Homemade Christmas gifts!

Well, I'm thoroughly disappointed in myself, as I managed to not take a single picture of my homemade Christmas gifts! Failure. Oh well...add it to the list. Instead, I will find other pictures of similar items to show you what I accomplished this year. I really enjoyed spending a little extra time (in order to save a little extra $$) and the extra bit of love that went into the gifts. The new sewing machine has more than paid for itself by this point. Here are some examples:
For my brother, I painted some drinking glasses that look like this:
For my mom and mother-in-law I made aprons. My mom's was the full version with polka dots and damask fabric. My MIL's was the half apron with red and black polka dots. I also made an oven mitt for mom and a UofA necklace for Sean's mom. (the necklaces are super cute and pretty easy...I used this tutorial) Here's what they looked like:I made my sister-in-law, Jessica, this pocket scarf. It's SO cute, and I really like how you can change the colors/fabric to look like a whole new scarf.
I made my sister one of these alphabet photography pictures. Hers says "laugh" and I found the pictures online. I did actually attempt to take the pictures myself, but it was much more difficult than I originally thought.

I did make some other things, too...a t-shirt for Sean (with a fun penguin picture on it), some baby onezies for a friend who just had a baby this week, some PJ pants for dad. I'll post some more pictures later.
My project this week: making a New Year's Eve dress. I'm pretty excited about it and will {hopefully} do a good enough job to actually wear it out. :)
I hope you all had a great Christmas! I very much enjoyed being home with my family for a week and was totally spoiled on Christmas. One of my favorite gifts was a super cute dress outfit from Banana...my mom has always picked great clothes for me! Today it's back to the normal schedule of work, though I still have three weeks off of school. I'm looking forward to cleaning/organizing our apartment over the coming weeks and to spending quality time with both Sean and a couple of books!


Branson, MO

The number of Christmas lights in this place is astounding! I arrived here in Branson last night and am really looking forward to the next week here with family. This morning I attended Sean's Aunt Teresa's ornament exchange party...it was good to catch up with cousins! Today I hit an awesome sale at Ann Taylor at the Landing (they're closing, so I got 50% off all items and an additional 40% off select items)! Here are some things I'm looking forward to this week (in no particular order):

1. Finishing the Wizard of Oz (watching it now)
2. Sleeping in
3. Completing Christmas crafts and gifts -- then wrapping them!
4. Spending time with family and Branson friends
5. Celebrating my Savior's birth (dear, sweet, infantile Jesus)
6. Watching movies
7. Not going to class

I am, however, missing my husband as he will not join me in Branson until Christmas Eve. :( I hope you all have a great Christmas!


More crafts and last week's events...

It was definitely a busy and fun week for Sean and I! Here are some of the things we did:

I made this super cute wreath for our front door. I found the tutorial for the project here. and am really happy with how it turned out!

Our Church set up a "Night in Bethlehem" family Christmas event where Sean and I ran the Metalworking shop. Not sure if you can really tell, but Sean grew a pretty sweet beard for the event. (thankfully he finally shaved today!)
Another fun thing that happened was that we got to see our friend from Branson, Josh, play in a concert here in Columbia. He plays the guitar and tours with the country musician, Justin Moore. It was so fun to watch him play and to hang with some friends from Branson after the concert. Here are some pics from the event:
We also had our friends Jon and Beth over for dinner on Friday -- we did a make-your-own-pizza dinner. Yesterday was fabulous because I was able to finish some other Christmas crafts and gifts. I'm excited to finally send off our Christmas cards tomorrow! I'm just 1.5 papers and one short test away from finishing the semester -- can't wait for some time off from class and to spend time in Branson with family soon! Happy Christmas shopping/preparing to everyone!

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The bees knees

What is the origin of that phrase, btw??? But seriously, my small group is the bees knees-- awesome, challenging, funny and comforting! It's so wonderful to weekly get together with other twenty-something women to discuss the Bible and anything that is on our hearts or minds. We talk about everything from how to apply God's truths to our lives to budgeting to current events....and the list could go on. What a great need this small group fills for us! We're a diverse group of about 20 girls who are teachers, doctors, nurses, graduate students, and stay-at-home moms, just to name a few. Just imagine what wonderful perspectives we get from this groups of girls! Small group is a place where opinions can be shared without fear of judgement, advice is given in a practical way, love and concern is freely shown and laughs are inevitable. I know that God calls believers to be intentional in relationships with other believers, and for the first time I feel equipped to do so. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be involved in this group and plan to soak up every last minute of it before we move out of Columbia!


Blog facelift

I got bored of our last blog template, so I'm in the process of updating the look of this blog. It's still a work-in-progress, but I like where it's going. We had a great weekend here in Columbia spending time with friends, watching football and hanging at home for a change! Sean and I had a picture session with our friend, Bethany, a couple weeks ago...they turned out so great! The new blog header is one of the pics, but I'll post the others when I get them all on my computer.

I'm almost finished with school for the semester! Just a couple of papers and a test away, then I get about a month off of school (but will still have to work). I'm very much looking forward to spending some time in Branson for Christmas.

Not a whole lot to update here...gotta get dinner out of the oven now. :)

Update: I used the last dryer sheet in the only box we've purchased since our wedding today. Sad day.


Christmas Craftiness

When Sean and I were sophomores in college we purchased an inexpensive Christmas tree, but could only afford two boxes of ornaments and maybe three 'specialty' ornaments. Well, we've had fun adding to those 'specialty' ornaments every year since then and now have a pretty good looking tree {despite the bare bones tree underneath!} Here's some before and afters:
Have any of you ever notices how ridiculously expensive Christmas tree skirts are?? Well, I did today whilst shopping and decided that I could pretty easily make my own. With about $15 in supplies and 30 minutes, I made this: (and saw one similar to it for $60 at Hobby Lobby!)I can finally make Sean's Aunt Teresa's annual Christmas ornament exchange this year and have scoured the internet for homemade ornament ideas. I did a trial one today and I think it turned out really cute! I will make half of them in more whimsical colors/patterns like the one pictured here and will make the other half in more traditional tones. They are pretty easy to make and come out to just about $1/ornament in the end!
The homemade Christmas gifts are underway, though still very much under construction! I'm looking forward to pushing through these next two weeks of class with much perseverance then having some time to devote fully to those projects. Tomorrow we're headed to Kansas City to watch the MU/KU game at Arrowhead stadium {the weather is supposed to be an amazing 62 and sunny!}. I'll post pics of that later this weekend...

Turkey Day at the Huddlestons

Thanksgiving was a success! PTL! Sean and I hosted his brother and sister-in-law, mom and her boyfriend for Thanksgiving dinner this year. Since Sean had to be at work so early today, it was so nice to not have to travel. Here's some pics from our dinner:

Carving the turkey...

Green bean casserole and cheese potatoes...

Deviled eggs... (not pictured: mashed potatoes, rolls and stuffing)

Not 10 minutes after we ate, this was the scene:

Then we played some games (Cranium {won by Sean and I} and Trivial Pursuit {won by Beth and Bob})
I loved cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time! I'm so thankful for such a great and loving family to call my own! My next post will be a couple of Christmas crafts I got done today!

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Shut. Up. (in a good way)

How could I be missing out on this for so long??? The art of couponing. (is that even a word?) Well, tonight, my friends, I spent some time on a few websites completely devoted to finding coupons. Even though we typically buy generic, there are a few items we 'splurge' on, such as TP. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Oh, man. This could be a bad addition for my cheap self. In other, more exciting news...my husband is making these delicious dry rub ribs for dinner tonight! Yum! My contribution is spaghetti squash.


Us lately

The busy season is definitely here! I think we can all probably feel our calendars getting busier, our priorities getting a little out of whack and our wallets getting smaller! The holidays, though full of great time with friends and family, can be a little stressful at times. (when compounded with house guests, work, the end of the school semester, etc.) We decided to do a little Thanksgiving here this year since Sean has to be at work so early the day after (Black Friday!). Sean's mom, brother and sister-in-law will all be in town...we're looking forward to having guests and I'm looking forward to trying new recipes!

The holiday gift making is going well...I have a couple finished. It seems that just when I think I have a gift idea picked out, I find a better suited gift somewhere else. I'm going to have to budget my time wisely over the next month to make sure it all gets done in time. Not sure why I feel the need to tell you that, but maybe it makes me feel better to get it out.

We went to a holiday party for my work on Friday (see pic above), hit up the MU football game yesterday then dinner with friends, the MU basketball game today and finally pictures this afternoon. I'll post some when we get them back from our friend who took them. I got a haircut this week and think it's too short, but will hopefully like it better in a couple of weeks.

I'm about to do round two of Facebook friend cuts. You should try it! It's much more fun to get updates on people you've talked to in the past year, lol.

I'll end this hodge-podge of a post with a few random facts about us:
1. I've only purchased one box of dryer sheets since we got married 1.5 years ago. It's a big box.
2. We were so cheap on our honeymoon that we purchased ramen noodles, garlic salt, and butter at a wal-mart in Playa del Carmen.
3. We are in fact so cheap that I packed that garlic salt to bring home and still use it! I should probably be embarrassed about that, but I'm not.

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My trip to D.C.

I'm home! Well, for a few nights anyways. I had an excellent trip to DC this week with a good friend of mine. We were brought to our nation's capitol for a conference by the Association of University Centers on Disability, the parent organization of our internships this year. (http://www.tips4kids.org/) I learned a lot, both about the field of disability and also about the history of our country.

My most favorite tourist thing I did was a Segway tour of DC...it was seriously hilarious to zoom around downtown alongside taxis and jealous pedestrians. We got to see a lot of what the city had to offer and still respect our short trip timeline. We also visited (by foot) the Georgetown Cupcakes (yummy!), the National Archives to grab a glimpse of the Declaration of Independence and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. I saw the hope diamond there...it's impressive. Possibly more impressive than the Declaration of Independence, which probably says something awful about myself. I'll add a couple of pics to this post when I move them on to my computer. I also got to visit with my cousin, Aubree, and her husband over dinner -- a treat, since I haven't seen her in at least five years and she's pregnant with twins!

Another highlight for me personally was our time in the airport in DC. They were welcoming various Honor Flights in (veterans who are visiting war memorials) with balloons, a military band, a lot of people and much cheering. I teared up as these sweet older men were surprised by the level of respect displayed by individuals in the airport -- some of them for the first time ever. I'm thankful to be back with Sean, cooking my own meals and sleeping in my own bed!

Last night I cleaned out my Facebook friends. If you can still see my profile, Congratulations, you passed the first round of cuts.

This weekend I'm looking forward to:
1. The state highschool cheerleading championships. Sean is a trainer for them and I'm just a fan who should be too old to care.
2. The National Autism Law Summit I will be attending in STL.
3. Meeting up with friends in STL for a change of scenery and night out on the town.


Some of the cheapest people you know

Sean and I are both cheap (most of the time, anyways). We always eat all of our leftovers, hate throwing food away, buy off-brand products, shop sales like it's out job and LOVE free things. On Friday we decided we were going to have a date with only the money we currently had in our apartment. Turns out we had $30, so it wasn't as big of a challenge as we thought. We hit up the 2 for $20 deal at Chili's (note: dessert is included in this deal at Chilis, but not at Applebees. We researched it prior to the date)...adding in Sean's strawberry lemonade, the tip, and a redbox rental it was just at $30. We may or may not have rented Monsters vs. Aliens. I made the skirt I'm wearing in this picture from a men's dress shirt!

For halloween, I decided to be a hippie and Sean was the Mac guy (from the commercials). aka. he didn't want to dress up. I scored that awesome top at Goodwill along with two great Gap skirts for just $3 each! We did a booth at Tiger Night of Fun (indoor trick-or-treating) and loved getting to see all of the different costumes.

My husband loves him some Chipotle. On certain holidays they offer free burritos if you do something...on Halloween, you have to dress up like a burrito. Some people just put on a foil ring on and call it good, but Sean and I wanted to try a little harder to earn our free dinner. Here are our attempts: mine is a little hard to make out b/c of my psychedelic shirt, but it has all of my favorite ingredients. Sean went with a more realistic approach of whole burrito in the classic red basket.

Overall it was a successful cheap weekend. We're enjoying our time at home today catching up on housework and cooking a big pot of yummy chili!

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Mid term evaluation

I'm here...in my cubicle...just reflecting on my attitude and outlook I've had recently. It's so easy to fall into a pit of self pity, or selfishness in general, and boy have I been in the depths of that pit! Isn't it funny how we can portray some of the characteristics we dislike most in other people? For example, I hate it when people tell me how busy they are. Isn't almost everyone busy these days?! Whether you're a stay at home mom, climbing the corporate ladder or in grad school we are all being pulled in so many different directions. It's almost like people think it's cool to tell other people how 'busy' they are but often forget that the person they are sharing that info with has a full plate, too. Anyways...I've been using my busyness as a crutch recently - slacking off in relationships, neglecting my personal time with the Lord and placing my needs before others.
Today's my turnaround day. Today I choose meaningful relationships over approval of people I could care less about. Today I choose, with God's grace, to have a better attitude and perspective- thankful for the many blessings he provides. So, here's some things I'm thankful for right now:

1. My small group - I love having that time each with with other young women to talk about issues we are facing and pick their hugely intelligent brains.

2. My husband - despite the fact I'm selfish (a lot) he's consistently humble and forgiving.

3. My family - we're a little crazy sometimes, but give each other full support when needed.

4. Upcoming changes - we will be moving to a new city soon!

5. My job - it's a huge blessing right now to work in my department and be able to complete school work in my free time.

6. To have just registered for my last semester of school ever (I think)- being a student for around 18 years straight is enough for me right now!

7. God's grace - He knows I need it!


MU Homecoming

This past weekend was Mizzou's homecoming. If you're unfamiliar with MU Homecoming, it's kind of a big deal as the whole concept of 'homecoming' was first established here. The week leading up to the game is full of events, such as a blood drive, skit competitions and service projects. Being here in Columbia after most of my other friends have graduated and moved away is a little strange, so homecoming is a great time to catch up with friends and enjoy an exciting Mizzou tradition. This weekend was pretty busy as I tried to split my time between old college friends, new Columbia friends and my family who all came to visit. Despite the fact that the actual football game was a disaster (who picked the UT game to be Homecoming, anyways??) a good time was had by all. Here's a picture of me and my sister, Kristel, who came up from TX for a visit.

I have purchased the supplies necessary for my next sewing projects: my Halloween costume and a super cute jumper dress. Sean is at work all day/night today, so I have had a pretty fun day of fabric stores, the mall, a facial and self-pedicure....oh, and Desperate Housewives, too. :) Speaking of Sean, I really like him. He has been so busy lately with work but is still always so helpful and loving! Mushy, I know.

Two weeks from Today I will be in Washington, D.C.! I have an all-expense paid trip to our nation's capital for a national conference related to my assistantship - it will explore healthcare and educational issues facing people who have disabilities. There are some great speakers in line, so I'm way excited for my first trip there. Also, my good friend Alicia is going, so I will have someone to explore with! This website has a little info about the program I work with here in Columbia: http://www.tips4kids.org/

'til next time...


Be Amazed...I am!

So I got my new sewing machine in the mail on Wednesday. Love it. With some great advice from my Aunt Dana (sewer extraordinaire) and a couple of visits to local sewing shops I found a great deal on a machine online. (Used to retail for $450 and I got it for just $160)

Well...I know nothing about sewing machines...how to threat them, how to fill the bobbin with thread, what all the stitches do, etc. BUT, I figured I'm a pretty smart kid and could just learn how to do it on my own. Since I am very much a visual and tactile learner, I decided to just take the plunge and buy a pattern, some fabric, and get started on my first project. The ladies at Joann's thought I was nuts, as I couldn't even read the pattern properly. A few sighs of frustration, some needle pricks, and 5 hours later I ended up with this fall corduroy skirt:

Pretty amazing, right?? I'm sure if you're a pro sewer you could point out what's wrong with it, but for my first project I'm super happy with the outcome. I learned that many patterns are going to be on sale next week for $0.99 and plan to stock up on options.

Also, I feel it's appropriate to warn some of you that it's my goal to have an entirely homemade Christmas (i.e.: baking, sewing, scrap booking). So if you were hoping for that easy bake oven or Lady Gaga's newest hit single, you're going to be out of luck. I promise to put lots of love and labor into your gifts, though!

We are having a couple of friends over for the Mizzou game tonight...I'll post pictures tomorrow.
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