Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014

Well, it's hard to believe that 2014 is coming to an end. To be honest, I am grateful this year is just about over. This year has been kind of frustrating. Most of the year was pretty uneventful, there were a few high points, but it's hard not to focus on the lows. We did get to do a little traveling, such as going to Salt Lake City a couple of times, we went to Seattle, visited my grandparents in Washington, and my brother and I also got to go to San Francisco, which was pretty awesome!
My aunt and cousins came and visited this past summer, which was really fun too!

Anyways, here's to 2015, which will (hopefully!) be a much better year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas

Hello everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! The night before Christmas we were surprised to find it was snowing outside! We only got about half an inch, but it was definitely nice to have a white Christmas! 
Christmas morning we all headed downstairs and checked out our stockings. We all got some fun things! I got some candy, a calendar, nail polish, gloves, some scrapbooking stuff, and a few other things. After our stockings, we did presents! 
In my family, we separate out all the presents, then take turns opening them. We all like being able to see who get what and who the present is from. It took us about an hour to get through the presents and we all received some great gifts! I got a vintage clock, a jewelry stand, some gift cards, an Instax mini camera, and some other neat things. I really like giving gifts, so it is always fun to see everyone's reactions! 
We had breakfast, lounged around for a little while, then we started on dinner.
Our table settings.
The aftermath of everyone's crackers. We opened the crackers, put on our crowns, and then read our jokes before starting dinner.
Michael and I./Hannah with her drumstick.
Family picture!
Dessert! We had nanaimo bars, pumpkin pie, and apple pie. 

After dinner we went for a walk through our neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. Once we got back home, we watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (REALLY stupid. Don't waste your time if you haven't seen it. We agreed it was one of the stupidest movies we'd ever seen.) Then we watched Home Alone before heading off to bed. Overall, we had a pretty great Christmas! Too bad we have to wait another 364 days until Christmas again!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

Hello! I can't believe it's Christmas Eve already! Presents are all wrapped and under the tree and everything is ready for tomorrow! We will be spending tonight watching Elf and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. (We watch Elf every year, but this will be the first time my brother, sister, and I have seen National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.) We always have snacks and finger foods for dinner while watching movies. We're having little pigs in a blanket, deviled eggs, summer sausage with cheese and crackers, chocolate popcorn and olives. Not sure if I'll be making anything else yet. We are also having nanaimo bars and what is left of our cookies. 

I am excited for tomorrow!
Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!
Joyeux Noël!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas cookies

I spent this past weekend doing some baking. I made sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies. As far as Christmas baking goes, I still have to make some fudge and nanaimo bars, and then either my mom or I will be making a pumpkin pie and an apple pie for Christmas.
Hannah helped by cutting out the cookies.
We made regular gingerbread men as well as some ninjas!

Michael, my mom, Hannah, and I decorated the cookies. It was quite fun decorating cookies with everyone. There were some very strange cookies and conversations!
Michael's cookies.
My cookies.
Hannah's cookies. Hannah made the 10th doctor, and she tried to make a silence, but it looks more like Voldemort! Haha!
My mom's cookies. The gingerbread guy had a little accident. 

Have a great week!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Five for Friday

Hello everyone! I am linking up with Lauren Elizabeth again for Five for Friday. How was your week?

1. The biggest thing that happened this week is my brother and dad are back! We picked up my dad yesterday morning and my brother got in last night! I'm so glad they are both here!

2. I finally got the Christmas present I ordered for Hannah. I am officially done with presents! I have everything purchased, wrapped, and under the tree!

3. Michael brought back a pain au chocolat from Paris. It was really good!

4. He also brought back a bunch of other gifts. Including some special French Christmas candy that is SO good!

5. The tracking was finally updated on my Voxbox and it should be here today! I'm excited to see what's inside!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Christmas garland

I wanted to make a Christmas garland, so I made this one up. I don't really have directions (it was pretty easy to do.) I just cut out the letters and tags, and decorated each tag differently. I then folded the tags over the yarn and glued the insides of the tags together. And voilà! All finished!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Birthday recap

Just posting a quick birthday recap! So I apologize if this sounds random!  

My mom bought me some pretty flowers :)

I opened presents later in the morning, I got some books, a photography backdrop (which I am excited to try out), some cooking stuff, as well as a few other random things. Which were all really nice! 
I talked to my grandpa briefly, and then we FaceTimed with my brother while I opened presents, so that was nice!
After presents, we went to Red Robin, but they were super busy and the wait was way too long, so we went to The Ram for lunch insted. That was find because I was able to order my favorite burger. Bacon and mushrooms? Um, yes! Anyways, we ate lunch, did a little shopping (I picked up a cute shirt) and we came home.
We had chocolate cake with oreos on top. Random side-note, I have had a chocolate cake every year for my birthday my entire life. My mom baked the cake and my sister decorated it (well, she crushed up the Oreos on top;) .)

Thank you to everyone who texted, posted on Facebook, or sent me a card. I really appreciate it! (I still have a couple more people to respond to, I'm not ignoring you, I promise!)

Have a great week!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Five for Friday

Hello! I am linking up with Lauren Elizabeth again for another Five for Friday post! This is pretty much a random mix of happenings from the last week.

1. I just got picked for my first VoxBox! I'm a little excited about it and am really curious about what's inside. Look for that post coming soon!


2. I thought I had my Christmas shopping done, turns out I accidentally bought something someone already had.:/ So I will have to take it back and exchange it for something else. I already know what else to get, so that's not that big of a deal, the malls are getting to be crazy busy and I hate going to the mall when it's busy! Oh well. 

3. An email I got this week...
Seems legit.

4. I'm almost done with the Christmas garland I started. I will post it next week. 

5.
I've been studying French on Duolingo. I'm not sure what exactly they're trying to teach here. Sounds a little suspicious (and creepy!) to me!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Currently

Currently I am...

Reading: Checkmate by Steven James. I'm about 2/3 of the way through it and so far it's really good!

Watching: A lot of shows! Castle, Hawaii Five-0, The Voice, The X-Factor UK, The Amazing Race, Gracepoint (Broadchurch is SO much better!).

Eating: Some chocolate.

Drinking: Water.

Wearing: Jeans and a sweatshirt.

Feeling: Tired. 

Wanting: The Christmas present I ordered for my sister to get here.

Needing: To finish the Christmas garland I started like three weeks ago. I have been planning on making it and just haven't had the time to lately. It needs to be done before Christmas!

Disliking: That it's so cold in my room right now!

Liking: Mochas with whipped cream. I typically make a soy mocha, (light on the chocolate because I don't like it too sweet and I like to taste the espresso!) But I had some whipped cream in the fridge so I added some on my mocha and I forgot how good it is!

Looking forward to: My dad and brother coming home next week! 

Have a great rest of your week!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekend recap

How was your weekend? Ours was kinda busy. We spent all day Friday and Saturday Christmas shopping. We got almost all that we needed, so it was nice to get that done.

Yesterday, we watched a church sermon from our church in Washington. Despite the fact we have lived in Boise for over two years and have tried tons of churches, we have not found one we like. So we have been watching message series from the church we attended in WA. I definitely miss our old church!

After lunch, Hannah and I decided to decorate our gingerbread house. We buy a kit every year. It was a little different doing it without Michael this year! Hannah and I had fun decorating our house and we both liked how it turned out!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Five for Friday

Salut! Today I am linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for another Five for Friday post.

1. Christmas shopping. Have you finished yours yet? How is yours going? Normally I am all finished by now, but I just started this past week and only have about two thirds of what I need. :/ My family has been really, really hard to shop for this year! I'm hoping I can finish within the next couple of days so I don't have to think about it anymore!

2. So I did some shopping at Target. That darn dollar spot gets me almost every time.

3. I am also going to be doing some present wrapping this weekend. That should be fun!

4. I ordered some pictures from Snapfish and they should be arriving today. I am a little apprehensive about them because I have never ordered from Snapfish before. I am hoping my pictures turn out okay! I also am picking up some 8x10's I sent into Costco, I am excited to get those and hang them up!

5. This is how I will be spending the remainder of my weekend. Reading! I finally got the new book by my favorite author! A little part of me doesn't want to start it because I know it's the last book in the series, but I am excited to find out what happens!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas vases decorated in 5 ways

Today I thought I would share how to decorate a glass vase for Christmas in 5 different ways. My brother brought these large glass vases home from work one day and thought my mom might want them. At first we couldn't come up with what to do with them, in fact, we almost got rid of them. But now I am glad we kept them! My mom and I came up with a few different ways to style them.

1.
Fill vase part way with epsom salt. Layer pine cones, small ornaments, and snowflakes on top. It's hard to tell in this picture, but my mom lightly sprayed the pine cones with glitter spray.

2. 
Place some greenery or garland in the bottom. Layer with pine cones, small ornaments, and/or fake cranberries.

3. 
Fill vase about half way with different sized ornaments. Add some tinsel on top and then stick some snowflakes between the glass and tinsel, as well as on top of the tinsel.

4. 
 Place some fake snow/cotton on the bottom of the vase. Place a small Christmas village inside.

5.
Place a candle inside vase. Add small ornaments around the outside.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas tree 2014

This past weekend we pulled out our Christmas decorations and started decorating! We stopped and got a tree on Saturday and put it up and decorated yesterday. Anyways, the tree turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Five for Friday - Thanksgiving edition

Hi everyone! I'm linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for Five for Friday!
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Ours was quiet as it was just my mom, sister, and I this year. My dad was working out of town and my brother is still in France. I cooked a nice meal anyways. But then again, I always like an excuse to make a good meal!

1. Hannah and I watched some TV and I made a nice breakfast. Vanilla bean scones, bacon, and coffee.

2. Then we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. We have been watching every year for as long as I can remember! We usually record it and fast forward through the billion commercials. Is it just me or does it seem like there are getting to be more commercials every year? And KISS was really weird.

3. Dinner was SO good! Stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving dish, and my mom has an excellent recipe! I made my own breadcrumbs for the stuffing and that made it even better! I also made dinner rolls, steamed carrots, herbed roasted chicken (we didn't want a whole turkey for the three of us!). My mom made some homemade cranberry orange sauce, mashed potatoes, and Hannah made some deviled eggs. Definitely a great meal! And I like being able to have leftovers for a while!

4. Pumpkin pie! My mom cooked a sugar pie pumpkin and then pureed it and made her own pumpkin puree. Hannah then made the pie (crust and all!) and it was really good!

5. An organization in our area partners up with foster kids and senior citizens in nursing homes and puts together Christmas lists for them. So my mom, Hannah, and I sat down and went through the lists in the newspaper and picked some people to shop for. It was kind of sad seeing the Christmas lists for the senior citizens; most of them just wanted sweatshirts and socks and things like that. It's just sad to think that they actually have to ask for those things because they don't have someone to get those things for them. I have never seen any organization do anything like that before, so I thought that was a neat idea! We picked a bunch of seniors and some kids and are excited to shop for them!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Browned butter & apple zucchini bread

A couple of months ago, our neighbors brought over a bag of vegetables from their garden. The bag was full of tomatoes, peppers (all kinds, jalapeno, poblano, anaheim, red, and green.), there was also some zucchini in there. I wasn't quite sure what to do with the zucchini. The last time my mom had made zucchini bread had been when I was a kid. Zucchini just wasn't something we typically ate. So, with three ripe zucchinis sitting on the counter, I decided to make some bread. I looked through Pinterest for a recipe, but I just couldn't find anything that sounded good. So I ended up creating a recipe of my own.
Moist zucchini apple bread with streusel topping. 
Start by gathering your ingredients.
Make your browned butter.
Peel the apple, cut into slices, and remove the seeds. 
Grate the apple and zucchini.
 Whisk your dry ingredients together.
Then mix the wet ingredients.
Add your dry ingredients to your wet and stir until just combined. Then add your grated apple and zucchini.
Pour batter into a greased bread pan. I used a 9x5x2¾. 
Make your streusel topping and crumble on top of the batter.
Place in a preheated oven and bake.
Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.
Once cool, slice and enjoy!

Browned butter & apple zucchini bread
1 3/4 cup flour
1   tsp. baking soda 
1   tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup browned butter
1/2 cup apple sauce
2   eggs
1   tablespoon vanilla
1-1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 medium apple (about 1 cup) grated

Streusel topping
1/4 cup browned butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1.Preheat oven to 375°F.

2.Spray a medium sized (9x5in) bread pan with cooking oil.
Make your browned butter (using 1 stick or 1/2 cup.). Pour into glass measuring cup and set aside to cool.

3.Grate about 1-1 1/2 cups zucchini. You can use a little more or less depending on how  much zucchini you have. (And I recommend using a grater with medium sized holes. Not giant ones like in the above picture.)

4.Peel, core, and slice your apple into about 6 pieces. Then grate.

5.Whisk together the first five ingredients in a small bowl. 

6.In a large bowl, stir together the sugars, 1/4 cup browned butter, apple sauce, eggs, and vanilla.

7.Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined. 

8.Add the grated apple and zucchini and stir until combined. 

9.Pour the batter into the greased bread pan. Set aside

10.Make your streusel topping by using the remaining browned butter and adding the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It will be crumbly looking. 
Sprinkle the struesel on top of the bread batter.

11.Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for another 10-20 minutes more. It will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes up with no batter on it.
Once done, remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.