Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas 2012

We were so thankful to be able to celebrate Christmas with both sides of our family this past week in Aiken and down in Orlando. Here are some pictures from our week...

 I was so excited to spend some time with this lovely lady. Rachel was my maid of honor in our wedding and we have been friends since high school.
We had lunch at the new restaurant in Fantasyland that has the coolest concept. You get this rose when you order at the counter and it has a GPS tracker in it, so they can find you in the large ballroom. It also has your party size stored in it so they know what size tables are available and you never have people wandering around looking for open spots. Love. Disney.
 We went to dinner at a Japanese steakhouse for my birthday and husband enjoyed my hat and birthday song a bit more than I did.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wooden Name Sign

Have I mentioned that I now work part time? Kidding... but seriously... I've been doing some serious baking and crafting this Christmas season to fill some of my time. I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought I'd give it a try. They were surprisingly easy and came out pretty good if I do say so myself. I made one for Dustin's parents and my parents for Christmas. This idea originally came from here.

Here is what you'll need:
- 3-4 ft piece of wood (I used a 1x10, because I wanted them to have the option to hang it on the wall or lean it against something. If you get a 2x10, it will stand alone on a dresser, table or mantle.) I bought an 8ft piece and had it cut in half so each sign was 4ft.
- Spray paint (whatever colors you prefer)
- Cheap 4x6 picture frames (color does not matter!)
- Hot glue gun
- FREE printable letters found here

Step 1:
Unwrap your frames and remove the glass and backing and set aside.

Step 2:
Outside, lay out the frames and your wood on drop cloths (or anything really) to prepare for painting. Spray paint both the frames and wood with the colors of your choice. I did two coats on each, allowing about 25 min for drying in between coats.

Step 3:
While your frames and wood are drying, remove the stands from the frame backings that you've already removed from the frames. (The piece that folds out from the back of the frame).

Step 4:
Once your frames are dry (about 2 hours to be safe), replace the glass, printed letters and backing for each frame. 

Step 5:
Once the wood is dry (also about 2 hours to be safe). Hot glue the assembled frames to the wood. This step was actually the most tedious for me, because of my OCD-ness. I used a tape measure and a level to make sure the letters were evenly spaced and centered. Here is the finished product. This would make a great gift for anyone or decoration for your own wall.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Red Velvet Pound Cake

This is a gloriously festive and easy dessert! I highly recommend it for your holiday party or Christmas dessert...

Red Velvet Pound Cake (adapted from here)
- 1 pkg red velvet cake mix
- 1 pkg white chocolate instant pudding mix
- 4 lg eggs
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup veg oil
- 1 container of vanilla (or cream cheese) frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch bundt pan & set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients in order given. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes; pour into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes (mine was actually perfect after about 45). Cool in pan 10 - 15 minutes before removing to serving plate. For glaze, use 1/2 cup frosting & microwave 15 - 30 seconds until liquid; drizzle over cake. Enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Apple Banana Muffins

I'm going to be honest. I really did not have high expectations of this recipe. I was looking to use up some bananas and apples that were quickly going bad. Boy was I surprised. Oh. My. Yum. These were so deliciously moist and flavorful, I inhaled two of them before they even had the chance to cool had to eat one right away. Because of all the fruit, you almost feel healthy eating them. These would make a great addition to your Christmas morning spread, because your house will smell like Christmas with these in the oven. Delish!

Apple Banana Muffins (adapted from here)
*Makes 12 large muffins or 24 mini muffins
- 3 ripe bananas
- 2 medium apples, peeled, fine chopped (I actually used 5 small organic apples from Trader Joes)
- 1/3 cup melted butter (I actually used low fat butter and you could not tell at all)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. In a large bowl (I used my Kitchenaid mixer for everything), mash bananas and blend in melter butter.

3. Add sugar, egg and vanilla. Mix well.

4. Stir in baking soda and salt.

5. Add flour and stir until blended.

6. Stir apples into mixture

7. Place in muffin pan with paper cups

8. Bake 25 – 30 minutes.

Enjoy! I dare you not to eat one as soon as they come out of the oven. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Festivus Activities

Our Christmas season so far has been full of laughter, friends and family.. and did I mention laughter? Here is a look into what we've been up to so far...

We had a tacky Christmas party with our fabulous K-Life leaders and board families.
We played some games...
So thankful for these folks..
We celebrated Christmas with the Oprea/Carson fam in Greenville last weekend... This was the best picture we got with the kiddos. I consider it a win simply because they are all in the picture...
 The youngest two were fascinated by my camera...