Christmas Eve

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‘Twas the the night before Christmas…

  •       Sugar cookies baked. Check
  •       Presents wrapped.  Check
  •       Stockings Stuffed. Check

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!

 

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The 10 Types of Wrappers

The 10 Types of Wrappers

Today was our traditional family gift-wrapping marathon.  It’s a little family tradition that my husband and I invented/embraced last Christmas, which was our first Christmas married.  He had been at Airborne school and had bought my presents and mailed them to me.  (I exercised enormous self-constraint and didn’t peek in a single one!…how mature of me haha)  I had been working and nannying and hadn’t wrapped any of his presents.  So when he came home just a few days before Christmas and we went on a little vacation to spend it alone together, we brought all the presents and wrapped them together for a couple of hours (still not peeking!).

This year, we had an almost proactive present buying season.  Mostly everything arrived on time, and there weren’t TOO many errors.  (It’s okay if the frame I ordered comes shattered in a million pieces…right?)  So I thought for sure that we would very naturally and responsibly wrap presents periodically, as we collected them.  In my mind, by the time Christmas day came, we would have accumulated a magical little stack of wrapped presents, and all we’d have to do is slip them under the tree.  ENTER REALITY.  My husband and I procrastinate.  Both of us.  About the same things.  And who says opposites attract?…:)  So today, only three days before Christmas we were faced with a stack of unwrapped presents and thus began the gift-wrapping marathon.  So at this point we are embracing it as a “family tradition” because there’s no fooling us.  Next year will be the same, people.

But all the wrapping got my mind on the different styles of Christmas wrapping I have encountered.  It inspired me to compose a list of the various wrapping-styles and stylists out there.  Maybe you’ll see yourself on the list!

1.  The Martha Stewart.   They spend quite a bit of money or time on wrapping the presents.  Sheets and sheets of tissue paper.  Big, thick, beautiful gift bags–the expensive kind.  They want the outside of the gift to look just as nice as whatever present it is that they bought.  I like being on the receiving-side of this kind of gift.:)

2.   The Fixer-Upper.   This happens more frequently with adult-to-child presents, but it can sometimes make its way into an adult gift exchange too.  It’s the person who dresses up a present to make it seem bigger and better.  They wonder, “Isn’t this present a little lame?”  And then suddenly an extra bow and some ribbon seems like a way to make it up to the receiver.  We’ve all been there.  Right?  Um…guys? Hehe, me neither.

3.  The Scrooge.   This person puts the item in a gift bag (so much more low maintenance than cutting and taping paper) and veils the present with a  single sheet of white tissue paper.  And yes, it is possible that both gift bag and single sheet of tissue paper are recycled from a gift that scrooge received last Christmas.  And yes, it is possible that in a desperate circumstance I have found myself in a situation that lent itself (read:DEMANDED itself) to occur.

4.  The Thoughtful Planner.  Some people use the wrapping paper to color-coordinate which presents belong to which person.  This makes it easier and faster to sort through the pile of mixed-up presents so that opening can commence as quickly as possible.:)  A very kid-friendly tactic.  I remember one year waking up to a map-key that explained which paper coordinated with which sibling.  (But parents USE CAUTION as it quickly becomes a tool for children to assess which sibling got the most or biggest presents–not that I did that haha).  Another word of warning: make sure you don’t accidentally wrap someone else’s gift in someone else’s paper!

5.  The Traditonalist.  It’s Christmas.  That means no gift bags, or gift card holders, or sneaky little “I’ll-just-put-a-bow-on-it-jobs.”  If it’s a gift, it’s getting smothered in wrapping paper.  And they don’t care if it’s a car.  It will get wrapped.

6.   The It-Arrived-Too-Late-To-Wrap Person.  This is worse than the Scrooges.  This puts procrastination on a whole new level.  This is the person who basically has the “I’ll-just-put-a-bow-on-it” kind of mentality–minus the bow.

7.  The Squared-Away Wrapper.  It has to be square.  No matter what.  This person wraps everything in paper, and so obviously the only way to do that is to put whatever present they are giving in a box.  This can actually turn out to be super thoughtful and extravagant looking.  Who doesn’t love opening a present, only to find a pretty sweater box from a department store?  This can get out of hand though…when you unwrap a gift to find a Cheerio box staring at you, and the giver prompts, “No silly, open it up!”  But you’re thinking…”Why am I the silly one when I opened a Christmas present and see a box of Cheerios and look slightly confused?”

8.  The Wrapping Paper Police.  Each paper can only be used once, and it absolutely has to have a color coordinating bow and ribbon.  Presents that fail to meet expectations during the inspection period (because yes, there is on) must get redone.  There’s no purpose in buying someone a present unless it’s perfect.

9.  The Git-R-Dun Wrapper.  The goal for them is to just get that present covered, no matter the means.  Tape, a decent patch-job, a purposefully placed gift tag to cover up the gap between the paper.  This wrapper is sweet intentioned and tries their best to keep you from knowing what the present is.  But the object here isn’t attractiveness–it’s just getting the job done so you don’t know what you’re about to open.

10.  The Sneak.   This person is above and beyond wanting you to “not know” what you’re about to open.  They are out to get you.  Kind of.  They don’t want you to have even an INKLING about what they got you.  And if they can steer you off-course, even better.  This game can get pretty far.  As in triple-boxing a small item to make it seem big, and tossing a few marbles in to give it a random rolling-effect.  (True story…my husband lives to tell the tale).

Which kind of wrapper are you?  Did I forget someone?

 

 

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Christmas Traditions

The Christmas Traditions We've Made So Far in Our Marriage

As the most wonderful time of the year swirls around us, and Christmas week becomes a reality instead of a daydream, I find us embracing our family’s “Christmas Traditions.”  My husband and I say we are “creatures of habit” because it is just so true about us, but it especially becomes apparent around the holidays.:)  I’m sure we’ll add traditions to our Christmas repertoire over the years, as this is only our second Christmas married, but I already love the few we have started!

I guess decorating the house, gift giving, and a special family dinner are so embedded in the concept of Christmas Day celebration that we can’t necessarily count those as part of our “traditions.” haha  But they definitely make up a big part of this season for us.  I’m sure they do for you too!

But one thing we add when it comes to presents is that we have a gift-wrapping marathon and try to get everything wrapped in one day.  This one basically evolved from our propensity to procrastinate…but I guess you just have to embrace reality sometimes. 🙂 It is pretty fun, and we make it even more fun with Christmas music and little breaks in between to guess what each other have wrapped.   It’s one of our few little family traditions, and I look forward to it during the present-shopping period of the season!

A tradition we are trying to start this year is making a gingerbread house.  *Don’t tell Santa but…*  I’ve never actually MADE a gingerbread house.  The farthest I got was making big slabs of ginger cookies one Christmas as a teenager.  They never materialized into a house, as we ended up going on a trip for Christmas.  But they made excellent fuel for the road.haha

Maybe another tradition we will try down the road is opening up a gift on Christmas Eve after Midnight Mass.  I know sometimes people use that as an opportunity to gift pajamas for Christmas morning (and photos) the next day.  Is there any traditions that you want to try?  What are your family Christmas traditions?

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Why “Its Different for Everyone”

Why It's Different for Everyone -- Understanding the Mixed Info You Receive

I think one of the most frustrating responses I get as an Army wife is “But…it’s different for everyone.”  When my husband left for Basic Training, I had so many questions.  When would we find out his next assignment?  When would we get dates for moving?  Would he be allowed to come get me and help me move or did I have to do it myself?  Would the Army make the arrangements for moving or did I need to?  Etc…etc…etc!

Whether I was reading an article online, or talking to a representative on the support line, often the answer was cushioned with the precaution…”but, it’s different for everyone.”  That nebulous phrase was a difficult one to handle because all I wanted was an exact answer, and nobody could guarantee one!  But after I found out the answers to all my questions (though more still arise as the year goes on) I finally understand why everyone kept telling me that.

If the question related to how my soldier was going to be treated, it “varied” because the chain of command varied by individual.  So at Basic, if I wondered if my soldier would get to call me, it varied on the personality of the drill sergeant, and how well the rest of my soldier’s platoon buddies were behaving.   If my question was about moving, it varied on the timing and situation of my move.  So if my soldier was currently in an Army training school, then no, he couldn’t just stop and come help me move.  However, if he was assigned to a unit, then his chain of command would give him the opportunity to come and help me PCS.  Lastly, if my question was a more broad one, like “what are our options for places we could get assigned to?” it all just depends on your soldier’s MOS (basically his position in the Army).  Infantry typically get assigned to certain stations, and Tankers get assigned to other certain stations, etc.

Maybe no one will ever be in the exact same situation as you, but there are often social media support groups where you can try to find someone who has been in a similar boat–or is in it too!  Always be careful not to post anything too detailed or private, depending on the situation, as it might endanger your soldier.  But don’t be afraid to find a battle buddy…and remember you can always ask me!  I might not know the answer, but I may know someone that does!

While it didn’t help at the time to hear “but…it’s different for everyone,” at least now I know why people always said it.  And even though I still don’t enjoy hearing it when I’m trying to get an answer, at least I know they are right!  Hopefully, the next time you hear it, you won’t mind as much too!

 

**Read next– 3 Surprise Realities About the Army Life**

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The Army–Unknown

I think something that holds a lot of Americans back from the US Army, whether that is joining it, or marrying into it, is that there is a lot of unknowns.  It’s not a bad thing–the elusiveness keeps the Army special and unique, and it’s not a terrible security tactic either.:)  However, it would be a shame if unknown aspects of the Army and its lifestyle deterred families from being able to be a part of it.  It’s often the “everyday” and non-secretive aspects of the Army that prospective soldiers and spouses so often wonder about.  And those topics are a definite subject of interest for this blog!

There were many times so far in my husband’s short career that both he and I had questions we wanted answered.  Some were simple things like “how likely are we to get assigned to such and such place?”   Others were more in-depth, like “what is the exact process for PCSing?”  There wasn’t always a lot of information out there online, and unless you have friends or family in the military, it isn’t likely you’ll find your answers anywhere else!!

I’d like to spend some time in some future (sooner rather than later!) blog posts answering some of the questions that I had before, and sharing what I have discovered to be true.  Also, I’d like to dispel a few myths that I hear passed around too!   It would be ideal if my husband posted a few things too, because he knows the answers to the actual job-related questions first-hand.:)  Leave a comment below if there is a specific topic you want covered!

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5 Reasons to Humidify

humidifiers

I used to think humidifiers were only for treating a cold.  As a child I recall seeing the family humidifier only make an appearance when one of the kids came down with a cold.  It certainly holds true that a humidifier can help with illness!  But lately I have discovered other reasons why humidifying is worthwhile.

1)  Beauty rest

Nothing restores beauty to the skin like moisture.  If you would like to wake up feeling fresher and looking a little younger, run a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep.  It will prevent the air from drying out your skin, which gives skin a more worn (or aged) appearance.  Supple, moist skin is always a plus!

2)  Money saver

It saves you money in the long-run because any skin moisturizers you use (and those can get expensive) will last longer on your skin and be more effective because they weren’t dried up as much during the night.  You won’t have to re-lather as much in the morning when you wake up moisturized!

3)  Money saver x2

It will actually save your heating bill, because moist air retains warm temperature better than dry air.  You won’t have to run the heat as much because your house (or the room you run the humidifier in) will feel warmer, and stay warmer.

4)  Sore throat prevention

Ever hate waking up that first “cold week” of the winter with a sore throat?  Running the heat in the house for the first week can often yield sore throats.  But moistening that dry warm air with a humidifier can turn your room from desert to spa!

5)  Soother

Some humidifiers have a gentle humming sound that is very pleasant to fall asleep to.  It hushes the room in its own little way and can provide a teeny bit of ambiance (STRONGLY DEPENDING ON THE HUMIDIFIER,lol.  Word of warning: not all humidifiers are created equal.  Like our first humidifier…that doubled as a mold farm.  CHOOSE WISELY).  Our current model, the one pictured, is a dream!:)

Do you like using one?

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Natural Makeup Remover

Natural Makeup Remover

Meet your one ingredient makeup remover…which just so happens to be natural as well!:)  Virgin Coconut Oil is a wonderful agent for removing makeup–especially the pesky mascara residue that survives soap, water, and moist facial wipes.  Its gentle on the skin, tough on makeup, and moisturizes while removing product, something that very few cleansers can claim!

I prefer to get organic oil, since I’m putting it on my face.  It is also recommended to use cold pressed if possible.  The oil in my picture is actually expressed with medium heat, not cold, but I couldn’t take a picture of my cold-pressed because it is so well-loved.:)

The process for using this for makeup removal is simple.  You put a small amount on your finger tips and then apply it over your face and eyes, depending on where you put your makeup.  If your coconut oil is in its solid state (it just depends on the temperature of where you store it) then you will need to rub it between your fingers or in the palm of one of your hands to liquify it.  It’s not that the solid state of coconut oil isn’t good enough to do the job, but it wouldn’t be as comfortable to rub on your face if the coconut oil is beady and course.  (But I guess that would make it triple as a cleanser, moisturizer, and exfoliant!)  Then simply take a warm, wet washcloth and wipe the coconut oil and makeup off your face.     Very simple, natural, and effective!

Why does it work?  As makeup hero Kandee Johnson says, “Like removes like.”  The oils of your makeup (and your face) get uprooted by a new oil on them.  The coconut oil replaces your face oils (in a good way) and the oily makeup as well.  So rather than try to strip the oils away with cleansers and astringents, the coconut oil naturally dissolves your dirty ones and replaces them with a clean and nourishing oil for your skin.

        No, it won’t give you acne.  In fact, it will help fight it!  Don’t underestimate the power (or effect!) of replacing your face oils the way coconut oil does.  Your skin needs oil and produces it.  So when you use a cleanser that effectively strips away all the oil on your face, your skin senses the lack of oil and produces more.  Ummm…not always exactly what we want our skin to do. But by dissolving the oils on your face with an oil, the face on your skin doesn’t need to produce more acne-inducing oils.

      A bonus benefit: using this to remove eye makeup will also condition your eyebrows and lashes.  No more losing your lashes to mascara and the damaging process of removing it!  Coconut oil acts like a hair conditioner and strengthens, thickens, and lengthens your lashes.  More on that point later….!:)

I’ve heard that other oils can be successful cleansers as well.  I haven’t tried them myself, because I love the properties of coconut oil: the smell, consistency, color, and nutrient density.  But I would be open to experimentation!  Which oil do you like?

 

 

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Makeup on Paper

In a world of “beauty gurus” and Youtube profiles, it seems that talking about makeup on paper (or on written screen…basically on my blog lol) would seem pointless.  But I feel differently about that.  I can’t tell you how many times I have enjoyed a guru’s video, and even written down products that they recommend (because that’s totally normal…right?) only to forget something and find myself in the dark.  I can’t remember what video I was watching when they said it….was it a haul or a GRWM?  If I’m lucky enough to remember the video, what part of the video did they say it?  Do I have to watch the whole video again?  Completely in the dark.

But if the gurus wrote down what they thought of a product, or what their best beauty hacks were, or whatever information it was that they were sharing, I would have reliable and easy access to their wisdom.  I could google their name and the product and have a much better shot at rediscovering that information than if I search all of Youtube for a specific video I can’t remember.

Makeup on paper has its limitations.  A step-by-step tutorial would be a lot harder to follow just by reading the steps instead of watching someone do it in a video.  And GRWM videos wouldn’t even be a possibility.  But lookbooks, inspirations, product reviews, and hauls (to some extent!) are completely compatible with a blog format.  And as I said before, it might even be more helpful in some cases.  SOME CASES.:)

So….ignoring the fact that I’m technically not a beauty guru…lookout for some makeup reviews and chatter because it will be coming soon!

 

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Goals

I just thought I would kick off my first day of meeting my goal by sharing what those goals are!

As I mentioned in my last post, which was also my first-ever post, I want to try my hand at blogging.  I have tried before, but I did it all wrong.  I purchased a domain, signed up for a yearly plan, and jumped headfirst into the confusing world of blogging (um…only confusing if you are me).  But after a month of tutorials, phone calls, and forgetting all my passwords and usernames, I shut down my blog and called for a refund.  Side note–I didn’t even post a single article.

The rest of the year, I gave myself credit for having “tried” the whole blogging thing.  But every year we are supposed to grow in wisdom, right?  So by the end of the year, after reexamining my “efforts” I came to terms with the fact that what I had been doing in January was everything except blogging.  I tried to design a banner, I played with fonts, I tried to come up with a trademark phrase…you name it, I did it.  Except post an article.  Somehow I got way too caught up with the concept of blogging to actually do the most basic step–blog an article.

So you can imagine what my goals are now.  🙂

I’m going to try to blog.  Every day.  If I can publish one post every day for one month, I will consider myself to have really “tried.”  And if I can actually do it, and like it, then I will finally earn the title of blogger in my mind.   I might tinker with the fonts or post some photos for fun, but my main focus will be content, content, content.  I want to put out something readable every day, and hopefully, you’ll like it.  Hopefully you’ll leave comments about what else you’d like to hear about.  And hopefully you have a blog too, because if I love anything as much as writing, it would be reading. 🙂

What are your goals for the month?  The year?  ….Too soon for yearly goals? 🙂    I’ll ask again in January. haha

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Keep Calm and Blog On

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My Blog Theme

I originally intended to start this blog at the beginning of 2015.  And now it is December and 2015 is coming to a close.  But timelines aren’t as important as deadlines, right?  The process can be just as important as the product.  And I wouldn’t trade the move, dog adoption, pregnancy, and birth of my little baby girl for any kind of blog success.  But now that life finally slowed down (or maybe I just got used to balancing such a wonderful life), I’m ready to keep calm and carry on with my plan to blog.  I don’t know how well this is going to go, but that doesn’t matter either.  I will start small and dream big and we will see where this takes us.

Merry Christmas!

 

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