Merry Christmas Eve!

We are relaxing around the fire with the precious cats. Mom and my brother are making tamales for dinner tonight then we'll go to church for the candle light Christmas eve service.

I'm so excited that Christina at I Gotta Create chose my glitter Christmas lights for her 2011 Stars Christmas parade! Thanks Christina!

I hope you all have a Merry and Blessed Christmas!

And, I hope you can enjoy a fire as much as Francis is today.


Christmas Joy!

What could get you in the Christmas spirit more than hanging out with Kindergartners and 3rd graders?! Nothing i'm pretty sure!

Yesterday I went to two different elementary schools in Kansas City, MO to help with classroom Christmas parties for the kids.

I love how kids ask random questions and think you are cool just for being there. I only spent 30-45 minutes with each group and they all wanted to hug me before I left.

A few kids asked me if I could drive, then said, how old are you. When I said, 24, they responded with, "but you're so small."

The kids were so excited to dance to Christmas music, make a snowman ornament, decorate and eat and sugar cookie with frosting and sprinkles, and then play pictionary.

The last thing we did at our classroom Christmas party was pass out gifts with a toy, gloves, a book, a sweet, and some other small things. They were soooo excited to open a present. It was precious.


Bossypants- By: Tina Fey

Oh my word, this book is funny. I've never read a funny book but, I found myself laughing throughout Tina Fey's un-serious stories about her life.

Tina Fey talks about growing up as a middle class girl and all of the crazy things that happen to girls as they turn into teenagers but, in a really funny way that most men would probably not want to read because it deals with kind of gross stuff that all girls are aware of.

Her sarcastic stories show just how funny this woman is and helps you see that life doesn't have to be so serious. Tina acts like she is no big deal and like people don't even recognize her in public but, I'm pretty sure I'd recognize her if I saw her.

She talks about being on SNL and being a producer. Her tone and stories make her sound like a real person with normal breakdowns and life issues. She doesn't brag about starting a TV show or producing funny movies.

I like her and this book was a quick read that I enjoyed. Even if you don't really care to learn about Tina Fey's life, it is still funny the way she tells her stories and you can get an idea of what a non-crazy celebrity is like.

Linking up with-


Pan Fried Chicken

Now that I've fried chicken, I feel like I've earned a southern cooking badge. Never in my life have I made fried chicken.

I probably would have never made it if my husband hadn't asked me many times to make it. We've been married for 1 year and 3 months now and I finally made it for him. Ever since we got married he has asked me a few times to make it but I always said no, it's unhealthy, or no, I don't know how to make it. Both reasons are true but, Sunday I felt ready to make it. Before now, I don't think my culinary skills would have been prepared to make good fried chicken. Now I know my way around the kitchen better than I did when we got married and I started cooking almost everyday.

Like any good chef I looked up how to fry chicken online. Alton Brown and Paula Dean had great tutorials. As I fried my chicken, I kept thinking of Minnie Jackson from "The Help" frying chicken during the movie and teaching Celia how to fry chicken saying, "Minnie don't burn fried chicken."

I fried up a few chicken strips and 5 chicken legs. Check out all the legs we got a Costco! Geeze that is 30 chicken legs! For $8! Crazy!

What I learned about frying chicken is, it's messy, you should only flip the chicken once, the smell will make you much hungrier than you were when you started frying it because it smells so good, and my husband was so happy- his faith in my cooking abilities is soaring right now.

I also learned that you need to put your seasoning right on the chicken not is the batter because the seasoning will burn and you waste alot of seasoning that way. To season the chicken I liberally sprinkled Paprika, salt, pepper, and onion powder on both sides. Then I dipped the chicken in three scrambled eggs. When it was completely coated in egg, I rolled it in all purpose flour then shook off the excess.

Next I layed all the pieces in my frying pan that had hot canola oil halfway up the pan. The oil is suppose to be 350 degrees. I let the chicken fry for about 7 minutes then flipped it. I let it fry for about 7 more minutes then laid it out on a metal rack to drain. Moving the chicken from hot oil to the rack immediately is what allows it to get crispy.

Now that I've fried chicken I feel kind of proud. I feel like a true southern woman that knows how to make one of those meals that everybody loves. Also, ladies if you love your man, fry him some chicken. He will love you for it and tell all his co-workers that his wife made him fried chicken!


Our Weekend

This weekend I made Christmas candy for our neighbors including chocolate pretzels and homemade peppermint patties!

The pretzels are like a pretzel hershey kiss sandwich with additional chocolate drizzled on top. To make them I laid out as many pretzels as I could on a cookie sheet with a kiss on top and put them in the oven for 5 minutes on 175 degrees. Then I pulled them out and pressed another pretzel on top. When I tasted them, they weren't quite chocolaty enough for me so I drizzled more on top!

The peppermint patties are sooo good, they taste just like a York Peppermint Patty. I found the recipe on this blog. Go here to make your own! One thing I did differently from the original recipe is melt my chocolate in a double boiler instead of in the microwave. I learned from my mom (who took a class on chocolate so she knows) that you should never melt chocolate in the microwave. You know how it turns all grainy if you leave it in too long? It has to do with moisture getting into the chocolate. Once it turns grainy it won't remelt. Using the double boiler is fast and you are less likely to have grainy chocolate.

We also started working on the stone around our fireplace!

I think it will look great when it's done! We have to let these layers of stone dry before we finish it off.

Next up, I made Reinbeer for our neighbors that don't like sweets! Cute huh?

I spray painted an old blue metal tub so that we can use it to store our firewood in-
Lastly, check out my onions growing in my kitchen! These are green onions I used two week ago and put the white end in water instead of in the trash. Isn't it amazing that it regrows?

I hope you had a good weekend! Next weekend is Christmas! Woohoo!

Today I'm linking up here, here, and here!


The Fall of Giants- By Ken Follett

This is my kind of book! I am so glad "The Fall of Giants" is only book #1 in a trilogy because I cannot get enough of this awesome book!

"The Fall of Giants" is a historical fiction novel about the world leading up to World War I. The story is told by following several different characters that as the book goes on, become more and more intertwined. The author does an amazing job of tying real historical events and figures in with riveting stories of the character's personal lives. I feel like the author really brought this time period to life and each time I picked this book up I felt like I was transported back in time.

This novel is about 1,000 pages long but, every page is full of fantastic story line and there is never a lull in this book.

At the end of this book you will feel like you have just taken a course on World War I. The novel starts off by exposing the awful ways that normal people were treated by the aristocracy and the wealthy. As the non-wealthy got fed up with their incompetent leaders, the wealthy became more impossible for people to live under and all of that helped lead the world into the first world war.

Then you are led through each country's reasons for joining the war, next through the tough war years, and then through the drawn out end to the war. You get a small glimpse of the drastically different lives of the characters after the war but I think we will get more of that in the next book.

Throughout the book characters such as Loyd George, Winston Churchill, Hitler, and Leon Trotsky interact with the fictional characters in the book in historically accurate ways. 

The reason I like this book so much is because you are gaining knowledge while reading an interesting story at the same time.

This book is great and I am looking forward to the next book in the trilogy to come out next year. If you like history this is a read you will really enjoy!


Thrifty Firewood

Having a fire in our fireplace every night this week has been sooooo nice! It is a warm and relaxing way to end the day. The bad thing is that you need firewood to have a fire! And firewood around Kansas City is expensive I think, $250 for a cord of wood.

So being the thrifty people we are, we decided to pick up all of the sticks in our yard to make our first few fires. After we burned all of those we realized we had a small dead tree in the backyard that would have to be cut down at some point. So, each night when Matt gets home from work, he cuts a limb off of the dead tree and drags it into the garage to be cut up with the miter saw into firewood for the night.

So far this method is working well:) Do you like Matt's  headlamp?

This weekend we will continue working on our living room! We are going to make our ceiling beautiful by adding beadboard and beams. We've measured where the beams will go and have drawn it out on the ceiling. I can't wait to see how it turns out! I'll of course be posting pics next week for you.

Tonight I'm thinking I will make a big pot of Minestrone with tortellini. That sounds like a nice warm meal to have on a cold night doesn't it?

Happy Friday and have a great weekend! 


Thankful Thursday

Wow it is COLD outside today! Tonight it is suppose to snow! Also, tonight I'm making tacos! Ole! I'm feeling thankful today so I thought I'd make a list of some things I'm thankful for this Thursday.

Today I'm thankful for-

My Husband, he's the best:)
My church and the daily devo they email out, it is great stuff! Check it out here if you need a good daily devo.
My job
Our House
Our Airstream
Dark Chocolate
Crafts (and all of the inspiration I find on other blogs!)
Christmas Lights and Music!
Almost having all of my Christmas shopping done. I'm excited about the gifts I got my family this year!
Cats, they are my favorite animal. I may be a cat lady...
The awesome book I'm reading right now "The Fall of Giants"
Of course I'm always thankful for my family and friends too:)
You for reading my blog!


My Favorite Pinterest Finds This Week

I get sooooo much inspiration from Pinterest! I love trying out recipes, ideas, and crafts from the site! Here are three Pinspirations that I made my own this week!

First, I didn't know that if your put the white end of your green onions in water they will grow a whole new onion again! This is increadible.

Pinterest Photo
My Photo! See the onion starting to grow? That is after only 2 days!

Another angle of my onions
Next up, Spicy Thai Noodles. This recipe was outstanding!

Pinterest Photo- follow the photo link to get the recipe!
My photo. I added egg and chicken too! This dish is spicy and sweet.
Lastly, lemon water. I love drinking it in the car on my way to work. I feel hydrated before I start drinking coffee all morning at the office and it is refreshing.

Pinterest Photo
My Photo- I added a lime too! I keep this pitcher in the fridge. Not only does it taste nice, it is pretty too!

Linking up with Oh, How Pinteresting!



Decision Points- By, George W. Bush

I love politics and history. When I worked for TCU's college news paper, the TCU Daily Skiff, I did several stories on the 2008 election and really started to gain interest in the whole process. I'm excited to get into next year's presidential election. I was talking in my office about my opinion of some of the next potential candidates and was recommended President Bush's book by my boss who said it was a very interesting book that would bring some clarity to Bush's elections and a lot the things he dealt with during his presidency.

To get in the spirit of the upcoming election, I decided to read it. Bush's first run for president came when I was in middle school and his second when I was in high school. So, while I remember the hanging chad incident in Florida, I wasn't really into the presidential race back in those days.

There were many issues I found interesting in his book but 9/11 and Katrina stand out the most.

In the book, Bush talks about 9/11 and the decision to go to war. From my perspective in 2011, the war on terror seems like it has drug on and I have kind of forgotten why we have to be over there fighting and loosing lives. Bush talks about the anger and the attitude of the country when we were attacked. If he hadn't made the decision to go to war people would have rebelled. When the 9/11 attacks were fresh, many Americans were in favor of war and showing the taliban that they could not attack us and get away with it.

The book goes in depth about the decisions Bush and his cabinet made and leads you through the entire decision process of going to war and how to start over again after the 9/11 attacks. All I can say is, I would not have wanted to be in his position during this time. Dealing with a crisis like the terrorist attacks and making the decision to go to war would have been dreadful.

Bush also writes about Hurricane Katrina. Do you remember how unorganized New Orleans seemed after Katrina? There was total chaos in New Orleans and many people blamed the federal government, FEMA, and Bush. In the book Bush talks about how everything unfolded and that it was the governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans that couldn’t get it together.

Every issue in Bush’s presidency has a great synopsis in his book. He explains how and why everything happened the way it did. It is interesting that in his book he is able to wrap up each incident and event in a nice explanation from his perspective. When everything was happening in real time during his presidency we heard a lot of the criticism and comments of everyone else.

The most surprising thing to me in the book was the power of the media. There were so many moments that the president and the government found out about through watching the news. When the first World Trade Center was first struck, even the president was watching the same coverage as everybody else. I always thought the president and the government must know about everything that happens before the media but no, even the government finds out about the latest happenings from the media.

Overall his book is well written and so interesting because the events he talks about all happened not so long ago. I enjoy hearing his perspective on everything and learning how he felt about some of the events that he was so greatly made fun of and criticized for.

I was also reminded of how much importance our presidents put on their legacies and their re-election. I wish each president would work like it was his last year in office and do all of the absolute best things for this country instead of thinking about their re-election strategies.

Decision Points starts off with a little bit of history about George W.'s life. I really enjoyed this part of the book. His mom, Barbara sounds like a really great lady.

Here is a little bit of a rant that I would like to go on now. Y'all know how George W. has a Texas accent? I have always been skeptical of his accent because he was born in Connecticut. While he did move to Texas at age two, his parents don't have an accent so I'm not sure how he got such an accent. He never did pronounce the word nuclear correctly in all of his speeches and I think he did that to accentuate his accent. If he wanted to he could have pronounced the word correctly accent or not. My problem with his accent is that it made him sound less intelligent in his speeches because he mispronounced words, not just pronounced them with an accent. I've always thought he played his, I'm from Texas and that makes me cool/special card a lot.

The above paragraph is me and my opinion and has nothing to do with the book so I'll get back to the book now.

Anyway, I learned that Bush was an owner of the Texas Rangers Baseball team which I didn't know. Then he became governor of Texas.

When he decided to start running for president his mother was skeptical if he could actually get elected. His family thought that Jeb would have been a better choice.

Despite President Bush's mispronounced words and questionable accent that can make him sound a little slow, I believe he truly is a smart person after reading his book. I was also able to get a glimpse of him as a person, not just as our president. He struggled with some of the decisions he had to make. He feared for his wife and daughters lives at times because of the position he was in. Reading his book reminded me that he is also a person with feelings.

Being the president opens the door to lots of criticism and I don't think any person could ever make everyone happy. I'm glad I read this book and recommend it to anyone interested in reminiscing or gaining a deeper knowledge of the US during George W.'s presidency.


90's Kid!

This is funny to me and I can relate to most things on this list.
I loooved Full House and the fact that there was a Michelle on the show. I thought DJ was the coolest teenager ever and I wanted the clear plastic phone with all of the wires showing like the girls had in their room.

I thought Saved By The Bell was the coolest show on TV and that all of their clothes were awesome, especially Kelly's.

I don't remember Blossom.

I didn't like Are you Afraid of the Dark, I thought it was scary. I looooved Bug Juice, that was some good reality TV.

I did not like Hey Arnold, I preferred Rugrats. I thought Recess was a good enough show, I watched it on Saturday mornings, and I thought Doug was a good show too.

I had the Spice Girls CDs and knew all of their songs. I enjoyed dancing to their CD's around my room in the evenings.

I liked Hansen but didn't have their CDs or care about which one was the cutest. Some girls I knew were obsessed and had their pictures in their lockers but that wasn't me.

I had a Tamagotchi for a while and it was fun. My friend got in trouble for using hers during Sunday School one time, but I didn't like getting in trouble so I left mine a home.

We definitely played all of those games.

I would often check out a  Goosebumps book from the library to get my AR points ( I hated Accelerated Reading! I could never get all the points I was suppose to get each 6 weeks). I thought the Goosebumps books were kind of scary but, I read them anyway!

I never read Nancy Drew books, the Goosebumps book covers looked much cooler to me.

Of course I had Beanie Babies too, I had a pretty good collection and even had the Princess Bear which I thought was the ultimate Beanie Baby.

I loved the crazy clothes style of the 90's and the bright colors. It was a good decade to grow up in!


I wish I had a time machine

I'm reading a book right now called "The Fall of Giants" that has gotten my mind to thinking. My whole life I've always been very intrigued by history and thought it would be so fantastic to have lived in a different era.

My favorite time periods to read about and watch movies about are early America back when we were fighting for our independence, the mid to late 1800's in the South (Gone With The Wind times), the early 1900's in Europe, and America in the 1940's-1950's. All of these time periods really fascinate me and I think about all of the pretty clothes the women got to wear (besides around the American revolution) and how women got to pretty much go to parties and social events and never really be too responsible for anything but having babies.

But then I think, only the wealthy women got to wear pretty clothes and go to parties and depend on their husbands/families for everything. They were not the majority of people during those times periods. Regular women had hard lives and almost no rights.

I also think about all of the terrible ways people could get sick or need medical help and it not be available or advanced enough to take care of all of the things we know about today. For example, by the time people were in their 40's or so, their teeth would be rotting and disgusting. I would hate to have to have a tooth removed without anesthesia!

I also think about the inequalities back in those time periods that people had to fight hard to correct.

So, I'm grateful to all of the people before me who made America a free country, abolished slavery, demanded equal rights for women, modern medicine, and so much more.

The world is far from perfect in 2011. There's still injustice, the government doesn't always make the best choices, and so on but, I think every generation from the beginning of time has felt that way about the world.

If only there were such things as time machines, then I could just visit the time periods that seem so interesting to me and leave when I'm ready :) Or maybe I'll just keep reading books to take me back in time...


Christmas Decor

As you may know, we are renovating our house so it is not going to be fully decked out with Christmas decor this year because who wants to put decorations on top of drop cloths? Not me! I did put a little holiday cheer out on our front porch, I had to take some night time photos because it gets dark at 5 pm and I don't get home until a little after that:)

I bought these skates at a garage sale last January knowing I wanted to do this. I spray painted them silver, glittered them and voila it is wintery and wonderful. Add some frozen looking garland and a bow and it is Christmasy.

Next up, I filled a bowl with glitter lights! I also have some of these on my desk at work! These glitter lights are made from old big Christmas lights. My mom had a lot from an old string of lights but she also bought some more at a garage sale. Now the old lights have new life!

My family and I made these on Thanksgiving! 

To make the glitter lights you need to mix school glue with water in a bowl, about 3 parts glue, one part water so the glue is a little runnier than usual. Then paint the glue on the light with a brush avoiding the metal part of the light. Then roll the glue covered lights in a bowl of glitter! Next, we stuck the metal part of the light into a piece of Styrofoam so the light could air dry without touching any surfaces like so-

Lastly, as I drove up our street on my way home from work today my hubby was putting Christmas lights up on the tree in our front yard! How exciting and pretty! I couldn't get a good picture of it but it looks cute.

How are your Christmas decorations coming along?

Linking up here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Go check out these linky parties!

Thanks Christina for choosing my Glitter Christmas Lights over at your Christmas Parade!!


Rum Balls

Oh my word y'all! If you like chocolate and you like rum, then you will looooove this recipe for rum balls. They are out of this world good!

I searched for a good recipe and decided to go with Martha Stewart's recipe. There are a lot of ways to make rum balls but these seemed to be the most chocolaty which is perfect for me. A lot of other recipes call for nilla waffers and nuts so, just know that there are a variety of other recipes out there if you are inspired to make your own rum balls and don't like this particular recipe.

First off, you make a batch of brownies using melted semi sweet chocolate, oh my Lord this batter is good!
Next up, bake the brownies as usual.

Once the brownies are baked and completely cooled, break them up into your mixer and add the rum!

Now, you roll the mixture into small balls and roll the ball in some sugar! I used powdered sugar.

Then refrigerate! I tried the rum balls as I made them and they definitely taste their best when they are cold!

They look like unsuspecting donut holes when they are finished but don't take these babies to work and eat them or else your breath will smell like you've been drinking on the job.

For Martha's recipe, go here. Happy holiday baking!

Linking up here, here, here, here, and here.