Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sippin' Saturday - Strawberry Arnold Palmer at Bruxie

This is one of many (non-alcoholic) drinks I had while I visited Las Vegas earlier this year. Unfortunately, it was not my favorite. It wasn't sweet, and even with added sugar, it wasn't quite enough to balance the stawberry/lemonade-tea combo.

Sorry I don't have more for you today! What was your favorite beverage the last time you visited Las Vegas?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Top 5 Books of 2016

This year I read 40 books! Here are my five favorite of the ones I've read this year (regardless of the year they were originally published).

What If by Randall Munroe
A fun and quirky book about science. This is the type of non-fiction I love. Plus, it really helped reignite my interest in science, especially physics. I read this book in a day.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
I read this series out of order, so I read this one last even though it's second in the series. I loved it. It's a super cute cliche chick lit about a quirky girl named Lola. I loved Lola's character - she had character. She was always wearing a quirky costume-type outfit (like a red plaid picnic-blanket dress and ant earrings) and she wasn't afraid of being unique. It was great to read about a non-cookie-cutter character.

Crash by Lisa McMann
I love Lisa McMann's books. They're always unexpected, a break away from the cliche. This book is about a girl who can see the vision of a crash happening in the future. No other premonitions, nothing. She's got to figure out why she's the one seeing the vision and try to figure out how to stop the crash.

Batter Up by Robyn Neely
I'm sure I mentioned it before, but I went through a "baking themed chick-lit" phase this year. This was one of my favorites. It's about a woman who can only do one magic spell - making cupcake batter spell out a man's soul mate. By coincidence, a news reporter finds out about the spell and wants to run a national article about it - possibly ruining her and her small town.

Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
This is book two in the Finishing School series. Normally I wouldn't put a sequel on this list, but this one gets it's place. The first book in this series was so-so. Not phenomenal, but enough that I wanted to read the sequel. And it was worth it! The first book is mostly world building and in this one the plot really picks up. The series is about a girl who goes to "Finishing School" (aka, spy school) on a flying dirigible in a steampunk era. It's awesome.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Seven Funny Christmas Songs

Our local Christmas music station plays the same music over and over and over. And there's really no reason to - there are a ton of Christmas songs out there. So today I have for you seven different funny Christmas songs.

Christmas Can-Can by Straight No Chaser

Who Spiked the Eggnog? by Straight No Chaser

Santa's My Boyfried from Saturday Night Live (slightly inappropriate)

12 Days of Christmas by Relient K (This one's funny just because it's unexpected)

12 Days of Christmas by Straight No Chaser

Santa Claus is Thumbing to Town by Relient K

I'm Getting Nothin' for Christmas

Do you know of any funny Christmas songs? I'd love to hear about them!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Stocking Stuffers

Every year for the past couple of years I've put together stockings for my family. Here are some stocking stuffer ideas based on what I gave out last year.

For Toddlers
* Coloring book
* Crayons/coloring utensils
* Socks
* Bath toys
* Play dough
* Sesame Street figurines
* Snack container
* Guardian angel figurine

For Someone Who Loves to Cook
* Sugar cookie mix
* Pizza cutter
* Cute cupcake liners
* Gloves
* Fun socks
* Prayer/quote card
* Nail polish
* Garden watering bulb

For a Teenager
* Fun Socks
* Cheap jewelry
* Nail polish
* Mittens
* Inspirational card
* Fun duct tape
* EOS/chapstick
* Brownie mix

For a Mom
* Mittens
* Cookie mix
* Tootsie rolles
* Watering bulb for garden
* Inspirational quote

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Nostalgia - Videos

So along with our books and decorations, we'd pull out Christmas videos too. All of these also have a special place in my heart as a part of the Christmas season.

I don't think I can express in words just how much I love this video. All it is is a sing-along tape of Christmas songs, but the animations are beautiful. We played this all the time throughout the season, even when we were making Christmas cookies. I can still picture the animation that goes with each song. (I also bought this on DVD, but it's not as good because they tried to make it fancier.)

Another fan-freaking-tastic Christmas sing-a-long tape. More songs, more animations (and some live-action stuff too).

A classic.

We got this one when I was a little older (ten or twelve), but it still gets a mention on this list. :)

A great Winnie the Pooh movie. There are a couple of stories on this tape (if I remember right), and I do know they play hockey with a cookie as a puck at one point...

I don't know how this was ever considered a children's movie. Santa is in a "snooze" the whole move because someone drugged him (I kid you not) and they have to figure out how to wake him up. I'm fairly sure voodoo is involved at some point too.

Yeah, yeah, it's Barney. It's a pretty simple movie - they try to wait up for Santa but fall asleep anyways, etc. But it's still a great one from my childhood.

There were plenty more movies we watched on TV (Charlie Brown, Rudolph, etc.), but these were the ones we owned on VHS. How about you, what are your favorite Christmas movies?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Funky Friday - Glass Christmas Ornaments

I made a couple of ornaments a while back that I would love to share with you today.

This first one I made simply by squirting red and green (in alternate stripes) down the insides of a basic glass ornament. The only trick to this one is to add enough paint that it will flow down the sides of the ornament, but not so much that it will blend with the other color. If you're patient, you can do one color, let it dry, and then do the other color.

This one is pretty basic - I used a paper shredder to shred the colors I wanted (the color of my college sorority, in this case), and then stuffed the ornament. Basic, but there's nothing wrong with that!

This one is honestly one of my favorites. I took tinsel (that came in a gift bag I had gotten, yay for reusing stuff!) and added it to the bulb. I then used a great set of 3D stickers to decorate it.

What are ways you've used those basic glass ornaments? Which one of the above is your favorite?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Reading Wednesday: Christmas Nostalgia - Books

Hello! Every year along with our Christmas decorations, we would pull out Christmas books as well. Today I'm going to share with you the ones I remember and love, if only because of the memories they bring with them.

I love love loved this book. It's a very vintage sort of book and the colors on the inside aren't vibrant, but are still beautiful.

I was a huuuuge fan of Little Critter growing up. This book was no exception. This book is actually where I first learned that you're supposed to tape your Christmas list to the end of your bed for Santa. (Is that still a thing?)

I know, I know, Sesame Street, right? But I would still love to own a copy of this book again. I don't remember too much from the book, but I do know that Grover tries to ship a snowball at some point.

This is a picture of this year's Christmas Ideal, but you get the idea. Although cheesy, we always had a set of old Christmas Ideal books (magazines?) in our collection. These are filled with poems and short stories and pictures and other such Christmas-y things.

This book is a great treasury of Christmas stories. I loved reading them, but they're also the perfect length for reading to a child as well. It includes stories like The Little Match Girl, A Christmas Carol, The Christmas Mouse, etc.

Every year on Christmas Eve, my dad would read us this story. Regardless of age, we'd all get in our pajamas and gather round to hear this story before going to bed. Half of the time he fell asleep while reading it and we had to wake him up to finish it.

An alternate version of the classic Night Before Christmas. An adorable, mousy version. :)

The version of the nativity story that we had.

What were your favorite Christmas books as a child?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sippin' Saturday - Strawberry Lemonade at Chili's

If you're going to Chili's, I'd suggest this drink for sure! Perfectly sweet, and not too lemon. A perfect mix of strawberry and lemonade. (You know how you get some strawberry lemonades where the proportions of each flavor are waaay off? This isn't one of those.)

That's all I've got for you today! Do you have a favorite beverage I should try?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tasty Tuesday - Homemade Pretzel Bites

My friend found this recipe on a website (thanks to Pinterest, of course) and we have fallen in love. They are so so so so so good. We've usually eaten all of one tray before the next one is even out of the oven.

You can find the recipe here. I highly suggest you check it out and give it a try. You won't regret it. :)

Here are pictures of us making the pretzel bites - they're nothing fantastic, because we were usually too busy eating them to stop and get a nice picture. :P

Dough is prepped

Dough is boiled

Smile for the camera!

Dough is ready to be baked. (By the way, don't use wax paper. It will stick to your pretzels and you will lose half of the deliciousness because it's stuck to paper.)

Salted and lightly buttered pretzels. Sooooo good.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sippin' Saturday - Watermelon Agua Fresca at Tune Up Cafe

Before we left Santa Fe, New Mexico, my friend and I stopped at a place called the Tune Up Cafe. The food was great, and so was my beverage - watermelon agua fresca! I'm not sure how to describe agua fresca. In general, it's lighter than juice, but stronger than fruit-infused water. Since it was watermelon flavored, this one was pretty much watermelon juice. It was soooo good and very refreshing. I'm going to have to find a recipe for this some time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Reading Wednesday - Be Still Coloring Book

As you may have noticed, adult coloring books have been a recent trend. So of course I bought a couple to try out - coloring really is relaxing. My favorite so far is "Be Still and Know that I am God Coloring Book". The cover says it is "coloring therapy with Scripture verses from Psalms".

The coloring pages are beautiful! The pages are one sided and are on pretty thick paper, so you can easily tear them out (they're preforated too!) and hang them up somewhere. They're even pretty enough to frame. The thicker pages means you can also color in marker without having to worry that it's going to bleed through to the other page.

Here are a couple of pages that I've done. I want to say the one with the bible verse is probably more indicative of the pages you see in the rest of the book, but there are some repeating pattern pages too (but not too many).

Do you have a favorite coloring book? Let me know!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Funky Friday - Diamond Flower Friendship Bracelet

I have another friendship bracelet for you! This one is much simpler than last week's.You still want to have mastered the basics before you attempt this one, but all-in-all, it's a quick make. I made the bracelet using this pattern.

 What friendship bracelet pattern do you think I should try next?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tasty Tuesday - Japanese Treats

My friend bought a bunch of those make-it-yourself Japanese candy kits. So a couple of friends and I tried them out. Here's how it went:

All of the kits (we only made a couple - they take a decent amount of time!)

Krissy with the kits

Our finished "donuts", before we added frosting and sprinkles.

After frosting and sprinkles

Our sushi "candies"

Although it was sort of fun to figure out which powder goes where and with which scoop and how much water, etc., in the end the treats were... sort of disgusting. Fun to make with friends but definitely make sure you have something to get the taste out of your mouth in the end.

Have you ever tried making these Japanese candy kits? How'd they turn out for you?
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