Friday, November 29, 2013

Christmas Cookie Guide Announcement!!

Hooray, hooray, the Christmas season is upon us!!

Thanksgiving 2013 is in the books, and most households are already trimming their trees and decking their halls! I for one am right there with them! Christmas decorations officially came down from the attic last night, but that's not to say bits of Christmas haven't been gracing our kitchen for weeks :)

Beginning Sunday, December 1, I'll be kicking off a special Christmas Cookie Guide series! 


I am giddy about diving headfirst into the Christmas season this year. During the Holidays my mom always gave a gift from the kitchen; and I think it's a fabulous tradition, one I hope to continue by gracing our loved ones with many cookies. 

Fun things to expect? Go-to holiday cookie recipes - cookie & holiday baking packaging ideas - free printables for hosting your own Christmas Cookie Exchange - creative ways to get your kids in the kitchen - and a few top-secret events I hope you'll come back to see!

Now, go mark your calendars for Sunday's first Christmas Cookie Guide post!
I'm not just saving the best for last, come back Sunday as I'll be sharing my latest Oreo creation!

***

Looking for immediate Holiday inspiration? Check out my Christmas Pinterest board and Elf on the Shelf board! Lots of busy mama and toddler-friendly ideas! Stick with me, I've got you ladies covered this season. 

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful.

For the wild toddler who likely snuck into my bed last night.
For the husband who loves us unconditionally.
For our families, both near and far.
For our God is who is so good. 

Today, we'll watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. We'll have a feast larger than we need. We'll laugh with family and, realistically, field toddler tantrums. We'll give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. We'll prepare our hearts for the advent season.

I hope you're surrounded by loved ones today. I'll be back tomorrow with an exciting Christmas announcement, but for now I'm going to immerse myself in some Harvest Munch, turkey and lots of family.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to Create a Festive Thanksgiving Kid's Table

This Thanksgiving is going to look a bit different for our family. You see, we’ve been blessed by my Brandon’s work in years past for the chance to travel  to Nashville for Thanksgiving. But Big Retail has won out this year, and Brandon’s schedule is blacked out with no exceptions. 

For us this meant making our holiday trip to Middle Tennessee a few weeks ago and that for the first time ever Jackson will be home for Thanksgiving.

Since we are usually in Nashville for Thanksgiving, I’ve never planned or prepped anything to entertain Jackson as friends and family who rarely see him are usually chasing him around while I sit and relax. Not only is J much more active this year, but it takes much more to keep him entertained.

Every parent knows you cannot go into a Holiday event unprepared. So, it's time to pull out the last minute seasonal treats to distract entertain the kids! I've adapted one of my Christmas recipes for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I think your families will love it!

My White Chocolate Harvest Popcorn Munch is a hit no matter the season. With a few basic ingredients and seasonal sprinkles, you've got a treat that will satisfy the sweet and salty tooth.

Harvest Munch Directions:

Grab your ingredients: two bags of white popcorn, pretzel pieces, candy corn, sprinkles and one bag of Wilton's white chocolate melts. To begin, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Pop your popcorn and pour into mixing bowl. Add in pretzels and candy corn mix; set aside. Melt your chocolate in the microwave, stirring every thirty seconds to keep chocolate from over-cooking. Pour the melted chocolate over the popcorn mixture and stir in with a rubber spatula.* Pour popcorn mixture onto cookie sheet in a single layer and dash with your sprinkles. Let the popcorn munch set and then break into pieces, package and share with loved ones!

*Be certain not to mix the chocolate with the popcorn too long or the chocolate will set before you add sprinkles.



Throw in a fun little cup and your kids will be on cloud nine. I snagged these cups for a dollar at Michaels! Score!

Also, do you see these adorable Thanksgiving printables? The ladies of Every Day Cheer shared an entire set of Thanksgiving Day Printables to add a bit of pizazz for your kid's tables. These cups are just a sneak peek as to how I'll be using these printables for our kid's table this year!

Y'all know I love a good print to spice up an event, and it's no different when it comes to the kid's table. Here are a  few of my favorite Thanksgiving printables floating around for your kid's this season!



How do you keep your kids happy during long holiday events? I'd love to hear your tips! Better yet, come share your latest projects with the Life Created Tuesdays link party! Week 12 is underway!

linking up with Wake Up Wednesdays, Mostly Homemade Mom

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Life Created Tuesdays Link Party #12

Welcome, welcome, welcome! Let's get Life Created Tuesdays link party underway! 

Each and every week, I'm so excited for you to join us in sharing a bit of life created. Whether it be a recipe, tutorial, life lesson, blog tip, or roundup galore, we want you to share with us. Come here, or It's a Vol!, every Monday at 9:00 p.m. EST to link your latest posts with the Life Created link party.

For those of you joining for the first time, don't be shy! We are here to create a community! Check out your fellow bloggers' posts and leave a comment on what you love. We're here to build each other up!

Be sure to show this week's Life Created Tuesdays features some social love!

1. Whitney from The Married Me shared her Olive Garden Copy Cat Alfredo Sauce!



2. Amy from Delineate Your Dwelling shared these Clothes Pin Nativity Scenes!


3. Cami from TitiCrafty shared these Buttons and Bows Embellished Shoes!



4. Dana from This Silly Girl's Life shared her  Slow Cooker Roasted Lemon Pepper Chicken!





If you've been featured feel free to grab a "featured" button for your page or sidebar!


Rules & Regs
1) Please link back to either Sarah or me in the form of a link or the button below. We work hard for y'all so we really appreciate it when you link back!

2) Please link directly to a specific blog post and not your blog's main page.
3) NO giveaways or shop links. Period. End of discussion. Violators will be removed.
4) Posting here implies that you give permission for your blog post (including photos) to be featured the next week. We will NEVER remove a watermark or pass your content off as our or own and we will always provide a visible link back to your blog.

5) Posting here gives permission to be added to the Life Created email list. This is one email that goes out every week once the link-up is live. If you do not want to be added to this list but still want to link up please email me or Sarah.




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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie BOMB Pie #Recipe

Remember the OREO Bomb Cake I shared this summer?
Well, I've discovered it's sister recipe that has created a bit of cookie craze in the 510 house!

This Chocolate Chip Cookie BOMB Pie is giving my number 1 recipe a run for its money!
AND OH MY WORD! Prepare yourselves because you may not want to share.

There are two ways to approach the Chocolate Chip Cookie BOMB Pie: frozen crust or homemade crust.

I've tried both, and lean towards using the homemade crust. In fact, I've found the ideal Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie Crust recipe that sealed the deal on this entire recipe creation!

Chocolate Chip Cookie BOMB Pie #Recipe

While our house has voted to use the homemade crust when time allows, you can bet I already have some frozen crusts on stand-by for last minute holiday gatherings!

Now that we have our pie crust, let's dive into the filling. Pure! Heaven! Grab a box of Chips A'Hoy, a glass of milk for dunking and begin filling your pie crust (homemade or frozen). Get to layering your cookies and Cool Whip and put that pie in the freezer to set.

Chocolate Chip Cookie BOMB Pie #Recipe

Pictured above are both the homemade and store-bought crust. Truly, you can't go wrong with this pie despite your pie crust of choice. There's nothing better than approaching a table full of pie options on Thanksgiving day!

I hope you'll try my Chocolate Chip Cookie BOMB Pie and be sure to catch my Chocolate Fudge Pie recipe too! I've got a few more Thanksgiving treats up my sleeve before really diving in for the official holiday Thursday!

Happy Thanksgiving week!

Chocolate Chip Cookie BOMB Pie #Recipe

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie Crust

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
3 tbsp. ice cold water
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the shortening (you can use pastry blender or simply use two forks) until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then add in ice water, and stir with wooden spoon. Dough should begin to stick together. Stir in the mini chocolate chips by hand until well mixed. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in clear plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.

Take dough out of the refrigerator and let set for 10 minutes. Roll dough out into a 10-inch disk. Carefully using a spatula, transfer crust to a lightly greased 9-inch pie pan. Shape into pan and even out the edges.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until it just starts to brown. The crust will likely puff or shrink around the edges, just use the back of a large spoon to even it back out once the crust has baked. You'll be tempted to do this during baking, but wait until the pie has been removed from the oven. Let the pie crust cool on a wire rack.


Chocolate Chip Cookie BOMB Pie

Ingredients:
1 pie crust (prepared)
1 cup milk
1 package Chips A'Hoy Chocolate Chip Cookies (or other crispy chocolate chip cookie)
1 8oz. container Cool Whip

Directions:

Dip the cookies into your milk creating a base layer in the pie crust. On top of that add a layer of Cool Whip then another layer of cookies. I ended with two layers of Chips A'Hoy before finishing off with a top layer of Cool Whip  Place in the refrigerator to set over night. Serve the next day with a tall glass of milk.

Serves 8.

Chocolate Chip Cookie BOMB Pie #Recipe


Pie Crust recipe adapted by The Baker Mama. Pie recipe inspired by my Oreo Bomb Cake.

Linking up with Cooking on the Front Burner, Uncommon DesignsHome Stories From A to Z, Wake Up Wednesday, Mostly Homemade Mom



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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Best Chocolate Fudge Pie #Recipe

There's no denying "Holiday Season" is synonymous with "Baking Season." Heck, my grocery was sold out of cream of tartar this weekend. You know people are cooking if that's out of stock. Am I right?

Have no fear though, my mother-in-law to the rescue with a recipe that doesn't call for cream of tartar. In fact, she whipped up her Chocolate Fudge Pie on a last minute request without so much as a bat of an eye. All ingredients for this pie were already in her pantry. Oh yes, this was going to be my kind of recipe!

Not twenty minutes later, a glorious chocolate aroma filled the house. I couldn't wait to get my fork into that pie! When my MIL cooks, she's not messing around. Her recipes are always the ideal taste of Southern cuisine.

Her Chocolate Fudge Pie didn't last long, and you're going to want it topped with a heaping scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Even my husband, the usual chocolate hater, ate up his fair share of pie.

The Best Chocolate Fudge Pie #Recipe

It doesn't get better than an easy Chocolate Fudge Pie...said any person ever. Try it out this Thanksgiving; it's the perfect ending to a turkey feast!

Baker's Tip: Holiday baking people! 'Tis the season to stock up on all your baking needs so you can throw together any last minute recipes. Don't shy away from the middle aisle stores fill with Holiday baking specials. Most importantly, if you don't see the item you need then go find the baking aisle. Chances are they have much more in stock, just not in the holiday baking area! My go-to baking stops are Michaels, Kroger and Wal-Mart.

Looking for Thanksgiving inspiration? Well, I'm here to fill your kitchens and homes with Thanksgiving go-to ideas! Over the next week, I'll be sharing another pie recipe and a few fun tutorials for your kids' table this Turkey Day on the blog!

And, in case you've missed it, week eleven of Life Created Tuesdays is underway! Now go bake pie :)

The Best Chocolate Fudge Pie #Recipe

Chocolate Fudge Pie

Ingredients

2 eggs
1 stick butter (melted)
1cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp.cocoa
1tsp vanilla
1 regular pie shell

Directions

Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Beat eggs, combine with melted butter, sugar, flour, cocoa and vanilla. Mix well. Pour batter put into a 8-9" unbaked pie shell. Bake 25 minutes or until firm. Serve warm with ice cream!

Serves 6 to 8 

linking up with Wake Up Wednesdays, Mostly Homemade Mom

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Life Created Tuesdays Link Party Week 11

Welcome, welcome, welcome! Let's get Life Created Tuesdays link party underway! 

Last week our Life Created community hit a record high number of links, and for that we are so humbled. Your posts were so inspired, that I found myself lost in dreamlands of toddler activities, festive recipes, printables and home makeovers galore!

Each and every week, I'm so excited for you to join us in sharing a bit of life created. Whether it be a recipe, tutorial, life lesson, blog tip, or roundup galore, we want you to share with us. Come here, or It's a Vol!, every Monday at 9:00 p.m. EST to link your latest posts with the Life Created link party.

For those of you joining for the first time, don't be shy! We are here to create a community! Check out your fellow bloggers' posts and leave a comment on what you love. We're here to build each other up!

Now, onto week 11 of Life Created Tuesdays with this week's features!

1. Marshmellow Shooters from Blair at The Seasoned Mom!


2. Nail String Art from Amy at Delineate Your Dwelling!



3. Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes from Dana at This Silly Girl's Life!



4.  Thanksgiving Printable from Samantha at Five Heart Home!


If you've been featured feel free to grab a "featured" button for your page or sidebar!


Rules & Regs
1) Please link back to either Sarah or me in the form of a link or the button below. We work hard for y'all so we really appreciate it when you link back!

2) Please link directly to a specific blog post and not your blog's main page.
3) NO giveaways or shop links. Period. End of discussion. Violators will be removed.
4) Posting here implies that you give permission for your blog post (including photos) to be featured the next week. We will NEVER remove a watermark or pass your content off as our or own and we will always provide a visible link back to your blog.

5) Posting here gives permission to be added to the Life Created email list. This is one email that goes out every week once the link-up is live. If you do not want to be added to this list but still want to link up please email me or Sarah.



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Friday, November 15, 2013

Five on Friday

I know I'm not alone in declaring the first half of this month a complete blur. And, if my body doesn't catch up with the time change and pre-Holiday travel soon I'm going to officially invest in Starbucks.

I'm feeling chatty, so how about some five on friday to round out the week?


Ok, ok, fine. It's a few more than five. It's good stuff, promise!

ONE

The State Fair has come and gone. Am I the only one who grew up with this as a Fall tradition? I mean it's like a staple event of the season for Columbia. It also serves as a perfect reminder of why I love our city so much. Tradition and family. 

TWO

Halloween costumes. Jackson wore it for all of five minutes. If I'm being honest, really truly honest, it's more like two. There's always next year.

THREE

Toddlers are wildly emotional beings. Mornings around here are tough and Jackson clings to me like white on rice. Eh, that awful pun is all I've got. He's in a mama phase so much that it's driving mama and daddy crazy! Tips on getting through this season appreciated in the comments below.

The silly moment pictured above? Evidence he can be happy and loving. That reminder is needed these days.

FOUR

Toddler tantrums and working mom woes had me so off schedule last month. It took me almost an entire week after Halloween to find time for my planned activity. But these cookie cutters and sprinkle set were not to be missed! Thank you, Michaels.

FIVE

Last weekend we took a few extra days and traveled to Nashville to see the in-laws and friends in Middle Tennessee. After just one day with my MIL, Jackson slept 12 hours!! Where are those kinds of sleep times when it's mom and dad, dude?!

SIX

Jackson slept, but I did not. I never really do when we go back to Middle Tennessee. This called for extra Starbucks and the first peppermint mocha of the season. 

SEVEN

Confession: Aside from seeing friends, I essentially eat my way through favorite Middle Tennessee Cravings. These include but are not limited to: Newk's Express Cafe, Kleer Vu, Jim & Nick's. Please and thank you. 

EIGHT

Christmas decorations are up at the sorority house. Swoon. I'm so excited about the looming Holiday season!

NINE

Speaking of Holiday season, my Naptime Diaries Advent Calendar prints arrived yesterday. LOVE!! These will likely be the first bit of Christmas to deck our halls! Grab your on set here

TEN

I've been working on a handful of projects that I cannot wait to share with y'all in the coming weeks. But, for now, before we close out the week I wanted to thank all of you who are joining us each week for the Life Created Tuesdays link party. More of you have joined us this week than any other week. For that my heart is so full. Community is the basis for our weekly party and I'm so happy to see y'all sharing your creativity with us!

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cookie Decorating & Halloween Recap

I was so pumped for Halloween this year because you can tell Jackson is really getting things lately. And, around our household, I aim to give each Holiday milestone its due diligence. Truth be told though, Halloween almost got away from me. But I was determined this Holiday would not go undocumented!

Thanks to my mom and grandmother, Jackson had the cutest little Jake of the Neverland Pirates costume.  Pictured: vest, bandana and boot covers.


Did he wear it? Not so much. The whole costume only graced his cute self for a total of five minutes. 
After that, I was lucky he still resembled a pirate. 


The good news? He was super cute trick-or-treating!!


We went with his cousin to a few of my grandmother's neighbors for his first go at trick-or-treating. Most of these neighbors have known me since I was a child, which turned out to be good as he'd knock on the door, ring the doorbell and then proceed to open the door if it wasn't answered in a timely manner. 

The child has no fear and knows no stranger when it comes to candy. Terrifying.  


To defer from his candy box, I planned an afternoon of Halloween cookie decorating. Granted, we didn't get to do this cookie decorating until a few days after Halloween. I'm so glad I still went through with our little activity.  And now, I have even more ideas for next year!

Halloween Cookie Decorating

For a two-year-old, there's nothing like pouring a whole bottle of Wilton sprinkles on a singular cookie. Thankfully, he was so happy with his sprinkle art he didn't feel the need to consume all the sugar! 

Have you ever been caught by that center aisle at Michaels? That's how I ended up with both these Wilton cookie cutters and sprinkle set. And, I can't lie, I've already been back for items for Thanksgiving and Christmas cookie baking! Hooray! 

So, there you have it. Halloween 2013, better late than never. 

*FYI, no sponsored content today. Just a love of Wilton & Michael's. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Life Created Tuesdays Week 10

HOORAY! We're here to kick off another week of Life Created Tuesdays! 

Each and every week, I'm so excited to see you join us in sharing a bit of life created. Whether it be a recipe, tutorial, life lesson, blog tip, or roundup galore, we want you to share with us. Come here, or It's a Vol!, every Monday at 9:00 p.m. EST to link you latest posts with the Life Created link party.

For those of you joining for the first time, don't be shy! We are here to create a community! Check out your fellow bloggers' posts and leave a comment on what you love. We're here to build each other up!

Let's kick off week ten of Life Created Tuesdays with this week's features!

1. Robyn from Simply Fresh Dinner's Healthy Banked Penne! So yummy and comforting!


2. Jenn from We Do Fun Here shared these mouthwatering Fun Pumpkin Muffins!


3. This Super Hero Capes Tutorial from Ila at Little Sprinkles of Joy has us ready to take on the bad guys!


4. We've been craving this Cajun Corn Soup from Andie at Sweet. Southern. Spirited.



If you've been featured feel free to grab a "featured" button for your page or sidebar!


Rules & Regs
1) Please link back to either Sarah or me in the form of a link or the button below. We work hard for y'all so we really appreciate it when you link back!

2) Please link directly to a specific blog post and not your blog's main page.
3) NO giveaways or shop links. Period. End of discussion. Violators will be removed.
4) Posting here implies that you give permission for your blog post (including photos) to be featured the next week. We will NEVER remove a watermark or pass your content off as our or own and we will always provide a visible link back to your blog.

5) Posting here gives permission to be added to the Life Created email list. This is one email that goes out every week once the link-up is live. If you do not want to be added to this list but still want to link up please email me or Erin.




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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Small Town Story

I’m from South Carolina.

He’s from Tennessee.

I’m a paralegal.

He does IT and home installations.

Our idea of a date night is a quick dinner then returning home for the week’s line-up of shows we didn’t have time to watch. Day in and out, there’s not much glitz and glam to our everyday lives. And in all honesty, I am more than happy with living a 'good enough' life.

Yes, it’s true I once dreamed of living in a 200 square foot loft packed alongside too many roommates in the heart of New York City. But, let’s get real, I was thirteen and thought any MTV show was a reflective my future lifestyle. Funny how your dreams morph from one season of life to another.

When leaving for college, I all but swore I'd never live in my hometown again. Yet, becoming a parent changed that in a split second. We've been back in my hometown for an official three years. Three whole years, and my heart is so full thanks to this city. 

I find so much joy in watching Jackson live out memories in the same parks and museums and communities, often at the same events and with the same people who cultivated the awesomeness of my childhood.  


State Fair 2013

Yep, even something as simple as the State Fair gets me all sentimental. 

I can still recall the sea lion ride that was a few spots behind the rocket, it was the best at age four. And then there was the fireball when we were teens. And now? I have the opportunity to watch Jackson grow to know early days out of school, late nights running wild with friends at the fair and meeting your party at the rocket.

The impact such seemingly small moments of childhood have on our roots is a funny, funny thing. 

It's certainly not New York, but I wouldn't trade it. If it takes living in my hometown to see dreams I never even knew I had play out, then so be it. I couldn't be happier to live a simple small-town story. 

Grab your kids, husbands, friends and do something that fills your heart with joy today!

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Life Created Link Party Week #9

HOORAY! We're here to kick off another week of Life Created Tuesdays! 

Each and every week, I'm so excited to see you join us in sharing a bit of life created. Whether it be a recipe, tutorial, life lesson, blog tip, or roundup galore, we want you to share with us. Come here, or It's a Vol!, every Monday at 9:00 p.m. EST to link you latest posts with the Life Created link party.

For those of you joining for the first time, don't be shy! We are here to create a community! Check out your fellow bloggers' posts and leave a comment on what you love. We're here to build each other up!

Let's kick off week nine of Life Created Tuesdays with this week's features!

1. Sarah from Nurse Loves Farmer's Pumpkin Whoopie Pies! Wowza these look amazing!

Life Created Link Party Week #9

2. Cari from Adventures of the Roberts made some adorable Tassel Garland! Can't wait to see her daughter's finished room!


Life Created Link Party Week #9


3. Kisha from The Glamorous French Housewife's Delicious Fall Pear and Raspberry Tart sounds divine!

Life Created Link Party Week #9


4. Lauren from Adventures with Little Man made these super fun Monster Halloween Cards!

Life Created Link Party Week #9

If you've been featured feel free to grab a "featured" button for your page or sidebar!


Rules & Regs

1) Please link back to either Sarah or me in the form of a link or the button below.
2) Please link directly to a specific blog post and not your blog's main page.
3) NO giveaways or shop links. Period. End of discussion. Violators will be removed.
4) Posting here implies that you give permission for your blog post (including photos) to be featured the next week. We will NEVER remove a watermark or pass your content off as our or own and we will always provide a visible link back to your blog.

5) Posting here gives permission to be added to the Life Created email list. This is one email that goes out every week once the link-up is live. If you do not want to be added to this list but still want to link up please email me or Sarah.




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