Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Photo Recap~ One of the Best EVER! :)


As I noted in the title, it was one of our best yet!! It started with a day of shopping, wrapping, and decking the halls.. followed by Christmas Eve filled with baking, Christmas movies, and the BEST Christmas Eve mass I've ever attended... a great Christmas Eve dinner celebration with Evan's family.. Christmas morning with the two of us.. and a great Christmas Day with my family.

Here are some snapshots from our last few days decorating and celebrating! 

 Yes, Evan went to three Starbucks this morning to get his coffee and my green tea lemonade :)

My favorite songs of the season :)

Naughty or Nice Glasses (Definitely Nice!)

Wrapping lots of presents!

Waiting for Santa?

We put a little tree in the den.. and here is a glimpse of the 1/2 finished mudroom (Still need to install slate tile flooring!)

I got Evan a wet saw for our upcoming bathroom renovation.. :)

And he got me the Pottery Barn bath fixtures I've been anxiously awaiting!

(Can you guess what our next project is?)

Tucker was 'tuckered-out' in no time!

 Really, really sleepy! So cute.

Our happy little family!

Merry Christmas, Love, & God Bless!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Treats!

Here are my two favorite Christmas treats!
1) Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/4 Cup Flour
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
24-36 Mini-Peanut Butter Cups

- Creme butter, peanut butter, and both sugars
- Beat in egg and vanilla
- Add flour, salt, and baking soda
- Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place in lined mini-muffin tins
- Bake 8 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees
- While cookies are baking, unwrap peanut butter cups
- Remove from oven and promptly push a peanut butter cup in the center of each cookie

2) Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Cake (Courtesy of Anne Thornton's Dessert First)

1 Stick + 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 2/3 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate
2 9-Ounce Packages of Chocolate Wafer Cookies

3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup
1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate

8-Cups Premium Vanilla Ice Cream
1 Cup Coarsely Crushed Red & White Peppermint Candies
1 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract

For the crust: Cut the butter into pats and add to a medium heatproof bowl along with the chocolate chips. Place the bowl over 1 inch of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Once the butter and chocolate start to melt, stir to combine and remove from the heat. Finely crush the chocolate wafers in a food processor until it becomes a fine meal. In a large bowl, combine the wafer crumbs with the melted chocolate and blend until the crumbs are moistened. Reserve a heaping 1 cup crumb mixture in a small bowl. Press the remaining crumb mixture in the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch diameter springform pan with 3-inch high sides. Freeze 1 hour.

For the glaze: In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and whisk until it melts. Set aside to cool until room temperature, about 1 hour.

For the filling: Quickly mix the ice cream, crushed candies and extract in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until blended. Put half the ice cream mixture onto the frozen crust and spread out. Evenly scatter the reserved cookie crumbs over the ice cream in the springform pan, pressing the crumbs down gently. Pour half of the chocolate glaze over the cookie crumbles and ice cream. Freeze for about 3 hours.

When you about ready to repeat the layers, place the glaze back over low heat, just until pourable, but not warm. Remove the springform pan from the freezer and repeat with the remaining ice cream and glaze. Place back into the freezer for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Remove the cake from the freezer about 20 minutes before serving for easy removal of the springform sides. Release the pan sides and transfer the cake to a platter.

Cook's Note: Place your chef knife or your cake knife in a pitcher of warm water to help ease the cutting of your cake.

Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do!! :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

~My Christmas List~

Below are my Christmas lists :)

First is the list I sent to my family and my in-laws. Siblings typically spend about $50 per person on each other. Below are some gifts in that range that I would LOVE to have!

(My parents got us a garage door opener for our newly built garage! It is being installed this morning... so excited!!)

From Evan I asked for some new accessories for the half-bathroom downstairs.. and that he install them for me :)

And on my WISH list? A new, white AWD Honda Pilot :)

It would be very nice for driving in the snow!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Casual Christmas Outfit

Christmas is super casual with my family! We are usually in our PJ's 'til noon... but this is the comfy, cute outfit I'd love to change into to play scrabble with the sibs, cuddle in front of the fire with the hubs, go on a walk w/the pup, drink wine w/my mom, and sneak Christmas cookies w/my dad :)

Sweater, jeans, scarf = J.Crew
Shoes = Toms
Bag = Longchamp

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Office Makeover - Desk Update!

Remember my plan for my office makeover I posted about here? WELL, it is VERY slowly (but surely!) coming along. The biggest piece of the room, the DESK, is now in place!

And I'm very proud to say - I made the desk MYSELF!! :) 
(with the help of my awesome dad, of course!)

We had the major cuts done at Home Depot...

But some of them I did myself :)

I brought it home to make sure it fit!
(I planned the dimensions of the desk in order for it to fit perfectly in this space!)

And primed and painted.. I decided to paint it black to seamlessly match my bookshelves :)

Now I just need to finish decorating the rest of the room!

I LOVE how it turned out! :)
Not to mention the total cost of the desk was less than $75!! woo hoo!

I will post more updates on this room in the near future!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An Early Christmas Present (or two!)

First, my company gave me one of those vouchers to get a giftcard from a select list of companies. I redeemed mine for a $100 giftcard to Williams-Sonoma!! I'm a HUGE Martha Stewart fan, so I splurged on this $75 book, which I absolutely adore.. (Something I never would have bought w/my own money!) And I got these cute candy cane tapers for our Christmas celebration :)

Next, after dealing with a couple of leaky fixtures and plumbing issues, we ended up buying new toilets for all the bathrooms. It's ridiculous how excited I am about these :) They actually feel like presents too!

Expensive books and toilets, ah, I guess this is growing up! :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Marshmallow Wreath!

Here is one of my projects from last Christmas - a yummy Marshmallow wreath!

Here's what you need: a styrofoam wreath, toothpicks, ribbon, and a whole LOT of Marshmallows! The process I found to work the best was to stick about 10 toothpicks into the wreath a time and then to push the marshmallows onto the wreath. (Also, you only put the marshmallow's on the tops and side of the wreath, the back is flat!)

Too bad it didn't last a whole year... Guess I'll just have to make another one!

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