Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hang Your Stockings and Say Your Prayers, Cause Santa Claus Comes Tonight!

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!!

Can you believe it's almost Christmas? I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again...I love Christmas! Over the past month I've baked and eaten my fair share of Christmas treats, shopped for gifts for the family, listened to Christmas music at every chance I could get, sent Christmas cards, went to Christmas parties, and felt the joy of the season pulsing through everyone. Why can't it be Christmas everyday?!

Speaking of Christmas all the time, did you know that there is an island in the Indian Ocean, near Australia called, "Christmas Island?" I've known about it since I was a kid and always wanted to go there to see if it was like Christmas all year long! If I were the Mayor of Christmas Island, I would make it mandatory to have Christmas decorations up all year long. If anyone from Christmas Island happens to come across this blog, please email me and tell me about your island.

Alright, onto the point of my blog. Let's talk about Christmas movies. Christmas movies are great, aren't they? They just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside! I've put together my top ten list of Christmas movies, with some clips and pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Sara's Top 10 Christmas Movie List:

10. A Christmas Story

In all honesty, I still don't really see what the big deal about this movie is, but I feel that it's just one that you HAVE to watch on Christmas. Plus, since TBS shows it for 24 hours on Christmas, how could you not watch it?

9. Miracle on 34th Street

I haven't seen this movie in years, but I remember my mom watching it a lot during Christmas, when I was a kid. Definately a classic!

8. It's a Wonderful Life
Another one that my mom always watched during Christmas time.

7. The Polar Express

This is one of my new favorites. Jerm and I saw it for the first time last year (thanks to the McIntyre's) and it's such a cute movie. "I believe!"

6. White Christmas other words for it.

5. Mickey's Christmas Carol
When my sister and I were little, my parents used to turn this movie on as we open gifts on Christmas morning. Awww, memories.

4. The Santa Clause

"Seeing isn't believing. Believing is seeing."

3. Home Alone
I think I remember seeing this in the movie theater when it came out. As I watch it now, I tend to wonder how the burglars could be so stupid, but it's still a great Christmas movie.

2. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Gotta love those Muppets! Kermit as Bob Cratchit and Michael Cain as Scrooge, plus all the great songs, make this a definite favorite of mine.

1. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Hands down! Best Christmas movie ever!  And the best line of the movie...

So, that's my top ten list of Christmas movies. What is your favorite Christmas movie(s)?

Jeremy and I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas and get to spend time with your family and friends! One last thing before I go, check out this cool website and track Santa Claus as he makes his way to your house tonight. :-)

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Light Displays

In the spirit of Christmas, let's talk about Christmas lights.  Along with everything else about this time of year, I love Christmas lights.  They are so colorful, pretty, and twinkly... what's not to like?  My love for Christmas lights started when I was a kid because every Thanksgiving Day my dad would put the Christmas lights up on the house and my sister and I would get to help.  Jeremy and I sadly do not have any lights up on our house, but we will next year since we'll have our very own house to decorate.  Since we don't have any lights up, I'm going to live vicariously through the two video clips below.  But before we get to that, let's view the best "Christmas light moment" from one of the best Christmas movies ever, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation!"

Alright, now onto these two Christmas light displays.  Aren't they cool?  I could watch them over and over again.  Plus, I have so many questions for these people!  How long does it take you to set up?  Isn't it expensive?  What is your electric bill like?!  Do you feel like you live in a disco club?  Do your neighbors hate you?  Anyway, check out these two clips to increase your Christmas spirit and get inspired for next year.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Guitar Hero?

Warning: This is a very random blog post!!

Has anyone seen the new commercials for the Guitar Hero video game?   I LOVE these commercials!!  For those of you not familiar with them, Guitar Hero is a game where you need to hit the right keys in response to the notes of the music that your band is playing in the game.  Special "instruments/controls" for the game consist of a guitar, microphone and drumset.

There are a variety of commercials for the game, which have the theme of Tom Cruise's dance in "Risky Business."  My favorite is the sports one with Kobe Bryant, Michael Phelps, Alex Rodriguez and Tony Hawk!  I love how Tony Hawk slides in on his skate board and Michael Phelps just looks so happy playing his guitar.  Personally, I think it should be Shaq as the lead singer and not Kobe...but it's still pretty funny.  The Heidi Klum ones are good too (you'll notice that she has two: one with a shirt one and one without the shirt, but she's a Victoria Secret model so that's okay) and there are additional ones with some American Idol people, but I don't know who those people are.  So, here are the commercials for your viewing pleasure.  I don't know about you...but it kinda makes me want to go buy Guitar Hero! :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We're Homeowners!!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I'm very pleased to announce that Jeremy and I are the proud new owners of this very lovely house!!!


We closed on the house last Tuesday, December 9th and we're super excited.  I haven't mentioned anything on our blog about the house until now, because I was scared that we were jinxed and that something would fall through like our previous experience earlier this year.  For those who want a recap of the terrible event, please refer to my post entitled, The House That Almost Was.  There have been two other houses that we've put offers on since "the house that almost was," but the bank took too long to reply on one and  we got out bid on the other.  Then, just as we were very discouraged and about to give up, we found this the neighborhood that I wanted to live in from the beginning and for a great price.

Though the housing market totally sucks right now, we got a killer deal on the house.  It wouldn't appraise for the asking price, so the bank had to drop it $20,000!!  SWEET!  It's approximately 2200 square feet, 2 stories, 2 1/2 bathrooms, 4 bedrooms and a den.  Plus, I'm so excited for my favorite room of the house...peace out - little, cramped kitchen...hello -beautiful, new kitchen with an island and granite countertops! 


The houses in this neighborhood have small side yards, but we're right across the street from the community center (where I can work out) and the park.  We're looking forward to having the park right there, because we're highly anticipating a four legged, furry friend joining the family in January or March...but more on that later!

  IMG_0977[2] IMG_0978[2]

So, we bought a house!  We're not planning on moving in until mid-January though because we are going to paint, get new carpet and do some other modifications.  In fact, our personal General Contractor (Jeremy's dad)drove out from Cali last week, has been staying with us and is almost has most of our improvements complete!  So...come visit us in our new home!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

O Christmas Tree

"O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!"

"For every year the Christmas tree,
Brings to us all both joy and glee.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!"

We got our Christmas tree today! Isn't it beautiful? It's 100% authentic, artificial materials and it's about 2 feet tall.


Since we aren't giving Christmas presents to each other and are going to be busy for the holidays, Jeremy said that we would not be getting a tree this year (what a bah-humbug, right?!). How can you not have a Christmas tree?! Well, I eventually convinced him that we needed a tree...even a small one would do, and then I came across this little beauty at Walmart. It came with its own lights and for only $8.88 it will pay for itself in no time.

When I got home from work today, I immediately decorated our little tree, while Jeremy laughed at me, with our plethora ornaments. You'll see that we have only 5 real ornaments including: 2 I Love Lucy ones, 1 from our 1st Christmas last year, 1 from Scottsdale (thanks Mom) and a glass ball from my friend, Alli. Though it might be a bit dismal when compared to a regular Christmas tree, I think it's wonderful and I had a great time during the whole ten minutes that it took me to decorate it! :)




Putting the size into perspective.


The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

First Cookies of the Season

Last night I had the honor of baking the first Christmas cookies of the season!  At work today we had a Mexican and Italian themed holiday luncheon.  I sign up to bring a dessert, so I decided to bring Mexican Wedding Cookies!  Have you had these cookies before?  They are so easy to make and quite delicious.  Plus, they look like little Christmasy!  I have been making them at Christmas time for the past few years and they are always a hit.  As usual, I used whole wheat flour and I did not have enough pecans, so I used almonds too.  I didn't get to try one (there were too many other goodies to eat), but they were all gone by the end of the they must have been good.  Enjoy!




Hot cookie being rolled in powered sugar.



Mexican Wedding Cookies

by Paula Deen

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for coating baked cookies

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting hands

1 cup pecans, chopped into very small pieces

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at low speed until it is smooth.
  3. Beat in the vanilla.
  4. At low speed gradually add the flour.
  5. Mix in the pecans with a spatula.
  6. With floured hands, take out about 1 tablespoon of dough and shape into a crescent. Continue to dust hands with flour as you make more cookies.
  7. Place onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 40 minutes.
  8. When cool enough to handle but still warm, roll in additional confectioners' sugar. Cool on wire racks.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Happy December everyone! I intended to post this blog yesterday, but there just weren't enough hours in the day. I'm so stoked (yes, I really said stoked) for Christmas! It's my favorite holiday and there are so many fun things to look forward to, such as: Christmas parties, Christmas cookies, Christmas caroling, Christmas trees, Christmas lights, Santa Claus, giving presents, receiving presents, family, friends, candy canes, awesome Christmas movies (Christmas Vacation and The Muppet Christmas Carol, come to mind), Christmas break (yay for working at a University and getting two weeks off!!), and of course, Christmas music (I LOVE Christmas music and could listen to it all year long)! To quote Andy Williams, "It's the most wonderful time of the year. With the kids jingle belling, And everyone telling you "Be of good cheer!" It's the most wonderful time of the year!" :)

In the spirit of Christmas, you'll notice that I have festively changed our blog background, I have added a "Christmas Countdown" to the side bar and to this post, a playlist with some of the best Christmas songs ever! I heart Christmas music and could listen to it all year. In fact, I'm listening to it right now! My most favorite Christmas song is "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," by Brenda Lee. What's yours?? And what are you plans for the holidays? Anything exciting?

Enjoy December! And remember, "It's the hap-happiest season of all. With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings When friends come to call...It's the hap- happiest season of all!"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Delicious Thanksgiving Recipes!

Per my previous post, you'll see that we had a delicious Thanksgiving.  Since cooking and baking are my hobbies, I wanted to pass on a few of my favorite recipes from this Thanksgiving.  They are all awesome recipes and I hope that you enjoy them as much as we do.  Below are the recipes for my Sugar and Spiced Nuts, my mom's Pumpkin Squares and my mother-in-law's Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad.  I only took pictures of the nuts, so you'll have to use your imagination for the other two. :)


Sugar and Spiced Nuts ingredients.


Mixing it all together.



Sugar and Spice Nuts

by Recipezaar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 egg white

1 cup salted cashews (*I used 3 cups of Mixed Nuts, which included almonds, cashews, Brazilian Nuts, etc.*)

1 cup pecan halves

1 cup dry roasted peanuts

1/2 cup dried cranberries

  1. In a small bowl, combine he brown sugar, cinnamon and cayenne; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk egg white; add nuts and cranberries.
  2. Sprinkle with sugar mixture and toss to coat.
  3. Spread in a single layer on a greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 300° for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once.
  5. Cool before storing.

Gretchen's Pumpkin Squares

*This dessert is the reason I look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas!  I have loved it since I was a kid.  It's a delicious combination of pumpkin pie and buttery cake.  YUM!

1 (29 oz.) can solid pack pumpkin

4 eggs

1 c. sugar

1 (13 oz.) can evaporated milk

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp.salt

1 box yellow cake mix

1/2 c.(1 stick) butter, melted

1 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

  1. Grease and lightly flour a 9 x 13 inch cake pan.
  2. Mix pumpkin and eggs together on medium speed with mixer.  Add  in sugar, milk, and spices.  Pour into pan.
  3. Mix together cake mix and butter to form crumb mixture.  Spread over pumpkin. Top with nuts and press down gently.
  4. Bake at 375 for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and serve with Cool Whip or vanilla ice cream.

Belinda's Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad

*This dessert is probably the reason Jeremy looks forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I HATE Jello!  I can't stand the way it jiggles, but I love this dessert and it is the only way, shape or form that I'll eat Jello!  It's a delicious combination of sweet Jello and cream cheese, with a salty pretzel crust.  YUM!

3/4 cup melted butter

2 cups crushed pretzels

2 tbs sugar

8 oz. cream cheese

1 cup sugar

8 oz. Cool Whip

1 large package of Sugar Free Strawberry Jello

2 cups boiling water

2 10 oz. packs of frozen strawberries

1/2 cup cold water

  1. Combine butter, pretzels and 2 tbs. sugar.  Press into a greased 13x9 inch baking dish.  Bake at 250 for 15 minutes.  Let cool.
  2. Mix cream cheese and cup of sugar.  Add Cool Whip.  Spread on top of crust.  Cover and chill.
  3. Mix Jello and boiling water.  Add cold water and frozen strawberries.  Mix together on and off for 30-40 minutes, until it has a jelly consistency.  Pour onto previous layers.
  4. Cover and refrigerate over night.

I hope you enjoy these delicious recipes as much as my family does!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that you all ate a lot of turkey, stuffing and all the trimming, plus got a chance to spend time with family and friends today!!  Jeremy and I had our Thanksgiving yesterday, since he worked today.  We hosted the holiday at our house and his parents came out from California and my parents and gran came up from Scottsdale.

As with everything holiday celebration, there was WAY to much food but it was all delicious!  Our menu consisted of the following:

Appetizers -

Sugar and Spice Nuts

Veggie Tray and Ranch Dip

Main Course -

Thanksgiving Turkey

Side Dishes -

Cheesy Potatoes

Cooked Asparagus and Broccoli

Dressing (aka stuffing)


Deviled Eggs

Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad


Desserts -

Dutch Apple Pie

Pumpkin Squares

Dad and I got the turkey when into the oven at about 10:15am and then we all visited, watched TV, ate a light lunch and hung out until the turkey was about done.  As the turkey finished up, my mom, mother in-law and I prepared our side dishes and got those into the oven.  Everything turned out wonderfully and we ate  dinner around 4pm.  Being so stuffed, we waiting until about 7:15pm to dig into the dessert.  Yummy!


Jeremy setting the table.  (4th time we've used our Fine China!!)


Our spread, part one.


Our spread, part two.


Our spread, part three.




He doesn't normally look that that when he eats!


Jerm and Gran.

We had a great (early) Thanksgiving with our family and are very happy that they could come over to our house.  To all our friends and family, we hope that your holiday was a good as ours.

Happy Turkey Day!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ode to Steve Nash

Long time no post, I know!  I'm sorry, but nothing really exciting has happened lately.  I'm currently in Dallas...again...for work.  Got here yesterday, will be here until Friday.  Things should start to pick up when I get home though, so stay tuned for more exciting posts.  Topics might include:  Twilight coming out on Friday, Thanksgiving, possibly getting a house and Christmas!  Yay!!  I love the holiday season. 

Anyway, earlier this week I saw on the news that Steve Nash was the new spokesperson for Vitamin Water.  They showed a part of a commercial that was absolutely hilarious!!  Steve Nash is so funny!  So of course, I looked them up on YouTube and found three of them!  Here they are for your viewing (and laughing) pleasure!  GO SUNS!!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Phoenix Suns Opening Game!!


Woo!  Go SUNS!  Last Thursday evening, we ventured down to the opening game of the PHOENIX SUNS, with our friends, Jake and Kayla!  The evening started with a delicious dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and was followed by an enjoyable night at the game.


We got to the arena a bit early...over an hour actually, but if you know Jeremy and his love for basketball (especially Phoenix Suns basketball), then that shouldn't surprise you at all.  We explored the Team Shop for a bit where I found a great deal on my new Phoenix Suns hat (only $6.99!) and picked up a few presents for my sister-in-law, Heather.  (Heather, we're going to put them in the mail to you as soon as possible, I promise!) 

After our shopping, I was very excited to see my most favorite Phoenix Suns Dancer...Jenni, from Season 7 of The Bachelor!  In case you don't remember, Jenni was one of the final 2 girls for the Bachelor, Brad, to pick from.  However, much to the surprise of Bachelor fans all over the world, he didn't choose her OR the other girl, Deanna!!  He chose to stay a Bachelor!  Is he allowed to do that?  Oh it was so sad!!  Anyway, I was really excited to see her and kinda wanted to take a picture with her...but she left and I lost my moment.  Oh well, I took a picture with Amare Stoudemire instead. :) 



Me & Jerm


Jake & Kayla

The game was a lot of fun, besides all the bad calls by the refs and the fact that the Hornets could not miss a shot, which caused us to lose!  Boooo!  Oh well, GO SUNS!

On a few side notes, Jeremy got my ring cleaned while he was in California and it's so sparkly that I can't stop looking at it!  I never take my ring off, so it's gathered a bit of grime since it's last cleaning.  I don't remember seeing my pink sapphires look so pink, since he put it on my finger at our wedding. :)


So sparkly that it distracted me during the game!

Also, while in California, Jeremy picked up our FREE one year wedding anniversary cake, provided by the bakery that did our wedding cake.  Yummy!  It's a cute little, six inch cake decorated with frosting roses and a little sign.  We got to pick from any of their cake flavors, fillings and frostings, so we decided on chocolate cake, strawberry mousse filling and buttercream frosting.  Delicious! 



Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

There is one song that just screams "Halloween" to me. I heard it on the radio last night and saw a clip about it on the news this morning. It's a total classic and with it being Halloween, I found it appropriate to post the music video. After all, Halloween just wouldn't be complete without a little THRILLER, would it?

Well, when I searched Youtube for Michael Jackson's Thriller video, all of them were marked as "Embedding Disabled by Request." Bummer! So, here is the link to the Thriller music video and here is the second best representation of the song that I could find...from one of my favorite movies! :)

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary!

Jeremy and I did it.  We made it through our first year of marriage!!  (insert thunderous applause here)  One year ago today, we walked down the aisle at Kindred Community Church in Anaheim Hills, CA and then partied the afternoon away at the Orange Hill Restaurant in Orange, CA.  Awww, let's get a little reminiscent, shall we?  WARNING:  I couldn't just pick one or two pictures that summed up our wedding.  Our photography took about 1300 pictures, so picking just a few is impossible. Plus, you only have your 1st anniversary once, and therefore I think I can post as many pictures as I want. :)


My favorite pic of the guys!


Having fun with the girls.


The long walk down the aisle.


Jeremy's reaction to seeing me.


My daddy, giving me away.


Phew, the hard part is over!




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How can a year have gone by already?!  We honestly cannot believe it...but apparently we've survived "the most difficult" year of marriage.  Our overall consensus is that it was a pretty good year.  The first six months it took a bit for us to get used to each other and accustomed to being around the other one 24/7.  However, after that, it was fairly smooth sailing.  We had our carefree days that felt like we were dating again...and we have also had our days where we couldn't stand each other!  :)  But most importantly...we made it through it together and we have many more years to come!

So, you're probably thinking, did we do anything special for our anniversary?  Of course we did!  We actually celebrated the special event a week ago.  It's a bit of a long story but to sum it up:  I was supposed to be in San Antonio for work this week, but my trip got canceled.  Since I was going to be gone, Jerm had time off from work and decided to make plans on going to California for a few days, to see family and friends.  When my trip got canceled, I didn't want him to have to cancel his trip!  How often does he get to head back to The O.C.?  Plus, most importantly, he's picking up our FREE one year anniversary cake from the bakery that did our wedding cake!  So, he's in California right now and we decided to celebrate early.

For our anniversary celebration, we decided on a WONDERFUL evening at home!  We ordered take-out, ate it on our Fine China, drank sparkling cider, watched a movie and exchanged presents!  It was so fun to spend a night together at home and a great way to celebrate our anniversary.


Table set for dinner.  3rd time in one year that we've used our Fine China.


Take-out from Chili's.  (We're so high-class, aren't we?)


About to watch "What Happens in Vegas."


Sparkling Cider...just like at our wedding!

So, now you're probably thinking, what did you get each other as anniversary gifts?  The traditional gift for the 1st year of marriage is paper and the modern gift is a, we worked with this a bit.  I got Jerm a new watch (the clock/modern gift).  Plus, I got him a sweater/sweatshirt and a video game.  Jerm got me two things.  The first was a video game that I've been dying to come out: Fable II.  Yea, that's right.  I'm a 25 year old female and I play video games...that and the fact that I can cook are probably the reasons Jerm married me! :)  The second thing that my fabulous husband got me was....TICKETS (the paper/traditional gift) TO SEE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA IN LAS VEGAS!!!  Yay!!  I'm so excited!  I've been wanting to see this show in Vegas for years!  So, on December 30th at 9:30pm, don't bother me...I'll be Vegas with my Jerm and the Phantom. 

What a great first year together!  Thanks to all our family and friends for the love and support that you've given us this year.