Friday, December 30, 2011

Twenty-Twelve Resolutions

Come January 1, everyone has something in common: resolutions. It’s that very special day each year where everyone joins together to try to remake ourselves, hoping to be better versions in the coming year.

I have never been a huge believer in New Year’s Resolutions. I honestly just try to live each day happy, healthy, and positive. So for 2012, instead of making the cliché promise to lose 10 lbs, eat healthier, or workout more, I am committing to 5 good deeds that help more than just myself…

Though they may seem small or insignificant, it doesn’t matter. The more good I do, the better I feel about myself. And truly, to benefit others is to benefit yourself.

This year I am going to try and live life a little leaner by cleaning out my closets more often than I do.  And rather than leaving items out by the curb to fill up our landfills, I am resolving to donate old furniture, clothing, and household items I no longer need to Goodwill.

One thing we can all agree on is that it is so nice to receive compliments – and yet we forget how much fun it is to give them! Whether from a loved one or a complete stranger, compliments are one of the greatest small pleasures in life. So, I am going to make an extra effort to float more compliments out into the world in 2012. Sincere praise is so powerful, can make someone’s day, and is totally free!

The holiday season has definitely inspired me to help others by getting more involved in service projects. So to help carry the giving spirit through 2012, I am resolving to pass up on less of the numerous service projects my church offers each year. 

Whether it’s paying for the person behind me in the drive-thru, writing a note of appreciation to the mailman, or sending an unexpected bouquet of flowers to someone, spreading kindness is contagious. Even the smallest act of kindness can make a difference in someone’s life.

Ringing in the new year with a greener lifestyle is a small commitment that reaps big rewards for our environment. Recycling at the office, remembering to actually bring my reusable bags to the grocery store, going paperless, and switching to Eco-friendly cleaning products are a few green habits I plan to adopt for 2012. 

What are your 2012 resolutions?!

I wish y’all a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

This year, Matt, Charlie, and I drove down to the Sunshine State to spend Christmas with my family in Orlando {in 80 degree weather}. We had such a wonderful weekend with our friends and family, eating, drinking, watching Christmas movies, and opening presents!

Here is a recap of our Christmas festivities in photos...

Mom's Christmas Tree, post Santa delivery. 

Our first married Christmas! 

I made a delicious breakfast casserole on Christmas morning {recipe to come}

Dad with his girls

One of our favorite engaged couples, Ashley and Drew, stopped by...twice!! 

We played cards and celebrated Shanny's birthday!

This Christmas, Dad decided to buy every boy in the family a remote control inflatable FLYING SHARK. Within minutes of receiving the sharks, they were blown up and flying throughout the house. Watch this video to see just how hilarious these toys really are...{warning, the dogs did not like the sharks}...

Hilarious and awesome, right? Here are a few more pictures of the shark swimming throughout the house...

Dad cutting the turkey while Mom prepares the rest of the feast!

This was definitely our favorite Christmas yet! I am already excited about Christmas 2012. I hope your Christmas was warm and merry! xo 

 Our 2011 Christmas - so happy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Making Spirits Bright

Looking for a last minute gift idea for a friend, coworker, or neighbor? A personalized bottle of vino is always a fun way to spread the holiday spirit!

All you need is to download this super duper cute template:

Once you've cut out your label, carefully glue {I used spray glue} it over the label on your wine bottle. Tie a pretty bow around the neck of the bottle, and TA-DA!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Candy Cane Blossoms

Tis the season for lots of sprinkles! Since my Candy Cane Blossoms were a big hit at the Cookie Exchange, I plan to make an extra batch for Santa {and his reindeer} on Christmas Eve.

The recipe...

You Will Need:
{1} bag HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Candy Cane Mint Candies
{1/2} cup {1 stick} butter or margarine, softened
{1} cup granulated sugar
{1} egg
{1 ½} teaspoons vanilla extract
{2} cups all-purpose flour
{¼}  teaspoon baking soda
{¼} teaspoon salt
{2} tablespoons milk
Red or green sugar crystals

 Heat oven to 350°F. Remove wrappers from candies.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. 
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt.
Add alternately with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls.
Roll in red granulated sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookie is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes.
Press a candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. 

Merry Christmas y'all!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Stocking Stuffers

Since we will be spending Christmas with my family this year, Matt, Charlie and I decided to celebrate our own little Christmas together this past weekend by opening our stockings {one of my favorite parts of Christmas}.

All of the fun "stuffers"...

 Matt's favorite stuffers were the Whiskey Stones and book, "Stuff White People Like." 
 Charlie's favorite stuffer was the squeaky hotdog!
My favorite stuffer was The Help, which I have been dyyyying to watch, and a $5 coupon to Target (haha)! 

What sort of items do you give/receive in Christmas stockings?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Cookie Exchange

With holiday baking in full force, a Christmas cookie exchange party is the absolute best way to spread your baking love with friends.
Over the weekend, my good friends Mel and Lauren hosted a delicious cookie soirée. Each girl brought a batch of their favorite Christmas cookies {and recipe card} to give away, and in return went home with a plethora of cookies, lots of new recipes, and a sugar coma. 

 Our lovely hosts!
We nibbled on all sorts of yummy appetizers before the "swap"!
Ho Ho Punch: 1 bottle of chilled champagne, 1 bottle of chilled ginger ale, 
and 2 packages of frozen strawberries, partially thawed.
And drank festive Ho Ho Punch!
Our assortment of holiday cookies!

The cookie {and recipe card} contestants:
Marble Fudge Bars by Jess
Peppermint Oreo Bark by Rachel
 Monster Cookies by Mel & Lauren
Oatmeal Cream Cheese Butterscotch Bars by Abbey
Ginger Snaps by Meghan
Pecan Balls by Brynn
Candy Cane Blossoms by Christina
White Chocolate Fudge by Abbey
Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies by Mary

...and the winners of the "best cookie" and "best recipe card"!
But the best part of the exchange....boxing up our cookies in the festive containers Mel provided!

It was so much fun to get a ton of friends together, share the holiday spirit and stock up on lots of different holiday cookies! 

Merry Christmas week!
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