Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry and Bright!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Traditions

I'm big on traditions. 

Sometimes I know that I go overboard with my attempts to make the holidays meaningful and memorable, but I can't help it.  To try to keep me from being this excited about Christmas would be like telling me that my hair isn't really brown or that I don't have freckles.  Its just part of who I am.  But it's easy for me to get caught up and out of control in that Clark Griswold Christmas Vacation kind of way.  I just think that I am at that point in my life when I really appreciate all of the traditions of my past and at that same time am eager to make my own.

One of my favorite traditions is making Christmas cookies with my grandma.  It's a family recipe for a French cookie called a Galette.  And they are yummy!  Like with any cookie the dough is equally as addicting.  

The interesting thing about these cookies is that you can only make two at a time because you make them in a cookie iron.  I like to think that it means there is extra thought and love in each cookie.  Hehe.

Every year, this is where you will find my grandpa... sitting at the end of the table.  Supervising.  He never makes the first cookie, but lets you know if you cook one too long.  He also likes to swipe the cookies when you aren't looking.  He is somewhat of a French cookie connoisseur.  :)  

Look at that golden brown goodness.  

And here's what this one did while we made cookies.  And yes.  That's a textbook.  That he is reading for fun.  Overachiever.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ginger Bread House Catastrophe.

I LOVE my friend Allison.

She is the picture of kindness and warmth.  

I also LOVE ginger bread houses.

Ours was the picture of disaster and impatience.  :)

Okay, so definitely not like the picture on the box...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Movie Marathon List

It seems like this time of year everyone is extra busy.  Busy Christmas shopping.  Busy decorating.  Busy baking.  Busy running here and running there.  Add having four wisdom teeth extracted and a crazy amount of new clients at work and I feel like I have never been this busy.

One of my favorite things to do around the holidays involves the opposite of being busy.  Watcing Christmas movies (much to Caleb's dismay :) )

I was skimming through the TV listings the other night and I got to thinking about how many different Christmas movies are out there.  And then I got to thinking about what movies I would classify as my all time favorites... I decided to list them just for the fun of it and before long the list was ginormous so I had to cut it back.

Below are just a few of my favorites.

I chose to list this first because it is one of my earliest memories.

Who doesn't like Prancer?  This is one of the first Christmas movies that I can ever remember watching.  If I recall correctly my mom took me to the theatre and I peed my pants on the way home.... too much soda in the theatre I guess.  Or too much excitement.  Whichever you prefer to believe.

Source: Movie Goods

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Now this is a goody.  My mom and I have watched this every year for as long as I can remember.  Now that I am a little older I think that I really identify with Clark.  In that Ialwayswanttheholidaystobepictureperfect kind of way.  I have to give him credit for trying.

Source: Wikipedia


A classic.  This is the only one all season so far that Caleb has been okay with watching.  Doesn't everyone have memories associated with these classics?  My mom owned all of these movies and even had some of the stuffed characters from the Island of Misfit Toys.

Source: IMockery

"We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup." 

I would watch this year round... except my husband would hate me. 

Source: Zoogle

Home Alone 1 and 2

Okay, so I'll admit, this is where my love for the song Carol of the Bells originated, I owned a Talk Boy, and I used many a brain cells trying to design booby traps after watching this movie.  The second one fueled my desire to visit New York City and has made me long to visit Rockefeller Center at Christmas and stay in a room at The Plaza.

I love watching these movies snuggled up on the couch with a cup of cocoa and some Christmas cookies.

Home Alone
Source: Hollywood News

I also love How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Family Stone, The Santa Clause, Frosty the Snowman, Miracle on 34th Street, Four Christmases, Little Women, Scrooged, Meet me in St. Louis.... I could go on and on and on...

Sometimes the Simple Things are the Best Things.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.

Decorations? Check.  

Candy Canes? Check.

Russian Santa Nesting Dolls? Check.

Pine Cones? Check.

Bright and Twinkly Christmas Tree?  Check!

It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Three Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas.

Oh my gosh people!  There is snow outside!  Not just flurries.  Not just a smattering.  Ground covering, white and fluffy, beautiful snow!  This is the first year that I have had a job where I don't have to drive around in the snow.  But you know what I love more than that?

Homemade Christmas gifts! 

There is something special about receiving a gift and knowing that time was put into it just for you.  I've been keeping a lookout for some great gift ideas to recreate and share with family and friends.  Here are a few of my favorites!

Sallie at Texas Cottage compiled a list, complete with links to the instructions, on how to make ten different Christmas presents in a bottle.  I know that everyone has seen ideas similar to this, but have you ever received one of these gifts?  So much fun.  I have a ton of Mason jars in my cabinet and I can't wait to try some of these!

Source: Texas Cottage

Does anyone read Enjoying the Small Things?  Kelle posted about my favorite idea yet!  She made smores kits with her girls to hand out as gifts.  I love love love this!!!  Who doesn't like smores?!

  If any of you are finding it difficult to get into the Christmas spirit just check out her blog and you'll be singing Deck the Halls and Jingle Bells the rest of the evening!

Pinned Image
Source: Enjoying the Small Things

Another clever craft that I have been working on are these cute little hand warmers.  So easy and inexpensive to make.  I first spotted them on Etsy, but decided to give it a go myself.  All you do is cut out the shapes from felt, fill with rice, and sew them shut.  You place them in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds on a chilly day and put them in your pocket!  Love.

Pinned Image
Source: Etsy

These are just three out of about a gazillion that I like.  I've obviously been using Pinterest to keep all of my ideas organized.  Obsessed I tell you.  Obsessed! 

So now that I have ruined Christmas surprises for several of my family and friends I think its time to go drink some cocoa.  :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas is Here, Bringing Good Cheer.

I think its safe to say that our first Thanksgiving dinner to ever prepare was a complete success!

Caleb prepared an amazing turkey complete with brine and herb butter rub.

The sides were delicious and I managed to have them all prepared just as the turkey was done resting and ready to be carved.

I was am very thankful to be so fortunate.  

So what now?

The last of the Thanksgiving left overs have been consumed.  The pumpkins in their bottom-rotten glory have been thrown out.  And the Fall decor has rightfully claimed its place in the trunk in the back of my closet until next September.  

Its Christmastime!

The Christmas decorations are up, I'm drinking cocoa daily (part of a well-balanced holiday diet), and I've already watched Elf, Home Alone, and Christmas Vacation.  Not to mention the fact that I learned all the words to Carol of the Bells in preparation for the season.  The holiday season is in full swing and I'm ready!

Pictures to come!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


It's been an excellent weekend and with Thanksgiving coming up I have definitely been thinking about how many things I have to be Thankful for.  

 New Friends.

Old Friends.


Cheesecake.  Blogging.  My cat.  A Roof Over My Head.  My job.  Creativity.  Freedom.  Books.  Wine.  Happiness.  Health.  Disney World.  Grandma.  Grandpa.  Ability to Help Others.  The Love of My Life.  Twilight.  Laughter.  My Education.  My Life.  Everyone Who Loves Me.

What are you thankful for?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thanksgiving Centerpiece and Chicken and Rice.

Holy Moly!  Thanksgiving is only about a week and a half away and boy have I been busy!

I've been looking for a simple centerpiece for my Thanksgiving table.  I've found some really pretty ideas on Pinterest.  I want to use mostly items that I already own because as I've mentioned I tend to get carried away...

I think this is beautiful.

Source: Therese Jacinto Design

And the only thing that I don't already have are the pine cones.  Luckily I saw several of those in the yard at work today!

Source: Therese Jacinto Design


Source: Therese Jacinto Design

I've also been cooking lots of yummy things.  I know I already mentioned Pinterest once, but let me just say that it might be my favorite thing ever.  I love marking new recipes to try.  Like the recipe I found from Two Peas and Their Pod for chicken and rice soup... so easy.

And delicious!

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

Have you done any holiday decorating or tried any new and yummy recipes?  Do share!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Turkey

Now that Halloween is over its time to start thinking about the whirlwind of holidays yet to come.  I'll admit that I have been thinking about Christmas, planning my giftwrap, and have already purchased several gifts, but I don't want to disservice one of the most important holidays of all: Thanksgiving.

I love Thanksgiving. 

While I have been thinking about Christmas, I have also been planning in my head what I consider the perfect Thanksgiving for two.  This year I'm on call until 8 AM the day of and my hubby is working the day after.  So that means we are staying home for Thanksgiving just the two of us (with the possible welcome addition of a friend or two).  That also means that this will be my first year to prepare the Thanksgiving feast all by myself.  I can't make pie and I have never cooked a Turkey.  Or a chicken.  Or a little bitty cornish hen for that matter.


Lets face it people... my biggest fear is spending hours and hours roasting a bird only for it to end up like the infamous turkey from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.


There is definitely potential for disaster with my tendency to dream too big, take on too many things at once, and romanticize every holiday and get-together to ever occur.... I'll admit that I have a slight problem.  :)  But I have a goal: Keep it simple.  Simple can be better.  Besides, if I can't pull off cooking Thanksgiving dinner for two do I have any hope as a future mother who will one day be in charge of the holidays and traditions of a whole family?

I can do this.

I've started researching.

Luckily The Food Network can tell you everything that you ever needed to know about preparing and baking a turkey.  So hopefull, my bird will look more like this!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Great Pumpkin

Are you ready for a spooktacular weekend?

Watch out for the Great Pumpkin!

Happy Almost Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Blue Skies and Apple Pies

My Fall To Do List is really shaping up!  Look how many things I have already crossed off the list!  This past weekend I visited the Covered Bridge Festival with my friend and I have big plans of visiting a haunted house, carving a pumpkin, and watching Hocus Pocus for this week.  I can't wait!

1. Visit a Pumpkin Patch
2. Make Pumpkin Pie
3. Make Chili
4. Drink Homemade Hot Cocoa snuggled up on the couch
5. Carve a Pumpkin
6. Decorate my apartment for Halloween
7. Walk through a Corn Maze
8. Make Wassill
9. Watch Hocus Pocus
10. Make homemade Slit Pea Soup
11. Go on a Fall Picnic
12. Watch "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown"
13. Go on a Fall bike ride
14. Go to a Haunted House
15. Go to a chilly football game and snuggle up in a blanket
16. Play in the leaves
17. Visit an Apple Orchard
18. Visit the Covered Bridge Festival

Weekend before last we visited an apple orchard with my cousin, her husband, and their cute lil boy Cannon!  It was perfect weather.  Perfect.  I had never been to pick apples before and it was a neat experience. 

We ate fresh caramel apples before we got started.  These definitely beat the caramel apples that you get in the store.  So good, in fact, that I didn't even mind that my fingers were sticky for the remainder of the afternoon.

And then we all got on a wagon to head out to the orchard to pick out apples.  It was beautiful!  Whenever I do things like this I always gets these crazy thoughts in my head like, "Maybe we should run our own apple orchard."  Then I remember reality... like the fact that I would hate doing farmwork, I know nothing about raising apple trees, live in a loft apartment with no yard for even one tree, and that I can't even keep alive a house plant.  I tend to get swept away in the moment.  :)

Regardless, it was a great afternoon and Cannon loved it!

This guy even had fun.  He picked more apples that I did!  So far I've made homemade applesauce which was deicious, and I think I still have enough apples left for an apple pie! 

Sometimes the Simple Things are the best things.