Friday, November 30, 2012

The Men Who Built America

Josh and I have watched an incredible amount of tv this afternoon.  We've been watching the series  The Men Who Built America that aired on the History Channel last month.  For once the History Channel actually showed some history!  I love American Pickers and Pawn Stars is okay, but it feels like the History Channel has lost their focus lately.  Obviously, the History Channel cares about my opinion of the programming!

This is a fascinating show!  There is no doubt that Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Morgan, and Carnegie were ruthless at times, but they were darn good at what they did.  Did you realize that Rockefeller, Morgan and Carnegie controlled the same amount of wealth as the top forty wealthiest people in America today (adjusted for inflation)?  That is insane!  Rockefeller control 1% of the American economy.  That may not sound huge, but it is!  Carnegie had the largest personal fortune ever amassed in the modern world (310 billion dollars).

I remember reading about these men in AP US History.  I was fascinated by the Gilded Age, but since then I haven't done a lot of reading about history.  Life kind of got in the way.  This series or mini series, I'm not really sure which, gives a lot more details than we were able to cover in class.  I didn't realize the amount of life those three big men controlled.  They truly did buy William McKinley's presidency (to my AP History buddies, good ol' William Jennings Bryan was in this..of course he was...that man would Not die!).

I can't imagine having the power and obscene amounts of wealth that those men had.  They had blood on their hands, the blood of the common men that they underpaid and overworked.  A man working in a Carnegie steel factory had a one in eleven chance of dying in a year.  They all knew the conditions their workers faced and they didn't care.  They wiped that blood on golden towels.

You do have to respect these men somewhat for the empires that they created considering most of their backgrounds.  They took massive risks that paid off even more massively.  They are the reason that we still buy into the American dream today.

Good and bad, this show seemed to present the material pretty fairly.  It might have been slightly skewed toward the Carnegie/Rockefeller/Morgan side, but not outrageously so.  DVR it the next tie it comes on and watch it with some hot chocolate and feel like you learned something!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Stay Puft Man

So last week Mom and I saw someone in a puffy jacket.  We joked about it and said that wasn't flattering at all and how it looked a little silly.  Then Mom found this at a consignment shop and said she thought I needed it.  Indeed I do need it because right now I am FREEZING slowly to death in my office.  Both the woman in the cubicle next to mine and I can't turn on our heaters at the same time or we flip the breaker.  Today I was wearing four layers inside.  

My dear readers, I was prejudiced against this type of jacket.  Then I tried it on.  Oh wow.  It is so warm.  I love it.  And I don't have to care about looking a tad pudgy.  I'm actually wearing it right now, even though I am in my house.  My prejudice has been erased.  I embrace the puffy jacket.

On a totally different topic, this is my 200th blog post!  Hooray for blogging!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Carols

Today my major accomplishment was winning a staring contest with a goose.  Not really.  Well sort of, I did win, but that wasn't the main thing I did.  Anyway, that wasn't what I meant to talk about.  Christmas carols are filling the air so I figured why not fill my blog with them?  Here, in no particular order, are my top five favorite carols:

1.  Point of Grace's Carol of the Bells

2.  Frank Sinatra's Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

3.  Judy Garlands' Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

And yes, this song was originally sad.  That was what the tone of the movie (Meet Me in St. Louis) called for.  Anyone who sings it otherwise is wrong!  No poetic license!  haha

4.  You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch

5.  All I Want for Christmas

There are so many more!  I think I'll have to do this again.  Maybe later this week.  Now I'm holly jolly.  I'm hope you are too!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Metabolism SUCKS!

Once upon a time, not very long ago I could eat as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted, and not gain weight.  Lest you be a member of my family and say "Oh, pssh, Sierra!  I never saw you eat!" let me tell you about eating.

When I was at UT I ate a LOT.  For breakfast every morning I would have an omelette with cheese, ham, tomatoes, and salsa.  I would also have a bowl of cereal and a piece of fruit and a glass of juice.  Every single morning of the week!  Once a week I would go by this wonderful cafeteria where they had chain restaurants.  I would get three breadsticks from Pizza Hut, a six piece nugget box from Chik-Fil-A, and a caramel dulce de leche milkshake from Edy's.  If I stayed the weekend, which was very rare, I would eat half of a Papa John's spinach alfredo pizza and half a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream for supper on Saturday night.  Sunday was the big meal, boy oh boy.  Here we go.  I would eat four kinds of cereal (half a bowl each), a donut, a brownie, eggs (either scrambled or an omelette), bacon, ham, hasbrowns, a biscuit with either jelly or gravy, sometimes both, fruit, juice, and water.  Then I would roll down the stairs.  I could also eat Pop Tarts and Debbie Cakes anytime I wanted.  And absolutely nothing gave me indigestion.  Ahhhh, the good ol days!

Today I had an oatmeal creme pie for breakfast, three pieces of ham and half a slice of pumpkin roll for lunch, chicken noodle and veggie soup for dinner, and 1/2 a serving of ice cream for snack.  Not awesome, but not exactly the calories of days gone by.  And yet!!  I weigh twenty-five pounds more today than I did at UT.  TWENTY-FREAKIN'-FIVE!!!  And I get indigestion.  And I try not to keep Pop Tarts in the house.  Where is the justice I ask you???

Here I am skinny:

(Don't worry, my makeup is a lot better now.  I had danced it all off that night)

Here I am not so skinny:

I have chinSSS as in plural!  I am Chin Girl!

Siiiiiigggggghhhh.  It has to stop.  I can't be Chin Girl.  Any suggestions for getting my metabolism back would be awesome because I really want some more ice cream, but I'm afraid another chin would appear overnight.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Busy December Ahead!

I am excited about December.  I love this time of the year.  It's just so very festive.  This year in particular there is a lot going on.

First, I am hosting my best friend's bachelorette party.  I love to host a party.  Well, I love to plan a party and then the day of I completely freak out about the food not being good enough and the house not being nice enough.  Once people start showing up though, I chill a bit and can enjoy it.  I started my fall cleaning today so the house will be nice.  I cleaned the doors.  Really.  Because obviously someone is going to take a white gloved finger and run it over the panels of my doors.  I roll my eyes at myself.  All I know is that my mom taught me that the house wasn't truly clean without the details, like doors.  So be it and amen.

Then Josh is taking me to the Nutcracker cause he loves me so.  I don't know what really prompted him to say we should go to the Nutcracker since he was Not a fan last year (to put it mildly).

Then I am going shopping with my old church to get gifts for children who wouldn't otherwise have a Christmas.  Mom and I have done this the past two years and it is an absolute BLAST!  It's a bit like doing the Operation Christmas Child shopping, but you don't have the size constraints of a shoe box.

The next weekend is our Sunday School's get together.  I enjoy getting together with our SS class.  There is usually a lot of laughter and good fellowship.

The next day is Eli's graduation party.  We feel a little confused about what Class he actually is.  He graduates in December of '12, but the rest of his class graduates in '13.  Shrug, it doesn't really matter so long as you get a diploma.
Finally, of course, there is the actual holiday.  There will be lots of family time and bunches of great food.  I can't wait to give Josh his Christmas present.  We do not keep secrets from each other very well so we are dying to give each other our gifts early haha.

Wow that's a lot of things going on!  It's going to be a good month and a lot of blog fodder.  Prepare to be swamped by pictures!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

So...I Have Nothing to Say

Today is one of those days where I don't have anything to say but I need to blog (yeah I know I skipped a few days, but I forgot!). I've had a headache all day.  It's stunk a lot.  I have no idea what triggered it but boy it was a doozy.  I guess just enjoy a couple of pictures since I can think of absolutely NOTHING to say!  Lol

I just about had a coronary when I saw this Monopoly.  I don't know if I've ever said on here, but I collect Monopoly games.  I have over thirty different versions.  I usually get one every Christmas, sometimes more.  Right now they have their own room in our house (yeah we have more space than we need).  I am currently obsessed with Dr. Who and Mom has been searching for this Monopoly for months now, when I saw it in a store in the very city of which I live the excitement would have been uncontrollable except that it was 4am on Black Friday.

I feel like I need a conclusion statement but that could be because I've been tutoring this guy and we've been writing a paper.  So...Conclude!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Little Women

Tonight I am watching a Lifetime movie about the March sisters at Christmas.  It's a bit cheesy because it's Lifetime and they have the need to lay it on THICK.  But I so dearly love the story of Little Women that I don't even care.  Here is the cast of the movie.

When I was a little girl, I wanted nothing more than to grow up to be Jo March.  She was so independent.  And she was near fearless when it came to getting what she wanted.  I have been every other March sister.  I am naturally Beth.  I'm quite and shy.  Sometimes I felt like her, I just wanted to curl up in my mom's house and hide from the world.  Sometimes I have felt like Amy, a little whiny, a little selfish.  Now, I feel like Meg.  I'm a wife, a homemaker, pretty sensible.  But I still want to be Jo.  I still want her confidence and talent and joie de vivre.  Maybe I will still become Jo.  :)

P.S.  The Lifetime movie lacks the emotional depth of either the 97(ish) version or the 34(ish) version, but it is still cute.  A little holiday cheer!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pigeon Forge Trip

My apologies for missing several days of blogging this month.  I'm not really sure what happened.  I guess I got busy.  Did you have a marvelous Thanksgiving?  I did.  There was WAY too much food involved.  I did Black Friday shopping too.  I think I did pretty well.

Josh and I went with some friends down to Pigeon Forge on Wednesday.  We went to the aquarium, The Christmas Place, and Dixie Stampede.  I really enjoyed the aquarium.  The diversity of sea life is fascinating to me.  I think The Christmas Place was my favorite.  At one point I clasped my hands together in delight and squealed at the shear amount of decorations.  Josh laughed at me.  That's wasn't husbandly!  The Dixie's not really my style of entertainment.  It wasn't bad though.  There was a lot of food.  Also banjo music, cringe.  Here are some pictures.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Cards

Do you remember this quote from You've Got Mail?  “The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino. ” 
― Joe Fox
That's how I feel about trying to choose a Christmas card.  Merry Christmas, Bible verse, what if it just says Happy Holidays but I like the design.  One picture, two, three?  Landscape, portrait?  What does this Christmas card say about Josh and me as a couple?  I suppose that's why I have a blog.  Be prepared to be inundated with card examples.  Please weigh in.  

These two aren't serious options, but they made me smile real big.  I might has squealed a wee bit at the princess one.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Showerin' Bekah with Love

Here are several pictures of Bekah's bridal shower.  Well, they aren't so much of the shower, as they are of the set up.  I didn't know if she would have anyone to take them.  Also, I'm very sorry I forgot to blog last night!  It totally slipped my mind!

This last picture is absolutely one of my favorite snapshots of Bekah ever, right up there with this one:
We were so long ago

Friday, November 16, 2012

This Is My Kitchen on Cupcakes

Tomorrow is my best friend's bridal shower.  I agreed to make two dozen cupcakes.  I've been working on them a lot today.  Josh helped out too.  He even learned to make frosting roses.  He said he was harder and more fun than he expected.  Is it any wonder I love that man?

ThiHopefully everything looks good and tastes good tomorrow!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Homekeeping Room

Today was one of those days where nothing really happened that was blog worthy.  A few funny comments, but nothing worth writing about.  That's the problem with NaBloPoMo, you have to come up with something every day.  I got home from work and everything seemed to fall apart, supper was a bust, my tutoring was frustrating, and my chocolate monograms are squishy.  I decided to take a bath and headed in there with my Martha Stewart Living magazine...and that's when I found it:  my blog post.  As a bonus, it is a soapbox.

Martha Stewart has a "homekeeping room".  It is a room converted from a garage/goat shed (yes, real goats) that has all her cleaning supplies in stations.  One of the stations is a "packing" station specifically for packing things to mail.  It is also where she keeps her second tape gun, because sometimes one per room just isn't enough.  Here are a couple of pictures from

Here is the whole room.  This is not exactly a shabby room.  She describes it as a small room, but for cleaning supplies, this is big!

This is an entire drawer of cleaning cloths of all different types.  Who has that many different kinds of cloths??

This is the packing drawer.

Here is the packing station up top.  SEVEN different kinds of twine.  Really???

This is what kills me.  She has spent thousands of dollars on the cabinets and shelves, which had to be retrofitted and the renovation that had to be done on the whole building.  Then there are hundreds of dollars worth of supplies.  I think that money can be a great blessing and I'm not begrudging her her fortune, but was seven kinds of twine the best way she could think to spend it?  Was there no one that could have used this money in a better way?  This is the epitome of insane to me.  It just seems a bit selfish.  It's not even in her house!  She has to walk across her compound to get there with her big brass table to polish (that was a project she was saying she was doing in there).  You know with that much money and her schedule, she isn't doing a lot of cleaning herself.  Why have this swanky place for "homekeeping" when most of your up keep is outsourced?  It just makes me sick to see any incredibly wealthy person looking for ways to spend their fortune and that is what this is.  There are so many needs and putting in French doors out of your homekeeping room isn't a need.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


It's November and everyone is posting the 30 days of thankfulness statuses on facebook.  I didn't start it because I knew that I would forget so I am posting all thirty now.  Here we go.

I am thankful for...

1.  A great and powerful God who blessed me with many things to be thankful for
2.  Josh, he's so awesome and caring and supportive
3.  My mom, she's my best friend, the person I can vent to, and she rubs my hands when I'm sick
4.  My brother who texts me when he's bored and gets my inside jokes
5.  My house, I love that I have a home to come to after a long day
6.  That Josh is able to go back to school
7.  That my job allows us to live on one income, no matter how much I complain about our budget
8.  Libraries, I love books, nuff said
9.  Pumpkin spice lattes
10.  Name brand Swiffers and Pop Tarts, off brand doesn't cut it
11.  Depression meds, honestly, if I lived in a time without modern medicine it would be Rough
12.  Friends, geez I thought I already listed bad
13.  Apple scented candles
14.  My church family
15.  The babies in the nursery, I love to cuddle them
16.  Uplifting music, Blessings and Revelation Song and Mighty to Save are wonderful
17.  Dual control electric blankets
18.  FB, it sounds stupid, but I would never get to talk to or hear from a lot of people without it
19.  Half days off on Fridays
20.  Prayer, I think this gets another point, because a lot of people believe in God, but they don't talk to Him
21.  Musicals, they improve hard days
22.  My dad, he should have been up near the top, he taught me SO much
23.  A job that lets me wear blue jeans
24.  Dreams, I am so goal oriented that I would go nuts without something to dream about and work toward
25.  A good boss, I've had crappy ones and it makes a world of difference
26.  Chocolate
27.  Vacations, sometimes you just need to get out of your own neighborhood
28.  Four seasons, not everywhere has four seasons, I like to experience them all
29.  My den, best part of our house, comfy couches, big tv, gas logs, ahhhhh
30.  Holidays, I Love to celebrate

So obviously these things aren't in order.  My Dad ranks way above Pop Tarts!  I have much much much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Successful Secessions

I never know whether to weigh in on hot topic issues or not.  On the one hand, I never want to make people angry because I'm a people pleaser.  On the other hand, I have a blog so I can vent opinions.  So you probably have heard the latest, that about thirty states have drafted petitions to leave the U.S. of A.  They want to succeed, at least according to many of the comments I've read.

Now I am sure, that those who signed the petitions do hope they succeed in their goal, but what they are mis-saying is "secede".  Secede means to leave a union or allegiance or organization.  Succeed means to achieve an aim.  That's just a refresher on what the terms really mean.

I think it is a little funny to listen/watch people debate fiercely on this topic without using the correct terminology.  It doesn't give me a lot of confidence in the whole movement.  Do whatever you think you need to do and feel free to voice your opinion, just try to know the difference.

Succeed in your secession or cease in your succession of sinful spelling substitutions!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Libraries and Book Club

I love books, but my husband doesn't.  It's very disappointing.  I want to talk about the books I read because I love to talk and I love books lol!  So I joined a book club.  Guys it is so cute!  I love it!  I go to the library in my hometown.  It's a pretty big library, but it is a completely small town feel.  They have a big glass case that they use to display local artists and even collections of antiques, jewelry, hats, dolls, etc.  Sometimes you go in there and there is a group of little elderly people clustered around the chairs, talking like there is no rush, life is just flowing quietly by.  One of my favorite things about small town libraries is the community. I know most of the librarians.  Sometimes they reserve books for me that I know nothing about, just because they know my reading style.  They will even buy books or videos if I ask very nicely and they still have budget, because they say if I want to read it/watch it then others will as well.

Okay, so that was one part of this post.  I love my library.  I also love this book club.  It's small, just a few women and one man (occasionally).  I am the youngest person in the group, but it doesn't matter, we all share this love of books that crosses generations.  We each suggest books and read one each month.  I have a very different style of reading than most.  For instance, I have suggested Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett.  These are a little off the wall compared to the more "traditional" book club choices of John Steinbeck and John Irving.  I know it has opened my eyes to new authors and books that I wouldn't have chosen otherwise.  I'd hope that I have done the same with my book choices.

This town is a very traditional town, very conservative, very homogeneous.  What I love about book club is that it provides a place to talk about all sorts of different issues, even hot topic issues, from both sides without fear of backlash.  The whole point is to think outside of your own head and your own opinions.  It's surprising how many people have "hidden" views that you wouldn't expect, definitely lending credence to the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover".  Hmm, okay I don't mean this in a bad way At ALL and it kind of sounds like. I just mean that some people look super duper conservative, maybe even harsh, and they aren't, they have a much wider viewpoint than you might think.

If you love to read, I highly recommend a book club.  It's great.  It's fun.  It's nice to get out and talk to like minded people since my husband just doesn't have any interest in reading.   

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Evening

Have you had a blessed Sunday?  I certainly hope so!  Mine has been pretty good.  This morning I had the nursery.  No one in the nursery had slept great, so they were a bit fussy, but, on the plus side, that meant I got a lot of snuggling and cuddling.  Then of course, there was nap.  Josh would say that I am witchy for three days if I don't get a Sunday afternoon nap, but that can't possibly true as I am always a bundle of sunshine and delight! ;)  After nap I went to the Lottie Moon Christmas Auction at my childhood church.  An aside, I have the hardest time calling FBC anything besides my church even though we are members at Boone Trail, which I also consider my church.  Can I have two churches?  I think I will.  What can they do, call a deacons meeting and say I have to swear allegiance to only one church body?  I got bread at the auction, that's all I ever get.  Gosh it is good. I look forward to it weeks in advance.

Then I went for a little drive.  I love to drive to relax, but I hate that gas prices are SO bad that I can't do it often!  I grabbed some confectioner's sugar and came home and made Royal Icing.  I am doing the cupcakes for my best friend's bridal shower.  I'm excited and nervous.  I want the cupcakes to look great for her.  Naturally, I needed my apron.  I get confectioner's sugar on every surface of the kitchen when I make icing.  Tres chic, non?

And I had to have my jam.  Yes, my "jam" is Les Mis.  That is my cake decorating music.  Don't know why, but I feel it needs to be on for me to use a piping bag.

Here are some of the flowers.  I was going to make the usual Wilton apple blossoms and then I accidentally made on very tall and more ribbon like, but I liked it so I switched to that.  It has a more jaunty, party-like air, than the flat apple blossoms.  Shrug, at least that's what my mind says lol.

Tomorrow is the Monday of an INCREDIBLY busy week.  Is there any chance I could hide under the covers and no one would find me?  Maybe I'll give that a go!