Thursday, December 15, 2011

One Christmas Tradition

One of our Christmas traditions that we have developed of the past few years is giving ourselves (Mr., kiddo, and I) travel experiences instead of toys and things we can just buy ourselves. We put aside the wad of cash we would spend on buying for each other and our little princess and use it for a family vacation instead.
Between the presents Santa and other family members give, my daughter has more than enough come Christmas day. Mom and Dad do not need to add to list, and we know she will appreciate the experiences and memories we are making far longer. So when its time for our gift to her, we put together a package of clues. Clues might be books, maps, related ornaments or stuffed animals, etc. Then she has to guess where we are going. It's so much fun to put together and even better to see her face when she figures it out. She really looks forward to it too.
So far we have gone to Disney World, New York City, and Washington D.C.. This is year 4 that we are doing it and the plan to is to head up to the "great white north" (Canada). Test our toes the international travel so to speak. She'll think its exotic even if it really isn't that far from home.

P.S. I always sneak in a little extra non-vacation present anyway. Shhhh!!

Washington D.C. 2011 (Xmas '10 present)
Disney 2009 (Xmas '08 present)
NYC 2009 (Xmas '09 present)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Tip: Pretty Presents

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

Update: I made it through Thanksgiving without obsessing about Christmas! It was a lovely holiday with family and yummy food.

You betcha' I was up at 2:00 am the next morning though and heading out with the crazy shoppers! Its all about the experience whether its insane or not. I also came home and started decorating my house. Oh.... and the Christmas cards are signed, sealed and waiting to be delivered. Yup, I'm on a roll.

The BEST part though, aside from picking out the perfect present, is WRAPPING it! I've adopted this OCD wrapping behavior from my mother. I currently have several wrapped, but I keep wanted to add or change things. (Yes, I know they will just tear through it and throw away the paper no matter how much work I put into it.) Compared to some pictures I have seen, mine are not nearly as nice, but I also don't have tons of $ to poor into just the wrapping right now. I think a nicely wrapped gift just seems so much more special and you love it before you even open it.

And now for some dream prezzies...

Monday, November 21, 2011


Thanksgiving is fast approaching and I am very excited. It is my favorite holiday; family, food, Macy's parade, football... more food.

As much as I really love Thanksgiving, I feel like I am already focused on Christmas. As my dad said, when I stated the Christmas cards I ordered had arrived in the mail (back in October), "You have to make it through Halloween, Thanksgiving and Pearl Harbor Day first before you can think about Christmas." I can't really follow this rule, as I think about Christmas pretty much all year, but I can take the next 3 days off to really enjoy Thanksgiving. All bets are off Friday when I join the crazies for Black Friday though. (11/25, NOT 11/24 night! That is going too far people!)

I am thankful for so many things this year:
1. My family (immediate and extended, old and young, close and far, and those that are not related by blood but are family none-the-less).
2. We have a nice home to live in.
3. The Mr. and I both have jobs.
4. The Mr. and I just celebrated one great year of marriage.
5. Everyone (family, teachers, friends) who love and help in the growth of my daughter. (It does take a village, whiter you admit it or not.) I am thankful she goes to a wonderful school and has such nice friends.

It is easy to wish for more, newer, better things (both material and immaterial) but it's even nicer to be happy with what you have.

Source: via Angie on Pinterest

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Delicious Table

One of my small joys in life is a well set, pretty table. I get that from my Mama. Whenever I am planning a special meal (or sometimes not) I get out all the good stuff and set the table early (like the night before).

Tonight I perused the internet looking for what I would set my dining room table with for my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! Who doesn't love a day that is centered around family and food?

Now, I don't ever plan on actually getting to set the table for Thanksgiving, since it is always at my parents and my mother does such an amazing job or setting gorgeous tables and making delicious food. So this is my imaginary dream table. 

1st Row (click on the items to be re-directed to those sites):
1. Pottery Barn Flatware - I have an obsession with labeled things. These are simple yet elegant.
2. Crate and Barrel Folia Napkin RingsEven tables need jewelry.
3. Pottery Barn Thanksgiving Bird Salad Plates - Prettiest bird plates I've ever seen. They would add extra pop to my plain white plates I already have.

2nd Row:
1. William and Sonoma Wood Candholders - These would add that earthy, harvest feel to the table. Bonus: They are great all year.
2. Martha Stewart Chocolate Bar Place Card Idea - Chocolate. Need we say more?
3. Pottery Barn Salt and Pepper Shakers - They go perfectly with the flatware.

3rd Row:
1. Pottery Barn Gilt Charger - Just because I <3 chargers.
2. Pottery Barn Harvest Suzani Embroidered Napkins and Tablecloth - These have great color and texture. I would also layer it with a runner. I like layers on my table just as much as my clothes.
3. William and Sonoma Turkey Gravy Boat - If you only use a gravy boat once a year it might as well be a festive turkey!

Clearly after looking at this list I should just got live in a Pottery Barn store.

I also love this darker version - which is very similar to what I pieced together in many ways.

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blog Change II

I'm so flip floppy and always trying to change things and make them better, prettier, more efficient. I got rid of the dynamic view and changed the look. Hope you like it!

Spare of the Moment Fall Photo Shoot

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

One of my favorite things about fall is...

It' a two blog day! (See earlier post about Apple Slump...YUM!)

One of my favorite things about fall is carving pumpkins. I am by no means good at it, but I still think its fun. At the end you get a fun jack-o-lantern and toasted pumpkins seeds. Its a two for one-er.

Morgan went to a farm on a field trip earlier this month and got to pick out a pumpkin. She painted it last weekend with tempera paints, but the paint flaked off. So we hacked it up.

To explain whats going on in the pictures a little better: The pain was flaking off. Morgan drew on the pumpkin with permanent marker. I took a stab at with a steak knife and cut out the top.We scooped the seeds out. I stabbed at the pumpkin some more with the knife and tried to cut out what she drew. We washed off the remaining icky paint. A few mistakes were made (its supposed to be a haunted house if you can't tell), but we had fun.

We took turns taking pictures. Morgan has quite an artistic view when she takes picture I think. (Hers are usually the close-ups.) Next budding photographer?

Last years pumpkin was also a haunted house but we used templates and had special carving tools. I couldn't find where I stashed them this year. I think they got lost in the move.


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Apple Slump Recipe

One of my very favorite fall foods is my Nana's apple slump. The name may not make it sound appealing, but don't let that fool you. It is quite amazing. It is a once a year request. Not because you can't make it any other time of the year, but because it is so rich and heavy that you can only eat it once (well... until the left overs are gone).

I wish I had a picture and the recipe to share with you all, but I have not gotten the secret recipe from her yet. She would probably be more than willing to share, but its one of those things that is more magical when you don't know how to do it yourself and don't have to. It just wouldn't be the same without Nana's love.

What I do know is that it involves a big pot of apple sauce, molasses, and biscuits. The biscuits are cooked in the apple sauce and you top it all off with a big pad of butter. YUM!!!

I was not able to find the exact way my grandmother makes it online, but I did find Rachael Ray's version. I love her magazine and everything I have tried to make from her turns out great, so I would definitely trust her on this one. Her recipe for Apple Slump seemed to have the same concept.

Click the picture to be directed to Rachael Ray's recipe on her site.

Apple Slump Recipe

  • 8 Servings
  • Prep 20 min
  • Cook 30 min
20 30 50


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 3 tablespoons chopped and chilled
  • 2-1/4 pounds gala apples, peeled and cut into eighths
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup whole milk


  1. In a small Dutch oven, melt the 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the apples, then stir in 1/2 cup sugar, the lemon juice and cinnamon. Cover and simmer until the apples are nearly tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon flour and remove from the heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the 3 tablespoons chilled butter, working it in with your fingertips until crumbly. Add the milk and stir to combine.
  3. Return the Dutch oven to medium-low heat and spoon the batter onto the hot fruit to almost cover the surface. Cover and simmer until the batter is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

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