Monday, December 23, 2013

The Last Weekend Before Christmas...

With the temps being in the 70's, even close to the 80's this past weekend, you wouldn't have known it was the last weekend before Christmas. However, all of the go-go-go definitely let us know that the holidays were upon us. Thankfully, a cold front is coming through (as in 50*, which is probably laughable to you Northerners) and it will be in cooled off just in time for Christmas.

Friday night, we went to a friend's 40th birthday oyster roast. Always great to catch up with those guys and their wives. After that, we headed downtown to celebrate another friend's birthday! Glad I'm not the only Christmas time baby. We walked through Marion Square from one bar to the other and walked through the big lit up Christmas tree that is in the middle of the park. Such a neat view.

Saturday was spent running last minute errands and grabbing lunch at D.D. Peckers. When we saw that they had buffalo tator tots with blue cheese crumbles, we knew immediately we'd be trying those bad boys out. They were amazing, as expected.

That night, we made our rounds to two Christmas parties. An oyster roast that my Godmother was hosting, and then on to my aunt and uncle's. 
Me and my pretty sissy
Things got a little interesting as the night went on and Cameron and my mom broke out their signature dance move... happens often..
Caroline and Andy's wedding in 2009
Our wedding
He even does it in honor of her when she's not there..
Jason and Jessica's wedding in 2011
On Sunday, we went to church with Cameron's family. It was an extra special trip to church because Cameron's grandmother, who has been in a rehabilitation facility for about 3 months, was able to be transported to the church. It was the only thing she wanted for Christmas. You could tell how happy she was to be there, and how happy all of the members of the church were to see her. :)

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!
Keep your eyes open for an awesome giveaway (especially for you newlyweds!) coming up soon!

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Five.

Good morning and TGIF! So glad it's finally Friday, although this week did seem to fly by. We've got our holiday pot luck luncheon today at work and I'm whipping up Stephanie's crock pot mac and cheese once again. But this time I'm switching it up and using pepper jack cheese. I am going to want a nap ASAP afterwards. 

Here are five things I've been loving this week..

I ordered a pair of earrings last week from Baublebar as a Christmas gift, so I was really surprised when I opened the box and saw this necklace in there! I seriously thought they sent me the wrong order or I forgot that I had ordered it. Nope, just great customer service and now I'm hooked for life!

Let's all pause for a moment and take in this beautiful sunrise over the ocean from this morning. Maybe I'm just now opening my eyes, but I feel like Charleston has been having some really amazing sunrises and sunsets this year. 

On to another beautiful thing...tequila. A caterer dropped this glorious gift off yesterday and you would have thought I won the lottery. I was so excited! Cameron and I enjoyed delicious margaritas with our Mexican rice bowls for dinner last night. Ole!

This is my gorgeous friend and co-worker, Leah. Yesterday I walked into her office and busted out laughing because we were wearing almost the exact same outfit. It's only hilarious because we are the "rebels" of our company..not exactly adhering to all of the dress codes. Whoops. 

Cannot believe Christmas is 5 days away! Which means my 30th birthday is 9 days away! We've got parties galore this weekend and are making a special trip to church on Sunday with Cameron's grandmother. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

Linked up with April, Christina, and the rest of the 5 on Friday girls!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas at The Baker's.

Here's a sneak peek of what our house looks like this time of year...

The garland has some small LED lights from BB&B around them that are on timers to come on when it starts to get dark outside. 

Our tree is decorated in gold and white ornaments. 
Next year I want to get a smaller one for the dining room that we can put all of our "other" ornaments on.

A different angle of the tree.
Hmm the lights look a little top heavy, don't they?

Moving into the dining room..

The candle holders were a $5 Goodwill find! I LOVE them!

Nativity scene.

Just how I like it...but I do plan on taking advantage of the after Christmas sales to add more decorations to my collection! 
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Chicken Gumbo Soup.

I always get the difference between gumbo and jambalaya confused. After doing extensive research (aka Wikipedia), I've determined that this soup is basically the two combined! Typically gumbo has a thinner consistency like the recipe below, and jambalaya is thicker. But the main difference between the two is the way that the rice is prepared. With gumbo, the rice is prepared on it's own and served as a bed for the main dish. For jambalaya, the rice is cooked in the stock from the veggies, meat and broth, just like this recipe. Which is why I say they are the best of both worlds combined!
 And that folks, is your cooking lesson for the day! 

Chicken Gumbo Soup
Recipe and photo from Iowa Girl Eats.

3 slices bacon, chopped

1 small onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
salt & pepper
1-1/2lbs chicken breasts, cut into-bite sized pieces and seasoned with salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
32oz chicken broth (plus more for reheating)
28oz crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more or less)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup long grain rice

Heat a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy then remove to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside, reserving bacon fat in pot (add extra virgin olive oil if necessary to get 2 Tablespoons fat total in pot.) Add onion, bell pepper, and celery then season with salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes, or until veggies are softened. Add chicken and Cajun seasoning then cook for 5 more minutes. Add garlic then cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Sprinkle flour over veggies and chicken then stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, until flour turns golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add about a cup of chicken broth then scrape browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add remaining chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, water, bay leaves, red chili pepper flakes, and salt then bring soup to a boil. Add rice then cover pot, turn heat down to medium-low, and simmer, stirring often, for 15-20 minutes or until rice is just barely tender (it will continue to cook and soften in soup.) Add cooked bacon back into the soup then let it sit and thicken off the heat for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and serve.
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Monday, December 16, 2013

Ticky Tacky.

Although I had to work Saturday night, it was a great weekend! Tacky sweater party and lots of lounging on the couch thanks to rainy days and achy heads. 

Caroline and Andy hosted this month's supper club and it was tacky Christmas sweater themed. Always a fun theme! I love seeing what everyone digs up and wears. Cameron's cousin was kind enough to let us borrow her sweaters. They were a hit, especially my sweet shoulder pads. 

-2014 Christmas card? - 

- Caroline's gorgeous Christmas mantle. - 

-Henry's Uncle Si shirt and Ashton's shirt that said "All Mommy wants is a silent night." - 

- Birdie getting in on the tacky action. Except she's cute. - 

 - Cameron and Andy enjoying their White Elephant gifts. - 

- Supper club girls. - 

If you'd like a pair of matching red sweater leggings, you can find them here at Wally World.

Back tomorrow with a great recipe for the next rainy day!

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Five.

Wow, has it been quiet around here! When your husband and your friends start to mention it, you know it's time for a post. My apologies.

Last Sunday, we had a jam packed day. First, a surprise bday brunch for our friend, Tyler, at the always yummy, Fat Hen. Ever since this party was scheduled, I knew immediately that I was going to order the duck bbq sandwich with blue cheese coleslaw. Well, being that our reservation was at 10am due to our large group, I wasn't exactly feeling the heavy meal. Instead, I opted for the classic scrambled eggs, bacon cheese grits (amazing!), bacon, and toast.

Our two buddies, Ashton and Greyson.

The whole gang. Birthday boy on the far right.

After brunch, came TWO baby showers. First up was my sweet (and beautiful) friend, Frankie's, baby shower. She is due exactly a week before Emily but is not finding out the sex of the baby. I'm definitely feeling a girl for her so we'll just have to wait and see next month what it will be!
Next up, we headed to Amanda and Eric's co-ed baby shower. Sadly, no pics of the baby mama or daddy were taken, but I did run into Katie and Kerr! Love how our group of friends are intertwined.
Hot chocolate bar that gave me some great ideas for a special baby shower I'm throwing next month!
Super cute diaper wreath and cake! I've never seen a snowman diaper cake before.

I have a hard time finding a "specialty" coffee/tea for my Keurig that I won't get sick of after one box. They're usually all two sickly sweet for me. Enter the chai latte pods. I picked these up on Tuesday and they are SO GOOD. They taste almost as good as the Starbucks version!

Along with the chai lattes I picked up, I grabbed this Yankee Candle scent called "Pinecone & Lime." Why yes, it does sound like a very odd combination, but I promise it just makes your room smell like Christmas! I want to keep it lit all the time.

Tonight is our monthly supper club and there is a theme this go 'round! Tacky Christmas sweaters, duh. Cameron and I borrowed some sweaters from his cousin and y'all are going to be in for a treat on Monday. Let's just say that mine includes shoulder pads. So hot.

Wish I would have seen this one before though..

Can't believe Christmas is so close!
Have a great weekend!

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Five.

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that something scary happened Wednesday evening! 
I came home from work and while I was walking to get the mail, I could hear Brady barking an abnormal amount. When I got to the house, I peaked in the window and saw him walking from the back part of the house where our dining room, office, and back porch is. I figured there must be a cat or something in the back yard. Well, I was right. There was a MAN sitting in one of our chairs in our back yard!! I grabbed Brady, sprinted to my neighbors house and called the cops. Long story short, he lives on the street behind us and had surgery the day before. He had gone out of his house, got disoriented and couldn't find his way back. He said he became short of breath and needed somewhere to sit down. Why he chose our backyard with our loud dog barking at him, I have no idea. The cops stayed with him until the EMS arrived to take him back to the hospital and we decided not to file any trespassing charges against him. A scary situation, that just luckily just a misunderstanding and no one was hurt.
Needless to say, Brady got a well deserved bone that night.

Monday night, we celebrated Cameron's grandmother's 93rd birthday! We visited her in the rehabilitation facility that she's been staying at for the past couple of months and brought her cards, gifts, and a delicious lemon pound cake made by my MIL. She is one loved lady!
Excuse the lack of make-up. I lost my make-up bag over the weekend. :(
Our Christmas cards have arrived in our friends and families mailboxes and I am pretty obsessed with them. Once again, Minted comes through. Their quality is like non other. I went with the Gallery Classic postcards this year.
Blurry, sorry, but you get the picture.
Our good friends Jen and Joe made the move from Columbia to Charleston last weekend and we could not be more excited to have them here!  

After dinner with Jen and Joe Wednesday, Cameron and I went and got our Christmas tree! After eating way too much, I wasn't really in the mood to decorate, but Cameron convinced me otherwise and I am so glad he did!
Another year with a sheet as a tree skirt. #fail  I even bought one from Target but it didn't work with the kind of tree stand we use. :(
 Have a great weekend!
We'll be watching the SEC and ACC championship games, attending a surprise brunch at the always yummy Fat Hen, and attending two baby showers! Love this time of year!
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