Enduring All Things: 2014

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014

While 2014 is quickly coming to a close, I'd like to take a little time to reflect on the best parts of this year. I've done this the last 2 years here and here and it's always fun to look back. So lets start, shall we? These are in no particular order!
Favorite Events
  1. Spending Valentines weekend in Sugar Creek
  2. Going to Harding's Sprint Sing
  3. Celebrating our 2 Year Anniversary
  4. Buying our Nissan Rogue 
  5. Going to Orlando (Harry Potter World) with my college roommate
  6. Going to Harding's Homecoming
  7. Staying with other young married couples in a cabin in Hocking Hills
  8. Spending Thanksgiving at my grandma's
  9. Taking a 2 week road trip to see lots of family for Christmas (We're still on that trip)
Favorite Songs
  1. Try by Colbie Caillat
  2. Blank Space by Taylor Swift (if I'm being honest, I could put that whole album on here)
  3. All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
  4. Automatic by Miranda Lambert
  5. Something in the Water by Carrie Underwood
  6. All of Me by John Legend
  7. Stay with Me by Sam Smith
  8. Play it Again by Luke Bryan
  9. Girl in a Country Song by Maddie & Tae
By the way, if you use Spotify, you can see your year in music here. Just sign in to your Spotify account and it shows you all the songs, artists, genres, and play lists you listened to most and when you listened the most. It's pretty cool!

Favorite Movies
  1. The Giver
  2. Maleficent
  3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  4. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy
  6. Mockingjay
  7. Interstellar
  8. Stay With Me
  9. The Hobbit
  10. Into the Woods
Favorite Posts on My Blog
  1. How to Argue in Marriage
  2. Dear Harding
  3. Advice for College Freshmen
  4. What I do is Not my Passion
  5. How to Handle a Week from You-Know-Where
  6. All of my Wedding Wednesday posts
  7. Inspiration of the Month: Changing How Women See Themselves
  8. Tips to get your Christmas Shopping done Early and Cheap
  9. Tips to Stay Healthy and Active During Christmas Vacation
  10. DIY Santa Claus Wreath
  11. Christmas Season Date Ideas
What were some of your favorite things this year?
Thanks for reading!
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Monday, December 29, 2014

2015 Word of the Year

Last year, I chose a word of the year, Trust. I wrote a post or two or three about it, but I really didn't hold to it all year. I meant to really work on it and put updates on the blog every so often but that didn't happen. So I'd like to try again in 2015.

My 2015 word of the year will be... (drum roll please)... LEARN
I want to learn something with everything I do! I want to study everything i come into contact with. I want to learn about myself. I want to learn about my husband. I want to learn about my friends. I want to learn about everything! And most importantly, I want to learn about my God and my Savior.

We humans are constantly learning in our every day lives. Then only difference is in 2015, I am going to pay attention to what I'm learning. I will make note of it and put in an effort to learn everything I can about everything I can.

This means I'll do a lot of listening and not a lot of talking. I'll listen to what people have to say and learn what they like and don't like. I'll learn what they do and how they feel.

This means I'll do a lot of reading. I'll read scriptures. I'll read devotionals. I'll read fiction novels. I'll read blog posts. I'll read self-help books. I'll read marriage books. I'll read news articles. I'll read magazines.

This means I'll do a lot of studying. I'll study God's word. I'll study what Christianity looks like today vs. what Christianity should look like and looked like in the first century. I'll study our products at work so when someone asks me a question, I don't have to go look it up first. I'll study my relationships. I'll study my husband. I'll study his work. I'll study his likes and dislikes.

I'm very excited for this journey and cannot wait to begin!
What's your word of the year for 2015?
Thanks for reading!
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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas & a Happy New Year! 
Love, The Maugeris
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Our Christmas Decorations!

What better blog post to read on Christmas Eve Eve than a Christmas decor home tour? Am I right? I'm pretty proud of our decorations this year so I just had to show them off!
My DIY Santa Wreath. Tutorial here!
The house in a forest scene that my Nana and Pappy made. I love it!
I actually have a real (almost dead) poinsettia for my center piece this year! I also embellished with candy canes, ornaments, and vases containing Christmas foliage and tea lights 
I wrapped some pictures this year. I love how it's a simple way to make the room a little more festive.
We still have our Santa hats of all different sorts. We're up to 13 this year!
Here is the stuffed snowman my mom gave me for Christmas last year. He's made of an old quilt!
A bookshelf-turned-mantle complete with a nutcracker, battery powered lights and other fun things!
Our Tree!
Full view of the living room! Can you see a few more Santa hats? What about a fur child on the couch?
Here's where we keep our stockings... And a couple hats.
The holding mistletoe that my grandparents made.
A Santa Claus rolling pin that my grandma painted.
And last but not least, our fridge is a snowman!
Thanks for reading and I hope you are enjoying some time with family this week!
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Monday, December 22, 2014

Letters to the World {December 2014}

It's time for December's "Letters to the World" post! Do you know what that means? Christmas is only a few days away!! I am enjoying lots of time with my family, enjoying the season and I thought I'd write a few letters. Enjoy!
Dear Family,
I love you! I'm sorry I don't say that enough and I'm sorry I don't get to see you very often. But I am very glad I get to spend some time with you this week!

Dear Red Flannel Shirt,
You are awesome! I wear you all the time when I'm home (which is a lot since I work from home) and I just wish it would be acceptable to wear you all the time, everywhere I go. You are so warm yet thin and just comfy! I love you!

Dear Santa,
I really like the concept of a magical man who bring presents and Christmas cheer to all the children of the world. I've seen a lot or resistance to you this year. People are telling their children that you're not real when the children are way too young! Parent's aren't letting their kids sit on your lap because they're worried about what might happen! I say, live on, Santa! Keep doing what you're doing and making kids smile!

Dear Work,
I am so glad to have a break from you for a while. No offence, but I'm kinda not real happy with you right now. You've been giving me a headache for a while and I just needed a break. I'll see you again soon though, don't worry!

Dear TSO,
Thanks again for being so awesome for another year! You guys blow me away every year and I particularly enjoyed the new show, "The Christmas Attic" this year. Very well done and cleaver use of props and lights. I look forward to your concert all year, every year! Can't wait till next year!

Dear Husband,
Thanks for going along with my crazy idea to take 2 weeks off of work and drive all over half of the country visiting family and friends! You make the driving fun and totally worth it. Love you!

Dear Readers,
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas week! I'll excuse you for reading this because it's only Monday but I really hope that you'll be spending tons of time with people who love you for the rest of the week! Thanks for being so loyal and making the blog worth it. I love you guys!

Young Charlene at Christmastime,
Please take advantage of what's around you. Be grateful for your presents! But also, be grateful for your family and friends. Soon enough, you are going to go away to college, then get married and move far away from your family. You'll be paying bills, working a real, not-so-fun, job, and driving long distances with a sick dog to see these people. Enjoy having them all so close and soak up every moment! Don't you dare take it for granted.

Who would you write to today?
Thanks for reading!
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Best & Worst Marriage Advice I Received

Hey guys, I'm Brooklyn from A Little Too Jolley. When I got engaged, it seemed like EVERYONE had marriage advice to give me. So today I'm here to share with you the 3 best pieces of advice I received and the 3 worst pieces of advice I received.

WORST

1. Never go to sleep angry.
This might be different for everyone, but if I'm super cranky and irrational, staying up late and arguing won't change that. Once I get some good sleep I always am more rational about disagreements.

2. Put him first. 
Now don't confuse this with putting him above yourself, (see best advice I received) but who should we put first in our lives? God. And then our spouse. If you aren't taking time to talk to God and read his scriptures, how can you be the best wife possible? C.S. Lewis said, "When I have learned to love God more than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now."

3. If he loves you, he'll know exactly what you want without him telling you.
Unfortunately, men aren't mind readers. They don't always get when you say, "Doesn't pizza sound good for dinner?" that you actually mean, "If you don't pick up pizza for us tonight I'll give you the silent treatment all night." We have to TELL HIM what we want. 

Now come over HERE to see my the 3 best pieces of marriage advice I ever received. 


Brooklyn Jolley is the author of the blog A Little Too Jolley. She's a hairstylist by day and by night you can find her blogging about fashion, faith, healthy living and self love. She's a wifey to her husband of a year and a half and a mom to one puppy, two cats, & a hedgehog.


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

How to Stay Healthy During Your Christmas Vacation

Christmas is coming upon us fast! In just a couple days, Pearson and I will start our two week road trip! I am so excited to see everybody! We'll see my parents, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We'll see Pearson's parents, siblings, grandma, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We'll see my best friend from college and her husband over new years, and we'll end the trip at my other grandma's for the weekend. It's a lot of driving, but it's totally worth it! The only problem is, it's hard to stay healthy in a situation like this. You're away from home and your gym. You're spending a lot of time sitting in a car or around the house doing nothing. And you eating a lot of Mom's and Grandma's good cooking! Well here are some tips to help a little. Remember, everything counts!
  • Always eat breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You've been fasting all night and it's important to break that. And if you eat more calories in the morning, you have more time to burn them off before going to bed than say if you eat more at night.
  • No soda. This is something simple to do that can make a big difference. Drink water at every meal. I might even say don't drink anything but water. No sweet tea. No lemonade. No alcohol if you usually do drink alcohol. Seriously this really cuts down on your calories!
  • Drink lots of water. Not just at meals but try your best to continue drinking your recommended amount even though you're on vacation.
  • Only eat one plate of food at each meal. Don't go back for seconds. I know it was delicious, but trust me, one plate is all you need. And later when everybody else is in a food coma, you might still have some energy!
  • (try to) Follow the 80/20 rule. That means 80% of what you eat is healthy and 20% isn't. That means you can answer to your sweet tooth a little bit at a time so you don't break down and stuff your face with pie later after not letting yourself have any. I think I'll allow myself one sweet thing per day whether it's candy or a slice of pie or a cookie or whatever.
  • Bring your own snacks. Your family may think you're crazy, but do it anyway. When you start to get hungry, instead of eating not-so-healthy leftovers and sweets, pull out an energy bar or piece of fruit you had stowed in your suitcase!
  • Be active. Whatever you do, don't just sit around all day! Shopping, playing football in the yard, and helping clean the kitchen all count as being active. Instead of sitting around and being bored, take your dog for a walk and take some of the family with you! In the mornings before the day gets started, do a little routine of stretching and jumping jacks when to wake you up. Or do a quick Blogilates video! That's what I'll be doing.
So there you have it! I really hope these help! Please don't just give up on staying healthy over the holidays. Especially if you've been working hard the last few months. Don't let that hard work go to waste! Be the best you can be!
Do you have any tips to add to my list? I would be very grateful if you would share!
Thanks for reading!
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Our Christmas Traditions

Don't you just love holiday traditions? They are one of my favorite things about the holidays. Have you seen the ridiculous commercial where everybody has to do ridiculous stuff because "it's tradition"? So fun! Pearson and I both grew up with our own traditions and we've kept some of them, we've re-vamped some of them, and we've made some of our own. I want to share some of my favorites with you along with how they got started and why we continue to do them!
Trans-Siberian Orchestra Concert. We love TSO. We decided to go to a concert when we were engaged and seniors at Harding University and we were blown away! They seriously put on the best concert either of us have ever been to. So we decided to make it a tradition and have gone to a concert every year since. That makes four!

Driving around looking at lights. We started this one in college too. When we would come home for Christmas break, we always spent one night together driving around the high end neighborhoods in our area and looked at all the Christmas lights. We'd have Christmas music playing on the radio. We'd be drinking Starbucks. And we always had to pick out our favorite houses. We still try to do this every year.
Baking and Decorating Cookies. Pearson's family does this every year. His mom makes homemade lemon cookie dough and icing. The kids clear off the kitchen table and spend a whole afternoon cutting out, baking and decorating cookies! I don't think we are going to be there for the cookies this year so I would like to do our own this week. We'll see if it gets done.

Playing Sequence at my grandparents'. My grandparents love the game "sequence". They introduced it to all of their grandchildren years ago and now we play it almost every time the family gathers for any occasion. Pearson isn't too fond of board or card games and this game is a combination of both, but I couldn't imagine going a Christmas without playing. So he humors me. Also, we played with our friends when we stayed in a cabin earlier this year and I'm pretty sure he actually enjoyed it! I can see Sequence being a part of our Christmas for years to come.
Sleeping in the living room. Another thing Pearson's family does is on Christmas Eve Eve, all the kids sleep in the living room by the Christmas tree and fire. They can't do this on Christmas Eve because Santa won't come if they're not in their beds! This year, Pearson and I decided to sleep in the living room (on an air mattress) the first weekend we had our tree up and I loved it! I think we are going to continue this for years to come!

Breakfast on Christmas morning. Pearson's mom always made orange sweet rolls for breakfast Christmas morning and my mom usually made chocolate gravy and biscuits. Since we are usually at either of their houses on Christmas morning, we have what they fix, but when we start having Christmas at our house, I think we may alternate every year.
Christmas at Easton. Easton is a very pretty out door mall near us and they decorate really well for Christmas! They of course have Santa and they have carolers walking around. The whole atmosphere is just so Merry & Bright! We have gone and just walked around every year since we've lived here

New Years with Ashley and Taylor. After my best friend, Ashley and I both got married and moved away from each other, we decided that we wanted to see each other over the holidays but we would both be busy with our families and such. So we decided to do New Years! Last year, they came to Columbus and this year we'll be spending the New Year in Mississippi!

My family's traditions mostly revolve around things for kids so it will be interesting to see what we incorporate when we have little ones of our own.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DIY Santa Claus Wreath

The other day I saw this super cute wreath on Pinterest. When I clicked on the pin, it took me to an Etsy shop where I could buy the wreath. However, the original pinner put a URL in the description to her blog post where she explained how to make the wreath yourself. She used burlap, folding each piece and gluing them on to create the fluffy wreath. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this could be a much easier project.
I went to Hobby Lobby and found a wreath form. I took that wreath form to the dress up section and found a red feather boa! When I wrapped the boa around the wreath form, it only went about half way so I grabbed two boas. Then I went to the ribbon section and got some black tulle (but you might want to get a thicker black ribbon) and some gold sequin ribbon for the belt. Lastly, I bought some wooden letters to paint and spell out "Ho Ho Ho."
To make the wreath, first, I wrapped the boa around the wreath form using thumb tacks to keep it in place.
Next, I thumb tacked the second boa to to the wreath. When I got them where I wanted them, I hot glued them down.
Then, I took the back tulle, glued the end to one side of the wreath, covering the place where the two boas came together, and I started wrapping it around the wreath, adding more hot glue every once in a while. Because it was see-through, mesh, tulle, I had to wrap a bunch to get the dark black that I wanted for the belt. That's why I mentioned that you might want to use a thicker ribbon.
Once I had the belt, I cut and glued pieces of the gold sequin ribbon to make the buckle.
Lastly, I hot glued the "Ho Ho Ho" letters, which I had painted gold, to the wreath and hung it on my door.
I've already gotten a couple compliments from neighbors and it was so simple! I told them they could easily do it too!

What do you think? Would you try it?
Thanks for reading!
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Travel Tips

It's that time of year when everybody seems to be traveling somewhere or getting ready to travel somewhere. Well, I guess not everybody because while we will be traveling to see family, the family we're traveling to will be staying home. But you get the idea, right? Anyway, I've sure done my fair share of traveling so you could say I know a thing or two. So I thought I'd share a few of my tips just in time for you to pick up and head over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house for Christmas!
What to wear:
When you're traveling, you obviously want to be comfortable, but a lot of times when you get where you're going, you won't have time to change before starting on your vacation activities. I used to wear nothing but sweats on long car rides. I'd put my hair up in a bun and wear NO makeup. But I don't anymore. Wear your most comfortable pair of jeans. I have a pair that's sort of old and definitely comfortable, but they don't look like it's time to throw them out yet. I wear those and a cute (read: Harding University or UGA) hoodie. No you don't have to be fancy, but at least look presentable. A messy bun may still be acceptable but put a little makeup on. Maybe just some BB cream and mascara. You'll feel so much better about yourself and there won't be any regret when that unexpected person happens to be waiting for you as you pull up!

Now if you're flying, that's a little different. I always try to dress a tad nicer for the airport than I do for a road trip. But I still try to stay comfortable. Go for a maxi skirt (aka sweatpants disguised as a dress) and a basic tee. Be sure to layer with a cardigan and scarf and maybe even some leggings underneath. You know planes can be cold! Also, you'll want to wear the bulkiest boots you plan on bringing and your winter coat. This way you'll have more room in your luggage.

How to pack:
I wrote an entire post about this last year so I won't write it all again. But I will add that you should put wrapped gifts in trash bags organized by family. We have at least 4 different "Christmases" that we will be doing with different people along our trip. I will have a trash bag for each one.

What to carry on the plane:
Maybe these are a no-brainer but you have to have a book, music, and ear phones. But you should also bring socks in case your feet get cold (that is if you're not wearing warm boots), an empty water bottle to fill up once you're past security, healthy snacks so you're not tempted to buy food at the airport, and makeup essentials for touch ups after sleeping on the plane.

What to bring for the car:
For long road trips I always have to have a book or two. Pearson and I like to make mix CD's for the occasion as well. I always bring a blanket because I get so much colder than Pearson does so it's easier to keep the car on the cooler side and I'll just cover up! You can't forget snacks! Go for something healthy like nuts or trail mix because if your in the car for long hours and you want to eat just because you're bored, you'll be glad you don't have any junk food handy. And last, but not least, water. Bring lots of water! You don't want to get dehydrated. Maybe you'll have to stop for potty breaks more often but that's good! You need to get out and walk around every so often.
How to travel with a dog:
First thing's first, if you're dog gets car sick like our Pip, give him or her some Dramamine at least 30 minutes before hitting the road. We hide a single pill in a finger tip amount of cream cheese and he never knows! We use the original kind that makes you drowsy and only end up having to use one dose for a 10 hour trip (the package says it works for 4 hours) because he just sleeps the whole time. We usually put his bed in the back seat for him to sleep on in the car. And we'll collapse his crate and put it in the trunk until we get there.

We pack his food in gallon size zip-lock bags so it doesn't spill everywhere in the car. We always fill up a special water bottle just for him to use while traveling. We bring his own personal water and food bowls and when we stop for food ourselves, we try to make him eat and drink some but he usually doesn't eat very much on trips. There are way too many other exciting things going on, you know?

And that's about all I can think of to make your trip a little easier. Like, I said, I'm a very seasoned traveler via planes and cars. If you have a question, I might just be able to answer it! :)

Are you traveling a long way for the holidays? Do you have any travel tips I haven't mentioned here?
Thanks for reading!
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Friday, December 12, 2014

5 Ways Marriage Changed How I Celebrate the Holidays

I recently realized that there's something different about how I view Christmas these days. I'm actually excited for it. And I have been since August! You see, I'm usually one of those people who hates to hear Christmas music before Thanksgiving and refuses to put up any Christmas decorations until at least Black Friday. (You can read a rant I wrote about it a couple years ago here). But this year is different.

I'm hanging out on A Prioritized Marriage today! Hop on over there to continue reading this post!

--------------------------------------------------

And now I'd like to introduce to you, Brooklyn from A Little Too Jolley! (Her last name is Jolley! Isn't that cool?) I've been blog-friends with Brooklyn for a while and I just love to read her blog. She is very inspirational whether she's talking about healthy living (She's doing #6WeeksToFab!), living like a minimalist (she did a 30X30 fashion challenge!), loving yourself, or how to do Disney Land. Every time I check out her blog she makes me want to be a better version of myself! I think you'll feel the same way!
Blog // Pinterest // Instagram // Facebook // Bloglovin // Twitter
  1. What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Setting up the Christmas tree & watching Christmas movies! The Santa Clause and The Grinch are two of my faves!
  2. What is one thing on the top of your bucket list? Well of course become a mom (a few years down the road!) and also to travel to all 50 states. My husband and I always joke about retiring early, buying a nice trailer or motorhome and traveling the country.
  3. If you had a time machine, what is the first place in time you would travel to? This is tough! I would love to travel to the 50's because I loved the style back then, but I'd also love to travel to ancient Egypt. It's random but I've always found Egypt so fascinating. 
Go show Brooklyn some love and be sure to check out these great posts while you're there!

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide for Your Dad or Brother

For my last gift guide, I'm sharing some solid gift ideas for your dad or brother! Hope these help! Here are my guides for your mom or sister from yesterdayyour wife from Tuesday and for your husband from Monday.

  1. A unique tie. I know this sounds boring but get him a fun one that he wouldn't buy for himself like this "festival of trees" from The Tie Bar.
  2. Movie tickets or a theater/fandango gift card. Let him enjoy a night out on you.
  3. A nice pair of slippers
  4. His favorite kind of k-cups. My dad loves the donut shop coffee and my brother likes the occasional caramel cappuccino.
  5. Gift card to his favorite store. Instead of some restaurant he would eat at whether he had a gift card or not, think of some place where he would have to spend it on something fun for himself. Maybe somewhere like Bass Pro or REI.
So what do you think? Did you find the perfect gift on my list? What are your perfect gift ideas for you dad or brother?
Thanks for reading!
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide for Your Mom or Sister

Today I've got some wonderful gift ideas for your mom or sister! Hope these help! Here are my guides for your wife from yesterday and for your husband from Monday.
  1. Nail polish or a gift certificate to get her nails done
  2. Accessories for her electronics. Whether it's a cute cell phone case, a stylus, or a "pillow holder" (affiliate link) for her tablet, get her something you know she'll use and love!
  3. You can't go wrong with a personalized necklace. One if my friends from my youth group growing up does stamped metal jewelry and it's awesome! I've ordered a couple gifts from her in the past and she's great. Unfortunately, she's taking a break from her shop right now, but I have high hopes for when she returns.
  4. A cute purse, tote, or duffel bag (affiliate link)
  5. A refill of her favorite perfume (affiliate link)
So what do you think? Did you find the perfect gift on my list? What are your perfect gift ideas for you mom or sister?
Thanks for reading!
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide for Your Wife

For my next Holiday Gift Guide, I'm sharing ideas for your wife! You can see my ideas for husbands from yesterday here.

  1. A nice, cute journal, like this adorable Kate Spade one (affiliate link). But fill it with notes from you on random pages.
  2. Tickets to a show she's been dying to see. Some ideas could be Broadway on tour, DWTS live tour (I really want to go), or a concert of her favorite artist.
  3. A spa or mani/pedi gift certificate. Or supplies to do these things at home. Try a spa kit or basket like this Lavender Spa Gift Basket (affiliate link) from Amazon.
  4. You can never go wrong with fine jewelry. Try a heart necklace with diamonds in her favorite color from Kay's Artistry Diamonds collection.
  5. Cute or sexy PJs
So what do you think? Did you find the perfect gift on my list? What are some perfect gift ideas for your wife?
Thanks for reading!
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Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide for Your Husband

I know everybody in blog-land has done their gift guides, but I just had to put my 2 cents in. So this is the first of 4 guides coming this week. I hope this can help! Up first... gift ideas for your husband.
  1. Tickets to the Big Game.
  2. A Moleskine. But fill it with notes from you on random pages.
  3. Pick Stamper (affiliate link)so he can make guitar picks out of almost anything!
  4. Fleece Pullover in a fun color. P.S. EVERYTHING at eddiebouer.com is on sale right now.
  5. Fun boxers or PJ's
So what do you think? Did you find the perfect gift on my list? What are your perfect gift ideas for your husband?
Thanks for reading!
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Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Season Date Ideas

The Holiday Season can be so hectic and busy. I get it. I'm just as busy and stressed out as the next person. But that is NOT an excuse to neglect your husband and your relationship. I really encourage you (and I'm talking to myself here too) to make time for your marriage, especially this time of year. Slow down, relax, and do something fun with your man (or woman for those few men who read my blog). To help you out a little, I've come up with ten fun Christmas themed date ideas. Some of these are simple. Some allow you to check things off your to-do list together. And some are elaborate, all out, dates! Enjoy!
  1. Decorate the tree. We still don't have our tree decorated. Long story. But I've had plenty of time myself to do it while Pearson has been working late this week. But I haven't because I want to do it with him. It's so much more fun that way and that's some quality time to spend together.
  2. Wrap gifts. This is another thing that has to be done over the holidays. Even if Pearson doesn't really do much to help (he'll be the first to admit he's not great at it) I still like having him there with me. Sometimes we'll watch some Christmas movie or special while wrapping and before I know it, it's all done!
  3. Attend your office and/or church Christmas party. To me, these parties are usually a lot of fun but I know a lot of people don't enjoy them very much. Well, bring your spouse and make a date out of it. When it gets boring, laugh at your own inside jokes. Make fun of the speeches. Play footsie under the table. Flirt. Make it fun in ways only you and your spouse can!
  4. Drive around and look at Christmas lights. This is something Pearson and I have done every year since our dating days. I love it! We typically go to dinner first. Then we stop somewhere (Starbucks) to pick up some Christmas themed coffee or hot chocolate, crank up the Christmas music and drive around the most elaborate and rich neighborhoods in our area.
  5. TSO concert. We go to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra Concert every year. And we try to do a different venue every year. The year before we were married, we drove to Little Rock from Harding. The next year we went to Cincinnati, then Cleveland last year and TOMORROW we'll be seeing them in Dayton! And guess what! This year they're starting a new concert. It won't be the same as the last 3 years! Not that I would mind anyway. They blow me away every year. I just love this tradition!
  6. Shopping date. Shopping is another one of those things that is unavoidable this time of year but is also a lot more fun with your husband. Well, sometimes it is. Sometimes when I am shopping Pearson is bored and just stands around, but for some reason, during the holidays, he's much more into it. I don't know if it's the music, the decorations, the sales, or just the Christmas atmosphere in general, but I'm certainly not complaining.
  7. Make/decorate cookies. This is a tradition Pearson's family does every year. I admire that. His mom makes home-made dough and icing and the kids sit around the kitchen table cutting out shapes and then once they're bakes, they decorate their own. We don't always get to participate and I'm pretty sure we won't this year so I want to do our own version!
  8. Zoo lights. The Columbus Zoo (and I'm sure others do to) puts up a lot of Christmas lights and opens in the evenings this time of year. It's always fun because they do shows with the lights and you can walk around and see all the animals. I love the zoo anyway and adding Christmas lights just makes it that much better.
  9. Movies.  You know this is the time of year for great movies! So here's a no-brainer date idea! We've already seen Interstellar and Mockingjay. And we've bought tickets for The Hobbit. I also want to see Annie, Exodus, Night at the Museum, Into the Woods, and Unbroken. I doubt we'll see them all (that will get expensive). But we'll see!
  10. Game Night. Why not take an evening to relax and get away from all the hustle and bustle by playing board and card games next to the glow of the tree with Christmas music playing in the background. Doesn't that just sound heavenly?
I hope some of these ideas help to keep your relationship a priority during this season. I hope we get to do all of these this month. I think we will. 
What did I miss? What would you add to my list?
Thanks for reading!
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Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Top 10 Favorite Christmas Movies and Specials

In my opinion, one of the best things about the Christmas season is the wonderful movies and TV specials! I love a good, cheesy, touches-your-heart Christmas movie, but I also love the ridiculously funny ones and the classic children's short films! I've compiled lists of my top 10 favorite Christmas and my top 10 favorite Christmas specials because there was no way I was getting all these down to just one list of 10. And there are even some honorable mentions that I just couldn't leave off this post. So enjoy!

Movies:
Ten: A Christmas Story. Classic. As much as I hate the stupid things Ralphie does, I can't imagine going a Christmas without watching it!

Nine: Home Alone. All 4 of these movies are great! They are fun and innocent. Even though I've seen them a million times and know what will happen, I am always on the edge of my seat.

Eight: The Muppet Christmas Carol. I love "A Christmas Carol" any way, but the Muppets do such a good job. It's funny and enjoyable for the whole family!

Seven: Jack Frost (1998). I don't think this one is as well known as some of the others on this list, but for some reason, I love it! It's less of a kids movie than some of the others because it has a deep close-to-home theme going on, but there is still a bit of Christmas magic!

Six: The Santa Clause. The story is so unique and you just fall in love with it! This is one of those that I saw as a child and was happy to believe that's really what happened and that Tim Allen is now Santa Claus.

Five: Miracle on 34th Street. This movie gives me chills every time! This is another one of those feel good movies that proves Santa and Christmas are magical.

Four: It's a Wonderful Life. Oh what life lessons we could learn from this movie! Your life is important! You have touched so many people in the short time you've been on this earth! Don't ever forget that!

Three: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey 2000). When this movie first came out, I was skeptical of them ruining a story I grew up with. I love the story of the Grinch. I always have. But they didn't ruin it! They made it better! And the Jim Carrey movie is now a must-watch every Christmas!

Two: The Polar Express. Isn't this movie just the best? Again, there's a child who is not sure he believes (like Miracle on 34th Street). This makes me so sad but the movie is wonderful!

One: Elf. And of course this is my number one! Can someone tell me why this movie is so great! I am usually not a huge fan of Will Ferrell, but for some reason I love him in this movie! Or maybe it's all Zooey Deschanel's fault. Whatever the reason, this is my favorite Christmas movie ever!
    Specials:
    Ten: Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas. Who wouldn't love a Christmas special with all he Disney characters we love!

    Nine: Jack Frost (1979). One of the classic cartoons from the 70s that helps bring Christmas to life.

    Eight: Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Another classic cartoon that tells the story of the song we all know and love.

    Seven: The Little Drummer Boy. Another classic cartoon but this one talks about the story of Christmas instead of the fairy tales of Santa and his elves and reindeer.

    Six: A Claymation Christmas Celebration. My Nana recorded this from TV on a VHS a long time ago and for many years we cousins all watched it every time we'd visit her at Christmas. I still know the songs and can picture the little clay figures!

    Five: Sound of Music Live. This aired last year on NBC and I love that they are doing a musical special every year now! I'm excited for Peter Pan Live tonight!

    Four: A Charlie Brown Christmas. I could probably quote the whole thing (and imitate the dancing) but it still makes the list and I still watch it every Christmas.

    Three: Frosty the Snowman. Such a classic! I've always loved this short about a beloved snow man who COMES TO LIFE!

    Two: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964). Another classic short you can't go a Christmas without seeing!

    One: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated 1966). And last but not least, my all time favorite is The Grinch! Based on a beloved Dr. Seuss book, how could you go wrong! And I tear up every time the Grinch's heart grows, I kid you not!
      Honorable Mentions:
      Five: Christmas Vacation (National Lampoon's). I used to hate this movie. I don't do well with movies in which everything seems to go wrong. Especially if that involves gross stuff. But Pearson likes it so much that we've watched it the last couple years and it's growing on me. I just close my eyes and ears during the gross parts.

      Four: Deck the Halls. I had never seen this movie until last year at my in-laws' house. How had I gone so long without seeing a Christmas movie staring Kristen Chenoweth? I don't know!

      Three: The Nightmare before Christmas. Such a classic! It combines Christmas with my favorite holiday: Halloween!

      Two: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie (1998). Nothing beats the original Rudolph short from 1964, but this comes close.

      One: Jingle All The Way. Pearson introduced me to this one a few years ago as well. I think I saw it once before that, but it was just whatever for me. But Pearson loves it and I've come to like it too!

      What are your favorite Christmas movies? Did yours make my lists?
      Thanks for reading!
      Linking up with Chelsee from Southern Beauty Guide
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      Wednesday, December 3, 2014

      Personal Goals for December

      It's time to share my personal goals for this month. On Monday, for my relationship goals, I said I didn't want to be so hard on myself this month. The same is true in regard to personal goals. I kept a few from last month, but I trimmed them down. Wish me luck!
      Let's see how well I did last month...

      Spiritual:
      1. Go to God in prayer when I wake up and when I lie down and about everything in between. I'm gonna keep a prayer journal. Meh. I didn't keep up with a prayer journal every day, but I did pray a lot more.
      2. Spend some daily time in the Word myself as well as what I do with Pearson as I mentioned onMonday. SUCCESS! I got through a couple of the She Reads Truth studies and loved them!
      Health/Fitness:
      1. Drink 60+ ounces of water every day. SUCCESS
      2. Record everything I consume on My Fitness Pal and stay under my daily calorie goal. Mostly success. I went over a few times.
      3. Be active in some way every day incorporating both cardio and strength training (running/elliptical/biking and blogilates). Even when I'm out of town! (We're going to the mountains this weekend, then the next week I'll be in Atlanta for work, then we'll be spending Thanksgiving at my Grandma's in Arkansas). Meh. I was just so busy with EVERYTHING, especially work, that I didn't have time a lot of days. But I was conscious of what I ate and I tried to be active as much as possible.
      4. No soda! Period. Mostly Success. I slipped up a couple times.
      5. Be in bed by 10:30 every night with exceptions only for special occasions like holidays or vacation. FAIL.....
      6. Get up early enough to actually eat a decent breakfast before starting work. BIG FAIL...
        Spending/Shopping:
        1. Finish Christmas gift shopping. I want to have it all finished by Thanksgiving and we're actually almost there! SUCCESS.
        2. Don't buy another thing for myself all month. I spent way too much at Harding this weekend and I have way too much stuff anyway. SUCCESS! Black Friday doesn't count, right? And even then I only bought one t-shirt and a couple pairs of socks!
        3. Only eat out on weekends. Mostly Success. We did pretty well on this one considering how busy this month was.
          Free Time:
          1. Put technology away at night. Mostly Success.
          2. Spend less time on Netflix and more time reading. Fail. Well, I didn't spend a lot of time doing either, really.
          3. Going along with the above... Finish Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Fail. I didn't finish either of these.
            Blogging:
            1. Get most of my blogging done over the weekends or else whenever Pearson is doing homework. Meh. I did pretty well on this.
            2. Be organized with my planner and have posts planned a week out in advanced. Success. They weren't always completely ready and scheduled that far in advance, but they were always planned that far.
            3. Spend some time (like 30 minutes) right after I get off of work every day reading and commenting on other blog posts. FAIL. I am still so behind.
              Now for this month...

              Spiritual:
              1. Do the entire She Reads Truth Advent study.
              2. Write in my prayer journal every day.
              Health/Fitness:
              1. Drink 60+ ounces of water every day.
              2. Record everything I consume on My Fitness Pal and stay under my daily calorie goal.
              3. Be active as much as possible. Even if that's just going for a walk or shopping. I always want to just be lazy and stay on my couch at this time of year.
              4. No Soda! Period.
              Free Time:
              1. Spend time at least 3 days per week doing something Christmas-y. That could include something as simple as watching a Christmas movie, wrapping presents, or enjoying a hot chocolate in front of the tree.
              Blogging:
              1. Schedule all my posts during our 2 week trip ahead of time so I don't have to do ANY blogging on vacation.
              What are your personal goals this month?
              Thanks for reading!
              Mitchael Journey
              Linking up with Andrea at Mitchael Journey.
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