To Recap / The Holiday's

 
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     Hi there! Just wanted to pop in and share the last of our holiday season adventures with you all! I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas, full of chocolate and love! It's finally winter here, and it doesn't look to be letting up anytime soon, so looking at the photo of Bailey above without a jacket feels like forever ago, but it was at the beginning of the month! The red plaid shirt was her holiday shirt this year, as I didn't want to waste money on a Santa or Christmas tree covered shirt that she can only wear for Christmas time. I went with a red plaid that can be worn long after Christmas, but was still festive enough for our holiday events!

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     Brett and Bailey built a fort when we put our lights up around the house. It was quite magical!

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      We wrapped presents, and shared our new gift rules here!

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     Anheuser-Busch is a St. Louis based company, but they house their famous Clydesdale's at the nicest barn I've ever seen in Booneville, MO, which is about 15 minutes from Columbia. They host a Christmas-themed tour of their barn, and you get to walk through and see all the horses while sipping the freshest Budweiser you can get anywhere. The horses were beautiful and massive, and I don't normally care for Budweiser, but it was freshly brewed and on tap for the event, so it was actually pretty delicious.  

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      We put our Christmas cookie cutters to use for the first time, and also shared that here!

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      Bailey had her first ever school Christmas party! I volunteered to make the "sweet treats" for the kids, and made chocolate dipped graham crackers that Bailey decorated herself with sprinkles. They were a hit, and Bailey was so proud to help and show her classmates!

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     We had our first snow of the year in Columbia on Sunday (and our second one yesterday)! We went home to Arkansas for Christmas Eve, and when we came back that evening Bailey and Brett played in the snow for almost an hour. I opted to stay warm inside and organize Bailey's gifts from Nana and Grandpa, and sip some fresh coffee. Never a bad decision!

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    Lastly, on Christmas Eve, we spiked some hot chocolate and braved the cold to go visit the "Candy Cane Crib". It's a Columbia tradition, and the "crib" used to be set up in a residential area on someones front lawn, but I'd assume the neighbors got tired of that and this year, Logboat Brewery hosted the spectacle!

    It was an amazing holiday season, and I can't wait to see what the new year holds! 2018, we're ready for you!

To Bake / Chocolate Sugar Cookies

 
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     Good morning! Growing up, we always made sugar cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, and I wanted to do something similar with Bailey this year. We didn't make them on Christmas Eve, I'll be making chocolate chip cookies because that's Santa's (i.e. Brett's) preference this year, and cinnamon rolls for the next morning from scratch - another family tradition, c/o my dad (although we always enjoyed Pilsbury instead, but who doesn't?!)! Even though chocolate chip will be on Santa's plate this year, I still wanted Bailey to get to do the cookie cutters and icing aspect of Christmas cookies. However, sugar cookies are one of my least favorite cookies, so I added some cocoa powder! They turned out better than I expected (duh, chocolate). They have a brownie taste with a sugar cookie texture, and in my opinion, that's a huge upgrade to the original cookie! See for yourself below, and peep Bailey getting in on the action. She had a blast! 

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Ingredients:

- 1 cup of butter (2 sticks) - room temperature

- 1 cup of sugar

- 1 egg

- 1 + 1/2 tsp. of vanilla

- 2 cups of AP flour

- 3/4 cup of cocoa powder

- pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Mix together butter and sugar, then add your egg and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to the wet mixture. Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Let dough chill in the fridge for one hour. 

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2. Using whatever cookie cutters you like, cut out shapes. Chill shapes in the fridge for 10 minutes.

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3. Preheat oven to 350.

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4. Bake for 12 minutes.

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5. Let cool to room temperature before icing, this is very important!

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6. Ice your cookies as desired and enjoy!

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      Bailey really loved doing this, and I think we definitely have a new holiday tradition now. 

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Tuesday! We'll be back later this week to celebrate the start of winter!

To Have Traditions

 

     Good morning! I just wanted to share a few of our Christmas traditions today, from both my family and Bretts. We are kind of combining them this year, to do Christams morning at our house for the first time, just us 3. Bailey actually recognizes Santa now, so we figured this year is a good year to start the whole Santa shindig. Check out how we celebrate Christmas below! 

Traditions: 

1. As you all know, we go Christmas tree shopping every year, at a tree farm. Bretts family has done this forever, and so have I with my dad growing up. It was the most comforting thing to continue ot of all the traditions!

2. Columbia has a Magic Tree that's covered in lights, which all Columbians flock to this time of year. We go on Christmas Eve every year, and it's the most gorgeous thing. Expect some photos of it after Christmas! 

3. My family and I always made cookies for Santa, and set them out along with carrots for the reindeer. I want to start that up this year with Bailey, with one caveat: chocolate sugar cookies instead of regular. Sugar cookies are not Santas cup of tea around here, but Santa sure does love anything chocolate! 

4. Lastly, my dad always read us 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, animatedly so, every Christmas Eve before we went to bed. I plan to hunt down a copy ASAP, and attempt a reading like my dads. Our book won't be antique from the 60's (am I close on that mom?) with all of it's pretty illustrations, but it's the ambiance that counts!  

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Friday! 

To Make Ornaments

 

      Good morning! Happy December! To kick things off, I wanted to share a fun ornament DIY, today. It's time to decorate the tree, and I've always loved handmade ornaments, so I came up with a copper pyramid design that perfectly suits my aesthetic. Check out the how-to below!

Materials:

- plastic straws

- scissors

- copper spray paint

- string

Directions:

1. First things first, paint 4 straws copper and let dry.

2. Cut the top of the straw off at the bendy part and discard. Then cut the remaining piece in half. Repeat on all four straws.

3. Cut string long enough to come out a half inch on each end of each straw piece. Thread though four straw pieces, and connect all string ends with a double knot, creating a square like above. Trim off excess string.

4. To attach the sides of the pyramid to the base, cut four more pieces of string and attach to each corner of the square, onto the string, with double knots. Then thread the string through your remaining four straw pieces and tie both sides together, creating two triangles like above. Don't trim off the excess this time (see below).

5. To finish the pyramid, bring the two side together at the top, and tie the remaining string together to hold the pyramid shape. Trim off the excess.

6. Cut a long piece of string, however long is up to you. Tie it to your pyramid, at the top, and tie a loop in the opposite end to hang from your tree.

7. Voila! Enjoy!