30 December, 2011

Merry Christmas to me!

I've been saving up for a few months, and I was finally able to purchase something I've been wanting for a long time!  A DSLR camera!!!

I've had it since we got home from Canada and I've had a lot of fun learning how to use it.  I know I still have SO much to learn, but I'm really hoping this will be key to improving my photography!

25 December, 2011

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours,
We wish you a very Merry Christmas as we celebrate
the birth of our Savior!
Merry Christmas and blessings for the New Year!

Melissa, Mike, and Champ ;)

24 December, 2011

Christmas Around Our House

Merry Christmas and welcome to my house! C'mon in and I'll show you around!

Here you can see my Christmas card display.  I made it myself--a piece of festive ribbon with a bow on top.  Then I bought some tiny clothespins to attach the cards to the ribbon.  We don't have too many cards, but I wanted a fun way to display them!
I love this Christmas puppy--he looks a lot like Champ did when he was younger!

Here's my little Christmas centerpiece for our dining room table.  Feel free to grab some candies as I show you to the living room.

Come with me to our living room, I'd love to show you our tree! We have lots of ornaments on it that have special meanings for us.  And of course, under the tree you can see presents for our family members!

Here's a fun ornament to celebrate of first Christmas together as a married couple!

I wish you could see it better in this picture, but because of the flash, you can't see the words. It says "New Home 2010"

We started a tradition last year that Mike and I buy each other a Christmas ornament.  This is the one he got me last Christmas.

My SEM student made me this ornament this year!

This is the ornament I bought Mike last year

Mike and I both got one of these for Christmas last year from the SEM leaders.

This is an ornament that I have had for as long as I can remember!  When you push it, it plays We Wish You a Merry Christmas!
Of course, I can't forget to introduce you to Tyler, our talking snowman.  He always has a friendly greeting as you enter our living room!

I love this little Christmas tree--it looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss movie! 

Mike's favorite artist is Thomas Kinkade.  For his birthday this year, my parents gave him this fiber optic wall hanging.  You can't see it in the picture, but the lights on the house and the Christmas tree change colors.  It's beautiful in the dark!

Let's head into the kitchen and we can enjoy some cookies and hot chocolate!  I'm so glad you stopped by!

22 December, 2011

A Christmas Survey

I saw this survey over at Lindsay's blog, and I thought it would be fun to play along!  Only 3 days until Christmas!!!  Are you ready?  I think I am, just 1 more gift to wrap.  Oh, and lots of baking to do tomorrow :)

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?? Definitely hot chocolate.  I had egg nog for the first time earlier this month and it wasn't my favorite.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? We rarely did "Santa" gifts growing up, but when we did, they were wrapped.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I love colored lights, that's what we have on our tree.  I think it looks so festive.  But, I also think white lights on a tree with some fancy decorations is stunning as well!

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, I don't think I ever have!

5. When do you hang your decorations up? We usually put up our decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving.  This year, I had everything up then except for my village set (which may or may not get set up tomorrow!)

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? My mom and Grandma's homemade stuffing. Nothing beats that!

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Oh my, I don't think I could pick just one.  I loved when my parents would send us on a scavenger hunt for our "big" present, hiding clues around the house.  I also like getting wooden shoes with goodies in them from my mom on Sinterklaas Dag.

8. What is on your Christmas Wishlist? A lot!  Some things I asked for included:  a BOSU ball, a foam roller, a heart rate monitor, running socks, a jump rope (notice a trend here?)

9. Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve? Yes!  Growing up, my family always did presents on Christmas Eve, right after the church service.   It's perfect because Mike's family always celebrates on Christmas Day, so we can celebrate with both our families.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? This year we have a new tree which has pinecones in it, plus we put some colored lights on it.  We have a colored star on top and all kinds of ornaments.  We both have ornaments from our childhood as well as the ones we gave eachother last year.  I have a few colored balls, but it's mostly special ornaments.

11. Snow? Love it or dread it? I love snow for Christmas and about a week afterward.  After that, I'm ready for summer!

12. Real tree or fake tree? We have a fake tree now.  Growing up we typically had a real tree, so I miss the evergreen scent!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I have received so many incredible gifts, I can't choose just one!

14. What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you? Celebrating the birth of Jesus with family and friends!

15. What is your favorite Holiday dessert? I have to choose just one?  I really don't know...I can't think of a dessert that we only get around the holidays!

16. What is your favorite tradition? The candle-light service (now just the last song) at church on Christmas Eve, followed by going to my parents' and preparing a feast of appetizers and dessert-type foods.  Then we read the Christmas story and open gifts.

17. What tops your tree? A colorful star...I took it from my parents :)

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Giving!  I love picking out gifts for people and seeing their reactions when they receive them!

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? A tie between Christmas Shoes and Breathe of Heaven.

20. Candy canes, yuck or yum? Peppermint--yuck!  Fruity--yum!

21. Favorite Christmas Movie? I have so many: Elf, Mary Christmas, Polar Express, The Santa Claus (all of them!), How the Grinch Stole Christmas...

22. What do you leave for Santa? Nothing...lame, I know!

23. Do you have a Christmas morning tradition? Usually cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

24. Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall? Both!  They both have advantages, but I did the majority of my shopping online this year!

25. Christmas letter or Christmas card? Card...I should probably get them in the mail...

20 December, 2011

Champ Update

Has it really been 15 days since my last post?  Why, yes, it has...shame on me!  It's hard to believe it is already December 20th.  This month has been so incredibly busy, it's just flown by!  We've had Christmas parties for SEM, Youth Group, Work, and of course family!  I also did my very first Craft Show earlier this month and it went well!  We were in Canada last Thursday through Sunday and had a fabulous time with our family, I'll upload pictures soon to share them!  For now, here's some pictures of our adorable growing puppy!

Just to remind you, this was how big he was when we got him!  I think he weighed between 16 and 20 pounds.

We gave him a bath a few weeks ago.  Not surprisingly (since he is part Labrador Retriever), he loves water and bath time.  Afterwards, I wrapped him in a towel to dry him off and prevent him from shaking everywhere!

The day after Thanksgiving, we bought him this huge (24") rawhide bone and a dog bed.  It's been less than a month and there is about a 3" section of the very end of the bone left.  He likes to lay on his bed and play with his toys.

See how much he's grown?  I took this picture last week, and Champ is now 6 months old (on Dec. 16).  I weighed him on Monday and he was up to 44.4 pounds!  He's just a big soft furball :)

Champ and Daddy

This is quite a common sight in our house.  The two "men" taking a nap on the floor.  Last night they were laying face to face, but I'm not supposed to post that picture :)

Champ is fully house-trained (and has been for a while).  He knows some basic commands, but is best at "sit".  We are still working on "stay" and "come".  He's a very smart dog, and we love having him around!

05 December, 2011

Friend Makin' Mondays--I am...

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: I am…

1. I am good at…baking, cooking, leading others.
2. I am happy when…I am with my friends and family.

3. I am working on…keeping my house clean!  It's hard, but I'm learning!
4. I am interested in…fitness and healthy living.
5. I am always…smiling :)
6. I am enjoying…the Christmas season!

7. I am in…love with my husband! ;)
8. I am reading…through my constantly growing stack of magazines. I think I'm reading either Shape or Fitness right now.

9. I am concerned about…nothing that I can think of!

10. I am looking forward to…upcoming Christmas parties!
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