Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Gathering 5: Oregon Coast

I should probably be writing a post on a reflection of my year, but instead I'm going to continue on with my Christmas journeys.
OK, if I'm honest, Christmas gathering number 5 was somewhat of a "mini vacation". My Father-in-law and his wife invited us to stay a couple nights with them at their time share in Lincoln City. This a a view of part of the room.
Here is the view from the room. It was beautiful and stormy. We hot-tubbed in the rain, and joked around about how there was probably not any guests vacationing that were not from the North West, because who in their right mind would visit the Oregon Coast in December? Only us crazy North Westerners!
We had dinner at the Chinook Winds Casino buffet.

A good portion of the next day was spent sitting through a time share presentation... it was long.
We went to a cute restaurant in Depot Bay for lunch afterward: Tidal Raves.

I had red curried bbq shrimp on top of cooked vegetables and a risotto cake, it was delicious. I also had a Two Towns "Naught and Nice" hard cider.
Joel had fish tacos and didn't appreciate me taking his picture while he was eating :P
This was the view from our window.
After lunch I FINALLY got to finish up my Christmas shopping at the outlet stores, but first we made a stop at one of my favorite stores, the Christmas Cottage. It is all sorts of wonderful as you can see. Filled with beautiful Christmas ornaments and decorations. We bought some ornaments for ourselves to commemorate the year as well as a few for gifts.

We woke up early the next day, on Christmas Eve, to have one last breakfast with Joel's Dad overlooking the beautiful ocean and then packed up, made one last quick stop at the outlet malls, then drove back down the highway to prep and pack before heading out again to our final Christmas destination.

It's been a heck of a year, as always. I started this blog, my husband I both finally finished school and got teaching and coaching jobs, and my brother and sister-in-law gave us our first nephew on my side of the family.
Here's to many more years of hectic holidays, babies, and traveling! Here's to new adventures :)

Happy Wednesday & Goodbye 2014!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Gathering 4

We did a lot of driving this Holiday season and sometimes I get bored so I take selfies in the car...which my husband makes fun of so he kept trying to mess up my picture. So I took a picture of him while he was driving.
I wish I had taken more pictures at Christmas Gathering Number 4! This party was with my Dad's side of the family. Here's me with one of my pretty cousins :) We're both wearing heels :p
We rented the community center in town. It is such a cute little building and they always decorate lovely for Christmas. We discovered it when we were looking for a reception location for my wedding. It was too small for my wedding but we have used it for 2 Christmas parties now.

I was hoping to have all of my Christmas Blogging done by New Year's Eve but I am realizing now, that's probably not going to happen! Oh well, hopefully by blogging about Christmas into the new year, it will help some of my post-Christmas blues go away! I always feel a little sad after Christmas is over!

Happy Tuesday!
(PS it totally feels like a Monday, this morning I made coffee, and when I went to pour myself some, I realized that I forgot to add the coffee grounds so all I got was hot water!)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Gathering 3

After a few days of relaxing I am finally ready to catch up on some blogging! I will start off with our 3rd Christmas gathering of the month, with my husband's family. With 12 nieces and nephews, 6 brothers, 5 sister-in-laws, 1 aunt, 1 uncle, Joel's mom & Step Dad, and a partridge and a pear tree. I did not capture at all the chaos that ensues when it comes time to unwrap gifts. It's a glorious time!
I love this picture because it has both of my brother-in-laws with their twin boys--yes we have 2 sets of twin boys under age 4 in this family!
This is the best I could do with getting everyone! there's like 4 people behind me in the kitchen and I'm pretty sure a bunch of the kids are playing somewhere else.

What my gifts were wrapped in. I love pretty wrapping paper!
Our family does a gift exchange where you draw names. We stuff a stocking for the person and you buy them a gift, there is a prices limit so you put more into the stocking or the gift. One of my sister-in-laws has had me 3 times out of the 4 years I have been in the drawing! She is really great at picking gifts for me--I love everything she gave me :)
I had to snap a pic of my pretty party attire :) Necklace from Bauble Bar, Vest from GroopDealz.
Joel and I stayed the night, and after most everyone left we settled down for some pinochle and Mexican train dominoes. We also went to see the lights at the Portland International Raceway--Which was even more entertaining with commentary from his Uncle Don :)
3 gatherings down, 3 more to go!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!!

It has been a whirlwind of a week and we are just now getting home.
I am way behind on blogging but, hopefully the next week I will have some down time to catch up!
I just wanted to wish a Merry Christmas to all,
and to all a good night!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Gift Idea: Candied Pecans

 I don't know about you, but I'm not much of a Martha Stewart. Every year I have visions of making beautiful Christmas cookies and treats for friends and family, but when it comes down to it, the thought of the time it takes to make it, bake it, decorate it, and clean up afterward makes me tired. I also have a tiny kitchen so there's not much counter space. Last year I discovered a recipe for candied pecans, and I have started giving them as gifts. They are SO easy to make, and they are yummy!
 Here's what you need: 2 egg whites, 2 tablespoons of water, 2 cap fulls of vanilla, 5 cups of pecans, a mix of sugar, cinnamon and salt. (mostly sugar, a little cinnamon and a pinch of salt.)

Directions: Beat 2 egg whites, 2 tablespoons of water and 2 cap fulls of vanilla in a large bowl. Just beat until it's a little bit foamy. Add 5 cups of pecans to the mix and stir until all the pecans are coated. The original recipe I found didn't include vanilla and it only called for 2 cups of pecans, but I discovered that the mixture could cover a lot more pecans. After the pecans are coated, sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon/salt mixture until, again, all the pecans are coated. The original recipe called for a 1 cup mixture, but I'll be honest, I don't measure, I just sprinkle until the pecans look good and covered. 

After you mixed it all, heat the oven to 225 and put it all on a baking tray (use cooking spray!). DO NOT put them on tin foil. This is probably common knowledge, but I made a batch and the tin foil stuck to them so we couldn't eat them :( Try to spread the pecans out at much as you can so that they are not on top of one another so that they can bake better. Bake the pecans for 1 hour and stir them every 15 minutes. If you don't bake them long enough they will end up being more chewy than crunchy.
The final step is to put a layer of wax paper in a cute goodie box and fill it up! I got these at Target and Michael's Crafts. Cute, easy, and delicious Christmas Presents!
We're headed off to Christmas gathering number 5 and hopefully we will get our Christmas shopping done! 
Oh how I love Christmas!
Happy Monday :)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Festivities

Well,I'm already falling behind in keeping up with everything this Christmas! This past weekend the dance studio I teach at had their Christmas recital, we celebrated my husband's birthday, went to his family's annual bunko party, and I FINALLY got some Christmas shopping done. Still feeling overwhelmed though! It's a good overwhelmed, it's just that I'm so busy that when I finally get some down time I just want to sit and zone out instead of doing things like, baking candied pecans for gifts, mailing out our Christmas cards, painting my nails, getting my hair cut and making some Christmas crafts--which are all fun things--I am just so tired! Tomorrow is my actual wedding anniversary, but I am teaching at the studio so we will probably just have some red velvet cake at home and then hopefully we can get dressed up and go out to dinner sometime before the New Year to celebrate.
Here's a pic of me with my high school hip hop class at the recital last week. They were "Naughty vs Nice" and I choreographed a little bit of a "dance battle" for their routine. We have a lot of fun our class :)
I wasn't able to get a picture of my middle school hip hop class because they all had quick changes!! Luckily a friend snapped some of my classes on stage. They were "misfit toys" because we danced to the song "Geekin" by Their costumes turned out great and the did such an awesome job!
My high schooler's in their end pose.
My lyrical class. They had quick changes too. They danced to "Stars" by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. I drew some inspiration from the routine I choreographed for my High School dance team last year. They were lovely.
What I wore: Top: Forever 21 // Earrings: Kohls (old) // Lipstick: Perfect Plumb (Maybelline)
Like I have said before, I use any slightest occasion to get dolled up. Dance recital & bunko party? Calls for pretty makeup and sequins! I had to pin and spray and tease quite a big to get my hair to look like this! I need to get it cut but I can't seem to find the time before Christmas to get it done! 
Bunko was a lot of fun. We all put in $2 and then you win money based on how many times you won. I won my $2 back because I lost the most games haha. There is absolutely no skill to playing Bunko, it is all chance, but apparently I have bad luck! Good thing my husband is better and was one of the top 3 winners, so he won us $6. We're rich now ;)
The cake I got for Joel's Bday. Yes, it says "Happy Jesus Year". Why? Well, because he turned 33 this year, and that is how old Jesus was when he died for our sins. When one of my older cousins was 33 he kept saying it was his "Jesus year" and his wife was soo glad when he turned 34 so he would quit saying it! We thought it was clever. Gotta make every year special right?
I love that my husband loves all of his nieces and nephews! He always lets them help blow out candles and open presents. This pictures doesn't show all of them--there were too many cool toys downstairs to get the younger kiddos up ;) There are a lot more!

I am grateful for my brother-in-law snapping this one with me snapping a picture in it :) Wish I had taken more pictures but I was too busy visiting. PS--my brother-in-law & sister-in-law just had this dining room extended and isn't their lighting fixture gorgeous? I love it :)
 Yesterday we celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary. Joel always buys me yellow roses for our anniversary because I love them, and he always gets me a beautiful card with birds on it.

 We didn't anything fancy for our anniversary. I had to teach dance classes in the evening, and we both were tired from teaching all day. We got takeout from a local restaurant, we listened to Christmas music, caught up on Hell's Kitchen, had some of this lovely cake (we had red velvet at our wedding), and folded laundry :) Perhaps after Christmas we will have time to go somewhere fancy and get dressed up.
Today is our last day of school for the year, and then we're headed off to all sorts of fun gatherings!
 More festivities to come!
 Hope you are enjoying this beautiful season!
Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Christmas Wedding

 Today is my 3 year wedding anniversary! Everyone always says that the first few years of marriage are the hardest, but I have to say this past 3 years has been a blast! Yes, we have had our ups and downs, but I have never felt like being married and committed was hard work. I am so blessed to be married to Joel and I am looking forward to celebrating anniversaries for many years to come.
This is one of my favorite pictures from our wedding. Walking down the isle after being announced man and wife. We had my high school choir sing at our wedding and they sang "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" as we walked down the isle.
I plan to post more pictures of my wedding. When I was planning, I didn't feel like there was much inspiration for Christmas/Winter weddings, especially on a budget! So hopefully sharing my wedding will give someone else ideas!

This December is flying by fast!
Happy Thursday!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Tree Lighting

 Every year my husband and I get our picture taken at the WOU tree lighting. 4 years ago, he proposed to me here right before the tree lit up. We try to go every year and take a picture. This year it was a little rushed, however, because the pac12 championship game with the Ducks was on :P
 Last year's picture--there was snow last year!
 This was right before we got married. We missed a picture for our 1st year of marriage. It was a busy year :)
The infamous proposal. This probably one of my favorite pictures ever. Joel planned it out so that my cousin was there to take pictures.
This was our very first picture taken in front of the tree :)
Happy Thursday everyone!