Choosing Wisely: Simple Thoughtfulness Or Marriage and Babies?

Big exciting things are happening today! Bill and I have yet to spend a Christmas day together, and unfortunately, this year will not be our year either. But that’s okay, because like many other couples, we declare a day sometime before the holiday our honorary Christmas. And that day…

Is today! Merry Christmas, everyone!

An honorary Christmas picture from last year:

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There will be a lot of orchestrating going on today. I have a BIG surprise planned for Bill, and I am really excited about it. I can’t reveal it yet because sometimes the sneaky little bugger checks my blog, but I can say that this year is a lot different. Last Christmas was our first together, and you could tell. We both were crazy over what to get each other, as it was my second big present-requiring occasionΒ  (his birthday was first) and his first as a couple. So needless to say, exasperation was rampant and many an opinion was gathered before taking the plunge. It’s amazing how stressful it can be finding that painstakingly perfect gift for a new to semi-new significant other. Is this enough? Did I spend too much? Do you think this conveys just the right amount of thought to express how I’m feeling, or does it say “IKNOWIT’SWAYTOOEARLYBUTIWANTTOGETMARRIEDANDHAVEYOURBABIESTOMORROW!!!!!!”

So there’s that.

But like I said this earlier, this year the pressure was off. We seem to know each other substantially better, and I thoroughly enjoyed picking out a gift that would mean a lot to the Billy in my life. (And since he decided to propose in June, the whole scaring him away with marriage and babies thing is sort of off the table by his own doing…)

Now, don’t get me wrong – it still took awhile to figure out what would be perfect for him. To begin with, he never really asks for much, and when he does, I POUNCE. So I did spend awhile looking for nice leather messenger bags, since he casually mentioned one night that he could really use one for work. Commence obsessive online searching for bag with said criteria. But I am a huge proponent of thoughtful gifts with lots of personal meaning, and after a week or two of looking, plus a near-decision, I got off the whole work bag thing pretty suddenly.

And then it hit me. I knew exactly what to get him. And now after hiding things ALL OVER the house as they arrived over the last few weeks, I am beyond excited to put it all together. So, what is it, you ask? Oh, I’ll tell you… but first I’ve got a day of covert mission-ing to do. I can’t wait!

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The Occasional Favorable Outcome

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Kicking off the work week with a (Not So) Ugly Sweater Party…

(Bill had to practically pry this amazing Old Navy Fairisle Sweater from my sleepy little hands last night – it’s so soft I just wanted to cuddle with it all night long.)

Have Yourself A Merry Little Monday

Alright. I’m usually a hot mess when it comes to all things domestication, yet there is one thing that when it comes down to it, I can definitely fend for myself. And that, my lovelies, is baking.

I have always loved baking. It’s almost therapeutic – SO relaxing – and you can almost just turn your brain off for a while and end up with a rewarding finished product. Any and all things baked goods are great to give away, and baking for someone is usually a surefire way to put a smile on someone’s face. However, in relationships there are always those unfortunate times where something doesn’t quite click between two people, and it has to be dealt with. One of the first things that surfaced for Bill and I was his aversion to all things sweet and sugary.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s GREAT that he doesn’t eat sweets. We both try to live our lives making healthy choices, and sugar/butter/white flour aren’t the best things for your tummy/thighs/derrier. That doesn’t mean my heart didn’t sink a little when I realized that I wouldn’t be baking for my man (usually the way to the male heart). But I recently read somewhere that you should love andΒ appreciate your partner for those differences or quirks, not just simply accept them. I am thankful that Bill’s habits have rubbed off on me, and my sweet tooth has gotten smaller the longer we’ve been dating. (My ass thanks him for that one too.)

BUT…

The holidays are great for many things, one of which is baking. A great activity to spread some holiday spirit at any party or event is a cookie exchange, which I have just recently learned to appreciate. Tomorrow morning marks the beginning of a week-long holiday party at my amazing office, and the cookie exchange is the first thing going down. The way it works is this: everyone was invited to participate, but anyone could opt out. Once it was established who was in, a final head count is taken. Each person is asked to make their favorite holiday cookie or other treat and bring six per person participating. For instance, we have seven people participating, so we are each required to bring seven bags of six cookies each (one for the front office too). The point is not only to share your favorite recipe, but each person goes home with a huge assortment of sugary goodness that can be readily available for family members, friends, guests both expected and unexpected, you name it. Naturally, I was all over this.

Forget the fact that Bill, Emily (our roommate), and I are going to have a shit-ton of cookies to eat, not having children or relatives visiting or even friends. Okay, that last one isn’t true. But there will be a lot of cookie eating happening, and even Bill is just big talk. I’ve seen him sneak a few when he thought no one was looking.

So here is how I spent MY night:

When I think of my favorite cookies, I usually think of ginger molasses cookies. They were those cookies that my grandma made, but not so often that they lost that squeal-inducing reaction straight from my giddy little heart. Now, I usually cook out of Cooking Light. I’m a Cooking Light junkie. But when it comes to the holidays, if I’m going to eat it, it had better be GOOD. So like my mama taught me, when you want a guaranteed pleaser, reach for the basic and the best:

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The ginger cookies straight out of the BHG are to die for. Just saying.

Next, after getting out everything I needed, I reached for my go-to large Pyrex bowl, subsequently remembering that I sufficiently smashed it a few weeks ago. (See Experimentation post.) So I had to improvise, which left me with too much cookie and not enough random plastic bowl.The recipe then instructed me that I needed to use a mixer to beat the shortening. And the sugar. And then the eggs. And then the molasses, the spices, the four and a half cups of g&%damn flour. Too bad my last roommate took my hand mixer with her when she moved out in June. Thirty obnoxious minutes of hand-beating later, and boom. Dough.

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Big dough. In a small bowl.

From here on out, I was a little less of a hot mess, even though you couldn’t tell by the disaster that was now my kitchen. However, that’s just how I bake – throwing ingredients everywhere – and I’ve accepted it. So should you. The ginger cookies turned out beautifully, if I do say so myself.

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I ended up with 60+ cookies. In the past I would have just thrown them in Ziplocs and given them away in their sad little plastic bags. But the new me has realized that presentation is HUGE, especially when it comes to food. If it doesn’t look good, your brain will most likely decide ahead of time that it won’t taste good, and every knows I need every advantage I can get. Thanks, Target, for your adorable little treat bags, making my cookies look all festive and stuff.

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So now that I’ve gotten my baking fix, I’m prepared for any “What does that DO for you?” that Bill throws my way every time sugar is in the vicinity. Because sometimes the purpose of food isn’t to feed our bodies, but – more importantly – our souls.

Want one? ❀

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The Thing About Home Is…

The Thing About Home Is...

That it is impossible to show everyone how much it means to you.

A piece of my heart lives here.

❀