Thursday, December 8, 2011

What Christmas Means To Me

Christmas is near and dear to my heart, as it is to lots of people. Have you ever thought about why it's so important to you? Or thought about your most memorable Christmas?

Number one reason it's celebrated is because it's Jesus' birthday. Jesus is the reason for the season, as I say every year.

It's also about spending quality time with my family, friends, loved ones. It's about smiling from morning til night because we're alive, and we're here, and we are all full of joy and celebration. It's about celebrating love and health, and life. It's about giving the gift of joy. It's about giving. It's watching someone open a gift you spent hours making or shopping for, and seeing the joy across their face. It's about hope. Hope for another year of good health.
 (Pictures from 2010)

Every year as I begin preparing for another joyful Christmas, I reminisce of the past. I reminisce about the life size doll my grandmother gave me as a child and I miss her greatly but know that she is watching us from Heaven. I reminisce about my childhood and still remember the feeling of my heart fluttering as my brother, sister, and I lay in a giant bed and heard the bells of the reindeer and Santa on our rooftop. I reminisce about coming to the top of the stairs in our home to see the gifts that Santa ever so gracefully placed under the tree, in order for Jason, Josh, me, and sister (Josee). I reminisce.

I cry for kids in orphanages and for homeless people every year. Every year, I donate to Toys for Tots and most years I shop for a family for Christmas and I'm not announcing that to get praise, I'm announcing it because I truly want all the children in the world to feel that joy that I felt, every year, every 25th of December, every Christmas.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jen's Baby Shower

A few weeks ago, my sister, mom and, I through a baby shower for one of my best friend's Jen, who will be having her baby McKayla very soon. She is 32 weeks today, so I thought it was fitting to blog about her baby shower today.

Her nursery is Winnie the Pooh themed, so together with that theme, and lots of pink, we created a sweet, beautifully chic baby shower. So pretty.

Here are some pictures of the adorable decorations: {Thank you so much sister and mama for the help & to sister for taking the pictures}

The cupcakes had the cutest pink diaper pins on them that read "baby". I even was able to use my wedding cake stand as a stand for the cupcakes. Perfect.

We had 2 round tables where the guests sat and played games. At each table setting, we had a favor in those little chinese take-out boxes. The boxes were filled with candy and little mints that had 'baby girl' packaging. The centerpieces went perfectly with the theme and balloons.
 The diaper cake was made by yours truly, and was made using nearly 50 diapers. The center was filled with a Winnie the Pooh bottle and rattle. The outside was adorned with Winnie the Pooh pacifiers and pacifier clips.
And there were lots of gifts for baby McKayla:
And then it was some time for some pictures of us with Jen and how cute is Kate's new babygirl (bottom left)? Her name is Mickaela, too.. and she was just 3 weeks and so perfect and beautiful. My beautiful sister, mom, and me (top left) Jen and mama (top right) and myself and Jen (bottom right):
I created cute gifts for the winners of the games and Mama won 2 of them! Way to go, Mama! She's always so great at games/competitions. :) Isn't my mother gorgeous?

We had such a fun afternoon celebrating and we can't wait for baby McKayla to arrive! She is one loved little girl already. :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Simple Joys.

-Dakota getting so excited he can't stand it whenever he sees me, even if it's been 2 seconds since he last saw me
-Chatting with sister and mama about anything and everything
-Talking to hubby in bed about our dreams and memories of the past
-When hubby calls me turtle, bunny, & babe
-Pepsi with lots of crushed ice
-Big ugly cute sweaters and boots
-Getting texts
-Reading the note I wrote hubby on our wedding day and crying about it
-Crafting something that turns out so cute
-Mcdonald's mushroom and swiss wrap.. yummy
-Women's Day magazine
-Shopping with mama & sister
-Lunch dates with my parents
-Getting catalogs in the mail
-Pretty fabric, doilies, scrapbook paper
-Cute striped socks
-Reading fun blogs
-Mountain Dew slushes be continued. Remember to wake up and smell the coffee! Don't overlook the simple beautiful things this world has to offer and really focus on what makes your heart sing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Craft Night with Sister

Mama, me, and sister have been planning on having a night of creating Christmas crafts for quite some time now. Sister and I had a craft night a couple days ago and we had so much fun! We drank wine, listened to Christmas music, made ornaments, ate too many pizza rolls and chips and dip, and even relaxed at the end of the night watching Bride Wars. Sometimes it's the little things. We had a wonderful night. I can't wait for our next craft night - Mama is going to join in on the fun and we will be making snow globes - sort-of - rather a twist on snow globes!

We started the night off right.
Yes, that is ice in our red sweet wine. Mmhmm. So yummy. And that is a lot of craft supplies. You've got some pom poms, syrofoam balls, yarn, lots of ribbon, sequins, and more sequins, straight pins, and felt. Good to go.

Want to see some of our lovely creations? Sister is awesome and taught me how to create these neat sequined ornaments. Love love love them! These are some of her creations. Aren't they adorable?! I swear hers look like you would buy them at a store!

And because this is hubby and my first Christmas as a married couple, I figured of course we need an initial ornament. I wrapped it in yarn and hung it from a mason jar that I filled with teal beads. And I made a vintage button ornament, a bird sitting in a nest, and my favorite: a sequin ornament which was taught to me by sister. 

And hubby and I put our tree up this weekend. I feel like it has the exact feel I wanted. It looks vintage-ish, but with an updated modern appeal. Goodness, I love it. I love the mixture of teals and pinks. So pretty. Just how I had envisioned it.
Do you make your own ornaments? If so, I'd love to see them, post them below. After our next craft night, I'll share with you our beautiful snow globes, I'll give you a hint: they are Anthropologie inspired.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving - Recipe Must Haves

This year for Thanksgiving, Jeremy and I are hosting. We are having my family over for a Thanksgiving supper. We are going to have everyone bring a couple dishes and have a buffet feast. I'm very excited to cook with my mama and make our favorite vegetarian dishes.My mama will be making a mashed potato casserole, which I will be sharing the recipe after Thanksgiving, along with some yummy mushroom noodles.

For now, here are the recipes for a few of the yummy casseroles I will be in charge of making.

Green Bean Casserole:

1 (10 3/4 oz.) can CAMPBELL'S® Cream of Mushroom Soup
3/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 (9 oz. each) pkgs. frozen cut green beans, thawed*
1 1/3 cups FRENCH'S® Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions

MIX soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 -qt. baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup French Fried Onions.
BAKE at 350°F for 30 min. or until hot.
STIR. Top with remaining 2/3 cup onions. Bake 5 min. until onions are golden.

Scalloped Corn Casserole:
4 cups fresh or frozen corn
 1 cup skim milk 
1 cup crushed saltines (about 30 crackers), divided 
3 tablespoons butter, melted 
1 tablespoon sugar 
Salt and pepper to taste  

 In a large bowl, combine the corn, milk, 3/4 cup cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, salt and pepper. Transfer to a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cracker crumbs. 
Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 1 hour or until a thermometer reads 160°. Yield: 6 servings.

Cornbread Stuffing (Recipe to come):

And a NEW recipe that we've never tried is this amazing dessert: Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie:
How delicious does that DOUBLE layer pumpkin cheesecake look? To be honest, I'm going to use this for the cheesecake: 
It's amazing flavored, and literally NO BAKE! The simpler a recipe is, the better for this lady! And for the pumpkin layer of the pie, I will be using this recipe:

  • 1 can of pumpkin (15 ounces)
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 9 inch unbaked pie crust
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a medium bowl whisk together eggs pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice and salt until smooth.
Pour into unbaked crust and bake for 15 minutes.
Cover the edges of the pie with tin foil.
REDUCE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 350 and continue baking for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the crust comes out clean.
Cool. Garnish with whip cream.
Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Wish me luck. I'm super excited, but can you believe it's Tuesday evening and I've yet to go grocery shopping yet?! Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

I'll be posting a blog post this weekend about the baby shower I hosted for one of my best friends! Lots of DIY projects for the holidays, plus more so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas Wish List - books

Dottie Angel 
This book comes with a scrap of fabric, vintage buttons, and a doily. Yum. Just my type of book. :)

 Aren't they all so pretty? I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but man if I were to design a cover for a book, these would be my inspiration. There are a few more books and magazines that I may add to my wishlist, but for now, these are my top 3 contenders. I've heard nothing but positive remarks about all three of them!

What's on your wishlist? Do you have any recommendations for books I should add? Do you judge a book by it's cover?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Living Room Inspiration Board

I created an inspiration board this morning featuring some vintage chic looks that I adore and hope to recreate in my living room. Cute, huh?!  I just love the colors - they are just beautiful & I adore the textures. I have a large collection of mason jars as it is & love how they have embellished them with scrapbooking tags! The owl pillow is calling my name! The embroidered artwork with the mason jar is just precious and a must-have, as is the chevron area rug.

And just so I give credit where credit is deserved, here is where I found each of these items and I've included links so you can purchase them! :)
1) Chevron rug can be bought here! They come in different sizes and colors and are gorgeous!
2) Cute white end table can be purchased here.
3) The adorable owl pillow, which is also baby safe for all you mommie's or soon-to-be mommies out there, can be bought at Dwell Studios!  For just $22.00, you can't beat that!!!
4) The embroidered Mason Jar wall art display says "I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things in life which are the real ones after all. -Laura Ingalls Wilder" is made by Etsy seller ACottageLife and can be purchased here. How sweet are all of her items? So perfect for gifts or to spoil yourself ;)
5) The mason jars on a shelf with embellishments were found here. What a fun DIY site, too! You should totally check it out for some ideas for awesome new projects!
6) The amazing picture of the mason jars was taken by the talented Betsy Dallas Photography! Check out her work!
7) The super cute couch with the even cuter pillows was found on Knack.
8) Amazing, adorable fabric flowers in a teal vase can be found here along with an awesome tutorial for you crafty folk! {Or just have me make them for you! ;) }

Feel free to share the inspiration board, but please post a link to my blog :)

I'm struggling to find the PERFECT area rug for my living room. I'm asking for one for Christmas, and I want it to be the perfect one. I found a really nice, gray rug at IKEA that I love, here is a picture of it:
I'd be very happy with either the chevron rug or this one! Maybe I'll put both on my Christmas list and let it be a surprise! ;)

What's on your christmas list this year? What's your favorite item I blogged about?