Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Christmas+Lumberjack+Baby Shower

My friend Emily and I threw a baby shower for our friend Liz who was pregnant with twins! It was the beginning of December, so we decided on doing a baby shower with a Christmas twist (as far as decor goes).

We used a lot of woodsy things, wooden platters, a lot of trees and stumps, birds, deers; and used colors like red, burlap and gold. We served monkey bread, gourmet cheese and crackers, fruit parfaits, french toast with three different syrup flavors (my fave was the butter syrup, obviously!?). I mean, it was better than any brunch you could get anywhere else I'll tell ya that much!

I had a letter framed for Liz that she wrote to her unborn twins sitting next to the entrance for people to read throughout the open house. It was the sweetest thing, telling them what a blessing they are; and the series of events that lead up to them receiving such little miracles. As the guests left, I gave each of them a wooden ornament to hang on their Christmas tree (see post from yesterday for DIY).

One of my favorite things was the sonogram garland I made...just by making copies of all her sonograms and stringing it on a thin ribbon. I hung it on the mantle right by the gifts so everyone could take a peek at the little guys.

The amazing thing about this whole baby shower is that these little twins are miracle babies, and Liz was on bed rest for quite some time. She was always so positive and she had little John and David a few weeks early weighing in at a little over 1 lb. each.

They are all doing so great and I am just so grateful we got to shower her with so much love and cute baby necessities before all the real craziness began!

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Monday, January 19, 2015

DIY wooden ornaments with a little sparkle

A little over a month ago, I helped throw a baby shower and made ornaments as the party gift. I know it doesn't have much to do with babies, however it was right before Christmas and the theme was very "woodsy" and so it was perfectly fitting.

So, my parents had this pepper tree in their backyard that they chopped down. My dad saved a bunch of the branches and a bit of the trunk. So I ventured out and picked the best branch and my sweet dad sliced about 60 of these ornaments for me! He even drilled little holes in them too...seriously I have the best dad in the entire universe. Don't argue with me on that, you'll totally loose. :-)

So after everything was cut and drilled I got a glue stick and spread some on top of each slice of wood and sprinkled some sparkles all over. Glitter really is the butter to my bread when it comes to things like this :-). Than I just tied a ribbon and they were good to go...

Tomorrow I'll be posting all the photos of the shower, so make sure to check back! 

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

DIY lollipops

My mom use to sing this song when we were kids that went like this, "L.O.double L.Y.P.O.P you see, it's a lick on a stick guaranteed to make you sick...lolliPOP for me!"

So you can imagine the singing that was taking place as we made these...with a few curse words in between considering I was dumb and accidentally touched the hot melted sugar and couldn't get it off my finger, which felt oh so good. So with that said, use extreme caution when boiling candy. There's nothing worse than getting molten candy stuck on your skin.

There is something about a lollipop that makes me so happy. I will admit I always have a good stash of dum dums in my car for when I, I mean for when my kids hit a sugar low.

These are simple, colorful and the best part is not one is the same. It's almost like a piece of edible stained glass on the end of a stick. Such a huge hit with the kiddies too!

All you need:
parchment paper
cookie sheet
candy thermometer
lollipop sticks
corn syrup
flavoring oil
food coloring
***see below photos for direction

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp. flavoring (coconut and butterscotch are my fave and you can get it at any baking store)
food coloring

line a cookie pan with parchment paper and lay about 8 lollipop sticks in a line giving the top room for the lollipop. Over the stove stir together sugar, syrup and water. Bring to boil, stirring until thermometer reaches 302˚ F. Remove from heat.

you can either do one color and one flavor, or carefully divide the mixture into separate bowls for the different colors and flavoring you want to use. when the mixture has stopped bubbling, spoon a dab over each stick creating a fun lollipop shape. Let cool and lick away! :-)
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

after the rain...

I feel like there are so many things in this world...where words just can't do them justice. My family is one of those things. Lately, many of my close friends and loved ones are going through difficult times. One friend in particular was expressing her frustrations to me, through her tears and sorrow she asked me, "what do you do when you feel like there is nothing you can do? I feel like there is so much weight on my shoulders and it's just sinking me deeper and deeper into the sand."

This question hasn't left my thoughts since last week. I can't even remember my response but it was something along the lines of turning to prayer and to hope...knowing that it'll get better. It always gets better.

I haven't posted since the new year has been upon us...the big 2015! And so like many of you, I have set a resolution which is to always look up. My life has taken some unexpected turns within the last couple months. It is a good thing. However, me and my little family are having to make some changes (for the better...Oh, I hope it is for the better);  but change is always difficult.

My sister sent me this video she put together of some footage she took of me and my girlies. It had been raining for two days straight, and the clouds had dispersed, and the air was as clear as could be. We went for a drive and I let them breathe it all in. It was glorious. It's good to soak in moments like these. They are far too fleating.

"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky."  ---Rabindranath Tagore

Thank you Paigey for capturing this. It's a treasure. xoxoxo

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve and a nibble box

Hi there friends...Merry Christmas Eve! Sorry I've been so MIA. I am not quite sure why, besides the fact that this month has literally FLOWN by. It's simply that other things have taken precedence I suppose?! Tell me I am not the only one who has felt that way?

I honestly LOVE the holidays and the Christmas spirit of things. I love being with family...and for the first time this year all four of my sisters will be home along with their husbands, dogs, and kids. Oh it's gonna be a full house and I can't wait!

Okay, so if any of you need a last minute gift I have the perfect one for you! It's something different and it's like a gift that keeps on giving each month! It's a "snacks by mail" concept by a company called Graze.

I am sure that anyone would appreciate a monthly shipment of snacks sent straight to their doorstep?! My kids LOVED everything in this box, and it was all extremely nutritious and so good! As a matter of fact, my four year old downed the whole serving of pistachio nuts...go figure?! Plus, I just have to add...the packaging is pretty fan-freakin-tastic. the end.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dulce de Leche Bars...just hold on to your hats

All I have to do is say the words "dulce de leche" and my mouth starts watering. Even if I use to say it completely wrong until a wonderful stranger informed me that it's not said duls--dee--lech but rather  dolchay-day-lechay.

I might have giggled in complete embarrassment, which then took a turn for the worst in defending my stupidity. Why in the world don't "they" spell it the way it's suppose to be said? Just to make idiots out of people like me?! It's like bruschetta...which I always pronounced broo-shetta, but in actuality (according to my husband who lived there for two years, so I guess I'll take his word for it) it's suppose to be pronounced as broo-sk-etta.

Go figure?!

Anyways besides the point...whether you pronounce it right or not this stuff is amazing times ten. It is very rich, so a small square will suffice. Well, until about ten minutes later when you're crawling back for a second small square, and then a third.  Than suddenly you realize that when people tell you it's a "rich dessert" it simply means its better in small consistent increments. :-)

No, but in all seriousness it's delicious and great for the holiday baking season! You'll just have to taste it yourself!
 ^^^and then there was one...^^^

18 graham crackers-crushed (I actually by the already crushed box of crackers in the baking isle)
4 T sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter-melted
***make and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Than bake at 350 degrees for 17 minutes. Cool completely!

filling and topping:
3 T cornstarch
2 T milk
***mix cornstarch and milk in bowl and set aside

2 (14oz)  cans sweetened condensed milk
4 T unsalted butter
2 T karo syrup
8 oz. milk chocolate chips
1 tsp. vegetable shortening
***bring condensed milk, butter and syrup to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Whisk in the milk and cornstarch mixture until thick. Pour over cooked and cooled crust. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes (until the top starts to bubble). Refrigerate for about 2 hrs.
       Microwave butter and shortening and spread over cooled filling. Refrigerate for another 45 minutes. Cut into small squares and serve immediately after cooling (the condensed milk seems to drain a bit, so it's better to serve immediately).

substitution: if you don't want it to be as rich you can substitute the chocolate topping with whipping cream and then drizzle about 4 oz. of melted chocolate over the top of the cream. Just sayin' :-).

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