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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!

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!

 

 

 

3 Thanksgiving Family Activities

We love Thanksgiving because it is a time to get together with family and friends.  For those of you that are young at heart, or have young ones to entertain, it is always fun to incorporate games or activities.  We have learned that the holidays run a bit more smoothly if the kids are happy and entertained, so we have compiled a list of three fun kid-friendly activities for your family to enjoy this Thanksgiving!

Turkey Hunt

This is a fun game that your kids (and maybe even the adults!) will love to play!  I have a feeling that we will be playing this game more than once at our Thanksgiving celebration!

1 – Before your guests arrive, CLICK HERE to print the cards for the game.  Then, cut on the lines.  Keep in mind, it is easier for your little ones to find the turkeys if you use bright colored paper!

2 – Pick one person to be the leader of the game.  This could be either an adult, or an older child.  The leader of the game is responsible for hiding the turkeys for the other players to find, and for keeping score.

3 – You can either have the children look for the turkeys on their own, or put them in pairs.  I prefer to put them in pairs so the older child can help the younger one during their hunt.

4 – Each time a player finds a turkey, they must run their card back to the leader before hunting for more cards.  The leader will be keeping tally of how many turkeys each person (or pair) finds.

5 –  Once all the cards are found, have the leader declare a winner!

 

Turkey Hats

These hats are fun to make, and ADORABLE photo ops!  Did we mention they keep the kiddos busy?  Hallelujah for quiet time when you are trying to prepare for your guests – or just enjoy some adult conversation!  We have included templates for the turkey’s body that you can print, as well as instructions on how to make these cute little hats.

Materials:

-party hat, 1 per person (I got mine at the Dollar Tree.  They did not have solid colors, but since most of the hat will be covered, I didn’t mind!)

-feathers (you could also make your own feathers out of paper, but I picked these feathers up at Wal Mart)

-large wiggly eyes, 2 per person (if the wiggly eyes are a choking hazard for your child, you can draw the eyes)

-orange card stock, 1 sheet will make the beaks and legs for 2 turkeys

-brown card stock, 1 sheet will make the bodies for 2 turkeys

-plain white paper, 1 sheet per person

-crayons

-scissors

-glue

Instructions:

1 – CLICK HERE to download the file for the legs and beaks.  Print this file on orange card stock.  If you do not have orange card stock, you could print on plain white paper and have the children color the legs and beak orange – and let’s be honest, this is one more step to keep them busy!!  Cut out legs and beaks.  Fold the legs accordion style, and fold the beak in half.

2 – CLICK HERE to download the file for the turkey’s body.  Print onto brown card stock.  If you do not have brown card stock, you could print on plain white paper and have them color their turkey’s body.  Older children may have more fun coloring it themselves, so they can give their turkey a more unique look!  Cut out the bodies.

3 – Glue wiggly eyes and beak onto the turkey’s face.

3 – On the plain sheet of white paper, make the turkey’s wings by tracing their hands.  An older child or adult can assist with this step.  After the wings have been colored, cut them out.

4 –  Now that you have all of different pieces of the turkey’s body cut out, glue them onto the turkey.

  • Start by gluing on the body in the middle of the hat.
  • Glue the wings on either side of the turkey’s body.  It works best if you glue the palms onto the hat, but bend the fingers out so that they stick out on either side of the body.
  • Glue the feathers on the back of the turkey, so that the tail feathers stick up behind the turkey’s head.
  • Glue the legs on either side of the turkey’s body, they should frame the person’s face when the hat is being worn.

5 – Once dry, wear your turkey hat and get some super cute photo ops!

**If you have younger children, it is much easier to have everything cut out before they begin the project, then you can help them assemble the pieces.

Thanksgiving Tree

We decided to create a Thanksgiving Tree to remind us of the many good things in our lives!  I have loved watching our tree fill with blessings!  There are two different ways you can use a Thanksgiving Tree this season:

1 – We have gradually been adding leaves to ours leading up to Thanksgiving day.  Each person has been pinning a blessing to the tree at breakfast and at dinner.  On Thanksgiving morning, we will read our slips of paper aloud over breakfast, and kick off our day appreciative of the good things in our lives!

2 –  If you choose to include this in your Thanksgiving celebration, you can have each guest fill out one or more slips upon arrival and pin them on the tree.   Later, you can read these slips aloud (if you fill them out anonymously, you can even turn it into a game and try to guess which person contributed the blessing being read!)

Materials:

– vase

– branches (how many will depend on how full you want your tree to be – I took my vase with me into the yard as I collected branches)

– mini clothes pins

– material for leaves – I chose to use a fabric that had plastic lining

– hot glue gun and glue sticks

– scissors

– white piece of paper

– ribbon to tie around vase (optional)

Instructions:

1 – Arrange the branches in your vase.  I chose to tie a ribbon around my vase for a little extra decoration.

2 – Cut out leaves and hot glue them onto the clothespins.  CLICK HERE  to print a template for the maple leaves that go on the tree.

3 – Cut small slips of paper.  I used long narrow slips, because these would not show behind the leaves once they were pinned on the tree.

4 – Write your blessing onto a slip of paper, fold the slip, and pin it onto the tree.

5 – Watch your tree fill with blessings!

**Another option would be to cut the leaves out of paper and write the blessings directly onto the leaves.  Then you can tie them onto the tree with string.  I chose to use fabric and clothespins so that I can reuse them every year!

We hope you enjoy these suggestions for your Thanksgiving celebration!  We would love to see your pictures if you choose to include these ideas when you get together with family or friends.  Just use the hashtag #2styleavenuethanksgiving on instagram so we can find you!  Wishing everyone an amazing holiday filled with love and laughter!

 

25 Things to do This Fall

The fall season is officially here!  Fall is always extremely busy with our families.  The kids are getting into the swing of the school year, sports teams are starting up, and we are starting to prep for the holidays. Which means it can be hard to fit in quality time with each other.  We have compiled a list of fun, family-friendly activities to help us enjoy the season TOGETHER!  Even if you don’t have any kiddos yet, many of the items on this list can still be fun with friends or a significant other.  We can’t wait to check everything off this list, and share it with you as we go on Instagram!  We challenge you to try to fit in as many of these fun activities too – just click here to print a copy of this fun fall bucket list.

  • Visit a pumpkin patch – This might be our all-time favorite fall activity! Live in the Charlotte area?  Below are some pumpkin patches that have great reviews! 
    • Bush-N-Vine – We have raved about Bush-N-Vine’s fresh produce and berry picking on our blog before, but we also have to brag about their fall festivities!  This is your perfect spot for a fall day excursion!  Enjoy hay rides, pick-your-own pumpkin patches, fresh seasonal produce, food trucks, and a bouncy house!  Check out their calendar here for these festivities!   
    • Hall Family Farm
    • Wise Acres Organic Farm
    • Hodges Family Farm
  • Apple picking – We eat a lot of apples – especially during this time of year when we are making  yummy baked goods!  There is no better way to enjoy the apple season than to go and pick your own!  Check out these two orchards that are close to Charlotte – you will not be disappointed!

  • Fall themed scavenger hunt – Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt?  This is a great way to get the kids up and moving outside.  If you’re up to making the hunt educational, include a science lesson about the changing seasons and why the leaves fall!  We have included a PDF that you can download and print, then just attach it to a brown paper bag and see if they can find everything on the list!  After they fill their bags, have them create a craft with their fall items!  Click here to download your own scavenger hunt document!
  • Paint a pumpkin 
  • Carve a pumpkin – Carving a pumpkin can sometimes be a little intimidating, but we found this amazing site that takes all of the scare out of this activity!  The Pumpkin Lady has over a hundred different carving templates as well as videos teaching you everything you need to know about pumpkin carving. She picks up from the beginning with how to pick the perfect pumpkin!

  • Drink apple cider – If you live in the Charlotte area, our favorite place to indulge in some cider is Windy Hill Cider and Orchards.  During the fall, they always have fun weekend activities ranging from riding in a tractor-pulled wagon, live music, and apple picking!  Not to mention their fresh apple donuts!  Yummm!  Check out their calendar of events here, and pick a fun weekend to visit!
  • Movie night – It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! – This can be done with any fall movie, but Charlie Brown is always a favorite!  We cannot wait for cooler weather so we can host a movie night for our families and friends!  We are going put up a screen and projector in the yard, spread out some blankets, grab some snacks, and welcome in the season!
  • Make smore’s
  • Have a weenie roast
  • Make a pine cone bird feeder – We have been seeing a lot of cardinals around the house in the past two weeks and Emma loves to watch them! So much so, that we decided to make these adorable (and easy to make!) bird feeders and tie them in a tree outside the window in the hopes that they will stick around!  The adorable blog, Happiness is Homemade, offers an easy to follow tutorial.  Click here to get instructions on how to make your own!
  • Hay ride/corn maze – Ok, so we know that nothing can compete with Stars Hollow’s hay maze (Gilmore Girl fans, you get me!), but who doesn’t love a good hay ride or corn maze?  If you are in the Charlotte area, check out this list of places close by that offer one of these fun fall activities!
  • Go on a hike – What better way to get outside, get some exercise, and enjoy the amazing scenery and weather?  We came across the blog, Primally Inspired, that has a recipe for natural tick repellant!  We haven’t tried it yet, but we are definitely going use this on our families when we go for a hike!  Get the recipe here.
  • Tailgate for a football game

  • Make your home smell like fall – There is something that is so homey about the smell of cloves and cinnamon!  Try this easy recipe on your stovetop to fill your home with the scent of fall.
    • one orange, sliced
    • one apple, sliced
    • one lemon, sliced
    • 2 Tbs of whole cloves
    • 4 cinnamon sticks
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 2 cups of water
    • Combine ingredients in a pot, and bring to a boil.  Once the liquid reaches a boil, adjust the temperature to simmer.  You can simmer this for several hours, just make sure you check the liquid level (I usually check in every 30 minutes) and add another cup of water when needed.
  • Make a pot of chili
  • Create a wreath for front door (with the kids!) – Raise your hand if your grandparents told you to go pick up sticks out of the yard when you were a kid?  (Ok, just curious, if this was you, did you actually raise your hand?!)  Ours definitely did, and we aren’t sure if it was that they actually wanted the sticks out of the yard, or if it was because they wanted to keep us busy!  Well, for this craft, you can keep your kids busy picking up sticks AND come away with a really cute door wreath!  We came across an adorable wreath on the blog Yellow Mums, and knew instantly that we had to try to make one!  Click here for the tutorial.  Check back with us on Instagram to see how our own version of this wreath turns out!
  • Tell ghost stories
  • Go on a picnic

Wishing everyone a very happy fall season!

 

Father’s Day Tie – Free Printable

These adorable ties are an easy and quick way to help involve your kids in celebrating Father’s Day!  The kids got a kick out of answering the questions – and we got a good laugh too at some of their answers!  We can’t wait for our husbands to read these tomorrow.  These could be great for table decoration, to tie onto a gift, or to decorate Dad’s neck!  Follow these quick and easy instructions below to make these adorable additions to your family’s Father’s Day celebration.  Check out the instructions and free printables below.

Materials Needed:

  • 1 sheet of craft paper (or your could use a blank sheet of paper and let your child design the tie!)
  • 1 sheet of cardstock
  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • ribbon (the exact length will depend on how you are using the tie – whether you are tying around Dad’s neck, or a gift)

Instructions:


1. Print the PDF file titled “Happy Father’s Day Tie Front” on your craft paper.  Make sure you print this on the BACK of your craft paper.  Click Happy Father’s Day Tie Front to print.

2. Print the PDF file titled “Happy Father’s Day Tie Back” onto your cardstock.  Click Happy Father’s Day Tie Back to print.

 


3. Cut out each tie.

 


4. Use your hole puncher to punch out the small circles on the top of each tie.

5. Have your child answer the questions on the provided lines.  If your child is too small to write, you can help them write their answers – Dad will still get a kick out of reading their answers!


6. Stack the ties, with the craft paper tie on top.  Take one end of your ribbon and run it through the holes on your ties (if you run it through the front of the ties, then wrap around the back and back through the other hole, you will see less ribbon).

 



Voila!  You are DONE!  Super easy and quick way to have the kiddos join in on preparing for Father’s Day!  We hope you all have an amazing day tomorrow!

 

 

Cheers!

TO SOMETHING NEW! Cheers to this new adventure for us and today we are toasting our very first post. We are TWO busy sisters and moms that love pretty and stylish anything. We are pumped to begin this journey of STYLE with you. We hope to make finding your style a little easier by collaborating with our favorite brands to bring you the latest trends for you and your family. If you need a nice gift for a friend, teacher or even a fun weekend project, we have some fun DIY projects up our sleeves. Oh, and don’t forget stylish gatherings. If you need a fun recipe, we hope to deliver. And yes, that includes a fun adult beverage recipe here and there. And when we mean “here and there”, we mean now. We are toasting for goodness sakes!

Moving into summer, what is more fun than a pink drink! This drink is refreshing and pretty. If you love champagne with a hint of fruity sweetness this is a perfect fit for you. You could argue that it’s even healthy with the added fresh strawberries. Check out this easy recipe from a friend of ours below.

  • Chilled champagne (we used Martini & Rossi Asti)
  • 2 cups of clean, fresh capped strawberries
  • 3 TBSP’s of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • Juice from 1/2 of orange
  • A few extra strawberries for garnish

Instructions:


1.  Place strawberries, water and sugar in a blender.  Blend until all strawberries are completely smooth.  *We have used both a blender and a NutriBullet, and we found that the NutriBullet gave a much smoother texture.

2. Place mixture in saucepan and bring to a boil for about two to three minutes, over low heat. Stir the mixture often as this has the tendency to quickly stick to the pan.

3. Cool mixture completely. If you are short on time, you can place the mixture in the freezer or refrigerator depending on your time.

4. Juice 1/2 of an orange, and stir fresh orange juice into the cooled strawberry mixture.

5. Fill the champagne flutes 1/4 full with strawberry/orange juice mixture before filling your glass with your favorite bubbly.

6. Add a fresh strawberry or a slice of orange for a stylish garnish.

Now that we have properly kicked this adventure off with you, don’t forget that you can also catch us on Instagram and Facebook. We hope sharing our style makes your daily style fun and easy. Thanks for checking us out and coming along with us on this journey!