Friday, December 30, 2011

So Curtains...

I've got curtains on the brain.  Probably because our house has only 2 windows properly clothed, out of, I think, 18 windows?  Do door windows count?  It seems to have gotten so bad that my neighbor stopped by yesterday with a set of drapes she wanted me to have.  "You know, *head point towards bare front windows* because it seemed like they might... let us not see you all the time warm the place up a bit."  Right Jules, right... "warm the place up"... I see right through you... kind of like you can see right through my windows...

Once I get curtains, this guy won't be able to see in anymore.
Guess he'll have to find another hobby.
Racquetball is an option.
Anyhow.

I know it's New Year's Eve's eve, and I should be thinking about resolutions and reflecting on this past year.  So let me get that part out of the way so I can go back to whats really on my mind.

Resolutions
  • Exercise myself and my dog regularly
  • Eat real food even when Handsome is on shift (anyone else think cereal is a fine dinner meal 3 nights a week?)
  • Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly (and regularly) with my God.  Yes, it's in a song, but it's pretty apropos.
  • Handsome would like me to add, "Take better care of my things and put things back where they belong."  Apparently I've been lacking in some areas...
Reflections
  • This year has been great.
Obviously, I'm not feeling very reflective.  In true scatterbrained fashion, I'll probably bore you with some "looking back" next week or something.  But this year was awesome.  Here's to another!



So... Curtains...

You might think that curtains are a boring topic for a blog post.  Let me warn you, you ain't seen nothing yet.  I'm about to dissect this subject so thoroughly that you'll be crying for 10th grade history.  

You think curtains are interesting and could never be boring?  Challenge, accepted.

Tree Trimming

I'm sure there's a reason.  There has to be.  I know there is some logical explanation why I've never seen anyone else do this.  But sure as you're born, I know something else; I'll always do it this way.  I mean, why not use a handsaw to remove your Christmas lights from your tree?  There's definitely something to be said for a clear line of sight.


Success.

Doing old things in new ways,
TFW

Thursday, December 29, 2011

99 Problems

Problems, that's what I've got.  Yep.  Things are bad here.  For example, 


  1. My downstairs-still-under-warranty-furnace is out.  Upstairs?  Oh, we're a toasty 68 degrees, but that dang downstairs...
  2. I couldn't find my chocolate buttercream recipe that uses cocoa, so I had to use the melted chocolate one.   Oh the humanity!
  3. We don't have enough space in our house for all of our new toys, and so we might have to do some organizing. 
  4. I have a family I love so much that I cry when I leave them.  That loving family, well, it seems to be my cross to bear in this life.
I could go on.  Really.  My new under-cabinet lighting, well, one of the pucks flickers.  Yep.  And we were given a chest freezer and I don't know where to put it.  I know, it's just depressing.  Oh, Duke?  Well, don't even get me started on Duke.  


He has been eyeballing me like that all day.  I don't know if I can stand it any more.

I may have 99 problems, but I'll tell you this - they're all first-world problems.  There's a site dedicated to them.  Are they annoying to us, yes.  Are they actually problems??  You tell me:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Card

If we had sent Christmas cards, you'd have this one up with your others, wishing you good tidings with great joy.


But we didn't.

So here's your card.

Pretend it says, "May the love of God fill your hearts and your homes this Christmas.  With love, The Magagnotti's"

Pretend there's a cute starry background or something, too.

And maybe the words are written all swooshy.  Yes, pretend that.

Someday I will,
TFW

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Star

We're in the not-as-cold-as-it-should-be-this-time-of-year North.  I've already done some visiting, met a baby who has been in my heart forever but actually arrived shortly after our last visit to PA.  I've taken part in some traditions.  It's been good.  Exhausting (already!) but good.  

One of my favorite things already is the time I've spent with my little niece, Shwayler.  She comes to me, says she wants to sew something.  Okay.  "An ornament, please."  We do our little guessing game we do where I ask specific questions and hope that I'll be able to deal with the answers.  Questions like, "What color do you want it to be" while hoping she picks red, green, or gray, as those are the only colors I have.  "What shape do you want to make it?" knowing that I cannot, in fact, draw Dora to save my life, hoping desperately she picks something she won't be disappointed with.  "A star" is her answer.  Whew.  Safe.  There are 4 new ornaments on the tree now.  She's proud of them, and thinks I'm an amazing "sew-er" and great at wrapping presents, too.  My heart is so full.

My camera is missing.
Little hands seem to be getting grabby...

Stars are all that we need,
TFW

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Love

Hey.  Let's ignore the fact that I haven't been around here for the better part of a week, k?  m'kay.


I wanted to share with you my favorite present I've gotten on a Christmas, and the favorite one I know I'll get this year.  Yes, I already know, because that's the beautiful thing about a Christmas tradition.  See that tree up there?  It's pretty fabulous, and no thanks to me.  Handsome's Grandma is the (nearly) sole contributor of ornaments up there.  She makes handmade ornaments for all 35+ of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren,  and ever since my first Christmas at the Magagnotti's, she's included me in the mix.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Had Christmas Down In Africa

You. Have. To listen to. THIS.
NOTE: I'd put it on this actual site, but it's so good, it's restricted.  Sort of like a banned book.  Which makes it better.
Yes, it's from 1998, but it's just about my favorite.  EVA.  I may or may not replay from the 1:50 mark repeatedly.  I will NOT judge you if you decide to do the same thing.

In other news, I'm closing out the last week of the semester - Finals Week!  I've always loved the week of finals, what with it's lighter load and infrequent class-going.  Fantastic.  And please, don't ask me, "So how long do you have left?" as though I (a) should be wrapping this up already, and (b) should even have the next 2 years of my life planned out.  I have no idea, and yes, I know I've been here forever, doing these homework things and attending these class-type things.  Let's just say there is not a light yet at the end of the tunnel, and I'll let you know when there is, m'kay?  'kay.

Along with finals, I'm working on finishing up Christmas presents, which I'd love to tell you all about and share pictures of, because they're AWESOME, but I can't because that'd ruin the surprise. 

Speaking of ruining surprises, I accepted a package from the FEDEX guy today.  It's my present from Handsome & Co.  I really really REALLY want to open it.  But again, that'd ruin the surprise. 

I'm considering a new button, whaddaya think?
Or perhaps just a t-shirt.
Who's with me!?

But I still really really REALLY want to open it.  

What about you, do you peak?  Do you snoop?  I usually do everything in my power to keep it a surprise, while simultaneously trying to find out.  Yes, there is a lot of conflict within me.  It's kind of my "thing".

Hoping the shipping tape breaks,
TFW

Monday, December 12, 2011

Reflection

Let's just start out by stating the obvious: It's way to late for me to be posting.

Moving along.

I had a wonderful weekend.  It's technically an hour into Monday now, so the weekend is officially over.  Thus a time for reflection.  Otherwise, when I see people tomorrow and they say the ole, "How was your weekend?" I will have to answer with "Good... I think..."

I don't want to have to think.  I want to know.  And I do know.  It was Goooood.  Plenty of sleep, good.  Handsome & I together 98% of the time, good.  Quiet and loud and fun and slow, good.  Friends and weird neighbor encounters, good.  Fabulous food and s'mores in our fireplace, good.

Not my picture.
I took one like it, but my camera is downstairs and...
Dang these multi-level houses!

It was having my favorite kiddos in the nursery this morning, good.  God-is-movin'-at-my-church, good.  It was Christmas movies and couch lounging, good.  Wrapped presents, bought presents, made presents, good.  Mountain-biking, exploring, sweating, good.  Finishing projects, good.  FIRE IN OUR OWN FIREPLACE, good.  Good Good Good, good.

(I'm just so pumped about the fireplace, in case you can't tell!)

And now it's Monday.  My plans??  Well, I'm going to sleep for a good long while; that much I know.  After that, the day is wide open.  How was your weekend?


I might become a pyro, 
TFW

Saturday, December 10, 2011

All I'm Gonna Say

All I'm gonna say is that Handsome has Friday, Saturday, and a large chunk of Sunday off this weekend.  So I'll see ya around ...

I'm so excited I can't stand it!
Your song(s) for the day here.
Irish Christmas Music also makes me make that face up there.
It's fan-fogerty-tastic!

I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it,
TFW

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Nobody but Nobody

Nobody puts baby in a corner.

I don't even know what that quote means.  It's also not what I intended to talk about here.  But I do love some good quotes.

What I really wanted to tell you was this: Nobody beats Frank. Nobody.

My favorite song can be found here
This is my all-time favorite album.  I have loved Frank for a long time, but only just discovered this CD.  And yes, it's a CD, not available from Amazon in MP3 format.  Because Frank is a classic, that's why.  And by "a long time," I mean that as a 14-year-old, I was buying his CD's.  Because that doesn't make the home-schooled girl any more awkward at all, nope.

What's your favorite Christmas album?

  (a close second)
Sinatra or Bust,
TFW

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fantastic Christmas Things

After the semi-depressing post from yesterday, I'm feeling much more bright and ready to jump back on the "I LOVE CHRISTMAS" bus.  It also helps that I've finally seen my husband for more than 20 minutes for the first time since November 25.  Don't tell him, though.  I wouldn't want him to know he wields such power. 

So I wanted to share some of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season, and find out what you suggest to make it feel more like the holidays! 
ASIDE: This is the first year, this fourth Christmas that we're prepping for while in SC, that I haven't been all melancholy over the lack of snow and cold.  Until I saw this show with it's pretty snow.  But really, I think it's kind of nifty that I don't have to scrape my windshield in the mornings or make my weekend plans around low pressure weather systems.  That is all.
So without further ado, my Christmas Bucket List!


  1.  Christmas Tree.  I don't know on what date we put up a tree when I was younger.  Now we put it up the day after Thanksgiving.  Because I love it.  And it's tradition.  OUR FIRST TRADITION!!
ASIDE: I do remember my 16th Christmas where my Mom was sick, and we kept waiting for her to get better before we went and got our tree.  See, usually we traded hay bales for cutting down our own tree with this friendly tree farmer; but there hadn't been many extra hay bales (seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up) and so we were just going to get one from our property.  Unfortunately, we didn't have a tree farm on our property.  We cut down a white pine (which is perfect for Charlie Brown Christmas trees, but not much else).  When we got home, my mom said it looked sad.  So we performed a elective arborist surgery.  Basically, we drilled holes the entire height of the trunk, and added more branches originally cut off the bottom.  Because that's how we roll.  It looked great.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sgt. Pepper

Sorry Beatles fans (something I am not.  sorry if that changes things), that's not where we're going.  Feeling a little contemplative tonight, and dealt with it by writing.  It seems risky silly to share this, as I know some will think I'm depressed tonight (not really), some will think I'm desperate (only for chocolate), and some people just don't like feelings.  All the same, it's nice for me to have it here to refer back to.  And maybe someone else sometimes feels lonely.  This letter isn't just for me.


***
 Dear Lonely Heart,
I know, that when the house is quiet and the phone doesn't ring, it's easy to let the feeling set.  When suggested plans are smiled at but never followed up on, and when "something [comes] up," it almost sounds true; that pesky lie.  The lie that says you're alone, that no one has time for you.  And if that lie finds a place to sit and stay a while, he invites the fear in; the fear that maybe you're not worth it anyhow.  
Lonely Heart, know that in the silence, God is there.  The phone may not ring, but He calls you nevertheless.  "Be still and know."  Its funny how hard it is to hear the call when the walls are echoing with silence.  "Trust in the Lord, and do good. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness."  There is a season for all things.  A season for busy-ness and popularity, and a season for quiet and solitude.  Neither one is permanent, both have a purpose.  This quiet will not last.  You laugh at that, but the days will come when you look back on this time with longing.  
You do not have the eyes to see what the future holds.  You do not have the wisdom to know.  You have only this moment in which to seek God's face.  To ask what He sees with his eyes and what He in his infinite wisdom knows.  It is not your job to know, or to see, only to seek.  Lonely Heart, there is a part of you that is crying out, "Seek His face!"  You were created for doing so.  You were made to seek, and then to find.
This is not a time of punishment, of contrition or repayment for misdeeds.  Dear Heart, this time is a blessing.  So it doesn't feel that way; not the issue.  So you don't know what to do; just do the next right thing.  Do justice.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with your God.  Don't seek to be known among men, but rather to know your God.  Your value is determined, not by your social obligations and opportunities, but from the very beginning of time, when God chose to love you.  He loves you still.
Be still and know.
 ***
Part of me feels a need to reassure that "I'm not really lonely.  This is hypothetical."  But sometimes, I am.  I don't know if everyone feels that way sometimes, but I know at least a few who do.  I find the mood most often strikes me when I've considered myself far to often, and others far too seldom.   So writing a letter to myself in front of the whole world may not have been the best therapy.  But truth always is.
Peace,
TFW

Monday, December 5, 2011

OH MY GOSH IT TASTES LIKE A S'MORE!

I told you I'd let you know.  The S'more cookies?  They taste deliciously like S'mores.  Brilliant!
ASIDE: I originally wrote the title as all one word, but, well ... there's certain letter combinations that jump out at you if you do that, and it's not really anything close to what I was going for.  Don't believe me/understand?  Try it out on your computer.
ASIDE: And then I thought, "But Mariah, what if they don't have a computer?"  That's right.  People pay me to think, y'all.
Their sheer size tells you, these cookies are not for the feint of heart.  (faint?)

*ROAR*
Is there anything else to say for this photo?

Honest.  It. Tastes. Just. Like. S'mores.
AH-MAZING.

 Sharing the pictures because I'm eating the food,
TFW

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

I've just decided, in the time it took me to write that title (and then in the long extended pause it took me to think of the word, "title") that I am going to share my favorite Christmas songs with you, each time I post.  A few months back I declared (mostly to myself) "There will be no post if there is no picture!"  Likewise, for the foreseeable Christmas season (which someone just informed me can legitimately last until January 6, something about 3 Kings Day or something), I again decree, "There will be no post if there is no song*!"

<3

Handsome is home again.  He did not kill Bambi's father, which is a source of sorrow for him, and probably a bit of relief for Bambi's Mom, who just isn't ready to re-enter the workforce full time after all of these years.  I'm so glad (that he's home, I really don't feel for Bambi's mom.  Get a job!).  Even though he isn't technically home, because he came back to SC just to hop back on the shift train, but I know he's closer; that's enough.

Apparently, it's enough for my appetite, because I made myself dinner tonight.  While he was gone, I just didn't feel like eating dinner.  You can chalk it up to desperate romanticism if you would like, but I think it has more to do with dirtying the kitchen for just one person.  If I lived alone, I think I might eat out all the time.  And live on cold cereal.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fabric Informatique

In case the title didn't tip you off, this here is riveting stuff.  Definitely worth your time today.  
Definitely.

So last week, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, blah blah blah.  I didn't really do the shopping thing.  Handsome was only off work on Friday, so we did our Thanksgiving that day.  My parents were in town all weekend, and while my Madre and I did pick up some new furniture (see the chair in below pictures), we did it casually and as we would on any day.  I perused some online ads, but nothing caught my fancy... until...

Joann.  She's evil.  We used to be friends, but then she kept offering me things that ended up costing me dearly... For example, this weekend, she's offering 50% off all Home Decor Fabrics.  And me, being the naive little thing that I am, thought that all home decor fabrics are created equal.  It went a little like this:

"I need some curtains.  Curtains are 'Home Decor'.  Any of this fabric must be suitable for curtains.  Done!"

Two brief days later, Mr. FedEx shows up, Duke barks, and I'm given this package:



And now, $$ poorer and not a whole lot wiser, I do have one bit of information to share with you.  All home decor fabrics are not created equal.  The fact that they're not all priced the same should have been a red flag for me, but I figured the difference in price was due to the design or something.  You know, Mourning Dove Herringbone must just be a really popular color, right?  Right??  Nope.

At Christmastime, We're all Winners...

But this Christmas, or rather, this December 3, the winner of the super adorable Christmas tree is...


Friday, December 2, 2011

Least-Favorite Christmas Tradition

Crying is my least-favorite Christmas tradition.

Christmas for me has changed drastically over the years.  I mean, there was the whole childhood-wonder-presents-are-where-it's-at phase, but even after that, it has just kept changing.  

When I started dating Handsome, we were very much involved with each others families.  As a result, for EIGHT years, we ran around on Christmas Eve like crazy people, driving through snow and ice to make it to no fewer than... lemme count... sometimes 5...no, wait, 6 events on Christmas night.  There's the pagent, then church with my family, then back out to Seminole for the Mag. party, then into Frogtown (yes, the true name of a place I grew up) for the All. party, then back out to Newbie for mass, and then finally to open our presents together (always after midnight, so it was technically Christmas).  We didn't generally partake in the Christmas morning festivities with each other's families while we were dating, so the day of would be somewhat quieter.

This isn't my picture, but I have one.
Only it's better, because it's John Deere, and not Farmall.
Sorry, it's just how I was raised.

Enter 2 rings and some vows, and then Christmas day was just as crazy as it's Eve.  It was morning at my in-laws, followed by brunch at my parents, then to H's mom's mom's for lunch and presents, then jet off for a 45-min ride to my mom's mom's, then back to town for a little bit of H's dad's mom's again.

Really, it's raising my heart rate just to think about it.  

Every year, do you know what for-sure would happen on Christmas Eve?  Other than Santa coming?  I'd cry.  Every year.  It was just too stressful.  There was no way to meet everyone's expectations, and in the rush, we did not enjoy ourselves.  It was hurry hurry, arrive, enjoy, hurry and leave, hurry hurry, arrive, enjoy, hurry and leave *we're late!* hurry hurry, arrive, hurry leave (whoops! forgot to enjoy!) hurry hurry... the whole time.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

More to December than Christmas

I know December is not 31 days of Christmas.  In fact, Christmas is only one day, 2 if you count Christmas Eve.  There are several more celebrations going on in December.  For example: My cousin Jeremy's birthday.  He's turning 26, just 4 weeks ahead of me.  We were very close growing up.  That has nothing to do with this post.

Another celebration in December:  Hanukkah

Now, my knowledge of Hanukkah is limited to (1) The oil lamp song I sang in 8th grade chorus, (2) Adam Sandler's influence [via movie and song] and (3) something about potato pancakes.  I'm not proud of this.   In fact, I'm pretty sure that Hanukkah is a beautiful and (sometimes) more meaningful celebration than Christmas.  It saddens me that I am, for all intents and purposes, ignorant of this celebration.  But I am also honest, which should earn me some street cred.  

To increase my knowledge (and yours, too!) might I suggest this awesome little album, FREE today on Amazon!

Available HERE

I've only listened to one song, so I can't really vouch for all of it, but that one song + the free price tag made me say "Yes!  Send it to the cloud!"  I thought you might want to, as well.

Wishing for a menorah for Christmas,
TFW
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