Monday, November 25, 2013

Fred Roger is here!

 Way back in the year 2007, Matt and I celebrated our first married Christmas together. Naturally, since we are not insane, that meant we wanted to purchase a (real, of course) Christmas tree that would bring some cheer to our living room. Unfortunately, at that particular juncture in our lives, we were what you might call poor. Like, we had enough money to pay our bills and eat...but that was about it. We budgeted every single paycheck down to the last penny. And somehow that budget did not include a Christmas tree (but it did include gifts, because as Dave Ramsey taught us-- Christmas comes every year! If you're going to participate in gift-giving-- plan for it! So we did. But we forgot to plan for the tree, which is incidentally kind of expensive for people who budget to the penny).

Luckily, we're determined and creative people and we were confident we could find a way to buy a tree that didn't involve taking money out of our savings account and/or begging our parents. We put on our thinking caps and then it happened: our eyes lit upon our spare change jar. 

Spare Change=Money. How much money? Who knows. Maybe enough for a tree? Maybe.

So we counted it.

And lo and behold-- it was enough!!! Over forty dollars!! We were ecstatic. I mean, let's face it: spare change doesn't feel like money. A bunch of pennies and dimes...yeah, on some level you know it's money, but it's just not the same as the money that comes on your paycheck every month. It's like rogue money. Unaccounted for money. Money that can buy a Christmas tree.

So that year we happily counted up and rolled our change and used it to buy our tree. And henceforth and forever more our spare change jar has been referred to as the Christmas Tree Fund. Now all those random pennies and dimes have a purpose! And it's weird because we really don't use cash all that it really mystifies me how so much manages to accumulate. Maybe it's some kind of miracle. Maybe we throw in a penny and God does some water-to-wine action and in November we find a quarter in its place. I don't really know. But I do know that for the last seven years, we've funded our Christmas tree every single year out of our spare change. And we don't really have to anymore. Thankfully we have enough money now that we could just go buy a tree without really worrying about it. But now it's a tradition! On Christmas Tree Day we start with dumping out all the change and rolling it, hoping and praying it'll be at least $40 (the rough cost of the trees we like...which strangely haven't gotten any more expensive in seven years).

So on Saturday morning, that's what we did. The annual Counting of the Change.

This year's grand total: $60 rolled!! We stopped there and quit rolling pennies because seriously, enough is enough. Pennies are stupid. They can be our 'seed money' for next year's tree.

After Catching Fire (OMG amaaaaaazing!!!! I want to go back and see it again!!! Any Athens or Augusta-area takers??) we headed over to pick out our tree.

Yes, Matt picked out his lumberjack-y outfit all by himself and no, I don't think it was an accident. ;)
Tree shopping early in the season means we had way more choices, which isn't necessarily a good thing. Luckily we picked one before it came to violence and headed home with our prize.

Once home, I continued with my Christmas tradition of being a total control freak about the decorating. I guess I didn't make a lot of progress with that this year. Oh well, maybe next year. I got the tree decorated, but not without several minutes of crying because I was sad there was no baby 'helping' me decorate the tree this year. Apparently back when we were anticipating the adoption, I spent way too much time fantasizing about us trying to get a tree and decorate with the baby in tow...and then when it all happened and there was no baby to interfere with our Christmas decorating...well, I just got really sad. :(

But the tree is up, the mantel is decorated, and hopefully I will stop being sad at some point. Or at least not want to cry when I see our Christmas decorations.

The huge ornaments dangling off the mantel are a new addition for this year. Naturally, I got the idea from Pinterest. I posted the snapshot above on Instagram yesterday and by far the best part was the comments about people liking my 'big balls.' Heh heh.

Matt and I have a strange habit of greeting Lola and random inanimate objects in our house whenever we come home from being away somewhere. Obviously greeting Lola makes sense, since she's greeting us, too-- but I don't know if greeting other stuff is entirely normal. But that's us. I tend to greet whatever is most noticeable or new-- Hi Lola! Hi dirty dishes! Hi new rug! Hi gray walls! Something like that. So naturally we've been greeting the Christmas tree. Last night I decided that we should name the Christmas tree so that it would be more personal when we greet it...since it'll be with us at least a month, it seems like a name would be nice. So on the count of three we both blurted out our name choice for the tree: I said Fred, Matt said Roger. Fred and Roger. Fred Rogers-- you know, Mr. Rogers??! I mean, obviously we were on the same wavelength with names there. So we decided to go with a classic double name: Fred Roger. I left off the -s because in light of our recent grammar discussion, it just makes sense to not include an unnecessary and confusing plural name if you don't absolutely have to. So anyway. Now we've had fun greeting Fred Roger and treating him like another pet: as in Erika, did you water Fred Roger this morning? (No, oops...)

On a mostly unrelated note, Saturday night we went out for drinks at Highwire for my SIL Jess's birthday. What I got could probably be considered a 'gateway drink.' Like, if you aren't a big drinker (which I'm not) but you tried this, you might be in danger. 

It's called the Yuletide: hot chocolate, peppermint Schnapps, and whipped cream. And a sprig of fresh mint.

Dying of yumminess. And despite my lack of bartender skills, I feel confident I can recreate this one at home, so it seems that a trip to the package shop will be in my near future. Can you think of anything better than sipping a Yuletide in front of the fire, Fred Roger twinkling in the background, Parks & Rec marathoning on the TV? NO, I CANNOT. So anyway. 8 more hours til I can work on making that happen. Have a great Monday!


  1. Your decorations looks great!! And I love that drink! It is great for cold football tailgates too!! I love how you call it the package store - when I went to college in Atlanta it took about a year for me to figure out whatsoever we're talking about! I wonders why people had so many packages to mail every week! Lol

  2. Your drink sounds AMAZING!!!! I'm not a big drinker at all, but that sounds DELICIOUS! And the whole pennies and dimes equals a Christmas tree... amazing! That is so, so cool! And what a super fun tradition! Your tree and mantle look beautiful (as always)! Hope that Matt, Lola and Fred Roger can help to keep the sadness at bay... if not, your drink should help! : )

  3. Ha ha I had to laugh at your tree's name... for some reason I always think of trees as being feminine, ha ha! I love you you guys both thought of boy names :)

  4. Big balls. HA! Awesome. :) And we see Catching Fire tonight when my SIL arrives. Can't freaking WAIT!!!!

  5. It looks great!!! Love live trees :) I'm too scared to go outside right now, but when we can, we are heading straight to buy a tree!! Love your mantel too, btw!

  6. OMG Your tree and your fire place are amazing!! I love the idea of a Christmas tree fund!

  7. That is a seriously cool tradition!!! I love all your decorations! Where did you get the star?!?! Peter's mom wants one of those and I haven't been able to find any!

  8. What an awesome Christmas tree tradition. Ugh, decorating for Christmas these days CAN totally suck without a baby, but it's okay to have those "moments" and just enjoy everything as best you can!

  9. I LOVE the balls on the mantle!!! I'm so stealing this idea from you somehow even though we don't have a! I sorta feel a bit sad on the baby front also :( Even though the baby wouldn't have been here for Christmas I was looking forward to buying and receiving baby items for stinks! Anyhoo, I'm looking forward to getting our tree on Friday and who knows maybe we'll name it too!

  10. I will tackle these in order:

    1 - I am RIDICULOUSLY jealous of your cocktail. It sounds AMAZING.
    2 - What a pretty tree!!
    3 - The mantel is BEAUTIFUL!

  11. Love your tree!! I'm hoping to get mine on Wednesday. I have a 5 galloon water cooler that has some change in there- maybe I'll have to break that out to see how much is in there!

  12. Your mantle looks so pretty! I wish I had a mantle!

    I am so sorry you don't have a baby to celebrate Christmas with this year. There is just something about the holidays that makes it a little harder. Like Amanda said, I hope the yuletide helps you feel a little better.

  13. I am 100% completely in LOVE with your mantle. What's the likelihood you would drive to fl to decorate mine? We could pay you in yuletides? I always struggle with decorating that part. Sigh. I also think it's fantastic that you altered the name for your tree based on your grammar post. Way to think ahead!

  14. I'm going to see Catching Fire by myself tomorrow night at 10:30!!! I am insane. But I cannot wait a second longer to see it. If you want to come here to watch it with me (I don't think there's even a time zone change!), I'll buy your ticket :)

    Also, Fred Roger is beautiful and I'm sorry decorating him brought back some sadness :(

  15. I love your tree and big balls ;) I also say hello to something when I walk into the house. It is usually my cat, Lola, who always greets me at the back door but if she is too lazy and still sleeping in bed then I say hello to something else random. I have never named my tree, but I do sing "O Christmas Tree" to it each night as I am picking up the house and turning out all of the lights before bed :)

  16. Your decorations are so pretty! The holidays are all about tradition and your money rolling escapade is original. I'm sure the US Mint appreciates your generosity returning pennies back into circulation as there is quite often a shortage!!!

  17. I'm sorry Fred Roger made you a little sad, but I think he looks beautiful and I hope he brings nothing but happiness from here on out. Also, love your change jar tradition!

  18. That drink sounds ahhhhhhmazing. Wow.

    Also, the fact that you named your tree is unbelievably cute. I really like your spare change idea - may have to adopt it for the future. Eric never wants to spend the money on a tree, but I sure do!

  19. Love the mantle decorations! Hope you get to make a Yuletide soon... they sound amazing!

  20. Still loving the new paint color on your living room walls. Makes everything pop.
    Question: How do you keep FR from not dropping all his needles and looking very very sad by CHRISTmas if you have him up so early?

    ps. going to watch Catching Fire tonight . . . . !!!

  21. Great Christmas tree tradition! If you're going to refer to it as Fred Roger though, I insist on a cardigan tree skirt.

  22. 1. Love the Christmas tree tradition. . . how fun!
    2. Think we are going to give our tree a name this year. Stealing your idea mmmmkay?
    3. Brandon went to see Catching Fire last night WITHOUT ME. So not cool. Going to need some marriage counseling after that one.

  23. We have always saved our spare change for vacation spending money. You do know the bank will just take your change and count it for you, right? Unless you like your hands smelling like metal :)

  24. I need to see Catching Fire, and I need to try that drink.
    And your tree is beautiful.


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