12 Things of Christmas: ‘Tis The Season

For the last couple weeks I’d been trying to decide if I should do another “12 Days of Christmas” series like I did last year. Ultimately, I decided against it. P.S. There are now only 2 days until Christmas so I missed the deadline. #slacker

I’ve been working on getting things in order before the clock strikes midnight in a little over a week so I don’t have any loose strings to tie up on January 1. I’m sure that sounds lame with a capital “L” but my brain gets in a cluster if I don’t organize and prioritize things. It’s gotten worse lately but I think that’s because I’ve been trying to mass-organize my life. BUT, because I didn’t participate in the “12 Days of Christmas” this year, I decided to make a “12 ‘Things’ of Christmas” list instead. Below are a list of moments, memories, things I love, and things I’m grateful for this Christmas season and from the year 20-15. I’ll try to keep it short and sweet and by the way, these are in no particular order, actually they are in alphabetical order to show that they are in no particular order. 🙂 Enjoy!

  1. Channing, My Partner: I don’t know if this is even a topic that I can explain. Channing has grown so much over the last year and I’m so happy that we’ve made it through the hardest times so that we can truly enjoy where we are and where we’ve come from. I wish others felt the same as I do. We had to leave behind a lot of people and keep things to ourselves over the last few years because some people had given up on him. Thank you to those that didn’t.
  2. Channing’s Drivers License: This is a blessing in disguise but I’m so proud of Channing for pushing through the darkness and helping himself have a better life. It’s more than just a license obviously, but that was the icing on top of the cake that crumbled.
  3. Family & All It’s Cliches: Mom, Dad, Nick, Logan. Some of them drive me bananas but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I think I’m the holder-on-to-the-past person in our family. I want so badly for my relationships with my brothers to stay the same but we all live different lives and are growing up and carving out our own paths; it’s hard for me to accept that and accept that the boys don’t need me anymore. My parents, my mom is my best friend. There are no words to explain how grateful I am to have her in my life. She is my person. And dad, well. Dads, dad. ❤
  4. Franklin Bearclaw: Frank is the light of my life right now. I know some people think is super cheesy and maybe even creepy that I love my cat to pieces! Sucks for you if you don’t like animals; I’m a cat mom and I love every bit of it. Frankie makes our days wonderful and it’s such a great feel good feeling to know that we’re his “people.” I just wish that we could have more than one pet so he could have a friend. 🙂
  5. Hallmark Movie Channel: This one doesn’t need explaining. The acting is sometimes horrible but the movies are always great. I can’t even count how many Christmas movies I’ve watched in the last month. That must mean I’m doing something right.
  6. Hard Work + Opportunities: I’ve been lucky enough to have jumped around in my job and at different locations and I am thankful for that. I know that my hard work and dedication plays a major role in the opportunities that I’ve been given but I also know that I sometimes take it for granted. I really do work for a great company!
  7. Life, In General: Life is good. It’s so easy to complain about everything and everything. Trust me, I’m the first in line to do so but watching all those holiday movies and taking time to sit back and reflect, I have an amazing life. Family, work, Frankie, Channing..the list goes on. I have no major worries. I don’t have any medical issues, no one has died, I’m working on my weight, the most important people in my life are IN. MY. LIFE. I’m happy.
  8. Little Logan Sunshine: I’m so proud of Lo. He’s stepped up and grown up a lot in the last couple of months. He didn’t really have a choice to be honest, but he’s put on the toughest armor he could find to handle the obstacles he’s been given. He’s about to be a dad and I can’t wait to watch him grow into the role of a father. It makes my heart melt with joy.
  9. Me: I feel like I’ve grown this year. I’ve come to terms with things that are out of my control and I’ve accepted situations that I just can’t handle. I’m also proud of myself for the determination that I thought I’d lost and for the traveler that I’m allowing myself to become. No one can hold me back in life but myself.
  10. My Aunt, Krissy: For some reason, she’s always believed that I can achieve my goals not only in life but in health. She’s the only person in my life that has a real before and after and before again and after again story. I hope that I can reach my goals one day so that I can see myself the way she sees me.
  11. Nieces & Nephews: We never do get enough time in the year to see the sweetest little kiddos in the world but we’ve made more of an effort this year over any in the past to be as present as possible even with the distance. It’s hard to imagine that we ever lived lives without these little humans.
  12. NyQuil + Vitamin C + Water: I’ve been hit with some kind of respiratory sickness the last week or so but I’m finally getting over it just in time for Christmas. Lots of sleep, VitaminC and NyQuil to knock me out.

Well, thanks for reading! If you’d like to check out my “12 Days of Christmas” series from last year, check it out here. If you’re not already in the holiday spirit, I think you will be after reading. Merry Christmas everyone!

Series Finale.

I just wanted to take a quick second to say thank you to anyone and everyone that checked out my blog over the last few weeks since I began my “12 Days of Christmas” series. Before the series began, I was averaging a whopping 3 views per post thanks to the very few devoted readers I have. Since then, my average has octupled! That’s 8 times as many views as normal. My blog peaked at 56 views in one day on 12/22! So thank you to everyone that took time out of your scrolling to click on my posts!

My stats will likely go down again since I won’t be posting to FB after this series. I don’t usually post my personal blog because I’ve been bitten twice too many times by the sharks of the social media world. I enjoy writing on many different levels. Sometimes I like to stick to a topic and sometimes I like to bitch and moan about life. In the past, I probably was more personal than some were comfortable with involving certain aspects of my life. That is the primary reason I stopped posting to Facebook and sharing my voice with the people I knew because people really can be assholes, myself included.

That, however, is besides the point. This Christmas season, no matter how hard I tried, didn’t feel like Christmas. And per my unofficial poll, it was a mutual feeling throughout the small population of people I know. I attribute it to a few different things:

  • 1. The season was short. Thanksgiving was late in the month of November so Christmas really only had 3-4 weeks to happen and become everything we dream of.
  • 2. The weather. It’s been awfully mild this year. The last few years have actually been quite warm but this year we had little to no snow..anywhere.
  • And 3. This one is more personal but it just didn’t feel like Christmas at home. We didn’t put everything up this year because we moved into our apartment in November and we didn’t host my families celebration either. So it kind of felt..bleh.

I do have to say though, because of my self-mandated writing assignment, I began to think about the Christmas season outside of the box. Instead of focussing on hurrying up and buying everyone the best gifts which isn’t what Christmas is supposed to be about; I tried my best to appreciate the finer things that this holiday season has to offer. My mom being selfless and donating goods to the homeless shelter, Channing and I quietly watching a wintertime parade. Traveling to see family and seeing our nieces and nephews. It was a very nice but short holiday season.

Of course, as always, I wish I could have done more. I wish time and finances had allowed us to go to Jayde’s Christmas choir concert and to bring Duane to the Holiday Train in Thief River. I wish I could have spent some real quality time with both of my brothers and watch more Christmas-y shows. I wish we could have done a little more and gave to the poor. The great thing about all of this is that life isn’t over. There is still time to do and to give. To visit and to see. There’s more time than we even know what to do with so as long as it’s not wasted, the “I wishes” will become “I haves.”

I hope that you took time this Christmas season to enjoy it instead of stress over it. I hope that you received and gave everything that you had planned on including love, good fortune, and happiness.

As previously mentioned, I probably won’t be posting my personal blog to Facebook again for awhile unless I feel that I have a really good story or something to share simply because I don’t want to crowd peoples Facebook feeds. Feel free to comment, like, and share all you want. I really enjoy hearing your feedback. Stay tuned for an even better year then all the years so far! And thank you, again.

12th Day Of Christmas: The Donarski Clan

20141225_104706Today was Christmas Day – the 12th day of Christmas according to my blog. We stayed at my parents last night, watched The Interview via YouTube and my mom and I wrote a poem. Christmas morning was grand. Santa came with gifts which was a delightful surprise because we thought Christmas was over and done with on my side of the family and we decided to stay overnight just the day before. Santa’s definitely on top of his game this year.

Dad made breakfast. I ordered his classic fried egg sandwich. We were low on bread so he substituted a bagel. Delish! I don’t really do breakfast but I just can’t pass up my dad’s early morning cooking.

Early afternoon we headed over to Channing’s parents house. Soon after, his sisters and their kids came. Channing has two nieces and a nephew. They’re the light of the family. There is just something about kids that makes the world keep spinning and helps all your worries fade away.

Dinner was at 5ish followed by a couple drinks. Channing’s dad makes the best mashed potatoes around. I’m a total starch junkie so anything potato I always enjoy but something about these potatoes makes them my favorite.

Next up was gift time! It’s always so nice to have everyone together and watch the kids open their presents. Jayde is a veteran, she’s been doing this for years. She’s growing into such a young woman that it’s crazy. I came into her life just after she turned 5 years old and now she’s 11 going on 30! Make-up, purses, fashion, perfume!

Duane is at that age where when he knows there’s something for him, he wants it now! And it better be Thomas! He got Thomas all right. It was a healthy mix between Thomas gear and Cars fandom. He loved it!

And lastly there is Evy, oh little Evy. It was her very first Christmas. They put her down for a nap shortly before the gift opening but somehow, some way she knew it was Christmas and woke up just in time for the action. Her mom and dad opened her gifts. She’ll be good on books and toys for awhile that’s for sure!

After a game and a little more visiting we decided to part ways and head home. Thankfully the roads were clear. We avoided any forecasted snow so that’s always a plus. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas (or any other holiday you may celebrate) season!! If you’re not home yet, drive safe. When saying your goodbyes, hug a little tighter and don’t forget to say thank you for everything! Often times the hosts, cooks, and Santa’s don’t get the appropriate recognition.

Merry Christmas to all and all a good night!

 

 

11th Day Of Christmas: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse.
But yet I heard a knock at the door..
Who could it be, a delivery for me!?
I went to see but whoever was there,
was there no more.
Was it a sound in my head
or just a spirit in the air;
something telling me it’s time to prepare.
As the man in the family had to work half a day,
I decided there was no time to play.
My crock pot was lined and ready for use.
I pulled out the carrots, potatoes, and moose.
(Just kidding it was a roast.)
As the roast was cooking and made the room warm,
what better to do than pick up my dorm?
I did the dishes and made the bed,
took the garbage out and was ready to be fed.
Dinner was served and deserved.
The leftovers preserved..
We exchanged gifts full of if’s and thrifts.
Next up was a safe travel from here to there.
Munchies were bought and lottery tickets were a thought.
I had to buy them even though not everyone wins.
For even a dollar would secure me a new set of bobby pins.
We visited Ashley and surly but not lastly
watched the end of Home Alone which was very catchy.
Christmas Vacation was up next..
but I got a text.
Dad had made Gramma Aggie bars;
they’re a family favorite of ours.
From there to here after a quick drive,
to mom and dads house we did arrive.
Thanks to Sony and Un’s bogus phony bologna,
we finally watched The Interview
and then mom and I wrote this rhyme for you.
For now ’twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
not a kitty was stirring;
for purring they were with such delight
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

Written by Orianah Fast & Julie Fast

10th Day Of Christmas: Traditions

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about family traditions centered around the holidays. Now that all three of us kids are grown, we’re kind of at that in between stage where a lot of our childhood, as a family, traditions have fallen by the wayside. None of us are yet married or have had children. We’re not quite….you know, established.

This, of course, got me to think about Channing and our future. Our future children, our lives, our pets, our home. I decided to start a running list of family traditions I’d like my future (and current) family to adopt. The below traditions come from various sources. Some may have been from my own childhood memories, TV shows and movies, or just things I never have done and always wanted to do. They are in no particular order of importance but I thought it’d be a fun thing to start and have as a reference down the line.

  • Dinner Wear: At the dinner table whether it be our immediate family or extended, everyone will have a special something to wear during dinner placed on their plates. It might be a nice pair of earrings, reindeer antlers, or light up glasses. Who knows. Whatever it is, it’ll be a fun and not so “stuffy” Christmas dinner.
  • ‘Tis The Night Before Christmas Box: My dad always tried to have us open our Christmas gifts on Christmas Day but every year, it seemed like we opened a lot of them on Christmas Eve (if not earlier) and then Santa’s gifts on Christmas Day. I’d like to go back to the traditional Christmas Day gift opening. However, I think it would be a memorable tradition to let everyone open a “‘Tis The Night Before Christmas Box.” Inside it would include a similar arrangement of Christmas Eve goodies each year. A new pair of jammies, slippers, a Christmas mug, hot chocolate (and marshmallows of course!), and maybe a Christmas surprise like a movie or family game.
  • Trim The Tree: I know it sounds cliche and actually most of these probably do but I want my family to trim the tree together. Anyone who’s anyone knows that decorating for Christmas can be both fun and exhausting so why not create as much joy as possible? I don’t care who helps or how it’s done but as long as our family can decorate our tree together, I’ll be happy.
  • Christmas Classics: There are too many Christmas shows and movies to name when it comes to squeezing them all in during the holiday season. A few of my favorites and some that I actually have not seen yet must make the list each year at some point between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. I’ve listed a few: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street, Frosty The Snowman, It’s A Wonderful Life, Scrooge… There are so many I can’t even remember but you get the idea.
  • Skating: This is more of a winter thing and actually Channing has yet to learn how to skate but I would like to, as a family, go on a skating outing each holiday season. Maybe it’s the Lifetime movies talking but something about skating makes Christmas seem so much more magical.
  • Christmas Lights: Drive around and look at Christmas lights around the area. I don’t think I’ll ever have the patience to decorate the outside of my house as wonderful as some do so why not make it a tradition to admire someone else’s handy work?
  • Music: I love Christmas music. When I was in high school and worked at K-Mart, I would have told you a different story but now that I’m in the real grown up life of a world, Christmas music is so refreshing and comforting. It reminds me of so many things from Christmas mass to Grandmas Rita’s house.
  • And that brings me to…Midnight Mass: This one is still up in the air. I was raised Catholic and still value much of what I was taught. Being raised with religion as background noise gave me a solid moral compass and I am forever grateful. However, since being confirmed in 11th grade and going out into the world, organized religion has been put on the back-burner. Although the memories that I had were ones of great importance and the traditions my faith stood by mean a lot to me – there is far more that is hard to understand and accept. I believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit but I don’t believe that God discriminates. I won’t go further on that topic at the moment but I often wonder if I can raise my children to have a spiritual connection with God (or whoever) by not bringing them up in church. Midnight Mass was the highlight of my Christmas season when I was younger. The smells, the music, the ambiance. It was magic. Or maybe it was just the beauty of the Warroad church and it was way past my bedtime. Who knows.

This post is getting awfully lengthy. There are many more traditions I’m sure I’ve left out. I plan to send out Christmas cards every year, teach my children the importance of giving rather than receiving, and to binge watch Lifetime movies. I plan to show up and embarrass them at their Christmas school concerts and build snowmen and women outside. I plan to take a yearly trip to the Bunny Hill in Warroad and to visit family no matter how far.

If you have any fun or memorable family traditions, I’d love to hear about them!! And Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

9th Day Of Christmas: Baby’s 1st Christmas

Channing’s sister Savanna and her husband Louie welcomed a new baby girl into the family this past October. She’s such a tiny little sweetheart and she’s already brought a lot of joy into the world in the few short months we’ve known her!

Last night, Channing and I stopped over at their house to give them baby Evy’s first Christmas ornament. I searched high and low to find something that would be just perfect. Believe it or not, it’s not that easy to find a nice “Baby’s 1st Christmas” ornament around here that will last for years and years.

IMG_7976I happened to be in Grand Forks a couple weeks ago and stopped at Hallmark (praise the Lord!) and they had a pretty decent selection of 1st Christmas ornaments. I know that Savanna loves to read to Evy so I decided to get the one you see to the right. Luckily, I was able to find the matching book in town at Target too; “On the Night You Were Born.”

I had to read the book before I gave it to them. It made me a little teary-eyed reading it and thinking about when Channing and I decide to have kids and how life as we know it will change, how we will feel. How Savanna and Louie must have felt once Evy was born. How our parents felt and how their parents felt. Babies…children; they really are little miracles and once they step foot into our world, life never is the same.

“On the night you were born, the moon shone with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, ‘Life will never be the same.’ Because there had never been anyone like you…ever in the world.” ~Nancy Tillman (On the Night You Were Born)

If you’d like to purchase this book or ornament for a new baby in your family or just because, both can be found on amazon.com.

8th Day Of Christmas: Christmas Card

We didn’t send out many cards this year. It was a mix between moving so late in the year and finances. Cards aren’t cheap but we are. So – sorry to those (extended family and friends) that didn’t get a card this year. We aren’t ignoring you, we’re just trying to save some money in any way that we can. Merry Chrismahanukwazakah to you and yours!

Christmas Card 2014

7th Day Of Christmas: St. Nick’s

‘Tis the day after the Fast Family Christmas. I’m a little behind (late) with writing yesterday and today’s blog because we’ve been spending time with family and traveling. It’s okay though, I’m sure the faithful three people who read this will understand.

Crouching Nick + Katie

Crouching Nick + Katie

Yesterday my brother Nick and his girlfriend Katie hosted Christmas for the first time. It was an eventful trip up there. Our GPS took us on a pretty slippery yet scenic route. But we couldn’t get there before I got a bloody nose mid-drive and on the interstate. Talk about multi-tasking. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Nick and Katie made ham and mashed potatoes (two of my favorites) along with some chicken and lefse. My mom brought a cheese ball and crackers and we had an arrangement of different desserts including my grandmas family-famous fudge.

Logan + A Little Bit Of Tania

Logan + A Bit Of Tania

We visited, ate dinner, opened gifts, and played a couple games. Overall, we had a pretty good time. It’s really nice to be able to have everyone under one roof which sadly doesn’t happen often anymore because we’re all growing up and spreading our wings.

My favorite part of the afternoon and early evening was watching It’s A Wonderful Life headlining Jimmy Stewart. My family insists I have (but I haven’t) seen the movie; until last night. I guess if I have, my memory is just about as bad as my dads – who, by the way, doesn’t remember going to the movie Click featuring Adam Sandler or RV starring the late Robin Williams. We went to both of those films as a family!

My brother had the colorized version of IAWL. I was only half paying attention at first but towards the middle, the movie pulled me in. It was a great movie and Channing and I are planning on watching it again this week before the end of the Christmas season.

Dad + Grandma Rita

Dad + Grandma Rita

I really wish we could all be a little closer. It seems that as we grow older life moves faster. Time slips away and pretty soon you don’t quite know who is who anymore. I love my family more than anything else in the world but each time I visit with my brothers, I get a feeling that I don’t like. An awareness that makes me feel like I don’t know them like I should. We’re still very close but nowhere near as close as we were just two or three years ago seeing each other every single day.

Reflecting on our drive home this afternoon it makes me want to appreciate moments like Christmas even more than usual. I chose to let a couple small things irritate me this weekend not only at family gatherings but in regular, everyday life and I need to quit that. It’s a waste of time to get bothered by little things. I’ll still do it, probably for the rest of my life just because that’s who I am but I don’t need to let it alter my mood or attitude.

My Beautiful Mom

My Beautiful Mom

This morning my parents took Channing, Nick, and myself out to breakfast. It was a nice send off before we parted ways. I know I’ll see my mom in the next month or so but I don’t know when I’ll see Nick or Logan next. Thinking about this, it circles back to a previous post I wrote about a year or so ago – holding onto the past. I sometimes catch myself living in the past thinking that the past was so much better or so much easier then it is now. Friendships, relationships, sibling-hood, everything. Everything was so much better but life happens. We have to deal with it and evolve. Evolve into an even better past than what we thought was already the best past.

20141220_110004_10

Channing + Me

With that being said, thanks to Nick and Katie for hosting Christmas. To Grandma Rita for coming to Christmas and brining your legendary fudge. To mom and dad for breakfast, the gifts, and the unconditional love. To Logan and Tania for visiting and making me laugh. And to Channing, for getting creative when my face was gushing blood. Merry Christmas to us. I hope that whatever happens and wherever we go in the year 20-15, that we’ll always have each other and never to forget to share our best memories with each other always. ❤

 

6th Day Of Christmas: Holiday Treats

Easy peasy recipe time! Tomorrow my brother is hosting Christmas in Fargo. One of the things I was asked to bring was dessert. Well actually truffles, but I thought I’d try something different that took less time since I’ve been so busy this week. I remembered a super delicious treat that an old co-worker brought at a potluck back in Grand Forks and I thought it’d be the perfect time to try it out!

I made two variations of pretzel candies. One for a salt lover and one for a chocolate lover. Don’t worry, they both contain salt AND chocolate. Christmas must haves right?

Prep Time: 10 Minutes               Cook Time: 2-3 Minutes               Cool Down: 15 Minutes

IMG_8026

IMG_8030

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Hug-M’s Pretzels
Pretzels
HUGS Kisses
M&M’s

Turtle Pretzels
Pretzels
ROLO’s
Cashews

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Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Unwrap all the candies. (This is the “hardest” part 🙂 )
3. On a regular cookie or pizza sheet, lay down a piece of wax paper
4. Put as many pretzels as you can fit on the sheet. Make sure they are all whole (not broken) and don’t overlap.
5. Place a HUG or ROLO in the center of each pretzel and then carefully put the cookie sheet of pretzels and candies into the oven.
6. Depending on which candy you’re using, set your timer.
For HUGS: 2 Minutes
For ROLOS: 3 Minutes
7. Once they are semi melted, pull out of the oven and top with either M&M’s or cashews. (M&M’s for the HUGS and cashews for the ROLOS)
8. Put in the fridge for about 15 minutes to cool.
9. Every cook deserves the first bite – Enjoy!
Repeat as needed depending on how many batches you want to make.

5th Day Of Christmas: Secret Santa

IMG_8012Today was our Employee Appreciation slash Secret Santa Exchange Party. I got pretty lucky. “Santa” dropped off a few small gifts during the week which was a pleasant surprise each morning. Tonight, at our party, we snacked on some delicious food from a local grocer, played a little Tenzie, and opened our Secret Santa gifts. I received a candle (lilac, my favorite!) and beautiful Christmas ornament along with a “new to town” Paul Bunyan shot glass and magnet! An added surprise from our employer was a gift card for groceries which definitely comes in handy this time of the year!

IMG_7993And since my giftee was so excited about their Christmas gift, I decided to post it as well because it was really fun to make. I’m one of the newest employees to the office so I don’t really know anyone too well. I had to do a little “snooping” in order to find something really good. And based on my research, this was the perfect fit! I knew it was cool but I was actually surprised by his reaction and I quote: “This is kick-ass!” The photo to the right doesn’t do it justice but you’ll get the idea.

Does your employer or group of co-workers host a Secret Santa Exchange? I’d love to hear what you gifted and were given!

4th Day Of Christmas: The Night We Light

Winter parades are something that Minnesota does. While other people were out and about finishing up their Black Friday shopping a few weeks ago, my Channing and I decided to head downtown and see what “The Night We Light” parade was all about.

DSCN4510Keep in mind, up to this point Bemidji seemed kind of dark and gloomy. I was wondering if the city had lost it’s touristy vibe that it’s so famous for in the Summer months. But the city has a secret you see, and it’s this parade.

I don’t know why they wait to light up the city until the day after we’re stuffed full of turkey. Maybe the city officials want to savor the holiday goodness of Thanksgiving and out of respect for the holiday, it waits to light the town up in Christmas until the day after?

Whatever the reason be, it was worth it. Of course, it was freezing cold outside but we were lucky enough to find a spot by the curb. We popped open the back of my Rav-4, blasted the heat and enjoyed the lights.

Winter parades are interesting if you’re not from around here or if you’ve only been to the typical summer parades. Winter parades in the dark are even better. They still throw out candy on the street and kids all bundled up to the eyes wobble to grab it before the next shipment is delivered. The lights are obviously the best part. Up to this point, I don’t know if I’ve seen so many vehicles and floats fully decked out in lights.

DSCN4535It’s like a pre-Christmas, post-Independence Day treat put on the by city. There’s music and hot chocolate. Fire flames 20 feet into the air and the color guard still marches. Instead of shorts and rollerblades, the procession of people are decked out in snow pants and boots.

We didn’t have enough warmth to fully participate in all that was offered this year. I hear the one and only Santa Claus showed up, sleigh rides were available and families enjoyed some quality time sledding down Library Park hill. This will definitively be something that we continue doing each year. Now’s a better time then ever to start a new tradition!

Does your city have a festival of lights, parade, or city-wide get together to light up the town? I’d love to hear about it!

3rd Day Of Christmas: Pinterest Miracle

‘Tis the 3rd day of Christmas! I thought I’d bring forth a little creative fun today. I was Pinteresting this morning and came across a super cute and adorable way to bring forth Christmas decor aside from the traditional garland and lights. Don’t get me wrong, I love garland and lights. Floor to ceiling in that jazz, I say.

I saw a few very easy yet creative Christmas posters that could be printed off and put into a festive frame. I love to steal other peoples genius ideas but I didn’t like the colors they had used and I kind of thought that they could look a lot more fun than the bland black and white single font ones I had come across. So of COURSE I created my own. And I love them!

………………Wish-page-001   Hug-page-001

I created these both to fit into an 8 x 10 frame that you can pick up anywhere you little heart desires. I picked up two just over the weekend. One at Target for $8.00 and another at Wal-Mart for $4. Can’t go wrong with that!

Unfortunately (for me), the frames I picked up were for a couple other gifts I am busy preparing so I don’t have the final result for you today. If you’d like to download the posters I made for yourself to add a cheerful and darling touch to your already beautifully decorated home, feel free. You can also see them on my personal Pinterest page by clicking here!

2nd Day Of Christmas: ‘Tis The Season Of Giving

IMG_7437Today’s story comes to you in the form of a good deed done by my mom. My mom’s heart will always be the biggest of anyone I know. She has this uncanny way of being accepting and compassionate even towards those who least deserve it. She has the ability to look beyond the surface without judgement. She’s who I want to grow up and become because there really isn’t anyone much more wonderful than my mom.

If I’m correct, my mom has been donating to the Grand Forks homeless shelter; Northlands Rescue Mission for awhile now. $10 or so here and there whenever she could. I don’t think it’s been too regular or anything but I think the mission sends out donation requests periodically and if she can afford it, she’ll throw a few bucks their way.

Bags-of-Blessings-2014-231x300Recently, Northlands Rescue Mission sent out flyers with the tagline “Bags of Blessings.” As we all know, Christmas is definitely coming. Those [believers] of all ages, races, and income levels in some way, shape, or form have Christmas on their yearly bucket lists. Whether you have the money or you don’t; Christmas is special. ‘Tis the season where miracles are possible and kindness is spread.

My mom took part in being someone’s Christmas miracle this year. Instead of tossing the flyer she received like I’m sure a lot of people would do (sadly, myself included) she decided to spread the wealth. Good karma if you will.

On a routine trip to Grand Forks she picked up all of the items on the list including a sweatshirt, socks, shampoo, deodorant, and a few other things. She also bought a gym bag as asked and marked the front of it male also noting the size she had bought for. All that was left was to bring the bag with the items in it to Northlands Rescue Mission and that she did.

The total cost of all the items purchased came to $72 and some change. When I asked my mom what her reasoning was for helping the homeless shelter more than she usually does, she left me with this:

Matthew 25:40 “What you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” ~Jesus Christ

I’ve been one to judge too quickly and assume things that I do not know.  I’m sure that many people in homeless shelters across the region and country are truly in need of generous help from those like my mom and I hope that I can find the empathy needed towards causes like that. My mom deserves a round of applause not only for buying a few things and donating it to the shelter but for being a damned good person. Coming from someone (myself) who finds it hard to see beyond the grime and the dirt on the surface and actually wonder what the story behind the homelessness is – it really takes a heart of gold and compassion to donate towards a cause that faces so much ridicule.

IMG_7970If you’d like to donate to your local homeless shelter please do so; I’ve listed both Grand Forks and Bemidji’s contact information at the end of this post. They need more help than any of us are probably capable of even understanding. If you chose not to donate towards the shelter, find a cause that you feel comfortable donating towards even if it’s just one time a year.

In an effort to embrace the season of giving and to do some good; I’ve decided to do some research myself and donate a little bit this Christmas season as well. I fully believe that rehabilitation is one of the key factors to solve many of the homelessness cases in the area. I’ll be looking online and around the area locally for a non-profit rehabilitation program to donate towards.

Northlands Rescue Mission – 420 Division Ave, Grand Forks, ND 58201
Village of Hope – PO BOX 1035, Bemidji, MN 56619

Merry 2nd Day of Christmas!

 

1st Day Of Christmas: Oh, Christmas Tree

IMG_7985Beginning the 12 days of Christmas I only found it fitting that I’d introduce you to my Christmas tree. For the past five years I’ve accumulated quite an assortment of blue and silver Christmas decor but once Christmas clearance was in full swing last December, I decided to change it up and opted for a more “traditional” color scheme. You probably can’t really tell by the photo but I chose reds, golds, and greens – Christmas colors of course.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much Christmas spirit yet this year. Usually our apartment is dolled up floor to ceiling; kitchen to bathroom in Christmas but not this year. So far we’ve only managed to put up the tree, a couple decorations, and a string of lights.

I think part of it has to do with the struggle we had to move and get settled into a new city so quickly. Three months ago we hadn’t even been planning to move and here we are. Settled in (kind of) two hours away, new jobs, new people, new life. I really do have to give Channing a pat on the back though…we’ve been through a lot of unmentionable shit (for lack of a better word) over the years but boy that man will do anything for me. We could have very easily stayed in Grand Forks. We both had great paying jobs, enjoyed the people we knew, had a comfortable living situation but it wasn’t our “dream.” We didn’t see ourselves planting our tree there.

It was definitely a financial risk moving to Bemidji for both of us but we’re bound and determined to rise above it in order to pursue our dreams. And before you laugh at that last sentence – Bemidji wasn’t our dream either. We don’t know exactly where we want to grow old at but we knew for sure, above anything, that it wasn’t Grand Forks.

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. ~Maya Angelou

And we did.

Another part of feeling out of the Christmas spirit this holiday season is knowing that not a soul will be coming to visit us through the holidays. We won’t be hosting Christmas this year which I’ve come to terms with but the way that certain things have been gone about really has given me a bitter taste in my mouth. That’s my problem though – there’s a point when we all need to be the bigger person and watch how the acorns fall rather then picking them off ourselves.

To help me fully get into the holiday spirit this year, I’ve decided to do this “12 Days Of Christmas” blog series. I believe I explained it a bit more in my previous post but that’s day one! I’d love to see your Christmas tree pictures and hear how you’ve gotten into the Christmas-y mood this year!

A New Series.

There is so much that I want to write about about and at the very same time there’s nothing to say. I’m a thinker. My gears are constantly turning. It’s like my brain is shape-shifting in ways that I don’t even know how to explain.

Oh, were the days when you could walk around with a hand held recorder to record all your thoughts. I mean, we still have it sure – it’s called a phone. In order to record anything you have to swipe to unlock, swipe to find the app, wait for your phone OR the app to stall and then load…do I need to continue or do you get the point?

My newest thought was to do a “12 Days of Christmas” series on my blog. When I looked that up, I came across some new information. The “12 Days of Christmas” actually starts on Christmas Day and runs through January 5th. Am I the only one to not have known that? My entire life I was under the assumption that December 25th was the last day, day twelve.

Sticking to my original assumption though, I’m doing it my way. Day 1 will be December 14th because that only makes sense – the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Obviously.

I have a few reasons for pursuing this. The first being that I’ve been so busy trying to manage my second blog that this one has kind of taken an undeserved hit. In a perfect situation, I’d obviously have only one blog. One central location for readers to find me. But that’s not the case. I have so much invested into this blog that I don’t want to let it go and I won’t be posting any of my random, no subject rants (like this one) on there anyways.

I have (well had) a few plans for this blog to begin with because I haven’t been making a very good effort to write. Writers block doesn’t seem to be a problem..Netflix does. Orange Is The New Black anyone? Talk about an addiction. I finished it in less then a week and now I’m on to my next fix: House of Cards.

Damnit, Netflix.

So stay tuned everyone. The self-required “12 Days of Christmas” series begins on December 14th.