White Christmas

This was my first holiday back home since Christmas of 2004.

I’m super behind in my blogging (I have about five drafts half-written), but I don’t want to get bogged down by trying to post in order. Here is what happened for Christmas… you know… yesterday.

This was my first holiday back home since Christmas of 2004. We’ve heard horror stories about family holidays and have built some fun traditions of our own, so we were a little bit nervous diving in head-first. Buying gifts on our limited budget was a bit stressful, especially as it came right before our trip, but in the end, all of the chaos and stress was worth every second.

Half-way into the month, my sister came up with her husband and three kids from Nevada. We enjoyed a couple of meals, ice skating at The Village in Meridian, and some present-opening before she had to make the trip back home before Christmas.

Throughout the month, our schedules were jam-packed with dinner and lunch dates. We met with high school friends, cousins, aunts, nieces and nephews, and Grandma. It was so nice to finally have the time to catch up with everyone. We always feel like our time in Boise is way too short to visit with everyone, so we made sure to take advantage of our extended visit.


On Christmas Eve, Tammy took us a out for an amazing brunch at 13th Street Grill. It snowed for most of the day and night, ensuring a white Christmas. For dinner, we all went over to Dad and Martina’s house. We sat around a long table and enjoyed some delicious prime rib along with the homemade horseradish sauce I always look forward to when I come to visit.


We woke up a little earlier than usual on Christmas day, had some cookies and coffee for breakfast, then broke into the presents. Mom joined us on Skype and watched me win $15 on the scratch tickets from my stocking. Tammy heard I was a present-shaker, so she trick-wrapped all of the presents using multiple boxes and decoy items. It made each gift a little more exciting to open.

We all went over to Dad and Martina’s for Christmas supper. It was a full house with both my step-siblings and their families. We had various sausages and potato salads for dinner. I tried a little piece of each and decided the chicken sausage was my favorite.


After supper, we played games and opened presents. Josh and I had a lot of fun watching the chaos of five kids collecting and opening their gifts. It was a storm of wrapping paper, amazon boxes, and tissue paper. There was some light chatter, but the bulk of the noise came from the seemingly random shouts of “Thank you, Oma and Opa!” from every corner of the room and the occasional, “Does anyone see the baby?”

I found her!

It was a wonderful Christmas. We got all the perfect gifts (nothing bigger than 3 inches square) and had an amazing time with our families. This is the perfect send-off before we head out for our next big adventure, and something to look forward to when we come home next year.

I’m a Travel Blogger

I got my first “job” today!

Sunday Shower Thoughts:

  1. “What would life be like if humans had a mating season?”
  2. “I wonder if sweet potatoes would be good on pizza.”
  3. “I love vacation rentals. How fun would it be to review vacation rentals? OMG, I’m going to review vacation rentals.”

I got out of the shower, threw on some clothes, and immediately set to work. I emailed 10 different vacation rental owners and told them I wanted to look at their place, take some pictures, and do a small piece on my blog. Everyone who actually read my email, responded positively.

On Monday, Josh and I drove into town and met with a woman who owns a dozen properties in the area and was excited to get some professional photographs taken of a property she recently acquired. That made me nervous. “Is she going to be upset when Josh and I show up with our phones and the GoPro? Does she think my blog is being read by thousands of people?” I was so nervous, but I put on my work voice and just did it.

We had so much fun! The woman and her mother were really nice people with interesting stories. The two apartments she took us to were lovely and exactly the kind of places we stay at during our previous travels. Josh took video with the GoPro and I took photos with my phone.


Again, it was a little nerve racking taking photos on our cheap equipment with very little photography skill, but the photos weren’t the point. It was the story. The woman gave us the rundown of the area (similar to what she would share with her renters) and we visited many of the places she suggested. We imagined an entire week’s worth of amazing blog posts and stories we could tell if we had a week at her place. It would be the dream job I have always wanted.

Dream Job Checklist:

  1. Quit my nine to five and hit the road. – CHECK
  2. Start a blog. – CHECK
  3. Make first contact as a travel marketer. – CHECK

Am I dreaming? Has this really happened? This blog has 30 posts, I doubled my followers on social media, and I got my first “job”. There are still a few steps to go before I’m Samantha Brown famous, but I’m on my way. I really am. How did I get so lucky?

Happy Thanksmas Holiday

In my family, holidays are celebrated when it is convenient, not when the calendar says it’s time. Mom continued that tradition this week by announcing yesterday as Thanksmas (Thanksgiving and Christmas). Happy Thanksmas!!!

In my family, holidays are celebrated when it is convenient, not when the calendar says it’s time. Mom continued that tradition this week by announcing yesterday as Thanksmas (Thanksgiving and Christmas). So Happy Thanksmas!!!

On Monday, we put up the tree. The tree was decorated in a cartoon theme to match Mom’s ‘toon-style decor. We turned on the Christmas music and went all out. Later that night, we left the house and felt instant embarrassment at the sight of our beautiful tree through the window… in early November… in 80 degree weather.

Tuesday was spent wrapping up work projects so that we could take the next couple days off to celebrate. Wednesday was meal planning and grocery shopping. Then Thursday was the big day.

We woke up early, wished each other a Merry Thanksmas, put on our holiday best, and celebrated the day. We played games, watched a movie, did some yoga, took a walk, and really just took the day to relax.

Attendance: Mom, Roommate S, Grandma B and Woodstock (the elderly neighbor and her dog who kept randomly barging in), Josh, and myself.

Menu: Cornish game hens, cornbread stuffing (my fav!), candied yams, cranberry jelly, mashed potatoes, corn, olives, deviled eggs, dinner rolls, mud pie, and pumpkin pie.

All in all it was a great holiday celebration! We had fun making the house look great, eating delicious Thanksgiving favorites, and passing out in front of the TV.