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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Treasure maps!

Happy New Years Eve, everyone! What are your plans for tonight? I'm definitely not a party person, so I think we're staying in. We'll have a few drinks, eat some appetizers, watch a movie or two, and maybe play a few rounds of Scene It. That's my idea of a good night!

My house has been taken over by boys and I've barely been able to get to my computer for five seconds to write a post. Jason's good friend, B, flew in on Monday and will be with us until Friday. He and Jason were on the same submarine in Washington, and they've remained good friends since our move. He and Jason have been holed up in our computer room playing a computer game, so my computer is apparently off limits for the duration of his visit. Boys and their toys!

Have you sat down and thought about your New Year's Resolutions? I don't really like the idea of resolutions, personally. Every year, I stress myself out thinking about all the things I want to work on and end up with a huge list of character flaws that I think must be addressed in the coming year. I never, ever lose the weight I pledge to lose. I never end up going to the gym like I say I will. So what's the point? There isn't really one, for me. If you are a person who makes - and keeps! - resolutions, I admire you.

I remember last New Year's Eve very clearly. I made a treasure map (which I'll talk about later) and I sat down a listed a bunch of goals I wanted to accomplish. 2008 was going to be my year! I was moving and the change was just going to unleash a torrent of changes within me. Well, 2008 was a wonderful year, but I didn't accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results." - Albert Einstein
Ever heard that quote? It's very applicable to me, I think. This year I've decided to do something different. Instead of making resolutions, I'm going to sit down and make a 2009 list. The categories will be:
  • Things I'd Like to Accomplish
  • Places To Visit
  • Things To Do

For example, my "accomplish" list is going to include learning to knit, paying down debt, and toning up my chicken flab arms. My "Things To Do" list might include getting my house organized, eating out less, and practicing better communication with my husband. Then, every week, I'll pick something to work on - and hopefully by the end of the year, I'll have accomplished everything on my list.

My theme for this year is going to be "Practicing Random Acts of Kindness." You see, for quite some time I've been feeling this nagging bit of dissatisfaction with myself. I feel like I should be doing more - that I should be a better person. I think I've become really jaded and selfish, and I don't like that about myself. I certainly haven't always been this way, and I'm not sure when I started caring more about myself and my circle of comfort than I did about helping other people. I really feel like by pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone, volunteer, and go out of my way each and every day to do nice things for other people will lead to me learning more about myself and changing for the better. What do you think? Does anyone want to join me? I haven't worked out exactly what I'll be doing or how it would work, but I think it would be great to have a partner!

One last thing - have you ever heard of treasure maps? No, not the pirate kind. :) Treasure maps are a great New Year's activity! It's simple a compilation of images (a collage of sorts) that help you to visualize your goals. I found this about treasure maps on the web:

Making a "treasure map" is a very powerful technique, and fun to do. A treasure map is an actual, physical picture of your desired reality. It is valuable because it forms an especially clear, sharp image which can then attract and focus energy into your goal. It works along the same lines as a blueprint for a building.

You can make a treasure map by drawing or painting it, or by making a collage using pictures and words cut from magazines, books or cards,
photographs, drawings, and so on. Don't worry if you're not artistically
accomplished. Simple, childlike treasure maps are just as effective as great works of art!

Basically the treasure map should show you in your ideal scene, with your goal fully realized.

My friend Sam agreed to let me share her treasure map with you. Hers is incredible, is it not? I think she created it in photoshop, or you could do something with digital scrapbooking software. I just used magazines for mine, and cut out pictures and words that corresponded with my goals.

Happy New Year's, everyone! I hope your 2009 is amazing!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Post Christmas steals and deals

I've got so many thoughts running through my head that I wanted to do a fluffy, light-hearted, no real content post to destress and unwind. Bare with me why I get some stuff off my chest, and then we'll get on to the fluffy stuff.

I'm very worried that I might be laid off soon. The state of South Carolina recently did some major cuts to balance the budget, and the agency I work for has taken a hard hit. We were told today that our client base is being whittled down - the equivalent of 3 caseloads is being cut. There were two people hired after me, so it is logical to assume that I will most likely be affected. I don't know what to think. I'm scared to death, because we depend on my salary in paying our bills. I'm trying to keep the faith and believe that this will all work out, but it is very difficult when you wonder if you will be able to make your car payment, buy groceries for your family, or pay your mortgage. If you could spare some prayers, I would appreciate it.

This post seems strangely inappropriate in light of what I just mentioned. Perhaps I should have saved my pennies this past week...

I found some major steals and deals in the days after Christmas. Target, in particular, had some amazing buys. All their Christmas items are 50% off, and I stocked up on ornaments. I think next year I'll do a snowflake themed tree. Look at these glittery goodies! The snowflakes were 49 cent and came three to a pack.

I love this frame! It's a bright lime green and has little jingles having from the top. It was only $3.50!

The glitter cone is such a bright, shiny gold and it was only $8!

These candle holders were only $1.25 at Bath and Body Works.

I've been wanting christmas china for ages and just haven't found the right thing at the right time. I was browsing at Pier One two weeks ago and these plates were 40% off. I got four dinner plates and three salad plates for $27.00!

Do y'all remember that I shared with you my love of Bath & Body Works Twisted Peppermint lotion in the "My Favorite Things" post? My mom was able to track down two lotions and one body scrub for me, but every BBW we have visited has been wiped clean of this scent. We finally broke down and ordered a bunch for the year online to share. Even if I had to pay shipping, I still got the lotions for 50% off!

Have you been to Walmart recently? I am desperately searching for their 4 foot tall pre-lit white tree. They were $20 and also came in red, pink, purple, and blue. I have been to four Walmarts and none of them have the white trees! I've seen 6.5 foot trees, but no 4 foot trees. I'm so frustrated. I had my heart set on that white tree...

I also stopped by Goodwill today on a whim and got a 4 foot cashmere pine tree, originally $70 (Target brand tree) for $12.50. It's prelit and potted, so I am super excited about that steal. I want to eventually have a tree (small trees) in each room of my house.

I hope that these type of posts don't come across as obnoxious or braggy. I've been worrying about that for awhile, and I'd appreciate your feedback if you think they are. I honestly just get excited when I find good deals and I want to share them with others.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A video tutorial from Holly!

This will be a short and sweet post, I'm afraid. Thanks to everyone for the condolences on the loss of my great-aunt. She lived a good life and was in a lot of pain towards the end; I know she is in a better place now.

Tomorrow Jason has a friend flying in who will be staying for a week. I can't believe I'm not more stressed out about this. Usually I'm in a frenzy of cleaning about having company - I want my house to be spotless and everything to be perfect. Maybe because our guest is a guy and I know he could care less? The downstairs looks great, but the spare bedroom is loaded up with laundry that needs to be folded, and the house needs to be vacuumed. And our bedroom is a wreck of clothes, but do I care? No. My husband has a honey-do list for tomorrow and what gets done, gets done.

Remember awhile ago when I complained of being stressed and tired? Well, my friend Holly offered to do a guest blog, and she's made a video tutorial about making greeting cards, using a heat embossing technique. Please check it out, and then go to her blog and tell her how fabulous she is. If you like her stuff, she also has a store! Check that out as well. This girl is majorly talented. She tried to rub off a little stamping talent on me, but it didn't stick. Oh, well. I'll leave it to the master, I guess. :)

I can't get this to embed - grr. Click HERE to see the video!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A completely gratuitous "look at my loot!" christmas post

Happy Monday, everyone! How was your christmas? Did you get everything you wanted from Santa? I sure did, and I wanted to share some pictures with you!

Every year my mom asks me to send her a list with some ideas, and I actually just went and looked up what I sent her so I could share it with you. I didn't realize she was going to share this with family, or I wouldn't have sounded so blatantly greedy. :) I'm so random! I believe in giving people lots of options.

@ Target:
  • gift cards
  • peppermint vanilla reed diffusers, on the same aisle as the air fresheners (I found out after I sent this that they don't carry these anymore)
  • vanilla amber reed diffusers, on the aisle with the candles
  • bar stools, black, with rectangular seats


  • monogram purse/backpack
  • small seasonal garden flags
  • a big faux potted plant or fern for my living room ledge
  • mailbox flag post
  • christmas decor
  • cookie sheets (mine are rusted)
  • Clinique Take The Day Off eye makeup remover
  • MAC Fast Response Eye Cream
  • BBW Twisted Peppermint lotion

My aunt thanked me for the list and said it was very helpful for shopping. LOL! She got me some faux potted ivy, cookie sheets, and a Target gift card, which went towards the bar stools. My grandmother also hooked me up with some cookie sheets, so I am well stocked!

My mom got me the vanilla amber reed diffusers, two monogrammed Vera Bradley-ish backpacks (I love these for marathon shopping sessions and amusement parks), a monogrammed large duffle bag, a pink zebra tote, and a pink and brown polka dot train case. I also got tons of turtlenecks (love turtlenecks for winter!), the eye cream and eye makeup remover, a small crock for dips, and some Bath & Body Works lotions and potions. Oh! and a winter coat and some pajamas. My mom hates my pj's and I think she's trying to improve my nightime attire for my husband's sake. :) And check out this beauty (although it definately needs a new stand)!

My sister-in-law and aunt really hooked me up on christmas decor! I was so excited about my goodies. This little bear holds candy; isn't he cute?

My aunt gave me this picture, which I think looks perfect on a stand. What do you think - does the stand need a makeover? I'm thinking of painting it gold and distressing it.

How adorable are these?! They look perfect on my stairs.

Love this! What should I put in it, is the question. What do you think? Can I leave it out for winter or does it need to come down?

Love my christmas basket! It is perfect for magazines.

Flags! I'm all about monograms, in case you haven't noticed. The ones in the package are christmas flags. I got a mailbox cover that matches the polka dot flag as well!

And my big present, a new kitchen table! Isn't my husband generous? What a sweetie. You can't really see the detail, but the center column has a ledge, for decor, and underneath there is a chest that opens and closes for storage. Love it!

P.S. - For all you crafters, Walmart has Martha Stewart glitter on sale for 50% off! They are the large jars for her christmas projects. The colors are antique silver, gold, red, and a lime-ish green. Martha's glitter is amazing - the best glitter ever, I promise! This is a steal because her stuff doesn't usually go on sale. I saw it at one Walmart with the christmas stuff, and another in the crafting section. The ones I saw in the crafting section were not marked 50% off, but when I scanned it, it scanned as $4.45. Don't pass this up if you use glitter in your projects.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope your holiday is full of love and cheer. I'm heading out this afternoon to travel to my hometown. My great-aunt passed away today, so I'm not sure when I'll be back and be blogging again. Jason's going to be holding down the fort here at home, since he has to work all week. Yay Navy [insert sarcasm here]!

I had a few more Christmas-related posts that I wanted to get done, but I think I'm out of time! My friend Holly did a wonderful video tutorial on stamped holidays cards, and Jennifer is planning to share a card making tutorial as well, so those will be posted sometime next week.

Here are a few pictures of my Christmas tree, which I finally got up this weekend. I'm seriously thinking about leaving it up until January. I just got it up and haven't had any time to enjoy it!

Enjoy your family time, and see you sometime next week!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesdays at the Table

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today's contribution for Tuesday at the Table comes from my beautiful friend, Kim. We met on move-in day, freshman year, at Winthrop University. I experienced the best and worst of college with this girl. This picture is from when we were 22, I think, and were about to go to the fair. Fun times!

Kim's Caramel Apple Dip
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened but not melted
1 tub of caramel dip (Kim recommends Marzetti's)
1 bag of Heath toffee bits

Spread cream cheese into the bottom of a round glass dish.

Stir the caramel dip in the container, and then pour on top of the cream cheese.

Spread the caramel to cover the cream cheese.

Sprinkle toffee bits on top, about 1/2 of the bag. You will need sliced apples for dipping. The pre-sliced ones in the bag work great and they don't turn brown. Green granny smith apples go best with the dip.

Doesn't this look delicious? I can't wait to try it. This is my kind of recipe: semi-homemade all the way.

Please do me a favor and stop by Kim's blog to say hello! Have a great day, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dollar Store finds

Happy Monday! What a crazy weekend. To all of those who asked: yes, I did get everything done before my parents arrived. Everything except my tree, that is. My mom took one look at my put-together but completely bare tree, and promptly ordered me to bring in my bins of ornaments so we could start decorating. I went upstairs to change my clothes, and by the time I came back down, she was finished decorating. My mother is a force to be reckoned with. "Sarge", as my father loving calls her, gets things done. Pronto.

Speaking of ornaments, look what I found! I have no idea where this ornament came from. I do not have a child, so I have no clue why I am in possession of a baby pacifier ornament. Very strange.

Today I wanted to share with you some great finds from the Dollar Store. You really can't beat the price, and they have some super cute seasonal items.

First of all, the trees! I've seen these all over blogland, so you may already have stumbled upon these beauties. They come in silver, green, and red.
These are my favorites! They are bobbleheads, believe it or not. They have santas and snowmen in various poses, and are made with glitter and sequins. You know I love me some bling bling, so I had to have these.
These are little tealight holders, and they also come in snowmen and santas, in various colors.
More figurines... these are done in soft blues. Very pretty and the snowmen could easily transition into winter figurines, not just christmas.

Of course I got all the supplies for my peppermint wreath from the Dollar Store.
I'm the proud owner of about 7 of these little swirly trees. Aren't they pretty? They have glitter and sequins as well, and come in red, lime green, silver, and gold.
These ornaments are a few years old, but they came from the Dollar Store. LOVE THEM! They are by far my favorite ornaments that I own - and they were only a dollar!
What awesome finds have you made at the Dollar Store? Please share!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Odds and ends...

Today is my day off, and instead of getting up off my tushie and getting things done, I'm reading blogs, leaving comments, and writing this post. My parents are supposed to be here around 3:00 today and I still have to wash my sheets, make up my bed, fold three loads of laundry, shower and get dressed, drop stuff off at the drycleaners, make a Target run, and possibly get a pedicure. Hmmm.... I'm thinking all that is not going to happen. And still, here I sit....

I got a few questions asking how I schedule ahead my posts. When you are writing a post, at the very bottom you will see "Post Options". Click on that, and you will see the current date and time. You can change that time to a date in the future, and it will post on that date. I usually write posts a few days in advance in case I get busy or have other things to do. I schedule all my posts for 1:00 AM my time so that people have something to read in the morning. If you are in a different time zone, my Friday post might have come to your reader on Thursday night.

In other bloggy news, did you know you can set it up so that when you leave a comment (and you have your comments sent to your email) you can respond directly to that person's email? If you don't have this enabled, it will comment as "no-reply-blogger" or something similar, but if you do, the email address is the person who left you the comment. That way you can respond to them directly. It is super cool, but I can't remember exactly how to do it, so hopefully someone else will chime in with directions.

I did want to share with you some pictures from The Nutcracker this past weekend. It was.... boring. I can't believe I'm saying that, but I was distracted by an asthma attack, a group of young girls playing the seats behind me, and my husband incessantly complaining about how hungry he was and "when can we eat?!" And the shoes? Girls, please. I always plan ahead and had stuck some silver flats in my purse, and I'm glad I did. Those shoes were killers. I'm just not cut out to wear 4 inch heels.

Here's some pics of George and JC... love the beard! Hahaha!

Door decorating and all that jazz...

The results are in and Judges Choice 2008 is.... my office door! In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, I posted a few weeks back about my office's holiday door decorating contest. Judging was yesterday, and I wanted to share some pictures of my competition.

The theme of my door was "Random Acts of Kindness". I had 24 cards, shaped into a christmas tree, that listed different ways to practice acts of kindness. The wreath is, of course, my infamous peppermint wreath (I'll never look at it the same after that awful burn!). I also made two advent candy calendars and hung them on the sides of my door. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and I was very excited to win!

I won a great goody bag, with several candles and a bunch of bath products. So there was a prize after all!

Here's the door that received an Honorable Mention. The sign says "Winter Wonderland".

My co-worker is obsessed with teen idols from the 1970's, and her door shows it. The sign reads "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree With My Favorite Teen Idols From The 1970's". The pictures are of Donny Osmond, Andy Gibb, John Travolta, etc.

This was my lone male co-worker's door. He won "Most Creative" door.

Here's the boss's door. That bunch of greenery is supposed to be mistletoe, and the hearts are lips. The words read "I Saw Mommy Kissin'"...

One of my personal favorites. The snowman came from the Dollar Tree! How cute is he?

We called this the "Kitty Diva" door. My co-worker got the adorable Hello Kitty ornaments and decor from Target.

My co-worker, Mindy, won "Best Handmade" door.

What do you think? Which is your favorite? Weigh in and tell me who you would have chosen (and it is perfectly ok if it isn't me!).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bloggy Business

So I think the verdict on bangs is a resounding no. What the heck, girlies? I really wanted you to encourage me, so that later, when I hate the bangs and I ask myself "what was I thinking?" I could say that my bloggy friends told me to do it. Shame on you! ;) (kidding!)

My appointment isn't until next Monday so who knows what I will decide to do. I do need to color my hair, which I think I'll do this weekend. I was hoping my grey would come in a stripe, a la Stacey London, but no such dice.

My super awesome bloggy friend and fellow submarine wife, Becca, made me this beautiful button for My Chihuahua Bites! If you like my blog, and want to spread the chihuahua love, please post this on your blog! Since I know less than squat about html, here's what you will need to do to have this link back to my blog:
  1. Save the button to your computer.
  2. Go to your blogger dashboard, and click on the layouts tab.
  3. Click on "Add A Gadet" and then "Picture".
  4. Enter http://andrearhouse.blogspot.com/ where you see "Link".
  5. Upload the image from your computer.
  6. Save, and you're done!

If you're looking for new header or a possible blog makeover, head over to Lovely Yellow Ribbons and take a peek at Becca's work!

I got a few awards this week that I wanted to acknowledge and pass on. The first is from Confessions of a Yummy Mummy. Thanks, girl!

The qualifications to receive this award are:

  • Display a cheerful attitude
  • Love one another
  • Make mistakes
  • Learn from others
  • Be a positive contributor to the blog world
  • Love life
  • Love kids

The rules:

  • Link back to the person who gifted you with the award.
  • Post the rules.
  • Choose 5 people to share the award with.
  • The recipients must fit the qualifications stated above.
  • Create a post to share your award.
  • Thank the winner.

I'm passing this on to April at Deltakids, Jennifer at Crazy, Magic, Sometimes Hectic, Beautiful Life!, Kim at Navy Wife, Navy Life. Watch Me Sink or Swim, CC at If Only I Had Superpowers, and Yaya at Yaya Stuff.

I got the Lemon Award from Shanda at A Teachable Heart. Check out her blog; she always has something insightful to say, and I always take a little something away from her blog. Thanks, Shanda!

The purpose of this award is to give it to someone who is showing gratitude or a good attitude ("if life hands you lemons, made lemonade") within their life or blog.

The rules: put the logo on your blog, nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude and/or gratitude, link to your nominees, let them know they have received the award by commenting on their blog, and share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

I'm awarding this award to some of my followers, because you guys are awesome! Thanks for caring enough to subscribe to my blog!

  1. Becky at Slipping Through My Fingers
  2. Queen Jeannie at Jeannie's Happy World
  3. Megan at INfertile Myrtle
  4. Knit Purl Girl
  5. Katy at Katy's Going to be a Mom!
  6. Momma at All This Is True
  7. Marla at Stolen Bon Bons
  8. Diane at Good Mourning, Glory!
  9. Brandy at One Girl Revolution
  10. Bridget Marie at Honest To Blog

The last award comes from Scrap Paper Scizzors, and since I already passed on this award once, I'll just share 7 things I like.

7 Things I Like

  1. Posh Spice. She's awesome. If you don't love her, at least admire her. She never wears flats or tennis shoes. How does one pull that off?!
  2. The Dollar Store
  3. Hobby Lobby... I could spend hours in this store.
  4. Starbucks Peppermint White Mocha Twist
  5. Target $1 spot... I always walk away from with something I don't need.
  6. Chocolate covered altoids, a dessert and mint in one!
  7. Forever 21 for cheap sunglasses and jewerly

My Chihuahua Bites
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Southern belle, mom of 1, cooker, decorator, crafter, and lover of all things beauty related. Check my About Me tab for more information!


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