Thursday, December 31, 2009

Learning to sleep ... together

Six months later, we're still refining the art of sleeping in the same bed together.  Somehow over the years I've become a light sleeper (maybe from when I used to live by myself, I became heightened to hearing every noise??), so trying to ignore every shift and breath (especially during high peak allergy seasons) of Mark's has been a challenge for me. 

I've tried every earplug drugstores sell -- not joking.  Either I can't put them in right or they fall out when I'm sleeping or I can hear everything through them, so those weren't working.  Needless to say, when I didn't use them, Mark did not appreciate me waking him up every couple of hours and asking him to rollover and I was basically suffering from long-term lack of sleep.  We always have the ceiling fan on high, I have a portable fan on my nightstand next to my bed and we have white noise of rain playing pretty loudly also on my nightstand.  I usually make sure to go to bed before Mark so that I fall asleep first (that boy falls asleep in only a couple of minutes!), and I have been taking melatonin every night to help me fall asleep quicker.  Mark can't stand wearing breathing strips at night, so we tried to rotate nights where I'd have to wear the sad earplugs that didn't really work and Mark wearing breathing strips.  What else was I to do??

Short of Mark going to see a doctor about breathing easier at night, I found out about custom made earplugs that audiologists can make.  So earlier this month, I went and got fitted for a pair of my own in hopes it would solve my struggle of putting in earplugs.  Three weeks later, I picked them up Monday!

New problem: They drown out the noise pretty well, but they also hurt my ears when I lay on either side.  Nooooooo!  So now I wake up constantly throughout the night because my ears are hurting and I have to roll to the other side until the other side hurts enough to wake me up.  Repeat.

I've contacted the audiologist to see if this is a common problem, or if perhaps the fit isn't right.  The earplugs weren't cheap, by any means, and the fit is supposed to be guaranteed.  So we'll see what happens. 

Until then, I just remember how blessed I am to have someone whom I love so dearly sleeping next to me every night. 

We'll get there.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas the Crowley Way, Version 1.0

We enjoyed a beautiful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with loved ones from my side of the family in Houston.  It was so special to have someone with whom to share every moment!  Mark's come to Houston for Christmas before, but it was always for a shortened version of it, as he always went back to spend time with his family in Austin.  This was the first time in which he was with me through it all!   Being with him was definitely energizing.

We were at Mom's on Christmas Eve and Morning, then we visited with Mamal at the nursing home Christmas afternoon and ended up at Dad's and Debbie's Christmas Night.  It was a bit of a whirlwind, but we are so blessed to have several loved ones with whom to spend the holidays!

We enjoyed eggnog martinis again at Mom's (we first tested them at the Crowley Christmas with Mark's side of the family at our house last week), and I'm thinking maybe one of our Christmas traditions will be to feature a different holiday signature drink at each celebration?  We'll see.  The martinis were quite a hit!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thankful for companionship

There are many things about marriage I love ... Today I am thankful for Mark's companionship. 

The word "companion" is defined as:
  • one who accompanies another
  • one who is closely connected with something similar
The last couple of weeks have seemed a little crazy for me ... between the holidays and minor crises involving my personal information, emotions have been running somewhat high on my end.  One thing I learn from Mark on a regular basis is taking life with a grain of salt.  He is Mr. Laid Back, easygoing, roll with the punches kinda fellow, while I lie on pretty much on the complete opposite side of the spectrum: Ms. Detail Oriented, thorough planner, analytical kinda girl.

He has been so patient with me these last few weeks and is counter-acting my frenzy with such grace.  Yesterday, for example, he helped me look high and low, even going through the garbage and dirty clothes, to try to find something.  When the conclusion finally came to being that we weren't going to find it, he so calmly and lovingly helped me to realize it wasn't that big of a deal that really had a simple solution.

Those moments of peace that occur right after you realize everything's going to be OK are so sweet.  Mark allows me these moments more than he realizes. 

What does this have to do with companionship?  To me, the idea of companionship means loyalty and assistance, among other things.  Sticking by me when I seem a little nutty and helping me to be a better person beautifully illustrates loyalty and assistance.

My perfect companion provides me those moments of clarity to see the bigger picture.  How beautiful.

Monday, December 21, 2009

10 Tips To Make Your Dishwasher Run Better

Great tips to make sure the dishwasher is running at its full capacity! Think I'll try these when I get home, though I may ask my housekeeper who comes once a month to check the trap ...

10 Tips To Make Your Dishwasher Run Better: "The holidays seem to test the true capacity and cleaning power of your dishwasher. Although some wash by hand, those who have dishwashers rely on them pretty heavily this time of year. Keep them running like new, or as close to it as possible with these simple tips!

Read the full post at The Kitchn

Read Full Post"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesdays = Date Night

Don't ever try to plan anything with the Crowleys (us) on Tuesdays.  It just won't happen.  After a few months of marriage, Mark and I committed to Tuesdays being a regular date night for us, no matter what.  We realize how important it is to continue dating one another after the wedding day and plan to take the same seriousness of it even after we have children. 

Our marriage preparation emphasized the importance of always making sure your relationship with your spouse is the most important relationship outside of your relationship with God -- more important than your relationship with your children, siblings, parents, friends, etc.  How beautiful!  How true.  The most basic ingredient of a strong, everlasting marriage, if you ask me.

We take turns planning Date Night, which has been a lot of fun!  Mark's always been a pretty amazing date planner, and I try to follow in planning new places for us to go and new things for us to try.

Some of the places we've been on Date Night include:
Last night was Mark's turn to plan, and as always, he came up with the coolest idea!  We went to Malaga Tapas and Bar for Paella Night, and it was yummy.  The reservation got us a seat at the table in the back where the restaurant owner spent an hour and a half making Paella De Pollo a la Pipitoria (Chicken Pipitoria Paella) and a glass of wine.  We enjoyed some amazing calamari while watching the Paella being made and good conversation with the owner.  Every Tuesday there is Paella Night, which is apparently a pretty big deal!  You have to call in advance to get a reservation and seat at the intimate table in the back.  We plan to go back when he makes Crayfish Paella!  It kind of looks like jambalaya, but the flavor is pretty different.  It's delish!

Mark has so many great ideas that he's even started his own blog on date planning, which you can check out at

Can't wait until next Tuesday!  My turn ...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

10 Ways to Unhappily Ever After, Guaranteed

I'm just loving all the recent posts from the blog "Simple Marriage" lately! Another good one for today ... Stuff to think about! I know I fall into some of these categories more often than I care to admit.

10 Ways to Unhappily Ever After, Guaranteed: "

Post image for 10 Ways to Unhappily Ever After, Guaranteed

Editor’s Note: This is part of the “one of my favorites” category and an appropriate post following Mary Ann’s Expectations post from last week.

Go to your local bookstore and search the shelves for as many save your relationship books as you can find. You’ll likely come across more than 100 titles.

So with all the information out there regarding how to have a successful marriage, what makes the principles so hard to incorporate and apply?

To be fair, there is no definitive formula that everyone can follow to discover a marriage out of this world. Marriage and relationships are not that simple.

A lasting marriage can be attained and it’s simpler than you think.

But if you want some sure fire ways to fail miserably in your marriage, follow these simple steps:
  1. Complain. Constantly whine and complain about the events in your life. Complain to everyone about everything. To further increase the odds of failure, turn your complaining into personal attacks of your partner’s character. I’m sure they’ll love it.

  2. Live in a cluttered home. Nothing adds to the stress level of a marriage like a cluttered home. It’s disorganized and chaotic. Save everything possible. After all, that receipt you have from 1997 may be needed for this year’s tax return.

  3. Complicate things. Stated another way, over think everything. Most things in life are not all that complicated but do everything you can to make the decision on what to have for dinner as complicated as possible.

  4. Have a busy schedule. Work, kids, school, friends, family, housework, social activities, travel, and on it goes. Cram as many things into life as you possibly can. Then, don’t enjoy the things you’re committed to because you’re worrying about the next thing on the list. Pretty soon you’ll turn around and be facing retirement isolated from your loved ones. Won’t that be lovely?

  5. Be too close to each other. Every relationship begins with the desire to be as close as possible. You think about them all the time. You scheme ways to be together. As your relationship progresses, do everything you can to remain this close. Smother your spouse. Don’t allow them to chart their own way in life. Work to make your spouse your emotional siamese twin, joined at the emotional hip. Unable to act independently from you, thus ensuring you’ll be forever together and in love.

  6. Spend no time alone. When you get married, your spouse’s outside world should disappear. You should be each other’s only social outlets.

  7. Always insist you are right. Never, ever admit you could be wrong about anything. If you feel you may be losing an argument, make up some obscure un-Googleable facts to back you up. If that doesn’t work, head quickly for the high moral ground and say your not prepared to talk about the matter for a moment longer.

  8. Be overly-controlling. Even though this may come across as manipulative, assume your spouse has no idea what to do in their life and make every decision for them. After all, you know what’s best in every situation, right?

  9. Triangulate your children (pardon the psychobabble for a moment). In families, whenever a need or desire is not met by one of the members, often another person is recruited to fulfill it. For example, you don’t get all the attention you wish from your spouse so you dive into your kid’s world. With this principle in mind, bring the kids into the marriage relationship as often as possible. Allow them to be privy to every adult decision and financial difficulty that comes along. Live vicariously through your children. Not only will you end up as a stranger to your spouse after the kids move out, you’ll increase the likelihood that your kids will continue the same pattern in their relationships.

  10. Dive into the media. Believe everything the media reports without question. That way you can view this world as an incredibly horrible place to live. Plus, if you follow the above suggestions, you’ll be able to convince your spouse of this as well.
Want more?

A Simple Marriage – Corey’s book written to assist you in amping up your marriage.

Check out the Simple Marriage Community.

Get the Steps to a Simple Marriage EBook here.

Secret code: My Spouse Rocks!

Making way for our first married Christmas together

I'm all about tradition ... probably always have been.  I appreciate routine and sentimentality (is that a word?).  So, of course our first married Christmas together is a big deal to me!  I feel like we're setting the stage for how it is we'll celebrate Christmas as a family, so I'm trying to do it right.  I know our routine will change over the years, especially if we're blessed with children, but I don't think that's any reason to not place importance on how we celebrate now. 

I was pretty excited to finally finish decorating our tree -- it only took me three evenings. :)

It's right in front of our front window and looks just beautiful at night when you drive by the house and see it lighting up the darkness.  Mark and I went ahead with the red and gold theme. :)  We used the other ornaments in decorations throughout the house (you'll see in a minute when I post pictures of our fireplace how I used other ornaments in a glass bowl on our coffee table).

We also finally got our new LCD TV mounted above the fireplace and got our fireplace all set up with the fireglass.  We've loved the idea from our California family and were excited to incorporate it our own home.  It's lovely!

We'll eventually get a colored topper (colored glass) for the fireglass, but we still aren't sure what colors we want our living room to be.  We plan to buy new furniture so we'll wait to see what colors are dominant before we choose the topper.  In the meantime, the clear glass itself is fabulous!

So what will our Christmas traditions be?  Well, we're not quite there yet.  Mark and I are actually hosting the Crowley Christmas this Sunday, and I want to make it more than just a shared meal and present opening.  It doesn't need to be any extravagant activity, but I do want to do something a little special or extra.  Still running some ideas in my head.  I do plan to make a ham, so I need to start looking for a yummy recipe and sides.

Other than that, we'll be headed to Houston to spend the Christmas days with my family.  I love the three hours it takes us to open presents Christmas morning, going to Christmas Eve Mass and coming home to shrimp etoufee and watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation for the millionth time but still laughing our heads off.

Mark's family gives presents by being assigned names ... this year we're doing couples, in order from oldest to youngest (i.e. parents have Peter and Christine, Peter and Christine have David and Veronica, etc.).  This year, Mark and I have his parents (Mark's the youngest twin by 45 seconds).  I enjoy this idea!

I know I can't put too much pressure on us to establish ourselves so quickly as far as traditions go.  I realize that some things will just become traditions because it's what we do every year;  we've only been married six months!  I am really looking forward to seeing what our traditions become as we continue to grow together.  It's a very exciting time!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Put Down the Label Maker and Write with a Pen

I definitely appreciate handwritten notes, even hand-addressed envelopes much more than computer-generated ones. I absolutely love all of the Christmas cards we've been receiving and feel very special to have been thought of, but it's just that personal touch when it's hand-written that makes you feel worthwhile to someone. From the blog "Small Notebook..."

Put Down the Label Maker and Write with a Pen:

When I was in college I made a photo album, and I actually used a computer to print some of the descriptions, because I thought it would look better than my own handwriting. People used to care about penmanship, but now we’re used to texting “how r u?” Any handwriting is nice to see now, no matter how messy.

Your handwriting is as personal as a finger print. Use it to add warmth and character around your home.

Put down the label maker and write the labels for your files.

I almost used the typewriter to make labels for these drawers, but then I remembered that writing them was good enough.

Even though most recipes are on the computer, it’s really comforting to see the recipe cards in my mom and grandma’s handwriting.

Make sure your kids write their names on the backs of handmade ornaments.

Crossing something off of a to do list is far more satisfying with pen and paper.

The summer I met Doug, I wouldn’t give him my email address. When summer was over and I went back to school, he had to write me letters. I saved every one.

Let Twitter have the day off and write in a journal instead.

Notes to family, grocery lists, thank you notes… What do you like to write?

50 Ways to Improve Your Marriage in 2010

My favorites:

50. Schedule date nights regularly.
44. Change yourself instead of trying to change your spouse.
42. Lower your expectations.
35. Pray or meditate together.
29. Remove the television from your bedroom.
22. Serve yourself last.
13. Cuddle often.
11. Forgive often.
2. Remember together you’re a team.
1. Make love often.

What additions do you have?

50 Ways to Improve Your Marriage in 2010: "
Post image for 50 Ways to Improve Your Marriage in 2010

Editor’s Note: This post is from Tess Marshall of The Bold Life.

What would your marriage look like in 2011 if you focused on improving it for the next twelve months?
In a world filled with stress and fear the very thing we can find comfort in–our primary relationship, we tend to ignore or take for granted. Being in a loving relationship has a positive effect on every area of our lives.

Print this article, discuss it with your spouse, and then put it on the refrigerator.
Begin to take action today.

Your reward will be a happy family.

Cost: priceless!

50. Schedule date nights regularly.
49. Speak your truth in a respectful way.
48. Ask for what you want or need.
47. Share your feelings often.
46. Create magical moments.
45. Compliment your spouse daily.
44. Change yourself instead of trying to change your spouse.
43. Look your best, dress up and be well groomed.
42. Lower your expectations.
42. Learn to enjoy each others company.
41. Plan for good times.
40. Support each other’s individual goals.
39. Create goals together.
38. Do service work together.
37. Eat as many meals together as possible.
36. Talk to each other for 30 minutes a day.
35. Pray or meditate together.
36. Share in each others interests.
34. Touch your spouse several times a day.
33. Kiss every day for at least 12 seconds.
32. Apologize and state how your behavior will change.
31. Spend time away from each other.
30. Be trustworthy.
29. Remove the television from your bedroom.
28. Accept each other’s flaws.
27. Don’t take each other for granted.
26. Give each other space.
25. Offer to help with daily chores.
24. Say please and thank you no matter how big or small the act.
23. Always give away the extra cookie.
22. Serve yourself last.
21. Check in with each other while apart by talking or texting.
20. Clean the other’s car.
19. Watch some TV together.
18. Be the first person to pick up the dishes from the table.
17. Smile often.
16. Gaze into each other’s eyes.
15. Eat meals slowly and really listen when the other speaks.
14. Refuse to hold a grudge.
13. Cuddle often.
12. Be honest.
11. Forgive often.
10. Surprise each other.
9. Spend 3 weekends alone together each year.
8. Plan and stick to your budget together.
7. Always discuss major purchases before making them.
6. Laugh at each others mistakes.
5. Never threaten each other.
4. Make honesty your best policy.
3. Respect each other.
2. Remember together you’re a team.
1. Make love often.
Photo courtesy pedrosimoes7

15 Minutes or Less: Bacon-wrapped green beans

Looks good to me! Think I'll be trying it soon.

15 Minutes or Less: Bacon-wrapped green beans: "
File this one under “random”:
Just when I thought the bacon-and-green beans combo couldn’t get any better, a friend of ours made this recipe for bacon-wrapped green beans that is one of those instant classics for entertaining. It’s easy, adaptable (I’ll be making them with fresh green beans soon) and sure to please even the vegetable haters among your guests.

Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans

1 package of bacon

3 cans whole green beans

1 stick of butter

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Slice bacon pieces in half. Gather five or so beans and wrap bacon around them. Secure with a toothpick. Place clusters in a 13-inch by 9-inch glass dish. Melt butter in a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Pour sauce over clusters and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or until bacon is cooked.
—The Maness family

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Expectations . . . The Path to an Unhappy Marriage

This was my "God moment" today. I read a set list of blogs every day, and this one was posted from one of those blogs today. My favorite excerpt ... "Unhappiness is trading what we want most for what we want now. We want whatever makes us uncomfortable -- our anxieties, our insecurities, our challenges -- we want that discomfort to go away RIGHT NOW. But deep down, what we want most is to be more -- more loving, more forgiving, more compassionate, and more grateful."

Expectations . . . The Path to an Unhappy Marriage: "
Post image for Expectations . . . The Path to an Unhappy Marriage

Editor’s Note: This post is by Simple Marriage contributor Mary Ann Crossno.

If a good working definition of expectations is planned disappointment, then the outcome of expectations will be unhappiness. When what we expect to happen does not happen, we are disappointed and we suffer pain at some level. The greater the expectation, the greater the pain we will suffer.
Surprisingly, we are likely to be unhappy even when our expectations ARE met! Let me explain.

We are most grateful for the good things that come our way that we did not expect to happen. If you expect your partner to help with the housework, you will be disappointed, mad, sad, or angry when your partner does not help you with the housework, but you won’t necessarily be grateful when your partner does help with the housework. Depending on your history together, you may be
  • Pleased – “I’m glad we’re doing this together.”
  • Surprised – “I can’t believe you actually mopped the floor!”
  • Justified – “I do my share and you need to do your share.”
  • Vindicated – “It’s about time you started pulling your weight!”
When you are dog tired at the end of the day, and you walk in to find your partner cleaning the kitchen, or putting the kids to bed when you expected her to be home late – that’s when you feel truly grateful – because you were not expecting the help! When we are truly grateful for something, we cannot help but feel happiness.
Dennis Prager says it best:

Gratitude is the key to happiness and anything that undermines gratitude must undermine happiness. And nothing undermines gratitude as much as expectations. The more expectations you have, the less gratitude you will have.
Expectations and gratitude are opposite sides of the same coin. Where do our expectations come from?

Our expectations are the confused result of our reactions, our thoughts, and our emotional heritage. We confuse wants with needs, anticipation with expectation, loneliness with emptiness, touch with sex, talk with communication, ideals with reality, and self with relationships.
We confuse what we can get only from within ourselves with what we can get only from a relationship.

This confusion drives us to continually
  • try to get from someone else what we can get only from ourselves,
  • or try to get from ourselves what we can get only from a relationship.
No matter how hard or long we try, we will never be complete in this life. We cannot be complete as an individual, and we cannot be complete by marrying or having children. We cannot be completely secure emotionally nor can we know everything about any one thing. When we are fixated on finding completeness in this life, we become so anxious that we either aim for absolute safety or we stay paralyzed for fear of not getting it [completeness].
The expectation that we can be complete and the desperate search for it leads people to attempt the impossible. The fantasy world is full of the illusion of completeness – which leads people to drugs, sex, alcohol, money, conflict, helplessness, power – all of the world’s ills. We’re all a little lonely, we all feel some sense of inadequacy, some fear of failure – in other words, we all feel some emptiness.
This is a natural state of being, and in my Christian worldview, designed by God to draw us to Him.
Growing up – becoming emotionally mature – is all about how we handle the uncertainty – the incompleteness – of life. When we are able to accept and understand that this emptiness is a natural part of being human, we are on the path to a better life.

The less aware we are of our own emptiness, the more unrealistically we raise our level of expectations on others. High expectations become hypersensitive and emotionally reactive. So much focus is placed on what others are or are not doing that there is little time left for self-focus. The more successfully we can lower our expectations of others, the more time we have to develop our personal sense of responsibility – and the more effort we put into living up to our personal responsibilities, the more we experience responsibility as joy and fulfillment.
Unhappiness is trading what we want most for what we want now. We want whatever makes us uncomfortable – our anxieties, our insecurities, our challenges – we want that discomfort to go away RIGHT NOW. But deep down, what we want most is to be more – more loving, more forgiving, more compassionate, and more grateful.
Make gratitude a habit.
  • Write down three things everyday that you are grateful for –– and see how many days you can come up three things to be grateful for – without repeating yourself!
  • Get a copy of The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude by Sarah Ban Breathnach and write in it everyday for a year.
  • Write your gratitudes on post-it notes and stick them around the house, in the car, in your spouse/kids’ lunch bags . . . surround yourself with reminders of what you have to be grateful for.
  • For your Christmas cards, send a note to everyone that helped you in some way this year – and start with those closest to you – your spouse, your kids, your parents, and your siblings.
Whatever you focus on, grows.
Grow your happiness by lowering your expectations and growing your gratefulness.

Prager, D. 1998. Happiness is a serious problem.
Fogarty, T.F. 1978. On emptiness and closeness. In The Family, Compendium I.
Photo courtesy suvodeb
Want more?

A Simple Marriage – Corey’s book written to assist you in amping up your marriage.
Check out the Simple Marriage Community.

Get the Steps to a Simple Marriage EBook here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Going green: recycle your Christmas tree

I never thought about recycling my Christmas tree before, but I came across this blog post from and think it's a great idea! I found a place about 10 miles away from our home that charges a $5 fee but will recycle your tree if you drop it off. Nice!

Don’t Forget to Recycle Your Christmas Tree! Tips From "

We saw lots of trees on cars this weekend – and while most people are starting to think about what type of tree they’re going to get and how to decorate it, don’t forget about how to dispose of it once the holidays are over. Trust us - it’ll be a lot easier to figure this out now rather than when you’re spent from holiday activities.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

If you haven't yet bought your Christmas tree

and plan to, don't buy one from the side of the road at a Christmas tree stand!  Mark and I went to two different places last night and were appalled at how expensive the trees were.  The least expensive tree was $50, and that was for a sad-looking, little tree.  Fortunately for us, I remember having bought a tree from Wal-Mart a couple years ago and knew it hadn't been that expensive, so we trucked over to the nearest Wal-Mart and found a beautiful, seven-foot tree for $30!  That's right -- 30 bucks, folks.  We (aka I) started decorating the tree last night and will post pictures upon completion.  Red and gold, it is! :)

Mexican Thanksgiving

Sorry for the delay in my reporting on our "Mexican Holiday," as the Europeans call their vacations ("holiday").  Nonetheless, our trip to Cancun for Thanksgiving weekend was fabulous!  We enjoyed beautiful, warm weather, delicious food, great scuba diving and couple time.  It was like a little mini-post-honeymoon!  We even won a future trip to Destin, FL (my heaven) at a silent auction one evening.  We're so blessed to be able to have these little getaways during this early part of our marriage.  God is so good!

Just before boarding a boat for our Sunset Lovers Lobster and Steak Dinner Cruise

Beautiful Mexican sunset

At a benefit for disabled children at the Ritz Carlton Cancun


Neat idea of stones in martini glasses ... I've already done the same with the martini glasses in our wine bar

Enjoying the amazing food and drinks at the benefit

Diving the Caribbean Sea for the third time (first for us in Cancun)

Our last night on the trip

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Going green: recycling

It's true ... I've never really recycled before.  If there was a recycle bin nearby a trashcan that offered me the option to conveniently place it in the bin right then at that moment, I'd go ahead and take part.  It's not like I was seeking out places to find recycle bins or sorting through my trash to be as green as I could.

Alas, I've shifted gears as of late.

Everyone on our street has recycle bins out with their trash cans on trash day, and I have other friends who take the time and care to recycle, and, lastly, recycling is part of being good stewards of our environment, and good stewardship is something I preach everyday in my full-time ministry.  So, I made the call to our trash company and requested a recycle bin.

Last week it was dropped off with our trash, and I was excited to bring it into the garage and get started on this fun, new project.  Then, I realized I had no idea what could be recycled.  A milk carton cap?  Macaroni boxes?  Junk mail?  So, being the organized person I am, I found a little recycling guidelines sheet on the Internet, printed it out and posted it above the trashcan in the kitchen so I'd review it whenever I started to throw something away.

Day by day I've been bringing things out to our bin, and it brings a small sense of accomplishment when I walk out to the garage and see the bin filling up more and more.  It puts a picture on how it is we try to be good stewards of our environment.

Now, the wine bottles have also started to pile up in the bin.  Ha, it's enough to make a girl buy boxed wine so our neighbors don't worry about us and our love of wine ... ():-)

Creative, Clutter-Free Ideas For Displaying Christmas Cards

This is one that interests me as I can't stand the appearance of clutter! I like the first two ideas ...

Creative, Clutter-Free Ideas For Displaying Christmas Cards: "

It's begun! Our first Christmas card arrived in the mail yesterday and hence commenced the welcomed onslaught of mail-carried holiday cheer. We vowed last year— after seeing our entry table fall prey to an unruly array of cards— to preempt the happy attack by having an easy and orderly card display system in place. Here are a few favorite ideas.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas tree decorations

So Mark and I are trying to decide how we want to decorate our first Christmas tree together:
  • I would rather have one main elegant color-themed tree, featuring two colors (was thinking red and gold) and then a smaller fake tree somewhere, featuring ornaments from our childhood.
  • Mark would rather have one tree, featuring all of our childhood ornaments and any new ornaments we collect over the years.
I just know that once we have children, we'll start to collect all of the ornaments they make and bring into the family, so I'd like to have an elegant tree now while we can.  However, I understand Mark's point of view that he likes how our ornaments from our childhood tell stories about who we are and from where we've come.  I want him to like our tree, so maybe I can bring back all of the red and gold decorations I bought last night.  Or maybe I can keep a few and we can still try to have a main theme of red and gold to include our childhood ornaments?


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Quick and Easy Christmas Decor

I definitely think I'll be doing this! Great and simple idea, with the abundance of decorations I have.

Quick and Easy Christmas Decor: "

Thanksgiving is barely behind us, but we're already busy planning and decorating for Christmas. One of the quickest and easiest ways to get your home in the holiday spirit is by gathering ornaments in a vessel such as a vase, bowl, or tray. Use one as a centerpiece or several of them spread out throughout your home.

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