Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010: Here I Come!

I'm not big on making New Years Resolutions. I never have been. But this year I'd like to set some goals for myself in the new year. Call them resolutions if you will. I will, however, refer to them as Jenny's List of Ways to Improve Her Life-2010.

1. Attend church every Sunday (or at least on a regular basis)
The church we currently attend is approximately 45 minutes away from our house. Although I love it and think there are so many things there for us, it's just come to be too far for me. It's so easy to not go when the weather is bad or when we're tired and know we have to get up even earlier for services just to drive there. And I am not able to get involved the way I would like to because going there during the week just isn't possible. Which brings me to my next point:

2. Find a new church in close proximity to where I live and get involved!
I was raised Catholic and Matt is a Southern Baptist so we have quite different backgrounds when it comes to church settings. Although I've made the decision to follow a different path with my religion, the structure and history of the Catholic church is something in which I find comfort. But, I also love worship songs and live music and hearing preaching directly from the Bible. Clearly I have my work cut out for me!

3. Not worry so much about what the scale says
Aside from the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I live and breathe by the scale. There was a time when I weighed myself every single day. I was down to once a week before Thanksgiving, but I began to realize just how much that little (or big!) number was reflecting my mood. I want to pay more attention to how my clothes are fitting and how I feel instead of focusing so much on the pounds. I don't expect to give up the scale completely, but I'd like to limit myself to once a month if even that.

4. Eat healthier and cut back on sweets
Although I don't want the number on the scale to dictate whether I have a good day or not, that does not mean that I don't want to lose weight. I want to live a healthier life and put food into my body that reflects that. I'm also a HUGE sugar-holic and I'd love to see the packaged snack goods disappear from my diet (and my pantry!).

5. Be a better friend
I have a tendency to complain about not having any friends or that the friends I do have suck. Well, perhaps I am not as fabulous of a friend as I think. I want to make an effort to talk to my friends back home more often. I never call. I hate the phone. But I shouldn't expect them to always call me and take the initiative. I'm setting a goal of calling my BFF once a week. Also, I want to build better relationships with the women I have met here in Cleveland. I'm going to make more of an effort to plan things for us to do without our husbands. It's time I made some girlfriends. Period.

6. Formulate a workout schedule
Between being sick and the holiday season, I haven't been to the gym in a long time. I really long time. I'd like to get to the gym at least 4 times a week.

7. Run a 5K
I battled through a running program not that long ago so I'd like to dust that program off and really concentrate on following it through to completion. Plus, I'd like it to take me less than 45 minutes to run it :)

8. Have a baby
This is the year. The year we start trying to expand our little family. Although this is a goal in which I have very little control, I'm putting it out there as my prayer to God (who reads my blog...of this I am certain) that I am beyond ready for my little miracle.

So spill it...what is your "list of ways to improve your life??"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Christmas to Remember

Because Matt and I were leaving for Indianapolis on Wednesday afternoon, we decided to do our Christmas on Tuesday evening. This year we opted for just stockings. Here is my sweetie with his goodies:

Check out all of my loot!

Every year my two best friends and I go out for a fancy shmancy Christmas dinner to celebrate the holidays. It's become a tradition to get our picture taken in front of the Christmas tree as a little memento.

Jill, AJ, and I

Seriously delicious dessert! Carrot cake, Cheesecake, and a Chocolate Truffle that was to die for.

Jill and me

Matt and I stayed Wednesday evening with my parents. When we woke up, my sister and her husband were there. We spent the morning chatting and decorating sugar cookies. So fun! Well, for a little while :)

Jessi was really, really good. I was okay...and then I sucked. Those cookies take so long to decorate!

Here is her cookie of her husband. Absolutely hilarious. He's even holding candy. Love it.

So, of course, I had to make a cookie that looked like Matt. This is what I came up with. What do you think? He was not impressed.

Jessi's Santa

Matt and I headed over to his parents' house to visit for a few hours and to do some last minute wrapping. Then we went to Mass with my family and headed out to Chili's for our annual Christmas Eve meal with my dad's side of the family as well as Matt's parents. After dinner, everyone came back to my parents' house for a gift exchange and family game night.

Mom's Christmas Eve spread

Me, my brother, and my sister

Action shots during the gift exchange: FIL, cousin, grandma, aunt, and grandpa. I took away two board games and Matt came home with a dirt devil. Great. I know who that gift is really for.

Let the games begin! Here is my BIL in action. It was boys vs. girls in a game of Funglish. I had never played this game before and it was super fun. Great game for a party!

Matt and I stayed another night with my parents and woke up Christmas morning to find this:

Clearly Mom went a little nut-so with the large gifts this year! We could hardly walk in the room! But what a beautiful tree!

Every year we get lotteries in our stockings. Here is my BIL, sister, Mom, and brother scratching them off. Matt was actually the big winner with $10 :)

My BIL decided to wrap himself up as a present with the excess wrapping paper. Oh dear.

Highlights of my gifts include some cake decorating supplies, a new sweater, a leopard Snuggie!, a dutch oven, a new stock pot, several books, and a few kitchen gadgets. Matt got a lot of Colts gear, a Brooks Brothers gift card, an outdoor smoker/grill, and a shop vac. My family was so generous with all of their gifts and we were so thankful!

We played a few games and then bid farewell to my sister and her husband who headed up to Fort Wayne to spend the rest of the weekend with Dave's family. Matt and I went over to his parents' house around 12:30 p.m. and spent the rest of Christmas with them. It is there that I received my new Chi straightener!! I'm super stoked about this! I have already used it and it is just fabulous. I could not love it more! Matt cleaned up with every tool you can imagine. Now, what can I make him build me?? Hm.

Saturday some of Matt's extended family came up from the Louisville area and we walked away with a few more board games. Later in the afternoon, Matt and I left for our final Christmas celebration with my mom's side of the family. She is one of seven so it is always a houseful no matter where we go.

After the gift exchange there, we had the joy of watching my brother participate in a pick up game of football. Oh how the mighty have fallen...

For some reason, Mook had tucked his jeans into his boots whilst playing. I guess they were too long?? Who knows...but it was hilarious.

We had an amazing Christmas with family and friends and I am so sad to see the season ending. But I am looking forward to the New Year with much anticipation for new adventures to come!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Back to the Grind

The rush of the holiday season is over and Matt and I are back from our trip to Indianapolis. We came home last night with a carload of goodies...but I guess 5 Christmas celebrations will do that to you! We are so blessed and thankful to be able to spend time with both of our families over the holidays. Although we no longer live there, both of our parents still live in Indianapolis about 10 minutes apart so we were able to squeeze in time with everyone during our trip.

But now that we are home and able to be much more comfortable in our king size bed (do you think there is a huge difference between a king and a queen...because I sure do!), I am looking forward to New Years and having two more days off this week to spend just the two of us. In fact, my darling husband is at home right this very minute enjoying some additional time off. I would say that I am super jealous (and I am...a little bit) but that boy works harder than anyone I have ever known and he deserves a break. I have a feeling our Play Station 3 is getting a workout :)

So I will be back tomorrow with updates and pictures from our time away. I hope everyone is enjoying their Monday (hopefully not at work like me!) and had just a fabulous Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's Finally Here!


Today I am working a 1/2 day and then I am finally on vacation! When I get home, Matt and I are heading back to Indianapolis for the rest of the week to spend some much needed quality time with our families. Our "vacation" is definitely jam packed with activities, but it should be completely fantastic and I could not be looking forward to it more.

As I think I've mentioned before, Matt and I decided to purchase a video camera around Thanksgiving as our Christmas present to each last night we exchanged stockings. I'll posts a few pictures as a recap next week..but let's just say that my diet is definitely not going to resume until the new year!

Tonight, I have my annual Christmas dinner with my two BFF's from home. Instead of doing presents, we decided maybe 5 years ago or so to go out to a fancy dinner just the three of us to catch up. It is probably the day I look forward to the most around the holidays. We don't get to spend too much time together just the three of us these days so the time we do get together is precious to me.

Here we are last year with our annual picture in front of Jill's parents' tree

So if I don't get a chance to post beforehand...


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Last year for Matt's birthday I did a complete day of surprises. From the presents, to the food, to the activities...he didn't know anything. This year, I thought I would ask him what he wanted to do! He said one thing: tobogganing.

Cleveland has some beautiful Metroparks, one of which has a Chalet and two tobogganing chutes. Check it out!

We just got our first snow of the season the night before, and even though it was only about an inch or so, it was just so perfect and beautiful.

Here we are just as we arrived. Please notice the building to the left of Matt...yeah...that's the building we walked to. Do you also notice the almost completely empty parking lot? Yep. My husband always parks the furthest away. And he's one of THOSE people who takes up like two spots because they don't want anyone to hit their car when they open their doors. Annoying! But it was his birthday...

Now let's get this party started!! Oh wait. I have to carry my own toboggan?? Up steps?? Hm.

That sucker was heavy! We definitely got a workout in. But it was totally worth it to see this little face!

We did take a few much needed breaks by the fire.

They even had a concession stand where we enjoyed hot chocolate, popcorn, and a corn dog. In all corn dog. ever.

After a few hours, we started making the 30 minute drive home. On the way, I spotted this!

It was just like Prancer!!! We drove by this restaurant and I happened to look over and I shouted, "A reindeer!! A reindeer!!" Yes, I am a child. But Matt was the one who suggested we go back for a picture.

30 seconds later...he started to pee. The reindeer, not Matt.

Merry Christmas!! And Happy Birthday!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Two Cakes and a Birthday!

Last week was insane for me. I had two cakes due over the weekend...and as a girl who works full time and was attempting to plan a spectacular birthday weekend for her husband...this was a bit of a challenge. But, my lucky stars were shining on me and I finished both cakes on time with happy customers!

The first cake was for a little girl's 2nd birthday. She is obsessed with Jack's Big Music Show from Nickelodeon. Have you heard of it? Neither had I. I spent some time on the Internet researching Jack and came up with this:

Her parents LOVED it! And when I was leaving, Kennedy finally noticed her cake on the counter and said, "Jack!?!" It was so cute! She knew who it was!

The next cake I made for a woman at my work. Her granddaughter was turning 2 and they requested a "winter" themed cake with Frosty on top. We decided on this:

It's a two-tiered cake with the winter snowflakes all around the tiers. Frosty is on top with Karen riding him as a sled. I sculpted Karen and Frosty out of Rice Krispie Treats and covered them in fondant. They were the first large figures I have made out of fondant and I think they turned out really well! And as I heard this morning...the ice cream cone trees were a big hit!

After I delivered the final cake on Saturday afternoon, I could fully concentrate on give my honey the most fabulous birthday weekend ever! He had a weekend full of everything and anything he wanted to do. We had lunch at Smokey Bones. Seriously delicious wings, pulled pork, Texas toast...awesome!

We relaxed around the house for the afternoon and then enjoyed a dinner out! We went to a place called Henry's at the Barn. The restaurant is in an actual barn which was fixed up into a pretty fancy restaurant. They served authentic low country Carolina food which I knew my Southern boy would just love.

They did get a strike right off the bat for not having sweet tea (really??), and their fried green tomatoes left something to be desired...but Matt's shrimp and grits with andouille sausage was a winner! I had walleye on top of a sweet potato waffle which was also quite good. Overall restaurant rating=B.

I think I'll save our adventures on Sunday, his actual birthday, for tomorrow. We went tobogganing and had a blast!

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Birthday Wish


I just want you to know that I thank God every day for bringing us together. You're my other half, the person who makes me feel whole. You'll forever be my partner, my very best friend, and my love. You have my whole heart and always will.

There are so many things I love about you, but the thing I think I love the most is the way you love me. It's that special kind of love that only I get to see. And it warms my heart to think of you sharing that kind of love with our future children.

Oh...and you look so gosh darn handsome in a suit.

This weekend we will celebrate all things you! 30 is a very important birthday and I want to treat it as such. I hope you're looking forward to a fun-filled but relaxing time of presents, food, and fun!

Love you to the moon and back!

**Matt's birthday is technically on Sunday...but I usually don't post on the weekends so I thought I'd better give him an early shout out**

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Magic Pants!

This morning, Matt and I were discussing last minute gift ideas for his parents. Clearly, he is in charge of this task...seeing as we are days away from Christmas and his dad is giftless and his mother has two small gifts from me that I just happened to see in the fall. Waiting until the last minute is just Matt's way. I'm a planner, he is not. I'm dealing with it (slowly).

He saw a Blue-Ray player online and suggested that as a way to go. Well, that reminded me of a gem of a story that happened over Thanksgiving. We stay with Matt's parents when we are in Indianapolis. They have a little bit more room than my parents...not to mention they have a shower that actually has water pressure. Anyways, his dad is pretty into Netflix and always has movies waiting for us to choose from when we are visiting. Well this year, the selection included this:

What? My FIL rented The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?

Admittedly, I have not seen this movie. But the description alone was priceless:

Based on Anne Brashares's young-adult novel, this coming-of-age tale centers on four best friends who buy a mysterious pair of pants that fits each of them, despite their differing sizes, and makes whoever wears them feel fabulous. When faced with the prospect of spending their first summer apart, the pals decide they'll swap the pants so that each girl in turn can enjoy the magic.

So Phil. You're telling me that upon reading that description you thought, "Hey! That sounds like a movie I'd like to see! Four best friends! Mysterious pants! Magic! What could be better!?!"

Obviously Matt and I had quite the giggle fit about this pick. My FIL claims he rented it for my MIL.

Likely story Phil. Likely story.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What I'm Watching This Season

I've been a bit Christmas movie obsessed this year. I usually try to catch the old standbys....Rudolph, Charlie Brown, Frosty...that sort of thing. But this year I check the guide nightly just to make sure I am not missing any movies on Hallmark, ABC Family, AMC, or Lifetime.

Here are some of the ones I have already watched:

These will also soon be they are scheduled on my DVR.

To Grandmother's House We Go

I can't believe I just admitted that I am excited to see a Mary Kate and Ashely movie...but I used to love this one! I tried to watch some of it yesterday and it was entirely too lame to watch in front of my husband, so I think I will finish this today before he gets home.

Home Alone 2

But I cannot find one of my very favorite Christmas movies! It's called Christmas Every Day. Have you seen it?? Ha! It's similar to Groundhog day...and pretty cheesy...but I love it! Here's hoping it's on this year somewhere!

What are your must see movies??

ETA: So many people have mentioned Elf! I totally and completely love Elf and I cannot believe I forgot it! Love, Love, Love!