Monthly Archives: December 2011

Home Between the Holidays


It’s the week between Christmas and New Years and I’m off work but the hubs has to work every day, so what’s a girl to do? Why, head to Houston of course!

After opening presents, having breakfast, going to church and then eating Christmas lunch, I piled myself, my clothes and the last remaining gifts into the Corolla for the 6.5 hour drive to Mommy’s house. Except it took me 5 hours and 43 minutes. Don’t judge.

So far this week has been filled with Wii playing, shopping, sleeping in, Tex Mex and visiting friends. It’s been a good week! I’ll head back to Arkansas on Friday to have dinner with my man and then spend THREE WHOLE DAYS together! Unless you work the opposite schedule as your husband, you probably don’t understand the rare joy that this is. I am PUMPED!



For many of us, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are all about traditions. I know I had a few growing up, and Chad and I are working to put a few in place for our little family.

First – the decorations. They go up as soon as possible after Thanksgiving. Not before – Thanksgiving is an awesome holiday in and of itself and deserves its own decor.

Second – the Christmas lights. We have lights on our tree and going up the banister of our staircase. These lights are on when we are home and turned off every night before bed, except on Christmas Eve night – they stay on all night for Santa and so that they’re on when you wake up on Christmas morning and walk into the Christmas light-lit room full of festivities.

Third – the Christmas parade. Call me a child if you want, but I LOVE watching the Christmas parade. Same goes for Thanksgiving.

Fourth – the single gift on Christmas Eve. One present is always opened on the night of Christmas Eve, typically after the family has come and gone. It is usually new pajamas that you are to wear that night, and they will be in the Christmas pictures the next morning.

Fifth – cinnamon rolls. This one comes from Chad. Every year his mom made “homemade” cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast. Naturally, I was nervous about having to live up to his mom’s amazing recipe. However, when I found out they were Pillsbury cinnamon rolls from a can, it was all good in the hood!

Sixth – Elf. It must be watched. Enough said.

Seventh – the Biblical story of Christmas from the book of Luke. Never did this growing up, but Chad and I are starting it this year!

What about you? What are your Christmas traditions? I’m sure I left some off of here, but I’d love to hear more!

The Garneau’s Need a Dictionary


Apparently, Chad and I don’t know the meaning of the word “budget.”

This Christmas was to be a “budget” Christmas. We got married 5 months ago, moved into our first place and are saving for a big mission trip to Peru next year. Budget.

Today, I counted the presents under our tree. 28. TWENTY-EIGHT! That doesn’t even include the stockings! Or the presents I sent my mom home with over Thanksgiving! Or the ones we shipped! This is the exact OPPOSITE of budget!!

What can I say. We’re givers.

Old Habits Die Hard


They say old habits die hard. Today, I affirmed that statement. First, the back story.

Every year, my mom hosts the HUGE Cochran family Christmas. Anywhere between 20-60 people show up, depending on who’s in town and if it’s their year to do Christmas with the Cochrans or the other side of the family. Needless to say, I got the holiday hosting/cooking gene from my mom. Cochran Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve, and the individual families enjoy a more intimate Christmas of their own on Christmas morning. During Cochran Christmas, there is tons of food (usually 2-4 turkeys, both oven roasted and deep fried, and 1-2 hams, plus more sides and desserts than we could eat in a year), a white elephant gift exchange for adults and little kid present opening, and the dice chance game LCR. The white elephant and LCR games sometimes get violent–just go with it, we are a competitive people.

With all these festivities, the host house must be spotlessly clean and well decorated. This is where my sister and I come in. We always spent Christmas Eve Eve, December 23, cleaning and baking.

Now, today. Today is Christmas Eve Eve, and as I’ve done my entire life, I cleaned the house from top to bottom and cooked. Except this year, no one is coming over. It’ll be just Chad and me. White elephant and LCR wouldn’t really work with 2 people, and 27 pies would be more of a waste than normal.

Like I said–there was. I reason for the OCD cleaning and the 6 dozen cookies…but old habits die hard :)

Christmas Cookies!!

Christmas Cookies!!

In my imaginary world where I am a housewife and we don’t have to worry about money and we live in a bubble of perfect happiness, I bake a lot. In fact, in this world, all I do is work out, clean, cook, volunteer, read and play with my angel children who can do no wrong.

Like I said, it’s my imaginary world.

But today, part of that imaginary world came true. I’ve both worked out and baked today – it’s been a good day! Chad LOVES chocolate chip cookies, so I got the ingredients for yummy homemade ones. I really wanted to use my Christmas cookie cutters and to use some icing and sprinkles to decorate, so I got sugar cookie ingredients, icing and red sprinkles. Let the fun begin!

Today was my first time to use my Kitchen Aid mixer – another sign I’m married and Southern. (Seriously – you’d be hard pressed to find a married Southern woman without a Kitchen Aid mixer.) Here’s a little tip for first time KAM users – don’t turn it on past level 4 if you have only dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. The result is somewhat similar to if you turn the blender on without the lid. Flour and sugar EVERYWHERE.

Another helpful baking tip – make the cookie dough thick when using cookie cutters. Otherwise the shapes will tear before you can even get them to the cookie sheet – which will make you very frustrated.

I had an idea of how I wanted to decorate the cookies (they’re in the shape of Santa heads), but it got boring after a few, so I had to mix it up. Some Santas had white icing on the cotton puff on their hats and as their beards. Some had it all over. Some have random squiggles. Some have smiley faces. One has a B and one has a C. And then 5 spell SANTA. It kind of looks like a 3 year old decorated them, but they are SUPER delish! 33 cookies is too many for just Chad and me, so I’m thinking the Fox 16 kids and our Sunday School class will be receiving sweet treats this weekend :)

Check out my masterpieces!!

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Cutest. Kid. Ever.


I may be biased, but I think my nephew is the cutest kid in the world? Don’t agree? Keep that to yourself :)

The other day, I watched a video from Jimmy Kimmel that resulted from his asking parents to give their kids really bad Christmas presents. (He also did the same thing on Halloween, where parents were asked to tell their kids they ate all of their candy.) Go watch the Christmas video now. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Needless to say, after I saw the video I had to share it with my sister – and encouraged her to do the same thing to Payton. Today, she did just that – and sent me the video :) You KNOW you want to see this!

Wasn’t that ADORABLE?? He is so sweet and smart – he knew his mommy was tricking him :) I love you, little guy!

Christmas Vacation!


It’s the most wonderful time of year – Christmas vacation time! I’m lucky to have December 22-January 4 off from work to rest, enjoy the holidays and take care of some things around our house (that last part is definitely the minority!)

To start my vacation off right, the world’s most amazing husband (MINE!) bought me a massage at Ava Bella Day Spa. You’ve heard me blog about Ava Bella and Josh (the masseuse) before – and this time was equally amazing. Seriously – is there a better way to kick off a two-week vacation than a massage? I think not.

I slept till 9 today, ate breakfast with my hubs and then worked out. Yes, you read that right – I went to the gym and worked out for a whole hour. I’m already feeling the pain. After a quick shower, I went shopping with my friend Laura who had just a few last minute gifts to pick up. After that, it was time for a holiday tradition – cookie baking. Chad loves chocolate chip and I really wanted to use my Christmas cookie cutters and decorate, so I bought the ingredients for sugar AND chocolate chip cookies. I know we’ll eat a few, but something tells me the kids over at Fox 16 and our friends at Immanuel will be recieving baked goods this weekend :)

Chad FINALLY put my presents under the tree, and now the anticipation is KILLING ME! I wasn’t curious at all until he put them under the tree and now it seems like the clock is ticking at a record slow pace. Is it Sunday yet?? :) I’m excited to give him his gifts too – I think he’s really going to like them!!

After presents, breakfast, church and lunch on Christmas Day, I’m heading to Houston to spend time with friends and family – mom even said we’re going to have a mother-daughter shopping spree on Monday the 26th! YAY! Mom is a good shopping buddy. If you’re in Houston the week after Christmas, give me a call! I’m going to squeeze in as many visits as I can!

What do you guys have planned for Christmas vacation? Anything exciting??

Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


I’m a fan of reading the book before you see the movie, so when I found out that the movie version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was coming out on December 21 (today!), I had to read the book. It has been on my list, but it got bumped up a few places so that I could see the movie with my honey over Christmas break (tomorrow!).

First of all – the book is 590 pages. I’m not easily deterred by a lengthy book – hello, I LOVED all of the Harry Potter books – but this one was really slow for the first 260 pages or so. I had a hard time reading it because I just kept thinking to myself “Come ON! Get to something good already!” and then there was the whole “Why is ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ not the main character of this book?” thing. That threw me for a loop. But I will say that once the book got good, it got REALLY good. There was some definite suspense and shock, and of course I loved that.

Without giving it away, I would recommend this book to people. The ending (minus the last few chapters where they were coming down off the climax and the action had stopped) was really good, and worth wading through the first few hundred pages of “meh.” I do intend to read the next book in the series, though there needs to be some time between them. There was some heavy stuff in this book! (Great advice from Cheryl.)

I’ll let you know what I think of the movie once I’ve seen it!

Best Husband Ever? I Think So!


So last night, I got home to find Chad had vacuumed the house, started on the laundry, made the bed and done the dishes. He had Christmas music playing and even went out to get my requested bottle of wine after I’d arrived. He noticed my sassy new haircut (it’s SHORT, y’all!) and complimented me endlessly. Seriously – how did I get so lucky??

PS – To date, Chad is the only person to have noticed my somewhat significantly new hair. As for the rest of you who have seen me in person – FOR SHAME!

Big Step Closer to Peru!


You guys – God is amazing. I know, this is probably not new information for you, but it bears repeating!

Like many people, one of my biggest issues is trusting God to take care of my financial situation – in other words, relinquishing control and trusting Him. I am generally pretty good and handing things over to the Big Man Upstairs, but I like to clutch my finances to my chest like a frightened child to its teddy bear. As if I were saying “No, God. Let me handle this. You’re not big enough.” Right. Because that’s true.

Any way, Chad and I prayed about and decided to join the Peru 2012 GO Team, a mission trip in November 2012 with our church. Needless to say, spending 9 days in Peru is not cheap – from flights to airfare, to lodging and food, it adds up to a hefty price tag (especially for a young couple!) But God kept telling us to do it, and we trusted Him to provide a way to get there.

Just this week, I received a surprise financial gift that pays for more than half of our trip. That’s right! One of us is fully funded for the mission trip to Peru next year! God is so faithful, and it is instances like these that remind me who is ultimately in control of my life (and it isn’t me!). It’s also moments like these that I need to remember to clutch to my chest in future circumstances – proof that God will provide, and there is no fear in Him. You’d think I would have learned this lesson from my LAST mission trip, where a complete stranger wrote a check for the EXACT amount I needed to go to Costa Rica, but alas – the human mind is flawed.

Thank you, Jesus, for providing everything I have ever and will ever need! I am so excited to serve the kingdom by going on this trip, and I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for us!