Friday, November 30, 2012

Whoville Trees

I love Christmas.  I've switched my calendar to December 2 days early, just so I could see Christmas on the calendar.  I've got the Frank Sinatra Christmas Pandora station rocking.  I've planned and schemed and thought up reasons to make Christmas cookies.  I want to have a party, just for an excuse to make 8 doz different cookies, even though parties are a lot of trouble.  I've made plans to visit family and stockpiled presents and generally gotten in the mood.

Oh, and we got a tree.  EEK!

I love Christmas trees.  Remember, I didn't always have a real Christmas tree.  No sir, Dante wouldn't indulge my whims for the first couple of years of our marriage.  See?

But then the Mister got wise to the fact that I was determined to have a tree, despite his attempts to squash my Christmas spirit (Seriously, the man likes to pretend he's a scrooge.  He said our child is not allowed to like Christmas.  That he's going to beat our kid on Christmas each year so that they despise the holiday as much as he pretends too.  Truth be told, I think he kind of likes the season, he just doesn't know how to admit it.  Oh, and he'd never beat anyone, except at cards, and only because he cheats.)

Anyhow, this year, I tried to up the ante and go to a "cut your own" place.  We've got a good two years of real Christmas trees behind us, and it felt like it was time to make the leap.  So we went to a place near us, that boasted of White Pines and Something Blue and a few types of Cedars...  it was a gamble, but we tried it.  And when we got there, I would have sworn I was in Whoville.  (Seriously, who know Whoville was in rural SC, past the fallen down trailers and over-stuffed garages in what looked to be a Hoarders paradise?)

Are you seeing what I'm seeing?
Anyone else see trees that have obviously been popped open like an umbrella?

How about now?
Seriously, they wanted you to take a tree like this home, and make it your Christmas tree.
I've never seen them like this!
The ones in the background look even more weird and animated-like!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Deals!

I swear, this is not going to turn into a shopping site.  Honestly, my *want* tendencies can't handle it.  But I did want to share this one awesome deal with you.  Remember Delicate Fortress Creations?  They're the peeps who are selling beautiful items like this:

and this:

But don't get me one of these gorgeous scarves.  I don't know how to wear a scarf.  I'm physically unable to wear a decorative scarf.  Get this one for yourself.  Your mom (snicker snicker).  Your college buddy.  Your mailman - I mean, c'mon, you know he has a flair for color.

They sell all of this in an effort to help women pull themselves out of slavery.  It's some serious important stuff.  And today, they're offering 15% off, and a free t-shirt for orders over $75!  That means you could get me this super awesome hand-stitched reversible sari throw, and you'd get a free t-shirt.  It'd be like sharing, only better!

I promise, I wouldn't be mad.  Now go shop!
<3 M.

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Friday Feels Bright, Not Black!

Hey all.

I'm good, how are you?

I can't even explain to you how much I love hot chocolate.
Know this: It's a lot.
Like, however much you think I might love hot chocolate, doubled.
Times 100000.

Are you tired?  Were you shopping or did you just overdose on tryptophan?  I'm feeling pleasantly spry this morning.  I've got the Frank Sinatra Holiday Station pumping, and I've been doing some good cleaning and project-finishing-up!  Now is my time for some Cheeseburger Soup (I've had 4+ thanksgivings this month, I'm turkey-ed out!), a bit of netflix, and then some more projects ;)

In case you're wondering, I used to be a black friday shopper.  In fact, I even tried to be one of the door-buster-at-the-mall people once, which is no easy feat when you're 2+ hours from any mall, anywhere.  I didn't make it.  I also used to go to VS every year, spend my $50 so I got the free tote, go home, list the tote for sale on Ebay, and make my $50 back.  It was rewarding, until the tote bags turned into cheap-o things no one wanted.

But now, I'm an online-browser, pajama-wearer, hot chocolate-sipper.  I'm a sleep-in-er, too, which is much nicer than the 3AM wake up call.  I've done a bit of shopping today, mostly with left-over gift cards from our baby shower.  Spending other people's money makes it ever so nice!  I've got some of the deals I hit up today laid out below, but where ever you shop online, I want you to know about Ebates.  They're AWE$OME.  I accidentally did that with the "$", but it's appropriate so I left it.

Ebates is a website that you shop from.  They don't sell anything (that I know of).  But you go, for example, to  Then you search "Home Depot".  They say something to the effect of "Shop at and earn 6% cashback!".  Then you click "shop now" and boom, done.  You see no more of ebates, you only see home depot, and you buy the things you wanted to buy.  If you're like me, this consists of an orbital sander that you then pick up 4 hours later at your local store, and thus begins your love affair with mechanized sanding.  Seriously people, I could be out there, sanding away, all. day. long.

Anyhow, once a quarter, ebates mails you a check.  Like, legit.  I don't do a ton of online shopping, but I've gotten little checks in the mail for $12.16 or $17.25 or whatever.  It's always a nice surprise.  And sometimes, they have coupon codes.  If they don't, you can always hit up for some coupon codes that you can apply, even if you're already using ebates to get cashback.  Isn't that wild?  I'm pretty psyched.  Can't wait to see what my total "back" is.

Honorable mention deals:

But remember, don't just go to the shops.  Hit up Ebates first, sign up (I swear, I've never gotten anything spammy from them, nor have I ever gotten anything in the mail.  Except cash.  Which is sweet.  And by cash, I mean a check, but whatever.).  Note: I think there is some sort of referral thing, but I'm not concerned with that.  I just wanted you to know how awesome Ebates is.  Because it's the season of giving.
<3 M.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wishing You Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving, peoples of the world.  Even if you don't celebrate today's holiday, I hope you have a wonderful day, full of thankfulness, good memories, and Al Roker.

Also, can we take a moment to notice the whining kid, to the right (our right) of the lady?
What's his deal?
Does he have to whiz?
Are his shoes cramping his toes?
Maybe no one told him this was for publicity...
Even if Al is not quite half the man he used to be.  And I'm not saying anything about the guy's character. Seriously, where did he go?!  Obviously, he isn't eating Cheesecake Pumpkin Cookies or Banana Pudding cake today...  

Anyhow, I'm off to start baking and cue up the parade, one of my very favoritest of holiday traditions.  It's different now that I'm an adult, because I've gotta keep running to the kitchen to check on things, and I've got 17 loads of laundry to fold while I watch, but I'm okay with that, as long as I get to see Snoopy and some dancing.  And the bands.  I love the bands.  I always wanted to be in one of those bands.

I'm thankful for my husband, for our home and our shared laughter.  For my useless dog who refused to go down the stairs to check out things that go bump in the night.  For friends that are like family, who you can share holidays with and threaten harm to if they use canned gravy when they have perfectly good turkey drippings sitting on the stove, and who tell you to arrive 3 hours early because they know you're always late. I thankful for God's love, his grace, his beauty, and his just-ness.  For the Pittsburgh Steelers, even though they just keep breaking my heart.  And I'm thankful that the grocery store is only 2.6 miles from my house, because I'm pretty sure being out of milk and nearly out of butter when it's time to bake is a bad thing.

Happy Thanksgiving.  Le'ts knock this holiday out of the park!
<3 M.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

On This Morning

On this morning, it's still dark.  It seemed dark as night just 40 minutes ago when I accidentally woke up.  I had to good fortune of sleeping the night through... wait, no, now that I remember it, I did wake up once.  Either way, I slept pretty soundly (really wish I wouldn't have remembered that, I liked the slept-the-night-through version better).  I then realized I had had the even better fortune of waking up about 10 minutes after Husband's alarm should have gone off.  Then it's hurry-scurry to get him out the door on time.

On this morning, I wanted to lock the door, instead.  Pull down the blinds (because we've finally got some in the bathrooms!), and stay in here today.  Claim a contentious objector day, and simply not participate in the goings ons around us.

On this morning, I wanted to turn towards my love, snuggle up, and slip back off to dream land for at least a good 4 more hours.  Then it would have been pancakes.  I've been dreaming about pancakes for about 4 days now.  Not my "healthy" pancakes.  Not my usual flapjacks.  Big, fluffy, syrup-stealing, stick to your ribs pancakes.  And some bacon, if I had some.

On this morning, I wish I had bacon.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

(Not Thanksgiving) Menu Plans

As previously mentioned, I'm not cooking a Thanksgiving dinner this year.  In fact, until a few days ago, I was without any Thanksgiving plans whatsoever.  Now though, I've been rescued from the holiday-less spirit by some friends.  Wanna know what they asked me to bring?  DESSERT.  Yep.  Which means I get to break this no-baked-goods fast on my own terms!  I've got some ideas, too.  They mostly involve some type of fruit, just so I won't have to feel guilty while eating them.  Ideas like:

Orange Muffins From Annie's Eats
I'm thinking they'll be nice & refreshing!

Banana Pudding Poke Cake from Hungry Little Girl
Banana Pudding just might be my Mister's favorite dessert.
I hope he doesn't mind the liberties I've taken with it...
I hope he doesn't take liberties with the dessert, too.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies from Sweet Treats & More
I'm thinking I might go with a plain 'ole cream cheese glaze, too.
Maple, well, it has it's place.
I'm just not convinced that it's on top of these cookies ;)
I'm also thinking some apple slices and warm caramel dip, likely of the normal pantry variety.  See, all sorts of fruit and whatnot!  It was dangerous territory, I'll tell ya, venturing into pinterest to find the right desserts.  I barely made it out with my sugar level intact.  I had actually convinced myself, at one point, that toffee wasn't a candy, and that maybe homemade caramels wouldn't count as cheating.  I tell you, my willful ignorance knows no bound.

In addition to the sweets I've now planned out, I took some time to menu plan for this coming week, too.  Actually, I made up my menu first, which included a plan for fried rice on Thursday.  Then I remembered that Thursday is Thanksday, and that I needed to get the desserts nailed down.  But either way.  I've got my menu.  Wanna see?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Viking Baby

Okay, I promised you cute stuff today.  And I always try really really hard to come through.  And this time, I'm delivering.  You ready for this?  Like, really really ready?  Here it is, what is probably my favorite gift for this baby so far.  Maybe that's not nice to say.  If you're offended, please pretend I didn't say it.  But at the same time, you can't argue with how cute this is.

I know, right?  It's all I can do to not try & put it on my own head.  Of course, I have an unusually large head in the first place, and then there's the fact that the viking hat is made for a baby with a usually-sized head... it would likely end in tears.  And by tears, I mean a badly-stretched-out crocheted viking hat.  Which would totally ruin my plan.

Wanna know what my plan is?  I'll tell ya...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What To Do

Hello all!  It's that time again!  Time for Mariah's quarterly life crisis moment!  Today, we'll be focusing in on her eating habits, real and imagined, while she struggles with some of life's questions, such as "Who am I?" and "What am I doing with my life?" and "Where do we go from here?"

You know.
As in, a life crisis I have quarterly.
Like, 4 times per year, not 4 times per life.
Totally normal, I assure you

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Confessions

Without ado...

(I'd say "without further ado" but there was no "ado" to begin with, so... )

1.  I burned a candle all day, straight through the walls of itself, and down, down, down the side of my fan-flippin-tastic husband's dresser.  I did all of this not 72 hours after pointing out to him how awesome it was that the candle was so wide, you didn't have to put it on a plate or anything, because it wouldn't leak.


2.  And then I did it again not 16 hours later.  Because I'm smart.  That's why.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What I Haven't Shared

Most of my life is an open book.  You know when I've baked too much, what I wear on my feet, and how really really ridiculous my dog is.  But one of the reasons I started this was to be more open about my actual self, not just the witty, self-depreciating, creating-addicted self.  To give more voice to the me that I felt few people knew.  

So I did that for a while.  I shared what was on my heart, even when it was ugly or worrisome or embarrassing.  And then lately, I've been avoiding it.  Really, ever since I got back from PA.  Heck, maybe even before I left. But purposefully, I've been avoiding my heart ever since PA. 

Oh, lovely PA...

The trip was fantastic, and I got to see so many friendly faces.  The love they poured out for me & D'man and this bambino was overwhelming.  And then, Sunday morning, I went to church.  The sermon was on... something.  Something about not hoarding.  I was paying attention, don't get me wrong, but I was also just basking in the feeling of being in the place where I had grown up in my faith.  Just enjoying it.  Then came the wrap-up.  Pastor T, he said something to the effect of, "How do you apply this?  How does this actually impact your life?  Well I'm glad you asked." and he went on to say that, while most of us struggle with a storage issue - too much stuff, there are those not too very far away that struggle because they have nothing.  

Let's just say, he had my attention.

Then he said that winter was coming, and up in PA, it gets cold.  He had been in contact with some homeless organizations, and they named a lack of shoes and coats as their chief problem for winter.  So today, prepared or not, they would be collecting our coats and shoes.  If you wanted to give them.  If you could give them.  If God so moved you to give them.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Let's Make It Easy

Sometimes, life is sort of difficult.  Sometimes it's just plain hard.  Sometimes it's confusing.  I know personally, I'm constantly trying to figure out if I'm the kind of person who has a clean fridge face, or the kind who covers it with photos.  Right now, the photos are winner.  Other things are more pressing, like storage problems that are actually stuff problems, and deciding whether to be hospitable if it means cleaning my house, and what to do when cold weather hits.  Maybe you have these problems.  Maybe you don't.  In case you do, let me make things easier for you with a few helpful things I've found.

1. Terry-lined Wool Socks.  These things make my life.  It's amazing how much warmer your body feels when your feet are warm!  And trust me, these things will give you warm feet.  Make sure you get the kind that are lined, though (like the ones in the link), because that's like the difference between Swiss Miss and Real Hot Chocolate.  Both will warm you up, but you'll be so much happier with the later!

2.  Dropbox.  This is my storage/have the right papers when I need them solution.  Now, I'm not a technical person, so bear with my ridiculously over-simplified explanation here, but this is what Dropbox is - a magical folder, out in space.  You can access it from anywhere with internet, and you save stuff in it.  Photos?  Automatically uploads and saves them, if you want it to (super fast, too).  Documents you need both at work and at home?  Not a problem.  Video you want to share with your brother but not the world (youtube)?  Upload it to Dropbox, share it with the brosef, and boom!  You're both laughing at the dramatic lemur, 2000+ miles apart.

You can even use it on your smart phone.  Oh, and it's free.  Which is awesome.  You can pay for a ton of extra space, but you don't have to.  So check it out.  I just got my Madre hooked up, and now we can share pictures of the kiddos in our family, so we don't have to steal low-quality ones off of facebook anymore.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Baking and #instarecipes

I'm a mom-caller.  You know, one of those girls who calls her momma?  Sometimes, when I call my momma, and she doesn't answer, I leave her a message to the effect of, "MOM!  I need you!  I need you and you're not here!!"  She doesn't take me seriously.  I know this is going to come back to bite me, a la Peter & The Wolfe, but it's sort of a tradition now, and I don't think I'll stop.
ASIDE: Sometimes, when I call her, and she does answer, I sing to her.  Bohemian Rhapsody-style. "Mommmmaaaaaaaaa!  oooOOOooOOOOOO-oooh!"  She loves this, I'm sure of it.
This week, I called my momma, and she answered.  I didn't sing, but I did confess: I have a baking problem. She asked what my problem was, but that wasn't what I meant.  I meant, "My name is Mariah, and I have a baking problem."  On the day in question, I started out by making pancakes.

and if I had only stopped there, I would have been fine.  I mean really, they're ever generally healthy.  Look at that, Honey, some Whole Wheat Flour...  Greek yogurt even!  That's a decent breakfast.  But I didn't stop.  Nope.  I kept going.  Next on the list: Chewy Chocolate Molasses Cookies.  I wanted cookies like these, but couldn't find a recipe, so I adapted from here and here.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Let's Hear It For My Man!

This guy is having a birthday today:

You may not be able to see him in the above photo, but he's there.
His ability to blend into his surroundings is something I love about him...
GOSH!  It's like he doesn't even have legs in that picture!
My husband likes boring things.  Does anyone else feel that way?  I mean, about the people in your life, not my husband (per say...).  When he told me what he wanted for his birthday, I just stared at him.  Wool toe socks?  Really?  No, I mean, REALLY?  Yep.  BO-RING.  He wanted a heart rate monitor watch, a wool base layer, and these:

That's his birthday watch there in the background.
What can I say? He gets what he wants.

I took him grocery shopping with me (which usually results in him being bored and ramming me with the grocery cart, but thankfully not this time), and struck up a conversation regarding what he wanted for his birthday dinner.  He informed me that he was actually scheduled for some hospital clinical hours on his birthday, and so there would be no birthday dinner.  Hmm...  He then picked up these babies, with longing in his eye, and talked about how delicious they would be.  So we got them, as half of his special birthday treat.  When he eats them, his breath smells like formaldehyde. The part where I don't make him eat them outside and brush his teeth immediately afterwards is the other half.

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