

I can do these with the girls.  I think they'd love to make ornaments.  We'll probably end up painting some, stamping others, and cookie cutting some as well. 

I have some of these big light bulbs.  Actually, one strand that I got from my parents in college to use as decorations.  What am I going to use with one strand of big light bulbs?  Maybe I'll take the bulbs and do this.  Do you think that'd be okay and not wasteful?

I need to make some stockings this year.  We don't have ANY in our house.  I'd also much rather not buy them.  It'd be way more meaningful anyways if I made them.  I wish I had burlap lying around the house (or have it accessibly cheap).

On the same note as stockings...

We don't have a mantel in our house.  We have a gas stove, which heats up our house, and no fireplace!  Sad, I know.  If I'm going to make stockings I should have a place to put them.  What do you think of these ideas for stocking holders?  I could whip up something like this from pieces at the re-store in town (awesome place to find used EVERYTHING dealing with housing materials - paint, wood, pipes, cabinets, etc). 

Source: via Alison on Pinterest

Source: via Daffny on Pinterest

What are you pinning for Christmas?  Any great craft ideas I should know about?!

Linking up with Michelle for Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday.
And Jane for Wednesday Walkabout.