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Tuesday, December 25, 2012


But the angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

- Luke 2:10-11

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

nine months!

I can't believe my little stud is nine months old today!!

Seriously, when did this happen....

Jake is a fast moving machine these days. He's crawling so quickly, pulling up on everything, and dangerously close to walking. He jets all over the place with his little musical walker. And we've dubbed him Evil Knievil because he thinks he can jump over, walk on top of, or crawl around anything he wants to. 

Despite his nonstop baby chatter {so cute}, the only real word he's saying right now is Momma. Which is totally 100% okay with me.   

We also discovered that Jake loves music, especially Disney music. If he ever gets upset in the car, we play the Pandora Disney music station for him over the radio. He's immediately quiet. {People think thats crazy until they see him do it. It's amazing.}
 He'll play with his Baby Einstein piano for hours on end. And we've now learned to buy toys, games, and even books for him that make sounds and sing songs. I love to think that I've got a little Mozart  {or Justin Bieber? haha} on my hands. Can't wait until he learns to sing!

Jake was diagnosed pretty early with severe reflux, and we're still battling that. But he's eating all sorts of fun things now. Most of his meals are the baby food purees,  but he also gets to try most of our table food when we all eat dinner together in the evenings.

I absolutely cannot wait for his first Christmas! He's getting all sorts of fun presents {which I'm sure  he will promptly ignore to play with the boxes and paper they came in}. And he'll also get to meet his cousin Olivia for the first time! 
I've posted about my brother David, sister-in-law Melissa and precious niece Olivia here, here, and here. And I'm pee-in-my-pants excited about them coming here for the week of Christmas!! I can't wait catch up with my SIL and brother and watch the two munchkins play together!

Happy nine months, LoveBug! 
We are loving watching you learn and grow!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

the traditional christmas cookies

I grew up on homemade Christmas sugar cookies. Every year, my mom would make dozens and dozens and we'd munch on them right through the new year. Now frosted sugar cookies are one of those things that make the season feel just right.

I modify a Pilsbury mix for my cut out cookies. I know, I know, a box mix. Shame. But I promise they are delicious!

Here are my main ingredients:
{both can be found at Target}

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Instead of following the mixing instructions on the back, I add my own ingredients to this cookie mix. 

 - 1 egg
 - 1 cup of melted butter
 - 3-4 cups of flour

Add the egg and melted butter to the cookie mix. Then begin to add in the flour a 1/2 cup at a time until the dough reaches the right consistency to roll out onto your cutting mat. I typically end up using about 4 cups of flour. 

Then roll your dough out flat. I like to get mine about 1/4 of an inch thick before using my cookie cutters. 

Space your cookies out on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Just until the edges are barely brown.

Lay the baked cookies out on wax paper to cool. 
After about 20 minutes, I start frosting.

The topping usually depending on my mood. My first batch this year got green sprinkles. This batch is getting chocolate shavings.

After the frosting has fully dried {this type takes at least an hour} I display the cookies out on the breakfast table. Makes it easy to swing through the room and grab one! :) 

As you can see, their numbers are already dwindling.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

a pinterest day

If you're anything like me, you have a crazy amount of great ideas pinned to your Pinterest boards. Probably way more ideas than you have the time or patience for.

Every now and then I get an itch to follow through on a few. So yesterday was deemed a two craft Pinterest day.

First up,

I saw these twine trees at West Elm a couple of years ago.

$50 each?  I think not.
After seeing the gads of copycats on Pinterest and even one in my local Hobby Lobby for $25 {still too pricey}, it was time for me to make a few of my own.
I just grabbed a couple of styrofoam forms.

And started hot glueing!

Crazy simple.
These little trees are so festive.
And hello, twine! You guys know all about my obsession from this post.

{I know, the books really aren't festive at all. But that's what's there for now. Sorry dears.}

I love the smell of cinnamon, especially during Christmas. 
And these candles are everywhere!
 This turned out to be crazy inexpensive. 
I bought a small glass votive from Old Time Pottery for fifty cents.

Add in two dollars worth of cinnamon sticks and a fifty cent candle and you can make this for cheaper than a gallon of gas.

I started by hot gluing the cinnamon sticks to the votive. Make sure you're aligning them just above the base or the whole thing will sit wonky.

And I added some ribbon for the final touch. Hot glue doesn't always stick well to glass, so I thought the ribbon would also be a nice reinforcement to hold the whole thing together.

This candle is for my mom, so I decorated it to her tastes {hopefully} with a burlap ribbon and a lacy/snowflake like ribbon.

Mom is also getting a set of the twine trees.
I'm basically bribing her with crafts to come watch Jake tonight while  J.B. and I go to his company Christmas party. Which is silly of me because my parents would do it for absolutely nothing. They are crazy for that sweet boy of mine.

Too bad Mom. You're getting these anyway.

{Any excuse to have a new project!}

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas all around!

I am soaking up the Christmas season!
 And Christmas movies and music are two of my very favorite things about this time of year.

The day after Thanksgiving I program my satellite radio to the holiday stations.
And I'm addicted to ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas!

Every year we have a few must-see movie on our list:

Christmas Vacation, Charlie Brown Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, 
Elf, The Christmas Story, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer {claymation}

And these are the albums that I immediately break out to celebrate to:

Straight No Chaser's Christmas Cheers - an amazing ten member a capella group
Selah's Rose of Bethlehem - a beautiful Christian Christmas album
 Christmas with The Rat Pack - some of the classical songs with the coziest voices
Glee The Christmas Album - fantastic music from the show
Michael Buble Christmas - one of my very favorite voices
N*SYNC Home for Christmas - mock if you will but this is an oldie and a goodie!!

Do you have a few favorite Christmas movies or songs?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

DIY advent calendar {tutorial}

I know, I know, it's December 4th and I'm just now posting this advent calendar.
Truthfully, I started this project several weeks ago and then set it aside. Fast forward through Thanksgiving and holiday decorating and ahhh! Time totally crept up on me!

This is a Pinterest project that I've been wanting to do since last Christmas. I realize the purpose of an advent calendar is actually to count down until Christmas, but I'd rather just look at it all gussied up and pretty. 

I started with a 16 x 20 canvas and covered it with a cream drop cloth fabric.

Then created some simple tags. I used sewing pins to attach them to the canvas.

 Most of the ornaments are nik naks from my craft supplies. I picked up a couple tiny ones at the store to fill in all twenty-five.

1. cinnamon sticks  2. snowflake ornaments  3. gold leaf twig  4. burnt flower  5. felt evergreen twig

6. folded ribbon  7. rustic star ornament  8. bell  9. Noel ornament  10. string of pearl beads

11. rustic bell ornament  12. tiny grapevine wreath  13. feathers  14. music stamp  15. pinecone

16. tiny banner  17. glitter balls  18. white painted pine cone  19. folded flower  20. jingle bells

21. gold berry twig  22. Joy ornament  23. twig  24. gold ribbon  25. glittery globe ornament

Some of the ornaments are actually hanging from the pins. Some are hot glued to the cards.
{thus not taking them off and on}
I finished up with a few brands around the edges. I like the final touch!

And here are a few others out there like mine:




And a few other completely different advent calendars that I love:




I might be a few days behind, but I'll definitely be enjoying this for the rest of the Christmas season!

Monday, December 3, 2012

oreo cheesecake cookies {recipe}

Yum! These are delish!!
Well, only if you like Oreos and cheesecake and cookies. Otherwise, I guess they are completely terrible.

Warning, this recipe is a bit messy. Which I suppose makes it kid-friendly.
Isn't that how that works? Messy = kids love it? 

:: Ingredients ::

1/2 cup of butter
3 ounces of cream cheese
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of flour
1 cup of crushed Oreo's {7-8 Oreo's}

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Then crush the Oreo's and set them aside.
{if you're extra awesome, use Double Stuffed Oreo's}

 In a large bowl, mix your butter, sugar, cream cheese and vanilla together until smooth. 

Then slowly add in your flour. 
{Slowly, because otherwise your kitchen will be a big white mess. Trust me, people.}

Now here comes the fun. Grab a chunk of your dough and roll it in the crushed Oreo's. When you're rolling it around in the crumbles, it'll form a ball shape. Mine are around the size of golf balls here.

 Then place the dough balls on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges of the cookie start to brown.

Give them a few minutes to cool. Then enjoy!
These were a big win at my house! I made an extra big batch and took them to a football party {Roll Tide!!} and sent some to work with my husband this morning.