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Christmas Break

December 26th, 2018 Comments off

Friday (12/21) was the first official day of my Christmas vacation, but before I could consider myself truly off work, I had my company’s Christmas luncheon to attend. It was at the local steakhouse they’ve been holding it for years and I sat next to the company owner’s wife whom I really like. The VP of the company, the sales manager, the owner, my boss, and the other girl on our team were also at my table.

They decided to forgo the grab bag this year and instead sold raffle tickets. The winner got half the pot with the other half going toward the charity of their choice. Guess who won? The VP! He got teased a lot because I guess he wins stuff often. He also seemed embarrassed to have won and assured us his winnings would go toward some nice lunches for us in the office. HR told me he didn’t want the money – he just wanted to participate to be a good sport. I think that’s great, but in that case I think it would have been better if he hadn’t put his name on the raffle tickets. It’s just not a good look when a higher up wins something – one of the workers could use that money more (and more than a free lunch or two since I believe it was over $100).

I ended up with an overcooked steak because I forgot to specify how I wanted it cooked and the waitress didn’t prompt me, so that part kinda sucked, but it still tasted good, if a little dry. I decided to try and Peachtini and woo boy, did that go straight to my head! Half a glass and I had to stop, eat a roll, and drink some water. It was super strong and I hadn’t eaten at all that day so I only ended up having a single drink instead of two. By the time I was ready for the second one the party was wrapping up.

I almost forgot – every year they give out chocolate bars to everyone (Wonka bars they’re called, which are really Hershey bars (or in past years, Russell Stover) with an additional wrap over the original wrapping) and in three bars is a golden ticket that gives the winner an extra day off with pay. This year I won one! First time in the past five years. I am sure some people weren’t thrilled since I’m part time and only work three days a week as it is, lol.

Edited to add: My boss gave us $25 gift cards to Amazon, but they were late being delivered so we didn’t get them until we returned to the office after the holiday.

I can’t even remember at this point what we did on Saturday or Sunday so it must have not been terribly exciting.

Monday (12/24) (Christmas Eve) I did some cleaning and prepared some cheesy grits casserole and cranberry sauce to take to my parents’ house. We arrived there just around 6 pm and stayed until 10 pm. Despite that, we never got around to playing any games. We did Secret Santa and apparently by triple wrapping one of J’s gifts I had him convinced the present was from B, despite the fact that it was a bag of peanut snacks from Trader Joe’s that he had snacked on when he was visiting me here in November. He even told me he’d like some for Christmas!

B’s girlfriend pulled my name and she gave me a candle trimmer, lemongrass essential oil, and the game 5 Second Rule – all of which was on my list of ideas. I felt bad all Joe got her was a Dollar Tree gift card but B only wrote gift cards on her list of ideas (she wasn’t present when we pulled names). My dad (really my mom) got Joe a gift card for Binny’s and a bunch of sprinkles to be funny because Joe loves ice cream with sprinkles. Too bad we have so many unused sprinkles already at home! I seriously don’t know what to do with them all since when he eats ice cream at home he doesn’t use sprinkles. He only gets them from Culvers or an ice cream shop.

Tuesday (12/25) (Christmas) we went to an early morning matinee of Holmes & Watson which, unfortunately, was not good. It tried to be funny but really wasn’t. That’s the second time we’ve seen a Will Ferrell movie on Christmas Day – the first being Anchorman 2 in 2013 – that has sucked. I really thought since he and John C Reilly were so good together in Talladega Nights and Step Brothers that this movie would be hilarious as well but it was a huge disappointment.

After the movie we had Wookie open her presents and we exchanged stocking stuffers. I got some candy, salt and vinegar chips, makeup/hair stuff, a clip for my purse, microfiber cleaning cloths for my electronic devices, and these awesome crystal nail files.

I felt bad I only got Joe a few things when he got me a lot of little stuff, although I think he got more for me because I didn’t end up getting my iPhone as originally planned whereas he got the new laptop. I got him a box of Pot of Gold, a package of beef jerky, and a portable battery to charge his phone and tablet when he’s traveling.

We ate leftovers from my parents’ for lunch and made a steak to share for dinner. We just mostly hung around the house being lazy inbetween meals. I got my DS out and charged it and played Dr. Mario and Planet Puzzle League. Ever since I saw that you can download Dr. Mario to play on the new Nintendo Switch I’ve been wanting to play it again. I wish Dr. Mario was available in the app store. Why Nintendo isn’t interested in that market is beyond me; they could make a lot of money!

Earlier today (12/26) we ran to a few stores to see what was available on clearance. I wanted to get a candle holder from Bath & Body Works but they were all sold out and there was a crazy long line so we left. I did get this cute Christmas dress for Wookie at Petco, though. Gotta love 75% off after Christmas discounts!

As long as I refer to it as her jacket, she doesn’t want to tear me from limb to limb when I put it on or take it off.

After our little shopping trip I made a peanut butter cup pie while Joe re-caulked the master bathroom tub. He also re-caulked the kitchen sink which looks nice.

I’ve got work tomorrow, but then I’ll be off again until next Wednesday. We have the kids coming over for Christmas on Friday so we’re looking forward to that.

Categories: Family, Food, Holidays Tags:

Thanksgiving Weekend

November 26th, 2018 Comments off

It all started with a sore throat on Saturday (11/17) evening and it escalated from there. By the time Thanksgiving (11/22) rolled around I woke up feeling pretty bad, and to ensure I didn’t pass my sickness along to my family, Joe made the sides we brought with us to dinner – cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and sweet potato casserole. I finally gave in and tried a netipot which actually helped a lot, even IF I did have a minor meltdown thinking maybe something was growing in the distilled water jug which had been open for a few months. And the kicker? The following day I discovered an unopened jug in the pantry! Ugh!

Anyway, we had the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on in the background while we perused sale ads. They really do tempt you to buy stuff you don’t need. That being said, we’re considering getting a soundbar for the TV and getting rid of the 7-piece system we have now that we rarely use. Most likely we’ll make that purchase at Costco so we can easily return it if we change our minds. After the parade we watched the National Dog Show before getting ready to head to my parents’ house.

We arrived just before 5 but B didn’t get there until 6:15 well after we had eaten dinner and dessert. R didn’t accompany him, though. My mom decided that this year for Christmas we’ll be doing a Secret Santa exchange so we drew names for that. I got J and Joe got R… and I think R got me but I’m not positive. Either way it should be interesting.

We played a game of Aggravation before taking off just after 9 pm. Despite getting home at a reasonable time I didn’t get to sleep until nearly 1 am and then couldn’t sleep past 5:30 am. The joys of being sick! I did feel much better compared to the day before, at least. I had finished all the day and night medicine on Thursday and decided not to buy any more unless absolutely necessary.

Friday (11/23) I made a candied apple pie cheesecake, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (Betty Crocker which were not nearly as good as my homemade ones), and we also had a pumpkin pie we got from Target. We brought it to my parents but only B took a piece.

Right before putting the turkey in the oven, we ran to Walgreens for some 2-liters of soda and I found a cute silver bottle brush tree and a pack of three pair of fuzzy socks (which are turning out to be awesome) while Joe got some beer at a great deal. My items rang up 30% off thanks to a coupon in the Walgreens app which was nice. I have a whole silver theme I’m planning for the decor this year which includes trees and a really cute reindeer I found at Home Goods recently. I think we’ll be decorating the house for Christmas NEXT weekend, however.

The kids arrived just after 5 pm. E brought his girlfriend but K didn’t bring her boyfriend because he’s sick. We had turkey, gravy, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, corn, mashed potatoes (which E devoured like usual), crescent rolls, and cranberry sauce. I didn’t really care for my cheesecake (and none of the kids wanted to try it), so I won’t be making that again. E did have some of the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies even though they were inferior to mine. Hopefully I won’t be too sick on Christmas to make those since they are a big hit. I’ll probably make the chocolate peanut butter pie I made for Joe’s birthday as well. And I need to make macaroni and cheese since E was disappointed it was missing. We played Aggravation and Uno Attack before everyone took off around 9:30 pm.

Saturday (11/24) was a lazy day, for me anyway. Still wasn’t feeling 100%. Joe swapped my car’s floormats, removed the pathway lights for the season, covered the A/C unit outside, and put up the Christmas lights. We ran to Aldi for some bread (gotta make turkey sandwiches with the leftovers) and to Costco in the late afternoon to get gas for my car and pick up allergy meds (an entire year’s worth of generic Zyrtec for $14? Yes please!). We also wanted a rotisserie chicken but they were completely out! I grabbed a set of three silicone baking mats for $13 that I had been eyeing for awhile, though.

I like that there’s markings for baking cookies and the small one fits in the toaster oven since we use that to bake salmon twice a month.

I also got a set of aluminum baking sheets with an oven-safe baking and cooling grid for $20. I think it would be great for making bacon without it sitting in it’s own grease. It would probably be great for baking chicken too after seeing it done that way on FlavCity, my latest obsession.

We looked at their soundbars but can’t seem to pull the trigger. We don’t want to pay too much since we don’t really need one, plus I’d like to stick with Samsung since it would work best with our TV, also a Samsung, but their bar is rather ugly with a hard plastic exterior. On top of that, it has a little display screen in the middle which I think looks stupid. So for now we’re going to wait until we see something we really like.

Saturday night after watching Incredibles 2 (1st viewing for Joe and 2nd viewing for myself, which I enjoyed even more), I decided on a whim to check out the Netflix mini-series, The Haunting of Hill House. Oh… my… god… was it good! So good, in fact, I was cursing the fact that we started it at 9 pm because I didn’t want to turn it off to go to sleep. I managed to grow some semblance of will power and turned it off after episode 3. We picked it up on Sunday afternoon and finished the entire series that day. I wasn’t entirely pleased with how they chose to end it, but overall it was one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time and I highly recommend it even if you’re not into horror (which I am not).

The only other thing we really did on Sunday (11/25) was go shopping in the morning at Walmart. I found a pair of soft fleece Christmas leggings to add to my collection (it has penguins on them and who can pass that up) which brings me to three pair for the holiday season. I also discovered they are selling fur-lined leggings in black but they didn’t have my size so I’m going to have to check again next weekend.

Haven’t done much today (11/26) other than my usual upstairs cleaning. I glanced at the Cyber Monday deals but nothing really moves me. We’re considering getting a cheap Chromebook, but we’re not even sure about that. Joe would like a new laptop so he can start playing Warcraft again but would need to spend at least $800 for a decent machine which he doesn’t want to do. Which is funny, when you think about it, because we can totally afford it. I don’t know what happened, but I feel like the more money we have the less we want to spend it, at least when it comes to stuff we want but don’t need. I’ve been hanging onto my iPhone 6 going on four years now even though I could easily buy the biggest most expensive new phone Apple has to offer. But I just don’t want to, at least not yet. Next year, definitely, because at some point the phone just won’t work well.

I did, however, buy this Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet Cleaner on Thanksgiving from Amazon since it was on sale for $60 (list price is typically $90).

Wookie keeps vomiting on the rug which I always spot clean as best as I can but I need something that can really wash it thoroughly. It was delivered yesterday so I’m going to try it out today. Cross your fingers it gets the color of the carpet back to normal!

Categories: Family, Holidays, Shopping Tags:

Brother J Visits

November 12th, 2018 Comments off

Joe was in Denver for work from Tuesday until Saturday night. I took Thursday (11/08) off from work and drove to B’s house to pick up J to come stay with me for a few days. We hung out for a bit at the house before partying ways – B to a doctor’s appointment and us to get lunch at Denny’s. I normally hate that restaurant but the one in question is actually pretty good and the only location at which I’ll eat. In any case, I had the Cali Club which was really good. J got chicken fingers and a bowl of cream of potato soup. I let him have the fries that came with my sandwich since his meal didn’t come with any.

On the way home I misinterpreted the GPS and got off I-88 at what I thought was the exit to 355 but wasn’t. I didn’t want to pay an extra toll so we took the scenic way home. Even though I knew we were heading the correct direction I still felt lost because we ended up on roads I have never driven on. We finally came across familiar territory, however, and made our way back home. Since it was relatively warm (42) we decided to take Wookie to the dog park before it got dark (sunset is now around 4:30 and I hate it so much). She was in rare form – jumping through the agility hoop with minimal prompting, and just running around having a good time. She had the park to herself the entire time and was loving it. She loves playing with her Uncle J so much, it’s cute.

We had tacos for dinner Thursday and watched Incredibles 2. I wasn’t really getting into it until the Jack Jack scenes. I think without him the movie would have been weak.

Friday (11/09) we hooked up J’s Super Nintendo and played some old games including F-Zero which was one of my favorites back in the mid 90’s. We couldn’t play any of the games that required pressing the start button first… that is until I cleaned the dirty controllers and managed to get one start button working again. Interestingly enough, the battle scene wouldn’t render correctly on Bomberman 2 so we couldn’t play that.

That afternoon we went to Target and then to Red Robin in the mall for linner. Our waitress was the woman Joe and I always ask for but never seems to be there – Angela. Love her! Joe teases me that I have a crush on her. He’s not wrong lol. I tried the MadLove Burger – ½-lb. Black Angus patty, a Cheddar-and-Parmesan crisp, Provolone, Swiss, jalapeño relish, candied bacon, avocado, citrus-marinated tomatoes and red onions with shredded romaine on a toasted brioche bun. ($14.49). It was pretty good but not something I’d want too frequently. I also finally got around to buying a bottle of their seasoning salt ($3) like I’ve been wanting for awhile. I used egift certificates from my Discover card to pay which was awesome. Our cash back balance was over $200 so I spent $40 of that for $50. They recently changed it where instead of using $45 to get $50 you use $20 to get $25 which is a better deal so I just got two to cover our bill and have money left over.

After stuffing ourselves silly we went to Bath and Body Works to smell alllll the candles. Lol! I saw a few things I wouldn’t mind getting so I’m going to put together a Christmas list for Joe. J bought four movies from the bargain bin at FYE and we watched two of them that evening – Shoot Em Up and Salt. Both were actually good but for very different reasons. SEP was so ridiculous it was hilarious whereas Salt was more intriguing.

My brother slept in on Saturday (11/10) so we got a late start and didn’t do much except play video games, go to Dollar Tree, and watch YouTube videos. Joe came home from Denver that evening and we all had spaghetti for dinner. For whatever reason Aldi changed the formula of their pasta sauce which we used to love but no longer do, so we tried a Ragu sauce instead. Didn’t really like it so the hunt continues…

Sunday (11/11) we went to Half Price Books and Costco before dropping J back off at B’s house. Joe and I then went to a wake for our good friend’s mother who passed away earlier in the week. Afterwards we went to Target and Menards before heading home.

Today (11/12) we did some early morning shopping at Walmart where we bought a red tree collar to replace the tree skirt that Wookie chewed up when she was a puppy. Since she likes chewing on anything that looks like a blanket getting another tree skirt isn’t a good idea. I think this might end up looking even more polished anyway, plus it was cheaper ($17) than most tree skirts we saw. I’m actually looking forward to putting up the tree this year because we have the 7 ft thin one we bought for only $15 after Christmas last year that shouldn’t take up as much floor space.

We also went to an afternoon showing of Bohemian Rhapsody which was so good. Rami Malek nailed the Freddie Mercury portrayal! I never really considered myself a Queen fan but the more I hear of them the more respect and admiration I have for their creative vision.

Categories: Family, Fun & Games, Holidays, Movies Tags:

Shopping & Valentine’s Day Decor

January 15th, 2018 Comments off

We did a lot of shopping this weekend and finally got around to returning some items we had been putting off.

Between Target, Walmart, and Dollar Tree I really beefed up my Valentine’s Day decor collection which was truly lacking. Now it looks like cupid threw up all over the house! The best part is I don’t think we spent over $30.



There’s also some tea towels on the stove and a heart banner hanging over the patio door that I didn’t get good photos of while they’re up, so below is a pic of them after being purchased. The towels are from Walmart and the rest is from Target.

Sunday (1/14) we decided to visit IKEA since they sent me a $15 off coupon for my birthday. We opted to check out a different location than our usual since we needed to return an item to a store nearby. Never again! While I preferred the layout of the display areas, the restaurant was a disorganized mess where you couldn’t figure out from which direction you were supposed to line up to get the food. They have arrows all throughout the store but opted not to bother in that area for some reason. In addition, the walkway by the drinks, utensils, and napkins is quite narrow and makes it difficult for people to get what they need without getting in each other’s way. It didn’t help that staff members were restocking at the same time too. Why they didn’t do it before the restaurant opened is beyond me.

We found some good stuff, though, including a very narrow table (that stylistically matches our coffee table) which we set up against the wall by our floor lamp to act as a charging station. We have so many devices but no good central place to charge them until now. The best part was the table was only $15 so with my coupon it was free. We also got two metal planters which I plan to incorporate into my spring decor, a picture ledge Joe is going to install over my desk, and a tea kettle. I tried it out this afternoon and am loving it. We had a tea kettle years ago but it made a mess when you tried pouring water out of it so we got rid of it.

We found the cutest pet food canister at Home Goods and some new ceramic bowls.

Wookie was not liking them at first and barked/growled in protest but she finally relented and ate from her food bowl just a bit ago. She’s so weird about that but I want her to be more flexible since her beloved bowl could easily break one day.

Our best find of the day, however, was the unlit 7.5 foot slim Christmas tree we came across when returning a clock to At Home. It was exactly what we had been looking for and was 75% off so it was $15. Can’t beat that! I was so excited about that find and the fact that next year we’ll be able to enjoy putting up the tree without being annoyed by how much space it takes up.

Side note: before IKEA we stopped at Jamba Juice so I could pick up my free birthday drink and I decided instead of my usual (Five Fruit Frenzy) I’d try something different. I got the Orange Berry Antioxidant juice which I really enjoyed. It’s just fresh squeezed orange juice blended with strawberries and blueberries.

This morning we headed to Chick-fil-A for breakfast since they were giving away egg white grillers until 10 am. I also had a small fruit cup but I won’t be doing that again since it was primarily cut-up apples and sour ones at that. I was hoping for some pineapple or watermelon.

Next we went to Savers but I didn’t find any sweaters I liked. I did get a cute bag for travel purposes, though. I like how it’s see-through on the inside compartments so I can see what’s in there quickly without having to open it all the way. I also got a smaller pouch to store some cables in my car. I’m currently using a much larger pouch which would make grabbing them a little more cumbersome. I’m addicted to pouches!



I forgot to mention that when we went to Walmart on Saturday I picked up three pairs of leggings. I was really excited about them until getting home and noticing they are capri style. I hadn’t tried them on in-store because I already know what size fits best.

I’m not sure whether I should keep them or take them back. On one hand since they are thin so they could work in the warmer weather and the plain black pair (not pictured) would look cute under a dress, but I was really hoping for the regular length since they are thin enough to be comfortable under jeans but thick enough to add some warmth right now since it’s so cold outside and in the office. I particularly don’t understand why the St. Patrick’s Day ones are capri style since it’s still pretty darn cold in March. They aren’t very expensive but I’d hate to keep them and never end up wearing them. I haven’t washed them yet while I mull over a decision.

Categories: Holidays, Shopping Tags:

Goodbye 2017

December 31st, 2017 Comments off

I was going to write my regular annual recap post but I just don’t feel like it. 2017 was a pretty good year other than my weird heath issues, and even though we didn’t go on any vacations we did some fun little things throughout the year. I guess the highlight was getting my new car.

Anyway, since it’s been cold we haven’t done much other than shop. Managed to run out of fabric softener even though I’m usually on top of that stuff so we took a trip to Target this morning to get that as well as some other household staples.

At my urging Joe vacuumed the massive amount of dust that was in the cutout area of our master bedroom too. I can’t tell you the last time it was cleaned up there. I have dust mite allergies so maybe getting rid of all that will help me sleep better.

The Christmas decorations are all down and stashed away until next year. I actually enjoyed the holidays a lot this year but I’m still happy to have the house back to normal.

Tonight’s NYE menu
Carmelized Ham & Swiss Buns
Bang Bang Chicken
Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks

Hopefully I can make it until midnight. See you next year!

Categories: Holidays Tags: