Deer Me

 

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On Saturday while chatting with my mom around the table we noticed a small pack of deer crossing the creek behind the house.  I ran into my office and grabbed the camera.  They were so beautiful against the frosty backdrop and so elegant while walking and crossing the ice.

We had a fantastic Christmas with tons of love, laughs and good times.  I am taking some time today to recuperate, however.  Even the best Christmases can be exhausting!  I hope these images help you unwind a bit in your mind too.

 

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xo,

Christi

  • I’m not sure that yoga class has ever felt as good as the one I took this morning!  I must have needed it!
  • I was worried that my gym membership ran out at the end of December.  I found out this morning that it ends at the end of January!  Wahoo!  I love my routine these days.
  • Let me know your favorite Christmas memory.
  • We’re in another cold snap today.  With windchill it currently feels like -20 degrees.  Its only going to get colder.  Brrr.  Time to make some soup!

 

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Walking in a Winter Wonderland

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I took the dogs for a walk the other day at a local park.  It had been foggy the night before so the overnight freezing temperatures coated everything in a beautiful frost.  I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures.

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While we walked I saw Violet itching to break out into a full sprint and play until she dropped.  She’s always been the more active pup of the two.  This year, however its been a bit different.  Denali has a confirmed tear in his ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in his back left knee.  He’s been hobbling around for a while but the vet confirmed the tear last week.  He will need surgery and 12 weeks of recovery to get back to a working knee.

As we walked at the park that day I saw him happy but working hard for each stride and step.  I could see Violet’s excitement to play with her brother and run and eat snow…but Denali couldn’t keep up.  He knew he was limited and needed to take it easy.

It made me think about how many times I’ve been with others who wanted to run ahead and put in a full force effort and I just wasn’t able to.  I flashed back to being with Chris in Alaska and trying to climb a trail and having a very hard time.  You know what though?  He waited.  Every.  Time.  He took care of me.  He asked if I needed breaks.  Although I encouraged him to go ahead without me he said no.  He told me he’d rather wait with me than be hiking up without me.

For some reason that day Violet seemed to finally understand that Denali couldn’t run and play with her.  So, she walked with him.  Sure she’d run ahead just a bit but she always came back to check on him.

In this season of holidays I find myself ever more thankful for all of those who stand by my side and support me when I can’t keep up or when I’m down on my luck.  Without them stopping to take breaks and take care of me I’d be a lot worse off.  I know I’m lucky and blessed.  I want you to know I’m also so incredibly thankful.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

xo,

Christi

  • There’s a killer storm trying to roll in.  The wind is just blowing like crazy out there.
  • I’m preparing to host for Christmas.  My favorite part is preparing to host for my furry guests too.  🙂
  • I think it’s time for something warm to drink.  That wind is making me feel cold even though I’m inside!
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O Christmas Tree

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Through the moves over the years, the apartment living and being single neither Chris or I had a very nice Christmas tree option.  Since we moved into the new house at the beginning of December we thought it would be nice to buy a new tree for the new house and start our own holiday traditions.  To that end, one cold dark Black Friday morning my sister and I headed to Home Depot to purchase new trees.  Our mom had seen the special on this Martha Stewart Living Tree and that it would be more than $100 off!  Since every little bit helps when you’re moving into a new home we agreed this would be the perfect tree for our new place.  My sister needed a new tree too and ended up getting the same one!  I love that.

There were several attractive features about the tree right away.  First, it comes in 3 sections.  No color-coded branches to align; no cords to plug in.  You literally stack the parts together in order, fluff the branches and plug it in.  Nice, right?!

The second cool and completely unnecessary feature was that the lights are remote controlled.  I have a few tree sensors that can time the lights to come on or help turn them on quickly but we get quite a kick out of having a remote controlled tree.

Thirdly, the lights are LED and come in white or multi-colored.  The tree itself has 3 settings:  alternating white & multicolored with flashing, all white or all multi-colored.  We have tried all three options.  I’m beginning to prefer the white lights during the day and the multicolored at night.  As you can see from the pictures the multicolored lights add so much saturated color to the room at night.  There’s even a Northern Lights affect on the ceiling!

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I slowed my shutter speed on my camera, turned the tree on the white & multicolored flashing setting and captured what the tree would look like if you could turn both the white and multicolored on at the same time.

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At the end of the day we are in love with the new tree.  We can’t wait to have our families over on Christmas to enjoy it with us.

I thought it would be fun to include a few of our favorite Christmas tree ornaments in this post as well.  We have more, of course, but these are just a few that we love.

 

 

 

 

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We took a vacation to Maui in October 2013.  Last Christmas we bought this ornament to remember that trip.

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Chris and I love going to concerts and were able to attend several in 2013.  He also plays the drums so we thought this would be fitting to remember both of those fun life events.

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When Chris returned to our hometown his mom purchased this ornament for him and his little apartment tree.

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When we first started dating he fell in love with my Keurig.  (You thought I was going to stay me, didn’t you?!?) 😉  One of our favorite things to do is have morning coffee and start the day together.  Since we were long distance I bought him a Keurig machine for his apartment and at the end of the year we both ended up buying this same ornament for each other.  Yes, we have two of them.  His and Hers Keurigs.   I think its adorable.

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This is one of Chris’ favorite ornaments and reminds him of some times he’s spent in Vegas.

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My wonderful friend Judy gave me this White House Historical Society ornament one year for Christmas.  It is such an intricate piece.  I love the history it represents.  I would like to start collecting these and have a tree full of them each year.  The create a new ornament every year and only so many are made.  Now that I think about it…maybe I shouldn’t advertise this and encourage other’s to buy a limited amount of what I want too!  Haha.

xo,

Christi

  • I can clearly see the Rocky Mountains from my office window today.  I LOVE THIS VIEW!
  • I am going shopping with my mom tonight for one last Christmas present and then I’ll be ready!  🙂
  • Christmas cards are starting to roll in. I love seeing friends and family’s special moments throughout the year!

 

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Mr. & Mrs. Ninja Decorate for Christmas

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Yesterday I put together our Ninjabread House.  Yes…Ninja…Bread.  As those who know me know, I’m a bit quirky and I love a spin on just about anything if it makes me giggle.  A few years ago I purchased Ninja cookie cutters from Think Geek to make this lovely type of creation each year.  I imagined it being more fun to decorate and plan a house around a ninja family.  And low and behold, it was!

I’ve been more sore these last few weeks and I’ve been waking up with some numbness in my hands.  I am certain I can attribute it to all of the extra activities we’ve been doing this month (moving, making treats, decorating, wrapping presents, etc.) but I was worried about my ability to decorate our Ninjabread House and still make it look nice.  I mention all of this to encourage you to not stop doing the things you love to do around the holiday season.  It is important for people with a chronic illness to prioritize their activities and make sure that you don’t overdo anything.  Also, there are usually ways to tweak your favorite activities so they’ll be more comfortable and enjoyable for you.  I’ll give you a few examples as we build this house.

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The first thing you will need to build a Ninjabread House is a house and some ninjas.  I found a kit at a local craft store after Christmas last year with a pre-assembled house.  It came without the door and window frosted (I forgot to take a picture before I drew those on) and on it’s own little cardboard platform.  Buying the house pre-built took away several steps of frosting and holding until the structure was secure and thus, saved some wear on my hands for this project.

Chris suggested I place the platform & house on top of our white cutting mat so I could build a larger yard.  These are the times I know he’s a keeper.  😉

Also, The previous Saturday I baked holiday treats to make trays for family and friends.  One of the things I made were these ninjabread men.  I saved 4-5 for myself since I knew I was going to be building this masterpiece.

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The larger bag in this picture with the white icing was included in the kit.  The other icing bag is mine and filled with black icing and a small tip for decorating.  While decorating I found the white icing to be very tough for my weakened hands to push out of the bag and frost with any kind of control.  Again, in his brilliance, Chris recommended I microwave the bag to soften the icing.  It worked like a charm!  Just remember to microwave the icing for 10 seconds or less at a time.  It heats up very quickly.  You’ll see in later pictures where the icing was a bit too soft to achieve very straight lines.

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I knew I would also need black icing for the ninja’s and some additional candies as well.  The gumdrops, round red & white striped balls, little tiny green & red balls as well as the green & red peppermints came with the kit.  I had the ribbon candy, red hots and sprinkles in my pantry already.  I knew I wanted to incorporate black licorice somehow and I also thought that Junior Mints could function well for something on a ninjabread house.

 

 

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I wondered what kind of shenanigans ninja kids might get into at home that would be different than non-ninja children.  I finally decided that they probably go through a lot of windows while the entire family practices their kicking skills.  So, I made sure that their front and back windows looked broken.  I don’t claim to be an artist of any kind so you might have to stretch your imagination with me but that is what the dark black jaded portions of window are supposed to be.

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I decided to outline major junctions of the house with the black licorice.  I love how the roof line turned out with my icing squiggly under it.

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I thought about making an elaborate yard complete with a ribbon candy fence (also Chris’ idea) but to be honest I was selfish.  I want all of the ribbon candy to myself.  I think it’s my favorite holiday candy.  So, instead I put a squiggly frame around the cardboard base of the house and made pretend (as I often do in my own mind) that the cutting board was just a lawn covered in snow.

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Since I had the Junior Mints I decided to use them to make a cobblestone walkway to the front door.  I figured a ninja family would like something nice leading them home after a hard day’s work of kicking butt and taking names.

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To add more detail I added a peppermint candy to the front and back roofline peak and red hot candies around the base of the house.  I didn’t intend to make the house white, black and red primarily but this is where the color design started to take shape.

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This is the picture I mentioned a few paragraphs above.  My icing was too soft for me to draw straight lines on the roofline.  I didn’t want to re-do it so I just left it as “personal flair”.  Haha.  I love gingerbread houses that have a cushion effect on the roof and that was what I tried to recreate here.

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After the lines were drawn on I used my black icing to place a small dot in each diamond-shaped void and placed red small candy on each one.  I really like the roof and I think it adds something special to the entire house.  Ninjas like to decorate for Christmas too!

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I started thinking that I needed a tree or lawn decoration for the front yard so I decided to make some lawn art with the candy cane balls that came with the kit.  I like the way they turned out.  Next year, however, I think I’ll try to come up with a better idea for a tree or something similar for the front yard.

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I decided to pose my ninja family as if they were taking a Christmas card picture in front of their house.  (I also obviously understand that they’re not exactly to scale.)  To help prop the ninja kids up in the front yard I used a chunk of my beloved ribbon candy as a stand behind their bodies.  I sunk both the ribbon candy and ninja kid into a glob of white icing to help hold them both in place.  This might be my most genius moment of this entire project….pat … pat… Excuse me while I pat myself on the back a bit more.

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I ended up painting more clothes on Mrs. Ninjabread in an attempt to make her look more like a lady.  Although, to help continue concealing her identity I had to leave her mask on.  I used the house as a base to prop Mr. & Mrs. Ninja upright.

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I hope you enjoyed my 2014 version of a Ninjabread House.  I had a lot of fun with this project.  I truly believe a few simple “cheats” make a project like this so much more enjoyable when you’re hands or body is hurting.  The only part I had trouble with was placing the little red balls on the roof.  Those little suckers are tiny and hard to hold on to.  Microwaving the icing and using larger candies helped relieve my hands of additional stress.

Let me know if you try one of your own!  I’d love to see your creative versions!

xoxo,

Christi

  • I’m going to finish this post and head to the gym.  I love getting back into a routine with working out.  It helps my mind and body feel so much better each day.
  • My office in the new house truly has the best view.  I keep waking up excited to work, blog and read in there because I’m loving the space so much!
  • I changed my nail polish last night to OPI’s Crimson Carol.  This is my absolute favorite color for the Christmas season!
  • I’m going to submit this post to the online Pretty Preppy Party Blog share.  It’s worth checking out!  There are some amazingly gorgeous designs from fabulous women.
    11 Magnolia Lane
  • Be sure to check out some of the contributors for this month’s Pretty Preppy Party collaboration.
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Christmas Movie Season

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Every year starting after Thanksgiving I watch some of my favorite Christmas movies.  There are new and exciting films coming out each year so my list just keeps growing.  Since I don’t have cable service I often rely on my Netflix account for television entertainment.  This year I am very disappointed in the selection of holiday movies available on Netflix.  Luckily, I own many of the movies I like to watch.  My friends or family own a few that they let me borrow or come over and watch, plus I am adding some more to my wish-list.

Movies I Own

  • Stepmom
  • The Santa Clause
  • The Holiday
  • Four Christmases – Electronic version via iTunes
  • Elf
  • Just Friends
  • If You Believe
  • Christmas Story
  • White Christmas
  • Christmas With The Kranks
  • Charlie Brown Christmas – Electronic version via iTunes

Movies I Don’t Currently Own

  • Love Actually – Currently on Netflix
  • Family Stone – Added to my wish-list
  • California Raisins Claymation Christmas Special – My mom has this on recorded VHS from my childhood
  • Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer – We bought a set of these specials this year
  • Frosty the Snowman – Included in the set we purchased with Rudolf
  • It’s a Wonderful Life – Added to my wish-list
  • Home Alone 1 – Added to my wish-list
  • Bad Santa – (don’t judge…haha); Currently on Netflix

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There are so many more out there and I’m certain I’m forgetting to name some of my favorites too.  What is your favorite Christmas movie/special to watch?

xo,

Christi

  • My mom and I are finishing a book club at our county public library tonight.  I think the idea of a book club run by the library is a great idea, however I wasn’t thrilled with all of the book selections.  We’re thinking of starting our own.
  • I’ve been out of Scentsy back-up light bulbs for over a year now.  Chris’ co-worker’s wife hooked me up at their Christmas party the other night.  Yippee!
  • It’s a frosty morning outside my window today.  All of the branches are frosted over.  Yes, of course I snagged some photos!
  • Christmas is only 8 days away!
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Home Sweet Home

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Hello again!  My apologies for being gone for several weeks.  I am finally settled into our new home, decorated for Christmas and ready to get back to full-time work.  In the meantime I thought I’d share with you some quick snapshots of the house decor at this point.  I’ll get more posts up now through the end of the year and continue to show more and more of the house.

The picture above is of the decorations on my dinning room table.  For some reason every single berry ornament/decor I have for Christmas has been sheered off during their storage this past year.  I suspect its due to a severely disgusting infestation of mice at my last rental house.  All I’ll say is I’m so incredibly thankful I moved!
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I like to recycle my 3-wick Bath & Body Works candle containers and use them for cactus or succulent planters.  It’s a quick and easy way to up-cycle while adding some greenery to your space.  This view is looking out onto the creek from our kitchen window.

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This adorable tree is still holding its berries which provides a beautiful contrast during the snow.  This view is looking down on the tree from our upper balcony.
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I love how this palm plant that we graciously accepted from Chris’ grandma’s funeral plays into the wood blinds and Christmas greenery that we used on top of the curtain rods.  We haven’t decided on decor for each room as of this post so we chose to not put up many curtains or wall decor until after the holidays.

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My moment of panic during the unpacking process came when I could not find my beloved Crosley Record Player that Chris gave me for my birthday this year.  I finally remembered our decision I discussed above to not put up regular decor in the living room until after Christmas was taken down.  This gem was at the bottom of the living room decor box I stored away.  I was so incredibly relieved to find it and get it set up.  Having several Christmas albums has made this season even more special.  (Please excuse my Wii cords in the background.)

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And finally for today I’ll share with you the first glance out my office/craft room window upstairs.  It snowed a little last night and re-froze the creek behind the house.  Our property looks over the creek and the empty un-developed land between our Recreation Center and the college in our town.  With the two complexes owning the land behind us the chance of anyone developing immediately behind our house is very remote.  For now we are enjoying the different view on town and watching the deer and antelope walk along the creekside.

Stay tuned for more posts coming soon.  Thank you for your patience during the move!

xoxo,

Christi

  • If you haven’t heard of it already be sure to check out Darling Magazine.  It is my new obsession and is completely ad-free.
  • My mom gave me the Starbucks advent calendar this year for our annual Thanksgiving/Trim The Tree present.  I love this magnetic set.  I can refill it each year!
  • The puppies are LOVING the new house.  They had the usual amount of anxiety about the move but they are enjoying the larger space and view from the back yard.
  • 9 more days until Christmas!  I love this season so much but I’m always sad to see the countdown get smaller.
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Vinyl Obsessed

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My vinyl obsession continues.  Yes those are Christmas albums you see here.  What?!  I am preparing for the holidays.  🙂

Truly, though…my grandparents called me one summer evening this year and asked if I would like a box of older vinyl records from my great aunt’s house.  I immediately said yes without knowing what was included in the inventory.  My parents then brought them back  after a trip to see Grandma & Grandpa.  When I picked them up I was so excited to go through and see what treasures had just been gifted to me.  Among the many I found around 8-9 Christmas albums and a Soundtrack of Oklahoma!

So, you see, I’ve been waiting all summer and fall to play these Christmas records to see if they’re any good or if I need to get rid of them or turn them into crafts.  So far they have all been amazing!  It’s like listening to your favorite Christmas song on an old victrola.  Somehow I’m transported back to being 10 years old and listening to Christmas music in my pi’s and socks.

I had purchased a few inexpensive Christmas albums also from my local Hasting’s store.  They carry drawers and drawers of used vinyl records.  You have to spend some time but you’ll find some treasures buried among the crud.

I don’t yet know which one my favorite is but I’m hoping by the end of the Christmas season to know for certain.  I guess I’ll have to keep playing them until I have a definitive winner.

Here are a few of my favorite album covers:

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I love this one that looks like a cross stitch piece.  How telling of the time to make it look like a popular crafting technique.

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I also really like this one with the reindeer.  Anyone who knows me well might guess that I like it because of the stars that are incorporated into the design.  They may be right.  I think I also just like reindeer at Christmastime.

In addition to the holiday music I’ve been listening to I finally got a chance to listen to two very special records that I found a few months ago at an antique store close to my hometown.  My mom, sis and I went for the day to a neighboring town to visit a few of our favorite shops.  When I came across these fun albums my mind immediately entered a daydream of sitting in front of the record player with my future kids while they listened intently to the story being told.  (Have I mentioned I’m a bit of a daydreamer?)

Drumroll please….I bought The Swiss Family Robinson and Peter Pan albums that day.  They both had the vinyl included.  Each of them have a story book within them, however both are missing pages.  I was hopeful the record would make up the deficit and I wasn’t disappointed!

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By the time I finished listening to both of these records I was transported back to being a kid again.  It must be something about this time of year that does that to me.  🙂

xoxo,

Christi

  • Tonight my Dad is taking me to see the comedian Paula Poundstone.  I’m very excited!  I listen to her often on my favorite radio show, “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”.
  • I’m trying out a new purple lipstick.  I’m loving it worn a bit sheered out.  It is a Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Shameless.
  • It’s been in the negative temperatures here for many days in a row.  I finally broke the pups out of this house and let them run around at the park.  They loved it!
  • Our engagement picture session is tomorrow!!  I can’t wait to start this process with my main squeeze.  So in love…
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