Friday, December 30, 2011

Why, Hello There!

Why, hello there! It's been a while. We're still in Dallas, but I wanted to pop in and let y'all know I'm still alive. Believe it or not, this is the first chance I've had to sit down at my laptop in the last week or so. Not gonna lie, it's been pretty swell. This time with my family has been just what the doctor ordered. My heart is full and these memories will carry me through until the next time we can make it back out here.

Okay, I'm off to spend the rest of the day with my loved ones! We'll be leaving tomorrow morning for VA, so I'll be back to posting regularly within the next few days. I have lots of photos and stories to share, so be on the lookout for those. Oh, and since we'll be on the road and I might not be able to say it then, Happy New Year! I have a feeling this year is going to be the best year yet!


See you guys in 2012!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Favorites: Holiday Edition {12.16.11}

Happy Friday, guys! We're actually leaving for TX bright and early in the A.M. and I have yet to start packing. I am the worst procrastinator when it comes to things like this. Like, for realsies.

Anyway, I couldn't bow out for the holidays without doing one final Friday Favorites of 2011. In the spirit of Christmas, I decided to make this week's list holiday-themed. Fun, right?

Here we go...

Vintage Ornaments on White Christmas Tree

1. Everything about this tree is perfection!

2. I'm loving this gift wrapping tuturial over at Roxy's World. So cool!

3. Announcing this news on a Christmas card? Pure genius.

4. We didn't end up doing Elf on a Shelf this year, but plan to next year. And when we do? We'll definitely be using some of these ideas!

5. How cool are these Anthro-inspired christmas trees? Totally my kind of craft!

6. These free printable holiday cards remind me of old-school Valentine's Day cards.

7. I've seen so many unique advent calendar ideas this year. This one is definitely one of my faves!

8. How shabby chic is this twig of glee? So pretty!

9. A Christmas Punch in the Face? Best drink name ever!

10. And last but not least, Emily put together a great little homemade holiday gift guide for all of you who like to get your craft on. Be sure to check it out!

Okay, that's a wrap! I'll be taking a little bloggy break for the next couple of weeks while back home. I may pop in here and there to say hello, but, for the most part, I'll be MIA. Try not to miss me too much, lol. Happy Holidays! See you next year!

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Our Christmas in Virginia

As I mentioned here, since we're gonna be back home in TX on the 25th, Santa came to visit us early this year. Here are some photos from our day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What's Cookin'? - Hearty Chicken Stew


Last night for dinner, I made a hearty chicken stew with butternut squash and quinoa. Since it's the second time we've had this meal in the past couple weeks, I figured it was my duty to share it with you guys. Because, my friends? It is the perfect stew for the cold weather. And pretty darn tasty to boot!

Here's what you'll need...

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (I bought precut)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes 
  • 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa 
  • 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives 
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Directions:
  1. Steam butternut squash until tender. Remove half of squash pieces and set aside.
  2. Take remaining squash and mash with back of a fork. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, on med-high heat, bring chicken broth to a simmer. 
  4. Add chicken breasts, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through (about 15 minutes). 
  5. Transfer chicken breasts to a plate and allow to cool. Pour broth into a medium-sized bowl. 
  6. Return saucepan to stovetop, lower to medium heat and add olive oil. 
  7. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts turning brown (8 to 10 minutes). 
  8. Add minced garlic and oregano. Cook for an additional minute, stirring continuously.
  9. Add tomatoes, butternut squash pieces and mashed butternut squash to saucepan. Stir to combine. 
  10. Stir in reserved chicken broth and quinoa. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa turns translucent (about 15 minutes). 
  11. Shred the chicken with your fingers or a fork. 
  12. Stir the chicken, olives and pepper into the stew and simmer, uncovered, until heated through. Top with parsley and serve.
Enjoy!!

*Original recipe found here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rolling with the Punches


Last night, we had plans to watch our sweet friend's baby boy. But then, as they were on their way to drop him off, our entire neighborhood's power went out. Fun, right? It turns out a transformer blew, creating a bonfire near the old hospital on post (this is what I heard, anyway). Needless to say, we were unable to babysit baby A.

We were actually smack dab in the middle of making a gingerbread house when this all went down. Luckily, we had a flashlight nearby and were able to quickly finish it up. When we were done, we loaded the kids into the car and headed out to dinner, since we had yet to eat. We took our time and really enjoyed ourselves since there was no sense of urgency to get back home. By the time we returned, our lights and heat were restored and, once again, all was right with the our world.

So, while the night didn't turn out quite like we expected, it still ended up being pretty darn nice. It reminded me that sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. Because you never know what adventures may lie ahead.


Nico with the gingerbread house (taken this morning)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weigh-in Day {Week 8}


I've now been doing WW for a total of 8 weeks. Although, after the copious amount of cheating I did over the weekend, I'm not really sure this week counted. This week I gained...

Weight Lost Gained This Week: 1 lb
Total Weight Loss: -4 lbs

This week was kind of a flop. I take that back...this week I did really well, but this weekend? Not so much. In fact, if we're being honest, I did terribly over the weekend. We ate out on both Friday and Saturday night, then Sunday was just bad. Bacon may have been involved.

I honestly don't know what to say. I just can't seem to get motivated right now. I was supposed to go work out, but didn't. Dan had planned on watching the kids while I went, but then it was raining and cold. Excuses, I know. All I can do is try to do better this week. And today has been really good so far.

As far as exercise goes - since we're leaving for Texas this Saturday and I have about a million things to do before then, I've decided to wait and start my new workout regimen when we return. It'll be the start of a new year, which I'm hoping will help light a fire under my ass to do this thing right.

Then as far as weigh-ins go - I won't be back with another update until January 3rd. My brother-in-law is also trying to watch what he eats, so we're hoping to motivate each other over the holidays. It's always helpful to have a partner when dieting, so this will be nice.

I'm really sorry for not being more of an inspiration. Please don't give up on me!

"Pinning" {Week 5} - All That Glitters

So this week's "pinning" theme is All That Glitters (Holiday Party Fashion). Fun, right? I must admit, I don't exactly have many opportunities to get all gussied up these days, but, here are some things I'm loving, nonetheless.

Sparkly clothes...
(from left to right)
Silk-and-Sequin Top (via Elle)
Knitted Zig Zag Sequined Sweater (via Topshop)
Glitter Skirt (via Intermix)

Shoes...
Glitter Oxfords (via Urban Outfitters)
Christian Louboutin Pink Glitter Heels (via Reasons to Breathe)
Steve Madden Glitter Wedge Sandal (via DSW)

Pretty nails...
Sparkled Apricot Nails (via Cupcakes and Cashmere)
Party Toes (via The Wandering Artist)
Glitter French Manicure (via The Small Things Blog)

And, if we're being real, then I must also include some kiddo crafts. Because, honestly? You're much more likely to find me doing something like this these days...
Glittered Deer Table Decorations (via Martha Stewart)
Galaxy Playdough (via Fairy Dust Teaching)
Confetti Egg (via Oh Happy Day!)

To see the rest of my glittery finds, go here. Enjoy!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Jolly

As I mentioned here, we're celebrating Christmas in our home today (the presents part, anyway). And since I'm feeling all jolly and stuff, I wanted to pop in and say hello! Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope your day has been as good as mine.

Oh, and my Christmas guest post (which may or may not include vintage pics of the littles) went up over at Our Footprints on the World today. Be sure to check it out!

I'll be back later this week with pics from our day, so be on the lookout for those!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Favorites {12.9.11}

It's that time again! I'm actually pretty stoked because Santa's coming to our house this weekend! We leave for Dallas next Saturday morning, so the last day we can celebrate (with our little fam) before heading home is Sunday. Kinda early, I know, but our kids are still young enough that they won't really question why Santa's coming to our house before anyone else's. At least I'm hoping this doesn't happen. I'll have to get back to you next week, once Nico goes to school and tells all his little friends, lol.

Anyway, it should be fun. We're going to make a gingerbread house, bake cookies for Santa and spend some quality time together. I kind of can't wait. But before unplugging for the weekend, I want to share some things I'm loving from around the web this week...


1. After the morning I've had, I'd like to curl up here right about now!

2. Wall planters used as toy storage? Such a clever idea!

3. I just love this little peek at Miss Mrs. James' wedding. I can't wait to see the final product!

4. How cool are these free polaroid frames over at IROCKSOWHAT?

5. Nico loves playing cards, but has trouble keeping them all together. This nifty card holder would help remedy this problem.

6. At Dan's request, we'll be having this for breakfast after we open presents Sunday morning. I'm sure it's no less than 596843 WW points!

7. Are you ballin' on a budget this holiday season? Then check out these handmade gift ideas! At under $5 bucks a pop, you can afford to get something for everyone on your list!

8. These organization & storage tips look so useful! Especially the cutting board rack. Must do this!

9. Aren't these cookies beautiful? Far too pretty to eat!

10. And, finally, some blogs I'm loving right now: onetwo and three.

Okay, I'm off to shop for the last few stocking stuffers! Have a great weekend, everyone!!

Oh, and don't forget to vote! All it takes is two clicks!!
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Get Crafty! - Leaf-Painted Christmas Trees

Nico and I did a little project this morning that turned out pretty rad! Since we enjoyed it so much, I thought I share it here with you guys. Check it...


I was already planning on doing leaf painting with the little guy, but with Christmas right around the corner, I thought we'd mix it up and do leaf-painted Christmas trees instead. Livin' right on the edge, I tell ya! 

If you want to make your own, here's what you'll need...


And now it's time to begin...


1. First off, you're going to paint your leaf green. The quicker the better, as you don't want your paint to dry.


2. Next, stamp your leaf (paint side down) on a clean sheet of construction paper. You'll want to make sure to press all parts of the leaf down so that you get a full "tree".


3. Repeat steps 1-2 until you have the desired amount of trees (we chose to do three). Then wait for the paint to dry.


4. Once paint is dry, glue the balls on to the tree. The more the better, in my opinion.


5. If you're feeling saucy, you can even paint a tree topper and/or fill in the empty areas with Christmas presents. Ornaments could also be fun. Get creative with it!


And voila! You have a cute little Christmas painting to display for the holidays! Enjoy!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Christmas Meme? Don't Mind if I Do!

Since Nico's down for a nap and Lola's...entertaining herself (read: head-banging to Fresh Beat Band), I thought I'd give this little Christmas meme a go! Lord knows, I'm a sucker for a good questionnaire!

Our first Christmas together (2006)

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate! I don't do egg nog.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? The gifts from Santa just get put under the tree. All the other prezzies get wrapped, though.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I prefer white lights. Boring, I know.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, but maybe I should?
5. When do you put your decorations up? We put 'em up the day after Thanksgiving. It's kind of our thang!
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Hmm, probably sweet potatoes or green bean casserole.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Waking up super early on Xmas mornin' to open presents!
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Wait for it...I didn't learn the truth about Santa till the FOURTH grade. My parents finally told me when I was trying to change my Xmas list last minute. They we're all, "Hey, you can't do that" and I was all, "but Santa's cool with it!"...so they broke the news to me.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? I don't, but the kids each open one present of their choice.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I do the garland (that shit is haaard!), and then we all do the ornaments.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I've been looking forward to snow ever since we moved to VA from San Diego back in April. But now that it's effing freezing out? I sort of think I'm gonna hate it.
12. Can you ice skate? I used to be able to. I think the last time I went was maybe college? I wonder if I still can...
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I think my all-time favorite gift ever was the CD player I got in the fourth grade. Gone were the days of rewinding. It was awesome!
14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Spending time with loved ones, of course! Oh, and starting new traditions with mi familia!
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? I could never pick just one! I love them all!!
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? My kids are pretty young (1 and 3) so we're still building our traditions, but right now, it's the day after Thanksgiving. We put up the tree, listen to Christmas tunes and watch Christmas movies all day long! It's pretty sweet!
17. What tops your tree? A star
18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Giving...minus the expense, part.
19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum? Umm, I don't hate them...
20. Favorite Christmas show? It's a toss up between A Christmas Story (loved this as a kid, back before it got all popular) and Elf.
21. Saddest Christmas Song? "Silent Night" maybe? I dunno, I prefer to keep the Christmas jams upbeat.
22. What is your favorite Christmas song? Oh, hands down, Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas is You". It's bad in the best way possible!

I'm sure my fellow peeps who grew up in the 90s can appreciate this...


You're welcome.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Weigh-in Day {Week 7}


I have now been doing Weight Watchers for a total of 7 weeks. This week I lost...

Weight Lost This Week: -2 lbs
Total Weight Loss: -5 lbs

While I'm glad I lost weight this week, I'm not exactly thrilled with the overall number. I feel like I should've lost way more than 5 lbs in this amount of time. I know I keep saying I need to exercise, but it's time to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk. 

Lucky for me, Dan has offered to watch the kids and make dinner three nights a week, so that I'm able to go to the gym on base (best husby EVER!). We're going to visit the gym on Wednesday, and if all goes according to plan, I'll be working out Wed-Fri of this week. Cool, right? I'm actually really excited to have some (much needed) "me" time! 

Hoping to see some real results this week!!

"Pinning" {Week 4} - Winter Whiteout

This week's "pinning" theme is Winter Whiteout. And while I'm not still not 100% on what this means exactly, I've decided to go with the obvious and post pins that are, well...white!

Not gonna lie, when it comes to the holidays, I'm typically all about the color, but this gave me a great opportunity to find beauty in the minimal. And it just so happens, there are quite a few pretties that are free from color!

Here's some decor that I'm loving...

Pretty Mantle (via Domestic Ease)

White Christmas Tree (via Apartment Therapy)

White Lights (via Flickr)

A few fun DIYs...

Paper Cup Wreath (via Twig & Thistle)

Holiday Door Mat (via A Beautiful Mess)

Christmas Jars (via The Tortoise and the Hare)

Doily Forest (via Cheeky Magpie)

Doily Ornaments (via Martha Stewart)

Winter Wonderland Snow Globes (via Church Ideas Blog)

Doily Gift Boxes (via The Sweetest Occasion)

And a couple nummy treats...

White Chocolate Christmas Pretzels (via Baked Perfection)

White Sangria with Pomegranate (via I'll Have What She's Having)

You can find more of my Christmas pins here. Enjoy!!

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