December 29, 2011

Christmas in New York

We decided to spend Christmas with Aaron's parents in upstate New York this year.  We ended up being the only "kids" who were up there this year but it was still a lot of fun!

We got there on Friday night, around 8:30pm.  Smooth drive, except for a little traffic in Shamokin Dam.  Yes, the town is really called Shamokin Dam.  Ate food, talked, went to bed.

Saturday we went to a baptism, played games, and went to Aaron's grandma's apartment for dinner.  YUM.

Sunday we practiced restraint and didn't open anything until after church.  Karen asked me to sing with the RS and YW in Sacrament Meeting (Still, Still, Still) because there were only 2 altos and  plethora of sopranos.  We only had the one hour of church and it was full of music- I teared up a couple times.  I love when the Christmas program is on Christmas Day!


Once we got back to the house, we opened stockings and presents.  I think this was my first Christmas with just adults, so it was different, but still fun to give and receive gifts!



video

Then we ate Christmas dinner and played cards for a while until Aaron's grandma went home.

Monday morning we went shopping.  I LOVE shopping the day after holidays!  There's not quite as much of a selection, but you can stock up for the next year for about half the price.  So we shopped in Greece, Sweden, and Batavia (I think) and went to Friendly's for lunch.

Played Settlers again.  Aaron won again.

Once it was getting dark, we headed out for Niagara Falls.  We stayed on the American side this time.  They light up the falls with colored lights at Christmas and it's really pretty.  I had a hard time getting good photos of it but I ended up getting a few clear ones. (Click to enlarge)




Tuesday morning we packed up, ate brunch, and headed out.  We were doing really well until York PA, where there was an accident that closed I-83 S less than a mile ahead of us.  So after sitting there for a few minutes, we put the car in park.  After 10 more minutes, we turned off the car.  And about 30 minutes after that, we finally started moving.  Ugh.  Too bad there was no exit between us and the accident, or we would have taken it and found a different way around.

So we finally got home on Tuesday evening.

All in all, a great trip!

December 28, 2011

Crafty Christmas

This year was our first year with a full sized Christmas tree!  The last 2 years we had a tiny one-bedroom apartment, so the only tree we had room for was 2 feet tall, set up on a side table.  Our apartment now is significantly bigger (though still an apartment) so we got a 7 1/2 ft skinny tree.

Now, with a tree that sits on the floor, we were in need of a tree skirt.  So we decided to make one!

Aaron helped me pick out the fabric and buttons and I sewed it.  It took 2 evenings and I think it turned out really cute!


Apparently we can't celebrate a holiday without making sugar cookies anymore.  So we made some like we did for Halloween (this year and last) and last Christmas.





We had a cookie exchange at our ward Christmas party, so most of them were taken home by other people and we ended up with a plate overflowing with a variety of other cookies and treats!

December 13, 2011

Q&A About my Product Reviews

*I know some of you may also be curious about how I get this random stuff to try and review.  I had someone ask me about it so I thought I'd share the message here in case you're curious too!*  

Reader: 
Hey! So I keep reading these product reviews on your blog and how it's from the bzz agency. I looked it up online and it doesn't give me too much info. I'm kind of interested in doing it. Can you give me more info on it?

Erika:
Yeah! I love it! It's buzzagent.com and basically they send out products for people to test and talk about. It's along the lines of word-of-mouth advertising but they're not asking you to promote the products exactly. They just want honest opinions about the products.

You get invited to do "campaigns" based on age, gender, income level, etc. since they usually want people from a certain demographic (like how they only sent the Maybelline lip glosses to women).

You also get points for how much you talk about the product or share it (some of the kits come with samples to share or coupons to share) and those points go to mypoints.com which let's you redeem points for gift cards. I haven't earned enough point to redeem for the good gift cards yet but they have gift cards for all kinds of places like amazon and Walmart and restaurants.

The more you buzz about the products, the more points you earn and you're likely to be invites to more campaigns in the future.

I think it's a really cool program and I totally think you should join!

(I feel like I just wrote an advertisement for it! But it really is cool because all but one campaign is free to join and you get to try things for free! Most of the products are either new releases too or even prerelease so that's cool too.)

Let me know if you get into any cool campaigns once you join!

Side note- usually the products I get are cool enough that I want to talk about them anyway, so I pretty much get points for something I would have done anyway!

December 7, 2011

Giving Thanks

We spent Thanksgiving with the Brayleys in Manassas this year.  It was great because my whole family was able to get together the weekend before.  (Austin and Mariko went to Texas for actual Thanksgiving, but at least we were all together for a couple of days before)

I finally got to meet baby Amelia, Doug and Cassie's new baby girl who was born in October.  She's adorable, and I loved cuddling her every chance I got!

We brought some Wii games with us, to play on my parents' sweet set up downstairs.  They have a projector in their big open basement, great for watching movies and playing games.  We had so much fun playing together, especially Just Dance 2.

I am thankful for my amazing family, and so glad I got to spend the holiday with them!

Unfortunately I didn't take a single photo.  But here's a cute video of Archer and his favorite Aaron:

video

December 6, 2011

MLK Jr.

We were in Manassas the weekend before Thanksgiving and we went with Austin, Mariko, Harrison, Natalie, and Chris to the new Martin Luther King Jr. Monument in DC. It's a pretty neat monument. He is depicted as the "stone of hope out of a mountain of despair" that he mentioned in his speech.


"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." (25 February 1967, Los Angeles, CA)

December 5, 2011

Photos! Halloween cookies!

Photo overload- sorry, but I think my Halloween cookies turned out really cute!

(To learn how to do this kind of decorating, see this blog.  I learned all of my sugar cookie decorating skills from there.  But the baking skills- I learned that from mom.  And BHG.)

December 4, 2011

New Couch!

So up until the end of October, we were using these:


This set is about as old as me.  Now, I know I'm not THAT old, but for a couch... well, they needed to be replaced.  My parents bought this couch and chair new years ago, and until it moved up here with us, they were sitting in my parents' basement, seeing little use.


Well, we put them up on craigslist and found a new home for them at the end of October, because we bought a new couch!  (Side note, when we were moving the old set out of our apartment, we found a duplo block rattling around in the base...  how long it's been in there, I have no idea...)



I love it.  It's so comfy and pretty, and even came with the leather ottoman!  Now I just have to figure out what to put on the walls above it!  (Suggestions welcome!)

December 3, 2011

Buzz Can Fly!

...Sometimes...

One Saturday earlier this fall, it was pretty windy, so Aaron and I decided to take our kite out to fly.  At first we were getting a lot of this:




But eventually we got him to fly!





We probably looked pretty silly, two adults flying a Buzz Lightyear kite in an elementary school field, but who cares?  We had fun!

December 2, 2011

Let's Review- COOKIES!

I love cookies.  I especially love homemade cookies.  So I was skeptical when I was asked to try these "Kroger's The Truly Awesome™ Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies," which are NOT homemade, obviously.


So they sent me 2 boxes to try.  Aaron and I opened a box and tried them.  We were not impressed.  Not that they were bad, because they weren't.  But there were exactly what you'd expect from a boxed cookie.  Yes, they were a little bigger than average, but there also weren't as many as you'd find in an average box, so I figure you get the same amount of cookie overall.

So we figured we would try a suggestion that was included in my package- put the cookies in the microwave for a few seconds.  Apparently this makes them taste like they just came out of the oven... like homemade!

Well, surprisingly, they were right!  We put them in the microwave for about 20 seconds and they came out warm, soft, and delicious.  We devoured the whole pack of cookies as soon as we realized how good they were!

I have to admit, I still prefer homemade cookies.

But this is a pretty decent alternative.

*I was given free samples by BzzAgent- opinions are mine.*

December 1, 2011

Oh Life...

Somehow life keeps happening whether I have time to blog about it or not.

Whew.

Keep your eyes peeled for some new posts in the next few days.












Please don't really peel your eyes. That's just gross.