Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Weekend Fun

This weekend while the weather was amazingly perfect, John, Alex and I took advantage.  John and I decided to take Alex up to Apple Hill.  It's this wonderful little area up towards the mountains that just has spot after spot of apple farms, and family run stores, and vendors, pumpkin patches and all sorts of fun fall treasures!  We stopped at a few of the locations and sampled some yummy treats like fresh apples sliced and covered in caramel, fresh kettle corn, fresh squeezed apple cider and the boys even tried some Apple beer - which unfortunately turned out to be pretty much unfiltered apple juice mixed with a beer of your choice.  Here are some of the pictures from our day:

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

I know the Thanksgiving holiday has already come and gone, but I wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there anyways.  I hope your holiday was as wonderful as ours!

John's cousin Alex came up from LA to spend the holiday with us.  His family lives back east and he wasn't going to be able to make it back home for both the Thanksgiving holiday and for Christmas.  So we were lucky enough to be able to have him with us for Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving day was great.  I woke up early and baked my first dessert: Cinnamon Streusel Topped Pumpkin Pie.   Sounds yummy right?  Trust me, it was! It looked pretty much like this (minus the pretty edges on the crust):

Pinned Image
Pinned here

While it was baking I had some time to sit down on the couch under the lamp, in my super comfy robe, with my coffee and both puppies snuggled up next to me and begin reading my Harry Potter book that the hubs got me for our Anniversary.  It was such a picture perfect moment, it's too bad I didn't have anyone else awake to take the photo!  Then the boys finally woke up and we all got ready and headed to my parents house.  

When we got there I made my second dessert which was a Cream Cheese Pound Cake which also turned out very yummy.  Then we all headed over to some friends house where we had our amazing Thanksgiving feast.

Things I'm thankful for this year:
Jobs for the hubs and myself
Our puppies

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

'Tis The Season

Now I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but since we'll be traveling for the actual Christmas holiday, I wanted to get our decorations up a little early.  So this week we packed up the normal fall decorations and got out the winter/Christmas decorations!  I absolutely LOVE this time of year.  The cold weather, hot chocolate, snuggly blankets, and even snugglier furbabies, Christmas music, baking, and lots of family time.  The hubs and I had a wonderful night of listening to Christmas tunes on Pandora, setting up the Christmas tree, hanging ornaments and stockings, and setting up garland around the house.  The last thing we have to do is set up the lights outside.  Which is another thing I love!  Driving around town looking at Christmas lights :) 

Hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful season!  Make sure you take some time to snuggle up and have some hot cocoa (with Bailey's??)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Craft Night - Peonies

This past Tuesday, Linda, Jamie and I had another weekly craft night.  This time we decided to make peonies out of coffee filters.  I love this because I love flowers and the look of flowers, but they can get expensive if you are purchasing fresh ones weekly, and a nice arrangement of fake ones can also be pricey.  So we brought our coffee filters, scissors, tape, and green floral wire.  I'm guessing any wire would work, you can probably cut up an old wire hanger and use that if you want.  So here is the step by step of what we did.  Hope this tutorial helps!

You'll start out with 10 coffee filters.  You can either use different size filters (smaller diameter for the inside of the flower, and larger for the outside).  Or you can just cut a few of the ones you have down a little, that way you don't have to buy two different size filters (which is what we did).

First you fold the filter 4 times.  You can do this with two or three filters at a time to make the process go faster.  I did 2 at a time.  3 seemed to be a little too thick by the 4th fold.

First Fold

Second fold
Third fold

Fourth fold
The fourth fold is where you could cut off a strip at the top of the filter to make it smaller for the inside of the flower.  Optional, but not necessary :)

Then we cut the corner at a diagonal.  Make sure you cut the corner that is on the creased side, not the open side.

Then, open the filter back up one fold and cut the two outside corners to make it look like a heart.  The cut you made in the previous step should have made a V shape in the middle of the heart.

Now open the filter all the way up and you should have a filter with scalloped edges.  Repeat these steps with the rest of the 10 filters.

Once you've finished all of the filters, take your wire, and make a loop at the top almost like a candy cane.

Then take your first filter, poke the bottom of the wire through the middle of the filter, slide it all the way up to the loop, and gather the bottom of the filter around the loop.  The filter will close up a lot but that's good.  This is the inside of your flower and you'll want it to cover the wire.

Then to secure that first layer, tape the twisted bottom portion to the wire.  We tried using floral tape, but found that clear scotch tape worked better.  So, it's up to you.

Then just repeat with the remaining 9 layers.  I only put tape on after the first layer, 5th layer, and last layer.   And it should look like this when you're done!

There are lots of things you can do with these.  I've seen them dipped in water colors, food coloring or some other type of ink.  I sprayed one of mine with some spray adhesive and dipped the tips in glitter.

 Hope you all have some fun with these!  They are a great way to add some floral accents around your home or even office that will last! And you can color them for every season :) .  Happy crafting!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

1 Year Anniversary

Today is our 1 year wedding anniversary.  1 year ago today I was lucky enough to marry my best friend, love of my life, and man of my dreams.  We had an amazing weekend of relaxation, incredible food, and getting to spend some time together.  I'm so blessed to have him in my life and I'm so excited to see what the rest of our years together will bring.  Happy anniversary my love!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Girls Night Craft Night

Now that my running multiple times week for training is over, I miss having my girl time.  So Linda and I decided that since we were mildly completely obsessed with Pinterest, we should start a craft night inspired by DIY projects we found on Pinterest.  So I talked to my other friend Jamie, and we all decided to institute a girls night craft night.  This week was our first.  We decided to make these toilet paper roll snowflakes.  It was a fun night of dinner, friends, glue guns, spray paint, and glitter!

First we flattened the TP rolls and cut them into strips

Then we (mostly Jamie) hot glued the pieces together kind of in a flower shape

Once they were dry, Linda and I took them outside and spray painted them.  We used red, silver, baby blue, and white.

After the spray paint had mostly dried, we sprayed them with some adhesive glue, dropped them in a plastic ziplock with some glitter, and shook it up.

We used all different colors.  Gold glitter on red painted snowflakes, blue glitter on silver painted snowflakes...whatever combination we wanted :)  We each got to take home 8, and they were all wonderfully different.  The finished product is so pretty you would never know they came from toilet paper and paper towel rolls!  I can't wait till it's time to decorate for Christmas so that I can hang them!

Homemade Mac n Cheese!

So, as some of you may know, I have recently fallen in love with discovered Pinterest (you can follow me here!).  Since this discovery, much of my time has been spent browsing the different topics.  Well I was perusing the food and drink section one day and came across some recipes for homemade mac n cheese.  Mac n cheese is definitely a classic and most certainly a favorite of John and myself.  You know, the kind with gooey, stringy REAL cheese, and crunch bread crumbs baked to perfection?!  Yeah,...that one.  So, I looked at the recipes.  It's really not so hard!  When I got home we promptly wrote it up on our weekly menu board to have that Friday.  Since it was my first "big" Pinterest attempt, I wanted to document it!  Here we go!!

Step 1: Grate the cheese.  We used colby/jack, mild cheddar, and mozzarella.  You can really use whatever you want, but these were our favorites.  John got the fun task of grating the cheese :)  This is probably the hardest/most time consuming part.  We grated about half of each 1 lb. block.

Step 2:  While he was grating cheese, I took a whole jar of garlic alfredo sauce and poured it into a small pot and set it on simmer.  At the same time, I put the water on to boil for the pasta.

Step 3: While the pasta was boiling, I began to stir in the cheese into the alfredo sauce.  Adding a little at a time while stirring.  Once I got all the cheese in, it was perfect timing for the pasta to be done!  
Step 4: We poured the pasta and the cheese sauce into the casserole dish, mixed it all up, and topped it off with some bread crumbs.  We popped it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  

It turned out so yummy, that I didn't even have time to take pictures before we started devouring it!  Happy eating!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Slow and Steady Won the Race!

Well, at least for me it did!  Linda and I finally completed our half marathon last weekend!  I was so excited to be done, it was an awesome feeling.  Although we were both pretty nervous the day before and the morning of.  We had both picked up our packets on Saturday which included a shirt, our race number to pin on our shirts, and our tracking chips to put on our shoes.  Sunday morning we got there around 7:30 and there were tons of people!  Over 1000 people showed up to run this race.  There was the half marathon, the relay, and a kids 1 mile run (called the scary scamper - cute!).  People came dressed up in all sorts of things since this was a Halloween themed race.  We saw the Jolly Green Giant, a chicken, some bumblebees...very entertaining.  Linda and I were in wave 3 of the half marathon runners.  Wave 3 = slow people wave :)  but that's ok, I wasn't "in it to win it" I was just there to finish.  John and my mom also came to cheer us on.  (Thanks for getting up so early guys!!)  So, the race started, and our wave started about 10 minutes in.  And we were off.  Linda and I stayed together pretty much the whole time, until about 10.5 miles.  She finished shortly after I did.  I had no idea that 13.1 miles would be that much harder than 10 which is what we had run the previous week in preparation.  I'm sure it didn't help that the last half a mile or so was basically all up hill!

Finally I crossed the finish line at 2 hours and 39 min and 35 seconds.  I was so proud that I was able to run the entire thing, not stopping to walk.  That was my main goal.  So overall it was a very successful race.  I'm not sure I'd want to do it again, or if I'd want to try a full marathon (doubtful).  But it was a great experience and definitely something to cross off my bucket list!

Pre Race

Somewhere around mile 6?

Post Race (looking directly into the sun) 
I'll try to post some official race photos when they are put up on the website.  :)