Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Third Annual Cookie Exchange

Caroline and I attended Mel's 3rd Annual Christmas Cookie Exchange on Sunday. This is always one of my favorite holiday parties of the season and this year's did not disappoint! There were 14 girls in attendance and each brought 4 dozen cookies - totaling 672 cookies! We all took home a bucket of cookies, lots of new recipes and sugar comas...

I snapped this picture as the cookies started rolling into the party. So much goodness on one table!
 Lots and lots and lots of yummy desserts! To ensure there weren't any duplicate recipes guests were required to list what cookie they were bringing on the evite when they RSVP'd. This year I went an easier route and baked red velvet marbled brownies {recipe}!
Mel provided cute prizes for the winners of the best decorated cookie, favorite dessert and best recipe card. Each year this contest gets more and more competitive!
 
The "best cookie" award went to McKinsey for her Special K Bar Cookies {recipe}. A close second was Laura's Mystery Brickle Bars {recipe}. But another favorite worth mentioning was Mel's Smores Cookie Cups {recipe}.
Ho Ho Punch {recipe here} - always a hit and never a drop left!
A plate full of cookies for the tasting!
And a few snaps of the munchkin with some of her favorite friends...
First Annual Cookie Exchange {post here}
Second Annual Cookie Exchange {post here}

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Matt's Stocking Stuffer Wish List


Over the weekend Matt created a short stocking stuffer wish list at my request. At first I was a little stressed about when I was going to squeeze in more shopping this week, but with a few clicks with Amazon Prime and a Target lunch break trip I am officially done! So I thought I'd share a few of the items Matt asked for along with a few extra things I picked up too in case you're looking for some last minute stuffer ideas...
Mens Stocking Stuffers
  1. Pocket Ref Book: I've seen this on pretty much every stocking stuffer guide on Pinterest so I decided to look into it. Anyway, this pocket-sized reference book features tons of information on many subjects, hundreds of tables, maps, formulas, constants and conversions. Oh, and it's a #1 seller on Amazon.
  2. Just a Drop Toilet Odor Neutralizer: This is my favorite gag gift of all time! You can also get it in travel size {here}!
  3. Mini Bottles of Booze & Cigar
  4. American Crew Hair Styling Pomade
  5. Kikkerland CD401 Classic Survival Tool: I'm not going to lie. I have no clue what this thing is that Matt asked for but I bought it anyway because it was only $1.69. 
  6. Metal Collar Stays
  7. Ties: Matt is obsessed with The Tie Bar so this list item came as no surprise to me. Not only are these ties really great quality but they are affordable ($15!!!) and come in a variety of sizes (currently Matt is digging the 2.5 inch wide skinny tie).
  8. Dress Socks: I also picked these up from The Tie Bar. So many choices!
  9. 5 in 1 Stainless Steel Money Clip
  10. Golf Stuff: Glove, Balls, Tees, etc.
Other small items I usually stuff in Matt's stocking every year include $5 gift cards (Starbucks), a car wash coupon, scratch offs, candy and gum!

Funny side note: I was searching back through my blog for other stocking stuffer posts I've written and found the time Matt included a Target coupon in my stocking {here}. That man sure knows the way to my heart.
What do you stuff in your man's stocking?

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Monday, December 15, 2014

How to Make a Pretty and Easy Christmas Bow!

Happy Monday, friends! Can you believe this is our last full week before Christmas?! I really need to get out of my cookie coma from the weekend and get to work on my Christmas to-do list! I am so close to being done with Christmas shopping. All I have left to do is purchase stocking stuffers for Matt. We decided to skip gifts this year and just exchange stockings which I am pretty excited about. 
Anyway, all of my gifts are wrapped and sitting prettily under our tree. Per usual, I referenced my friend Laura's tutorial on how to make the easiest and fluffiest bows for my presents. This girl can seriously rock a bow and I was amazed at how simple they really are to make once she showed me! And because she is really, really awesome, today Laura is sharing a little tutorial on bow-making...

And also, you can follow Laura on Instagram {here}! {Warning: You will have major hair envy!}

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Guess what? I'm almost through with all of my Christmas gifts, and last night, as I wrapped, I thought, "this bow on top is so stinkin' easy, and it really gets a lot of attention”. I figured I'd share a little tutorial, so you can impress your friends and family too with this ridiculously easy (but oh so pretty) Christmas bow! how-to
I bought my ribbon from hobby lobby, I'm not sure what it's made of, but it's amazing and not too pricey! I don’t believe this method will work with grosgrain or silk ribbon, but it WILL work with acetate – for all you ribbon connoisseurs. step 1: Go ahead and wrap your present, and top it with a ribbon. Leave the ends of your ribbon loose – later referred to as “ribbon 1”. step 2: Dispense enough ribbon to make your bow - i unreeled about 5 feet. Now cut it, and reel it back up, as if it’s on a spool again. the bigger your circle, the longer your bow “loops” will be. My circle is a tiny bit bigger than my hand. step 3: Press it together in the middle, like you’re forming a BOW [who woulda thought?!] step 4: Cut a tiny v-slit on one side of the bow – be sure to not cut all the way to the middle. I'm actually using my kitchen shears because, depending on the amount of ribbon you use, it can get pretty thick! step 5: Repeat on side 2. it’s VERY important that your “v's” don’t touch [even a little bit].  If they do, you’ve just destroyed your beautiful bow. sorry ‘bout it. step 6: Place the bow on your present, and tie the loose ends [from ribbon 1] to stabilize the bow. Tight! Lastly, “fluff” your bow by pulling each loop, one at a time, towards the center knot with ribbon 1. I find that it works best if you start from the inside of each loop, separating each layer, and just working it until it looks the way you like! Don’t forget to curl the loose ends! Now, stand back and admire the beauty of the easiest bow EVER!  
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