Love, Juliebug: December 2015
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It's Christmas Eve. Time has flown by this year. I think it's due to my daughter counting down to Christmas. Our family is just now recovering from the ickies. Ugh. I have had the intestinal junk twice now. Why? The good news I've managed to still attend school despite feeling bad. I'm thankful for that.
There are a lot of things I am thankful for this year and most of them include people. As a kid, I think I loved presents more. That is fairly common among kids. As adults, I think we are supposed to grow out of that. But it seems that some of us haven't gotten the memo. Don't get me wrong, I like presents a lot. Like a lot a lot. But when that becomes our focus, I think there's an issue.

I saw an article on Facebook recently that caused quite a buzz. It was about a women who had bought tons of presents for her kids. And I do mean tons. There is a big, huge pile of presents in front of what appears to be a Christmas tree, though it's hard to tell for sure.
Now, I'm not going to say I think she's bad for having so many gifts for her loved ones. Honestly, I understand the desire to do so. There have been many harsh words said, and there's no need to add to that. My message? Love other people. Spread joy. In a world of fast response via social media we can choose to do those things thus improving the world a bit at a time. If we do this then we are much closer to the true meaning of Christmas than we were before.
 
Merry Christmas everyone!
 
More from Julie:

If you had told me when I was fourteen that the cute boy I met at the school bus stop would be my husband someday, I wouldn't have believed you. If you had told me we’d be celebrating our 19th anniversary this year, I would have thought you crazy. Thankfully, he is and we are.

I couldn’t have imagined my life at that point. Couldn’t see all the joy that was coming my way. We started out as two young kids and somehow today I love him more. That thrills and surprises me.

We’ve had our share of ups and downs. Loved ones dying. Infertility. Trips to exotic locations. The birth of our beautiful daughter. Anxiety. Moving many, many times. Job changes. Starting college. While I can’t say it has always been easy, I will say that I am thankful for even the hard times so far.

We are closer now than we have ever been and I know it’s because of those joys and sorrows. Living life together. And though I hate the unknown because I tend to be a control freak at times, I know that our future is bright because God is in control. He gave us this beautiful gift. You might think I’m a sap, and I am. You might think I’m foolish for loving someone so very much, but I do.

This man that I married when we were 20 years old, is a huge blessing to me. He has always worked so hard to take care of our family. His faith has been a shining example for me, despite both of our struggles at times. He knows me. This man knows me well and loves me, sometimes in spite of it. I remember when I was a teenager, I wanted that kind of love so much and yet, I was terrified of it. I’m not afraid now.

Thinking back over so many years I remember our struggle of infertility. It is still a tough subject for me at times, as I’ve wanted to have more than one child for as long as I can remember. But, it all dims when I see him with Abigail. She is our miracle. The answer to our prayers. And, he is a wonderful father. Oh, he wouldn’t tell you so but he is. The playful, fun relationship they have warms my heart.

I say all of this to say this: I am so thankful for these past 19 years. I’m thankful that God brought us together. I’m proud to be his wife.

More from Julie:
Who can resist cookies, never mind Christmas cookies? This girl can't. I do have some favorites but I'm always looking for new recipes. I found these sweet goodies on Pinterest and thought I should share them with you, my friends. You're welcome or I'm sorry, whichever one fits. To go to the pins/recipes simply click on the caption beneath each photo.


Homemade Thin Mints Recipe by InspiredDreamer.com. Maybe I won't have to wait for the girl scouts to come around again! #Desserts #Impatient:
Homemade Thin Mints
Chocolate Kiss Powder Puff Cookies - Easiest cookies ever with only 3 ingredients! The Kiss in the middle makes everyone smile!! So fun!!:
Chocolate Kiss Powder Puff Cookies
Twix Cookies from chef-in-training.com ...If you love Twix, then you will LOVE these cookies! Shortbread cookie, caramel filling and chocolate topping- they are INCREDIBLE!:
Twix Cookies

Grinch Cookies - add 1 cup choc chips and 1 cup Andes creme de Menthe baking chips:
Grinch Cookies
Snowball Christmas Cookies (best ever)
Snowball Cookies

I am not good at making desserts from scratch, but in fact I have realized it just makes me nervous because these cookies turned out absolutely amazing!! My husband came in and ate one, and then gr…:
Thumbprint Cookies
I declare these the best Christmas cookie ever………… That being said.  You should make a batch.  I couldn’t even resist a bite in the shoot because they are just too ama…:
Peppermint Meltaways
Holiday Cake Mix Cookies from @Crissy! — The perfect quick, easy and delicious holiday cookies.:
Holiday Cake Mix Cookies
Cowboy Cookies - Chewy oats, sweet coconut, crunchy pecans, and plenty of chocolate! Hearty with tons of texture and they stay soft and chewy!! Everyone (not just cowboys) loves these cookies!:
Cowboy Cookies
Gingerbread Cookies -- my all-time favorite recipe for these classic Christmas cookies! | gimmesomeoven.com:
Gingerbread Cookies


I hope you find one or two new recipes! What are your favorite Christmas cookies?

More from Julie:
Let me be honest here... I love Pinterest. I love food. Can you see where the problem begins? And, come on, I know I'm not the only one who drools on their keyboard while surfing Pinterest. 
So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite party food pins. If you would like to pin them, simply click on the title below the photo. From Pinterest you can go to the individual websites for the recipes. 


Happy Eating!


These Saucy Asian Meatballs are super easy to make, and are a perfect appetizer, game day snack, or main course. | gimmesomeoven.com
Saucy Asian Meatballs

Bacon Wrapped Tater Tot Bombs - The most amazing tater tots ever. It's so good, you'll want to double or triple the recipe!:
Bacon Wrapped Tater Tot Bombs

Olive Garden Toasted Ravioli - this copycat recipe tastes just like the restaurant recipe.   #copycat this recipe is from CopyKat.com
Olive Garden Toasted Ravioli

Glazed Pineapple Kielbasa Bites ~ They are incredibly quick to put together and bake. People grabbed them faster than I could plate them!:
Glazed Kielbasa Pineapple Bites

bacon wrapped dates:
Bacon Wrapped Dates


Salami and Cream Cheese Roll-ups ~ this could be any lunch meat and vegie on any cracker or bread...:
Salami and Cream Cheese Roll-ups


Sriracha Bacon Chicken Bites:
Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Bacon Chicken Bites


Pimento Cheese and Bacon Mini Cheese Ball Bites ~ mini cheese balls of homemade pimento cheese are rolled in a coating of crispy bacon, toasted pecans, and minced fresh jalapeños and then speared with a pretzel stick for fun, easy-to-eat appetizers, perfect for game day or any get-together! | FiveHeartHome.com:
Pimento Cheese & Bacon Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Stuffed Mushrooms. Only 18 calories each. I freaking love these things:
Stuffed Mushrooms

Smoked applewood gruyere mushroom & caramelized onion bites made with puff pastry are quick/ easy to make. This appetizer is perfect to make ahead of time.:
Gruyere, Mushroom, & Caramelized Onion Bites

Maple Caramel Bacon Crack - this stuff is HIGHLY addictive and incredibly SIMPLE to make! Smoky, sweet, crispy and caramelized, you WILL want to make a double batch!:
Maple Caramel Bacon Crack

Crescent Sausage Bites ~ 3-ingredient super simple party favorite! www.thekitchenismyplayground.com:
Crescent Sausage Bites




More from Julie:
Today I am focusing my Thursday Thirteen on all things school. It has been a while and I know some of my family members read my blog so here you go. My intention is not to brag but I do want to share my excitement at this new journey of life.

1. I'm halfway through my Medical Terminology and English Communications classes. 

2. My first Med Term test was over three chapters and I got 100% on it.

3. At our winter school assembly my friend and I received the Rising Star award.

4. I've gone through nearly 600 flashcards in my Med Term class thus far.

5. My husband is amazing. He has always helped out at home but I really feel he has been doing so much extra to take the stress off.

6. There are so many facets of my personality I've had to challenge in school so far. 

7. I miss hanging out with my friends.

8. Mom guilt is real. I hate that I can't help out in my daughter's class, attend class parties, or do field trips with her. It makes me question myself all the time. Will she understand? Will it scar her long term? And yes, I realize I tend to over-analyze sometimes. 

9. Although I love blogging, I've come to see, thanks to my English class, that technical writing is much more difficult.

10. Have I mentioned I have a research paper coming up? It is due after Christmas break. I don't really remember ever doing a research paper, though I imagine I must have at some point.

11. I have to wear scrubs every day at school. 

12. So far I have gotten all A's in my classes.

13. Admittedly, I am nervous about my future classes including Speech, Anatomy & Physiology, and Phlebotomy never mind College Mathematics. One day at a time. Breathe. 



More from Julie:
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.



Time is running out! December 15th will be your last chance to earn Dot Dollars for every $50 you spend at Stella & Dot (within one order). Don't miss out on this fabulous opportunity to dress-up your holiday with Stella & Dot boutique-style jewelry and accessories and earn at the same time! 

Stella & Dot's Dot Dollars can be earned in three easy steps:
  1. For every $50 you spend between November 12th and December 15th, you will earn $25 Dot Dollars.
  2. On December 29th, you will receive an e-mail with your Dot Dollar promo codes. Each code represents a $25 Dot Dollars award.
  3. You can apply $25 Dot Dollars to every $50 (on one order) that you spend between December 29th and January 6th.
Here are a few details to take note of:
  • $50 must be within one order – total is not across multiple orders.
  • The $50 must be for retail items (excludes tax & shipping) on orders between 11/12 (at 12:00AM PST) and 12/15 (@11:59PM PST)
  • Stylist orders do not count for Dot Dollars.
  • Codes will be available for customers on their Stella & Dot Account Page on 12/29.
  • Between 12/29 (@12:00AM PST) and 1/6 (@11:59PM PST), you can redeem $25 Dot Dollars for every $50 spent.

More from Julie:
If you haven't checked out Jane.com I highly recommend you do so (and not just because I am affiliate! Btw, the links below are affiliate links.) because they have lots of variety and great deals. Check out some of the newest ones below. (They expire on either 12/15 or 12/16 depending on the specific deal.) Click on the photo or the words to purchase.

Visit Jane.com

Was $10 - Now $1.99 - Nautical Scripture Artwork | Digital File
Was $22 - Now $10.95 - Personalized Glitter Heart Shirts for Girls!
Was $44.97 - Now $9.95 - Three 2016 Planners - Guaranteed Fast Delivery!
Was $32 - Now $5.95 - Shabby Chic Filigree Necklaces-Perfect Gifts
Was $24.99 - Now $5.99 - Fleece Lined Touch Screen Gloves- 4 colors -QUICK SHIP!!
Was $54.99 - Now $22.99 - Chic Navy & White Chevron/ Diaper or Travel Bag!
Was $38 - Now $17.99 - Girls Ankle Boots

More from Julie:
There are lots of great gift ideas out there. I especially love photo gifts for loved ones. Tiny Prints is a great resource and I'm not just saying that because I am an affiliate of the company. (Though I will receive a small compensation if you click on my link to order. Thanks in advance!) TODAY ONLY you can enjoy the following deal!

Tiny Prints - Free Gift

Enjoy one (1) Free Magnet, 11 oz. Mug, Notepad, or $15 credit towards your Gift or Home Décor purchase, plus enjoy 30% off Holiday Greeting Card and Holiday Party Invitation orders using the code TPFREEGIFT at checkout. Click here to order! >> Tiny Prints



More from Julie:
Because I love Christmas movies and Netflix, I thought I would gather a list of Christmas movies available on Netflix. Although I do wish there were more classics, I was happy to see such a long list forming. I cannot vouch for all the movies on this list but there are quite a few that I love, including White Christmas! There are both grown-up and children's movies on this list so make sure to check them before you plop one on for family movie night. Haha, just a warning! Click on "Watch now" after each movie title to do just that.


Christmas with the Kranks Watch now

Ernest Saves Christmas Watch now

While You Were Sleeping Watch now

I'll Be Home for Christmas Watch now

The Search for Santa Paws Watch now

Happy Holidays from Madagascar Watch now

White Christmas Watch now

The Heart of Christmas Watch now

Love Actually Watch now

Abominable Noel Watch now

The Fitzgerald Family Christmas Watch now

The Nightmare Before Christmas Watch now

A Very Murray Christmas Watch now

A Christmas Kiss Watch now

Switchmas Watch now

A Christmas Carol Watch now

Dreamworks Holiday Classics Watch now

One Magic Christmas Watch now 

An Evergreen Christmas Watch now

Bad Santa Watch now

The Mistle-tones Watch now 

A Holiday Engagement Watch now 

Kung Fu Panda: Holiday Watch now

Saving Santa Watch now

Mandie and the Forgotten Christmas Watch now

Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups Watch now 

Santa Buddies Watch now 

Get Santa Watch now

Dear Santa Watch now

The Legend of Frosty the Snowman Watch now

Beethoven's Christmas Adventure Watch now

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas Watch now 

Mickey's Magical Christmas Watch now 

A Christmas Star Watch now 

Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas Watch now 

Happy Christmas Watch now 

Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas Watch now


More from Julie:



I love reading with my daughter and Christmas books are some of my faves. I thought I would share some of the ones I love the most. There are so many more on my list but these top it. Click on the book cover to be taken to Amazon to buy them. (There are affiliate links in them which just means I will get a little bit of dough to buy my kiddo books too! Thanks in advance.)

Here's the newest twist on the familiar tale of There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly.

"There was a cold lady who swallowed some snow.
I don't know why she swallowed some snow.
Perhaps you know."

It made my daughter smile and giggle.


A beautiful story about a small lamb who doesn't feel he belongs because he is not as "perfect" as the other lambs. He has a tremendous friend, named Abigail, who always reminds him that "God has a special place for those who don't belong." A tearjerker.


This book is, obviously, about a child's ride to the North Pole but more so it is about belief in the magic of Christmas.


A Christmas counting book. My seven year old loves it still



This is the original story, with the real face of the scowling, mean-spirited Grinch. That face changes from bad to worse, and then to tender when he finally "gets" the meaning of Christmas.



A sweet story that reminds us that Christmas is not about the gifts and decorations but about God Himself.


I love that it talks about the Candy Cane being a symbol of J - for Jesus.



I always love the rhyme and flow of the Bear books. This is no exception. A very sweet story about friendship.


It is a short story about a little elf that feels he's too little to be helpful. Eventually he realizes how valuable he is, no matter his age or size.


Olive looks a lot like a dog but...she thinks that she is a reindeer. Knowing that it is the time of year when all reindeer help Santa Claus she decides to hop on a bus to the North Pole. Santa has a feeling that Olive is just what his sleigh pulling team needs. And he is right!

Which book do you think your child(ren) would like? Do you have any special Christmas books to share?
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