Monday, December 30, 2013

Top Posts of 2013: Blog Hop & Giveaway!


Well, this is IT! 2013 has come to an end.....and oh what a year it has been! One year ago, I had been blogging for just 3 months.....and I was just starting to figure things out. Of course, I still have a long way to go, but what a difference a year makes! 2013 has been a great year for me - I have discovered my voice as a blogger, developed some amazing relationships, and found my niche in the great big blogging world! I am so grateful to all of YOU, my readers, for your fabulous support.....and I can't wait to see what 2014 holds.

But before we move forward, let's take a moment to look back at my TOP POSTS of 2013! Ready for the countdown? Here goes! (Feel free to pin what you like....and then check out what else I have in store for you!!)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday Night Fever #14


Welcome back to another night of Saturday Night Fever! I'm so glad you decided to join us tonight....and I'm so excited to introduce you to our newest co-host: Pamela from Brooklyn Farm Girl! Welcome, Pamela!! I can't wait to see what you bring to tonight's party....(hopefully some yummy ideas for New Year's Eve!)

Last Week's Most Clicked Link Was: 

Crock Pot Crab Dip

Deliciously creamy dip made with 2 different kinds of cheese, imitation crab, and a splash of white wine.
It's simple, it's delicious, and best of all.....it's made in a crock pot! So you can enjoy the party!


If there's one thing that's true about me, it's that I LOVE hosting! And not just in theory. I love having people over to my house, I love thinking about menus and drink options and party decor, I love it when people stay and linger long into the night. It has taken me well into adulthood to realize that hosting is not something most people necessarily enjoy. In fact, I would venture to say that most of my friends and family would prefer NOT to host whenever possible! Which works out well for me!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Baubles & Bows Necklace


A fun, festive necklace made from garland and ribbon....a little something to make for yourself after Christmas....
and perfect for New Year's Eve!


Well.....for better or for worse.....Christmas is over! After months of thinking about it and weeks of preparing for it, the day has come and gone. And now it's on to New Year's! To be honest, this is the first New Year's Eve in a while that we actually have plans...but plans or no plans, there's still always something about the night that seems to call for a little bling! Am I right???

Monday, December 23, 2013

Bailey's Mocha Cheesecake Cups

No-Bake cheesecake cups flavored with Bailey's Irish Cream and a coffee liqueur infused chocolate graham cracker crust.
The perfect dessert for a special occasion....or just because!



Good morning, friends! Well....Christmas is officially 2 days away....are you ready?? I am happy to report that I met my goal of being done with Christmas shopping by Friday. It is now Monday and I have yet to remember something (or someone!) I forgot to shop for. That's a good sign. So now it's on to wrapping and cleaning and making food to take places.....and, if possible, making some space among our overflowing piles of toys for all the new things the kids will bring home. Whew.....so much to think about before Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday Night Fever #13: A Recipe Link Party!



Hey everyone.....it's Saturday night! And that can only mean one thing - time for Saturday Night Fever!! Today was our first official day of Christmas break...yours too? I hope it was a good one! We spent ours making cookies and celebrating my mom's birthday. And now the final countdown begins! Can't wait to see what you bring to tonight's party.....the last party before Christmas!
 
Last Week's Most Clicked Link Was:

Friday, December 20, 2013

Turtle Thumbprint Macaroons

Coconut macaroons topped with Rolos, pecans, and salted caramel sauce. 
Almond Joy meets Turtle...and it's love at first bite!


Having three girls, I've always known that I need to be prepared for LOTS of drama. After all, I was one of three girls, myself....and if there's one thing I remember about growing up with sisters, it's drama!! (Thank goodness for our younger brother's influence, or who knows what would have become of us!) But what I'm NOT prepared for? How early all the drama has started!! And I'm not just talking about day to day family drama....I'm talking about real drama - school and friends and bus rides and mean looks and mean girls....I hear it all!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Snickers Fudge

Creamy white chocolate peanut butter fudge topped with Snickers bars. 
Simply delicious.....and deliciously simple to make!


Way back when I was in high school, long before I was a blogger or a baker or a mother or even an adult, I worked at a group home for adults with disabilities. I was responsible for an insane amount of important stuff, from giving meds to giving baths to getting people dressed and fed and driving them, in a giant van, in their wheelchairs, wherever they needed to go. When I think back on it, it seems almost impossible that I actually spent nearly two years there. Don't get me wrong - I loved it - but I was only in high school! (Not your typical senior year job!)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Peppermint Mocha Magic Bars

7-Layer Magic Bars, all decked out from top to bottom in the delicious flavors of chocolate and peppermint, with just a hint of mocha to top it all off. Pure peppermint mocha deliciousness.


Last night was Greta's kindergarten Christmas concert....and I gotta say....I didn't love it...! I mean - of course I loved seeing her up on stage in her cute little Christmas dress, and I loved seeing her singing and doing all the little hand motions, and I even loved seeing her act goofy with the little boy next to her. But all of that was no match for the fact that we were running late and got to the school minutes before the concert started.....only to find that the entire gym was PACKED with kindergarten and first grade families....meaning we had to stand behind all the other people who had also gotten there late....and two songs later, they were done! DONE!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodle cookie cups stuffed with miniature peanut butter cups and topped with festive red & green m&m's.
A fun and delicious combination....perfect for Christmas!


I have decided that I MUST be done with all Christmas shopping by the time the kids get home from school Friday. Since that will be just 5 days before Christmas (!) I definitely don't think I'm expecting too much of myself! I've been shopping steadily since sometime in November, but my problem is I'm way too much of a browser. Instead of going with a specific list written down on paper, I start collecting things, slowly, as I see them. Which means I overbuy in some areas, underbuy in other areas, and forget about some areas altogether!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Peppermint Mocha Dipped Spoons

Melt-able chocolate mocha dipped spoons with crushed candy canes -
perfect for stirring into coffee, hot chocolate, or steamed milk. Mmmmmmmmmmm.


I have a confession to make. The other day I fed my kids coffee. NOT on purpose.....but I definitely fed them coffee! Here's how it happened. We were watching our neighbor, Patrick, after school. I had promised the kids all kinds of fun.....namely, making and decorating Christmas cookies! After they got a little of their crazy after-school energy out, we got to work! And they helped me with everything from rolling the dough to cutting out shapes to mixing the frosting and decorating the cookies. Every last one of them!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday Night Fever


Welcome back to another week of Saturday Night Fever! We're so happy you are joining us tonight! Are you having a good weekend? If yours is anything like mine, it's crazy BUSY!! I have decided that it's time to finish up all my Christmas shopping....so I've spent the past two days sorting, stacking, shopping, and even starting to wrap some presents. And tomorrow....we are hosting a family get together! So now it's on to cleaning, cooking, and getting in the spirit for our first holiday party of the year. But first.....it's time for a little Saturday Night Fever!!
 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Holiday Sugar Cookie Brittle

Crunchy, crispy sugar cookie brittle decorated with red and green m&m's. A festive and delicious holiday treat!


You may have noticed that ALL of my recipes lately have been desserts!! And there's a reason for that! With all the baking and treat making that December brings.....the LAST thing I feel like doing is making food, too! Sure, I might make the old standbys, like tacos and tuna melts and build your own paninis....but if it requires any level of creativity, forget it! My creative efforts are all focused on holiday treats! Even I know my limits.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chocolate Toffee Pretzels

3-Ingredient Chocolate Toffee Pretzels - quick, easy, and completely addicting!


There's something about having it all together that is really appealing....you know? Being one of those people who always seems to look good, have their hair done, their house clean, their children adorable....? It took me a long time to be okay with the fact that that's just NOT me! I am much more likely to be unshowered with my hair in a ponytail, wearing at least one piece of clothing I wore to bed the night before.....and I've long since given up the battle with my kids! But...I have to admit...I still like to fake it!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

White Chocolate Ting-a-Lings

Crunchy peanuts and chow mein noodles, smothered in white chocolate and decorated with festive red, green & white sprinkles. A salty-sweet, crunchy treat!


So I mentioned that I had some friends over for Christmas treat making this past weekend.....but did I mention that we made 17 different kinds of treats between the four of us?!? Depending on who you are and how much you like being in the kitchen, that probably sounds either amazing.....OR absolutely dreadful! But between breakfast and lunch together and Christmas tunes and good conversation, the day ended up feeling like a lot of fun.....despite the fact that it was a lot of work!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gingerbread Buckeyes

Gingerbread Buckeyes combine traditional creamy buckeye filling with crunchy gingerbread cookies for an irresistibly delicious holiday treat!


Only 15 days until Christmas.....one of the most wonderful days of the year!! Are you excited? Are you anxious? Are you ready?? I've been making a concerted effort this year NOT to freak out about Christmas prep or Christmas shopping or what I am or am not doing to make the most of the season (am I being creative enough? thoughtful enough? making it feel special enough for the kids?) Instead, I am trying to focus on doing the little things we always do at this time of year - decorating the tree, putting up the stockings, welcoming Cubby the elf, making Christmas treats, decorating sugar cookies, looking at Christmas lights, reading Christmas stories, snuggling on the couch under a warm blanket.....

Monday, December 9, 2013

Awesome Christmas Gift Idea: KIC Mount


The KIC Mount is a magnetic iPad cover that allows you to mount your iPad to a variety of surfaces while working!
An AWESOME gift idea for anyone on your list!


Hey everyone! I'm so excited to be sharing this AWESOME last minute gift idea with you today! I don't know about you....but I still have SO MUCH Christmas shopping to do! I do the same thing every year - I start out strong and spend November feeling like I'm ahead of the game.....and then December comes, and I realize how many people I still have to buy for! Time to kick it into high gear!!

Mint Cocoa Krispie Treats

Cocoa Krispie treats loaded with ooey gooey peppermint marshmallow and topped with pepperminty chocolate....a mint chocolate lover's dream!


Hello, Friends! Happy Monday! I hope you enjoyed your weekend as much as I did. Funny....I went into it feeling less than thrilled with our plans....but by the end of it, it turned out to be one of the best weekends I've had in a while! It's amazing how some good time with good friends can completely change the way you feel. And when it comes to good friends, I'm one of the luckiest girls I know!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saturday Night Fever


Happy Saturday, Everyone! So glad you are joining us on this COLD COLD night! How's the weather where you are? It is a measly 14 degrees here tonight....perfect weather for snuggling on a blanket and having some fun on Pinterest!
Can't wait to see what new deliciousness you bring to the party!

Friday, December 6, 2013

3 Holiday Coffee Creamers

3 delicious holiday flavors - eggnog, gingerbread, and vanilla mint
the perfect way to add some holiday cheer to your favorite coffee or hot cocoa! 


Whew.....it's Friday! And I have nothing planned for tonight but relaxing on the couch and probably going to bed early, while Jorden visits an old childhood friend who is in town from Washington, D.C. It's funny....just yesterday I had breakfast with one of my old childhood friends who I haven't seen in over a year! 'Tis the season, I guess....for reconnecting with old friends!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Cards from Cardstore!

Today is the eve of St. Nick.....and excitement levels could not be higher around here! Ever since our elf, Cubby, came back from the North Pole on December 1st, the girls have been buzzing with anticipation! They've been asking me endless questions about how many days till St. Nick....how many days till Christmas....how many days till Christmas break. And then, just yesterday, they started taking the questions deeper. Who is St. Nick? How is he related to Santa Claus? Why does he bring us presents? And....uh-oh! I didn't actually know any of the answers......!

All I know is that, ever since I was a little girl, St. Nick has come every December 5th and filled our stockings full of nuts and candy and fruit and little presents. But that's all I really know! Because, it turns out, St. Nick is not really an American tradition. It's an old German tradition that somehow made its way to Wisconsin. And the truth is....I'm probably not the only one who celebrates it but doesn't really understand it!

It got me thinking.....about all the different ways Christmas is celebrated around the world! Have you (or your kids) ever wondered? Well, Cardstore has come up with a really fun and interactive way for you to find out! Curious?? Click on the graphic below and scroll through.....it will only take a minute and I PROMISE you'll learn something new! (Then be sure to stop back here for the best part!)

http://www.cardstore.com/christmas-around-the-world

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Eggnog Dip

All the flavors of eggnog in a deliciously creamy dip! 
Perfect for dipping pretzels, cinnamon sugar chips, candy canes, or just a spoon....why not!?


I get a lot of questions about what I do with all the sweet treats I am constantly making....and rightfully so! Most of the time, the things I make for the blog do not have a real destination. I am not making them for a party or a gift (although I will often re-make them for "real life") and so the finished product ends up finding a home on my counter, in my fridge, and eventually.....in my mouth! Unless, of course, I can move it along before that happens.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Eggnog Monkey Bread

Nutmeg-spiced monkey bread with a rich and creamy eggnog drizzle. 
Christmas breakfast has never been more delicious!


I don't know about you....but for me, eggnog is an essential part of the Christmas season. I love having a glass while I'm decorating the tree....or making cookies....or watching Christmas movies. And usually one glass turns into more than one, because I keep going back for little sips and half-pours until I've definitely had two full glasses. Or maybe (definitely) more. It's just so good! And creamy! And addictive! So when we put our tree up this past weekend, I knew that some eggnog would be in order. And along with eggnog, I knew that some eggnog treats would be in order. After all, what's Christmas without eggnog??

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Brandy Slush

Delicious brandy slush mixed with ginger ale and fresh cranberries....a beautiful, bubbly, and festive holiday beverage!


Happy Monday-after-Thanksgiving! Have you recovered yet?? Just as I suspected, our Thanksgiving week was busier than ever! And no, we have not fully recovered. We did get our fall decor taken down and our Christmas decor up (hooray!) and we did clean our fridge out of some of the leftovers from the week. But....somehow, in the midst of the holiday week, Ellia caught a little flu bug and has been down for the count ever since! Poor girl. The good news? She did still have LOTS of fun with her cousins who were here visiting.
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