To Recap / The Holiday's

 
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     Hi there! Just wanted to pop in and share the last of our holiday season adventures with you all! I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas, full of chocolate and love! It's finally winter here, and it doesn't look to be letting up anytime soon, so looking at the photo of Bailey above without a jacket feels like forever ago, but it was at the beginning of the month! The red plaid shirt was her holiday shirt this year, as I didn't want to waste money on a Santa or Christmas tree covered shirt that she can only wear for Christmas time. I went with a red plaid that can be worn long after Christmas, but was still festive enough for our holiday events!

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     Brett and Bailey built a fort when we put our lights up around the house. It was quite magical!

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      We wrapped presents, and shared our new gift rules here!

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     Anheuser-Busch is a St. Louis based company, but they house their famous Clydesdale's at the nicest barn I've ever seen in Booneville, MO, which is about 15 minutes from Columbia. They host a Christmas-themed tour of their barn, and you get to walk through and see all the horses while sipping the freshest Budweiser you can get anywhere. The horses were beautiful and massive, and I don't normally care for Budweiser, but it was freshly brewed and on tap for the event, so it was actually pretty delicious.  

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      We put our Christmas cookie cutters to use for the first time, and also shared that here!

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      Bailey had her first ever school Christmas party! I volunteered to make the "sweet treats" for the kids, and made chocolate dipped graham crackers that Bailey decorated herself with sprinkles. They were a hit, and Bailey was so proud to help and show her classmates!

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     We had our first snow of the year in Columbia on Sunday (and our second one yesterday)! We went home to Arkansas for Christmas Eve, and when we came back that evening Bailey and Brett played in the snow for almost an hour. I opted to stay warm inside and organize Bailey's gifts from Nana and Grandpa, and sip some fresh coffee. Never a bad decision!

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    Lastly, on Christmas Eve, we spiked some hot chocolate and braved the cold to go visit the "Candy Cane Crib". It's a Columbia tradition, and the "crib" used to be set up in a residential area on someones front lawn, but I'd assume the neighbors got tired of that and this year, Logboat Brewery hosted the spectacle!

    It was an amazing holiday season, and I can't wait to see what the new year holds! 2018, we're ready for you!

To Bake / Chocolate Sugar Cookies

 
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     Good morning! Growing up, we always made sugar cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, and I wanted to do something similar with Bailey this year. We didn't make them on Christmas Eve, I'll be making chocolate chip cookies because that's Santa's (i.e. Brett's) preference this year, and cinnamon rolls for the next morning from scratch - another family tradition, c/o my dad (although we always enjoyed Pilsbury instead, but who doesn't?!)! Even though chocolate chip will be on Santa's plate this year, I still wanted Bailey to get to do the cookie cutters and icing aspect of Christmas cookies. However, sugar cookies are one of my least favorite cookies, so I added some cocoa powder! They turned out better than I expected (duh, chocolate). They have a brownie taste with a sugar cookie texture, and in my opinion, that's a huge upgrade to the original cookie! See for yourself below, and peep Bailey getting in on the action. She had a blast! 

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Ingredients:

- 1 cup of butter (2 sticks) - room temperature

- 1 cup of sugar

- 1 egg

- 1 + 1/2 tsp. of vanilla

- 2 cups of AP flour

- 3/4 cup of cocoa powder

- pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Mix together butter and sugar, then add your egg and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to the wet mixture. Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Let dough chill in the fridge for one hour. 

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2. Using whatever cookie cutters you like, cut out shapes. Chill shapes in the fridge for 10 minutes.

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3. Preheat oven to 350.

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4. Bake for 12 minutes.

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5. Let cool to room temperature before icing, this is very important!

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6. Ice your cookies as desired and enjoy!

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      Bailey really loved doing this, and I think we definitely have a new holiday tradition now. 

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Tuesday! We'll be back later this week to celebrate the start of winter!

Over the Weekend

 

     Hi there! Just wanted to share a few snaps from our holiday weekend, today. We ventured south to Arkansas on Friday to see my parents, and it was just the nicest treat to get to go home, even if only for an evening.

      This is one of the gifts my parents got me! It's basically my dream bag, from Forever 21. Thanks mom and dad!!

      Bailey always loves going to my parents house, as my parents are pretty fun to be with, and the splendors of my childhood play room don't hurt either!

      After getting back to Columbia just in time for Christmas Eve, we visited the "Magic Tree". A local Columbia resident decorates this tree every year with thousands of lights, and it's one of the biggest holiday attractions in town. Bailey was mesmerized and didn't want to leave!

       For the main event of Christmas Morning, we decided to stay at home, just us three. Bailey started to understand, just a little bit, that this weekend was special and that some guy named Santa exists. We figured now is as good a time as any to take on that role, and set up a tower with her new blocks, placed a Spongebob nonchalantly under the tree (he looked very relaxed there), and brought out the easel my parents gifted her so that Santa could leave her a Merry Christmas message.

     All in all, it was a busy, but significant weekend, and it couldn't have been more special. Thanks for reading, and have a great Monday!

For Doughnut Holes

 

     Good morning! Every year, my dad makes cinnamon rolls on Christmas Morning, and this year, I wanted to find a way to do the same, but with my own twist. I had recently been given this mini muffin/doughnut hole pan and had been dying to try it out! I realized that one could easily just roll the cinnamon roll dough into little balls and bake them that way instead of the traditional way, and set out to create my cinnamon roll doughnut holes. It's so easy, and I can't believe I didn't think of it sooner! Get the recipe below!

Ingredients:

- one can of cinnamon rolls

Directions:

1. Spray your doughnut hole pan with cooking spray, and roll out the cinnamon roll dough into doughnut hole sized balls.

2. Bake as instructed on the can.

3. Drizzle with glaze and serve with hot coffee. Enjoy!

To Decorate for the Holidays

 

     Good morning! Just wanted to share a few quick snaps of the holiday decor around the house. I like to get a little festive with red and green accents, like the blanket above.

     We also have a couple of Santa hats, and Bailey was keen on wearing one for about five minutes.

      I kept up my wreath garland from last year, and it still looks just as pretty!

      Lastly, we have a couple of Christmas tchotchkes scattered around the house, including this soldier that reminds me of the Nutcracker, and a ceramic Santa that sits on our bookcase. Nice and simple!

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

To Make Ornaments

 

      Good morning! Happy December! To kick things off, I wanted to share a fun ornament DIY, today. It's time to decorate the tree, and I've always loved handmade ornaments, so I came up with a copper pyramid design that perfectly suits my aesthetic. Check out the how-to below!

Materials:

- plastic straws

- scissors

- copper spray paint

- string

Directions:

1. First things first, paint 4 straws copper and let dry.

2. Cut the top of the straw off at the bendy part and discard. Then cut the remaining piece in half. Repeat on all four straws.

3. Cut string long enough to come out a half inch on each end of each straw piece. Thread though four straw pieces, and connect all string ends with a double knot, creating a square like above. Trim off excess string.

4. To attach the sides of the pyramid to the base, cut four more pieces of string and attach to each corner of the square, onto the string, with double knots. Then thread the string through your remaining four straw pieces and tie both sides together, creating two triangles like above. Don't trim off the excess this time (see below).

5. To finish the pyramid, bring the two side together at the top, and tie the remaining string together to hold the pyramid shape. Trim off the excess.

6. Cut a long piece of string, however long is up to you. Tie it to your pyramid, at the top, and tie a loop in the opposite end to hang from your tree.

7. Voila! Enjoy!

To Make Gift Boxes

     Hi readers! I'm so excited for this D.I.Y.! These gift boxes turned out so cute, it will be a real struggle to actually gift them. It was one of those projects that, while you're making it, you aren't really sure you're liking it. Once I photographed it though, I was sold! I've really been loving minimalism lately, especially when it comes to prints. The little triangles and dashes are the perfect complement to the white. They'd look great if you wanted to keep the kraft paper and forgo painting them. I just wanted a little bit of a cleaner look with the white. I plan on wrapping most gifts this year in kraft paper, so these little white printed boxes will add a nice contrast.

     The project itself is very straight forward and minimal, much like the aesthetic of the boxes themselves. You can customize the washi tape shapes to reflect whatever look you're going for. If you want something more bold, you could deck the entire box in running stripes; or you could even just paint the boxes white and leave it at that! Twine looks great with the white and bright washi tape, so I highly recommend picking up a spool. Enjoy!

Materials:

- paper boxes (these are from Hobby Lobby)

- white acrylic paint and a brush

- washi tape

- scissors

- twine (optional)

Step one: Paint boxes white (I did a couple of coats) and let dry.

Step two: Cutout shapes from pieces of washi tape and adhere however you like to the boxes.

Step three: Bundle in twine, if you please and gift away!