Friday, December 23


Another advent activity we did together last week was bowling.  We had some free coupons that are going to expire at the end of the month and we finally made some time to go use them.  It turned out to be a workout for me since I am carrying a slightly lighter bowling ball in my belly, but we are enjoying these last two months of just us!

Thursday, December 22

Christmas Lights

(Photos taken on my phone with Instagram)
As one of our advent activities from the calendar, I suggested going to look at Christmas lights.  I guess I envisioned driving around some neighborhoods and seeing what was out there, but as I looked online for good neighborhoods, I found out that there are some really extravagant displays nearby.  I should have known that SoCal would come through in that way.  One weekend, we went to Naples near Long Beach.  Last weekend, we went to Balboa Island for the Christmas Boat Parade.

Both neighborhoods have fantastic houses built on canals or the beach and most of the houses are decorated.  Some are decorated from inch to inch.  We walked by parties that had live music on their decks, enjoyed a high school chamber music choir and other various music groups that came out to perform Christmas music.  I was really blown away!

Wednesday, December 21

Our Advent

In our second Christmas together, we are still working on traditions.  I made an advent wreath for our table like last year (using free cuttings from our nearby Wal-Mart again!).  We light it each night we're both home for dinner and read from the Jesse Tree devotional.  Colin told me the other night he liked the one we did last year better because it's more interactive, but they're both good.

Since we are on a single income and adding to our family soon, we aren't buying each other presents.  I made an advent calendar with 25 pennant shaped pockets made from upcycled sweaters like our stockings.  I filled the first half with activities to do together and Colin has been filling the other half. 

We got out our tomato cage Christmas tree that debuted last year and Colin helped decorate it as our first advent activity.  We've made each other favorite meals or snacks as activities.  Colin even illustrates each card he writes with a tiny illustration!  Over the weekend, he built a fire in our pit and we had warm drinks outside around it as our activity.  He told me that he loves how it's bringing us together more.  Next Christmas, we'll have an almost one year old to add to the mix!

Tuesday, December 20

Christmas Links

An instagram photo taken on the bridge to Balboa Island.  

Today's Letters (a blog I subscribe to) has a collection of their favorite Christmas songs here. My Christmas song playlist has been going for a few weeks - both from my own collection and on Pandora, but these songs (and the links recommended in the comments) are a refreshing add-in.

I like this NoiseTrade Christmas CD: Ten Out of Tenn. Have you tried NoiseTrade? You can get great music and leave whatever tip you like!

I have been collecting too many fun ideas on pinterest (and even making a few of them). I took these eggnog cookies to three different friends' houses last week and they were a hit! I want to make this eggnog pound cake or maybe this pumpkin gingerbread next.

I usually make white chocolate covered cranberries, but don't think I'm going to this year.  I did have some cranberries in the freezer though, so I made cranberry bread yesterday and it's yummy!  I also made these fig and date swirls from Lottie+Doof.  Sadly, I didn't have any anise, so I made them without, but they are still yummy!