Jessicaon January 4, 2010 /
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As I mentioned before, Grant and I went to Houston for Christmas, and on Saturday night we left to go back to Austin. Sunday morning we picked up Matt and Megan from the airport. They decided to visit us for a week, and we were very excited. The first couple of days I had to work, Megan worked on some homework for Med school, and Matt and Grant Played computer games and just hung out. Megan was sweet enough to make dinner a few of the nights while I was at work so I didn't need to worry about it.
One of the Days, Wednesday I think, Matt and Megan took us out to Outback Steak House here in Austin, and we all had Ribs. I thought they were excellent, and it definitley made for a fun trip trying to find this Outback.
Then after outback steak house, we took them out for Gelato Ice Cream at Mandola's Italian Market. We had a blast, the guys working there were in such a good mood gave us so much ice cream that we had to take it home and freeze it, and the atmosphere here is just amazing!
After that we played Cranium, which was fun, but Grant and I both stunk at it, and we decided that we can't play as partners in this game. We both aren't very knowledgeable about people and random facts, and my TV knowledge is very lacking due to the fact that I wasn't allowed to watch TV most of my life. But win or lose we had a great time with Matt and Megan.
Thursday night/New Year's Eve, We treated Matt and Megan to see AVATAR! It was AMAZING!!! We saw it in 3-D, and I honestly think it is one of the best movies I have seen in my life so far. I would highly recommend it to anyone!
After Avatar, we played Taboo which was a lot more to my liking. We kept switching teams, and it was really funny. We didn't even realize it was the new year until it was 2 am. Then we wished everyone a Happy New Year and headed off to bed.
Then Saturday Morning was their last day in town because they were flying out VERY early on Sunday morning. We decided to take them to an Ikea since they had never been to one. We had a fun time walking around and looking at all of the room displays. Matt found a chair that actually fits him which was very exciting to him. Afterwards we were all pooped, and we watched the movie click.
Here is the pot that I got from Ikea for my Christmas tree that is now disguised as a house plant until next year.
We had a great time with Matt and Megan! They were in Austin during great weather, and I hope that it was a good time for them. We can't wait to hang out with them again sometime.
This year was my family's turn to have us over for Christmas, and next year we will brave the Ohio weather and see all of Grant's family there. My family draws names for gifts, but I wanted to give other people gifts too, but we couldn't afford huge gifts so I tried to be creative with what I gave. First and foremost, I have to be grateful that I have such an awesome husband who lets me do what I want most of the time. Also, while I was working on the following projects some of my other tasks fell behind like dishes, clothes, and just quality time. I was determined to finish all of my gifts before Christmas.
Here you can see what happens when I get into a "creative" mood. Everything becomes messy and crazy. Most of the time Grant loves it when I want to entertain myself because then he has time to play some computer games, but I became so busy and obsessed with finishing these crafts that he even told me he misses me which was nice and shocking to hear.
So this year it seems to me that EVERYONE is having babies. I know so many different people that are pregnant that I wanted to come up with a nice gifts that were not too expensive, so here is what I came up with.
I bought everyone some form of outfit, made a burp cloth for everyone, and some booties. I found the templates for the booties on this blog.
The templates were very easy to use, and after my first prototype, I actually didn't have very many problems with making them. I made them from flannel with a minky lining and a leather sole. I got a good deal with the leather because I bought a HUGE skirt from the thrift store made of suede which turned out to be the perfect amount.
Most of the gifts above, I could give to the people in person considering I was with most of the people during Christmas, but there were a few that I had to mail, and then people are still having there babies early and everything... They need to be following my schedule ;p
One of my coworkers actually had a baby shower, so I was able to give hers to her in person.
For a Christmas Gift, I made my two nieces a pair of house slippers each out of minky and suede. These were the most difficult things I ever had to make and broke about 4 leather needles along the way. They turned out great, only they ended up not fitting the girls which stunk because I will never make these again. I measured their feet multiple times,but the leather was thicker than I anticipated. I might make them cloth ones some time,but I need my break for a little bit.
Then for the rest of my family that aren't little kids and cannot fit into the booties above, I decided to try a new recipe. I am a sucker for Truffles, so I looked up a recipe. They actually turned out very tasty and very pretty. It took a long time because I made 100+ truffles, but I would definitely make these again.
Here you can see the finished truffles. I got the recipe online and it worked out great after I tweaked a few of the ingredients.
Then last but not least, I made my mom some homemade cookie dough that I froze. This way she has two pounds of frozen cookie dough where all she has to do it cut them and bake them, and that was definitely easy and fun.
I hope that next year I will have as much success as I did this year, but we will see what everyone is doing then rather than having babies.
So most Saturday mornings, Grant and I get up around the same time, or I wake up before him since I normally wake up earlier because of my work schedule. Well, a few weeks ago before Christmas, I was sleeping in longer than usual, but woke soon noticing that my space heater = Grant wasn't there anymore. I strain to hear what he is doing and only hear some banging. So, I come down stairs to an annoyed Grant because he was making breakfast for me so that I could have "Breakfast in Bed." I thought this was awesome, but we decided rather than letting me near all of that food upstairs where it was almost inevitable that I would spill it on everything we compromised for the couch which was just as good!
Here you can see my tea and egg in a basket which he at first made fun of me for, but then decided that was really as good as it looked, and he still spent the time making it like that even though it is more time and effort than is really necessary since I can just as easily eat both of the separately.
Here are Grant's pigs in a blanket that turned out GREAT. I also had some of those, but mainly my egg and toast. It is funny how little things like that make such a difference just to know someone cares enough to make you breakfast when cereal could have been enough. It was a great treat!
Jessicaon January 3, 2010 /
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So before Christmas this year, our young marrieds class decided to have a White Elephant Gift exchange party. We both had never been to a "real" one of these, just a gift exchange at school where everyone is forced to bring in some sort of junk in the correct price range. At the one for the young marrieds, each person brought in one gift that was more of a joke gift. You could either open a new gift and chance being stuck with it, or you could steal a gift that had already been opened. A gift could be stolen 2 times before it went dead and was stuck with that person.
Needless to say, Grant and I were a little bit hesitant about this. Most people were going to just find things from their house and regift, but all of our things were in the storage unit in Searcy, AR. So, we decided that our only hope was to rely on the thrift stores in our area. I think we went to 2 or 3, but ended up getting everything from one.
At first, we were looking for a set of horrible Christmas sweaters we could give a couple so they could match, or even some for us to wear there just because it would be funny, but the thrift stores were greatly lacking, so I assume other people had already bought them out ... tear.
So, for our first gift we could a snow globe from the year 2000 and a star wars VHS box set. They were both in mint condition.
Here you can see a snow globe, but ours looked different. The one we had found was originally $30.00 since it had the old price tag on it. It came in the original box, and it had the letters 2000 with champagne glasses in large blocky ceramic sculptures inside. It was VERY old school ugly, and honestly pointless, but it made us laugh so it was one item that we decided to get.
The star wars set was in perfect condition, and when we bought it hoped that Shea and Anthony Amaro would get our gift because I think that they like Star Wars. Also, after all of the gifts had been picked Anthony even came over to look at the box set and was impressed that we got it for $1.50.
Then our Second gift that we gave away was the worst! Of course, it was the first gift picked out of all of them because of Grant's interesting wrapping job. Grant wrapped the gifts in the obituaries and comics from the newspaper and topped it all off with CAT5 cable to hold the multiple parcels together.
Here is one of the games we found that we thought just looked funny. We have never played it, but figured it would be funny.
Here is the next game that we found at the thrift store which also looked priceless to give!
Then the last but certainly not the least!! I found this stashed in the corner of the thrift store shelf, and it is not a very cool gift. One of the girls, Joy who is a nurse picked our gift first and was completely grossed out because she actually knew 100% what it was used for. We also couldn't assure her that is wasn't used because we didn't know. But since she was the first to pick up any gift, at the very end she picked something else and wasn't stuck with it. It was kind of cool because the Sitz Bath was the gift not to get at the party which made everything fun. It also had some funny jokes affiliated with it throughout the night.
So over all, I think that the thrift stores treated us well in our search for horrible junk that we could give people for this occasion!
We received a pair of boxing gloves that Grant actually liked, and some Computer programming books that Deacon gave away that were left over from his schooling.
That same week my work was having the same type of gift exchange,but you were supposed to get a nicer gift give away, but one could still steal gifts.
I gave a Starbucks gift set close to this because, one I was being lazy and bought it on the cheap at Marshalls, and two everyone at my work LOVES coffee. So, it seemed like a winner. At this work party, there were 3 other Starbucks gifts. One Gift Card, my box set, and another gift card with some coffee. Everyone was going after those and trying to steal them back, but I was able to steal a throw blanket.
Here is the picture of the throw blanket that I got. I was very happy with it. It is a down alternative blanket, and this is now the second throw I own and was very happy with it. I went in expecting a Sitz Bath,but I got a nice blanket. Low expectations are sometimes good.
Then I got to work before Christmas and received this from the owners of the company I work for which was really nice. I have never been a huge smelly soap person,but I am looking forward to trying some of them. I also already spent the gift card on a sweater and two other nice shirts.