Thursday, December 31, 2009

Books Read in 2010

20. Pretty in Plaid (Jen Lancaster)
19. Olive Kitteridge (Elizabeth Strout)
18. The Hour I First Believed (Wally Lamb)
17. A Member of the Family (Cesar Millan)
16. Vision in White (Nora Roberts)
15. One Nation Under Dog (Michael Schaffer)
14. The Condition (Jennifer Haigh)
13. Blink (Malcolm Gladwell)
12. Standing By (Alison Buckholtz)
11. Population 485 (Michael Perry)
10. Belong to Me (Marisa de los Santos)
9. The Sleeping Beauty Proposal (Sarah Strohmeyer)
8. Still Alice (Lisa Genova)
7. Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen)
6. Summer Sisters (Judy Blume)
5. Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
4. Home (Julie Andrews)
3. The Quilter's Kitchen (Jennifer Chiaverini)
2. Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell)
1. Storm Front (Jim Butcher)


Movies Seen in 2009

  • 42. District Nine (B+)
  • 41. Funny People (C-)
  • 40. Four Christmases (C-)
  • 39. Sherlock Holmes (B)
  • 38. Transformers 2 (D)
  • 37. Star Trek (B)
  • 36. New Moon (A)
  • 35. 28 Weeks Later (B)
  • 34. Gran Torino (B)
  • 33. The Invention of Lying (B)
  • 32. The Soloist (B)
  • 31. Julie and Julia (B+)
  • 30. Revolutionary Road (B+)
  • 29. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (A+)
  • 28. The Business of Being Born (A-)
  • 27. The International (B-)
  • 26. Public Enemies (A-)
  • 25. He's Just Not That Into You (B+)
  • 24. The Women (C-)
  • 23. Up (A+)
  • 22. Milk (B)
  • 21. Taken (B+)
  • 20. Bride Wars (A-)
  • 19. State of Play (A)
  • 18. Sunshine Cleaning (B+)
  • 17. Goodfellas (A-)
  • 16. Rachel Getting Married (B)
  • 15. Australia (C+)
  • 14. I Love You, Man (A)
  • 13. Role Models (B)
  • 12. Changeling (C)
  • 11. Confessions of a Shopaholic (B)
  • 10. Watchmen (D)
  • 9. There Will Be Blood (C-)
  • 8. Beverly Hills Chihauhau (F)
  • 7. Iron Man (A-)
  • 6. The Duchess (C)
  • 5. Frost/Nixon (A-)
  • 4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (B-)
  • 3. Marley and Me (A)
  • 2. Tropic Thunder (A-)
  • 1. Into the Wild (B)


Goodbye 2009...

New promises...
New house...

and a new puppy...

11 Weeks

2009 has certainly been a whirlwind...


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I suspect I've finally cracked...

I'm contemplating a challenge for 2010.

In my daily blog perusal, I stumbled upon a blogger encouraging a book challenge. To read 100 books in 2010.


One hundred!!!

I had been pretty impressed with my 2009 list of twenty books, but apparently I had set the bar too low. So for the past couple of days, I've been mulling over this idea of reading 100 books in one year. Was it completely insane? Would it kill my love of reading? Would it simply kill me?

I certainly have 100 books that I'd be interested in reading. (Finding things I want to read has never ever been a concern.) However, I started doing a little math. 100 books in 52 weeks basically means two books a week. Yikes. That's a lot of reading. Even if I cut back significantly on my television watching, and find a way to read while showering, that's still going to be pushing it a bit. NavyGuy will be deployed for six months of the year, and I anticipate a lot of quality reading time while he's gone, but there's something to be said for quality over quantity...

So, now I'm thinking maybe 50 would be a more reasonable goal. Still a challenge - a book a week - but potentially doable. What do we think? Have I finally gone off the deep end, or is this an admirable challenge? Anyone willing to accept the challenge with me (setting whatever book goal you think would be appropriate for yourself)? Any major flaws in my plan that I've overlooked?


Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Jingle Scrapbook Album

I don't have pictures of my finished version, but I have to show off the fabulous mini album that we created a few weeks ago...

(Photo from Andrea Walford, Sunny Stampin')

The album was designed by Andrea Walford, a Stampin' Up demonstrator, but she offered the template to other demonstrators... so my stamping lady taught the album as a fun Christmas class :)

Here's another photo of the album (from Michelle), that shows how the album starts to open up...

And there's the full expanded album! It's awesome. There's space for photos and journaling, and it's just so much fun to open and close it! :) I swear, my version looks just like it. We used a scrapbook kit available from Stampin' Up, so it came with all the coordinating papers, stickers, and add-ons. I haven't ordered any of their kits before, but now I'm pretty interested in some of the other ones.

I haven't decided yet what kind of photos to put in my album. Should I focus on just one year, like Christmas 2008? Or maybe an album showcasing my holiday decorations? Or various photos of Christmases over the years, with cute photos of Sister and I in matching pj's from the early years?


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Morn

A photo diary of our Christmas morning...


Tally's first Christmas Card from Grandma


NavyGuy's Mom and Dad ready for some present opening


Anti-bacterial wipes... the serious stocking stuffer...


Wisconsin pride!


The book haul...


Another present for the pup


NavyGuy's big gift - a Kindle (cuz he can't pack six months' worth of books when he deploys)


Won't. Last. Until. April. Without. New. Episodes!!!!! This t-shirt from Sister-in-Law will have to sustain me.


More gifts for Tally


Sister-in-Law's big gift - a TiVo... which she's been salivating over for way too long


Tally consumed this bone in 20 minutes. Oops. Perhaps we should have been watching more closely... (don't worry - she's fine. Iron stomach on that one.)


Who knows... I probably have a cookie in my mouth.


No... my new stamp pad holder is not a toy for puppies!

What did your holiday look like?


Saturday, December 26, 2009


I'm slowly recovering from the holidays. Between the non-stop shifts at Starbucks, the multiple food comas resulting from each holiday meal, and the overall hustle and bustle of the season, my body isn't bouncing back as quickly as it used to.

Blogging is still going to be sporadic for the next few days, as I received a plethora of new books under the Christmas tree, and all I'm in the mood for is reading on the couch, with Tally pup on my lap, the fire roaring, and a tupperware container of Christmas cookies within reach. But have no fear - lots of holiday recaps, and other shenanigans to come soon!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Decorating: Part 3 The Home Tour

After finally completing the Christmas decorating process, I'm ready to show off the house. NavyGuy and I staged a little home tour, complete with Tally cameos and my general ridiculousness when on film...


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Best of Everything 2009

Like I said here, I looooove best and worst lists.

NavyGuy gets credit for stumbling upon this gem - it's Time Magazines' Top 10 of Everything 2009. There are 50 lists! Jackpot! Seriously, it's enough reading material to get you through the whole rest of the workweek.

Some of my favorites so far? Top 10 Buzzwords, Top 10 Fleeting Celebrities, Top 10 Movie Performances, Top 10 T-Shirt Worthy Slogans, and Top 10 Underreported Stories.

Hooray for the end of the year!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Baking

She's finally been takin' out for her first spin...

Yes, it's official. After being terrified to turn it on for six months, I used the glorious pink KitchenAid stand mixer for the first time today to make several different kinds of holiday cookies. It's kind of intimidating, no? Okay, maybe I'm the only one, but it's like super expensive and heavy as all get out, so I was always a wee bit nervous that I was going to break it or something. So I just let it sit on my counter and shine in all it's pretty pinkness.

Well her cushy days of just being counter candy are over! Baby works like a charm! In fact I spent so much time baking this morning, that Tally finally got bored of wandering around my feet and decided to curl up in a safe place (just in case things went haywire in the kitchen).

The results of all my hard work today? A couple batches of Fudge Crinkles, a family recipe called Sweet Treats, and possibly my new favorite: Fake-Out Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars...

I'll admit, they aren't quite the same as the real ones (the blondie base is thicker than the ones you'll get at Starbucks), but the flavor and taste is super similar, and I think, quite delicious. My mom found the recipe here, and even though they take some time and effort, they're way worth it. (Mine obviously don't look as pretty as those in the recipe photo, but give me a break - this was the first corner piece that's always a pain in the booty to get out of the pan!).

More recipes to come - I have Monday off of work, so I'm going to try to get some fudge made, and NavyGuy will absolutely die if he doesn't have his Peanut Butter Chocolate Wheat Thins.

What Christmas cookies are your favorites? Does anyone have all their baking done?


Thursday, December 17, 2009


I love this time of year for all the obvious reasons (joy, peace, Christmas tidings, goodwill, holiday carols, an abundance of sweets, days off of school, after-Christmas sales...)

But this is also the season of "best of" and "worst of" lists - LOVE THEM - and getting new calendars. Yes, plural. Calendars. Love LOVE them. I usually end up with three or four different ones because I can never decide on just one.

What type of calendar do you tend to go with? A traditional hanging wall version? Day by day desk? Perpetual calendar? Or have you given up the paper calendar totally in lieu of your BlackBerry? (NavyGuy...)


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Little of This and a Little of That...

*All Christmas packages are in the mail. I got up at 5am today, finished wrapping everything, and was in line at the post office by 9. And it wasn't even horrific. I got the good postal worker man (who hooked me up with a sweet sweet media rate for a few of the packages), and was out of the building in under 15 minutes.

*When making quiche, the milk and eggs must be whisked together thoroughly. Failure to do so will result in a husband being sent to pick up burritos for dinner.

*NavyGuy starts his holiday leave today. On the plus side, this means he's home to play with the dog everyday and work on a honey-do list. On the less plus side, this means he's home all day. I predict many Nova and Good Eats marathons broken up by bouts of computer gaming and general lounging.

*Monday night was another squadron holiday party. This time both officers and enlisted sailors were invited. It was at the O'Club, and it was... interesting. Some people were in cocktail dresses; some people were in jeans and "fancy" t-shirts. The party was essentially, "come, pay for overpriced drinks, eat a so-so buffet of lukewarm food, and try to act interested when they announce the raffle prizes for all the enlisted guys..." I muddled through the evening in a Chardonnay-induced haze and managed to snake an extra piece of chocolate cake. They did have nice party favors - sturdy wine glasses etched with the squadron logo (keep in mind "nice"is a relative term).

*Still to be done before family arrives on Monday: clean house, finish holiday decorating, finalize Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus, bake cookies, wrap more gifts... hmmm... that list doesn't sound quite long enough... I must be forgetting something...


Monday, December 14, 2009


Do not mix five hours of Christmas shopping with 20 espresso shots.

That was NavyGuy's and my Saturday. We thought powering through and getting everything done as fast as possible would be the least painful means of completing our holiday gift shopping.

Wrong. Oh so very very wrong.

And everything still needs to be wrapped.

And shipped to Wisconsin.

Before Christmas.

In 10 days...

(Is 9:00am too early for a vodka cranberry juice? I'm leaning towards no. Plus I probably still need to hydrate after "EspressoGate 2009.")


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Cards '09

or... "How I nearly lost my mind and sent e-cards this year."

Oh the saga. The process from card inception to dropping in the mailbox was fraught with headaches:

~ the design process began with thoughts of making a holiday photo card through one of the photo websites. Damn if those babies aren't pricey! At least the decent looking ones. So after I putzed with various layouts and photos and designs for over a week, I finally realized it wasn't worth the money and I could just make a photo holiday card myself.

~ so then, I designed my own photo card and made about 15 different prototypes before I finalized the design

~ and then the real debacles began... I ran out of white cardstock (trip #1 to Michaels); the cards didn't fit in the envelopes (trip #2); the envelopes were too see-through (trip #3); the new envelopes were too shiny to write on (trip #1 to Office Max for address labels); the address labels didn't print correctly (no trips, just a lot of cursing); I ran out of stamps (trip #1 to the Post Office). I think there were other shenanigans along the way but clearly I've blocked them.

Oh, I suppose you want to see the final product?

Here's the front. One of my favorite wedding photos cuz we look so genuinely happy. I used a corner punch to make those bubble patterns and then just slide the photo into the four corners. That way if anyone wants to take the picture out and save it, they don't need to keep the whole Christmas card itself. The white paper is backed with either green or red paper to make a small border (one of the debacles along the way resulted in me needing to trim the top and bottom of the card to make it fit in the envelopes).

And here's the back. (The card is just one solid piece, not a flip open thing.) The greeting was printed on white cardstock through our printer and the red design is a stamp. That's it. After all the headaches and debacles, the cards turned out fairly simple, but I like them.

P.S. I'm starting next year's cards in January.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Debate: Top 3 Christmas Movies

Alright folks, I'm bushed. It's been a long day, and despite several cups of coffee, a Mountain Dew, and a handful of Excedrin Migraine (oh calm down, I only actually took the prescribed two pills), my headache is still raging.

So, I'm putting this post in your hands. Let's start a debate over the best holiday flicks. You only get to suggest 3 (THREE) in the comments section, and be sure to give a little bit of an argument. The more creative the better!

To get you started, I'll suggest the following:

1) It's a Wonderful Life - hello, the gold standard. If you don't well up at the end when everyone gives money to George and they're all singing Auld Lang Syne, you should see a cardiologist soon... cuz you be heartless, fool!

2) Mickey's Christmas Carol - a great version of the classic story, but possibly my favorite part are the short cartoons beforehand... Goofy learning to ski, Pluto and the Chipmunks hiding in the Christmas tree, and Donald and the three nephews having the snowball war.
3) A Very Brady Christmas - people, people - all the kids come home, Alice is in the kitchen, and Florence Henderson sings while Mike is trapped in a mine (or something). AWESOME! A dark horse nominee, yes, but a worthy contender.

So, have I ruffled any feathers by ignoring your favorite Christmas movie? Speak up people! It's time to give a shout-out to the movie that you have to watch every single December or else it's just not Christmas!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Leftovers 1, NavyGirl 0.

I gave up yesterday.

After staring at the tupperware containers in my fridge one last time, I admitted defeat.

All our Thanksgiving leftovers have finally been trashed. Nothing was growing mold on it or looking unfit for consumption, but the jig was up. The Thanksgiving leftovers won. Neither NavyGuy nor I are big fans of eating leftovers to begin with, so after too many days of trying to muster excitement for turkey, sweet potatoes, carrots, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, the end has finally come.

Do I feel guilty throwing away such large quantities of food? Of course.

Do I feel guilty enough to attempt one of the four million "Thanksgiving Leftover" recipes bouncing around the internet and November's Real Simple magazine? Nope.

But now I am kind of jonesing for some mashed potatoes...


Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekend Update

~Friday night was NavyGuy's squadron Holiday party for all of the officers and their spouses. The XO (executive officer... second highest guy in the squadron) hosted, and I was pretty nervous. I didn't want to embarrass NavyGuy or ruin his reputation right off the bat.

The night ended up being fairly tame and manageable - a buffet of tasty food and sitting around chatting with the few wives that I am starting to get to know. My only real slip up was letting it be known that NavyGuy has used my scrapbooking tools to make his flight charts... I'll definitely feel bad if his call sign ends up being "Scrappy" because of my big mouth.

~Saturday, NavyGuy and I were all kinds of holiday productive. We bought our new (fake) Christmas tree, which I then set up and decorated beeeeeautifully (pics to come). We also got some shopping done, set up the Willow Tree Nativity set (which NavyGuy thinks is creepy cuz the figurines have no faces and he's threatened to have our future children draw smiles in with sharpies...), and I finally decided on a design for our Christmas cards. They still aren't done, but at least some of the paper has been cut...

~Sunday I had to work. Blah. Then I made Chocolate Peanut Butter Wheat Thins* for a Christmas Cookie Exchange party with "the wives." Well, I remade the wheat thin cookies, cuz the first attempt was a disaster - I bought unsweetened chocolate and didn't realize until I tasted one of the finished treats. Not good. Not good at all. Luckily, the second attempt was a success, and the wives enjoyed the treats. It was nice to sit and chat with a smaller group (and eat lots of sweets), plus I came home with extra cookies for NavyGuy and several new recipes to try out before Christmas.

How was your weekend? What holiday projects did you accomplish? Any fun Christmas parties you're looking forward to? Suggestions for possible call signs for NavyGuy that would be less embarrassing than something craft-related?

*Recipe: Slather peanut butter between two wheat thin crackers. Dip in melted baker's chocolate. Refrigerate. Enjoy.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Black Friday

Have you ever worked retail on the day after Thanksgiving?

I would not recommend it.

People are crazy. Ca-raaaay-zeee.

Like these two, going to Target at 5am to buy dvds and three dollar toasters...


Teehee... I mean, what smart bargain shoppers! :) This is actually Sister and Brother-in-Law in line at MY STARBUCKS at 6:30am on Black Friday. Mom, Sis, and BIL hit the Target sales and then got in line for coffees just in time to be my customers. And, check out that awesome blackboard sign above Sister's head... uh huh... that's right - my most beautiful Starbucks sign ever.

And here I am in my green apron. Slinging syrups.


Such a proud moment.

Truthfully, the Starbucks portion of my day was kind of fun. I was working with three other great girls, and the guests were pleasant once they got to us. I mean, we were their source of food and caffeine! And we didn't have to tell them that we were out of 32 inch plasma screen televisions. So all of the customers were jolly and things went swimmingly.

Then, I had to work the sales floor. Blah. Boring. All I did was straighten shelves for three hours. Oh, and re-shelve dvds that people had intended to buy, changed their mind about, and then subtly left in the seasonal department behind a Christmas tree display. Plus I swear - every customer in the store who had an indecipherable accent decided to ask me... something... usually I couldn't figure out what they were requesting so I just said we were out of everything. Oops.

Anyway, I survived my first retail Black Friday, but let's pray to god that I'll be spending next Black Friday on the opposite side of the check-out counter :)


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving Day 2009


My modern Thanksgiving tablescape (eat your heart out Sandra Lee)


So pretty... just ignore that one mismatched plate. NavyGuy and I took one for the team and let all the guests have the good china :)

ballet ribbons

Gratuitous china shot :)

checking recipes

Consulting with MIL on the recipes.


What a good looking group! (And it only took eighteen tries to get one photo of everyone smiling...)


Some of my helpers! (Myself, Roomie A, MIL, and SIL)


Classic NavyGuy and NavyGirl Thanksgiving shot... both of us hunched over the stove, pouring our blood, sweat, and tears into making lump-free gravy.


NavyGuy carving the bird(s). Yes. Plural.


Brother-in-Law was the unofficial puppy-sitter for the weekend.


The NavyGirl family has always struggled with group photos...


This photo, while unflattering for everyone in it, probably most accurately depicts the general chaos and mayhem of Thanksgiving. It was awesome.

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