Christmas 2013 (Part 2)

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the annual Potter Donut Day. This year, we out-did ourselves with 6 batches of dough, 130+ donuts/donut holes, 7 different glazes (introducing two new favorites... EggNog and Chocolate Peanut Butter), 13 different toppings and 7 cute donut decorators...


For the first year ever, Nani entrusted Gracie and Brielle with creating donut plates for her friends and neighbors. A task usually reserved for those who don't pile on multiple toppings and sprinkles. Also known as, the adults.

Brielle made sure each donut was topped perfectly -- not too much, not too little -- and that the glaze/topping combinations were more for the adult pallet. Like Orange glazed donuts topped with Almond slivers, Maple glazed donuts topped with Bacon, and another favorite of hers, Chocolate glazed donuts with Pecans and a Caramel drizzle (which she called the "Turtle" donut).

It still amazes me how quickly Christmas morning comes and is gone, after a whole month of anticipation and preparation. Chris and I have made a point to keep Christmas mornings just to our own cute family, and every year seems to be better than the next.

At our house, each person is assigned another person and we are responsible for their gift and their stocking. We came up with this system when the "Santa" cover was blown. It's become the perfect solution to keep the fun and excitement in Christmas. This year, I had Chris, Brielle had me and Chris had Brielle. I told Chris that he was going to have to work really hard to top the Taylor Swift tickets I gave her last year. And he did...

...by giving her an iPad Mini. Nice. We're going to have to stop with the competitiveness, otherwise, Christmas is going to get super expensive in the future.

I was spoiled this year. I don't know why, or what I did to deserve it, but Chris helped Brielle pick out the perfect gift...

A genuine leather, Michael Kors handbag, that is the perfect size, with the perfect amount of pockets, which keeps everything perfectly organized and fits perfectly on my arm. Love. It.

Chris has been talking about wanting a Bulldog for over a year now. And that's exactly what I got him. A Bulldog......... hand gun safe. Ha!

Our Christmas was wonderful! We spent it eating way too much good food, having fun with family and friends, and most importantly, spending time together. We hope everyone we love had just as good a Christmas as we did!


Christmas 2013 (Part 1)

I dreaded putting up my Christmas decor this year. Not because I was dreading Christmas, but because I was dreading my holiday decor. I felt like it was all dated, and quite frankly, I was bored with it. But it's not like you can just start over, you know? I spent years building up my supply of coordinating tree ornaments, displays, etc. I'd need a good chunk of change before I could just chuck out the old and buy all brand new!

With limited funds, I threw myself into "Project Tree Transformation" which required multiple cans of spray paint, spray glue (love that stuff), lots and lots and lots of glitter and a few ideas. It turned out better than I had imagined.

All the white snowflakes you see were ornaments I already had, but were gold. I sprayed them white, sprayed with glue and then sprinkled with glitter to make them sparkle. I painted a dozen red ornaments a pale blue, sprayed with glue and the sprinkled with clear glitter, mostly to give them some texture.

My favorite parts of this tree...

are first the pine cones. These were a process. I had to first hot glue ornament hangers to the top. I then sprayed the bottom with the spray glue and dipped in glitter. Once dried, I then lightly sprayed the pine cone with white spray paint to give it the look of snow.

My second favorite thing is the white pom-pom's that I find at the craft store. I purchased several yards and used it as garland. I felt like the pom-pom's, along with the pine cones and glittery snow flakes give the tree some whimsy and some elegance, but an outdoorsy rustic feeling, too.

The numbered boxes placed throughout the tree is our version of an Advent Calendar this year. I did this in an effort to bring some fun back to Christmas, since you know... my daughter knows "the truth." Just trying to keep things fun! I purchased a Lego Friends Advent Calendar, but instead of Brielle opening each little window, I placed each piece in a box along with a chocolate truffle (her favorite treat). By now, we're almost done creating her little Lego Friends Holiday Scene.

Once the tree was done, however, I realized that everything else now didn't match my tree! Our stockings, my TV cabinet decorations... nothing! So of course, I started another project...

We'll have to do without stockings this year. I refuse to buy some, but just don't have the time to make them. If you follow my Pinterest board, you already know what I have in mind for next year. I can't wait... but will have to put it off until next year.

I also found some time to put together a Christmas Card for family and friends this year. It's certainly not the traditional card, like the ones I'm receiving in he mail right now (which I love, by the way. You're families are all so cute!). It contains NO pictures of our family, but it sums up what we've been doing this year and all the adventures we've had. If you didn't receive one in the mail, don't worry, because here it is...

Click on it to enlarge and you'll be able to read the fine print. We really do hope that all our friends and family have a wonderful Christmas holiday! Eat lots, be merry and enjoy the time with your family. That's exactly what we'll be doing!


13th Anniversary | 2013 MLS Cup

In my previous post, you'll find a statement that reads along the lines of "no more road trips for this family... flying from now on... will never drive that long/far again" yada yada yada. Apparently, that only applies to certain locations and events. 'Cause we turned around and did it again 3 weeks later.

With Chris and I having our anniversary in December, it often gets overlooked and rarely celebrated. Sure, we do the "Happy Anniversary" thing, maybe do lunch, dinner or a movie, but quickly move on to all the other chaos that happens around  the Holidays. It is what it is, but I don't think I couldn't have waited any longer to marry that man.

Lucky #13

Around the beginning of November, it was becoming obvious that our favorite Major League Soccer team was heading for the championship. Depending on the outcome of the Eastern Conference, Real Salt Lake would face either the Houston Dynamo's in Salt Lake City, or Sporting KC in Kansas City. And the championship game would take place on December 7th -- the weekend of our 13th wedding anniversary. Kansas City won the rights to host the cup, and we were going to do everything we could to get there.

So much drama trying to get to Kansas City. First, flight prices triples overnight. Then, Kansas City leaked a pre-sale code and the tickets we paid $175 a piece for were voided. Hotel was the only thing confirmed and it looked as though we may not go. Then, RSL released 200 tickets online to their season ticket holders and somehow - somehow - I was one of the lucky few who got tickets. It was meant to be, I tell you.

Because flights become ridiculously expensive, we decided if we were going to go, we needed to drive. Chris's brother and his wife made the trip with us, which gave us 4 drivers, to go though 5 states, with about 15 hours in the car (one way)... so we thought. Wyoming chose to leave I-80 a complete sheet of ice, adding 3 extra hours of driving.

Kansas City BBQ

Besides the game, we had one other agenda item to get to. Barbeque Ribs. We couldn't travel through the BBQ capital of the US and not stop for some ribs. Many people recommended Arthur Bryant's and it did NOT disappoint. Best BBQ I've ever had.

Yes, Chris and I shared that giant plate of yummy BBQ goodness and fresh cut fries. And who needs fry sauce or ketchup when you have the best baked beans every made, in a sauce so good you just dip your fries in it? No one. No one needs ketchup for their fries at Arthur Bryant's. They just a side of baked beans.

Attempt to Keep Warm

Good thing we ate as much food as we did, cause we needed something to keep us a little bit warmer that day. 18 degrees, mid-day in Kansas City. Makes for not-so-perfect soccer weather, if you ask me. Multiple layers were required.

For 2 hours, we just sat in our seats, in the frigid cold, waiting for the game to begin. Doing whatever we could to stay warm. 6 is the number of heat warmers I had stuffed into shoes, gloves and pockets in an effort to make me even the slightest bit warmer. 

That's not snow... it's ICE. Ice on a soccer field?
Sis-in-Law Brandee

But once the game started, I (almost) forgot how cold I was. The game was that exciting and that intense. It was by far the best game I've ever been to. I even made my very first ESPN debut. You can see my bright blue coat (Sporting K colors, I know, but it's the warmest coat I own) and my white glove raised high in the air when RSL scored the first goal of the game.

And then we drove home in a blizzard. 4 extra hours added to the trip home. 

It was all worth it in the end, even though RSL just missed pulling out a win. We missed bringing home the championship cup, we spent 37 hours in the car in just 3 days, but I'd do it all over again in a heart beat. I got to celebrate my 13th year with the love of my life in the funnest way possible. 

What I will not do again is drive through Wyoming. Ever. You don't plow your roads, your wind tries desperately to push cars off the (icy) roads (and almost succeeded many times), and a whole day after returning, I'm still feeling the effects of eating your version of "Mexican" food.