Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas with the Singletons

Our Christmas started a little early this year. 7 AM on Christmas Eve to be exact. I had Jeremy's Christmas gift waiting to be opened a day early because I got him 3 tickets to the Panthers game being played that day! I kept this a secret from him for a good month and was ecstatic to give him a trip to the Bank of America Stadium to see our Panthers play. He had NO idea that we were going to the game and needless to say, I got him good. Another part of the surprise was the 3rd ticket. I know he likes to talk about the players and stats and all, but to tell ya the truth, I 'd rather just watch the game and enjoy the atmosphere. I knew he'd enjoy having his brother there so I decided to have a ticket for Reuben as well.

Wow. What an awesome day. I agree with Jeremy when he said this was the second best day of the year (we can't top our wedding, haha). Within minutes of the first quarter, Cam broke the record for most passing yards by a rookie quarterback in the NFL. The game only got better from there. We went on to win the game 48-16 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Merry Christmas!!
Bank of America Stadium
We were up high but had a blast anyways
Super Cam!
Everyone's doing it!
That evening we spent time with family and friends. First we went to the Christmas Eve church service with plenty of hot apple cider and wonderful Christmas music throughout the service. While there, we ran into our second family, the Normans. This time last year, Juice was still in his momma's belly and now he's a fearless biped exploring the world at 100 mph. Next, we had a Christmas Eve feast at the Singleton household which was more than satisfying since we hadn't really had much to eat all day. We exchanged gifts and it was great to see the smiles on their faces when we gave them their presents (watch for poppa S, new digital camera for momma S).

Christmas Eve with the Normans!
A Singleton Christmas!
On Christmas day we opened the remaining presents to one another. My favorite gift from Jeremy were 3 detachable photo lenses for my iPhone. I am obsessed with Instagram so this was the perfect gift for me. My favorite is the fish eye lens :) I assume Jeremy enjoyed his new bath robe and shirts I gave him because he decided to wear them all at one once the entire morning.

Fisheye Lens!
After presents, we gathered at my sisters house to meet with the Little side of the family.  We filled our bellies with delicious Christmas foods and opened the remaining gifts with them. Everyone enjoyed their gifts and it was time to go back home for a Christmas nap!

Yes, we included the dogs in our picture
I couldn't resist posting this picture. Love my Grandad! (and Mom)
Our first Christmas as a married couple was a great one! It's one we'll never forget. We hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and bring in the New Year filled with joy and happiness!

Our first Christmas :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Appalachian Cookie Exchange

Throughout most of my years in college, you could find me in the Student Union every Monday and Wednesday working as a graphic artist for our school newspaper, The Appalachian . I loved working for the paper and getting to know other peers involved in my same interests. Those peers turned into friends and although we have all graduated and moved on from college, we have kept in touch through facebook and twitter.

One thing that us alumnae of The Appalachian all have in common is that we love to bake. The best baker among us, Chrisan, thought of a brilliant idea to do a cookie exchange through Priority Mail since we live in different cities and states. All that was needed was a $5 Priority Mail Flat Rate shipping box paired with a little organization and {volia!}, you've got a cookie exchange between some awesome ladies! We used, which is secret Santa organizer, to find out which person to bake for and then we packaged and sent our yummy goodies on their way.

I was excited to get my bake on and decided to try a few new recipes. Since the shipping box was on the small side, I packed it full with two types of cookies: Peppermint Sugar Cookies and White Chocolate Topped Gingerbread Cookies.

I have to admit, I had a major baking fail when it came to the Peppermint Sugar Cookies. While cooling, the middle of my cookies fell through the center! Needless to say, it was a late night and I decided to try again the next morning. It turns out, all I needed was a little extra beauty sleep because my next batch turned out PERFECT!  Nom nom nom!

Cookie Fail :(                                   Cookie Perfection :)

The next cookie was my personal favorite. White Chocolate Topped Gingerbread Cookies. Yuuuuuummy! This was my first time ever using the ingredient molasses. I wasn't even sure where to find it in the grocery store (turns out it's with the syrup, Jeremy had to inform me). These cookies baked beautifully and I even made more to share with my co-workers! These little treats are pretty tasty so I decided to share the recipe down below:

White Chocolate Topped Gingerbread Cookies
3 cups Flour
2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Molasses
1 Egg
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 cup White Chocolate Chips 
  1. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed.
  4. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on un-greased baking sheets.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges of cookies just begin to brown. Immediately press about 5-6 white chocolate chips into center of each cookie. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.

I packaged and shipped my home-made goodies in hopes that they stayed fresh and tasted scrumptious!  A few days later, I received some yummy sweets in the mail from my friend, Ashlee, and OF COURSE they were to die for. Thanks, Ashlee, for the baked goods and thanks Chrisan for putting such an awesome event together! I love that we are all able to stay in touch with each other and do fun things like this around the holidays. I hope to join again next year! Happy eating, ladies!

My Holiday Treats I received in the mail! Thanks, Ashlee!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's Great To Be A Mountaineer Graduate

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Jeremy and I had a snuggly Christmas, staying home for the holidays. I'll blog about it in the next few days to keep you in the know. As for now, I'll share some exciting news that happened a few weeks ago!

On Sunday, December 18th, Jeremy and I, along with friends and family, drove up to good ol' Boone, North Carolina to watch Reuben (my brother-in-law) graduate from the greatest school ever, Appalachian State University. We got to witness not only Reuben, but his girlfriend, Shannon, who we've grown close to over the past year, graduate as well.

It was a happy time for everyone and Jeremy and I are excited to see the next chapter in both Reuben and Shannon's life unfold. Unlike us, these two already have plans in the "real world" in the upcoming month. Reuben has accepted a paid internship at one of our rival schools, Georgia Southern. He will be a Sports Information Intern which involves becoming head contact of a specific sport, keeping up with stats upon stats upon stats, and is involved with pretty much any and everything media focused in any sport that goes on at the school. Shannon was going to move down to New Orleans to be an Assistant Behavioral Analyst but sadly the company she was going to work for is currently making large budget cuts which means she is now unable to work for them. I know a job that is bigger and better will come along for her. Best of luck, Shannon!

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day:

State Farm Discount Double Check.

Holding up the line while talking to Chancellor Peacock

Diploma in hand

2011 Graduates!!!
Yay! Congrats you two!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Run, Run Rudolph

I am proud to announce that I've kept up my goal of running a further distance for the month of December. To help add mileage, I signed up for the Frostbite 5K in Kannapolis, NC held this past weekend. Of course I talked my partner-in-crime, Sairy, into running the race with me. I also talked her into dressing up as a Christmas Elf which didn't take much persuading at all.

As we arrive to the running site, I find that NO ONE is dressed up and instead are all decked out in their normal running gear. There was only one other person besides us who wore Christmas socks but Sairy and I both agreed that socks were not enough. Where was everyone's Christmas spirit?! Even Julius, Sairy's boyfriend, lacked in the spirit department sporting an Easter t-shirt from a 5K earlier that year, haha.

Despite lack of spirit, everyone seemed to get a kick out of our costumes. I also enjoyed hearing my headband jingle with every step I took :) It seemed to help me get through all of those troublesome hills throughout the race. I finished the 5K just shy of 30 minutes, coming in at 29:05. Enjoy the pictures below and Happy Running to all you runners out there!

Sairy, Julius, Apollo and I in our Christmas getup
My friend, Donna, from work!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Season's Greetings

Our Christmas cards have been stamped and ready to be mailed out since the first weekend of December. However, you may not see our debut delivery until this very week. So, what's the hold up you ask? The return address stamp I ordered online 3 weeks ago set me back a few weeks.

You see, I bought a handy dandy stamp gadget back in April for our wedding invitations. Since I already had the machine, all I needed was the stamp plate. I really didn't think it would take 3 weeks to construct and ship. Once the stamp plate finally arrived, I began doing a few test impressions only to realize that I needed to buy a new ink pad. Greeeeat. Another set back to getting our cards out at a decent time. I looked online and found that they were indeed in stock. I didn't want to deal with shipping again and figured I would just go to the store and pick it up myself.

The next day I took off work early just so I could make it before the store closed for the day. I came to find out that the refill ink pad I was looking for is only sold online. *sigh* It was like a stab to the heart. I was so sad. So, so sad. But alas, I did not give up! I did not wait for half of December to NOT use this cute little stamp of mine. I bought a regular ink pad and then made my own stamper since all I had was the plate. It worked out just fine and I hope you all treasure our little Santa gnome as much as I do. If you don't even care about our gnome, just tickle my fancy and say you love it anyways.

Alright, alright, I'll get to our very FIRST Christmas card now. I'm so excited to share them! I designed them myself and printed them through Mpix.  :) I only wish I ordered them in a larger size. At least now I know for next year!

Lessons Learned from our first Christmas (I'm sure I'll need to add more to the list later on):
  • Order purchases made online well in advance of Christmas.
  • Order larger Christmas Cards. Ours look so small next to all the ones we received!
  • Don't move for at least a year so you can re-use the stamp for next year.
  • Be patient.
I can't wait to add our card and write down other Christmas memories in our Christmas book that we got as a wedding present :D

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Worm : The Hunger Games

I have hopped onto The Hunger Games bandwagon and so far I am loving the ride. I can't put the book down! I've found myself reading rather than sleeping, forcing myself to save the next chapter for tomorrow so I can get some rest. If you know me, this is a BIG deal. I am greedy with sleep, so you know it's a good book when you'd rather read than get those precious ZzZz's. There have been many moments where I find myself talking out loud while reading, whether I'm laughing, shocked, or sad by all the action taking place. This book has got my attention and I can't wait to finish the rest of the series. If you're just as late to the game as I am, go ahead and read it already!! Trust me. It's good. Really good.

Alright, alirght, enough with my nerdieness. Here are my goals for December:
  1. Finish The Hunger Games series.
  2. Keep Running. In fact, beat November mileage.
  3. Create an engaging Cover Letter to go along with my new and improved Resume.
  4. Have all Christmas shopping done the week before Christmas.
  5. Beat Jeremy on Words with Friends AND Hanging with Friends. He's frustratingly smart/good and currently the reigning champ in our household. I MUST beat him.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Strange Addiction : Canine Diaries

Have you ever heard of the T.V. show, "My Strange Addiction" on TLC? They have episodes where people are addicted to absurd things. For instance, addicted to eating toilet paper, eating sofa cushions, or collecting hair from drain pipes. Very disturbing. The list goes on and on with even more crazy addictions.

Our dog could very well be on the next episode.

Apollo needs to go to therapy or something. He has this thing for trash cans.  Yes, most dogs like to rummage through garbage, but Apollo likes to go in our room, when he knows he is not allowed,  and raid the two trash cans that are available to him. He picks through for what he specifically prefers and leaves the rest on the floor for us to pick up after him like we're his maids. It is very obnoxious and we are getting fed up with this crazy habit of his.

We know for sure that this is an addiction of his because lately we have put the trash cans off the ground to where he can't reach them. One night, we put the trash can on the floor and Apollo eyed the goods and went straight for it, WITH US IN THE ROOM!!! C'mon, man! At least think a little!

He, of course, gets in trouble by his foolish actions. Not only a few days later, by having trouble pooping the substances out, but he also gets crate time which we're beginning to think doesn't even phase him anymore. His feelings seem to hurt more if we ignore him with no attention.

For now, he is banned from our room. We like to think this sinks in a little more and that he learns a lesson. We need some kind of dog whisperer or something. Come tell us what goes on in that big head of his!

Despite Apollo's weirdo obsessions, we still love him to pieces and couldn't ask for a better dog. We love you, Apollo! (Noooooo, we could obviously ask for a better dog... one that doesn't eat all of the trash. Just kidding, Apollo. - Jeremy)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

All I want for Christmas is.....

Hello all! December is upon us and the countdown to Christmas is officially on! Before I share my Wish List for 2011,  I'll go over how I did with my November goals. Ah ha hem......

  1. Update and revamp my resume. I'm tired of commuting 3 hours a day. I need a new job  DONE! I must say, I am absolutely in LOVE with my new resume. It's modern and very me. Hopefully it will get me a job closer to home.
  2. Start running again. (I kind of miss it)  CHECK! I ran a total of 13.19 miles for the month of November! 
  3. Lose 5 Lbs. and KEEP it off! Maybe the running will help. I came close which is why I half-way crossed this out. I lost 3 of the 5 Lbs. Almost there!
  4. Create some artwork for the bare walls in our home. Yeeeah...this didn't happen. I still need to work on this.
  5. Get Jeremy to blog at least one time this month ;) Looks like I finally got not only ONE, but TWO blogs out of Jeremy!
And here's a peek at my Wish List in no particular order! A girl can dream, right?

  1. 6 Piece Mixing Bowl Set from Crate&Barrrel---This was one thing I really wanted off of our wedding registry that I never got. Crossing my fingers that it appaears under the tree this year!
  2. Nex 5 Digital Camera from Sony---Jeremy and I have been eying this baby for about a year now. I love it's compact size with interchangeable lenses and Jeremy could even use it for video footage! It's a little out of our price range but maybe one day....
  3. Jason Mraz + Toca Rivera Acoustic Show---Hey, did you know I love Jason Mraz?! Do you even know who Toca Rivera is? (probably not) Either way, I guarantee you this show is awesome and I don't want to miss it! Let's take a road trip to VA and swoon over him on December 19th. Pretty please?
  4. Parenthood Season 1---Parenthood is one of my favorite T.V. shows. I got sucked into it's greatness during Season 2, yet I still haven't seen Season 1. Now is my chance!
  5. iTunes Gift Card---I love music. I love iTunes. Let's put two and two together.
  6. Christmas Village Toy Store---Don't forget to give to the less fortunate this season! The Christmas Village Toy Store provides Charlotte families a chance to purchase new gifts for their children at an affordable price. Our church donates gifts to the organization so they can help build gift revenue. You can also volunteer your time to work at the Toy Store itself!  Jeremy and I picked a child's age group last year and had a blast choosing gifts to give for this great cause. We plan to do it again this year :)
  7. Michael Bublé Christmas---I've heard a preview of Michael Bublé's latest Christmas album and I love it! He sings great versions of original Christmas songs. I want. I want. I want!
  8. Race Bibs and Running Medals Display---I love to run any kind of road race and I never have the heart to throw away my racing bibs or medals. They are currently all hanging in the laundry room looking a hot mess. I stumbled across a bib/medal display on Etsy and LOVE the idea. I'm sure it's every runner's dream.
What's on your Wish List this year? Do tell! Oh, and happy shopping!