Tuesday, November 29, 2011

For Your Holiday Hostess

Today I am linking up with Monograms and Manicures for her Holiday Gift Idea Link Up. 

I have been meaning to post about this hostess gift idea ever since I started my blog, and I can't believe it has taken me this long to do it! 

I got married in May of this year, and my mom and I wanted to do something unique and something that would not break the bank for the hostesses of my showers.  Hostess gifts can so quickly get out of hand and really add up during the holiday season (and during pre-wedding festivities!).  We came up with a hostess gift that was SO easy, relatively inexpensive, and pretty cute, if I do say so myself.  This would also be great for teachers or anyone else that you might want to give a small gift to during the holiday season.   

You will need:
  • Honey Caramel Sauce (recipe below)
  • small mason jars (mine are from Walmart)
  • fabric of your choice cut into squares with pinking shears (the fabric is a great pop of color and could easily give this a Christmas-y feel)
  • small bundt cakes (we made ours in pan similar to the one below)
  • scrapbook paper/stamps for the tag - My love of birds was a big part of my wedding, so I used a nest stamp on the tag, but again, you could use any number of holiday stamps to give this a festive feel.  I used scrapbook paper that matched my fabric and just cut out two circles, one slightly larger than the other, to make a tag.  
  • small honey dippers- a fun touch for drizzling the sauce (ours were ordered from here)
  • thin twine to tie the honey dipper onto the package
  • cellophane bags (from Hobby Lobby or Walmart) - I used a smaller bag for just the cake and a larger bag for the whole thing then tied the tops of both bags together with the ribbon. 
  • ribbon to tie it all up - another chance for a pop of color!
Honey Caramel Sauce: (from Tasty Kitchen member Sally Darling)
1/2 c honey
1 stick butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Mix first 3 ingredients together in a saucepan over medium-high heat while stirring constantly.  Bring to a rolling bubbling boil, and maintain for 2 minutes while stirring constantly.  Add sweetened condensed milk and continue stirring until mixed through. 

Store in the refrigerator!
One recipe makes 3 smallish jars of sauce, and it is very easy to double, triple, etc. 

We gifted the sauce with a baby bundt cake, but it is also delicious with apples or pears or as a sauce for ice cream! 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Trimming the Tree

Yesterday afternoon we found our Christmas tree!  Ben and Rebecca came over after church and we headed to the trusty Farmers Market to begin our tree hunt.  We found a perfect Douglas Fir, and Ben and Rebecca picked out its slightly bigger twin.  The prices were great, and the service at Ruibal's was excellent.  I highly recommend it for any Dallas people looking for a tree! 

Once we got the tree home and Austin and Ben (finally) figured out how to secure it in the tree stand, we started the process of lights....  We definitely underestimated the amount of lights we would need, but after a quick Target run for more, we were back in business.

The tree smells SO GOOD!  It has been years since my parents have had a real tree, and I had a skinny fake tree in law school, so I am definitely loving the Christmas-y smell that this little guy is giving our apartment.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving in Pictures

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am loving being in east Texas with my family.  We are so full after a wonderful Thanksgiving meal.  Right now most everyone is napping in preparation for the big game this evening (gig 'em!).  Below are pictures of our day so far!

the best cherry pie with a festive leaf crust

Mom's lettuce for our salad  (she is quite a little farmer!)
Daddy injecting

 bird number 1 going in
 We've just got to have a gun nearby for any squirrels that might make their way into the back yard. 

number 1 is done

the fryer and his apprentices

Mom's pretty table

gourds from the Dallas farmers market and cute place cards


cheddar pecan shortbread in festive shapes


Is this not the all-time cutest outfit you have ever seen?

coffee drinking pros

a little action shot of the slicing

delicious desserts: lemon curd pound cake, cherry pie, and mini pecan pies

the feast: turkey, ham, jezabel sauce, homemade cranberry relish, dressing, corn casserole, broccoli and rice casserole, sweet potatoes in orange cups, green bean casserole, salad, and rolls
my plate - and I ate every bit of it!

It has been a wonderful day, and I am so thankful that God blessed me with an amazing husband and family to spend the day with! 

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."  Psalm 100:4-5

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Goodbye to Texas University...

So long to the orange and the white...

Tomorrow is the LAST (for now) Thanksgiving Day game between Texas A&M and Texas.  As an Aggie who is really excited about moving to the SEC, the game will certainly be bittersweet.  This game has been played for 118 years, and in recent years has been known as the "State Farm Lone Star Showdown." (whoop for State Farm!)

In my mind this will always be one of the most intense rivalries of college football.  Now, I don't know how much you may know about Texas A&M or Texas, but our fight songs happen to mention each other a time or two.  These schools are competitive on virtually every level possible, and this rivalry runs very deep.  The Thanksgiving Day game is the culmination of the A&M football season, and it has always been something that has gone hand-in-hand with the Thanksgiving turkey in my house.

 at the t.u. game in 2008

I am sad to see this rivalry come to a temporary end, but I hope that these schools will play again someday and be able to get past the politics and frustrations that this year has brought.  Tomorrow will hopefully just begin a temporary hiatus for this epic rivalry.

Tomorrow we will be yelling, whooping, and hopefully cheering the Aggies to a victory.  It would just make my day to go out on top, and I can only imagine the S-E-C chants that will be raining down at Kyle Field if an Aggie victory is in store.

Farmers Fight!  Gig 'em Aggies!  BTHO t.u.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ultimate Thanksgiving

I would wear....

.... and dine at... 
(actually Mom, I know your table will be beautiful and I can't wait to see it!)
... and start with...
...and, most importantly, be with these people.

I am so excited to see my family tomorrow!  It has been a long time (I think the wedding maybe?) since we have all been together.  Today I am so thankful for my parents and my sisters.  No one knows me they way they do, and all of my best memories involve those four people.  Now that all five of us do not live together anymore, I am especially thankful for the times we can be together.  Tomorrow begins several days of card games, Scrabble, the best food, crafting with my mom, laughing with my sisters and Austin, and watching the best movie of all time while Dad recites every line...

Ok, maybe not THE best movie of all time... but it is one that we love to watch together and that makes us laugh every single time. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Christmas Lights & Being Thankful

Saturday night after my self-proclaimed day of hibernation, we went downtown with some friends for the official lighting of the downtown tree and the other Christmas lights on Main Street near Neiman's.  There were people EVERYWHERE, and Santa zip-lined into the park from the roof of a nearby parking garage.  It was quite an event!  The crowds were a bit much, so we walked over to Campisi's and had some supper.  Austin goes to Campisi's pretty often with work colleagues for lunch, but I had never been.  Now I can check this Dallas staple off my list.  (The veggie pizza is very tasty!)

Our Sunday was pretty low key: church in the morning, napping and football in the afternoon (go Cowboys!), and then back to church for a church-wide Thanksgiving supper.  The church Thanksgiving supper was a wonderful way to kick off Thanksgiving week and a good reminder of just how much I have to be thankful for.

Today I am especially thankful for the non-stop FUN I have with Austin.  I am pretty sure I have laughed more in the past 6 months (just realized today is our 6-month anniversary!) than in my whole life before that.  I need to do a better job of remembering the funny things he does/says to blog about, but they are basically never-ending.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Downtown Dinner Party

I hate that I have not blogged very much this week!  We somehow ended up with somewhere to go every single night this week which kept us pretty busy.  I am so looking forward to a short week here in Dallas next week before we head to good old Livingston to see my family for Thanksgiving!

Last night we went with some friends from our Sunday School class to our church's "Downtown Dinner Party" for young marrieds.  It was so fun!  We are loving our church and are so thankful God brought us to FBCD. Here are some pictures from the night.

they boys

the girls

meatball maniac

Yarbs & Hats

SS friends and our new neighbors! 

Our church was decked out with Christmas decorations, and we had some fun live music during our dinner.  We had cute little present desserts, mock-tails (can y'all tell we are Southern Baptist?), caramel apple cider, and a mashed potato bar that I was probably way too excited about.  You could even get purple potatoes (Austin did) - it was pretty wild!

Today, I am happy to report that I am STILL wearing pajamas.  So far I have watched this week's Revenge, Modern Family, and Last Man Standing, watched the Aggies dominate Kansas (whoop!), and read the December issue of Southern Living.  I have also gotten my fill of Pinterest and blog reading...it has been amazing.  Austin is traipsing through the woods somewhere right now, and I am about to finally get dressed for the day and make a grocery store run.

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Touches of Fall and a Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to my sister, Mary Katherine!!!  I can't believe you are 16 today!  I can't wait to see you and celebrate with you next week.  Hope you have a SWEET 16th birthday filled with fun and smiles.  I wish I was there to see you birthday outfit, because I know it will be amazing.  (please start an outfit of the day blog soon!)  You are beautiful and so special to me, and I love you very much!

 On Saturday we ventured north to Hobby Lobby for some Christmas decor shopping.  Austin LOVED it.  (sarcasm)  Before I get ahead of myself with Christmas decorations, here are some pictures of some fall touches in our apartment that will be here at least through the end of next week.

tiny pumpkins and gourds on some of my mercury glass collection 

wicker-ish pump from Target with an added bow

We also found some red birds that are going to go in all of my nests on the tree!  I am most excited about the birds (of course), but we found some other pretty ornaments as well.  Can't wait to decorate for Christmas on the Sunday after Thanksgiving!