Monthly Archives

December 2018

Peace Out 2018, Hello 2019

Can you believe another year has come to an end?  It’s time to reflect on the last 12 months, make plans and set goals for the upcoming year.  We agree that 2018 has been the longest and yet the fastest year of our lives, if that even makes sense. We have been through the trenches this year with the unexpected death of our dad in February. For us, it’s been a year of tremendous sadness, growth, and thankfulness. Sadness and growth because we are learning our “new normal” without this man who was one of the centerpieces to our family.  Thankfulness because we were reminded of the true meaning of love as our family and friends have given abundantly in our time of sadness through prayer, hugs, cards, and calls/ texts. We are so grateful!

To say we are ready to say “peace out” 2018 is an understatement, but we are ready to kick 2019 off the right way! If you haven’t thought about your resolutions yet, there’s still time and we are here to help get you started. Here are a few things to consider when setting your New Years resolutions.

  • Start small. If you set achievable goals, you will be more likely to stick with it.
  • Be specific on what you’re trying to achieve so that you don’t lose focus. We are both guilty of getting sidetracked and losing sight of the what we are trying to achieve.
  • Set a start date. It helps to have that hard date in mind as it always mentally prepares us to commit. It doesn’t matter if it’s January 1st or February 1st, just pick a date that works for you and GO FOR IT! You’re less likely to push it off to next week.
  • Write your resolutions down. If you have your resolution or goal in front of you, you are more likely to follow through.
  • Have fun! If you keep it lighthearted and have fun along the way, you are more likely to stick with it!

Now that you have a few tips to help you get those 2019 resolutions set, let’s bring in the new year and be as productive as we can.  Thank you for coming around this year as we have embarked on this blogging journey. It’s been a wonderful experience and we can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for us!

 

Christmas Cocktails

Christmas is positively the most wonderful time of year! Our families are in full holiday mode and the kids are bouncing off the walls with the anticipation of Santa. Their excitement is contagious and it’s hard not to feel the magic of Christmas, especially when family and friends are around.  Our family has enjoyed a special holiday cocktail on Christmas Eve for the last few years. It adds a little pizazz to the festivities and well, it’s just fun!

So how do we decide on the perfect cocktail? Research of course!  It’s a tough job, but you need to try a few to make sure it’s a crowd pleaser, right?! The gals like fun and the boys enjoy the heavier traditional favorite – eggnog. This year we may just mix it up a bit as we have found several drinks that will have everyone jolly. We will start with sophisticated and fruity and make our way down to the heavier eggnog.

First up, the Champagne Cocktail. While visiting a local specialty store, Belmont’s Specialty Foods, a friend and staff member highly recommended Gilded mixers.  I was told that it is great with your favorite vodka and mixes nicely with champagne.  Gilded mixers are locally made in Charlotte, fresh, and comes in a variety of flavors. Of course we tried it both ways and it’s too good not to share. If you aren’t local to the Charlotte area, we have you covered and you can make your own Blueberry Lavender Simple Syrup.  Click here for a great Blueberry Lavender Simple Syrup recipe we found on the amazing blog, Natural Fit Foodie

Blueberry Lavender Champagne Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 ounces Gilded Blueberry Lavender-Aid cocktail mix or Blueberry Lavender Simple Syrup
  • 4 ounces Prosecco

Vodka Blueberry Lavender Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces Titos Vodka
  • 3 ounces Gilded Blueberry Lavender-Aid cocktail mix or Blueberry Lavender Simple Syrup
  • 3 ounces Sparkling Water

Mix in shaker and pour over ice.

Moving on to a nice half way point between the fruity beverage to the heavier eggnog. We share the Sugar Cookie Martini. It actually does remind you of a sugar cookie, but with an adult twist.

Sugar Cookie Martini

Ingredients:

  • White frosting and holiday sprinkles for decorating rim
  • 3 ounces Vanilla Vodka
  • 1.5 ounces Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 1.5 ounces milk

Line rim of glass with thin coating of white frosting and dip in holiday sprinkles. Pour vanilla vodka, butterscotch schnapps and milk into ice-filled shaker, and shake well. Pour into sprinkle rimmed cocktail glasses.

Easy Eggnog

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces Spiced Rum
  • 1.5 ounces Bittermilk No. 7 Gingerbread Old Fashioned
  • 3 0ounces Whole Milk

Pour Spiced Rum, Bittermilk, and milk into ice-filled shaker, and shake well. While choosing the liquor for this drink, I was told that Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum has a nice vanilla note and is a good match for eggnog.

Any one of these cocktails would be a fun and festive add to your holiday gathering. And please don’t hesitate to comment and share one of yours. We promise we will give it a try!

Thank you for stopping by and we hope that you and yours have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Alta High Fashion – A Boutique That Meets Your Every Need

Isn’t it amazing when you find a store that has quality pieces for every occasion?  We discovered just that when we visited Alta for this first time last week.  Alta is a high-end fashion retailer located in Rock Hill, SC that can outfit you from head to toe, and have you walking away with the cutest gifts!  The owner was nice enough to let us do a quick try-on session while we were there.  Unfortunately mom life stepped in, and we had to cut it short to pick up the kids.  Trust us when we say the selection is insane, so we were only able to scratch the surface of what this boutique has to offer!

Cute outwear is a must have this season and Alta does not disappoint when it comes to options. We were so excited to find this Teddy Bear Coat in several colors. This camel beauty is so soft and is a perfect length to keep you warm when wearing anything from jeans to dresses. If the weather calls for something lighter, this sherpa lined faux suede vest is the perfect stylish addition to keep the chill away.

Alta has their own line of clothes that is something that you want to look for when walking through the doors. If you are searching for something fun to wear to the office, brunch or party, look for the Erma’s Closet line. We had the opportunity to get a sneak peak of some of the newly released designs from this line. The cut and bright colors of these fun dresses is flattering for all shapes and you can’t help but turn heads when you walk through the door.

Did you say holiday party? We tried these holiday pieces we didn’t want to take off. As you know, plaid is one of the favorite patterns for this holiday season. Look lovely when you pair this blue plaid poncho (also available in red) with jeans or even a skirt. The best part – velvet trim!  We love all things soft this season and we are excited for this velvet top!  Velvet is such a classic material and when it’s a smokey silver, you just want to ring in the New Year with that special someone.

When talking outfits, we can’t leave out cute accessories! You will find a wonderful selection of accessories ranging from rings, earrings, necklaces to handbags. You may walk the boutique looking for something for yourself, but don’t be surprised if you leave with something for your gal pal too. You can purchase these looks by visiting Alta’s online boutique.

Thank you for stopping by and we hope you have a great week!

 

 

 

Big Daddy’s Bourbon Pecan Pie

To make this blog post even more special, Karrie is wearing our Grandmother’s apron she always wore during the holidays.

Isn’t it amazing how the holidays can trigger a memory with a song, a place or a taste? Growing up we were one of those families that kept the same tradition year after year.  Our big extended family lived within 10 minutes of either grandparents’ house, so needless to say our holiday gatherings were crowded, loud, and full of love and laughter.  If those gatherings involved a meal, a pecan pie was always included! If you haven’t had pecan pie before, there’s still time to add this to your holiday menu. Not only does it taste amazing, it’s super easy to make!

Pecan pies weren’t just part of our holiday menu, it was part of our dad’s holiday routine. As children, we would wake to the sweet smell of dad cooking pecan pies each morning for up to three weeks prior to Christmas.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to have any pie for breakfast unless there was one that didn’t pass his inspection.  You see – our dad was in sales and for the last thirty years or so it was his tradition to bake and deliver pecan pies to his friends, family, and clients. It wasn’t just a few pecan pies made each year, it was dozens upon dozens. He would cut the pecans and put the pie boxes together the night before baking. Then, Dad would wake around 4:00 AM to begin baking the deliveries for the day. Dad loved doing this for his friends and his friends loved receiving them.

The original recipe was shared by our Grandma Wilson, but dad added a little kick – Kentucky Bourbon.   We did make a slight change as one of the ingredients, Green Label Karo Syrup, can be difficult to find these days.  We adjusted by substituting  ½ cup of light Karo Corn Syrup and ½ cup of dark Karo Corn Syrup in lieu of the 1 cup of green label Karo Corn Syrup. Don’t fear, it turned out great!

We included a separate recipe for those of you that prefer maple syrup to corn syrup.  Both pies are delicious, the only difference being that the maple syrup recipe tastes a little sweeter.  Find both recipes below!

BIG DADDY’S BOURBON PECAN PIE – ORIGINAL RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 unbaked deep dish pie crust – We use the ready made crusts by Pillsbury Pet-Ritz because they are so good and it’s easy!
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • ½ stick butter (melted)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup green label Karo Corn Syrup – Or substitute 1/2 cup Karo light corn syrup and 1/2 cup Karo dark corn syrup.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon – We add 3 tablespoons to give it a bit more bourbon flavor. However, it’s still amazing if you only add 2 tablespoons.

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Gently poke holes in the bottom of pie crust with a fork – careful not to poke holes in pie pan.

  • Coarsely chop the pecans. Some recipes don’t call for chopping the pecans, it’s just preference. 
  • Spread chopped pecans over the bottom of your pie crust.
  • Melt cubed butter in microwave or stove top. For the sake of time, we put the butter in a covered microwave safe dish until melted. Let the butter cool before adding to the other ingredients.  Set aside.
  • Slightly beat eggs and set aside.

  • Measure the remaining ingredients and mix in one bowl.
  • Stir cooled butter into mixture.

  • Add eggs to mixture and stir.  Once mixture has settled, use a spoon to remove any egg pieces that float to top of bowl.  After years of making these pies, Dad realized that by eliminating these, the pies were prettier.  If these are left in the mixture, they will float to the top during cooking and make dark, burnt spots on top of the pie.
  • Pour mixture over pecans.  Pecans will rise to the top.
  • Place pie in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. If the pie seems a bit loose, cook pie until firm.  You can tell if it needs to cook longer by gently shaking the pie.  If the pecans shift, and the pie does not seem firm, cook for another 5 minutes and test again. Tip: If you notice the crust is becoming too brown, cover with a piece of foil for the remainder of time.

 

BIG DADDY’S BOURBON PECAN PIE – MAPLE SYRUP RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 unbaked deep dish pie crust – We use the ready made crusts by Pillsbury Pet-Ritz because they are so good and it’s easy!
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • ½ stick butter (melted)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon – We add 3 tablespoons to give it a bit more bourbon flavor. However, it’s still amazing if you only add 2 tablespoons.

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Gently poke holes in the bottom of pie crust with a fork – careful not to poke holes in pie pan.
  • Coarsely chop the pecans. Some recipes don’t call for chopping the pecans, it’s just preference. 
  • Spread chopped pecans over the bottom of your pie crust.
  • Melt cubed butter in microwave or stove top. For the sake of time, we put the butter in a covered microwave safe dish until melted. Let the butter cool before adding to the other ingredients.  Set aside.
  • Slightly beat eggs and set aside.
  • Measure the remaining ingredients and mix in one bowl.
  • Stir cooled butter into mixture.
  • Add eggs to mixture and stir.  Once mixture has settled, use a spoon to remove any egg pieces that float to top of bowl.  After years of making these pies, Dad realized that by eliminating these, the pies were prettier.  If these are left in the mixture, they will float to the top during cooking and make dark, burnt spots on top of the pie.
  • Pour mixture over pecans.  Pecans will rise to the top.
  • Place pie in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. If the pie seems a bit loose, cook pie until firm.  You can tell if it needs to cook longer by gently shaking the pie.  If the pecans shift, and the pie does not seem firm, cook for another 5 minutes and test again. Tip: If you notice the crust is becoming too brown, cover with a piece of foil for the remainder of time.

 

DOWNLOAD A RECIPE CARD HERE!

 

We hope that you love this pie as much as we do. This is one that will always bring back many memories for us.

Thank you for stopping by and wishing your family a wonderful holiday season!

 

 

 

Elf on the Shelf Calendar 2018

Christmas is one of those times that we get see a glimpse of of magic through the eyes of our children.  This is one of the many reasons we love this season!  Now, there are so many different ways to make the holiday even more special, and the creation of the Elf on the Shelf is one of them!  In our families, we try very hard to teach our children the gift of giving this season.  We have implemented this spirit of giving into our Elf on the Shelf tradition – not only is it fun for the kids, but it also gets them excited about helping others, and being grateful for the things they have been blessed with.  We have created this calendar in the hopes that it will make this Elf on the Shelf easier for all you parents out there!  This time of year can be hectic – we get it!  So moving your elf can go from a fun idea, to an extra point of stress as we busy parents try to come up with different ideas each day – or even just remembering to move the thing!  Hopefully this calendar will help make this tradition fun for the whole family!

Scroll to the bottom of this post to download your own copy of our calendar!

Day 1: Elf arrives with Christmas letter and gift.

Day 2: Elf is reading the story of Jesus’ birth and has an activity that you can do with your child.

Day 3: Elf builds a tower out of canned goods with a note to deliver them to a charity of your choice.

Day 4: Elf is making a mini paper chain to countdown to Christmas.  You can make a paper chain with your child to hang in your house!

Day 5: Elf zip-lines with other stuffed friends.  Elves at Play is a great purchase to help with accessories!  It includes 60 ideas, including glacier grips, candy cane cable, a snowflake swing, and more!  Purchase it from Amazon here.  If you do not have this kit, you can always use ribbon, fishing line, or string for your zip-line.

Day 6: Elf replaces your stockings with underwear – this is sure to get the kids giggling!

Day 7: Elf suggests taking a meal to an elderly relative.  My grandmother’s favorite meal is a Happy Meal, and the kids love it too, so it is a win-win!

Day 8: Elf wraps toilet paper around the Christmas tree.

Day 9: Elf is playing photographer and is taking pictures of the other toys wearing fun masks and using fun props!  Amazon as a super cute set that includes 31 pieces for only $7.99!  Click here to purchase!  These will be super cute to reuse at your holiday parties!

Day 10: Everyone loves to receive a compliment!  Elf is filling out a compliment card for your child, and has included a stack for you and your child to fill out for family members to deliver.

Day 11: Elf makes a streamer “cage” by zigzagging streamers back and forth in front of the door that the child has to break through to leave their room in the morning!

Day 12: Elf delivers a bouquet of flowers (like daisies), along with a sheet of Bible verses, and instructions.  The child is meant to cut our the Bible verses (click here to print the verses we are using), tie them to a flower, and pass them out at a local store (like a Wal Mart or grocery store) to people as they enter or exit.  We heard about a child doing this years ago, and couldn’t wait to have our children do this!

Day 13: Elf is having a dance party with the other toys.

Day 14: Elf is cooking, and has left our recipes and ingredients for you and your child to make cookies!  Once they have cooled, package them and deliver some yummy treats to family and friends!

Day 15: Elf is “FaceTiming” with another elf friend, and leaves instructions for your child to FaceTime a relative that lives far away.

Day 16: Elf is decorating one of the trees in ceramic village.

Day 17: Elf is eating a donut, and has left some donuts and fruit out for a breakfast treat!

Day 18: Elf plays princess dress-up with the other princess dolls.

Day 19: Elf is eating popcorn and is watching a Christmas movie, and leaves popcorn and a new Christmas movie out for a family movie night.

Day 20: Elf is building a house out of Legos or blocks, and leaves instructions to pick up some donations for the local Ronald McDonald House.  This is a wonderful organization that houses sick children and their families as they undergo treatment.  Click here for a list of items they request to be donated, or click here to find your local Ronald McDonald House for a specific wish list needed in your area.

Day 21: Elf draws silly faces on the glass of picture frames with a dry erase marker.

Day 22: Elf is dressed to go shopping, and has a shopping bag and a list of items needed at a local nursing home.  Most nursing homes have a list of items they need, so you can call a nursing home in your area to find out any specific needs.  While there, have your child sing some Christmas carols to some of the residents you see!

Day 23: Elf is playing a board game with some other toys.

Day 24: Elf has his bags packed and has written a goodbye letter to your child, letting them know how proud he is that they have embraced the gift of giving this holiday season!

PRINT YOUR OWN COPY HERE!

Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas season!  We can’t wait to see your Elf on the Shelf ideas on social media!  Thanks for stopping by!