After Christmas sales. And restraint.

I love after Christmas sales.  It feeds my soul.  But, this year, I am trying to show restraint.  I’m trying avoid the Pier1 Spending Extravaganza of 2009.  So, I formed a strategic plan –  a virtual straight jacket, if you will.  I created a list so that when I lose my mind gazing lovingly at all of the Christmas fandangles , I can fall back into line.

My mantra:  Stick to the list.  Do not stray from the list.  Do not buy anything sparkly or shiny.  Just take a deep breath and stick to the list.  Don’t be swayed by the frenzied shoppers around you.  When in doubt, stick to the list.  Also, no more wrapping paper you idiot, we have enough to wall paper our entire townhome community.  For the love of GOD, stick to the list!!  Ok, I’ll move on now.

Here’s my list:

1. Clothes for the Hubs.  He needs a few new things and it’ll be fairly cheap since we have some lovely giftcards to spend (thanks, Mom!).  It’s also a great excuse to see what I can throw in for myself when he’s not watching.  But, that’s top secret so don’t tell.

2. A few sweaters (if the sales are good) for yours truly.  Because I need them?

3.  One straw wreath from Michaels (I have a giftcard there) and hopefully some red yarn for future DIY projects.  *rubs hands together*

4.  Two reed diffusers from Pier1 and THAT’S ALL.  One is for myself (that I’ll tuck away in my Christmas bin) and one will be used as a gift next year.  If I gift this to you, pretend that you don’t remember I scored a super great deal on it and have been storing it in my linen closet for a year.  Forget all of that.

5. A pair of slippers for the Hubs.  He’s been sporting mine around and well, they are purple with fur trim.  Which is not acceptable.

And, that’s it!  Wish me luck??

I’ll let you know how it goes.  Anything on your after Christmas sale list or do you just head out and see what inspires you??  Is the above picture making you uncomfortable?

Maximum Calorie Intake Exceeded

Guess who decided to bake more cookies even though their maximum calorie intake had been exceeded?

Sugar cookie cutouts.  I started to tire from the rolling and cutting out and singing Christmas tunes, so I roped the Hubs into decorating them.  He got, well, creative on their a**.

Wanna see?






Get In My Belly: Christmas cookie recipe

We got snowed in a few weekends back so, we baked.  AND, if you are keeping track, that means we got to check one of the Christmas Activities (which is in lieu of presents) off the list.  I love lists and checking things off (not things twice, unlike a certain fatty I know).  So.  I’m giving YOU my favorite Christmas cookie recipe because I think you are really special and, since it’s stolen from, it’s not something I can actually give to you in the first place.  Bake ’em.  Love ’em.  Bring me some?


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 40 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped.


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside.  I don’t sift anything.  Just whisk it and pretend that’s what they mean.
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture; mix well. Shape into 40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan.  Eat a few balls accidentally.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan.  Unfortunately, the cooling part is an agonizing but necessary evil.

If they last this long, these would be pretty to bring to a holiday party.  I wouldn’t know.  Here.  More pictures.

My baby, she wrote me a letter.

I thought I’d post my Christmas letter for all of my fellow Internets just in case I was too cheap to send you the real deal.  Don’t hate, appreciate?

image courtesy:


Hey there, my little elves.

At first, I was going to write a really stellar Christmas letter but then decided against it because in truth, Zack and I are terribly boring.  Later on though, I panicked and decided to write one anyway (just a letter, not a stellar one) because I was worried you might Think we are boring, which is way worse than only Being boring.  So, here we are.  Please, everyone stay calm, we’ll get through this together.

Since basically nothing noteworthy has happened to us this year, how about I tell you what we DID NOT do in 2010?  That was a rhetorical question so your answers were ignored.  Sorry, we have to keep moving or we’ll never arrive safely at the end of this holiday hogwash.

We didn’t sell our townhome, even though it was on the market for 5 very sad and inconvenient months.  I think it’s because the linoleum eyesore was just too much for anyone to take and I can’t say I blame them, my dreams are often haunted by it.

Zack’s BDPA students didn’t win 2nd place at the National Competition (they won first).

We didn’t have a baby or get a dog or buy a new car.  I did pick up a very cute sweater on clearance last weekend though, so there’s that.

We didn’t travel to any beautiful beaches or go on some adventurous, grand vacation.  Instead, we road tripped to Michigan to ambush friends for a few days this summer and spent the rest of the year playing an embarrassing amount of rummy and salivating over the Food Network.

We didn’t win the lottery and quit our jobs so I could pursue yoga and napping full time and Zack could finally become an official coffee connoisseur.  Instead, I still work for a Fancy Computer Company building chips that could save the world (no, that’s not true) and Zack works from home, avoiding the laundry that piles up, on his funeral software company that won’t save the world either, but helps out dead people.

I didn’t write any important manuscripts, pen a sweet children’s book, or lend my signature for a fancy celebrity auction.  Instead, I started a blog so I could publish my nonsense on the Internet, in hopes that my future grandchildren will use it against me later.

I hope you have a wonderful and drama free holiday.  I also hope you eat more than you should and love as much as you can, because that’s what life (even a boring one) is all about.

with love,
Zack & (the)Candace

P.S.  If you want to see the Christmas card that accompanied this letter, check it out HERE.  It has very pretty pictures.

All I want for Christmas is you. I mean, him. The Hubs. For reals.

You just rolled your eyes.  It’s ok (and deserved) because you *know* that I’m actually coveting about a billion things right now (one being a wardrobe makeover).  But, this year, Hubs and I made a pact to skip Christmas gifts to each other.  INSTEAD, we each have to come up with a small list of things we’d like to do together (some free, some otherwise).  I have to come up with three things and so does the Hubs.  Isn’t that all sweet and lovey dovey?  Also, practical.  Because,  Hubs and I are saving greenbacks.  We are saving for a little (big) present that we plan to purchase sometime after Christmas and that’s why we decided to ‘skip’ our usual Christmas load this year.  I can’t tell you what we are saving for yet in an effort to drag this out into two or more annoying blog posts.  Oh, the anticipation.

theCandace’s list

  1. Run a 5k together.  These might be hard to come by since the Hubs teaches class on Saturday mornings, when most of the races are scheduled.  But, I’ll keep a lookout.  The alternative is to take a run downtown and hit up breakfast afterward.  :)
  2. Go cross country skiing and warm up with hot chocolate afterward at home.
  3. Bake Christmas cookies and allow me to sing loud and dance obnoxiously to my Christmas music.  Also, he can’t say anything if I decide to don my Santa hat.

Hub’s List:

  1. Attend Timberwolves game.  I assume they are probably handing these tickets out for almost nothing.  Let’s just say it’s debatable if I am a better baller than the current Twolves and that’s a sad notion since I sat on the bench for two years until I had enough dignity to quit my high school team altogether.
  2. Attend a local community play, musical or concert.  Maybe our neighbor’s Irish band will count!?
  3. Do community service of some sort.  Work at a food shelf or do something computer-y for a good cause.

Isn’t the Hubs a good person?  All I want to do is eat and not get too fat from eating so much.  Hubs wants to be a good person in our community.  I’ll go along with it just to stay on Santa’s Nice List for next year.

Is your family doing anything different this year for the holidays?  Do you have a family member that is keeping you on Santa’s Nice List, no matter how much you try to fight it?

Shiny things.

We caught the decorating bug over here and my house has been hurling up baubles and glittery ornaments ever since.  I’ve been enjoying it.  I had to avoid temptation and NOT BUY ANYTHING NEW for Christmas.  Saying the same thing but with a different sentence:  My challenge – To use what I’ve got.  Come, let’s check out my place.

My front door.  It’s a Pier1 wreath that I bought at full price (idiot) a few years back because I couldn’t resist.  It’s cute.  But, I will not be paying full price for Christmas decor again, oh no sirree.

Brrr.  Let’s go in, it’s cold outside.  Also, my neighbors are glaring.

Look what greets you when you walk in – a little gift from me to you!  Awww.  Don’t touch though.  It’s only for looks.

I just wrapped this picture in wrapping paper and added an embellishment that I already had.  And like the cheapskate I am, I will reuse that wrapping paper/embellishment when I unwrap my art and hang it back up.  Hey, I’m “resourceful”.

My house is tiny so, even though you are standing in the entry way,  you are also already in the living room/dining room just by breathing.  Take your shoes off, my carpet eats stains like I eat Christmas cookies (fast and with little regret).

Here is a weird little nook in my living room.  Usually a cream vase lives here.  I swapped the vase for a tree and cluster of baubles (I know there is a proper word for it, so help a girl out please).  They match each other.  What they DON’T match is the wreath outside.  The shame.  I bought them during two different Christmas seasons from Pier1.  I know, I am appalled too.

The vase.  Well,  it was moved to the entry way floor.  Please be kind and remember that I can’t spend any money.  I had to be “creative”.

It’s bad, I know.  Can we move on, please?

Our stockings, hung with care.  *Yawn*.

Actually, they stay there until I turn on the fireplace…and then I am so overcome with paranoia that I move them to underneath the TV (which is not cute) because I’m worried they will go up in Falala Flames.

Our tree!

Hubs took this pic in “night mode” with it all aglow.  And, yep, we rock the fake tree.  Feel free to hate if you wish.  The color scheme is red and gold.  I’m stuck with it for now.  Usually, I would like to have my wrapping paper coordinate, but this year I am trying using up scraps.  So, yeah.

Do you know who was green with envy when we decorated the tree?  Rita! (OMG, she’s still alive!).  So, I adorned her.  She was totally pumped.

Our living room is finished off with some random festive crap.  I got that candle from Pier1 (a theme?  think they should sponsor me?) last year when I hit up their after Christmas sale.  I plopped it in my Christmas bin and forgot about it.  It was a surprise when I dug out all of the decorations.  Go me.  Oh, and also…

I whispered my wish list to Santa.  Hopefully he took notes.

Our dining room.  Have a seat and feel free to crack open some wine.

Most of this is from when I lost my mind and spent $131 dollars at Pier1 after Christmas.  I dragged all of my loot home and showed the Hubs (he was surprisingly calm).  After I sobered up from my shopping high, I was racked with guilt.  So, I returned most of it (a good portion being reed diffusers and candles) and only ended up keeping $50 worth of stuff.  Those red candles and the star being part of the ‘kept’ haul.  A side story that you’ll wish I hadn’t wasted your time with:  I was IN LOVE with a little bird wreath hanger (I had been crushing on it for a long while) and in my frenzied Pier1 shopping extravaganza (references above) I scooped it up.  But The Guilt made me return it.  Coincidentally, it was the only item that I bought that day which not on sale.  BUT, I was at Pier1 shopping for Christmas presents earlier this month and, lo and behold, there was the little bird wreath hanger (only one left!), 50% off!  I snatched it up and high fived myself (it looks like a clap from the outside).  Oh, Karma, you taste so sweet.  I’ll be showing it off soon (I’m FORESHADOWING).  Anyway, where was I?  Oh, Christmas.

Let’s move along.  I have random Christmas towels in the kitchen and downstairs bath.  It’s so vanilla but then again, I like vanilla.  Also, I didn’t take any pictures because this post is too long and I can tell that you are feeling some fatigue.

The only other room that got some Cheer is the upstairs bath.  Normally, you see…

But, I did a little switcheroo.

I got this paper from Hobby Lobby this fall.  I hit up their clearance section and got two sheets of Christmas paper, one Easter one and two other sheets with random patterns.  I waited in this terribly long line and almost bailed on the entire transaction because, seriously, these five sheets of paper were NOT WORTH IT.  But, I was too far invested in the line wait, so I hung in there.  I’m glad I did because the cashier boy did some magical clearance calculations on those archaic registers and rung me up.  “11 cents.” He said.  I thought I should mention that one sheet alone cost .23 cents but we were both sick of staring at each other so I scrounged up the change and skipped happily out the door.  I’m sorry Hobby Lobby, I don’t know where I stashed my Integrity.  My bad.

Also, sorry to waste your time with another stupid story, but it’s my way.

Back to this.  It’s easy.  And Fairly festive.

And I left this welcome basket out for Santa.  Just in case the reindeer get startled by a cell phone tower and splatter urine on him, he can take a quick pit stop and clean up.

And subtle hints never hurt.

And that’s it.

I think I may set out a plate of cookies for The Man, although it’s sincerely debatable if the PMS Monster will beat him to it.  You’d better hurry, Santa!

Gotta run, Hubs thinks I am being nice and shoveling out my neighbors.  But, secretly, I am blogging in the closet.

**Update:  The Nester is hosting a Holiday Decor Linky Party and I attended.  I shouldn’t have.  It’s like going to the Oscars sporting a greasy 2 day old ponytail and ill fitting yoga pants.  But, check it out if you want some awe inspiring holiday decor because obviously you didn’t get your fix here.

A Very Winter Wonderland

Minnesota got punched in the face with a blizzard.  The Twin Cities airport closed down, the Metrodome roof collapsed and I got to spend the entire weekend annoying my Hubs because we were snowed in.  I am the only other human life form he’s seen since Friday.  Terrifying, no?

Take a look.

And here is the Metrodome roof collapse:

We’ve been drinking wine, baking cookies and napping a lot.  Also, not doing any of the cleaning I thought I would do if I were ever snowed in.

Stay warm and pray for the temps to rise above being Frozen Snot Frigid.