Christmas Memories

We returned home to our little Virginia abode after a fantastic five-day weekend of relaxation, food, and shopping with a lovely six hour trek through wind and rain with a car that made funny noises. Maybe it was stuffed too tight with Christmas gifts.

Either way, it was a wonderful Christmas--dare I say, one of the best ever? This year, Christmas break included (but was not limited to):

Lots and lots of bad-for-me food. Like cheese ball, meatballs, poppyseed roll, Boston creme pie, buckeyes, pineapple casserole, and hot chocolate. And cookies. Duh. 

A five-game Rummyo winning streak by yours truly.

Chocovine. Aka chocolate wine that I found at World Market and had to bring a bottle of home. (The verdict from the Brodies: FANTASTIC! The verdict from everyone else: chocolate flavored nail polish. No worries, more for us.)

Christmas TV specials on HGTV.

Gathering round the table Christmas night with my best friends.

The Muppets.

Awkward photo shoots by the tree.

I hope your holidays were as blessed as mine were. Awkward photo shoots and all. 


A Very Married Christmas

To all my loyal friends, family, and readers all over the web:

I hope the last few days of the days leading up to Christmas has been spent relaxing, eating, and enjoying the company of family and friends.

Or working, last minute shopping, and locking your car keys in the car while doing last minute shopping. (You'll have to tune in after Christmas for that story.)

A very merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of you. From all of us at the Brodie Abode.



I come from a family pretty big on traditions, especially around the holidays. Up until this point, everything leading up to the holidays, from the cookie-baking extravaganza in the Saylor kitchen to decorating while watching White Christmas (read about how this usually goes here), to the classy Christmas party held by me and my best girlfriends every year, has been an integral part of the holidays. 

Then there are the things that have happened that are memorable, although not necessarily traditions: the fun (trekking out for some last-minute Christmas shopping with mom during a snow storm), the illegal (chopping down a Christmas tree from the forest with Ian), and the not-so-fun (such as the Christmas stomach bug that hit our family last year....ugh.) While they might not happen every year, memories of family and loved ones are also a huge part of the holiday season. 

Christmas Day, although a little different each year, almost always contains the same basic elements: a sleepover with my sister in my room, opening our stockings way before anyone else is awake, breakfast casseroles and poppyseed roll for breakfast, and the yule log on the TV even though we have a perfectly working gas fireplace. Calling all my friends afterwards to see what everyone got. Crab cakes for Christmas dinner, and then passing out on the couch with A Christmas Story on TBS playing on repeat for the third or fourth time that day. 

Obviously, the holidays have been a little different this year. No more month-long break from school and work. I'm too far away from my mom and sister to help with the Christmas cookies, and shopping in Northern Virginia is more than just a ten-minute drive to the mall. When thinking about all the traditions my family has had in place over the years, I asked Ian what our new traditions were going to be, to which he replied "You don't make up traditions...they just happen!"

What have we done this Christmas that could potentially turn into a tradition?

We made Christmas crafts together...

...found cute ways to decorate our first home together on a budget...

...and made a lot of food and had some friends over for what you might call our first little party.

There's no doubt that Christmas is different this year, and it will be weird not waking up in my bed with my sister on the floor next to me, excited to get up and rip open our presents. But this year, I get to spend Christmas with an amazing husband, a new wonderful family, and even my own family--the joy of both parents living in the same town--making new traditions.


That's a Wrap

Every year, I vow that I'm going to get my Christmas shopping done with plenty of time to spare. 

But in true procrastinator fashion, there's naturally no urgency when there is plenty of time to spare. Which is why, in the past several weekends, I have set out with the mission of purchasing all of my gifts, only to return with a handful of things I bought for myself. For instance, Black Friday? Bought a Christmas tree and decor for our little abode. Last weekend? Got a dress for my company's holiday party. A super cute one from TJ Maxx. 

So before I know it, it's the week before Christmas, and on Saturday I ventured out along with all of the other last-minute shoppers to scramble for some gifts to join Ian's under the Christmas tree. Did you know that the weekend before Christmas is actually the busiest shopping day of the year, not Black Friday? I'm not making that up. And shopping on that day in Northern Virginia was enough to make me never want to go shopping again. The crowds, the lines, the parking lots...call me a scrooge, but after standing in a  forty five minute line that wrapped the entire way around World Market, I was not a happy camper. And I still don't have all my gifts!

But on Sunday, I went all Pintrest on the ones I had, being crafty and wrapping them with handmade goodies. 

Like fabric flowers (tutorial here!)...

...and paper pinwheels...

Is there really better way than to unwind from your retail therapy than sewing fabric scraps and folding paper while catching up on Glee?
I think not.


A Story About Life, Cars, and Cupcakes

Sometimes things don't go as planned.

Take, for example, last Wednesday night. On that cold, rainy, and windy night--probably the rainiest and windiest night ever-- I was excited to get home to my husband, the Christmas tree, our cozy abode, and above all, the Moroccan Chicken Stew that had been simmering away in the Crock Pot all day to perfection. Which I had been bragging about to my friends at work all day.

Call it karma, fate, the stars aligning funny, or just my life in general, but the evening turned out a little differently. 

I was driving home on the back road that I take when it rains (because call me a grandma, but I hate driving on the highway in the rain). About two thirds of the way home, the car suddenly decided it didn't want to accelerate anymore. Like, nothing happened when I pushed the pedal. I could have gotten flustered at this point, but I calmly pulled over to a darkened golf course entrance and called for my husband to come rescue me. 

At this point, it really didn't seem like the end of the world. The car had been acting funny lately, so we knew it would probably have to go in to be fixed at some point. We are lucky to have a second car to drive, so Ian was on his way. I'd call AAA, get it towed away, and be on our merry way! 

So when I called AAA, only to find that neither of us were still covered under our parents (and come to think of it, I vaguely remembered my mom saying they were kicking me off. And then I remembered the AAA letter we got a few weeks ago still sitting on our kitchen table... ), I began to worry. Because this meant we were going to pay a million dollars for a tow truck.

Like a boat pulling into the pier, Ian arrived in the Grand Marquis and I informed him that we didn't have AAA. After a few moments of "I thought we were covered under your parents!" "I thought we were covered under yours!", I retreated to the running car, heels sinking into the mud the whole way, while he threw open the hood of the Toyota in typical male fashion to diagnose the problem. 

It was now almost 7:30. I had left work at 6. I sat in the Marquis, blazing hot air blasting in my face, while I posted an angry Facebook status to which I received plenty of sympathizing comments (thanks, everyone!) when suddenly, like a beacon of light, a tow truck appeared out of nowhere. A burly man emerged from the truck and knocked on the window. 

I rolled it down just enough so that my face didn't get pelted with raindrops, and I bombarded the poor man with gratitude and how I called AAA but we aren't covered so are we still allowed to be towed? Then he looked confused. I said "my husband is over there--talk to him" and rolled the window back up.  We were saved! We were going home! 

So imagine my dismay when minutes later the tow truck drove away. Without our car. I hastily dialed Ian, who was sitting in the broken car, and asked why the hell was the tow truck was driving away?!

"It was going to charge us 175 dollars!"

"But that's how much it COSTS! We're not covered!"

"Let me figure it out."

Remember how in The Sims, when the people were angry they had a red diamond hovering above their head? That was me, plus smoke coming out of my ears and darts shooting from my eyes. I was hungry, muddy, and cold. After several minutes of sitting alone in the running car, I got out and trudged to the broken car to join my husband who had just gotten off the phone with another towing company who was on their way to get the car. We could leave it there and go home! And it was cheaper!

Out we went into the rain again, trudged to the other car, and got in. I stuck the key in the ignition, but the car wouldn't turn on. 

We left the damn lights on the entire time. And now the battery was dead.

This is when I lost it. I cried heaving tears, you know the kind that sound like you're laughing but you're not laughing at all and if anyone laughs with you, you'll punch them in the face? Never mind that it was that time of month, which just made the whole thing that much worse. 

Luckily, we had just been given jumper cables the previous weekend by my dad when we were in PA. Out into the rain went my poor husband again, who managed to get the broken car over to where we could use its working engine to start the working car with a dead battery. While I sat in the car and worried about him getting electrocuted in the rain. Because wouldn't that just be the cherry on top?

Eventually, we got the car running, and were finally on our merry way home. At 9:00. By then, we were exhausted, soaked, and the dinner in the crock pot had been simmering away for over twelve hours, so it had pretty much turned to chicken broth-flavored mush. Yummy.

But earlier that day, we had a delivery of Greek food from George the landlady so we had a backup dinner. A stack of Christmas cards had arrived in the mail that day, and life really didn't turn out to be so bad.

The whole thing was kind of like this weekend, when I thought I would stick marshmallows in the middle of cupcakes and it would be delicious, but it turns out that they just rose to the top and hardened into a nasty sugary mess.

Lessons learned? Sometimes things go a little differently than you thought they might. Sometimes it seems like they will never get better, but eventually something will jump start and you'll be on your merry way. Sometimes cupcakes with marshmallows in the middle don't work. 

And never leave something in a Crock Pot for 12 hours.

The end.


Switching it Up and Blowing it Out

With a day full of errands ahead of me, I decided after my morning shower that I needed to look fabulous (to go to the post office, CVS, Trader Joe's, and Giant. You never know who you might run into?), so I blow dried my hair. Like, a full-blown, round brush blowout.  It took an hour.

Which reminded me of why I never do that.

Too bad I really like the way it looks.

Happy Saturday!


Turn Your PMS to PM-YES!

Sometimes, PMS hits you at full force in a public place where you can't control it, and then later you are mortified for blubbering at your husband at the grocery store as you pick out your fruits and veggies. 

And then, sometimes you come home and he asks if you are hungry for brunch. You say, I sure am hungry for brunch. And your husband makes you this:

Best enjoyed with a beer mug of milk and a dollop of peanut butter.

Diabetes-inducing french toast ain't your thing? Then just watch this. Because there's nothing like singing animals to lift your spirits from a funk...


Pintrest Comes to Life

Raise your hand if you love Pintrest. 

Now raise your hand if you have boards and boards of fantastic ideas on things to make,  how to decorate your home, things to eat, and ideas for a wedding that you already had/are planning/will plan one day.

Now, raise your hand if you've actually ever done any of these things.

via someecards.com

So yesterday, after several hours sprawled out on the bed perusing Pintrest and catching up on my shows including New Girl, Glee, and Modern Family, I was actually feeling crafty. Not crafty, like "I should totally make that one day", but "I'm totally going to make this NOW" crafty. 

We totally needed more Christmas decor up in here, so I set to work on a whimsical-Christmas-y addition to our spiky chandelier that hangs so low to the ground, we have several scars on our head from when we moved in.

This is totally the kind of craft where you'll want to retreat to your craft room, pop in some old-time Christmas tunes, and eat cookies. Or camp out at your kitchen table with a husband playing Call of Duty in the background, which is almost as relaxing.

As I set up, I asked Ian if "when we have a dream home, can I have my own craft room?" To which he replied, "only if I can have a work bench." Just call us the crafter and the carpenter.

But anyway, besides the point.

To make this easy little craft that you probably used to make in Sunday School, you will need several pieces of colorful paper (12 x 12 scrapbook paper worked great), metal rivets, fishing line and a tin of Penn State Bakery cookies (thanks Mom and Dad!).

Cut the paper into  five approximately 1 in. strips, and cut them into the following lengths: 

1 at 8 3/4 inches
2 at 10 inches
2 at 12 inches.

Make sense?

Sandwich the five strips together in this pattern- long, medium, short, medium, long- and gather them all at one end. Secure with a binder clip. You might think that the clip is unnecessary, but it is. I promise.

Use your handy dandy rivet puncher to punch a hole through all five strips, and fasten with the rivet.

Now, gather all strips at the other end so that the ends line up, and the paper magically folds into the pretty teardrop shape. Secure with the binder clip while you punch a rivet into the other end.

Make a bunch of these things and wonder where you are going to hang them all.

Tie some fishing line through each one, and hang wherever you think they'll be pretty. Throw in some foam snowflakes for good measure.

Finish off your productive day with a stir fry picnic on the couch while you watch Julie and Julia. If that isn't a recipe for success, I don't know what is. 


A Post About Nothing

Has it really been almost a week since I've blogged? Eek! I do apologize if you're craving some pretty pictures, or a funny story, or photos from the funnest wedding ever (yeah, I said it!). 

Because quite honestly, I've got nothing tonight. I've come to realize that in the blogging world, you only blog about the cute/funny/picturesque things that you do in life, which makes all of your readers think you live this super fun, super picture perfect life where you eat perfect food every night, go on fun dates all the time, and look super adorable every second. 

Which, in all honesty, is fine to blog about all those times. Because really, who wants to read about the nights when you're sitting in your sweats, your mom's lime green Outer Banks sweatshirt, with the news droning in the background and the recipe for dinner you made up simmering away on the stove? Kind of a potato/green/bean/random vegetables/curry/Indian-inspired dish. I sure hope it's good.

In conclusion, there are a lot of blog-worthy things in life. Even some things that don't seem exciting on the surface have some sort of funny tale behind them. But sometimes, it's just nice to be boring. Especially when you have someone to be boring with.

Until next time, I'll leave you with a glamour shot of yours truly, circa 2000.

Hellooooo boys!
Reasons why I was awesome:
1. Butterfly clips
2. A wee bit of midriff pokin' out 
3. Embroidered jeans
4. You can't tell, but I was wearing Piglet earrings.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...