Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas goodies!

Merry Christmas all!  I hope you're enjoying this special holiday with family and friends!  I should be nestled all snug in my bed, but of course I've just finished most of the last minute touches for our Christmas day celebrations. 
Anywho, I wanted to share my favorite Christmas goodies from this year.  Like many of you, we decided to make goodies to give away to family and friends, but we wanted to do something savory that had a special place in our hearts.  So we made big batches "parm dip" from a recipe concocted from the fabulous Bottega restaurant (this happens to be where we celebrated our first anniversary this summer) and canned them up all pretty. 

I discovered the wonderfully delicious peppermint bark treats this year when I received my December issue of Food Network magazine.  I've made a few batches (which are so easy) and the chocolatey/minty goody has seemed to be a hit with family and myself too! 

I hope you get to enjoy all of your favorite goodies on Christmas with the ones you love! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mele Kalikimaka!

I probably sang this song everyday last week since we were in Hawaii on a family vacation! 
This was a special trip for our family since Clint's parents were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary and brought us kids along!
It was weird to being wearing shorts all week and swimming in the ocean in the middle of December, but I definitely wasn't complaining! 
Now it's back to reality, with cold weather and going back to work, but I have to say it was a very merry time in the land of Aloha! 
My favorite part was going to the Polynesian Cultural Center.  It was such a blast learning about all of the different Pacific islands, interacting with the gracious hosts, and watching amazing performances.  Of course I took plenty of photos to capture the memories of the week, but I'll just share a few for now ;)

Me with one of the performers at the PCC. She was so cute and a beautiful hula dancer

Me and Natalie (other Willis sister-in-law) at Pearl Harbor
Clint and I in front of the Laie, Hawaii temple
Clint and I on the beach (the house we stayed at was just yards away from the beach!)
The whole family in one of the many photos we had taken by the talented Ryan Best

Well now that our Hawaiian Christmas is over, I'm getting ready for our Christmas here at home!  More on our at home Christmas festivities later :) 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas at home

Before I know it Christmas will be here and thankfully our house is ready for the festivities.  I'm so excited to have our first Christmas in our home! My only complaint is that the fireplace isn't in the living room to enjoy, but we have our Christmas tree in the living room to enjoy as soon as we're home from work.  And while the fireplace isn't in the living room, I get to enjoy it when I'm in the kitchen. 

Ready to roast chestnuts by the open fire ;)  I made the stockings last year and still love how they go with all of the Christmas decor

I've added a little more to our tree this year, including the glittered reindeer oranaments that were a surprise find at Dollar Store
A few reminders are around the house to reflect on the reason for the season! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fly by November

This month has flown by with me barely blinking it seems (as evidence of my lull in blog posts)!  So, what have I been up to and what is on the horizon?!
In hopes to be prepared for the Christmas season, we took some fun photos to use for our Christmas cards. 
This isn't the photo we actually used for our Christmas card, but it was one of the funny out takes the photographers (aka my parents) captured of us.
Last week for Thanksgiving we enjoyed time with family and friends in a beautiful place away from home.  Gorgeous weather and beautiful scenery all around spent on the Northern California Coast.

Since we've been back from our Thanksgiving trip, I've got Christmas on the brain!  Christmas cards are almost ready to send out, the tree is up, and lights are on the house! With those things done, there's still quite a list of things to do for home, work, etc., but I'll try to not stresss about it.  I'm trying to be on top of everything so I can enjoy the Christmas season and enjoy our family trip to Hawaii (that should be a great place to de-stress)!  So much coming up...if only I could skip sleeping ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A reminder to be Thankful

I don't know if you're in the same boat as me, but I  have to remind myself right now to not overlook the upcoming holiday.  With Halloween seeming like a distant memory and Christmas at the forefront of my mind it's easy for me to want to skip ahead to decorating for and celebrating Christmas!  But, I have to slow down to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday to remember the things I'm grateful for and especially take in the beauty of the fall season. 
I put up a little reminder in our home for the short Thanksgiving season, with hopes to think each day on blessings that I should be most grateful for. 

While we won't be celebrating Thanksgiving at our home, I've utilized the opportunities at a church dinner activity and when we've had family over for dinner to make a fall table setting that I love for it's simplicity.

With these little reminders of Thanksgiving I kind of want to have some pumpkin pie, but that'll just have to wait til next week! ;)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Vintage birthday gifts

This Thursday I got two fun surprises.  The first which I guess was more of a half surprise since I knew my sister was coming to see me at lunch, but I didn't know she was bringing my birthday gift she had been working on.  I was excited when I pulled out the gift from the bag and saw vintage fruit labels on magnets and on a burlap "canvas". 
I found my next surprise when I got home and had a package from my sister-in-law.  As I ripped open the package I couldn't help but gasp with excitement when I saw two awesome vintage green books! 
I was definitely feeling the love and so thrilled that my sisters picked out things that are just my style. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Finders Keepers: tri-pod lamp and trunk

With birthday money in hand and some time to myself, I snagged some goodies for our living room last weekend.   

I've been wanting to replace the cheap floor lamp that was in our living room so I was excited to find a modern tri-pod lamp at Target that I decided was worthy of my birthday money.  As soon as I got it home I was re-arranging and brainstorming where would be the best place in the living room for it, but after all my moving of furniture, I decided it looked best in the spot where the old cheap lamp was.

The next day after I bought my lamp, I was at my favorite thrift store and was drawn to this army trunk.  After debating it in my mind, I decided it needed to come home with me and that it could be a great additional side table in the living room. 

The moral of the story, be careful when I'm alone and have money in hand...decorating and rearranging is bound to happen. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

trick {er} TREAT

Do you have a sugar high yet?  If you're like me, you've probably been having more sweets lately than you should!  You know, snagging a few pieces of the chocolate hanging around the office and deciding you must make some goodies to share with family friends (and sample too of course).  
My sweet tooth was calling me to make the ghost sugar cookies that my parents used to always make for Halloween, but thankfully I gave most of them away instead of eating them all.  

Here's the recipe in case you need a little more sugar in your blood! ;)  It's deliciously sweet!

Sugar cookies
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup shortening
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Mix ingredients and roll into a ball.  Refridgerat e dough for 2 to 3 hours.  Roll out dough on lightly  floured surface and cut with cookie cutter.  Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.  Cool before frosting

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspooon cream of tarter
2 egg whites

Mix at low speed and frost cookies

Monday, October 22, 2012

28 Things

1.  Today is my birthday and I'm 28

2.   I got the idea for this birthday post from a fabulous and talented blogger I follow

3..   I actually enjoy birthdays especially my own, maybe that makes me a little self-centered but I love being able to hear from family and friends on this day {and be treated special too!}

4.  Around my birthday 2 years ago was when I started dating my husband

Clint and I, October 2010

5.      I knew my husband for 2 years before we started dating, but it wasn’t until we had church assignments together that we truly got to know each other

6.     I am a Mormon

7.     I’m not a California girl by birth, but I’ve lived in the golden state for the last 20 years 

8.      I am the youngest of 3 
my sister Megan, me and my brother Bryson
9.      For as long as I can remember I have considered my mom one of my best friends

10.  I have two best girlfriends that are very different, but both are very giving and talented

11.  I have been best friends with one of the two since 7th grade {although she always claims it was 6th grade}, my other best friend was my roommate for 4 years

12.  Antiquing is something I grew up doing

13.  My first job was at a scrapbook store {I was only 14!}

14.  From the time I was 12 until my first year of college I wanted to be a nurse

15.  Science was my least favorite subject in school 

16.  For a month when I was 19 I worked at a nursing home.  That experience helped me decide I didn’t really want to be a nurse {along with #13}

17.  Instead I majored in public relations in college

18.  I used to be deathly afraid of public speaking

19.  I’ve ran 4 half marathons

me completing my first half marathon in 2008

 .20.  I ran a full marathon {26.2 miles} shortly after my 26th birthday

21.  I can’t really do a full cartwheel

22.  In junior high I was voted best sense of humor

23.  In high school I was voted most likely to be a designer on trading spaces

24.  I have 3 family members with holiday birthdays—Mom’s birthday is April Fools, Dad’s birthday is Halloween and my oldest nephew’s birthday is St. Patrick’s day

25.  I’m only about 1/5th of the way to my goal of visiting all 50 US states

26.  I didn’t really get into or enjoy cooking until I married my husband

27.   I got a fancy dancy KitchenAid mixer for my birthday!

Happy Birthday to me!!

 28.  I’m hoping that 28 is a fabulous year for me!! If you want to give me a birthday present… just share my blog with someone who has never checked it out since this has been my joy to create and share with y’all! :)
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Apple harvest

A couple of weeks ago we got a surprise delivery when a neighbor from church stopped by to give us two BIG boxes of apples. 

Getting all of this delicious apples on our doorstep reminded me that it's officially fall even though it's still been hot as summer around here!
With this abundance of apples hanging around I decided I needed to try some apple goodies that I've never tried before.  
First up, apple strudel

Not only was this my first time making apple strudel, but it was my first time using phyllo dough.  I love how the thin flakey layers of the phyllo stacked around the yummy apple, pecan, brown sugar filling making the pastry a fall fiesta in my mouth!  I will definitely be making this again!

Next up, apple pie

I used this simple crust recipe and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to make this scrumptious pie.   The glaze over the pie made the crust take on some extra sweetness without being too sugary.
While the outer crust wasn't picture perfect, I'll be making this pie many more times and will hopefully get it just right soon. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Spooktacular stuff {part 3}

It's time for my last spooktacular craft, which happens to be my favorite one!  Two great fall things are combined in this Halloween decoration, candy corn and burlap! 

I started with 8 inch strips of burlap

I then drew out triangles on the strips of burlap

The triangles were then cut

Painters tape was used to prep the triangles for various colors of paint

Yellow paint was applied to the top third of the triangles

White painted was applied to the bottom third of the triangles

After the yellow and white paint dried, I pulled off the painters tape and painted the middle third of the triangles orange

Once the orange paint dried I hot glued the triangles to jute, leaving about 2 inches in between in triangle

The candy corn burlap banner is finished and looks so whimsical above the dinning room window!  
I hope you enjoyed my spooktacular stuff installments with 3 simple crafts that can add to your haunted house this Halloween!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Spooktacular stuff {part 2}

I’m back…with more spooktacular fun!  My next Halloween craft is another simple one that happens to have a little family memorabilia incorporated into it.  

 I started out with a plain frame that I had lying around.  This was one that I picked up a while ago at a thrift store for less than $2. 
With a little bit of black paint I covered the whole frame. 

 Once the black paint dried I printed out my “Happy Halloween” in a cute font and prepped it for tracing onto the frame. 
 I then lightly taped the printed out word strip onto the frame, with tracing paper underneath it and traced over the words with a pencil. 
 After tracing the words and removing the paper I used a fine paint brush to apply orange paint the letters.  

Even though the frame was "complete" I felt it needed a little more vintage character, so I sanded it down a bit.

With the vintage touches finished, the frame is ready to have a picture added.

This picture is special to me since this is my grandpa dressed up for Halloween when he was a toddler.  While this family picture was perfect for this Halloween craft, you can use any Halloween inspired picture or poster to frame.  
Stay tuned for one more installment of Spooktacular stuff...and I think it's my favorite one!