December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!  This is such a magical time of the year and I am excited to just spend the next few days enjoying laid back family time.  We had the most wonderful time in beautiful Lake Tahoe and we are now back in town to enjoy Christmas at home.  I am so thankful for the connections I have made through this blog and hope that you all enjoy this special time with your family and friends.

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Merry Christmas from our family to yours... 
Xo, Becky



December 22, 2014

Homemade Marshmallows

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Good Morning!  I have a really yummy recipe for you today.  I made homemade marshmallows for the first time last week and oh my goodness they were so delicious!  I added them to our hot chocolate and included a white chocolate peppermint candy stick and it was so, so good.  Seriously the best hot chocolate I've ever had.  Keep on reading for a full recipe...

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Homemade Marshmallows

Ingredients:
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 c. ice cold water, divided
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
vegetable shortening (Crisco)

Directions
  1. Combine powdered sugar and cornstarch in small bowl.
  2. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 baking pan lightly with Crisco.  Also grease a spatula.  Add the powdered sugar/cornstarch mix to a sifter and sift to coat the bottom and sides of the pan and the spatula.  Keep the remaining mix to use later.
  3. Hand mix the gelatin and 1/2 c. cold water in a large bowl (if you will be using a stand mixer, put it in the stand mixer bowl.  I used a hand mixture and it worked too.) Let it sit while you cook the syrup mixture.
  4. In a small saucepan, mix the remaining 1/2 c. water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt.  Place over medium high heat, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue cooking, mixing occasionally, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F.  It will take about 7-8 minutes.
  5. Once the syrup mixture reaches the 240 degrees, remove it from the heat.
  6. Turn the mixer on low speed and, while mixing, very slowly pour the hot syrup mixture down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup mixture, increase the mixer speed to high.  Whip until it becomes very thick, about 12-15 minutes.
  7. During the last minute of whipping, add the vanilla. When you’re done it will look a lot like marshmallow fluff.
  8. Immediately after finishing mixing, pour the marshmallow mixture into your pan, using your coated spatula to spread it evenly.
  9. Use your sifter to dust the top with the sugar and cornstarch mixture until it’s lightly covered.  Keep the remainder of the sugar/cornstarch mix to use later.  Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  10. Use a knife to separate the marshmallow from the edges of the pan, lay parchment paper on top of the pan, and then flip the pan over onto a cutting board so that the marshmallow comes out.
  11. Lightly grease a pizza wheel with Crisco and sprinkle with the sugar/cornstarch mixture. Use the pizza wheel to cut the marshmallows into 1 inch squares.
  12. Once cut, generously dust all sides of each marshmallow with the sugar/cornstarch mixture. (worked best for me to sift a layer of the mixture onto a cutting board and rolling the marshmallows in it). You’ll end up with 8-9 dozen of these fluffy, yummy treats!
  13. Store in air tight container at room temp if you will be enjoying in the next couple of days.  But otherwise keep in the fridge to keep them fresh longer.
*tip - best to wash all your dishes as soon as you finish, to avoid the mixture hardening like a rock and then some major soaking will be required :)
*recipe adapted from Driven By Décor

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They are the perfect little treat for a cold winter day!  Hope you enjoy!!



December 18, 2014

Our Cozy Christmas Table 2014

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Good Morning!  Today I wanted to share my Christmas table with you.  We will be heading out to enjoy a few days in Lake Tahoe, but then back home to spend Christmas here.  Since I'm sure I will be exhausted when we return, I decided to set up our table so that when we get back it's ready to go for our little family Christmas at home.  If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I found these darling plates at Marshalls and I absolutely love the sweet, simple designs on each one.  I think they will be making an appearance for many years.  My children have already picked their favorites to place on their spots and they will serve as our special little place cards.  A tradition in the making!

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For my centerpiece, I placed a tray to hold some of our Christmas gifts.  Separate from our Santa presents, we will be giving Preston and Lyla each one gift, so I placed those here, along with our gifts to one another.  I thought it might be nice to open those after we finish dinner now that our children are at an age where sitting together at the dinner table is an enjoyable time together.

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I added a little fresh greenery to the center to finish off the look and we are all ready to enjoy our Christmas dinner together!



December 15, 2014

Dear Santa Letter

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Hey there!  Is this holiday season zooming by for you guys?  How is it that we are in our last few days of school before Christmas break?  I seriously can't believe it.  We are leaving for a ski trip in a couple of days, so in between rounding up cold weather gear, last minutes school projects, cheer competitions, basketball practice and Christmas shopping, we also started thinking about our letter and treats that we are going to put out for Santa before we leave.  Because even with our crazy, busy schedule, the treats for Santa are a big deal for a couple of kiddos in  my house :)

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This letter is one that we have been putting out the last couple of years and I still just love it.  I think it helps remind my children the true meaning of Christmas and adds the whimsy of Santa too.  It's short and sweet, but gets the message about where our focus should be.

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Does your family have any fun traditions that ya'll do the night before Santa comes to visit? 

Have a great day!



December 11, 2014

So, So Grateful

Hi there!  While I was closing out our Reader Appreciation Giveaway on Monday as a way to thank all of you for your support and readership, it occurred to me that I should also say a huge "thank you" to a few magazines and online sites that have recently featured my work.  I have to admit that blogging is a LOT of work (especially if you are solo doing all the photographs, editing, writing, designing, organizing, etc.), but it's something that I absolutely LOVE.  So to have the work that I'm passionate about recognized by these magazines is such a dream come true!  And to see myself, my children and my home in glossy print of a national magazine is definitely a pinch me moment that just still blows me away.  In the last month, these features below have happened and I am truly grateful. 

Thank you so much to Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, GoodHousekeeping.com, HouseBeautiful.com and BHG.com!

Better Homes & Gardens Magazine | December 2014

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Better Homes and Gardens Style Spotters | Holiday Decorating In My Neutral Palette Home

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Good Housekeeping | 10 Genius Ways To Decorate With Wrapping Paper (#6)

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And again, a big "thank you" to all of you who read, comment, pin, tweet, gram, facebook and share my work.  Y'all are an amazing group and I love all the connections I have made through this little blog.

Have a wonderful day!
 


December 8, 2014

My Classic Christmas Home Tour

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Hi there!  Welcome to my little Christmas home tour.  For me, Christmas is such a magical time of the year.  It's a time of celebrating traditions from my past and creating new memories with my own little family.  So getting the house decorated is a big part of building those memories for us.  This year, I choose to stick with my classic, simple decorating style.  I love using greenery and then adding a little Christmas flavor with red in small doses.  

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The kids stockings are from Pottery Barn Kids and always so fun for them to pull out each year.  We do not have an elf on the shelf, but instead celebrate the fest of St. Nick on December 6th who fills their stockings with some special treats.

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And because the piano has been so famous this year, it too got all dressed up for the occasion :)  All ready for Christmas carols.

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The dining room table is ready to go with this new reindeer I picked up at Homegoods, my red plaid napkins from World Market and fresh greenery from our holly bushes.

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I added a few touches of Christmas to the kitchen as well.  The simple chalkboard and Christmas tree garland were quick, easy diy's.  Then I headed outside again for a few clippings from our cedar trees to add here and there.  Another boxwood wreath for the window over my desk finished things off.

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And now the grand finale...our Christmas tree!  Much the same as last year, but I added the red ribbon and red wrapping this year.  I kept our tree simple with just lights and ornaments for the last two years and really like it that way.  We put all our ornaments on the tree.  The handmade ones from school hang right along side our fancy glass ornaments.  It's our little collection of treasures displayed for this special time of the year.  I added the linen stockings from Birch Lane and cozied up the fireplace with a new pillow and throw from Homegoods.

Now time to sit back and enjoy it all for the next few weeks.  Have a beautiful day!

P.S.  Our blogger's holiday giveaway has ended and the winner is Amy O.   Congratulations!  I will be emailing you soon.


Let's Stay Connected

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December 6, 2014

Here A Puffer, There A Puffer

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Good Morning!  So are you sporting a puffer vest this winter?  They are back and I see them everywhere this season.  I am really loving this red one for the holidays and especially crushing on the flannel-lined plaid hood (it's detachable too, giving you more options.)  And ya'll, the price makes it even better...it's a steal at only $20!  So, so good.  I've round up 12 more of my favorites that you can browse through below. 

P.S.  The link for the red one above brings you to the "Tall" which has limited sizes.  When I checked just now, Regular still has XS, L, XL & XXL and Petite has all sizes.  Heard it runs big according to the reviews.  Hope that helps :)





Happy Shopping!



December 3, 2014

BHG Style Spotters

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Hey there!  I am just popping in to let you know where I'm hanging out today...Better Homes and Garden's Style Spotters!  I am super excited about it and would LOVE to have you stop by and say "hi!"

After you visit me on Style Spotters, don't forget to enter our Reader Appreciation Holiday Giveaway for a chance to win $250 cash!  You can go HERE to enter. 

Have a wonderful day!



December 1, 2014

Thank You + Holiday Giveaway

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.  Today is all about continuing the gratefulness by saying thank you to you all for your readership.  This blog is a true passion of mine and having you carve out a little time in your day to read means so much to me.  So how about we start this month off with a giveaway and a chance to win $250 cash in appreciation of you!  I've teamed up with some of my favorite blog friends to put together this special holiday giveaway.  It's just a small token of our appreciation for all your support and what better time to do it then around the holidays. 

Your hosts for the giveaway are:

Becky @ This Is Happiness
Jenny Collier
Shelley @ Crazy Wonderful
Julia Ryan
Lisa @ Shine Your Light
Emily @ Eleven Gables
Mallory @ Charming In Charlotte
Claire Brody
Aniko @ Place of My Taste
Amy @ The Blissful Bee

You can use the Rafflecopter below to enter.  The winner will be announced December 8th.  Good Luck!

November 26, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide | For Her


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1. Plaid Mint and Navy Scarf (shortly after I posted this, the mint/navy combo sold out, but other colors still available) | 2. Tassel Key Chain | 3. Elements of Style Book | 4. Personalized Pendant Necklace | 5. Tory Burch Cosmetic Pouch | 6. Polaroid Instant Camera | 7. Monogram Jewelry Box | 8. Monogram and Tassel Key Chain | 9. Hey Gorgeous Pillow | 10. Kendra Scott Earrings

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!  Are you ready to gobble up some scrumptious turkey and yummy pies?  I can't wait!  I go all out and sample everything.  And I don't hesitate on filling my plate with seconds on some of my favorites :) 

I had a little time to browse for Christmas gifts, so I thought I would share some of my favorite finds with you all!  Seems like I'm loving all things with tassels, monograms and if you follow on Instagram, you already know I have a major crush on scarves this season.  With a variety of price points ranging from $16.99 for number eight, the monogram and tassel key chain, to $149 for number four, the personalized pendant necklace, there are lots of options for you.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday celebration with your family and friends!  And safe travels if you're venturing out!  I am so thankful for your readership and for all the connections I have made through this blog.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Connect with me:


November 24, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide | For Him

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1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10


If you don't want to mess with the crowded stores, I've rounded up some of my favorite holiday gift ideas for him.  Hopefully some of these will make your shopping a little easier for the men in your life.

And don't forget to enter our blogger's favorite holiday giveaway.  You can go here to enter.

Have a great day!


November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Tablescapes

 
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Happy Friday!  Guys we are less than a week from Thanksgiving!  Are you ready?  If you're hosting and need some inspiration, I've gathered up some gorgeous tablescapes.  I love all the creativity put into these beautiful tables.  All so perfect to make your guest feel extra special as they gather to celebrate this holiday and enjoy each others company.  That scrumptious turkey, those yummy sides and delicious pies will all be that much more enjoyable accompanied by any of these pretty settings.

Enjoy your weekend!