Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Favorites: Christmas Edition

I noticed that a few blogs I follow share their favorite finds each week so I thought it would be fun to tag along and share my favorites with you. It's also a great way to keep up with posting when I feel like I have nothing to share! I miss posting my Five Things link up with my girl Little Miss Mama, maybe we'll start that up again in the new year? OK, on to my Friday Favorites: Christmas Edition...






I've had this DIY Christmas card display from Lolly Jane on my mind since the moment I saw it on Pinterest! It's such a great way to display the cards and photos all year round. I love what they wrote about how our friends and family put so much thought into their photo cards only to have us put them away a few weeks later. So why not create a space where they can be displayed all year! I love this idea and one day I'm going to put it together!  



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There are so many amazing free Christmas printables on Pinterest....I want to print them all! I really wish I had a bunch of empty frames lying around, I might just start doing that. Or I could get a few for a gallery wall and switch the printables everytime the seasons and holidays change! I love these three prints from On Sutton Place, the ornament one reminds me of A Charlie Brown Christmas. The watercolor artwork was actually done by Tracey Gurley Designs

PS, I made one myself, check it out here


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Who wouldn't love a gift wrapped with a friendship bracelet and a cool geometric gift tag?! When I first saw the gift wrap ideas post on East Coast Creative, this bright and fun idea popped the most. I love the creative gift tag and the vibrant colors with the white paper. It's a festive way to wrap your best friend's gift or even your kids' gifts. Stop by the post if you're still looking for ideas and free printable gift tags. 



I am obsessed with bottle brush Christmas trees this year and have recently spray painted a few for a project I put together with Krylon. I love the array of colors that A Beautiful Mess created with their dyed trees last year. They have a really great tutorial on the process so be sure to check it out if you're loving these trees too!  



Christmas shadowboxes seem to be popping up a lot on Pinterest this year, however this one on You Are My Fave was actually made in 2012! Some things are just meant to trend again. I can picture this idea working for any holiday; little bunnies for Easter, pumpkins for Halloween, and so on. Have you seen the ones with the jingle bells inside? So many different ideas, so little time! 



You can't have Christmas without cookies! This recipe on Tatertots and Jello from Creations by Kara calls for peppermint extract and peppermint candies. However, if you don't have those ingredients on hand, it's still fun to dress up your favorite holiday cookie recipe with the candy cane Hershey kisses to make your cookie a bit more festive. Plus, it's an easy way to decorate your cookie without having to get messy with frosting! 

Well it's only 6 more days until Christmas and if you aren't ready yet I hope my Friday Favorites give you more ideas to check everything off your list! 

What are some of your holiday favorites this year? 

Thanks for stopping by, Happy Friday! 








Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Cookie Recipe: Snickerdoodle

Everyone has a favorite Christmas cookie recipe; gingerbread, pretzel hugs, peanut butter blossoms, peppermint sandwich cookies, which I made last year thanks to an amazing recipe from I Heart Naptime, and many more!

This year I have a new favorite: Snickerdoodle! I was searching our recipe box for a new cookie to make when I found this one from Food.com that my stepdaughter printed out a few months ago. 


When she made them I didn't really see the entire baking process, but after finally putting the recipe together myself, I not only had fun eating them but loved making them as well! 


If your kids love making holiday cookies with mom and dad, this is one they will really enjoy putting together. 


The best part about these cookies is making them into little balls to roll around in the cinnamon and sugar mix. What kid wouldn't love that?! 


My all time favorite cookie, no matter what time of year it is, is chocolate chip. However, the snickerdoodle is coming in a very close second. Do you think it could beat out the chocolate chip and come in first place?! 


I'm almost set for Christmas Day, just a few more gifts to get and a few to make! How about you? 

Recipe Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup butter {softened}
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 3 tablespoons sugar {for sugar/cinnamon mixture}
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix softened butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs in a large bowl. 
  3. Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in separate bowl. 
  4. Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture. 
  5. Mix 3 tablespoons of sugar and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon together in a small bowl. 
  6. Scoop about 1 inches of dough together and gently roll them into balls. 
  7. Roll the dough balls in the sugar mixture and gently coat them. 
  8. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. 
  9. Remove from pan and transfer to a cooling rack. 
Recipe modified from Foods.com 

I hope you enjoy making these with your family this holiday season. I would love to hear what other favorite cookie recipes you make, leave a comment below! 

Thanks for stopping by. 






Saturday, December 13, 2014

Tis' the season for a giveaway!

2014 has been an amazing year for my blogging career. I've been keeping my little journal here since 2008 but never really pushed myself to go at it as a career. It was just a little blog where I shared my thoughts, a way to keep the writer side of me going while trying to pay the bills with a full time job out in the "real world". 

As I continued with my full time job I started writing for AWS {All Women Stalk} and helped them create their wedding section when they were still a small site with just a few different categories. 

I was making connections but still felt like I wasn't really sharing my voice, I was just writing round up posts with focus on searchable keywords. 

Then last year came the opportunity of all opportunities, an internetship as a blog assitant for East Coast Creative! I was on cloud 9 when I received the email from Monica and Jess that I got the job! 

Working as their intern and then being hired as a blog assistant gave me the confidence to finally push my own blog and create a space where I could not only share my thoughts, but get paid to do so! 

I know that readers sometimes hate sponsored posts, especially if they don't feel authentic. But, I'm a Philly girl and I'm as real as it gets! I'm not going to share something with you that I don't like and I'm not going to write up a post just for the sake of getting paid. 

I tell it like it is. Everything I share on here; the good, the bad, and the ugly moments in my life, come from my heart. 

Now I may not share every ugly detail, but some things in life are not meant to be shared. Oh I could name a few celebs who need to learn that! 

So as a thank you for helping me feel more confident and for being amazing readers I teamed up with a few other bloggers to share a $150 giveaway! 

One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift card to Target, a $50 gift card to Starbucks, and $50 right to their paypal account...sweet!! 

Giveaway runs until Sunday 12/21. Good luck! 

The ladies who are hosting with me: 







Rafflecopter Form:

Friday, December 12, 2014

All I Want for Christmas is You - Printable

Christmas is only 13 days away!  

Yesterday my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said, "All I want for Christmas is You!", seriously! Yes, I know it's a Mariah Carey song, but I meant it. This year I just want a nice family Christmas. Oh and world peace...but one thing at a time! 

Since it's really all I want for Christmas and one of my all time favorite holiday songs, I put together this free printable for you. Just right click, hit save as, print, frame, and you have yourself a Christmas gift for your significant other! 




If there is more you want for Christmas this year, stop back tomorrow to enter the holiday giveaway I'm hosting with a few other bloggers for a few fun gift cards, plus $50 right to your paypal! 

Happy Friday! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Meatball Tortellini Soup - A Hearty Holiday Recipe in Minutes

Thank you Mezzetta for sponsoring this post and inspiring me to make a new holiday twist on an old classic recipe!

I'm so excited to share my very first soup recipe with you guys today, especially since my mom makes one of the best homemade chicken noodle soups around. But this isn't mom's soup, this is a new take on an old classic and a new holiday recipe I'm making with Mezzetta. Do you guys think it will beat out mom's chicken noodle?! 



How gorgeous are the bright colors of Mezzetta's products, they're so pretty to look at just sitting in the jars! I love roasted bell peppers so I grabbed those right away, then I called my husband to find out if it was green or black olives that he liked, and as you can see he likes the green ones! I was intrigued by the peperoncini and decided to grab those as well!



When I looked at the peppers and olives I purchased, the first recipe that came to mind was a pasta salad. But that just didn't strike me as a cozy and warm holiday recipe that I would want during this time of year.

Winter always reminds me of mom's chicken noodle soup, but that takes too much time to make when you have guests over for the holiday season. That's when I thought of the frozen meatballs and tortellini I had in the freezer....and on came the light bulb! 



Holiday celebrations and holiday family gatherings usually last more than one day, especially when your guests have traveled far to visit. So that means you're going to need more than a day's worth of food to feed them. Luckily I'm here to save you and your hungry guests with my meatball tortellini soup featuring Mezzetta roasted bell peppers, peperoncini, and olives! {Not the typical ingredients for meatball tortellini soup, but I was excited to experiment and make a Mezzetta twist on an old favorite!}



If you love making holiday soups, platters, and dips for your family, and have tons of holiday memories filled with good food, stop by Mezzetta to enter their daily holiday memories gift basket giveaway.  

Bonus: Before you go shopping to gather the ingredients for my meatball tortellini soup, stop by the Mezzetta website and grab yourself a coupon! 

Recipe Ingredients: 

2 cups of frozen meatballs {thawed} 
3 cups of tortellini 
4 cups of beef broth {you can also use chicken or vegetable broth}
1/2 cup of green olives {sliced or diced}
1/2 cup of roasted bell peppers {diced}
1/2 cup of peperoncini {sliced}
1/2 tsp. of parsley 
dash of salt & pepper 

Directions: 
  • In a large pot bring the stock to a boil. Stir in the meatballs. Turn down the heat and let simmer for five minutes. 
  • Add in the green olives, roasted bell peppers, and peperoncini. Simmer for another three minutes. 
  • Stir in the tortellini, parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer for another three to five minutes. 
  • Remove from heat, serve, and enjoy! 

Mezzetta has a meatball tortellini soup on their website featuring their hot cherry peppers and garlic everything spread that I can't wait to try next time around.

You really can't go wrong with adding any of your favorite vegetables to meatball tortellini soup, or even using chicken sausage instead of meatballs.

Do you have a favorite soup recipe that you make during the holiday season? 





Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Frozen Inspired Christmas Centerpiece - Krylon Mini Mystery Box


Who doesn't love getting a box full of mystery craft products in the mail...#happymail?! 

When I received Krylon's Mini Mystery Box I couldn't wait to open it up to see what was inside and get started on creating something with the pieces they sent. Inside the box was a mini craft crate and adorable wooden buttons from Walnut Hollow, a strip of burlap, two pieces of white fabric, and two cans of Krylon short cuts spray paint in Antique Bronze and Bonnet Blue. 


I love craft crates and was super excited to see this mini one in the mystery box. The burlap was another item I was happy to work with, but what was I to do with the two pieces of white fabric?!


I turned to Pinterest and searched for craft crate centerpiece projects and stumbled upon many creative ideas for the holidays that included mason jars and evergreen cuttings. That's when the idea of using mini bottle brush trees came to mind. How I got that from what I saw...well inspiration strikes where it strikes...right?! 


It only took a few seconds to turn the white and green trees I purchased from the Dollar Tree into blue ones with Krylon's short cuts spray paint, and I couldn't be happier with the results! 

I love...love...love the way the antique bronze spray paint turned the plain, yet beautiful, craft crate into well an antique masterpiece! Thank you Krylon for selecting these two gorgeous colors to send me. 


As you can see I finally came up with a plan for the white fabric. Luckily I have a craft room filled with Christmas craft supplies from past holiday projects, including the scrapbook paper ornaments you see on the tree in the background! 

Among my Christmas craft supplies was a pack of holiday stencils that included a snowflake, and that's when I knew my Frozen inspired Christmas centerpiece was really going to come together. You can't call it Frozen without snowflakes! Oh, and the reindeer...I do wish I had a snowman though! 



I also used the blue spray paint on the little heart buttons from Walnut Hollow, so cute right?! The burlap added the extra rustic element I was looking for and only took two lines of hot glue to secure.  Once I came up with an idea it was easy to see how all the items in the Kyrlon Mini Mystery Box could work together.


I still felt like it needed a little something more and dug back into my Christmas craft supplies to see what I could find! I really love the way the Merry Christmas sign completes the look. 


What do you think? Do you like the ornaments inside the craft crate or the bottle brush trees? Either way, you'll have yourself a Frozen inspired Christmas centerpiece that will only take about 15 minutes to put together, who doesn't love that?! 

What are some holiday crafts you're working on? 

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day! 






Friday, November 21, 2014

DIY Christmas Ornament Wreath Party

Turn on the Christmas music, grab some eggnog or hot apple cider, bake your favorite holiday cookies, and call your friends over so we can get this DIY Christmas Ornament Wreath Party started!


Isn't she pretty?! I smile every time I walk by this beauty! I have been dreaming of making one of these for a few years now and with the help of a few ladies from my women's group I was able to make a party out of it. 

We have about thirty to thirty five women in our group, but usually only ten to fifteen of them have flexible enough schedules to participate in events like this that take place during the week night. So I emailed everyone in the group a few wreath ideas and the majority voted on making a Christmas Ornament Wreath. 

I read a few different tutorials and even emailed Jessica from Four Generations One Roof for advice on how many ornaments to buy. Some bloggers used 80 to 100 while others used less. But it really all comes down to the size of your wreath and the size of your ornaments. I ended up purchasing 18 inch straw wreaths and followed some tips from Melissa of The Happier Homemaker's post as well since she used a straw wreath for hers.

Items You'll Need:

Wreath Form
Shatter Proof Ornaments
Low Heat Glue Gun
Ribbon (optional)
Decorative toppers (optional) 


I was concerned about the plastic that covers the straw but read in the comments on Melissa's blog that she left the plastic on to contain the straw. (Note: If you can't find the answer in the post, read through the comments...someone usually asks the same questions that are on your mind!) 

Another question we had: Do you leave the caps on the ornaments or take them off?! Jessica from Four Generations One Roof took hers off and faced the top downwards. It really helps to take them off so you have more room to work with and can place the ornaments closer together. But after a while it was getting to be a little annoying since the shatter proofs have caps that don't pop off as easily as glass ornament caps do! 

Another great tip I read from Jessica is to not only hot glue your ornaments to the wreath, but to each other as well to make them more secure. Note that in my items needed list is a low temp glue gun. Well, I only had a high temp glue gun and when it got too hot it started melting some of the plastic ornaments so I had to be careful with how much I used and only glued them to the wreath! 


You can see a few empty spaces in my wreath still, so I may be purchasing a few more small ornaments to stack on top. (Tip: If you don't want to worry about this wrap your wreath in colored yarn or ribbon first.) There's really no right or wrong method to how you start gluing on your ornaments. I started with the center ones, then the top and worked my way from there. We had a mix of large ornaments, medium, and small ones. The large and medium sized ones were from Walmart and the small ones were from Dollar Tree


As you can see everyone had their own method, and some ladies used just red and gold ornaments while others used red and green, or all three colors like I did! 


You can also purchase decorative toppers like holly leaves to cover those empty spaces. 

We actually ran out of red and gold ornaments since they were the most popular colors so a few of the ladies finished their wreaths at home and have been emailing me the final look!


I love the way everyone's turned out, each one is so different and unique. I'm so glad I could share this Christmas craft with the ladies of my women's group. 



I saw these little owls at Walmart and couldn't leave without them! But then today I stopped by the Dollar Tree and saw a reindeer ornament, these owls may change out next year! I am obsessed with Christmas reindeer decor right now. Have you seen these vinyl reindeer crafts from Two Thirty-Five Designs?! 



AHH... I just love everything Allison from Two Thirty-Five Designs does and all of her Cricut deer designs! I need to find out if any of my cartridges have reindeer on them! PS, I'm also linking up with her for her Casual Friday link up!

So next time on the blog I may feature a reindeer craft, or something else I have in mind for DIY Christmas gifts this year...shh!! 

I hope you enjoyed my DIY Christmas Ornament Wreath. Do you make your own Christmas Wreaths? What are some designs you are crushing over right now? 

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?! What are your plans, are you staying home to cook or going as a guest? Either way, I hope you have a lovely holiday with your family. 

Thanks for stopping by today! Have a great weekend! 

Also linking up with the Party Palooza and Weekend Re-Treat link parties!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Staying Healthy and Active with Cheerios and Usher!

This post is sponsored by General Mills and Usher, but my love for their Honey Nut Cheerios and amazing song is all mine!

The cold and flu season are upon us and as I mentioned in my last post, I haven't been feeling too well myself. So how can we avoid getting sick when it's all around us? The obvious answer is to wash ours hands, especially after you shake someone else's! However, the not so obvious answer is staying healthy and active with Cheerios and Usher...totally not what you were thinking, but it's true! 



 When you're morning is busy and you can't be bothered to think about what you're eating, you grab a bowl of cereal, right? Well some of us have a cabinet full of cereals that are high in sugar and artificially flavored because we have a big sweet tooth and midnight cravings! But now that I'm in my 30's I need to start choosing cereals that are good for me and will help me stay healthy to fight off colds and the flu. That's why I love Honey Nut Cheerios, they are heart healthy and naturally sweetened with real honey, there is no better cereal to help kick off your healthy and active day. 



Well, you will also need Usher's new song "Clueless" to kick off the active part of your day! I don't know about you, but I love starting my day with music. It helps put me in a good mood to begin my day on the right note.

Whether you've been a fan of Usher's music since his first hit album "My Way" in 1997, discovered his music in 2001 when you heard "U Got it Bad" or rooted for #TeamUsher on The Voice last year, you won't want to miss out on your chance to get this exclusive free download from specially marked boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios at Walmart.



How do you get your morning started so you stay on the right track of staying healthy and active?