Holiday Bucket List {2012}

Last year, I made a Bucket List to organize our plans and must-dos for the holiday season.  Though we didn't cross every single item off the list, it was nice to have a bit of direction for the time of year that can quickly become overwhelming.

It's easy to get carried away and think we have to participate in every activity, make every craft, and buy every "must-have" gift.  The rising popularity of Pinterest during the last two years has only added to the do everything pressure (at least for me), but having a list of the things that are most important to us makes it easier to keep a bit of focus throughout the season.

This is my beginning "wish list", if you will, sure to be edited and adapted many times over the coming weeks.  But it's a start, and it sure has me excited about the holidays!

  1. Serve a free Thanksgiving dinner at church and enjoy spending the day with family, friends, and community members.  
  2. Pore over the giant stack of Black Friday ads.  Reaffirm that we like sleep a whole lot and equally dislike crowds, so Black Friday shopping is NOT for us.  
  3. Watch the Alabama/Auburn game while putting up Christmas decorations.
  4. Let Addison & Mackenzie help with decorating this year--maybe the small tree in their room.
  5. Have many family movie nights to watch Christmas favorites.  (We have already watched Rudolph this year and The Grinch is waiting on DVR.)
  6. Introduce the girls to the goodness of real hot chocolate with marshmallows.
  7. Watch Love, Actually with my Laura Jo (hoping to cross this one off the list this week!).
  8. Do some kind of Advent activity.  Make some type of calendar/countdown.
  9. Make and deliver holiday treats for our neighbors.
  10. Bundle up and take an evening walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the Christmas lights.
  11. Surprise the girls with a pre-bedtime drive around town to see the best Christmas lights, complete with pajamas and hot chocolate.  (I saw this idea on Pinterest somewhere, and I love it!)
  12. Have fun reading through the stack of new Christmas books I just ordered for this year.  Some will be wrapped as small gifts and spread out through the month of December.
  13. Get a picture with Santa.  (Done!  At school last week, and M even sat in his lap.)
  14. Visit the Opryland Hotel in all its holiday glory. 
  15. Let the girls do some fun Christmas crafts and help with holiday baking.
  16. Spend lots of late nights crafting, wrapping, and talking with my sister.
  17. Have a date night at home with Jeremy--with the fireplace going, a movie, and some kind of delicious food.
  18. Enjoy a now-traditional shopping date with Jeremy.
  19. Make a list of gifts for each person and STICK TO IT.
  20. Try to incorporate something handmade into as many gifts as possible.
  21. Have lots of fun wrapping the girls' gifts and finding creative places to hide them.
  22. Read the story of Jesus's birth from the Bible with the girls on Christmas Eve.
  23. Host my family on Christmas morning.  (This is a new one--we've always been at my mom's--and I'm pretty excited about it!)
  24. Relax and enjoy the time with family and friends.  Let go of the idea of perfection.  Think less about the messy house and more about the memories being made.  
Merry Christmas

What's on YOUR list this year?


State of Affairs, October Edition

October was one of our busiest months in a long time.  I started out feeling very overwhelmed with all we had planned, but it turned out to be a pretty successful month on the whole.


We kicked off October with a trip to see The Fresh Beat Band live in concert.  It was the girls' first live show of any kind, and they really had a great time.  It was so fun to see their amazement that the Fresh Beat Band members they love so much were right there on the stage.  Mackenzie kept waving at them, saying "Hi Kiki!  Hi Marina!"...and then I died of the cuteness.


After the Fresh Beat Band, we had birthday parties two Saturdays in a row, then family pictures on a warm Sunday afternoon.  We watched our town's Homecoming parade and spent an evening at a fall festival at a local elementary school, where Mackenzie rode a pony for the first time.  (Afterward, she proclaimed, "I think I'm pretty good at that!"  Addison was pretty nervous and decided not to ride.)  The following Friday, we left out bright and early, headed to Mobile for a wedding weekend.

We all needed a break after that, so the last weekend of the month was a quiet one at home, thankfully.  Finally, we ended the month on a great note with some fun trick-or-treating for my two butterflies.

"Butterfly fairies"

I don't even know...

It was a whirlwind of a month and we were all ready for a rest by the end, but we had a blast in October!

Books read:  2
I'm kind of in a book rut here...not really sure what that's about, but it's probably mostly due to the fact that I always start to feel a little overwhelmed this time of year.  Between holiday planning, regular work stuff, approaching exams and papers for my students, and all the aforementioned fall activities, I don't feel like I have a lot of time left for reading.  I'm determined to power through it though; this month, I'm giving myself permission to purchase a book I really want to read (that I can't find in the library), even if I have to pay full price for it (gasp!).

The Story of Us--A YA book about a girl on the cusp of major changes.  Just about ready to leave home for college, Cricket is making big decisions about the future of her relationship with her longtime boyfriend, Janssen.  I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either.  It was just...meh.  Felt like it took forever to read, which I think contributed to my reading rut.

Looking for Alaska--Written by the highly-regarded YA author John Green, this book has been on my list for awhile.  I devoured it in the weekend we spent in Mobile, mostly on the ride home.  Beautifully written and haunting, this is one I most definitely recommend.

Ehh, not a whole lot of time for any of it this month.  Jeremy has joined me in watching Nashville, adding one more show to our weekend rotation.  We record our shows during the week, then watch them together on the weekend when we're home together.  I love our routine, though yes, I realize that makes me sound old and lame. 

Are you watching Nashville?  Any favorite new shows this season?

-- I made an outfit that I gave as a gift for the first time.  My sewing is nowhere near perfect, but I'll keep practicing.
-- Christmas craft planning is in full swing!  Seen any cute ideas lately??
-- I am SO happy crockpot and soup weather is here.  Potato soup on tap for the weekend!!

Can you believe it's November already?  Can you believe I've nearly made it through the whole year with these State of Affairs posts?  I can't...I never follow through with anything!