Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day 8

Today I have been instructed to tell you my least favorite thing about the holidays.

I guess there are two "least favorite things". One is that I don't have bajillions of dollars to get everybody what I really want to get them for Christmas. I think I do a pretty good job picking out gifts anyway.

The second least favorite thing about the holidays is the feeling I get near the end of every "event" on Christmas. For instance, it's very exciting to sit down and prepare to hand out gifts at my parents' house on Christmas morning. The opening of gifts is great, too, and so is breakfast and sitting down to watch a little bit of whatever DVDs we got. But then Pappaw starts to doze off (and dad, usually, too) and mom has to clean up the kitchen and Jonathan has retreated to his room to play video games, and all that's left to do is sit and wait to go over to Mammaw's house. Those moments after the excitement has passed are kind of downers. We move on to the next fun thing, and then there's another down moment. And of course the biggest down moment of all is the day after Christmas. I wish we really could do what the gang on Sesame Street says and keep Christmas with us all through the year, but life just doesn't work that way. It's a shame.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Blog Challege: Day 7

Today I'm supposed to describe crafts and DIY projects for the holidays. While some people think I'm creative, my artistic output for the holidays is pretty much limited to coloring books and arranging tissue paper in gift bags (I'm pretty good at that). I don't really have a desire to make my own Christmas cards because I don't think I'd ever make them as pretty as the ones I find at the store.

My dad, however, is pretty crafty, and he makes more stuff for the holidays than any other time of the year. He apparently used to make wreaths at a craft store or something, and sometimes he makes them now for friends and family or for the occasional craft show. The wreath we will be hanging on our door was custom made for us by dad. I said I wanted something sparkly and silver, and I got it. He also makes bows out of ribbon. He made all the pew bows for our wedding, and in the past he's made bows for decorations and tree toppers. He also likes to paint those little ceramic figurines you can get at craft stores. He painted a nativity set for my mom a little while ago.

So if you need somebody to make you a wreath or a bow, my dad is your guy. If you need some help with a coloring book, well, give me a call.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Blog Challege: Day 6

Today's theme is one that I don't particularly care for. I'm supposed to tell you, whoever you are, what I want for Christmas. Now, it's one thing if you ask "hey Jessi, what do you want for Christmas?" But to just come out and tell you (whoever you are) is just awkward. I've never been a big fan of publishing wish lists on the internet, or big lists of whatever you get for your birthday or Christmas. So today's post will be short.

One thing that I've kind of been wanting is some gift cards to go out to eat. Our anniversary is a week after Christmas, and it would be neat to go out to dinner for our anniversary someplace a little nicer than, say, Moe's. Or Taco Bell (where Brandon would want to go. )

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day 5

Today's theme is kind of a fun one!

Favorite Holiday Movie/TV Special

There are several great Christmas specials that are now out on DVD, like the classic Rudolph and Frosty specials. Another great one that I haven't seen in at least a decade is the Claymation Christmas Special. The DVD is like $20 so I haven't bought it yet, but portions of it are available on youtube, including the ice skating walruses!

There are a few movies that we always watch during the holiday season, and have for as long as I can remember. I will list them here.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Forget A Christmas Story, this is the funniest holiday movie ever. There's nothing I don't like about it. It's HILARIOUS. Chevy Chase is awesome, and there are so many crazy things happening in this movie that could happen to any of us: squirrel in the Christmas tree; terrible relative that just won't leave; old people and the weird things they say; lame Christmas bonus; getting sap from the tree on your hands and not being able to look through a magazine without accidentally ripping the pages. Oh, how I love this movie. Sometimes I watch it in the middle of the summer, just for fun.

The Santa Clause
When this first came out, I think it was kind of a big deal. Tim Allen was still super popular and the premise was fun. I think it still is. The sequels were lame, but this is a classic and we will continue to watch it every year.

A Muppet Christmas Carol
I think this is my favorite. We saw this several times in the theater when it came out (my family has a deep appreciation for the Muppets). We bought the movie as soon as it was available. I even had the sheet music from the songs for my keyboard. The movie honors the original story while bringing in the expected Muppet zaniness. The music is really great- when Brandon and I were in Disney World for our honeymoon, they were still piping holiday music throughout the parks. I was thrilled when we heard the song that the ghost of Christmas present sings: "Wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas!" Such a great movie. I actually just watched it last week. :)

Those are some of my favorites. There are others that I enjoy, like Elf, and Santa vs. the Snowmen. But I think these are my top three and they are the ones that I will continue to love and appreciate in the years to come.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day 4

Today's theme is:
Tips and Tricks for a Budget-Friendly Holiday

My middle name is "Budget". Actually it might be more accurate to say that my middle name is "poor". Haha. Being money-conscious during the holiday season is very important (because money doesn't grow on trees) but Christmas is my favorite holiday and it also involves my favorite hobby, which is buying presents for people.

For a budget-friendly holiday, I'd suggest making a list of how much you'd like to spend on each person, then trying your best to stick to it. Since I have been doing my shopping over the last several months, that's worked out pretty well. I was able to make a plan for my paychecks (since I get paid every other Friday, I know when that money will appear in my bank account) and say things like "ok, this week I will buy the presents I'm getting for my mom, then two weeks from now I'll get dad's presents" and so on and so forth. I also went through my address book early to see who we would need to send Christmas cards to, so I know how many stamps I need to get the first paycheck of December. My shopping list has morphed several times since I first wrote it down however many months ago, but the important thing is, once I purchased a certain amount for a person, I didn't keep buying for them just because I would see something they'd like. I think it's important to have a plan when shopping for anything- whether it's Christmas, wedding presents, birthdays, whatever. If you just go to the store and wander around until you see something you just have to get for that person, you'll probably end up spending too much. I'd love it if I could buy everything I thought my parents would like for Christmas, or everything that I think Brandon would enjoy, but my bank account doesn't work that way. Most people would agree with me, I think.

I have one more tip, if you can call it that. If you want to get gifts for your coworkers for the holidays, there's nothing wrong with being "budget conscious". Many people don't expect anything from their coworkers for Christmas. You can show your appreciation for them without spending a ton of money on personalized mugs filled with imported chocolates. Most grocery stores (and places like Target) have really cute cellophane bags on the shelves right after Halloween. They come in packs of a few dozen for less than two dollars. Fill them with Christmas candy when it's on sale or you have a coupon (like 2 for $5 with an extra $1 off coupon from the Sunday newspaper). I like to get those tiny ornaments made for miniature Christmas trees and loop them around the tops of the bags- one year I had snowmen, another year it was penguins. That way they have a tiny, cute gift that will last (in other words, it's not candy so they won't eat it and forget about it).

So there are my tips, as helpful as they may be.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

With a thankful heart

Happy Thanksgiving! The blog challenge is on hiatus for today, but I would like to list some things that I am thankful for, in the spirit of the holiday.

I am thankful for my husband! He makes me laugh and is generally a nice person. I like to spend time with him. He works very hard to support us and I'm thankful for that, too.

I'm thankful for my family and the fact that they almost all of them live close by so we can spend time with them during the holidays.

I'm thankful for my job and the opportunities I have at the library to brighten someone's day.

I'm thankful that I have a church home (two, if you want to get technical) and I live in a country where it's not illegal to worship Jesus.

I'm thankful for my pets- though we have a lot fewer than we'd like, they are fun to spend time with and they keep me company during the day.

I'm thankful for my friends. Life would be rather dull and yucky without them.

I'm thankful for Tasya, the child I sponsor through Compassion International! Being her sponsor has brought such positive change to my life! I'm glad I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of her and her family.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day 3

Today's theme for the blog challenge is:
The most meaningful/best gift I've received.

I'm ashamed to say that I'm having a hard time thinking of the "best" gift that I've ever received. Most Christmases the bulk of my presents end up being movies and books, which are honestly two things I love. I have been blessed with family members that are (for the most part) really good shoppers. You know those relatives you might see on movies that just go to the mall and buy something random and put it in a bag without putting any thought into it? I don't think I have relatives like that. Everyone really tries hard to get something that will mean something to the other person, whether it's something they really want, or something that just completely fits their interests that it makes a wonderful surprise.
I don't mean to sound ungrateful or anything by not being able to think of one particularly awesome gift. I think that each year, the Christmas presents I receive (and the ones I give, I hope) are really appreciated because they're very thoughtful.
The most recent example I can think of is what my aunt gave me last year for Christmas. Most people who know me know that I love animals, and my favorite animal happens to be the walrus (weird, I know). Walruses are so hard to find in merchandise (toys, Christmas ornaments, etc.) that when one is found, it's a cause for great excitement. Like when I found little poorly constructed plush walruses in the "Dollar Spot" at Target a few weeks ago. I was thrilled and quite proud of myself and bought two, one for me and one for my best friend. Anyway, my aunt knows that I love walruses so she came up with a really cool gift. She "adopted" a walrus in my name from the World Wildlife Fund. It's cool enough that a donation was made in my honor that will go to helping and protecting my favorite animal, but I also got a stuffed walrus with it. She also got Brandon and myself a zoo membership so we can go see animals in person (we love the zoo!)

So there's an example of a thoughtful, meaningful gift that made my Christmas pretty cool. I'm blessed enough to be able to say that every year my friends and family put a lot of work into making my Christmases happy. :)

Blog Challenge: Day 2

The theme for today's post is Black Friday Tips and Tricks, or something along those lines. I am not very serious about Black Friday, so I'm afraid this post is going to be a bit more boring than the others.

Black Friday usually means a day for me to get some cheap DVDs. Seriously. That's about it. Last year we bought our mattress at Big Lots for a hundred dollars cheaper than regular price, but do I need a new mattress every year? No. And I start shopping early for Christmas so it's not like I'm out there looking for gifts. That would be too stressful for me. So if there's something I really need, I'll check the ads for it. I do like going out shopping because I think it's fun, but this year I won't be going because I have to work that day. Which is fine with me because I get the whole weekend off. :)

I think my biggest shopping tip (really my only one) is for people who have money management issues, like me. Every time I save money for something, another bill comes along and takes my money away from me. I think it's a curse. So I start shopping really early. This year I technically started in July because I found something somewhere that I just couldn't pass up for Brandon. I started seriously shopping for things in September, spending about thirty dollars per paycheck. It's worked out really well. All I have left to get is two gift cards and the charity stuff I'm purchasing (like for the giving tree at church, and the senior I "adopted" from the tree at Walmart). And stamps. I need stamps, since we are sending out so many Christmas cards this year (now that we are married and need to send them to our family members in addition to friends and coworkers.)

Well, that's about it for today, I think. Sorry that wasn't more exciting, but I'm just not that stoked for Black Friday this year.

One more tip- if you live in Louisville or will be shopping here the day after Thanksgiving, we have usually found more success with businesses in the Bashford Manor area. The Walmart and Target over there were not crowded at all the last few years. Last year they were a bit more crowded but still less so than other Targets and Walmarts in the area.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day 1

So my friend Brooke posted a list of blog themes for the upcoming holiday season. Something about the 12 days of blogging of Christmas. I don't know. I messed that up. The point is, I like this kind of thing, so I'm going to post on those themes as well. Today is the first day of posting, and the theme is:

Christmas/Holiday Traditions

Since this is our first Thanksgiving and Christmas as a married couple, we have to try harder this year to go to all these different places for Christmas and Thanksgiving. I'm still not 100% sure how it will work out, but I think I'll post what I used to do for the first 22 years of my life, and how those traditions will change now that Brandon and I have to go everywhere together. :)


Normally for Thanksgiving we would only do lunch at my dad's parents' house. For the past few years, my parents have cooked something as well. One year some of mom's coworkers came over for dinner. I think we usually try to stop by and see my other set of grandparents, too. I don't know how I'm going to make Thanksgiving work, but so far we are planning to go to Mammaw's for lunch (as usual), then go by Brandon's mom's parents' house for a bit, maybe? Then off to wherever the other side of his family is gathering (I think it will be his aunt's house) for dinner. Mom is planning on making hot browns for Thanksgiving. Since there are only so many meals I can eat in a day, I think I'm going to miss out on them. Which isn't really fair because is there anything better than a hot brown? The answer is no. For the past few years I've gone out shopping with my dad on "Black Friday", but this year I'll have to work and I don't want to get up early to shop and then work. Plus I don't have any money and there's not really anything I'm dying to have that's on sale.

My family has always been big on Christmas. I think we could fill a small house with all the Christmas decorations we've had over the years. Sometimes mom has made us advent baskets, and we usually have advent calendars with candy in them. We've always listened to lots of Christmas music and have several movies we watch every year (these include: A Muppet Christmas Carol, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, The Santa Clause, and Elf.) My mom, dad, brother and I would exchange some gifts Christmas Eve (like dad's presents for mom, my presents for them, etc.) and then Christmas morning, mom's parents would come over and we'd open the "Santa" gifts. Then it would be off to lunch at Mammaw's (my paternal grandparents') for lunch of fried oysters- the only time of year we get this treat! We'd open presents there, then everyone would stop by our house to see our presents before going to my aunt's to see my cousin's presents and eat dinner there. The past few years Brandon has picked me up from there to go see his family.
I think that this year we will be spending Christmas Eve with his family (after I go to church with mine) and Christmas morning with my family. I think. Then lunch at Mammaw's, and after that either we will visit the big Jones family gathering, then Dia's house, or the other way around. So far that's the best plan I've come up with. It will be hectic, but one thing I've noticed over the past few years is that Christmas is ALWAYS hectic. You don't really notice it when you're a little kid, but the planning and preparation can be stressful, it costs too much money sometimes, and then boom, it's all over, and you're depressed that the fun is gone but a little bit relieved at the same time.

So there's my first post for the blog challenge. I'm looking forward to having things to write about for the next few days!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Starting the second week of December (I think) I will have a babysitting job! I will be watching the daughter of one of my mom's coworker every Wednesday, all day. I'm looking forward to it. We will be able to go to storytime at the library once it starts back up in January. This is pretty exciting news for me because I like babysitting, it will give me something to do, and I will be able to help pay more bills. That's the part Brandon will like the most.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I am headed back to work this morning after 2.5 weeks off. I am a little nervous about it, honestly. I think that's partly because I don't feel so well this morning. My reflux is acting up. I didn't have any problems with it for almost a week after my surgery, but now it's back and it's mean.

Also tonight I am going to meet my possible future babysitting charge, a little girl named Jordyn. She is just a few weeks old. I would be watching her for ten hours on Wednesdays. That should be fun.

That's all I have to say for now.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mind-numbingly bored.

Today is my first day by myself since I had my surgery (Friday and Saturday I was at Mom's, Sunday and Monday Brandon was here.)
I'm super bored and my side hurts.
I sliced open my finger and we don't have any decent band aids.
I am twitchy because I stopped taking my pain medication.
Whenever I think I've found something to do (watch a movie, play on the computer, etc.) I get super uncomfortable and don't want to do it any more.