Thursday, December 31, 2015

Closing Out Our Most Challenging Year

Through all of the trials we’ve faced this year we’ve been reminded of God’s faithfulness. He shared our joy and stretched our hearts when we welcomed our baby boy into this world. And again as we welcomed our nephew. He shared our grief and wiped away our tears when we learned that Thomas was blind. He shared our fear and gave us hope when we learned dad’s chemo stopped working. He shared our worry and gave us healing through my double mastectomy. He’s wiped away many tears, brought us to our knees countless times, put the broken pieces of our hearts back together and held us closer than ever this year. And that is the reason we are still smiling, folks.
Here's to a happy and HEALTHY 2016!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmassy Parties!

Let's review a few Christmassy celebrations before I sign off for the rest of the week!
Neighborhood Ornament Exchange. There were 28 ladies at our neighborhood ornament exchange! I got lucky when picking my number (23!!!) and absolutely couldn't wait to steal the adorable pineapple ornament that was opened early in the game. Thankfully all the moms were too busy fighting over the Olaf ornament that the pineapple got overlooked and I got it on the third and final steal.
Girl's Gift Exchange: McKinsey hosted her 4th Annual gift exchange in her brand new house this week. She used to live just a few steps away but moved further out into a beautiful new (ginormous) home and we were all so excited to finally come see it! The exchange was a huge success all around. So many girls brought steal-worthy gifts which made the night so much fun.
I got lucky again by picking #20 for choosing a gift so I got to really scope out what I wanted. Several of us take this annual exchange very seriously and aren't afraid to steal! I walked away with the prettiest insulated casserole tote bag which also came with a huge Pyrex dish. I locked it up on the third steal so I was happy, happy, happy to leave the party with this tote that I've been wanting forever! The best, most stolen gifts this year included a S'well bottle, Woo (cosmetic store) gift card,  insulated casserole tote with Pyrex dish, Volcano candle, Nest candle, pedicure gift card, freeze cooling wine glasses, jewelry, scarves and Total Wine gift card with wine glass!

Cookie Swap! Caroline and Thomas left with a huge box of delicious cookies from our cookie swap playdate at our friend Lanny's house last week! That night Caroline may or may not have had cookies for dinner.

December Supper Club. We wrapped up a successful year of Supper Club at Kristen's brand new, gorgeous home last night. I love these ladies so, so, so much and am thankful for this year of dinners we've shared together! Over the course of a year it's been so wonderful to see how many life changes we've all been through from pregnancies to new homes and everything in between!
The prettiest tablescape ever!

Merry Christmas y'all! 


Monday, December 21, 2015

Graham Cracker Toffee

Last Christmas my best friend from college came over while we were home in Florida and brought us the most amazing Graham Cracker Toffee. It was literally devoured by the time she left our house! So good. Anyway, I harassed her for the recipe and then saved it for an entire year as a picture in my phone in preparation for my cookie swap the following Christmas! 
After digging through my iPhone photo archives I found it just in time for a cookie exchange last week! I expected it to be difficult since it was so tasty but to my surprise there are only five ingredients, two dirty dishes and a few steps! In case you're looking for a delicious and easy recipe to make for a party, to give out as presents or to leave for Santa, I highly recommend!
Graham Cracker Toffe
Adapted from my best friend May's recipe 
14-16 sheets of graham crackers
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (or other crushed toppings like Andes mints, candy cane, sprinkles, etc.)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line an 13 x 9" baking sheet with aluminum foil and mist it with baking spray. Tightly arrange graham crackers in a single layer. You may need to break a few into smaller pieces. Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the butter until melted.  Add brown sugar and whisk to combine.  Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a boil, stirring constantly.  Let the mixture boil for about 2 minutes, then remove from heat and pour over graham crackers.  Use a spatula or spoon to spread the mixture evenly over the graham crackers.  Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the butter mixture is bubbly.

Remove pan and immediately sprinkle the the chocolate chips evenly on top of the graham crackers.  Let sit for a few minutes until the chocolate is melted, then use a spatula to spread the chocolate around.  Sprinkle crushed pecans (or Andes mints, candy cane, sprinkles,etc.) evenly on top of the melted chocolate.

Let sit for about two hours or chill for 30 minutes. Cut and enjoy!

Print recipe for Graham Cracker Toffee.


Friday, December 18, 2015

DIY Candy Cane Sleighs {Teacher, Neighbor, Friend or Kid Gift}

At the beginning of the year I polled our teachers on what types of gifts they like (and dislike) and there was an overwhelming response for gift cards, specifically Target gift cards. I totally get that. I love Target gift cards too and I definitely don't need any more travel size hand sanitizers. However, I still wanted to personalize their gifts a bit from our class so I got crafty. In lieu of cards I picked up some candy (for the exact same price, about $12) and whipped out my hot glue gun for a quick and fun project -- DIY Candy Cane Sleighs!
DIY Candy Cane Sleighs

5 miniature candy bars (for each sleigh you make)
2 candy canes
1 candy bar of your choice (I used a Russel Stover Christmas brownie)
1 full size KitKat
Glue (or tape)
Gift card box (optional)

1. Glue the candy canes onto the bottom of the KitKat as the base of your sleigh. I reinforced with tape too.
2. Stuff your gift card box and on top of the KitKat.
3. Stack your candy layers, gluing them down as you go. Use smaller pieces as you add layers to create a pyramid shape.
3. Wrap the ribbon around the sleigh and tape it down.
4. Top with a bow!
As part of the teacher survey, I also collected their candy preferences so I kept that in mind when picking out the sleigh materials.
I found a pack of these pretty gold gift card holders in the Target dollar aisle.
Voila! A thoughtful way to give a gift card!
Would love to know what you get your kiddo's teachers during the holidays! I'm always looking for new ideas!

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