11.29.2011

THANKFUL FOR A WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and we're thankful for that.  We all know that the holidays are absolutely amazing, but that they do come with a little bit of stress.  That for us, is planning where to go since we love being with everyone.  We've gotten it down pretty well by this point, and thankfully, our families are very supportive of whatever we do.  We love spending time with all of them, so deciding where to go when can be a challenge.  But this year, we were blessed enough to combine them.

We went to my parent's house and also had Ryan's dad, aunt and uncle join us.  It was great to have a lot of family together at once and to be the connection in the middle of it all.  One of the main reasons we're so excited to buy a house is so that we can start hosting holiday get-togethers and have everyone over to our place.

On to the pictures!  This Thanksgiving was wonderful...


My mom has made the same turkey recipe for over 30 years... but this year, she switched it up and decided to make a brined roast turkey like Ryan and I did last year.  It's amazing, you should try it.



Our spread of appetizers... these bites below are my absolute favorite.  They're dates stuffed with a goat cheese and mascarpone cheese spread with basil and then wrapped in prosciutto.  Sweet and savory... and to die for.



And our spread of food... my mom is the best cook ever.  I'm proud just to have helped!


The hubs... probably with a mouth full of food.




And dessert!  To go with the pie, we had homemade spiced cider.  Below is a pumpkin pie recipe I tried last year that was good enough to make again... and again... and again.  It's got a great blend of spices and is topped with maple pralines.



Ryan and his dad... turkey coma starting to set in.


And there's us.  I only had two glasses of wine, must have just been tired at this point :)


And of course, my mom and I.  It was a success, mostly thanks to her and the wonderful recipes, new and old.  We hope your Thanksgiving was just as blessed.



P.S.  Now that Thanksgiving has officially come and gone, it's Christmas time!  Stay tuned for our Christmas card reveal, some Christmas tree coziness and maybe a pet stocking... or two.


11.28.2011

MOM'S BIRTHDAY GIFT

My mom's birthday was a few weeks ago and this year, I wanted to make something fun and homemade.  Since my mom is an avid Scrabble player (and will kick your butt if you ever play her) I thought something based on this would be fun.  Pinterest also helped with this idea with the numerous adorable twists on framing pieces from games that are out there.

And yes, I did have to go buy a new Scrabble game for the letters.  My brother asked me this when we were opening gifts so I thought I'd answer that question here too, haha.  I checked several Goodwills and Arcs, but didn't find anything except a cheap kid's version with bright cardboard letters.  I guess Scrabble is just a classic that people don't give away!

Here's what I did...





While I was at it, I thought it would be fun and festive to make a little cake bunting too, out of the paper that I used for the picture frame background.  So I just cut out little flags, strung them together, and stuck it in the cake... and it was a German chocolate cake so it matched perfectly :)



So that's what I did for the most wonderful mom in the world!  Happy birthday one more time mom!

11.24.2011

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I hope everyone is enjoying a warm and safe Thanksgiving with loved ones today.  We're up at my parent's house with my family and Ryan's dad, aunt and uncle are joining us as well.  It truly is the more, the merrier here.  We've got the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on the TV, probably the most prominent Thanksgiving tradition I grew up with... and when Santa appears at the end of the parade, only then it is OK to start thinking Christmas.

I honestly woke up this morning, my heart swollen with thankfulness for all the blessings God has provided us.  I am thankful first for Him, who has wholly taken care of us the past year.  I am thankful for my husband - the fact that our marriage has grown stronger over the past year, the fact that we have grown closer together, and the fact that we are more excited than ever for what lies in store for us.  I am incredibly thankful for my family, without them, I would not be me.  They are fun and supportive, and I love that we are close enough to be able to drive up the road for Thanksgiving.  I am thankful that we are able to look for a house, and who knows?  Maybe we'll be hosting some holiday dinners next year...

Beautiful Thanksgiving table setting found here.
Happy Thanksgiving!

11.21.2011

HALLOWEEN LEFTOVERS

As a disclaimer, the next couple of months are going to be busy, busy, busy.  Of course there's the holidays and traveling and visitors, but work is going to be insane as well.  Here's to making it to New Years!  Well wishes appreciated.

Anyway, even though Halloween was almost a month ago, I couldn't help posting these next several pictures.  First, our baby boy in his "costume" - a little t-shirt that reads "I Heart My Mummy."  Cutest thing ever and at the same time, borderline crazy-cat-lady, I know.  But I featured Cira's costume last year and there was no way I could leave Theo out of the fun!
 

Next is a little recipe I whipped up last week with some of our leftover Halloween candy we still had lying around.  Just crushed up some Butterfingers and added them into good old chocolate-chip cookie dough... they were as good as they sound and helped empty the candy bowl a little bit.



Have a wonderful week!  I'll try to do the same... uh, scratch that, I'll just try to stay sane!

11.18.2011

SNEAK PEEK: OUR CHRISTMAS CARD

Since it's Friday I thought I would do something fun and give you all a sneak peek of our Christmas card.  We had one of our amazingly talented friends come over and shoot it at our place and love the idea that it brings special meaning to our card this year, but still looks more professional that our kinda funny did-it-ourselves card last year.  You can check that whole process out here.  We've come a little ways, right?

I'll put together a post with more details, the final shot we chose for our card this year, and tons of funny and not-so-flattering outtakes sometime soon.  But not now - I am definitely a firm believer in one holiday at a time.  Unless your talking about an eggnog latte, which I've already indulged in.  But that's more "holiday-related" and not Christmas-specific anyway, so that doesn't count.

Here's a little sneak peek!  This was taken while we were carefully trying to tangle ourselves up... not as easy as it looks.


Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

11.16.2011

WINE BY THE BOX

Not to be confused with boxed wine.  Anyway, you all know Ryan and I enjoy ourselves a little wine here and there... and here... and there.

So we usually pick up a case of red at the Wine Seller every so often.  The owner of the store puts together a box of all reds (or all whites or a mix) that range a little bit in price and varietal.  It's a great opportunity to try new stuff that we've never heard of before and we even keep notes on the sheet of paper it comes with so we know what we liked in case we want to buy it again.  It's also great because there's always some bottles that are very affordable and you save a good amount of money by purchasing a box instead of individual bottles.  The added benefit of always having a bottle of wine available to you at home doesn't hurt either.  No trips to the store, just a trip to the kitchen.





And let's be honest... how much fun it is to come home with twelve new bottles of wine?!  My parents started going there around the same time we did, so it's fun to compare who liked what.  Plus, when they have us over for dinner and you've got a bunch of wine-lovers at the table, you've got to have some on hand. 


Cheers!

11.10.2011

IKEA (MINI) HAUL


A couple of weekends ago, the hubs actually suggested out of nowhere that we make an Ikea trip.  Um, ok!  So we drove up to the massive blue and yellow building that now takes up about as much space as the entire mall next to it and spent a few hours perusing, eating and buying.

When my mom and I went for the first time a few months ago, we literally couldn't figure out how to get in the store!  But I guess we weren't the only ones because there was an employee who asked us if we needed directions... um, yes please.  So first you've got the "Showroom" floor where you wander through a bunch of rooms that they've staged and get ideas and try to remember all the stuff you want to buy.  Then, you have the actual "Marketplace" where you pick up the goodies.


I'll start with some inspiration pics we found when wandering through the showroom...


We really liked this simple but statement door knobs.  We would probably like any knobs however, since our kitchen doesn't have any at all right now.  I also love all the hanging contraptions they have for kitchens.  Sort of a fun twist on the whole "open shelving" feel that's popular.  My favorite hanging accessory was the little potted plants.  So cute.


And just for reference, here's a picture of the warehouse... yes, it's after the showroom, the cafeteria, and the marketplace.  But before the little grocery store.



Some fun lamps.  The top left one would be great in an office as I think it would definitely inspire some creativity.  I mean, it even looks like brain synapses (is that the right word?).   Love me a gourd lamp too.  The one on the bottom left would be sweet in a nursery and the bottom right one would be great on a nightstand since the arms move every which way.


And now for what (little, if you ask me) we came home with: a jar of orange elderflower marmalade, a $3 bottle of Glug (which we tried in the store and was delish!), a jar for our coffee beans, and (another) faux sheepskin rug.  We also snagged a few other odds and ends but nothing too exciting.




Here's the new rug right at home... at least temporarily.  I'm looking forward to using these babies for Christmas time!  Any other Ikea hauls lately?  Anyone get lost trying to get in the store?  Please say yes...

11.09.2011

SPICED PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

These cookies are one of my favorite go-to recipes and every fall I end up making at least four batches.  My very own spiced pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  I tried several versions last fall and although they were good and all the cookies definitely got eaten, I felt they were missing a little something.

Maybe it's because I'm such a pumpkin pie fiend, but I felt like they needed a little kick!  So I combined the pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe I had been using, made a few adjustments, threw in some classic pumpkin pie spices and called it a success... after much taste-testing of course.


Ingredients:
  •  1 cup canned pumpkin
  •  1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  •  1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil and egg.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.
  • Dissolve baking soda with milk and stir into the dry ingredients.
  • Gradually add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  • Add vanilla and chocolate chips and mix.
  • Drop by spoonful onto greased cookie sheet and bake for approximately 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly brown.




And just for a reality check, because we all know the kitchen does not look like the first few pictures might suggest... but rather, more like this:


But the above mess is oh-so worth it when you get to enjoy a few of these...


The hubs took a batch to work one day and the container came home like this... hopefully you will enjoy them just as much!

11.07.2011

LOVING: PINSPIRATION

Can I mention how much I love Pinterest?  I signed up several months ago and it's been a love affair ever since.  Projects, recipes, apparel, feel-goods, books, ideas and eye candy galore!  If you are on, you know what I mean, if you are not on... sign up.  

Of course no one else needs another timesuck, but this is just the opposite if you ask me because you come away with ideas and projects well worth the time you spent looking at them online.  It also saves tons of time if you're currently emailing yourself every recipe and DIY project you come across or if you're clipping them out of magazines.  With Pinterest, you just hit a button and you've got all the information you need, all in one spot!  Click here to follow me and see my boards and let me know if you need an invite!  I would be happy to send you one and fuel your addiction.

Ok... now that I got that out of my system, here's a post full of some of my favorite pins right now.  I plan on doing a follow-up with the pins I've actually tackled so far in a little "Pinspiration Realization," if you will.  Yes, I am a dork, geek, nerd, all of the above.


Get ready for some serious eye candy!

I really love the simple ideas that you can do with things lying around your house, like these coffee bean tea-light candle holders.  Found here.
Awesome, right?  So fun and unexpected.  I would love to do this with a fireplace but I would definitely be nervous trying to pull it off!  Found here.
This seems pretty appropriate.  I'd love to have this print in our office one day... this one and every other one from Made By Girl.  Found here.
One minor problem with Pinterest is that you find so many cute things you want to buy!  Like these striped socks.  I'll take one in every color please.  Found here.
My favorite part?  All the do-it-yourself projects, hands down.  Especially the low-effort, high-impact ones.  I definitely plan on doing this one.  Love, love, love.  Found here.
Awesome gift ideas too, like this bottle of wine wrapped in a cute tea towel.  It would make a great housewarming gift.  Found here.
I adore this painting.  Found here.
I love this bedroom - the colors, the patterns, the coziness.  Add this to dozens of other indoor and decor-related images I've got and you can practically feel the itch I've got to buy a house!  Found here.
Snickerdoodle muffins, this recipe alone was worth getting on.  All the recipes I've made so far have turned out fabulous.  I have a feeling these would not disappoint.  Found here.
There's also a ton of amazing ideas to make life so much easier.  I go through all of these thinking, "Why didn't I think of that?"  Found here.
One of my favorite boards I've created is my "Feel Good" board, filled with fun sayings, pictures, and ideas that just make you smile.  Like this one - keep it in mind.  Found here.
So there you have it, my schpeel on Pinterest and all things I love about it.  Come back for some more "look what I pinned!" and "look what I did!" sometime very soon.