Christmas Treats

I started my long term substitute job in 7th grade a few weeks ago… Needless to say, I’ve been insanely busy. Let me just say that middle schoolers are CRAZY and I am so glad that middle school is only one short part of everyone’s lives – because it’s a miserable time for everyone. I have plenty of ridiculous stories every day, and I leave school either hysterically laughing or bawling. There’s a fine line between the two.

Christmas is a logical time to experiment with tasty treats. Here are the three that I actually found time to try out. I’ve got a whole long list of recipes I wanted to try. Next year, I guess.

Anyway, some of these pictures should have been posted weeks ago, and for that I apologize. I can’t say that I made up any of these recipes on my own – but they’re all delicious.

Christmas Chex Mix: It doesn’t look quite as appetizing as it truly is. Since I used Chocolate Chex, the chocolate part mixed with the white chocolate chips created that weird brownish color. Recipe can be found here (her pictures look much better than mine). There’s only three ingredients!

 

Eggnog Cookies: Even if you’re not crazy about eggnog, you’ll like these cookies. Eggnog is used in the batter and in the frosting, but it’s only a small amount. They turned out soft and chewy (in a good way), and lasted that way for a while. Recipe can be found at Your Cup of Cake’s blog.

 

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes: I have not tasted these yet, as they will be our Christmas Eve dessert tonight. They turned out cuter than I thought they would! I followed Glorious Treats’ recipe. Note: The batter is very thin, and she mentions it will be thin in her directions. Even though the batter was quite runny, the finished product turned out perfect. I was quite nervous for a while. I used peppermint bark (a gift from a student) as the garnish on top, but crushed candy canes would work well too!

 

 

Enjoy!

 

Allie

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ribbon trees

This year for Thanksgiving, I was enlisted to plan a family craft. I found some pictures of ribbon trees on pinterest (surprise, surprise) and decided that would be perfect! Without further ado. here’s how to make them.

Materials:

Cardstock (8.5 x 11)

5-6 different types of ribbon

Hot glue gun

Pom poms or other tree toppers

Scissors

Clear tape

Pencil

Directions:

1) Cut out a cone using the cardstock. The template that I used can be found here. I had to make it a little smaller so the cone shape was skinnier than the template (the ribbon will add volume to the tree).

2) Tape the cone firmly together. I taped the flap first, and then along the whole outside of the cone.

3) Determine the pattern you want to use with your ribbon. I chose to somewhat alternate the gold ribbon with colored/patterned ribbon.

4) Cut the ribbon into segments 2-3 inches long. Longer ribbon will create a fuller tree. I ended up cutting a few, gluing them on the cone, and then cutting more as needed.

5) Start gluing the ribbon on, starting with the bottom layer. I would suggest slightly overlapping the ribbon so that the cone underneath doesn’t show. You can see in my picture that I should have overlapped a little more.

6) Once the bottom layer is done, start on the next layer, following the same method as before. Do this until the ribbon layers reach the top. If you want a fuller look, place the layers closer together. (You can see that I used tape in my pictures – it didn’t work quite as well as hot glue would’ve.)

7) At this point, you can do one of two things. You could add another layer of ribbon so that it goes all the way up to the top of the tree, or you can wrap some ribbon around the top of the cone. I chose the latter. It was a bit difficult to get the ribbon to spiral nicely around the cone shape, but it ended up looking just fine.

8) Using a small dot of hot glue, stick the pom pom or other tree topper on top.

Overall, I loved doing this craft. It took me nearly an hour but I enjoyed doing it! It would be cute to make some taller trees and some shorter trees and set the up together. Happy crafting!

 

allie

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it’s baking season!

With Thanksgiving so near and Christmas around the corner, I’m getting excited to spend more time baking! Yesterday my cousins and I had a “practice Thanksgiving” – basically just a reason to get together and eat delicious food. Overall, we did very good for not having any of the aunts and uncles involved. We had enough food and then some to have for dinner later on. What we had tons of was desserts.

Not too long ago, I found a recipe for a peanut butter fudge brownie trifle on Pintrest. I knew I wanted to make it. Here’s how I did it:

Layer 1: A box of chocolate brownies (any brand – I used Ghirardelli) baked following directions, cooled, and cut into chunks.

Layer 2: Peanut butter-cream cheese layer (see recipe below). 

Layer 3: A 5 oz. box of chocolate pudding – made following the directions on the box. 

Layer 4: 2 cups whipped cream (following instructions below). Note: You will need a total of 3 cups whipping cream for the whole recipe, so I whipped all of it at once and then used 1/3 of it on Layer 2. 

Topping: 1 bag chopped up peanut butter cups.

To make layer 2 (ingredient amounts and directions quoted directly from In Jennie\’s Kitchen)

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup creamy-style peanut butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form.  Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a mixing bowl.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the powdered sugar.  Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.

Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream).  Fold in the remaining whipped cream.  

For Layer 4: 

Pour the 3 cups heavy cream or whipping cream (1 cup for use in Layer 2, the other 2 cups for layer 4) into the mixing bowl. Turn the mixer on high for a few minutes, until stiff peaks form. Store it in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

To assemble the trifle: I put the brownies on bottom, then added half of the peanut butter mixture, put half of the pudding for the next layer, chopped up some peanut butter cups, and continued layering like this until I used up all the ingredients. I put the whipped cream as the top layer.

 

 

 

I also attempted to make homemade dinner rolls. It took FOREVER – I think I need to develop patience to bake bread. Waiting for it to rise takes waaaay too long. I followed a bread machine recipe for the dough. Then I balled up small balls of dough and put 3 each in a muffin pan. I let them rise until they doubled in size (I actually turned the oven on to about 250 and put the pan in front of the oven vent to speed up the process) and then baked them for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. They turned out way better than I expected!

allie

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DIY envelopes

Inspired by another Pintrest find, and with the holidays coming up, I decided to try making my own envelopes and notecards. I found some scrapbooking paper at TJ Maxx for $5.99 for 48 sheets of cardstock. There’s lots of cool vintage designs. I roughly followed Poppytalk\’s tutorial on easy tiny envelopes.

Materials:

*1 sheet 12×12 scrapbooking cardstock

*2 sheets 8.5×12 white cardstock to use for a template

*hot glue gun

*glue stick

*scissors

Steps:

1) I took apart an envelope I found at home (poppytalk suggests soaking it in water so the glue loosens up and you don’t end up ripping the envelope – I was too impatient for that so I just ripped it).

2) Using white cardstock paper, I traced the envelope and cut out a template.

3) I chose the scrapbook paper that I wanted to use, traced using the template, and cut out my envelope.

4) I cut out a card template to fit inside the envelope and made the card to match.

5) I folded each of the flaps (here’s where using cardstock was probably not the best choice because it’s hard to fold).

6) Using my hot glue gun, I glued the sides of the envelope together.

7) After writing my note on the notecard, I used a glue stick to glue the top of the envelope shut. I had to hold it down to make the glue stay but it worked!

8) I made a flower to add detail using circles of cardstock. Here’s the finished product!

I will definitely be making more cards like this for the holidays! Enjoy! (PS Sorry the pictures are so dark – I need to find a good place to take pictures of my crafts.)

 

allie

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messy updo

So one of the reasons I haven’t blogged in so long might be because I have spent waaaaay too much time on Pintrest. If you haven’t heard of the online pin board, you should definitely check it out. There are so many great ideas for crafts, DIY things for the home and holidays, great fashion inspiration, and tasty looking recipes. There are so many things I want to try out, I just cannot find the time to do them all! Lately I have been looking at various hairstyles. I’ve been in a hair rut lately, sticking to the same 2-3 ways to do my hair on any given day. I was getting bored.

And then I found The Small Things Blog. Kate is a hairstylist and posts great tutorials, both video and picture-by-picture. Her hair is about the same length as mine (I feel like most people I know have hair that is WAY longer than mine), so her styles are totally doable for anyone with medium length hair or longer. I tried out her Messy Side Updo and here are my results!

 

 

 

What I really like about this hairstyle is that it doesn’t take very long (maybe 10 or so minutes the first time you do it), and before you pin your hair all the way up, she has you knot and pin your hair. That keeps it in place quite well, which I like because I have thick hair and it can take quite a few bobbies for my hair to stay in place at all. The knots create a solid base. I also love that it’s messy, so it’ll probably look a bit different every time and it makes it easier to do since perfection is not the goal.

 

One thing to note is that I curled my hair before I did this – actually, I curled my hair yesterday, and this way a great way to do my hair with falling-out curls from yesterday. If you like this, definitely check out Kate’s tutorial because she knows what she’s doing :)

 

allie


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wedding and more

And there’s the wedding recap I promised – I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

That being said… here’s a few things I’m loving right now. Pinned Image

cozy bed nook (from here)

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chunky scarf and a top knot are a must (from the girls of lincoln park)

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romantic circle scarf (from here)

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gorgeous, and okay, a little over the top, heels (from here)

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french onion soup – my weekly craving (recipe from the curvy carrot)

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all this cozy room is missing is a maine coon (from here)

That’s all for today!

allie

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This is going to be a different type of post – not one you will typically find from me. However, lots of things have been happening recently, and thoughts have been circling my mind, and I find that if I am ever going to post on a topic such as this, this is a good time to do so. Also, here comes my cheese warning – I will try my best to avoid cheesy statements, but sometimes they are simply unavoidable. That being said…

The Lord’s faithfulness. That is what has been on my mind this week and last. You see, working as a substitute teacher during the day and at Gap during the night has proven to be taxing in many ways – physically, emotionally, time-wise. I have less free time, which means less time with my family, friends, and boyfriend. Less time doing the things that help me relax and enjoy life. I am on my feet all day, and when combined with early mornings, an achy, tired body is inevitable. Situations during the work day can be stressful and unavoidable. I am learning how to view my current situation as a phase of life, a season if you will, and as a blessing. Thinking of it in this way has been somewhat of a challenge. I constantly remind myself that the Lord has given me two great jobs and thus financial stability.

The stress of it all really wears on me though. Those of you that know me well know that I tend to overwork myself, take on far too much, and get stressed out. Since I have learned this about myself, I know what my limits are and what I need to do to take care of myself. Sometimes it’s not enough though.

Here is what the Lord has been teaching me, boiled down to a few simple points.

1. I am not in control, no matter how much I wish I were.

2. Only He is in control.

3.  If He loves me so much that He gave His only son’s life for me, then why do I always think that He can’t provide rest and energy when I need it?

4. When I surrender all, He gives me SO MUCH MORE than I could ever dream.

A few specific examples:

*Today when I subbed, the teacher came back for the last 15 minutes of the school day. We got to talking, and he ended up asking me to sub for quite a few more days for him. Personal connections when trying to find sub jobs are a MUST.

*A few weeks ago when I subbed in a school, I wrote a test for a teacher. One thing led to another, and the next thing I know, all the 5th grade teachers are requesting me (now along with other teachers in the building who have heard about me).

*Just when I think that my hard work and dedication is not paying off, or no one is noticing how hard I work, my managers offer encouraging words to get me through the work night.

*There are so many other little things that I look at and think, “Wow, that was amazing.” Things that I would never be able to control.

I want to be very clear who the glory goes to – solely to the merciful and loving Lord Almighty. So many times have I been surprised at how, after asking Him, my emotions, thoughts, and even my physical state improve. He is always faithful, even when we are not faithful (I always forget which Bible verse that is).

I leave you with a few pictures that remind me of His faithfulness and peace.

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(original source)

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(original source)

allie

PS The wedding is this weekend… pics are soon to follow!

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things to brighten a rainy monday

So… it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. Let’s just say I thought it would be a good idea to find another job in addition to substitute teaching. However, it makes for 14 hour days and an exhausted me. I’ve been too busy to do many crafts lately, but here’s some things I found on Pintrest that I’m loving.

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cozy reading fort for adults (from here)

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adorable color combo (from everly true)

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an easy diy decorative pillow (from here)

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some seriously delicious-looking hot mozzarella caprese dip (from here)

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starbucks recipe for caramel apple spice (from here)

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burberry nails… some day i’ll have the patience to try it! (from here)

Also, today marks the five day mark until my good friend Kelsey gets married! I am getting super pumped to be a part of their special day, so here’s some wedding-themed things I’m digging. Pinned Image

a handmade garter – a little bit of something blue (from here)

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my dream dress (from here)

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cute, affordable decorations (from here)

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vintage ring (from here)

I will definitely be posting pictures from the wedding this weekend. It’s gonna be a night to remember for sure!

allie

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pasta with tomatoes and sausage

pastaaaaaa

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 450° F. On a rimmed baking sheet, mix the tomatoes (with their juices) and garlic with the oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roast until the tomatoes have charred in spots and the juices have thickened, 40 to 45 minutes.
  2. After the tomatoes have roasted for 20 minutes, place the sausage on a second rimmed baking sheet. Roast, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 15 to 17 minutes. Thinly slice the sausage.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the tomatoes, sausage, spinach, and 2 tablespoons of the cooking water and toss to combine (add more cooking water if the pasta seems dry). Sprinkle with the Parmesan.
(ingredients and directions taken straight from charlyne mattox, real simple magazine)
This recipe is seriously delicious. Hands-on time was only about 15 minutes. My family loved it! Also – that bread you see there was homemade by yours truly!
allie

 

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this week’s favorite things

beige and gold nails (from glitter guide)

festive fall decorations (from frugal flourish)

this fall’s must haves – a striped long sleeve like this (from east atlanta)

creative way to display books (from the enchanted home)

casual yet chic (from we heart it)

cute way to serve coffee and mini donuts (from martha stewart weddings)

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