Tuesday, December 31, 2013

His and Her First Liebster Award

We were nominated by Kimberly at Mystery and Sunshine for our very first Liebster Award. This award is for bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It works like this: you start by being nominated by a fellow blogger who likes what you have been posting, then you tell 11 random facts about yourself, and answer 11 questions. You then get to nominate 11 fellow bloggers and give them 11 questions to answer.

We were very excited to find out we had been nominated! Thank you Kimberly! Let's start the fun...

***As always, purple means Amanda is talking/sharing, red means Sean is talking/sharing, and blue is for both of us.***

11 Random Facts:
Our Christmas tree was a found tree - the previous owners left it in the attic.
I prefer reading Nook books to printed books.
I love anchovies on my pizza.
I could eat a cheeseburger each day of my life and be happy.
I have been in the cockpit of a jumbo jet whilst in flight.
My favorite color has been purple since I was a small child. I have never had another favorite color.
I can't have low fat dairy products, but can eat dairy if it's full fat or it's imported.
I have wanted to be a teacher since I was 8 years old.   
I can't stand American chocolate, grits, or chicken and dumplings.
I started knitting because of a Debbie Macomber book I was reading. I decided on a whim to see if I could do it and I haven't stopped since.
I think American football is boring.

11 Questions:
1. Pepsi or coke?
Amanda - Either one is fine. I taste a difference, but not enough to prefer one over the other.
Sean - I am not fussed either way. I'll drink store brand as it's normally mixed with rum or whiskey so you don't really taste the soda.

2. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be and why (appearance, personality, anything)?
Amanda - I would really like to be less judgmental and critical of myself and everyone else. 
Sean - I wish I could control my anger better. I'm better than I used to be but I could be better than I currently am.

3. Earliest childhood memory?
Amanda - I remember my kindergarten classroom with the letter people hanging from the ceiling and on the walls. It was so cool! (I'm sure there is something before then, but that is the clearest.)
Sean - Going  to preschool. They had these little ride on cars and painted lines on the concrete to make it look like a road. It was fun there.

4. What's the last thing you do at night?
Amanda - The typical things get done like brushing teeth and setting the alarm, then I read until I fall asleep.
Sean - Often I read a couple of pages on my e-reader, but that is about it as once I lay down I fall asleep pretty quickly.

5. What's your favourite genre of film?
Amanda - I guess I am a typical girl in that I like romantic comedies. That's my favorite genre of book too so when a romcom book gets made into a movie -- then I am over the moon!
Sean - It depends on my mood. I can't say I enjoy one genre over another. I am definitely not a rom-com fan though. 

6. Worst job you've had?
Amanda - I haven't hated any of the jobs I have had. They have all been OK.
Sean - The worst was when I worked for a grocery store. The job itself was ok but the management practices they had were not employee friendly and I needed to leave to save my sanity.

7. Something weird you enjoy doing?
Amanda - I like doing normal things I guess. I can't think of anything that is weird. I knit which might be considered weird by some. I read A LOT (70+ books this year alone), which could be considered weird. *shrug*
Sean - Playing disc golf.  It's becoming more popular but is still a pretty obscure/weird thing I guess.

8. What's the most daring thing you want to try?
Amanda - I am a pretty boring person and a scaredy-cat by nature so my bucket list doesn't have anything too daring on it.
Sean - In the past I would have said skydiving, but I don't have a desire to do that anymore. I would probably say either an Ironman event or the Pikes Peak marathon as you have to be pretty daring to  attempt those.

9. What's your favourite Disney film?
Amanda - Hands down the answer is Beauty and the Beast. I can watch that a million times and be OK.
Sean - I am not a huge fan of Disney movies, but I did like the Lion King.
10. Do you like your name? 
Amanda - I do. When I was younger I wished to have a different name but now I really like it.
Sean - I like it.

11. What's your favourite animal?
Amanda - The panda. If it wasn't illegal, I would own one. :)
Sean -  Snakes. I have always been fascinated by them.
11 Questions for Our Nominees:
1. Why did you start blogging? 
2. Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
3. What is your favorite thing about your job?
4. What is your favorite destressing activity?
5. How do you spend a typical day off from work?
6. What is your favorite city?
7. If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
8. If you had a time machine, what would be the first place and time you would visit?
9. What movie would you like to see have a sequel or a remake?
10. If you could choose any book, TV show, or movie character as your new best friend, who would you choose?
11. What one song would you never want to hear again?

Our Nominees:
We chose people whose blogs have become ones we look forward to reading each day.  
And our nominees are...
Ashley at A Cute Angle
Jordan at all the small things  
Molly at Fiddle-Dee-Dee
Jessica at The Artsy Cajun

We had a lot of fun choosing our nominees and writing questions for them to answer. We also enjoyed answering Kimberly's questions for us and we are so grateful that she chose us as a Liebster Award nominee. Thank you again Kimberly! To our nominees, we look forward to seeing your answers to our questions and to seeing your nominee choices.

Happy New Year's Eve,

Monday, December 30, 2013

His and Her 2013 Resolution Recap

The year is coming to a close (is that hard for anyone else to believe - wow!!) and we decided, before making our 2014 resolutions, that we would look back on the resolutions we made in January of 2013. How did we do? Check it out and see!

Amanda's Resolutions:
Personal -   
1. Be a better Weight Watcher!   
Epic fail! I decided to quit Weight Watchers and move to MyFitnessPal for a variety of reasons. You can read about them here and here. I was excited in the beginning but it didn't last. I gained a few (ok, more than a few) pounds while we were in Australia and they are still hanging around. *sigh* I wish I could say differently, but this one was a disaster.
2. Practice Knitting  
This is a definite yes! I wanted to move from a beginner knitter to a good knitter and I feel like I did that. I have a good yarn stash, complete with some very cool, specialty yarns from Australia. I also have some projects lined up and some new things to learn that I am excited about. This resolution was a success!

3. Read More Nonfiction Books
I did not do as well with this, not for lack of trying. I just do not find nonfiction books interesting - in all honesty, I find them really boring. I will start one and never finish it. I think it was an admirable goal, but I give myself a C (an A for effort, but an F for completion averages to a C).

 For School - 
1. Stop Procrastinating!  
This one is almost laughable at how horrible I did with achieving it. I am still a horrible procrastinator, though my intentions are always good. *sigh* Maybe one day I will have it together and have the energy to get everything done in a day that needs to be done.  

For the blog - 
1. Blog more!  
This was an absolute YES! We have become very consistent bloggers with a schedule we keep each week. The link-ups are fun and keep us excited about blogging, and we have a lot of friends that we have met this year through the blog. It's exciting and I am looking forward to another year of His and Her Hobbies!

Sean's Resolutions
1. Play on new disc golf courses. 
I had hoped to play on 10-20 new courses this year. I fell short on that goal and only added three new courses to my collection. On the positive side I did play a lot more this year overall and was able to play a few rounds while I was in Australia

2. Go back to Glazenfyre more (a paint-it-yourself pottery place) 
I failed miserably here as we only went to Glazenfyre a few times this year. Our weekends always seem to be so busy these days but perhaps we can get there a little more in 2014.

3. Get back into training for triathlons again. 
I didn't do so well here either. I concentrated on running more this year so the triathlons took a back seat. I have plans to do a few shorter ones in 2014 so it's not a total wash.

4. Train for a half marathon and possibly run in the City 2 Surf in Sydney in August. 
I acheived both goals here. I ran my first half marathon in April with my friend Kristin. The blog post for this event is here. I also ran in the City2Surf in Sydney, Australia in August. It was by far the best event I had ever run in and would love to do it again some day. The blog post for this event is here.

5: Connect with some friends on Facebook. 
I tried to do a better job with my friends on Facebook. I didn't do quite as well as I wanted to but I did do a better job than I had in previous years.

We won some and we lost some, but 2013 was a great year for both of us. Check back here tomorrow to see our resolutions for 2014. 

Happy New Year,

Sunday, December 29, 2013

His and Her Sunday Social (12/29/13)

Hello everyone! Happy almost New Year! The Sunday Social questions are about that holiday and resolutions. Here we go -

 Sunday Social

1. What is the best New Years Eve you've ever had?
Amanda - New Year's Eve is pretty chill around here, and was for me growing up also. I can't remember one that stood out as being the "best". 
Sean - I went to Byron Bay, Australia for New Years Eve in 2000. It was one of my mate's 21st Birthday so I made the 6 hour trip to Byron Bay to celebrate the New Year and his birthday. After hanging out at the house for a while we all went to the beach a little bit before midnight. It seemed like half of the country was there counting down to the new year and it was an awesome time.

2. Are you doing anything for NYE this year and if so what?
Amanda - Sean and I are going to hang out here, take down our Christmas decorations, try some sausage dip (I have had it at school potlucks before but never made it myself - anyone have a good recipe to share?), watch movies and/or play Wii. 
Sean - I'll be hanging out with Amanda, so...what she said. :)

3. Name a book we should all read come January?
Amanda - Nora Roberts' Bride Quartet series is four books centered around four best friends who run a bridal business. Mac (Book 1) is the photographer, Emma (Book 2) is the florist, Laurel (Book 3) is the baker, and Parker (Book 4) is the leader and coordinator. I have read these books twice and I plan to reread them early in the new year. If you like Nora Roberts, I highly recommend this set of books!
Sean - The Wizard of Oz books - there are 14 books in the series and it follows Dorothy and friends on her many adventures. (The movie is based on the first book). The additional books introduce new characters and the different adventures that they and Dorothy go on throughout Oz and other lands nearby. If you are a fan of the Wizard of Oz series this is definitely worth checking out. I found the series on Barnes & Noble for 99c for my e-reader so it's also quite affordable. 

4. What are your new year's resolutions?
Amanda - I am still working on these...To Be Continued - I am planning to blog about them Monday or Tuesday. 
Sean - I would like to run a half marathon in under 2 hours and improve my disc golf game.

Well, that seemed easy. Not sure if our brains are working better because of the extra days off or if the questions were easier this week. *shrug* Head over to Ashley's page to link up and join the fun -- or comment below or on Facebook to join in.
Happy Socializing,

Thursday, December 26, 2013

(His and) Her Christmas Celebrations

When my sister and I were kids, our grandparents and aunt came over to our house for Christmas and we had one big celebration that lasted the entire day. It was simple in the sense that we did everything that day and everyone was together.

Now that I am an adult, Christmas gets a little more stretched out because of friends and family who have their own travels and traditions. Don't get me wrong - I am not complaining. I liked my childhood Christmases being simple and I like my adult Christmases being more complex. 

Complex is a very good word to describe our Christmas last year - we had four celebrations. I blogged about it here - check it out! This year has been similar, but with even more Christmas celebrations. Here's how we have celebrated so far and how we will continue to celebrate...

1. Dinner with friends, Alisha and Jesse...we ate good Italian food and exchanged gifts. 

2. Lunch with friends, Jon, Jill, and their daughter, Emily...we ate great Mexican food and exchanged gifts.

3. Dinner with Zach and Kristin...we ate delicious German food and exchanged gifts.

***Side note - I did not notice until just now how international our holiday was this year -  Italian, Mexican, and German food - yummy and eclectic! :) ***

4. Christmas Eve with my parents - we went to church with them because they have grown to love their church this year and then we headed back to our house. Sean and I made a stuffed pork roast with potatoes and green beans. Cookies and cupcakes were our dessert. We watched the Charlie Brown Christmas Special and the animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas. 
Our Christmas Eve portrait

5. Christmas Day with my parents - we headed over to my parents house in the morning. I baked the Overnight French Toast which was DELICIOUS! I am going to be making that again soon. We opened gifts and Sean and I were sufficiently spoiled. After the gifts were opened, we spent some time playing with our new toys. Dinner was perfect as usual - my mom is an amazing cook. I knit a little to help digest the food and then we had dessert. The Ho Ho Cake I made from Brown Eyed Baker was a hit again this year.
Photo: #photogrid Christmas breakfast - French Toast Casserole
Overnight French Toast - soooo good!!
The Christmas dinner spread
Brown Eyed Baker's Ho Ho Cake

Christmases to Come...

6. Dinner with Ronda...we are going to eat at Panera and exchange gifts.

7. A few days in South Carolina with my sister, brother-in-law, and niece...we are headed down there next week. We will exchange gifts and have some time to hang out.

Wow! Seven different celebrations...I have said it before and I will say it again - this really is the most wonderful time of the year! All the time spent with friends and family, watching them open the gifts we have found or made - perfection! I am so glad that just because Christmas Day is over that we are not done celebrating.

How do you celebrate Christmas? Is it as spread out as our celebrations are this year?

Happy Celebrating,

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

His and Her Christmas Wish

We wanted to take a minute to share our Christmas wish for all of you - our family, friends, and followers...

Our Christmas wish is that you are surrounded by those whom you love and who love you, your hearts are full of joy, and your smiles are bright...
...because this really is...

 Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good day/night!
Christmas Eve, 2013
Happy Celebrating,

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

His: Living in America - Reflections on a Cold Christmas

What comes to mind when someone says the word "Christmas" to you? Most likely it is spending time with family, having a great meal together and opening gifts from your loved ones. These are the things I look forward to each year but Christmas now is very different to how I celebrated it when I lived in Australia. Some things are the same but there are also many things that are different. Here are some that immediately come to mind:

1: I still am not used to this whole Christmas is cold thing.
Australia's seasons are the opposite to what they are in America so that means Christmas is in the summer time. Most Christmas mornings were pretty warm, if not just brutally hot. Sometimes it would be well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Christmas day. It doesn't get nearly as cold in Virginia as it does up in the northern parts of the U.S but it's still pretty cold and it's not unusual to be close to freezing on Christmas day. Even after 12 years I am still getting used to having to bundle up to go to Christmas dinner.

2: Christmas church services are not on Christmas Day in America.
When I was a child we would normally wake up and go to the early church service on Christmas day before we went to my grandparents house for the day. In America it is more common to go to church on Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas Day. The only time I saw a service on Christmas day was when it fell on a Sunday. There may be churches that offer Christmas Day services but it not common where we live.

3: Christmas dinner is just not the same.
Since it was hotter than in the inside of a oven on Christmas day in Australia, the menu for dinner often included a variety of cold dishes including chicken, deli meats and various salads. There were not very many hot dishes on offer. In America the more traditional meal includes a turkey fresh from the oven, baked potatoes, green beans and other warm dishes.

4: I don't get Boxing Day off anymore (I get Christmas Eve off instead).
Most people in Australia get Christmas Day and the day after Christmas off. December 26th is known as Boxing Day which is an old British Holiday. A lot of times we would go off somewhere and have a picnic on Boxing day which was a lot of fun. In America, Boxing Day is not recognized (though it is in Canada) and most people get Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off instead. It's nice to have Christmas Eve off but it doesn't make getting up for work on the 26th any easier.

5: There's no backyard cricket or swimming on Christmas Day anymore.
We used to get a ton of cool outdoor gear for Christmas so we would often head outside after opening presents to test out our new stuff. Sometimes we would play cricket or ride our bikes and if it got really hot we would go to the nearest pool or lake to cool off. In America it is way too cold for swimming and often too cold to go outside for any length of time.

This is just a short summary of how Christmas is different from when I celebrated it in Australia. I wrote about them in more detail last year so if you want to read more of my stories check out the following blog posts.
Christmas Eve in Australia
Christmas Day in Australia
Boxing Day in Australia

Amanda and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! May you have good times and may Santa bring you all sorts of goodies. How are you spending your Christmas?


Monday, December 23, 2013

Her Christmas Recipe Planning

My favorite thing about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is all the time we spend with my parents. Mom and I split the meals as best we can so she isn't doing everything. Here's what Sean and I decided to make. Links are provided in case you want to make these part of your holiday spreads.

Christmas Eve Dinner and Dessert
 Sausage and Apple Stuffed Pork Roast Recipe
We usually have lasagna or baked ziti for Christmas Eve dinner. Sean and I talked about doing something different this year and then I found this recipe on Pinterest. I cannot wait to try it! I hope it is as good as it looks.
Served with: Boiled Potatoes and Garlic Green Beans

 Pecan Pie 
(I found this recipe online a few years ago but I cannot find it now. I don't know where it went!! *confused face*)
Sean loves this pie. He doesn't ask for a lot of dishes from me so I am happy when I find something he enjoys. No one else really eats this pie so he gets it all to himself!

I have made so many things from her website. They are always delicious! This cake did not disappoint. It tastes like a Ho Ho cake, but is not heavy or too rich. We all loved it last year so it is back for another Christmas meal.

Christmas Day
Usually we keep breakfast simple and eat Panera bagels, but this year I found and pinned this recipe and I really wanted to try it. Sean and I found artisan Cinnamon-Raisin bread and Cranberry Walnut bread so I think they will be amazing. I love that I can prep the dish the night before, let it set overnight, and then quickly bake it in the morning. I cannot wait to try this dish!!


Candied Pecans by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com
I made these for Thanksgiving and they were a hit - so much so that my dad asked for me to make them for Christmas. He has only asked me to make one thing before (a carrot cake - by the same blogger!) so I couldn't say no. They are such a fun little snack food for midday after all the presents have been opened.

Dessert will be the same as Christmas Eve.   

My mouth is watering seeing all these recipes together. I am also feeling a little stressed, knowing I need to get into the kitchen and get some of these dishes started.

What is on your menu for this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

Happy Holiday Food Planning,

Sunday, December 22, 2013

His and Her Sunday Social (12/22/13)

It's Sunday and Amanda doesn't have to work tomorrow - which makes it a pretty awesome Sunday for her. Sean has to work but then has Tuesday and Wednesday off so it isn't so bad. We are being social today and linking for ---

Sunday Social

1. What is your favorite holiday season tradition?
I love Christmas Eve - we go to church early, enjoy a yummy dinner, and a Christmas movie. We also wrap anything that needs to be wrapped. It is nice to spend the entire day with Sean and a good part of the day with my parents. It is low-key and happy, which is pretty awesome!
Alex guarding the presents.

Spending time with Amanda's family is always one of the best Christmas traditions. They make Christmas special and makes having my family live so far a lot easier.

2. Do you have a certain holiday movie you watch more than others? If so what is it?
We don't watch a lot of holiday movies each year, but I do have to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas at least once (usually twice). 
I like to watch the Christmas episodes of The Simpsons. They are always good for a laugh. 

3. Show us your favorite decoration or Pinterest decoration you wish you could have.

I did a post about our Christmas decorations this year here. My favorite is our fireplace area, which is the focus of all the decorations.

I would love to find a really nice tree topper for our Christmas tree. It's almost to find something that isn't tacky without paying a lot of money for it. I'm sure one day I will find something that I like. 

4. What is your favorite holiday song?

I have so many favorite songs for this time of year. Picking one was almost impossible. The one I sing loudest in the car when it is on the radio is...

No Christmas is complete without a reminder of how Christmas should be spent...

We both also love this one - it is great for a laugh...

5. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
I love Cheesecake, brownies, and cookies. All desserts are yummy. This year we are having a Pecan Pie - for Sean - and a Ho Ho Cake for everyone else. I made it last year and it was amazing!!
A Pecan pie from Xmas 2011. This year's will be just as good.
I love the pecan pie that Amanda makes just for me as I don't like American Chocolate. I would say fruit cake as well but it is normally eaten well before Christmas day.

6. What is on your wish list this year?

My new found knitting hobby has taken over my wish list this year. I am hoping for a lot of fun accessories and some new needles. Maybe even some fun yarn. We shall see on Wednesday.

 I would love a disc golf basket so I can practice putting in the back yard and some more putting discs.

It's so much fun to put these Christmas-themed posts together and read each other's answers. Join in the fun by choosing a question and answering it below or on Facebook.

Merry Christmas,
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