Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010 Recap

Merry Christmas 2010 - our first Christmas as a married couple!

We began our celebration on Thursday with a trip to Jason's Deli for lunch.  Then we opened up our stockings when we got home.

We got up early Friday morning, stopped for gas and breakfast, and then headed to visit my parents.  It was our very first road trip in our new car.

We enjoyed dinner out with my parents and some friends.  When we got home Madison opened two of her presents...a sweater and some black Ugg boots (which she LOVED).

Christmas morning we woke up and exhanged gifts.  Then we had a pancake and bacon breakfast.

Chris, Maddie, and my dad took an afternoon trip to the movies to see True Grit.

I worked on making macaroni and cheese { recipe to follow} and cheesey grean bean casserole for a family dinner on Sunday.

We enjoyed Christmas dinner at Chengs - a local Chinese restaurant.  YUM! We each had a drink and we shared a Pu-Pu platter.  Then we had plates of sweet and sour chicken, Mongolian beef, sesame chicken, general tso's chicken, and another dish with vegetables, filet chunks, and shrimp.  We left stuffed.

Later than evening we watched Invictus.  It was good but I thought it was slow at some parts.

Sunday morning we woke up and I went to Target with my mom looking for a few deals.  I ended up with some holiday plastic cutlery, foil, and cups all 50% off.  I refrained from buying anything else to put away for next year.

Sunday afternoon was to be our annual family dinner.  Due to the weather we had limited  guests for our dinner and gift swap.  We served grilled jerk pork tenderloin, macaroni and cheese, and cheesey green bean casserole.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - December 27, 2010

I always see this on the blogs I follow.  It is definitely something I want to start doing on a weekly basis to keep myself planned and organized as well as sharing some great recipes. 
Meal Plan Monday originates at I'm an Organizing Junkie.  Check it out for other great meal plan ideas.

It is already Monday evening.  Chris and I drove home today from my parents' to find this in our neighborhood -
Luckily my mom sent us home with leftovers from last night which will be tonight's dinner.  We are hoping to venture to the grocery store tomorrow for the rest of the meals for the week.  Madison stayed with my parents for the week so it is just Chris and I for the week.

Monday - Leftovers: grilled jerk pork tenderloin, macaroni and cheese, and cheesey green bean casserole.
Tuesday - Pork BBQ sandwiches * with cole slaw and chips
Wednesday - Go out to eat using a Groupon we have
Thursday - Taco Soup and Sweet Skillet Cornbread from the Passys & Parties blog
Friday - New Years Eve dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants - not sure where just yet
Saturday - Breakfast for Dinner - pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon
Sunday - steaks on the grill, Pioneer Woman's Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp, baked potatoes, and corn on the cob

* My parents sent us home with a pork tenderloin that I am going to use to make the pork bbq if we can get to the grocery store early enough to get the ingredients I need

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Easy Appetizer Recipe - Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip
I have always wanted to make buffalo chicken dip.  I have heard numerous people say they love it.  So when we were looking for appetizers for our after Christmas family dinner - I decided to make this.  It was a HUGE hit with our guests...it was spicy...but tasty.  PLUS my husband didn't recognize the blue cheese. Here is the recipe I used -

Ingredients -
  • 2 chicken breast halves - cooked and shredded - I used a can of cooked chicken
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup of buffalo wing sauce
  • 3/4 cup of blue cheese or ranch dressing - I used blue cheese...and am hoping my blue cheese hating husband doesn't notice
  • 1 bag shredded cheese - I used Cheddar
Directions -

Place the chicken, cream cheese, sauce, dressing, and 1/2 a bag of cheese in a microwaveable safe bowl.  Heat on high in 1 minute increments until heated through, smooth and creamy.  Cover the top with the remainder of the cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  The original recipe said to just microwave it and then transfer to a crock pot.  I liked baked dips so I decided to put mine in the oven.

Serve with small pieces of celery, tortilla chips, corn chips, or sliced baguette.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What I am Loving Wednesday

{Be sure to check out all of the other What I am Loving Wednesday lists HERE}

1. Winter Break
Today was our first day of winter break.  I do not have to go back to work until January 3rd.  WOOHOO!! I slept in until 8:30 this morning and enjoyed breakfast in bed while watching the Today Show.  It was fantastic.  The rest of the afternoon included some shopping and lunch at Moes.
2. Holiday Baking
This afternoon I made chocolate peanut butter fudge, iced brownies with Reeses Pieces and sprinkles, and holiday candy cupcakes. 

I also made these Kitchen Sink Bars {recipe to follow} the other day.  I cut them into little squares and then put them into Christmas cupcake liners.  I brought them into work for a luncheon we had on Tuesday.

3. MTV Reality Shows
I am 32.  I am a mother.  I am an adult.  However, I cannot get enough of MTV reality shows.  Last night was the season finale of 16 & Pregnant.  During the commercial they showed a clip from the new Teen Mom 2.  It starts on January 11.  I am super excited.  I realize it is like watching a train wreck.  I just cannot help myself.
4. It's Almost Christmas
I bought my last gift today.  Everything is wrapped.  I cannot wait for Christmas morning.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Art Project - Framed Wedding Date Set

This weekend's project was based on several sources of inspiration...yet I was able to do it on a budget.  Many sites offer this type of  item...however they are super expensive and around $100 if not more.  The motivation to do it came from a recent post over at Happy Go Lucky.  Go there and checkout the fabulous square mosaic art she created with her last name.  Here is the one I did -

{My final result...hanging on the wall...I LOVE it}
I gathered the images HERE and got started.  There are tons of designs to choose from for each number.  I went with pink and green ones (our wedding colors) but you could choose to go with all formal styles of letters, all black and white, etc....

I chose to use the numbers 7, 17, and 10 to symbolize the date of our wedding July 17, 2010.  I downloaded the ORIGINAL size files.  Then I used Power Point and made them into 5x7 prints and had them printed at my local office supply store.  I think I ended up paying $1.38 for my prints.  I had them printed on photo paper.  In hindsight I could have just used my new home printer.  I then had to use my little paper cutter to cut them down to size.

Then I grabbed a black frame with three matted openings I had picked up over the summer for our wedding photographs and framed it. 
 I love the results.  It was so easy and fun to make.  I know it will be something we will cherish forever.  I am also planning on making these for some upcoming bridal shower gifts.  I am also working on making one with our last name.  I worked up what I want...but am trying to re size it so I can print it and then put it on canvas. 

Total Cost $11.37 ...which is way less than the pricey online retailers selling the same thing

If you make one I would love to see it.  Or if you need any help or have any questions...please let me know.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fun and Free Fridays

Who doesn't love a Friday?

I certainly do.  Today I will be sharing something fun and something free with you.  I encourage you to do the same linking it back to this post and to leave a comment with your blog URL.
One of my favorite blogs to read is Young House Love.  Recently they did a holiday shopping post where they featured some great items from Crate and Barrel.  So I decided to go on the website because some of the items caught my eye...especially these FUN things-
{Set of 2 Cupcake Cookie Cutters - found HERE for just $2.95}
{Set of 4 Porcelain Measuring Spoons - found HERE for just $2.95}

I LOVE them both...and think that someone is about to place an order at Crate and Barrel.  That someone is ME!
{this is not the one she is offering...but something similar}
Today's FREE item is amazing.  A big thanks to Craftily Ever After for this FREE "JOY" Alphabet Photography Printable. This would be perfect for your home or to frame and give as a gift.  Be sure to check out Jessica's amazing blog for lots of other freebies and craft ideas...it is definitely a blog you will want to follow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cookie Recipe - Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookie

I made these last night.

They were amazing.

They were for a cookie exchange that was supposed to occur at work today.

However it snowed...and school was canceled...HOORAY!

Here is the recipe - I got it from a friend's Facebook page.


1(13.5-oz.) pkg. Pillsbury® Fudge Supreme Walnut Premium Brownie Mix
1/2cup butter or margarine, melted
1cup chocolate-flavored crisp rice cereal
1(6-oz.) pkg. (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
2/3cup quick-cooking rolled oats

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, combine brownie mix with nuts, butter and egg; stir with spoon until well blended. Add cereal, chocolate chips and oats; mix well. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350°F. for 9 to 12 minutes or until edges are set. (Centers will be soft.) Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool 10 minutes or until completely cooled. I thought they tasted the best when they were still warm.Store in tightly covered container.

It is actually a Pillsbury recipe

I used Picnik to add the name of the recipe to my photo...I just stumbled across it...check it out.  It's FREE for the most part and offers amazing things you can do to your photos.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten {Tuesday}

1. Tonight on one of my favorite blogs, Kelly's Korner she mentioned a prayer request for a family who had just lost their daughter.  I went to the Harrison Family's page and felt such sadness.  This poor family lost their baby in her sleep due to meningitis. So sad.  It just really makes you think how blessed you are to have healthy children.

2. I received my first holiday gift from a student today.  It was a holiday tin filled with a spicy homemade snack mix - there were nuts, crackers, pretzels, etc... It was fabulous and such a nice treat.

3. I picked up a book I have been wanting to read at BJ's tonight.  It was only $4.99 and I cannot wait to read it.

4.  I made a DVD set to music using all of my professional wedding photos using Shutterfly.  It arrived today and I cannot wait to watch it.

5. Thursday is our 3rd Annual Cookie Exchange at work.  I am in charge of planning it.  I went after work today to pick up the tins and then tonight I picked up two goodies - mini cinnamon rolls and a holiday fruit bowl to serve at the event.  Here is the recipe for the cookies I plan on making - Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies.

6. I am pretty much done my Christmas shopping.  I am waiting for 3 more packages to arrive.  I have a few little things to pick up and I still need to wrap.  I picked up all of my wrapping paper, bows, and gift tags this afternoon.

7. Glee is on tonight.  I love it...especially Sue...she is my favorite.  Umm...as I was working on this blog post...I turned it on...and it is a rerun. Boo!

8.  I love etsy.  I bought a ton of things from my wedding on etsy like our pink and lime green poms to decorate the reception from Prost to the Host, the personalized napkins we ordered from Terequade, or our wedding bands from Titanium Knights

9.  There are 2 1/2 work days left this week and 2 work days next week.  I love Christmas vacation.  Woohoo.

10.  This weekend we went to see the Holiday Lights at the Beach on the boardwalk.  Here are some of the photos we took.

Check out some other Top Ten Tuesday lists over at Oh Amanda.  If you ended up here from Oh Amanda...leave a comment, become a follower,  and I will check out your blog.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Super Easy & Fabulous Subway Art Christmas Ornament

This is not my original idea.  I borrowed it from my friend Kara over at her blog, Happy Go Lucky.  I did mine slightly differently.  I painted mine and cut the paper a bit smaller so you can see the paint.  I also attached my ribbon to the back instead of drilling the holes and doing it that way.  It is hard to see - but I filled it with words that were meaningful to our family and our life in 2010.  I wish I had thought of this earlier...because I think it would be a great idea for a small gift for friends and family.  I cannot wait until the glue dries so I can hang it on my tree.  Try making one yourself.

{My small painted piece of wood.  I got it at AC Moore for less than $1. I just painted the edges.}

{I just used the cheap craft paint}

{Here is my subway art that I printed onto scrapbook paper. You use Mod Podge to seal it to the wood}

Saturday, December 11, 2010

So I Made the Peanut Butter Brownies

I made the peanut butter brownies I blogged about the other day.  Amazing.  Run to the store.  Get the ingredients.  Make them right away.  It tastes like a brownie and a peanut butter cup all rolled up in one.  F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C.  Look at that fabulous layer of peanut butter goodness.

I got the recipe HERE.  This will definitely be a recipe I will making again.  I sent my husband off to a friend's house tonight with a plate of these to share.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Recipe - Peanut Butter Brownies

I planned on doing some baking tonight...but never quite got around to it.  I was too busy working on my December/January budget and reading all of my favorite blogs.  However I did find this yummy looking recipe for Peanut Butter Brownies from Sweets & Treats that I hope to try out soon.   Maybe you can try them out and let me know how they are.

Peanut Butter Brownies

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What I am Loving Wednesday

1. Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels....YUMMO....we picked a bag up at Trader Joe's over the weekend and they are to.die.for.  You need to go out and buy some NOW.

2. Homemade Christmas Ornaments...my friend Kara over at Happy Go Lucky made these fabulous subway art ornaments for her family.  So today I started working on one for my family.  I made it using PowerPoint and it was super fun to do.  I still need to print it and make the actual ornament...I hope to have a photo of mine to share by the end of the week.

{Kara's fabulous ornaments}
3. My Husband...who texted me on my way home from work and suggested we go out to dinner. WOOHOO...I have a headache and the last thing I feel like doing is cooking. Then we even get to go to Target...aka...my favorite place on Earth after dinner.

4. The Post Office...today I printed out mailing labels through Paypal for two packages I needed to ship...taped them to my package...and dropped them off in the blue box today after work without having to get out of my car.  I have heard that post office is a real disaster and I was dreading having to go in and wait in line.  I also dropped off about 90% of our Christmas cards in the blue bin too.

5. Christmas Vacation.  I have 8 1/2 days left of work until I have 12 days off for Christmas vacation.  WOOHOO!

{our tree}
6. Kelle Hampton's Blog...seriously she has the most beautiful blog...beautiful family...beautiful photographs...beautiful story.  It is definitely one of my TOP 3 favorite blogs to read.   I suggest you begin following her...and start with this post.  Grab a tissue beforehand.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

This afternoon I threw this simple recipe into the crock pot.  We had a late lunch today so tonight we each only tried a little bit...it was fabulous.  The rest I put into individual containers for lunches during the week.  It is a yummy and easy winter meal.

{not the best photo...but I promise it is tasty}

Ingredients -

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 TBL butter
1 finely chopped onion
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
2 cans of refrigerated biscuit dough

Directions -

Place chicken, butter, onion, and soup in the crock pot and fill with water just until the chicken is covered.  Cook on high for 6-8 hours.  About 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, break apart the biscuit pieces and place in the crock pot.  Stir and continue to cook until the biscuits are cooked all of the way through.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I LOVE the Weekends

I love the weekends.

I love being able to sleep in.

I love having time to bake (like I did Friday night when I made a pumpkin bundt cake with butter cream frosting).
I love being able to make a hot breakfast for my family (today is was scrambled cheesey eggs, biscuits, and bacon).

I love being able to meet up with old friends for lunch (as I did yesterday at one of my favorite restaurants).

I love being able to run errands and go shopping (yesterday I went to Michaels, a gift shop, a scrap book store, and Target).

I love being able to pick up a Sonic Diet Cherry Coke (like I did yesterday with my friend Kara).

I love being able to paint and make things (like I did yesterday with stuff I purchased at Michaels).

This has been a great weekend...as are most of our weekends...being together...being at home...enjoying not having to deal with school and work.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?