Betty’s last chance

We found out Christmas lights are a major to-do in our neighborhood. We’re really happy with how our interior decorations came out –so festive!- and the Pilot put up Christmas lights for the first time.

lights

He did an amazing job, and we have a single strand of sparkly lights on the roof.

I was in the kitchen and could hear him mumbling in the garage shortly after he put the lights up.

“M*&@*( F*(#& blah blah curse curse”

He was peering through the garage windows, and I could see what he was staring at:

lights Source

Not exactly our neighbor’s house, but you get the idea.

I had been asking him if we could get a sparkly snowman for the yard from Lowe’s, and he said, “let’s just keep it simple.” After seeing the intense light display across the street, he was like “You can get your snowman." Haha. After talking with our other neighbor, we found out that apparently we live in Christmas town and have to step up our light game a little. This could get a little crazy.

Mr. Handyman grilled up a beautiful feast for us last night, too:

chicken

-BBQ chicken

-grilled butternut squash

-we shared the Super Spinach Salad (my fave!!) from Trader Joe’s. Love the miso dressing

Speaking of handymen, I’m postponing the gym until later since I have to take my car in… again. I’ve written about going to the dealership a few times to get repairs done – we only bought it two summers ago, used- but I have to take it in almost every month for one thing or another. It’s getting expensive and annoying, so this is Betty’s (<— my car) last chance. She’s very pretty, and drives like a dream, but we may be trading her in for something more reliable this weekend. If you have any small SUV suggestions (Betty was a sedan, but we may get something a little bigger), let me know!

Breakfast was waiting for me….

cookie

A breakfast cookie using dark chocolate almond milk and topped with raspberries

cookie (3) 

Enjoy your day and I’ll see ya later!

xoxo

Gina

Something to think:

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

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Comments

  1. I love our Mazda cx7 and definitely recommend it…so comfortable to drive and roomy but doesn’t feel huge when I am driving it. I’m 5’3″ and I love that I can adjust the seat and feel like I am in control of the vehicle and not straining to see over the steering wheel. ;)

  2. Don’t have time to go thru the comments, so don’t know if somebody already mentioned this – bring your base and car seat to the dealership if you go looking. I don’t know how tall the Pilot is, but my husband is 6’4″ and he can not put his seat all the way back with the car seat installed in the back. We never realized this until we were heading home from the hospital. Oops! I mostly use the car, so we make it work, but backseat size is definitely an issue for us when we purchase our next car.

  3. Haha my car’s name is Betty too! She’s red and I picture as a 1940s pin up girl :)

  4. omgosh when I first saw the picture of the house I was like, “WOW! THere neighbors go all out!” But then I read the rest haha. If it is anything like that picture though, then I feel for you. We take a less is more approach when it comes to decorating outside. haha.

    As for car recommendations, I have a Ford Edge and loooooooove it. It is considered a crossover, so it is smaller than an SUV, but definitely roomy enough. I bought it two years ago when I knew we would be trying for a family shortly. I’m glad I got it since we are pregnant now.
    Good luck on the car shopping if Betty fails you again!

    • lol I just reread my comment and thought it sounded weird. I would like to replace “trying for a family” to “trying for a baby”. There that sounds better. :)

  5. Leslie Wingate says:

    Pilot’s dream come true! Simple, hilarious, and to the point.
    http://onemansblog.com/2009/11/15/the-best-christmas-lights-ever/

    btw- that cookie looks so good!

  6. Brenda@ Baby's Here! says:

    We love our Honda CRV! Reliable, affordable, great resale value, and cute. The only downside is that it can be a but of an old person’s car- my grandpa bought the exact one we have just two months after we bought ours!

  7. I have a 2010 Subaru Outback and love it. One of the things that I like about it is that it’s a solid car. I think some of the small SUV’s like the Rav-4 are lighter and feel like you are driving a tin can. Bonus is that there is tons of leg room in the back so even with the infant car seat, the driver and passenger in front have plenty of room. So much better than my husbands Jeep Liberty. My Dad has the same Outback and drives 120+ miles a day and has never had a complaint. His last Subaru Forester is still going strong at 340,000 miles!

    I had a BMW years ago (not sure that’s what you have, but I think so) and it always had problems. But, it drove amazing and looked great so I was sad to see it go. Repairs on them are so stinkin expensive! Seems like there are a lot of lemons out there.

    • Fitnessista says:

      yep that’s what i have, and i heard it’s pretty common. the repair expenses are killing me :/

      • I have to second the Outback – we just bought one a few weeks ago and I LOVE it. I’ve got two kiddos and still had room for the front seats with our convertible car seat flipped backwards (Britax Marathon, which is awesome, but takes up even more space when it’s backward than the infant car seat did). My husband is tall too and that was of the things that sold him on the Outback. Drives like a dream, tons of storage & interor space in general, which is a nice change from my old sedan and has great safety ratings. I seriously considered a few different SUV’s with a third row, but they all felt giant and weren’t nearly as fun to drive. Good luck with the car situation!

      • Don’t discount them just because you’ve had a bad egg! My husband and I have Betty’s brother and sister and have had no issues! (Sorry I have to defend mine- I absolutely love my car). ;)

        I’m sure whatever you and the Pilot pick will be perfect for your growing family!

        • Fitnessista says:

          i still love the car. just wish it wasn’t costing us a fortune to keep running :/

          • I have to agree with BMW’s having problems – my sister had one (just got a new VW Jetta and loves it!) because of the exact same reasons. One after another in repairs and what killed her was how expensive they were!! I know if she was reading this she’d feel your pain ;)

            Good luck in the car search – I’ve got my eye on a used Range Rover but not sure how good they run maintenance wise?

    • We love our 2010 Outback too. However, there is no rear air. Stinks for AZ. Also, no third row option. Still LOVE it!!

    • I third the Outback. My husband (all 6’2″ of him) can fit comfortably with the baby behind him. It has plenty of room too. We used it in our PCS from Louisiana to New York and it carried luggage, baby, me and 2 dogs.

  8. We have a crazy decorated house like that in my neighbourhood too. It’s actually become a huge tourist attraction in my town! It’s really sweet though because the owners do it in memory of their son who was killed in an accident. It’s such a nice tribute to him!

  9. I love the mercury mariner hybrid I’ve been driving for about 5 years now. It can haul a good amount of stuff with the back seats folded down!

  10. I drive a chevy HHR, and LOVE it! perfect for our family of 3 :) My husband keeps asking me what i want to get when its paid off next year, and I want to keep my HHR!

  11. Subaru Forester = greatest small SUV ever. Great size. Great gas mileage. Great safety record.

  12. o_O wow!! your neighbor’s lights are quite elaborate! lol! i love your christmas lights though :) the effort is what counts ;)

  13. I love the quote at the end of this post…I’m definitely going to write it out and put it by my desk at work- and maybe on my blog too!

  14. My CR-V is a great mom car… doors open 90 degrees (easy for car seats in/out), flip down mirror to see the back seat, flip down ‘console’ shelf so a passenger can walk from the front to the back seat. But it’s kind of the opposite of a BMW… practical, economical, slow, non-glamorous, dime a dozen out here.

    Don’t start keeping up with the neighbors on stuff! It never ends! Simple lights are pretty!

  15. I literally die. Pilot + my hubs = wayyy too much alike. hahah I love it.

    P.S. I would love a blow up Santa for my yard quitteee frankly.

  16. Yikes what a bummer on the car! That makes me think twice if I’d ever want to buy a used car?

    I’ve test drove some new SUVs lately.. I’m a huge fan of the Jeep Laredo and Liberty. The Ford Escape and Edge are also very nice!

    • Fitnessista says:

      we’ve never had a problem buying used, until now!

    • Most used cars are perfectly fine, just do your research ahead of time. Honestly, you’re just as likely to get a lemon buying new as used. New model years are always subject to potential issues that haven’t been discovered yet. If you buy one that is a couple years old. those issues will have been discovered and posted all over the internet.

  17. we have a lexus rx400h hybrid and we love it. its a perfect family car and very comfy and reliable. plus we love that it is a hybrid.

  18. We have the Ford Territory – it rocks! Big but not enormous, fits 4 adults, a dog, baby & stroller no worries. I totally heart my car!

  19. we are debating which sub to get too. and till now contemplating between few… i personally adore Audi Q3 pr Q5 =) but a bit pricy – so still looking at other options.

  20. I recommend the MINI Countryman! Its much larger then you’d think and the four doors make things much easier. I’ve had mine for three months and it fits so much!
    Best of luck!

  21. I back the Subaru comments. I had a Forestor until April and loved it, we traded it in for the legacy and I love that. Subaru safety ratings are extremely high, so insurance is less and my personal injury attorney is happy!

  22. We literally just sold our BMW X5 SUV YESTERDAY. That thing was nothing but problems and so expensive to fix. We spent over $6K in the last 3 months. Bought it new but once it hit 100,000 miles EVERYTHING stopped working. For that expensive of a car, it should not be done at 6 years old. Asthetically it was still gorgeous but draining us dry. It’s my 2nd BMW and never again. We bought a shiny brand new Toyota 4Runner Limited and are head over heels. It’s not a small SUV, but we have a boat to tow and needed a third row seat :)

    • Fitnessista says:

      that’s exactly like us! i’ve spent 4,000 in repairs already this year… KILLS me.
      glad to hear you like the 4runner so much! i’ve always loved toyotas

      • You really should test drive one. It doesn’t feel huge to me like the Tahoe or Escalade. We really wanted the third row to be able to take my parents on trips with us when we vistit relatives in Napa instead of caravaning. You might consider a third row vehicle since your family lives so close to you as well. Our X5 only had two rows and the extra space in the 4Runner is amazing….not to mention the fancy back up camera and integrated phone & navigation;) Good luck on your car hunt. Once we sold ours yesterday a HUGE relief washed over us.

  23. We bought a Kia sportage, we bought new because they did a lot of upgrades with the new model…one being better gas mileage!! and they look so much better. We love it! it is our kid friendly car….when we decided to have kids. Like we know much about kid friendly :) but it is high on safety ratings. they now have used models out there.

  24. Hyundai Santa Fe. My family has owned quite a few different SUVs and we are all hooked on the Santa Fe. My sister had two kids so she has one with the third row seat (and every option known to mankind) while I have a more base model and it is awesome. Great on gas for an SUV it’s size.

    Good luck!

  25. Not sure if someone suggested it already… But I traded in my Acura TL when my baby was born because of the car seat issue. The front seat had to be almost all the way pulled up which doesn’t work for my husband or I since we’re both tall. I got a Mazda 6 sedan and am in love. It’s trunk and back seat are huge. There is even enough room to get the carseat in the middle which is the safest place. My friend has an Avalon and loves it too because of the roomy back seat. Good luck- I hate car shopping!

  26. My boyfriend JUST bought the Jeep Laredo and loves it. Perfect SUV with tons of space but not too huge to drive. Good luck finding a car, I’m in the same boat, but sans baby on the way. I was looking at BMWs, but yours being in the shop a lot makes me rethink that. Are they really that troubled?

    xoxo

  27. Eek, totally feel your pain on the car stuff! My car broke down Sunday and found out yesterday it’s my transmission so I’ll be car searching too. I’ve had my eye on the Ford Escape Hybrid for a while now.

  28. I have a jeep patriot, and I love it. I drove my parents’ grand cherokee before, and it’s definitely a bit of a downgrade, but I do love it. I owned a santa fe before I bought my jeep, and it was also a great car. Very reliable and amazing warranty.

  29. That BBQ chicken that the pilot made looks good. Do you guys marinade it in BBQ sauce or do you just spread sauce on it after you cook it?

  30. I have a BMW X3 that is fantastic. It even has a heated steering wheel which is great in Massachusetts winters.

  31. I saw this picture on twitter and I HAD to share it with you and the pilot. I think it might give you some ideas in terms of how you can “compete” with your neighbors intense holiday lights!!

    https://twitter.com/#!/ColumbiaPatch/status/141960817884139520/photo/1

  32. I have a Toyota Highlander Sport and love it! It fits 7 people and is a beautiful car. We keep the back seat down flat most of the time for Ruby (our Beagle), but even with it up there is a lot of room. Sunroof, Bluetooth, back up camera, tons of storage all make it an awesome family car.

  33. I drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee and I love it to death! I don’t know how squished it could get with a 6’2″ hubby (mine is 5’8″), but it works for us. Reasonable mileage and as long as it’s maintained, it’s very reliable. Mine is 15 years old and we’ve put so many miles on it, but we really haven’t had to do any major repairs on it. :)

  34. I have a 2008 Mazda CX9 and we’ve never had any problems in the years we’ve owned it. It is very highly reviewed (Motor Trend’s SUV of the year one of these past years and 2011 US News #1 in the Affordable Midsize SUV category) so I know it’s not just me that thinks it’s awesome!

  35. Krystyn O'Neil says:

    So sorry about the car troubles! No fun:/ We own a Honda Pilot and I absolutely love it!! We debated so long between the Toyota 4Runner and the Honda Pilot. In the end, we chose the Pilot because it offers more space and an automatic 3rd row…not all 4Runner’s have third row seating. Plus the third row folds all the way down for easy storage for strollers, groceries, and whatever you need. Best purchase ever! Good luck on your car search:)

  36. I’m not sure what your budget is, but I would highly recommend the Audi crossover. I have an Audi sedan and by far it’s the best car I’ve ever owned. Best as far as handling, maintenance, no real mechanical issues, etc. I LOVE it. We’ve had all different kinds of cars, some that I loved, but this Audi is hands down our favorite. And it’s used, a 2006. The down side being that it uses premium gas, and might be a little more expensive, but its truly a joy and pleasure to drive. And extremely safe, I’m in love with this German car.

  37. I drive a Ford Edge and love it! Plenty of room but not huge. Even the back seats recline — so comfy for my back seat passengers! I upgraded from a Ford Escape which I also liked but I just wanted more room. Good luck!!

  38. You got me good…i’m like Gina and The Pilot are living across from Santa’s Enchanted Forest….lol!!! (Big, blingy super-cheesy-fun annual theme park here in Mi-am-i).

    Sorry to hear your car is giving you problems…we have a Honda (moi) and a Yukon (him)…a little big for a girl to drive, at least this girl…it’s older but he’s great at keeping it running well. The gas mileage is not the greatest, which gets pricey. The extra room is fun…knowing how you feel about being environmentally-friendly, a mid-size Hybrid SUV maybe? I didn’t read the other comments i’m sure this may have been suggested already…;)

  39. We just purchased a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit 4 x 4. I would highly recommend looking into one. Super comfortable for road trips, durable, drives like a dream, and has wonderful features to include blind spot detections which I love. Anytime anyone is next to your or it is unsafe to switch lanes a light shows up on the mirrors. It also has front collision warning, automatic cruise control which you set the car length you would prefer and the car slows down based on this, automatic brights, automatic windshield wipers, etc. Also, it has a backup camera, satellite radio, panoramic sunroof. I could go on and on about this car! I have never been a Jeep type of girl, but this car has totally changed my mind. I am in love with this SUV. Plus, there is plenty of room with our large carseat. Good luck!

  40. I love my Ford Escape!

  41. There is some old joke about never buying a used BMW and most people leasing new . . .

    Anyway, I love my Acura RDX. I think it is considered more of a CUV than an SUV but there is plenty of room in the back seat. When I visit my sister, my 2 year old niece loves getting into the back (along with her 6 mo old brother). And it drives more like a sports sedan than an SUV . . . I think it having a turbo helps. :-p

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