Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Wreath

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Cory & I sure did. We got to visit with lots of family & friends that we don't get to see hardly enough. During my days off I kept thinking it was Christmas break for some reason. Maybe it was me listening to Christmas tunes too early, maybe it was the craziness & decor at the stores, or maybe because I helped mom decorate the house, but I sure had Christmas on my mind! On Friday I even told Cory we should go to the stores to get half off on Christmas decorations (thinking they'd be on sale after Christmas). Crazy, I know.
Anyway, since Thanksgiving is over I can fully focus on Christmas time! Today I'm posting a wreath that I made that was inspired by a wreath that was at Starbucks last year.

Here's Starbucks' beautiful wreath. I was instantly drawn to the balls of yarn.

Here's what I used to make my own (plus & minus a few things)

Some red ornaments, green yarn, styrofoam balls. I had a foam wreath that I didn't use and I had to buy a few more small ornaments.
First I covered the styrofoam ball with yarn. This helped the yarn go further and kept the wreath lightweight. I used a hot glue gun to glue the yarn balls together. Then I added the red ornaments. I had originally tried to glue the balls to the styrofoam wreath form, but it didn't work out too well. Cory got a wire hanger and formed a circle to glue on the back of the wreath to help stabilize it.
Here's my creation (Warning: it's not as cute as Starbucks'):
You may not believe me, but I think it looks better in person. I'm actually thinking of taking it apart and trying it another way....if I do I'll be sure to post some pics.
I hope everyone has a nice back-to-normal week. :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm thankful for....

Since Thanksgiving is coming up I have been thinking of things that I’m thankful for. Of course I’m thankful for my husband who takes care of me, loves me even when I’m at my worse, and makes me smile daily. I’m thankful for my family (extended family too) who I’ve really come to appreciate more as I’ve gotten older. I’ve always loved them, but I realize how great they made things for me growing up. I’m very blessed to have grown up in a Christian home with parents who have stayed together for 30 plus years. I’m thankful for my salvation and my relationship with God. I’m also thankful for having a job. Last year when economic times started getting rough, I could have easily been let go from work. I was non-tenured at the time and teaching an elective class (a big red flag for letting go). We had four teachers not rehired and me and one other teacher got to not only keep our jobs, but get tenure. I’m thankful for working with great people. I’m thankful for my health & the good health of loved ones. I’m thankful for my friends. I know they are there for me even if I don’t get to see or talk with them all the time. I’m also thankful for the new friends I have made since I’ve lived in Tuscaloosa.

Here are some other things I’m thankful for that are silly or maybe even superficial…

-Of course, ICE CREAM. It’s such a wonderful treat that makes me happy on a bad day. I actually received some tonight from Mr. Cory. Thanks, bud J

-I’m thankful for spell check. Maybe it’s depending on spell check for many years or maybe from seeing middle schoolers’ work, but I’ve gotten to be a horrible speller and would be lost without it.

-I’m thankful for TiVo. I love being able to fast forward commercials and watching shows when I want to.

-I am thankful for snooze buttons.

-I am also thankful for Wi-Fi. And on the Internet note, I’m adding Google to the thankful list. I am constantly using Google. I also love it when Google has a decorated page for holidays/special days.

-I’m thankful for earplugs and eye shades. I’ve always hid a pair of earplugs in my pillowcase just in case I am awakened by an annoying noise during the night. In high school it was usually a chirping bird at 4am or thunder…now it’s my loud breathing aka snoring/sleep talking husband. Eye shades are also a wonderful thing now because of a very bright streetlight outside our apartment. It’s mega bright and we even have thick insulated curtains. At 11:00 pm it looks like 7:00 am in our bedroom. I’m very thankful to have something designed for just my eyes. My pillow over my head sometimes became suffocating.

-I am thankful for a coffee table that top lifts up. My parents gave one to me and Cory last year for Christmas and I can enjoy eating at normal table level while sitting comfortably on my couch. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, then you need to come over.

-I am thankful for text messages and predictive text. It’s so handy when you can’t call someone to send a text. I enjoy receiving texts from Cory throughout the day. It’s also a handy thing if you need to contact a lot of people at once.

-I’m thankful for dishwashers and air conditioners…these need no explanation.

-This one is a little weird, but stay with me. I’m thankful for being washable. Think about it, God made us so that we can get dirty and then wash ourselves and get clean. Like, we don’t dissolve in water or our color doesn’t wash away. There’s no limit on our cleaning…I probably just blew your mind. Just kidding.

-I am VERY thankful for Thanksgiving break!!!!! Which will be a full week for me this year. Whoop whoop!

There are plenty of more things that I’m thankful for. These are just a few. What are you thankful for?

I'm also thankful for silly pictures like this:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

$175,000 Brownies

Well Cory's birthday was a good one. He woke up and we grabbed some lunch, then I had to help with a Beauty Pageant at school from 12:30-6:00, so Cory got to play his video games all day without me giving him a hard time about it ;), and then we went out to eat with some friends, and then came back to our place to enjoy some cake. Cory was really happy to have a pirate hook. He wanted to wear it for his traditional "Cory holding his birthday cake" picture.
Look how cute he is :)

Anyway, today I'm posting a delicious recipe that a friend gave me a long time ago. It's called $175,000 brownies but don't worry, they're cheap to make. They just taste like they cost that much. They taste like brownie mixed with cheesecake.

Here's what you need:
1 box of Duncan Hines butter recipe fudge cake mix (a reg chocolate cake mix will work too)
1 stick melted butter
3 eggs
4 c. powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. chocolate chips ( I use a little more)

Mix cake mix, ONE egg, melted butter in medium bowl. Press mixture in 9x13 pan.
Mix 2 eggs, powdered sugar, cream cheese together until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Pour this mixture over cake batter.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
Cool completely.
Here's what they look like:

Look at that yummy gooey-ness.

FYI: My Christmas music ban until after Thanksgiving is off. As I was scanning the radio the other day I heard one of my favorite Christmas songs and it totally got me Christmas happy. I've decided that the radio is playing Christmas songs because it's hard to be grumpy when such jolly music is on. Especially during bad economic times maybe it will lift peoples spirits to hear some cheery music.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Husband!

Today is my man’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Cory. If you read this, consider yourself lucky, because it will probably be taken down via Cory after he wakes up and sees his lovely picture from his last year’s b-day. Haha. Nah, he’ll probably let me keep it up.

Throughout the years Cory & I have been together I’ve enjoyed making him birthday cakes that were one of a kind. They don’t always turn out “picture perfect” but he always enjoys them. Here are some of the strange cakes I’ve made him through the years…(the first year we were together, it was just a plain strawberry cake, nothing special)

If you know Cory, you know of his love of the cartoon Aqua Teen Hunger Force. If you have never heard of this show, don’t think you’re out of the loop. It’s a crazy show that comes on really late. This cake is of a character from the show. 10 points if you can guess his name.

The next year, his 24th b-day, I made him a cake with Peter Griffin from Family Guy fighting a chicken. It was during the years that Family Guy only came on once a week and Cory saw an episode with a random chicken trying to fight Peter and he thought it was hilarious. He would talk about it quite a bit so I found a picture of it on the Internet and made a cake with it.

For Cory’s 25th birthday I made him a Nacho Libre cake. We had seen the movie in the summer and loved a line from the movie where “Nacho” (Jack Black) said something was “Realllly Goood in a funny Spanish accent. We would use that phrase a lot so I thought it only appropriate to have Cory’s cake say “Have a REALLY GOOD birthday.”

For Cory’s 26th I was a bad wife and didn’t make him a cake. It was the first year we were married and he was in his 1st year of law school (didn’t get to see him much) and I was a danceline sponsor (took up tons of time) so I took Cory to Ruby Tuesday to get a Chocolate Tall Cake. He didn’t complain but I knew I’d have to bring it the next year….The next year I made him another Aqua Teen Hunger Force cake with another character who likes to say “friggin” a lot. I’ll admit, this cake isn’t too pretty.

This brings us to this year. I thought he’d like a Futurama cake like I made my sister’s boyfriend this summer.

But when I asked him what kind of cake he wanted he said he’d just like a cake that I make called “Is it really better than sex cake?” I like that the title is a question so you can make the decision if it is better or not. Anyway, it’s a Paula Deen recipe and so you can imagine that’s its yummy and gooey and it’s simple to make. I didn’t object to making it, but I did want to make it fun for Cory.

So how do you make “Is it really better than sex cake” fun? You make it pirate themed! Cory has been on a pirate kick. He likes the pirate items in the store and says he wants a pirate party. (not a birthday party, he just has plans for pirate theme fun). A while back I found some really cute pirate cake toppers at Hobby Lobby. Went there today and they were GONE! I had to settle with the pirate chest candle and I found this hook that you can cover you hand with. As long as the cake tastes ok, then I’m happy.

These cakes were made from using pictures from the Internet. Maybe one day I’ll have children who will like “normal” characters that they sell cake pans made especially for them.

Again, a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the man who makes me smile.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Post, Old Project

Here's a project I did about two years ago. I found this chair at an antique store for $20 and decided to buy it because we had an empty spot in our living room & needed some more seating for when we had company. I really liked the back of the chair with it's little harp looking shape. I didn't, however, really care for the cushion covering nor the wood color so I decided to change it a bit.

First, I went to Hobby Lobby and found some new fabric for the seat covering and some foam to make the seat softer. I also stopped by Home Depot to grab some very light blue enamel paint.
Next, I took the seat cushion off of the chair by unscrewing it.
Then I wiped the surface of the wood to remove any dust. I then painted it a few coats of paint.
While the paint was drying I took the old cushion apart. I actually found another layer of fabric underneath the blue fabric. I chunked the old foam and replaced it with the new stuff and covered it with the new fabric. I just used a staple gun to hold the fabric to the wooden seat base.
Here is the finished chair. The picture makes it look white but I promise it's light blue.
Maybe this will inspire someone to change up some old furniture in their home:)

By the way, as I was driving home today and flipping through the radio stations I came across a Christmas song. It was the instrumental Christmas song where there's a horn that sounds like it's laughing and there are little drum beats that sound like horses hooves...very good description, right? I think the radio man said it was Leroy Anderson???? Anyway, at first I thought, "Oh fun, one Christmas song to make things jolly for a bit, now on to normal music because it's not even the middle of November yet." WRONG, they continued to play Christmas music all the way home and then said "This is Tuscaloosa's Christmas Station". Do not get me wrong, I love Christmas music and all that things associated with Christmas. I'm really refraining myself from taking the tree down actually, but I'm not ready for the songs yet. I really need to be focusing on Thanksgiving. Christmas music makes me want Christmas break to be here and I still have a ways to go till then....I still listened to each song, sang it to the top of my lungs and did some "jazz" hands here and there but I think I'm going to stay away from that station until at least after Veteran's Day (tomorrow).just kidding! It will have to be a "sometimes treat" until Thanksgiving. ---Sorry for the Christmas song rant, it was just a little surprising today.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Yogurt Mountain

This past weekend I came down with a cold or sinus problem of some sort. I basically camped out on the couch for two days, watched movies, and let Cory take care of dinner (5 Guys & McCallister's...I should get sick more often ;) Last night he was such a sweetheart and took me to a new place in town called Yogurt Mountain to cheer my spirits. Let me tell you, it is as good as it sounds. Cory even said that we can "scale Yogurt Mtn. again" -- poor Cory has been around me too long and has started making cheesy jokes. :)

Yogurt Mountain has 16 flavors of yogurt and TONS of toppings choices. You get to fix your ice cream buffet style and then they weigh it for you to price it.

I was very excited to get my cup and fill it up with some cake batter yogurt. I decided to just stick to one flavor of yogurt so I could focus on the toppings' flavors. There were so many toppings to choose from: sprinkles, crushed up candy bars, cookies, brownies, gummies, cinnamon roll bits, fruit, nuts, cereal, granola and more! I started topping my yogurt with Twix bits, mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, cherries, brownie bits, hot fudge, and caramel. After topping my yogurt I realized I hadn't tried anything that was “spontaneous” and that I have had all these toppings on frozen treats before (not at the same time, though). I tried something that was called Mochi. Yeah, didn't know what it was, and don’t know what possessed me to try it out of the other options. I looked up the definition and here is what Mochi is: is a Japanese rice cake and molded into shape.

It was in the shape of Dot candy, you know the gummy candy in a yellow box? But it was clear and very jelly-like. It didn't have an awful taste, but a weird texture with a funny after taste. Fortunately, I only added a few of these Mochis (sp?)

It was fun adding all the toppings. I couldn't wait to try my dish and then I look over to Cory and he has one topping…BORING! Haha. I’ll give him a little credit, he did get peach yogurt but he didn't explore all the toppings choices, which I feel is Yogurt Mountains claim to fame.

Here’s our lovely creations.

Our weight of yogurt cups together ended up being 17.6 oz which were mostly from my cup. They charge you about 45 cents an oz so we paid about $8 for ice cream. That's a little much but if you were to go to TCBY and get all the toppings that I did it would have been tons more. I did, however figure out how not to get carried away next time and keep the price down. Yogurt Mountain only provides one size cup, which is pretty big. Look at it compared to a soda can.

It's really wide too. That’s where they get ya! You think you have to fill the cup up with yogurt when really, if you do, it’s way more ice cream than you can eat. I have embarrassingly enough eaten a pint of ice cream straight out of the tub and this was much bigger than a pint.

Anyway, if you’re ever in Tuscaloosa and want to try it out for yourself, then I would love to go with you and show you the ropes ;) There’s also a YM in Birmingham too. You should check out their website:

I apologize if my writing doesn't make much sense tonight. I’m taking a few cold medicines right now and feel light headed. Maybe I’m still on my high from Yogurt Mountain. :)

Here’s what Yogurt Mountain looks like in my head. Please don't be jealous of my mad paint skills.... haha. I've had way too much time on this couch!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Grape Salad...Yummy Yummy

Has anyone else heard the Wiggles song "Fruit Salad (yummy yummy)? It's pretty cute....Anyway, today I'm posting a simple and yummy recipe. You may already know this recipe, but if you don't, it really is pretty amazing.
You may be skeptical by "grape" and "salad" in the same name. I know I was at first. Especially after hearing what was all mixed together. The ingredients aren't anything crazy, but something I wouldn't have thought of.

All you need is
a bunch of green & red(purple) grapes
8 oz cream cheese; softened
8 oz sour cream
1/2 cup to 1 cup white sugar
tsp. almond extract. (most people use vanilla but I promise something about almond extract is magical)
About 1/2 cup brown sugar
about 1/2 cup chopped pecans

First you need to wash your grapes and detach the grapes from the stems and let them dry on a paper towel. If you don't allow them to dry you'll have watery grape salad...not so yummy yummy.
Put the dried grapes in a large bowl.
Next mix the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar (I use about 3/4 c, it just depends on how sweet you want it), and tsp of almond extract.
Pour this mixture over the grapes and gently stir until all grapes are well coated.
The last thing to do is sprinkle brown sugar and pecans on top. That really seals the deal. I love the way the brown sugar tastes with the cream cheese mixture.

This can be served as a side dish or a dessert because it's pretty sweet. Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fall Decorations

Well the skeletons are back in the closet :) and the pumpkins have come out for display! Sunday night I got out the OG (original gangsta) fall decorations. If you read my Halloween Decor post, then you know that normally I have the same fall decorations up from October till November because I used to not decorate with "spooky" things. Since I did this year, it has given me another chance to decorate and change things up for November. It's sad that I get so excited to do these things.... Anyway, if you'd like to see my fall decorations keep on scrolling. Nothing too crafty, just excited to have them out.

This is on top of my microwave. The little basket usually holds lemons and the candle flavor is usually lemon sage. If you come in my home in the fall you will more than likely be knocked down with autumn scents. I LOVE fall scented candles. (pumpkin spice, cinnamon-y smells, etc)
How awful am I not to iron the brown velvet table cloth? I just got it out from last year and didn't feel like ironing.
Cory makes fun of this plate, but I think it's grand. I got it at an antique store last summer. It's made my the same company my Christmas china is from. The picture doesn't do it justice. I'll give you, turkeys aren't so pretty, but something about the detailed drawing and the pale blue, yellow, and pink get me.
The candle could be a craft project. I got it as a gift a while back but it would be easy to make. It's just a flower pot decoupaged with leaves and the top rim with bird seed. And of course, some candle wax and a wick were added on the inside.
Some pumpkins I've had for a long time. Yes, that's my niece, Kate behind the small pumpkin.
My favorite for some reason. It's that mercury glass stuff. It looks so pretty to me.

This is another thing mom gave to me when she cleaned out some things last year. (she gave me the ghost candle holder too) It's just a simple tin with some leaves on it, but I've always liked it. It holds some yummy Reese cups right now. :)
The pumpkins from my kitchen table during October made a move to my coffee table along with some pine cones.

I guess I'm like an old lady because I feel you should always have some sort of candy to offer guests. Cory digs in on these Wint-o-Greens quite a bit.
Again, I LOVE fall scented candles....and soap too!
The little pumpkin and pumpkin photo was given to me by my brother-in-law & sister-in-law. She actually took the picture at a pumpkin patch and then created a birthday card with it for me this year. Very crafty!
This is the only slightly "crafty" thing from me on this post. Last year I dug out some grapevine wreaths from our wedding and put some leaves on it for decoration. This is actually on the inside of our house.
Last year I went a little crazy and hung them on our staircase. I realize it was a bit too much and kinda tacky, so I refrained myself this year. :) People would come in and look at them and be like, "Oh, that's....nice." I could tell that they were just being kind.
If you got to this point, thanks for stopping by :) I hope you have a great week.

P.S. Did anyone score any after Halloween deals? I couldn't find anything at the stores around here. They were cleared out by Monday!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Wrap-up

Another Halloween has come and gone. Sadly, we didn't have any trick-or-treaters tonight. I didn't really think we would, since we live in an apartment, but I had some candy anyway. Oh well, I guess Cory and I will have to eat it :) We did get to see some cute kiddos in their Halloween garb today as we were out on the town.
I hope everyone had a happy Halloween. The countdown to turkey is on now! I believe it is in 25 days.

I'm leaving you with Cory & my costume from last year because it was my favorite (b/c it was so cheap & easy).


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