Monday, December 31, 2012

Giveaway Hosted by Let Them Eat Cake!

Happy New Year's Eve everyone!!!

**Off Topic** For my readers: I'll be starting the regular posts series for each day tomorrow (check right sidebar on my blog to see what I'm talking about...if you don't already know!) so stop by and check out the latest outfit post! Also, Wednesday is the first day of The Blog Train Blog Hop! Hostesses are: Angie @ God's Growing Garden, Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures, and myself! Friday I'll be co-hosting That Friday Blog Hop which is hosted by Rebecca @ Let Them Eat Cake & Chrissy @ Lil' Dash of Diva so stop back by then and link up with that blog hop too!!

On to other exciting business now!!!

To celebrate I am getting together with Rebecca @ Let Them Eat Cake and lots of other bloggers to put together a spectacular giveaway for the New Year! Let's get things going shall we?

The giveaway is ONE WEEK long! So you have plenty of time to enter! Be sure to check out all the blogs who have helped put together this awesome giveaway (links after the photo).
I personally contributed 1 month of hosting your 200x200 blog button AND a blog makeover! (Check out my blog makeovers here!)
ENTER HERE! Click the link!
May you enter and win!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

5 Cup Salad

For those of you who LOVE marshmallows you are in for a REAL treat today! This recipe is one that has been around longer than I've been alive! My Grandma Helen (yes, I was named after her!) used to fix this exact recipe up for the holidays...especially Thanksgiving & Christmas...and serve it along with the other yummy foods that go along with the holidays such as turkey/ham, potatoes, dinner rolls, green bean casserole, etc. It has a family favorite and I absolutely plan to make it a full time member of my holidays once Autry & I are married and on our own!

1 cup sour cream
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained (NOT fresh pineapple!)
Only one! Mix together everything in a bowl and chill in the fridge for an hour or more if you can.
~Doubling this recipe (or even more!) is simple...just add 1 cup more of each ingredient. 5 cups of sald = 5 different ingredients! Very simple for those with memory challenges and very tasty too!
~It's best when it's had a bit to soften up the marshmallows, but still tastes like you just made it. AKA best the same day it's made, but still delicious if there are any leftovers the next few days after you make it!

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With...Ribbon

Can you tell that I watched The Sound of Music as a child? :) Well, I just happen to love that movie and I was writing the tile for this post and thought of it...anyway... This Christmas not only did I give goodies to Autry's family back in Mississippi, but I made up packages for all my siblings, parents and grandparents too! (Winter Bucket List #8: Make cookies & treats to send to family.)

Before I share with you all the goodies stuffed inside these 'brown paper packages tied up with string' I wan't to show you how they're wrapped up.

What I Used
white paper doilys
thin green ribbon
brown paper packages
red sharpie marker
hole punch

1. Stuff the bag with all the goodies.
2. Fold the edge of the brown bag over. Fold a little part of the doily. Write who the gift is to on the front of the doily and then set it on top of the folded bag.
3. Use the hole punch and put two holes in the top of the bag to feed the ribbon through.
4. Make sure to cut a good length of ribbon. Feed it through each hole. Make sure it is smooth on the back as you can see in the photo.
5. On the front of the package tie the ribbon to hold it in place. Next tie a bow with the ends of the ribbon tucked behind the knot so they both hang down straight (or do a different type of bow...this is all I really know how to do).

The Goodies Inside
Click on each photo to view the recipes!
I will tell you that everything was quite popular!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Winter Bucket List | Fun Snacks & Christmas Movies!

On Christmas Eve, after we drove around and looked at Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music, we came home to find that momma and daddy had bought a brand new flat screen TV as a family Christmas gift (they did one large gift this year since it was easier).

Everyone was QUITE surprised, me included. We finished mixing up some hot cocoa and then went to our 'movie room' (one whole half of the basement...the TV is in the front and then there are four love seats turned theater style towards it!) and watched The Polar Express. It was quite the perfect ending to a wonderful day!!!

Item #4 on My Winter Bucket List is now complete!

NEW! Blog Hop Coming Next Wednesday!!!

Next Wednesday I will be hositng this brand new blog hop!!!
Get a jump start by checking out & following the hostesses blogs today!
I hope to see you all there!

Winter Bucket List | Christmas Parade

On December 6th I found out that the Christmas parade would be going through the next town over. The one for our town went through the week before and I completely missed it...which upset me...but after being able to go to this one I felt much better! This was item #16: Watch the Christmas Parade downtown!

If you all remember (some of you may not because you are new readers, welcome!) I got engaged December 6th just before the parade in front of this house:

They had lights all over! :) It was SO pretty!
If you want to read more about the Engagement check out this post!

After Autry proposed we sat on the trunk of his car and watch the Christmas parade go by while drinking warm hot chocolate:

In our grey crochet...hat (him) and ear warmers (me)!

Here are photos of most of the cars/trucks which were in the parade:
The first lights of the parade peeping over the hill!
All of the many (and loud) motorcycles.
I REALLY love the American Flags they all had on the back of their bikes.

The Sweetheart Chocolates car all lit up with lights!
(I wrote about visiting the little store here!)

I think this float was one of my favorites! It's the North Pole.

I just had to share this one because of the tree on the back!

And of course Mr. & Mrs. Clause! They were so cute on their sleigh float.
That was my Christmas parade experience for 2012! And I must say that it was absolutely wonderful!!! Next year I plan to watch this parade for sure! :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Winter Bucket List | Cookies For Santa

Christmas Eve night.
The little Santa cup is one momma has had for years!

Item #26 on My Winter Bucket List is now complete! As far as I can remember we haven't always put cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve, but this year we did.... A few days before Christmas momma made up a batch of sugar cookie dough and we cut out shapes and then 'painted' them with an egg and food coloring mix.

The next morning (Christmas Day) we woke up to find the milk gone and part of the red bell cookie eaten. :) I think AJ was the most excited to see that the cookies had been eaten.

Chance Photography

So Autry really spoiled me this Christmas...and my absolute favorite gift was the Nikon Coolpix L810 camera he gave me a few days before Christmas (so I could figure it out and use it on Christmas day when all the family would be here and when the rest of the presents would be ~were~ opened). I absolutely LOVE it and it takes such great photos too! I think Autry likes it almost as much as I do because he's always playing with the settings and snapping photos of things...or me. Usually of me.

Here is one I found when I uploaded all the photos earlier. I LOVE this photo! I don't even know where he took it either cuz there aren't any backgrounds here that look like this as far as I can tell.

Christmas Rice Krispy Treats with White Chocolate

For Christmas I wanted to make something  little different than the regular Rice Krispy Treats (my recipe here!) which I usually make...I wanted it to be fun and different so the kids especially would enjoy it. I gave these treats to all my nieces & nephews (who were old enough to eat them of course!) and to my brother and sisters. They were quite the hit and they all asked if I had made more. They were quite disappointed I only made up one batch.

4 Tablespoons butter
1 10 oz. package mini marshmallows
6 cups rice cereal
2 squares of Almond Bark, vanilla flavor (white)
red & green food coloring

1. In a large pot melt the butter. Add in the red food coloring once the butter is melted. It will take quite a bit to get a really dark pink/red color.
2. Dump the whole package of marshmallows into the butter. Keep the mix stirred. It will take about 3 minutes to melt. The marshmallows will form a lump/clump and then all of the individual marshmallows will melt and be ready for the cereal. This is what it should look like before you add in the dry cereal:
3. Remove the marshmallow mix from the heat and stir in the cereal until it is all covered in marshmallow.
4. Grease a 9x13x2 inch pan. Dump the mix into the pan and mash it down with a spatula.
5. Let the rice krispie's sit for a little bit until they've cooled off and hardened.
6. While the rice krispies are cooling off, melt one square of white chocolate in the microwave. Heat one minute, stir, heat again for one minute. Now it should be almost melted you may need half a minute to make it perfectly smooth.
7. Using the back of the spoon spread the chocolate over the hardened rice krispies.
8. Melt the second square of chocolate in the microwave using the same process as in step 6. Once it's melted add a few drops of green food coloring and stir it up.
9. Spread the green chocolate over the rice krispies. Make sure to get all the places that were missed when you spread the white chocolate.
10. Cut the rice krispies into squares and store in an air tight container or eat them up!

~These are best when served the same day.
~Can be stored at room temp for two days.
~Can be stored in the freezer for several weeks.
This Post Was Shared!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Winter Style | I Heart Presents

Merry Christmas everyone! Yes I am blogging, but it is almost 10pm at night as I write up this short, but promised, blog post! Autry had to work this evening and the rest of the family festivities happened earlier this morning & afternoon so I have little else to do but write up blog posts for the rest of this week! (All Christmas related, of course!)

Anyway, here is the outfit I had on today as we opened presents, visited with family, and had scrumptious foods to stuff our bellies. :)

Red shirt: Old Navy (view in this winter 2012 post & this summer 2012 post!)
Black 'Presents' shirt: WalMart (Miley Cyrus)
Denim Skirt: Made by Me! (tutorial here)
No shoes! I stayed home all day, I did wear socks for a while though...they were Christmassy too!
If I had gone out I would've worn my black boots...which I wear in almost all my Winter Style posts lol.

Winter Bucket List | My Top 10 Christmas Movie Picks for 2012

I absolutely LOVE Christmas movies! I especially like watching heart-warming & sentimental movies during the winter season. There are a lot of Christmas movies I really enjoy, but here are my top 10 for this year's watch list... The movies are in order of titles, not favorites since it is SO hard to pick a favorite with this many movies.

**not responsible for the ratings or the things shared in any of the following movies. I'm merely sharing a list of my personal favorite Christmas movies...that is all.**

Hachi: A Dog's Tale
This movie is about a college professor who adopts an abandoned dog. It is TERRIBLY sad! You must know that going into it. (Rated G)

It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
I just love James Stewart in this movie! It is a Christmas Classic for sure! (Rated PG)
Sarah's Choice
This movie is about a woman who has a wonderful job, boyfriend, and life...and ends up pregnant. It tells her struggle to decide if she should have an abortion or keep the baby. It is a wonderful story, and it is a tear jerker as well.
Silver Bells
This is a story about a man who lost his wife and doesn't feel much like celebrating Christmas. He takes his children to the city for the winter season and meets a woman and the story goes on from there...
The Christmas Card
This movie is where I first learned about It is a lovely movie and one of my personal favorite Christmas movies!
The Christmas Shoes/The Christmas Blessing
Both of these movies go together...and I think there's actually a third called The Christmas Hope. I've not seen that one yet though so I can't tell you for sure one way or the other.
The Heart of Christmas
This is a movie I watched about a week ago and it was so sweet and sad! I really did enjoy it though and it's one that I would definitely say you should watch if you're into touching Christmas movies.
The Polar Express
This is a recent addition to our family's list of movies to watch during the Christmas season, but it is cute and fun & I never really mind watching it. :) (Rated PG)
The Ultimate Gift
I have to admit that this is one of my very favorite movies and I've watched it multiple times. The little girl has cancer and becomes friends with a spoiled rich guy who's uncle has just died. The story has several twists and turns, but it is a great Christmas movie! (Rated PG)
White Christmas
Of course no Christmas is ever complete unless we have watched this movie together as a family. This has been tradition ever since I was really little!
This Post Was Shared!

Merry Christmas!!!

I just LOVE Precious Moments, don't you?! Anyway, MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! I hope you're all with family or friends instead of blogging or pinning or emailing or using any other sort of electric device or internet lol. (Don't worry, I pre-wrote this post!) I hope you all have a wonderful day!! I know I will because this year Autry & I are together on Christmas Day instead of over a hundred miles apart!

Monday, December 24, 2012

{LaDonna's} Fudge

This fudge recipe is one I have used for years now and it is quite popular around here! Everyone loves it and is always excited when I make up a batch. It's super easy, and pretty much no-fail as long as you follow the directions exactly as I have them written out! Anyone could make this addicting desert!

You may wonder why I call it "LaDonna's" Fudge...but it's really because LaDonna is like my adopted mom (through the last year of high school & college) and she taught me how to make this fudge recipe when I was at her house in 2009 for Thanksgiving. I made it again at her house that Christmas and since I've made it here for our family.

1 stick butter
2/3 cup (1/2 a 12 oz. can) evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups sugar
1 regular size package milk chocolate chips**
7 oz. marshmallow cream

**this recipe can be made with any type of chocolate chips: white, milk chocolate, dark, etc. You can even use butterscotch, mint, or peanut butter. Just as long as it's the same size package as listed in the ingredients.**
The mix right after it's started to boil.
1. In a sauce pan melt the stick of butter. Add the vanilla and evaporated milk and then the sugar. Stir constantly until the mix begins to boil on medium heat (7-8 on the knob).

A few minutes into the mix boiling.

2. Once the mix starts boiling set a five minute timer. Stir constantly until the timer goes off. (I usually have to use and oven mitt to keep my hand from being burned because of the steam/heat coming off the mixture.)

3. Remove the pan from the heat. Pour in the chocolate chips and stir right away.

4. Once all the chocolate chips are melted add in the marshmallow cream. Stir the mix until it is well blended.

This is white chocolate fudge.
The other photos were taken during the same process for milk chocolate fudge.

5. Pour into a 9x13 pan greased with butter.

The fudge in the pan waiting to be sliced and eaten!

6. Let the fudge cool for an hour or so before slicing into pieces, or cover with plastic wrap and let it sit out overnight on the counter, or eat it right away!