Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Make: A Christmas Home

( I know, I know... it isn't Monday... but I can still "make" stuff any day of the week, right?!)

So. December begins on THURSDAY. When did that even happen? December is my favorite month of the year! Fun times had at school, TWO WEEKS off of work, me and Nate's BIRTHDAAYYYS (which happens to be four days apart, with Christmas in the middle, athankyou), but most importantly, the birth of our Savior! Such a great month :)

The week before Thanksgiving is when we actually decked our house out in all sorts of Christmas goodness. My mom was visiting us that weekend, so I took advantage :)

Pretty lights on our cutie patootie house... and yes, it was dark outside... I wanted to get the glow and ambiance of the lights!

Gorgeous tree! My parents donated us theirs when we moved into a house last year. We may opt for a white light tree next year, but this tree is so fun with its colors and pops of red and gold.

We don't have a mantle at our house (no fireplace), so this year I chose to hang our stockings from our entertainment unit! And yes, that is NCAA 2011 for Xbox on the TV... thanks Nate ;)

A close up of our stockings: nothing monogrammed or labeled with our names, but we each get a fancy red stocking and a pretty ornament too.

These are the pups' stockings: Chloe has the "Bow Wow" stocking (from World Market two years ago) and Oliver has the stocking with the bone (World Market this year).

This is the center of our coffee table: here lies one of the BEST treasures of the holidays... Hershey's Candy Cane kisses! See when I talked about them last year here.

My cute snowman and Santa Claus dish with a gob of ornaments :) If you want something to look festive, add ornaments!

Our buffet in our dining room. This is where I put my GAH-ORGEOUS Willow Tree Nativity set. I received all of the pieces for Christmas the past two years. Last year when I blogged about our set (here), I didn't have the creche (wooden backdrop that they're standing on), but Nate's Mimi got it for me last year and now I get to use it! Hurrah!

Who said the nativity scene couldn't have a bit o' bling? Again, add those ornaments!

Our dining room table: the ornaments make their appearance again! They're just so fun! I purchased the red/white snowflake runner from Target (last year, I think) as well as the red chargers. I'm still looking for the PERFECT placemats, but I may just end up sewing my own. Also, Nate's aunt got me the two vintage Christmas plates last year for Christmas. Aren't they cute?

This is the CUTEST plate I got at Target last year. And you better believe I'll be using it when we have kids and they prepare for Santa with cookies (and carrots)! For now, it's on a stand on our kitchen counter :)

I wish all seasons were as decked out as Christmas: it's so fun to decorate! What does your house look like this time of year? Do you go all out? Have a theme/color scheme? Or just put up a tree? Do tell.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Food for Friday: Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Okay, just a disclaimer: I am NOT a baker in any way, shape, or form. So when I say that this recipe is extremely do-able, it is!

Every year for Thanksgiving, my family (on my mom's side) likes to have some sort of cooking competition. We have done chili, desserts, and tailgating food. This year, the theme was COOKIES. I immediately went to Pinterest and began searching for THE cookie recipe. I found some yummy ones: chocolate chip, cake batter, s'mores... but the one that got us the most excited were these Lemon Crinkle Cookies from Whipperberry (click the link for the website and the recipe, or see below for their recipe from the website).

Lemon Crinkle Cookies
By Lauren Brennan

Makes 2-3 dozen (if you don’t get generous in your scooping)

½ cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoons baking soda
1-½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte {not melty or shiny}. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

*If using a non-stick darker baking tray, reduce baking time by about 2 minutes.

They were super simple to make: you use the basic cookie dough ingredients (butter, salt, flour, sugar, eggs, etc) and add lemon zest and lemon juice. When you make the dough balls, you roll them in powdered sugar. We used a melon scooper to form our dough balls, so our cookies came out a bit smaller than the original recipe's. Once cooled, we sprinkled powder sugar on the tops of the cookies to enhance the appearance and taste!

These cookies at first taste like a regular sugar cookie. Then, as you start to swallow and have the cookie dissolve in your mouth, you get the lemon taste. YUM! They are the perfect size for a sweet, refreshing bite!

Anyone have a go-to cookie recipe for family holidays and events? Because this will most likely be OUR cookie for events from now on!

*Update: our cookie won BEST TASTING at our family's competition! :)

Linking up at TT&J for the Weekend Wrap-Up Party and at Boerman Ramblings for the Tuesday Treasury!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Thankful for....

My salvation through Jesus Christ: who died on the cross for my sins and rose again. Who continues to love me and offer His grace to me when I continually fail Him.

My amazing family: Nate, the absolute best husband a girl could ask for. He takes care of me, puts my needs above his own, and is the spiritual leader of our household. My parents, who have been an amazing example of a Christian marriage and who love both Nate and I and would do absolutely anything for us. My brother and sister-in-law, Michael and Claire, who are more like friends than siblings. All of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws too!

A job that provides income and health insurance, when there are many others that are without both.

A home with the amenities to make life comfortable: again, something we do not take for granted because there are many others that do not have this.

And of course, the two cutest pups around :) Who love us and make our days a little bit brighter!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all :) We will be spending the holiday with Nate's family (parents, brother, sis-in-law, and nephew), then go to my parents and have dinner with them, my grandparents, and aunt and uncle. Tomorrow, after some Black Friday shopping, we will have my mom's side of the family over for a "cookie-off"! We have some sort of cooking contest every year at Thanksgiving (we have done dessert, appetizers, chili, and this year is cookies) and it is so fun!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday: The Little __ Dress

I am a fan of dresses. Especially during the warmer months (which is like 9 out of 12 in Texas). Today, I will be sharing some of my favorite looks/dresses that can complete the phrase "the little ___ dress": here we go!

 1. "The little flirty dress": it is made of a silky/smooth material, shows the right amount of leg, and fits your body like a glove.

Dress: Ross ($12)
Shoes: Payless (about 2.5 years ago)
Gold earrings: Charming Charlies

 2. "The little Cayman dress": I call it this because it was purchased in Grand Cayman Islands! When you are out on vacation, especially to different countries, it is fun to purchase clothes too (who said clothes couldn't be a souvenir?) I usually purchase scarves, but there were ZERO. And this is fun because it can be dressed down for the beach or dressed up for work/church (I have already worn it multiple times to both). AND my sister in law purchased the same dress, so we are twins.

Dress: Cayman Island gift shop ($10)
Sunglasses: Francesca's (boutique)

 3. "The little sunny dress": I usually gravitate toward neutral colors (blacks, browns, etc) but sometimes you need that sunny little number in your closet (especially when you are going on a cruise)! This bright yellow dress does just that.

Dress: American Eagle (2.5 years ago, my mom got it for me as a honeymoon dress)
Necklace: Kohl's

 4. "The little black dress": Of course I couldn't compile a dress list without having the epitome of dresses included! Every closet (female, of course), should contain a little black dress. This particular dress isn't revealing with its capped sleeves and higher neckline, but it feels so "Hepburn" to me in its classic lines and simple detail (and I am cheesin' REAL hard in this picture... I was excited to eat my prime rib at dinner that night)!

Dress: Target
Necklace: Forever 21

 5. "The little flowy dress": You know, dresses with lots of "flow" to them? The ones that make you look like you are pregnant? To some, this dress may be unflattering... BUT, to those I say "psh"! This dress is SO comfortable. Slides on, you can BREATHE and move around with ease. Sometimes, that is more important (especially when teaching 27 Kindergartners)!

Dress: Ross
Cardigan: New York and Co.
Necklace: Charming Charlie's (I think)
Wristlet: Vera Bradley

6. "The little maxi dress": I feel like maxi dresses are one of the staples of summer time. They are long (so if you are lazy like me and forget to shave your legs, here ya go), flowy, and usually have a fun print or detail. This particular dress was purchased for my brother's wedding (where I am a bridesmaid and Nate is a groomsmen), but I'm glad I can still wear it even after the "I do's".

Dress: Forever 21
Shoes: Target

What is your favorite style of dress?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Make: Wedding Ring Photography

A simple piece of art/photography that could be added to any home or wedding photo collection. The inspiration (found via Pinterest, of course):


Here is my (quick) version with our wedding rings. It would look great blown up and framed, possibly in black and white! I may try taking the picture at a different angle, maybe from up above instead of from the side? Thoughts?

 So sweet! An easy project :) What are you making today?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Things: Print Art

I've been seeing inspiration on Pinterest lately of various subway, font, script, etc. types of art. And I want to recreate all of them. And I just found a place in my itty bitty town that sells pallets for a DOLLAR. What? I'll be checking that out a.s.a.p.


Here are a few that have caught my eye.

A sweet sentiment, could easily be recreated on pallet boards or canvas.

The wood, its stain color, and the sweet but simple message. All good things.


I have lots of scripture references like this pinned on my "Crafty" board, things that either I could print or recreate with my own layouts/colors/fonts. These would look great in a set in matching frames. And of course, they are always excellent reminders.

Now it's time to start CREATING (instead of just looking, wanting, pinning, etc). I have the inspiration, now I need to get the drive and motivation to just do it!

Any letter/print/saying art that you're wanting to recreate?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Posting over at Life with the Ellwoods!

Hello everyone!

I wanted to send a quick post to let you know that I will be guest posting over at Life with the Ellwoods today: I'm sharing my Sewn Paper Banner (that you all know I was drooling over)! Go check it out and leave Kristen some love!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Make: Giving Thanks and Giving Back

During the holiday season, there are so many opportunities to give back to the community and to those who need a little bit of extra help. The school I work at and the church we attend both offer many opportunities to help! For our "Make It Monday" this week, I will be showing how we "made" our Thanksgiving bag meal for our church to take to a family in need: maybe you can get a project started like this at your church or your place of employment!

Each class at my school is responsible for one Thanksgiving "feast" basket: each student will bring a canned good, boxed food item, etc to send to a family in the area who will not be able to provide their own dinner. Our church is doing something along the same lines: they have provided a sack with a list of items stapled to the front. Included on the list is our church's address, as well as the day/times when we meet.

 The list (stapled to the bag)

The items laid out (we were only asked for the sides: the church will be providing the turkeys).

In the bag and ready to go!

It truly is a simple gesture. It is, however, a gesture nonetheless. Just a little something to let a family know that they have been thought about and prayed over. A small way to give to those when the "hustle and bustle" of the season makes us want to provide only for ourselves. Give thanks and give back :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday Night Lights: High School Football!

Although we do not have kids of our own yet (and especially not high schoolers, at that), one of our favorite things to do in our town is go to the high school football game on Friday night!

Nate is a H-U-G-E sports fan: football, basketball, baseball, anything. He likes to keep up with stats and scores, etc. I like going for the atmosphere, but my favorite part is halftime: my inner band-nerd is coming out! (I played the flute for seven years, marched on Friday nights for three of those years)! I like to watch the flute section, their posture, and how the bands heel-toe is, and their slides (if you were in marching band, you know what I'm talking about)! I really like to hear the music too, don't get me wrong!

The team in our town has advanced to playoffs, so last night we went with a couple of friends about an hour south to watch the game. It was cool (about 55 degrees, so we bundled up with a cozy blanket) and our team won! We'll be back next Friday too and hopefully they pull out another win!

Me and my friend Sam: we sat between our boys for warmth and THEN had a quilt to use as well! Thanks for bringing it, Sam! :)

Sam and her boyfriend, Nate (yes, our boys have the same name!!!), although he was too interested in the score to actually look at the camera!

Me and the hubster: wearing his orange and black proudly! I just sported an orange scarf (thanks Jen! I get lots of compliments on it- all the time!)

Anyone else like Friday night high school football?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Make: Christmas Craft Inspiration

We all love a good Pinterest-inspire, don't we?

There are OODLES of projects and ideas that have my brain itching and going. I'm one of those people that gets semi-frustrated when people skip over Thanksgiving and start decorating for Christmas, so I'm not going to deck my "halls" until after Thanksgiving. I will, however, listen to some Christmas jams and start prepping many Christmas projects! (I leave the Thanksgiving projects to my classroom kiddos: wait until tomorrow to see our Pilgrims and Indians, as well as some super-cutie Mayflowers)!

These are a few projects that I will be creating as the holidays draw near. Each image has been pinned via Pinterest and I have given the original source (in case you want to get your craft on too)! Let me know which project(s) are catching your eye!

Christmas Ornament Sign with Family Names

Melted Snowman Cookies

Anthropology Knock-Off Gift Tags

Sewn Circle Paper Garland (you know I loveee to sew paper)

Wedding Invitation DIY Ornament

Can't wait to get started!