Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dear Obnoxious Woman Sitting Behind Me in the Movie Theater,

{Following my rant is a perfectly lucid review of Disney's latest, Tangled, which I happened to enjoy}
Dear Obnoxious Woman Sitting Behind Me in the Movie Theater,

I am so glad that my $8 movie ticket included your running commentary spoken at conversation-level volume. It completely enhanced my special surprise afternoon out with my girls to hear you pointing out. every. single. thing. to your granddaughter, who quite frankly seemed as if she'd prefer to be home in her toddler bed taking a nap.

The highlight for me was when she sneezed on the back of my head (twice) and when you both shouted "Go, Neigh Neigh, Go!" directly in my ear during the chase scene. That was pretty great.

I'm so happy you were also able to get cell phone reception. I turned my own phone off because I was sure I wouldn't be able to take calls during the movie. You sure proved me and Verizon and those "Please silence your phones" movie ads wrong. It was so thoughtful of you to hold a conversation with your friend, letting her know where you were and finally asking if you could call her back.

Your idea to let your granddaughter lay in the aisle when the lights went down was superb, I must say. She made for a fabulous speed bump when I got up to take my two year old to the restroom. I must have been exiting too quickly.

I apologize for letting my inner b*&%$ out by giving you the death look and turning around to ask you to please whisper. I didn't realize how shocking that would be. I suppose I don't know much about movie theater etiquette. Thanks for setting me straight.

Love, Amanda


I used to love going to the movies. There's something about disappearing into a story for a couple of hours that I find exciting and relaxing. Going to the movies was always a big treat when I was growing up, and I was so excited to take my girls to see Tangled last week.

However, it seems that more and more often our theater experience is ruined by obnoxious, rude, selfish people with absolutely no social graces. It doesn't matter whether I'm sitting with my girls watching a G-rated film, or out with my Chick Flick Club; it has become increasingly difficult to enjoy a film without some sort of rude interruption. I'm always willing to give children the benefit of the doubt, but I expect adults (especially ladies my mom's age!) to know better than to talk through an entire movie.

Here's a hint: if your child can't sit still for longer than 10 minutes and can't follow a storyline at all, maybe you should forgo the $7 movie ticket until he/she is a bit older. You'll save yourself and your fellow theater-goers a pain in the rear (or ear).

That said, we really did enjoy Tangled. We saw the film in 2D. I know this will make me sound like a MeeMaw, but I prefer good, old-fashioned animation. 3D gives me a headache, and we head to travel 20 minutes North on the interstate to find a theater showing Tangled in 2D. The lighting in the animation was reminiscent of some older Disney films, but with newer technology to appeal to today's savvy kids.

I don't want to give anything in the plot away, but the characters were fun. Flynn Rider, the hero, is a dashing rogue with some great one-liners. Mother Gothel stole the show in a fabulous performance of "Mother Knows Best," and the kids loved the horse, a determined member of the police force named Maximus. Rapunzel is beautiful, smart, and kind. The girls are in love with her.

Unlike The Princess and the Frog, I don't recall any overly scary moments that upset my girls or gave them nightmares. Instead, they both want to play Rapunzel, and let's just say I've already gone out and purchased a set of Disney dolls for Christmas that includes this latest princess.

Despite Disney's attempt to "androgynize" the film by renaming it Tangled, I think it still appeals to a female audience a bit more. But the chase scenes, clever hero, and hilarious outlaws in the tavern might win your boy over.

I give it two thumbs up. Here's the trailer in case you haven't seen it yet:

{Have you seen anything great at the movies lately?}

*Check back on Thursday for a Giveaway from my Blessings Unlimited shop!

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Haul Out the Holly..."

"Haul out the Holly;
Put up the tree before my spirit falls again.
Fill up the stockings,
I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now.
For we need a little Christmas,
Right this very minute,
Candles in the window,
Carols at the spinet.
Yes, we need a little Christmas,
Right this very minute....
Need a little Christmas now."

I hauled out the holly, all right. And a bunch of other things too.

One of the nice things about hosting Thanksgiving in our home this year was that I had the whole weekend to clear my Fall stuff out and brave the attic stairs to drag all my Christmas loot down. We don't have a basement or a garage, so everything goes up in the attic. It took me a good hour, and a good deal of panting and puffing and climbing over joists, but I did it!

The girls were overjoyed to see Frank (Frankincense) return from his extended attic vacation:

Packing and unpacking decorations is one of the hardest parts of Christmas for me. I tend to feel a bit rushed because Natalie's birthday party always falls on the first Saturday in December. If I wait any longer, people get too busy with their holiday plans and my poor girl would end up with "the fuzzy end of the lollipop." I also know that if I don't get everything decorated before Saturday, I'll be too tired, too wired, and too busy later this month to accomplish anything. I guess I fall somewhere between the folks who have their tree displayed on November 1st and the people like my mom who are so busy and never home and don't get anything out until the week before Christmas...or later!

So, T has his assignment of purchasing our (real) tree on Wednesday so I'll have time to get the ornaments on.  He already took some time yesterday to build his girls a large castle silhouette out of cardboard for the party. Can't wait to show you some pictures!

Do you struggle with lots of boxes and bags, or is Christmas decorating a breeze for you?

I hope you'll stick with me this week. I have a Giveaway planned for Thursday from ME! That's right...I'm going to give away something from my Blessings Unlimited shop and I can't wait to show you what I've chosen.

Until then...it's back to decorating for me. I have some Nutcrackers calling my name!

{How is your Christmas decorating coming?}

Sunday, November 28, 2010

She's a Winner!

The winner of the Giveaway from RJ Charms is...

Beth from Blissful Beth. Beth linked up a Potato Filling recipe to my Thanksgiving Round-Up to earn her entry.

Thanks, Beth! Email me so I can get you in touch with RJ. You won a $20 Shopping Spree to RJ Charms!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Do the Holiday Hustle

What did Natalie say after viewing our Christmas Jib Jab?

"Wow, we are cool!"

If she can still say that in about 11 years, I'll be so pleased. For now, let's start the Christmas season off with a bang!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Today is clean up day so we can get the Christmas decorations out!

{How is your weekend starting out?}

Friday, November 26, 2010

It's Go Time

Hope you had a marvelous Thanksgiving! I'm off the conquer the Black Friday sales, then home to do some Christmas decorating.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

If all goes well, we'll have a special first Thanksgiving at home today and a fabulous day of Black Friday shopping tomorrow.

With any luck, I won't have any recipe mishaps like this one from Friends:

Hopefully, my desserts turn out better than Rachel's trifle...or maybe my family will be as understanding as Joey.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Black Friday Wish List

I'm not one of those moms who heads out for Black Friday Shopping with a die hard list of items to buy that I am willing to risk my life over, or stand in the Toys 'R Us parking lot all night for.

I do, however, try to keep a brief list of items to be on the lookout for as I hit the stores on Friday.

1. The perfect pair of flat brown boots.
My annual I {Heart} New York trip will be here in a few short weeks, and if my friend Christy is going to wear her perfect brown flat boots, then darnit, so am I! Just need to find a pair I can squeeze my calves into. They need to be comfortable, because Christy and I are capable of covering large distances in the one day we allot ourselves in the city.

2. Christmas Decor on Sale
This is a given, and should be as easy to spot as the women fighting over the $20 Wii in Wal-Mart.

3. Various Christmas gifts for people who may or may not read this blog.
SuSu, I am 98.9% certain you are reading this, so I refuse to elaborate here. You're getting Tupperware from Goodwill.

4. A new hat to wear on the NYC trip.
As much as I loooove the navy ruffled coat pictured above, a new coat isn't in the budget. So I don't look identical to last year's NYC pictures, a new hat might change things up. Or maybe a ponytail. I don't know.

And that's pretty much it! Most of the time, I end up spotting fun things while I am out. I prefer not having the pressure of "if I don't come home with ___ my life will be over" sort of mentality.

{What's on your shopping list for Friday?}

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Table Rough Draft

I'm feeling good about hosting my first Thanksgiving, and I yesterday I thought it might be fun to see how I might set my table up for Thursday's "big game."

I should begin with a disclaimer: I still haven't painted the dining room, my Decorating Dilemmas curio cabinet got shoved into a corner of the room to make way for a new thrifty find, my table isn't formal, and my "china" is a hand-me-down set that my Nannie got tired of in the 70s and gave to me a few years back.

Because my "china" has old lady blue roses on it, I thought it might be fun to do a blue and brown table to try and get some semblance of a theme in the dining room.

I started with the bare table:

Then I added a $10 table cloth (yes, I know it needs to be ironed) from Wal-Mart and a scrap of burlap from my fabric stash as a "runner."

The burlap was too long, so I just tucked the ends up...

I added another layer with some chocolate brown placemats, also from Wal-Mart. $2 each, I believe.

On to the dishes:

I don't have any fine silver, so I wrapped our every day silverware in brown fabric napkins (also from Wal-Mart!) and tied them with twine.

For my Centerpiece, I grabbed my small glass "Thankful for His Grace" hurricane from Blessings Unlimited and some twiggy pumpkins from Target's Dollar Spot.

I'm going to ask my mom if I can borrow her crystal water glasses, and I have some cute brown and blue scrapbook paper that I might try to make some place cards with, but this is just the "rough draft."

Our menu is coming together, and I have a lot of the shopping done.

My sister-in-laws and I are dividing up the meal:

Turkey-Me (we bought it, T's parents will fry it for us before they leave town)
Ham- Me
Green Bean Casserole- SuSu
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese- Deanna
Cornbread Dressing- Me
Corn Casserole- SuSu
Sausage Dressing- Me
Gravy- SuSu
Bread- Me
Cranberry Sauce- SuSu
Pecan, Pumpkin Pies, Ice Cream- Me
Apple Pie- Deanna

I also bought some apple cider to sip on throughout the day as we cook and watch the parade. Should be a blast!

{How are your Thanksgiving plans shaping up?}

*Megan over at Honey, We're Home is featuring my Black Friday post today. Hope you'll leave me some comment love there if you have a chance. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

In Training

This is me this week, training for Friday:

I find it oddly refreshing that she runs in heels.

You should know that the commercial is loosely based on my life. I planned on playing myself, but time constraints led me to request that my understudy take the role on instead.

{How are you preparing for Thanksgiving and/or Black Friday shopping?}

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Shopping Showcase: Christmas Cards!

I feel it is my duty as a blogger and friend to provide you with a Public Service Announcement this afternoon.

And, maybe also because I can get 50 free Christmas Cards from Shutterfly.

And guess what? If you blog, you can too!

Because I've written about using Shutterfly in the past, for both photo books and personalized wall calendars, I feel comfortable endorsing their latest campaign. The photo calendars truly are a fabulous gift for grandparents and great-grandparents, unless you are related to my mom who doesn't really like anything we give her.

I've actually never done photo Christmas cards before, so I'm pretty excited about this. The local portrait studio always has a deal where they tack 15 onto your Christmas portrait order, but they don't have many design options. Shutterfly's Christmas Photo Cards page has dozens of beautiful, customized choices. I'm having a hard time picking the one I like best!

I love sending Christmas cards, and I love receiving them. I prefer to jot down a quick personal note on mine before I send them out (who has time to write up long braggy newsletters?!), but I think most people appreciate being thought of during the Christmas season.

{What about you?}

Do you send Christmas cards? Are you a "1st of December I'm at the Post Office" type of person, or are you a "Let's just do 'Happy New Year' cards this year" type of girl?

*Don't forget that today is the last day to enter to win a $20 RJ Charms Gift Certificate! You can earn an extra, automatic entry by linking a Thanksgiving-related post to my Thanksgiving Round-Up. Old post or new; recipes, tips, tricks, and decorating ideas are all welcome.

Hope you are enjoying your Sunday! We are home from church and settling in to read the paper and watch some football. Go 'Skins!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Still Rounding 'Em Up!

Have you stopped by my Thanksgiving Round-Up yet? Link up a Thanksgiving-related post and get an extra, automatic entry in this week's RJ Charms Giveaway! RJ is giving away a $20 Gift Certificate to her shop, and there is a discount this week for my readers.
Some great ideas over there!

~Anne shared the recipe for a Pie that is apparently as addicting as crack.

~Staci's Thankgiving Mantle is too much fun!

~Sarah has a Thankful Foyer.

I'm heading up to Tyson's Corner today to do some shopping with a friend. Not much money to spend, but I'm looking forward to window shopping. The girls and I did some Thanksgiving grocery shopping this morning and bought a small turkey!

{What are you up to this weekend?}

Friday, November 19, 2010

"I Think of a Few of My Favorite Things...

...and then I don't feel soooo tired cranky worn out bad."

I knew I'd get the words right.

I like kittens, and roses, and mittens, but I didn't want to copy Fraulein Maria. I'm glad that my friend Melissa decided to host a Favorite Things Party over at 320 Sycamore so I can share some of my own favorites without feeling like a copycat (no offense to kittens with whiskers). In no particular order...

1. My DVR

This magical silver box faithfully records the best TV so that when the day is over and all I can do is sit in a dull stupor, I can veg out with the folks at The Office.

2. Clinique Super City Oil Free Daily Face Protector, SPF 40
I have a fear of looking like my great-aunt Vera or a Shar Pie dog when I am older, so the sunscreen is a must for me. It's so lightweight I can barely feel it, and it doesn't get greasy under my foundation!

3. Peppermint Mochas
I have a little tradition of kicking off my Christmas season by ordering one of these at the start of my Black Friday extravaganza shopping day. Perfection in a cup!

4. Christmas Music/Movies
When it comes to Christmas tunes, I prefer the oldies. Hearing Bing Crosby croon "White Christmas" or listening to Judy Garland's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" puts a smile on my face. I look forward to our Christmas Eve viewing of Ralphie Parker's quest for a Red Rider bb gun in A Christmas Story

5. Girl Time
Whether I'm hitting the movies with my Chick Flick Club girls (we are way overdue!), or heading off for some retail therapy, it is so important to me to have a chance to talk with women who are going through the same things I am. I'm going North tomorrow for some shopping at Tyson's Corner with a girlfriend or two. Can't wait to check out the goods in Williams-Sonoma!

6. My Purple Ruffled Booties
'Nuff said...

7. Chick Lit.-

Give me some Mary Kay Andrews, Emily Giffin, or Sophie Kinsella and I am a happy girl. After chasing the kids around all day, I need some light reading to settle in with. Martha Stewart Living, anyone?

8. My Bread Maker
I love being able to mix up sandwich bread for my family! It has saved us a lot of money this year, and my sister taught me how to make "Cinnabons" with it last weekend!

9. My "Silent Wonder" collection from Blessings Unlimited

I can't. wait. to decorate with this stuff after Thanksgiving!! Not the best photo, but I am loving the blue-gray and white color combo!

10. My Super Skinny Jeans from Old Navy (see #6)

Trust me. "Amanda" and "skinny" haven't gone together in a long, long, loooong time. But those jeans paired with a long sweater or tunic are fab-u-lous! To get some tips on how to wear skinny jeans if you're not a size 2, click over here

So..."these are a few of my favorite things."

{How about you?}

Stop by and enter my RJ Charms Giveaway if you have a chance. I'm also still looking for great Thanksgiving ideas. Link up a Thanksgiving-related post to my Thanksgiving Round-Up for an extra entry in the Giveaway!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

RJ Charms Shopping Spree Giveaway

Hi, friends! The Thanksgiving Round-Up is still open. (Link up a Thanksgiving-related post and I'll give you an extra (automatic) entry in today's Giveaway from RJ Charms!)

I first introduced you to RJ Charms in April (you can read about the shop here), and readers were struck not only with the fabulous variety in RJ's shop, but the fact that she offers FREE shipping to the U.S. and Canada. Combine that the low prices, and you've got yourself a match made in heaven!

RJ is offering a $20 Gift Certificate for a shopping spree to one Serenity Now reader, and she's also giving away a discount code to everyone!!

Between now and Sunday, November 21, you can get a 10% Discount over at RJ Charms by using the code: serenity. With RJ's free shipping policy, you can score some great deals on Christmas gifts.

So...what will you choose? (I'm still partial to the Eiffel Tower, but I love the crafty scissors too!)

Here's How You Can Enter (Please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1. Visit RJ Charms and leave me a comment here with the name of your favorite item.
2. Tweet this Giveaway.
3. Facebook this Giveaway with a link to this post.
4. Link up an old or new Thanksgiving-related post to the ongoing Thanksgiving Round-Up!

Giveaway open until 10 pm on Sunday, November 21st.

*Note: No Weekend Bloggy Reading party tomorrow. I'll be participating in Melissa's Favorite Things party over at 320 Sycamore.

{Happy Shopping!}

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Round-Up Highlights

I won't be hosting Weekend Bloggy Reading this week because I want to join Melissa's Favorite Things party on Friday. So I thought it might be fun to highlight some of the ideas you all submitted for the Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up. It's open until Friday, and I invite you to come by and link up any old or new posts that share Thanksgiving related recipes, tips, tricks, tablescapes, etc. I'll do another update over the weekend!

~Jennifer shared a Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole Recipe. I loves me some cheese.

~I am fairly certain that Jo's Chocolate Pecan Pie is my dream come true.

~Carmen reminded us that you should serve Appetizers on Thanksgiving Day so you aren't attacked by a hungry mob.

~Don't you want to swoon over Beth's Thanksgiving Tablescape? She got my wheels a turnin'.

Do you have some great recipes or Thanksgiving ideas to share? Please come by and link your post up.

In (belated) news, the winner of the Stitch Sense Designs Giveaway is #37, Veronica of Life in the Thrifty Lane. See? It does pay to link up with Weekend Bloggy Reading! Congratulations, Veronica. Send me an email and I'll get you in touch with Nadir!

TOMORROW: A Giveaway from RJ Charms!

{How are your Thanksgiving plans are coming along?}
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