Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I thought I would post a wrap up of 2010 but then I thought, I’ve already wrote one of those… In my Christmas Letter! So below is our Christmas letter, I have sent one out to friends and family since we had Layla so this was my 3rd year. They are fun, and they give distance family a chance to see what we are up too. I try to include a family picture but this year I wasn’t feeling it so I tossed in Layla’s Santa picture.


Hello, friends and family! Can you believe it’s already almost 2011 and that Ben and I will celebrate our 10 year high school reunion this coming June? It's hard for us to believe as well.

2010 has been a very busy year for us. We sold our first home, bought a new, larger home with room for Layla to run, went on some fun trips, and stepped into the "Terrible Two's" with Layla!

The beginning of the year was spent hurriedly getting our first home ready for showings, which also required constantly cleaning up after a very curious toddler. In April, Ben and I celebrated our three year wedding anniversary, and, shortly after, we received a full price offer on our little home! We quickly accepted and got down to business finding our family a new home.

Our searched ended in May, when, after looking at 5 houses in the few hours available after work and getting dangerously close to Layla’s bedtime, we went to look at our final house of the evening. We had previously looked at another house in the same neighborhood, but it was a case of love the neighborhood, hate the house, so we didn't have very high expectations. We were pleasantly surprised when we drove up and saw the exterior of the home, and once we went inside it only got better! I was over the top excited and Ben quietly walked around and took it all in. After going home and putting the kiddo to bed, we both agreed that it was the "one”! We wrote up an offer the following day and it was quickly accepted! On May 20th, we closed escrow on both houses, old and new, and began moving in! It came complete with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and a lot of paint work to do! The previous owners were pretty fond of nacho cheese colored paint apparently! We also lucked out in that the house is on a large lot, with a three story back deck, and is surrounded by protected land filled with lots of big beautiful pine trees. We couldn't be happier.

Our summer was filled with painting, decorating, and getting settled in our new home. We took a week off of work in August to celebrate Layla’s 2nd birthday and to spend time with my Dad, Brenda and Angel, who had come up for a visit! Layla had a fantastic "Abby Cadabby" themed birthday party, surrounded by lots of friends and family. While they were here, we also took my Dad and Brenda to a pre-season Seahawks vs. Packers game in Seattle. Unfortunately, we lost to Dad’s team, but it was still a lot of fun!

In October, Ben and I took Layla on her first road trip to Seattle! It was her first time staying in a hotel, and we all got to experience the Seattle Aquarium together. Our good friends Keith and Heidi came down from Bellingham to spend a day with us and we went shopping at my favorite store, Ikea! It was a great trip and Layla loved every minute of it.

November brought on some big steps for Layla, she started Preschool! We picked a very nice Christian church preschool that is fully accredited thru kindergarten, and she has already started bringing home beautiful crafts for us. Our little social butterfly handled the transition perfectly!

And now, here we are, in December. We can't wait for Layla's 3rd Christmas with us, every year we're amazed by how much she has grown! We're looking forward to a month filled with fun, friends, family, and of course, snow! We hope 2010 has been exciting and eventful for you as well, and send our best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!

The Matthews Family
Ben, Krista & Layla

Thursday, December 30, 2010

More Snow Pictures

I am at home today with an asthmatic kiddo. We went to urgent care last night and while her vitals looked good she was just wheezy and working a little harder then normal to breath. Headed to a follow up appt in about an hour. But here are some snow pictures from last night and one of me and Layla with red eyes! Up every 4 hours for breathing treatments is not fun. 

My little tree outside work, when I first got to work. 

My little tree when I was leaving work. 
Our mailbox! 

Layla & Me

I know a lot of people of snow way way worse then us, but I love it and just like taking pictures of it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I need too…

Take Christmas down…. But I keep going back and forth about leaving it up thru Friday. Were having another couple over Friday night for steak, crab, mashed potatoes, broccoli and garlic cheddar biscuits. I can’t wait. Oh and Champagne lots of Champagne!

Also, the Hubs and I had lunch together today. I love seeing him in the middle of my work day! It makes the day much better! Anyways my brother is turning 30 on March 6th. I can’t believe it! Were tossing around the idea of a Vegas trip… Know of any good deal sites? I’m thinking a Thursday evening until a Monday morning. And we’d like to stay downtown at the Golden Nugget if possible. And see a Cirque du Soleil show.

Have a beautiful Tuesday! Weather report says 3-5 inches of snow tonight and another 6-10 tomorrow! You know that makes me giddy!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wow, it’s been awhile.

How time flies when you are ridiculously busy. Or you were ridiculously busy then you get some free time and all you want to do it chill! The Ugly Sweater Holiday Party went off without a hitch! It was a lot of fun, I was exhausted and as soon as the last guest left I went straight to bed. My amazing Hubs cleaned most of the house for me and it was a great surprise to wake up too! My pictures didn’t turn our very well; I think I am going to look into a picture taking course. It’s hard for me to capture the moment. I will post them very soon though.

So to catch you up! The 18th was the party, Ben and I had a pretty relaxing day since I had gotten most of the party ready during the week. We got up and went and saw the movie Due Date. Way funny! The party came and went. Sunday we hung out with Layla and who was insanely grumpy! Around 5pm we fought with her to go to our really good friends get together. Finally she was in the car with her new Yo Gabba Gabba DVD and doing much better. When we got to Robert & Dana’s house for our after Thanksgiving Thanksgiving she turned into a completely different kid! She was happy, friendly and had a great time! We had some amazing food and it was great to see a bunch of friends! Monday Ben and I had the day off so we got to spend extra time with the Princess. When she went down for a nap I braved the crowds and finished up my Christmas shopping for Ben. The res t of the week was pretty uneventful.

Christmas Eve, Ben had the day off so he got to sleep in and hang with Layla. So jealous! I had to work but only had to stay until 10:00am. Then I ran to Target and got a few last minute things for my Mom and headed home. Ben and I cleaned the house and loaded the car. When Layla woke up we headed out to my Moms. Once we got there we ate, played, hung outside by the fire, and ate some more. My older brother Eddie made Layla a cute little sledding hill and she sledded forever on a garbage can lid! Christmas morning brought a ton of gifts and a super excited Layla! We ate a Mexican food feast around 3pm then headed home. Yesterday we ventured out into the crowds for some new shoes for Layla and groceries. I also ran by target for the new Donkey Kong game, which I stayed up way too late playing last night! Anyways so now we are up to date! Here’s a quick cell phone picture of what I think is my favorite Christmas present! My brother got me this beautiful vintage cupcake (I think) stand! I am already planning a party around it! Maybe a brunch or high tea!

Friday, December 17, 2010


Just a little preview of the Ugly Sweater Holiday Party....

My table, with pom poms and decorations

My coffee table wrapped, I need to remove the baskets.

The dessert table

Another one

Snow fakes hanging on my large mirror. It's hard to get a picture of a mirror...

Have a fantastic weekend before Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Easy Gift!

We have a ton of friends! Ha! That sounds funny. As much as we would love to get everyone a present for Christmas, it's just not going to happen. I saw this recipe for Infused Vodka last year in Real Simple. I adapted it just a little and added sugar to the fruit before I add it to the vodka.

Total time: 5 minutes (plus 1 week for infusing)
What You Need:

1 liter vodka (I make a lot so I use a half gallon)

Flavorings, such as 1½ cups fresh pineapple chunks, 4 vanilla beans, or 3 halved and seeded jalapeƱos ( I always go the fruit route, this year was Blueberry/Blackberry)

Glass bottles with tight seals
This is the hardest part of the project, finding bottles. Michael's has some small bottles for a $1.00 each. This year I went with something like these:

I know I won't completely fill the bottles but I got them at the Dollar Store and know all my friends will reuse them. It's like 2 gifts in 1!
What to Do

1. Divide the vodka and desired flavorings among the bottles. ( I make it in 1 large pitcher and remove the fruit or add in's before giving as gifts)

2. Refrigerate until the vodka reaches the desired level of infusion, at least 3 days and up to 1 week. Remove the flavorings after 1 week or instruct the recipient to do so. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 months.

So Simple! Or Real Simple...

Let me know if you try It and what flavor you used!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Random Randomness

Another random post. I am so. freaking. busy... Why is it that you get older and you have every weekend for most of your life planned out? :) It's not all bad but annoying at times. Anyways here's my weekend wrap up and some randomness.

Friday: I picked Layla up from school and we ran to Target. We got popcorn and a sprite and shopped a little bit. Target is our closest store besides a grocery store so it feels like I am there everyday. I got my step Mom a present and some stocking stuffers. Ben had plans to do some shopping after work so Layla and I went home and ate chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes and green beans. Her favorite meal ever. Afterwards she took a bath then we cuddled on my bed and watched The Santa Clause 2, or #1 I don't remember. I think I watched some of all them at some point this weekend. I let her stay up late to see Daddy. Once he got home he brushed her teeth and put her to bed. Then we picked up the house and watched the Food Network. Exciting Friday night!

Saturday: We got up fairly early and went to see Santa! Layla was SO excited to see him! She's a super friendly kid but I was a little nervous about her actually sitting with him. But she rocked it! We got some really cute pictures and then we had a break down... Layla was under the impression that she was going  to get what she asked for right then. She did not want to wait until Christmas. Poor kid, I guess we didn't explain that very well. Then we went home and my Mom and I went shopping for the rest of the day. Saturday night our friends Becca and Toby came over and listened to Layla sleep so Ben and I could go out to dinner. It was great to get some alone time! I really needed! After dinner we went shopping for party stuff.

Sunday: We cleaned house, and I made chicken enchiladas. our good friends Aprill and Josh and their two girls Makayla and Maddie came over and we exchanged gifts with the kiddos. I've mentioned this before by Layla and Kayla are 6 weeks apart so they are super close! There was a lot of running and screaming!

And for the Random:
  • I have soo much to do this week for the party!
  • I'm excited for a weekend to ourselves but it is going to be non stop! I think I might Ben get up early and take me to a movie Saturday morning!
  • I need to have the house party ready by Thursday. Friday we have to take Layla to my Mom's then go to a get together.
  • Anyone ever made Cake Mix Cookies? I'm going to make some for the party but I've never done it. Are they good?
And here is a picture of Layla with Santa, it's a cell phone picture of a picture sorry about the glare.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

3rd Annual Ugly Sweater Party…

We throw an annual Christmas party every year; I think it’s been like 5 or 6 years running. 3 years ago we decided to turn it into an Ugly Sweater Party! (A party where everyone is required to wear a hideous holiday sweater. Most are purchased from Goodwill) It turned out to be a hit and now it’s a party everyone looks forward to every year! The last 3 years we’ve done the party at my friend Jen’s house, she had a large basement and room to handle all the people that come. This year since we have the new house (& 3 bathrooms YAY) Ben and I are hosting. I. Cannot. Wait!

I think I might have mentioned this before, but I love to entrain and plan parties! I could do it every day and sill loves it! Anyways here are some of my ideas for the par-tay!

A dessert table! Featuring these:

& Chocolate covered pretzels, Tiger Butter, Cupcakes, Cake Mix Cookies, and Candy Canes.

My house is pretty much decorated with all my usual Christmas decorations but I plan to wrap a few pictures that I already have hanging and I am going to include lots of green and red tissue paper pom poms! These things are so easy and make a huge pop! And lots of candles, I would like to keep the lights low and let the Christmas lights do most of the work. We’ll see, it might be too dark.

I’m also going to set up a photo “booth”. I purchased antler ears and a few other things for props. Can’t wait to see the pictures that will develop from this.

I’m going to run some fun wrapping paper down the center of my bar and the center of my dessert table then load them both up with food at different heights. I’m kind of stuck on real food though, I want easy finger foods. So far I have meatballs… Yeah. I need to get thinking about this. My downstairs is currently decorated with snowflakes and I think I am going to leave that pretty much the same. I have a small tree down there that I need to add some decorations to. It was supposed to be outside but for some reason our house only has 1 plug in outside so that was quickly used up for lights.

And the rest will come later as I figure it out. The party is December 18th so I have a little bit of time but I really need to get down to business! Have a fantastic Tuesday!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

World Market Finds

I took a quick trip into town last night (about 8 or so miles from my house) and went to World Market and Pier 1. I found nothing at Pier 1, I was looking for something large and Christmassy for my dining room table. I have a little wire glitter Christmas tree on there now and it doesn't feel grand enough. Anyways here's what I got at World Market. Every time I go there I love that store even more!

A Beer for the Hubs, which got left in the freezer and I found exploded this morning.

A super cute Owl Wind Chime for my brother's gf for Christmas. She loves Owls.

Another picture of him cause he is so cute! And part of Ben's arm. The Owl was 50% off so I got him for about $12.00

Some cute little hooks for our bedroom. I was picking up in there Tuesday night and said to myself I need some hooks in here! Boom! $1.99 each!

How is your Christmas shopping coming along? I have the final two presents for Layla in my shopping cart at Wal Mart then just some little things and Ben... Who I have no idea what to get.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday Randoms

  • I sent out the evites for our 3rd Annual Sweater Christmas Party today! I can’t wait! I love throwing get togethers, my dream job would be a party planner.  
  • I’m looking for a outdoor fire pit for a Christmas present and I cannot find one under $100.00 I want to spend like $50ish and it’s not happening. There was 1 at Target on Black Friday but I missed it.  
  • I’m hoping to finish my Christmas shopping this weekend. Well not completely, I still have Ben but everyone else will be done.  
  • I’m buying paint for the playroom this weekend. I want it painted before the Christmas party.  
  • It’s really ugly outside today. It’s gray and rainy which is making all my pretty snow turn to slush then it’s going to freeze again tonight and make a slippery mess tomorrow!  
  • I really need to rerecord my voicemail message on my cell phone. I recorded it while driving in the car and you can totally tell. I sound loud and rushed.  
  • I think I am going to make a trip to World Market and Pier 1 tonight. I’m looking for some little gifts for a few people and both of those places always have neat little things.  
  • I’ve been trying to get our outside Christmas lights up since last Saturday.
    Have a fantastic rest of your week!