Dec 29, 2011

Christmas fun!

Good morning my loves! I haven't gushed over my fantastic Christmas yet, so I'm going to bug everyone with that now!

I want to start out by showing the cute little treats I made to give to family.
This little package was for Josh's Poppy, but I picked up a bunch of these ceramic loaf dishes at Michael's at one point for $1 each. They worked perfect for holding spritz cookies! I filled each one with my spritz cookies that I made with the cookie gun I got on Black Friday. Side Tip- If anyone does make them for the first time ever, make sure your dough is sticky! It probably wont be sticky enough with just the regular Martha Stewart or box recipe you follow, sprinkle some milk or water on the dough and smoosh with your hands. It will help a ton.
Anyway, I also made tiny tree shaped brownies for in the packages. And tried chocolate molds for the very first time. I was very impressed with them. I topped the little treat gifts with cute clay ornaments also from Michael's!
All wrapped up and ready to give out!
Chocolate snowflake!
These cupcakes were made for Christmas dinner at my house. My mom always does a big dinner for her side of the family at the house. So this year I made an assortment-- Nutella cupcakes, Oreo cupcakes and brownie cupcakes with Reese's cups in the middle!
My favorites!
We traveled up to my Gram's in McAdoo on Christmas Eve morning. We gave her awesome gifts from us-- one of those plug in candles I like because she gets nervous with flame candles anymore and a giant tin of popcorn, because she loves it! The popcorn was from Josh, we think he won best Xmas gift award from gram. She had his gift open before any of the other gifts!

After we feasted on pierogies, lasanga, and lots of other yummy foods we headed to go see Josh's family. We got to do a white elephant where you could only bring in a gift to regift that you had at home. We brought these weird glass candle holders that wouldn't match our decor (one of those free with purchase if you spend $xx!) and this freaky Xmas nightlight my mom told us to get rid of. We wound up with a picnic set and gloves. That game was really fun!
At Josh's family Xmas Eve festivities - Mike (Jamie's bf), Jamie, Josh, Me and Sam (Jeremy, Josh's uncle's fiance).
Next up was Christmas morning at my house! We did gifts that were under our tree for my sister and I first. I was so spoiled! They got me a new TV, because I had a giant old tube TV; a brand new hand mixer; clothes; an iphone alarm clock; backing stuff and lots more little stuff. My sister and I gave them their gifts as well. Mom loved her Vera Bradley bag! 
My grandparents from my mom's side came over for gifts and breakfast. My sister and I got spoiled more and gave our grandparents their gifts. Which they loved.
Allie in the Christmas wreckage!
Mollie with her gifts- treats and a Tigger toy.
Mom and dad- mom has her new Nook tablet!
Mollie dropping her new toy on my leg, notice the new Xmas PJs.
After time with my grandparents and breakfast, I drove over to Josh's mom's house to do gifts and see her! She even had a stocking up for me, which was just so sweet of her.
Josh and I also got to finish giving one another our gifts. He loved his gift I got him! I did lots of research and product comparisons to finally decide to get him a Samsung Galaxy tablet. I really don't think he's put it down yet! As well as a few random stocking stuffers.
His mom got me an amazing popcorn air popper, because I'm obsessed with popcorn!

Now Josh, he spoiled me beyond belief! He did such a good job, he knows me too well!
He got me a gorgeous diamond heart necklace, that he said was more than just a typical I love you heart. It was because I put my heart into everything I ever do and that's something he loves about me. 
He also got me my Indian boots I've been dying to get, Hello Kitty Sephora make up, cute flannel shirt, a mountable iPad holder for the kitchen (so I can read my recipes), and some other odds and ends!

His mom also got him a little case for the tablet that has a Bluetooth keyboard. And a Blue ray player for the bedroom.
Jen & Josh.
Josh, Chase, Me, Josh's mom Keri and her fiance Scott- they were engaged over Xmas!
So stoked on Indian boots!
We had to return them for a different size, and I wound up falling in love with the gray ones I never saw. And Josh says he likes them better than the tan- more stylish. Lol.
Blue ray player!
I'm just going to share random things now that don't fit into our timeline. After Josh's mom's we went back to dinner at my parents, then to a traditional movie with my BFF Alex. Sherlock Holme's was awesome!


We had the dumb idea to hit up the KOP mall the day after Christmas. I did score this awesome OPI nail polish set, but not much else because it was so crowded.
That blue is my fav!
Pretty! If you ignore the messy paint job. ;]
Amy got a Keurig for Xmas! This thing rules!
Christmas snuggles.
Lots and lots of baking goodies!! So excited. The hand mixer mom got me is so nice.
A little trinket box Josh's mom got me that I think is just too cute.
     
Josh is amazing.









I hope everyone else had an amazing holiday. I got to spend it with so much time with my loved ones. That means the most to me. Also, I'm a sucker for giving gifts, I love that! It makes me so happy to see Josh playing with the new tablet, or my mom using her new tote bag- any of that! I'm really blessed to have been able to spend time with everyone, and to give and receive gifts.

Here's to looking forward to an awesome 2012!

Dec 28, 2011

Teen Mom 2 Recap - 12/27/11

I feel like this weeks episode was just a filler episode, there wasn't all that much happening. At least nothing too crazy. C'mon ladies, I watch this for all the mess!





Leah--
Finally Leah and Corey learn the results of little Ali's MRI. Unfortunately, no one could get off work to go to the hospital with Leah except her Grandmother. It turns out that Ali's optic nerves are not both small, only one is. This can lead to some sad situations for her in the future, notably losing her vision in that eye. However, good news came in the form of being certain nothing is wrong with her brain that would affect her development! Next up is a geneticist.

Chelsea--
This week she still had some crazy dream Adam would attend to her. To no ones surprise, he did not. He left the house with Aubree, and wouldn't return phone calls or texts from quite some time. Chelsea needed to get to physical therapy, her father couldn't get her there, so her younger sister got roped in. Not only did she take her there and back, she cleaned for Chelsea. Apparently, she can't wipe down counters and such because she's a paraplegic. I wonder if she cleaned up all the water Chelsea so brillianty spilled all over her bed, I couldn't grasp that an adult thought pulling a tube connected to a bucket of water on a bed would result in anything other than a mess. Anyway, eventually her prince charming does text her back. He tells her to shut up he has Aubree. This is now hours later, there is no way I'd allow an on again off again, temperamental nutjob like him take my child and not reply back like that. I'd have called the police. So Aubree gets home to mommy, and Adam leaves to go work on some guy's truck. I bet it's like how he used to "work" on his cars when he lived with Chelsea, you know, sitting in the garage staring at the vehicle with hope shear will power will make it a souped up rice burner for him to drive by McDonalds and WalMart to impress other girls with.

Jenelle--
Happy 19th Birthday! Jenelle is surprised with gifts in beds from Barbara. How thoughtful she is, jumper cables and a flat tire spray for her car/home! We see Barbara ask Jenelle about her school, Jenelle tells her that online classes are proving to be rough (she's failing math) because it's hard to stay motivated when there is no teacher in front of you. Anyone who has even entertained the idea of online classes know, that's the first thing the beat into your head- you must be very driven to do the work. This shouldn't have come as a big surprise. But Barbara really seems to be trying to be supportive and tells Jenelle she's glad she is realizing she needs to buckle down with school and isn't seeing Keiffer. Welp, that doesn't last long. She gets a call from that jerkoff asking if she'd give him a ride to jail to turn himself in for the charges she pressed against him. Ugh, I wanted to shake her watching this. In the car he tells her not to write him letters, and says something really confusing about how if she's wondering if he's doing okay she just shouldn't worry because he's not. What I think he was trying to say is that he's not particularly looking forward to jail time, guess Keifbag should've pondered that one before laying his hands on a girl! Once at the jail, Keiffer's fantastic style is revealed to the world- flip flops and socks. Yikes! As he's walking through the door to begin processing he tells Jenelle he loves her, thankfully we do not see her say it back. We wrap up Jenelle with Barbara asking what she did all day. Oh nothing Barbara, just ruining that trust you wanted us to start having.


Kail--
I don't have too much to say for Kail. MTV just used her as a safe sex comercial for her about 15 mins of the show. She goes to the lady doctor, lady doctor inspects her lady parts. The OBGYN though looked creepy! I couldn't get over that, so awkward, I couldn't let that dude near me in the stir ups. We hear the doctor ask Kail if she's practicing safe sex, apparently Jordan uses condoms and she's on the pill. But wait, she tells Doctor McCreepy she forgets the pill, so no Kail you are not on that birth control. Starting and stopping it doesn't help. Ugh. Well she winds up getting a form of birth control that is inserted into her uterus apparently, and it lasts 5 years. When she gets home she attempts to have a conversation about all this with Jordan, who acts like a child. He looked physically uncomfortable with Kail explaining what she got. Then when Kail asked him what he did with his previous relations he said "I plead the 5th." Really dude? Grow up. Eventually Jordan grew some balls and told her what she did was a good move and she's a good mom. But he annoyed me with that whole act.

Dec 21, 2011

Teen Mom 2 Recap - 12/20/11

When Tuesday night rolls around in the Threes Company Place, that means it's Teen Mom night. I really should just record the hilarious commentary we do throughout the show sometime, or at least remember the quotes better to share. But anyway, here's my run down. As always, it's laced with opinions and judgments so take it how you will- but if it wasn't I doubt anyone would be reading it, let's be honest here.





Jenelle--
We learn she is still living in her Ed Hardy-mobile, sans Keiffer because, naturally, they are fighting more. This is after last weeks blow up in the parking lot where a change drawer was thrown, a road soda bottle tossed and being man handled in said parking lot. She debates with herself if she should press charges or not. After speaking with her nutcase mother, she does. Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say because this was some leverage to have Barbara allow her back in her home because Jenelle called her mom up and let her know what was happening. Barbara told her they could meet up for dinner and discuss moving home but she needs to stop associating with king dirtbag. They do meet for dinner, where Jenelle orders seafood alfredo without the seafood (facepalm moment). After the meeting is when we find out she files charges. While filing the woman asks her what happens, this time it looks like Keifbag (I just made that up, get over it) pushed her and she wound up on the ground. The next series of questions Jenelle gets asked go as follows- "does he have a criminal record?" "Well just pending charges." "So yes, criminal record. Is this the first instance of domestic abuse?" "Yes, well I mean there was an incident where he threw me in my friends car and restrained me." "So yes again." I made those quotes up, but you get the point. I feel delusional suffices.


Chelsea--
Season 2's Farrah. I am growing more and more annoyed with her. It's nothing personal, and I can say that and mean it because God knows I don't know her. This week she pulled a Farrah-giving-Sophia-a-tour-of-the-whole-town-like-an-adult move by explaining to Aubree what's going on with her knee. Aubree just stares at her, pokes her knee and goes "ow." As expected, and much to her father's let down, Chelsea continues to try with Adam. Luckily, Adam shows his fine parenting skills by dropping Aubree about .045 seconds into holding her, then doesn't give her to Chelsea while she's crying. Now, I may be exaggerating this a bit because really, I looked like Aubree just lost her footing when he placed her down, he didn't really punt her on the ground like a game point, but my twisted version paints a better picture. It was then surgery time for Chelsea's knee! Adam came to the hospital with the little one and told her that he and Aubree were going to go get something to eat and go somewhere until he could take her home. Instead of saying yes sure, she decided it was a good idea to make him keep a screaming child in the hospital for 3+ hours. Side note- the hospital had to give him chocolate milk and a sippy cup for Aubree. Do they not have a diaper bag? Anyway, after the surgery Aubree is seen chewing on the bed and pulling on some tubes attached to Chelsea. Chelsea goes Farrah-whine and makes Adam take her out of the room, he then calls her a "little bastard." Whoops! Don't think that was a good move Capt Jerkoff. They all then go home where he bathes his daughter and listens to Chelsea whine more on the couch.

Leah--
 This was a heartbreaking part of the show. Poor Ali has to be sedated to have another MRI. I really can't imagine what Leah and Corey go through with all that. I am hopeful that we get to see all this work out in that little angel's favor. At the hospital we hear the nurse ask her why she's getting an MRI. I've had a lot of hospital and blood work and test experiences myself, not once did anyone ask me why I was getting all that done. They knew. Because they should... That alarmed me a bit, perhaps it's the norm and I was just lucky. While Ali was being put under the  anesthesia Leah was comforting her, holding back tears to be strong. While Corey watched on with tears in his eyes. When they finally had to depart, Leah lost it and Corey held her. It seems next week we find out some good and bad news about the little one. We can all hope for the very best.

Kail--
Kail 'The TV Caper' Lowery. As we saw in last weeks episode Kail is working with a program to find a new living arrangement, her own apartment that will allow her to basically pay nothing at first and slowly work up to a real rent amount. This was all sparked by some note her mother's, Suzi, boyfriend left Kail. The note was read once, and I did pause it on the screen last week to read it myself, but it says her room was trash and they don't want someone that is basically keeping things trashy like that living there. From the parts we could see, it did not outright call her trash, like she keeps saying- I just wanted to set that one straight. Well, she gets everything settled with apartment and decides the perfect plan is to move out while Suzi is at work because she was afraid she would kick her out preemptively. She confides in a friend that she doesn't like that her mother drinks and smokes in her own home and this is also a reason for leaving. Kail also tells Jo she's moving out, who just gives her a wtf look and verifies she's living alone. So she rounds up a few friends to move her (unpacked) stuff and a TV. I want to point out the shining star was the dude making up songs with the guitar. She moves all the stuff to the apartment, calls Suz and gives her the low down. Who is less concerned with her moving out and more so about the TV. Her friends offer to take it back for her, only to get a text later that she forgot the remote. Kail meets her mom the next day at her work to return it. Her mother tells her that instead of just moving out, she should have talked to her first if she felt uncomfortable because she had it made there. I assume she means not having to pay rent and such. And that was that.

Dec 19, 2011

Weekend Wrap up and Wax Melter Review

I want to start out by saying-- I have counter space in the kitchen now! I can't really put into words how happy I am with this. The kitchen is a bit snug, it has been working for us minus the counter space, it was basically nonexistent. This is due to the fact that we had a toaster oven and microwave on there, which took up the whole completely open space (the other spots have kitchen 'stuff' on them that breaks them up to tiny sections- sink, stove, etc..). Well, we ordered a microwave cart from Target. It may not be our normal taste, but it matches what the kitchen cabinets look like for now, since a kitchen makeover is going to take awhile.

Josh spent what felt like to me about forever putting it together, and then it got to go into it's new home! Unfortunately Target's dimensions were a bit off so the microwave didn't fit in the little nook. They forgot to include the thickness of the shelve sides, because obviously they take up a that half an inch our microwave doesn't fit. Luckily, it fit just fine on top.

All my baking supplies fit perfectly underneath in the shelves. It was exciting not to have them in a bag that I carry around. Of course I could always use more baking room, so we'll cross that bridge eventually. ;]

Counter space!
This little guy is a candle we picked up this weekend, on sale. I have become completely obsessed with them.  If anyone knows what the company Scentsy sells- these are exactly those products, only they are half the price. They are from Walmart, this red one (which is called Magi, in case you like it!) was actually on sale for $8 and included two different scent blocks. 

To imagine how these works, think of a traditional candle melter. You put the scented wax melting cake in the top and a tea light underneath, which heats up the wax above. It's exactly like that, minus the tea light that goes out so quickly. These have light bulbs in them and plug in. The light bulb heats up the wax to melt it and release the yummy smell! In addition to being able to last longer than the tea lights, the wax doesn't get hot enough to burn you. The first time I was changing the old wax, I dumped it all over my fingers. I was ready to be crying, nothing happened though. It was body temperature. So this could be a plus for anyone with kids or for older gals.
We actually picked one out for my Gram to give her for Christmas. It's a pretty white one with a floral motif. We got her 4 of the wax blocks- oatmeal cookie, vanilla bean, cupcake and kettle corn. The nice thing about these scent blocks is that it's not just one piece, you get six little squares in each package. You just break one off and place it in the top of your melter. These run at our Walmart for $2 a block.

I really would recommend grabbing one of these if you enjoy candles of any sort. They are prettier than a regular jar candle and smell just as good, if not better than them.

Better Homes and Gardens wax melter- Magi.
Wax melters- you can see in this side view that there are the individual cubes.

Wax melters in Kettle Corn.

 

Then Sunday came around for some holiday fun! We did some wrapping and made a gingerbread house. Not too much to say there, but I have some fun photos to share!

Mollie being a cute Christmas elf and helping with the wrapping.
Our gingerbread house!
Of course a Hello Kitty ornament.
Josh working hard rolling the fondant! He was doing a really good job with it, he just got hired as my official fondant helper. ;]
Yeah, we're cute.

Dec 16, 2011

Nutella cupcakes - RECIPE


The top of my new vintage cupcake carrier. I'll post more pics soon, just know it's the cutest thing ever.


Today is our work holiday party, which is awesome because we are released from the phones at 1PM and get to leave at 3. But it also means socializing with coworkers over yummy treats!

I decided to whip up some Nutella cupcakes!
For those of you very deprived individuals who have never enjoyed some Nutella, it is a chocolate hazelnut spread that you can literally put on anything to make it instantly taste better. My favorite is on those little mini bagels you can get at the grocery store in the bags.
Now to the good stuff-- how to make them!

I am only going to dig into the icing, the cake I did up was a chocolate cake. You can use any recipe or box you'd like for this. So do that first!



NUTELLA ICING

INGREDIENTS:
-2 softened sticks unsalted butter
-1 13oz jar of Nutella
-1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
-2 lbs confectioners sugar (get two 1lb boxes to make it easier)
 -Heavy cream
-Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:
 1. Begin by whipping the butter and Nutella together. Don't overdo it, just enough that it's nicely combined.
2. Start by putting in about half of your first box of confectioners sugar in the with Nutella/butter mixture, mix them together.
3. Add a splash of the whipping cream. This probably sounds odd, I don't measure my liquids in icing. As the guy from Restaurant Impossible says- the food will talk to you and let you know when it's good to go. I live by this. Do not add a ton so it's watery, but you don't want to mix it and half this chalky almost dry cookie dough mixture. If you want to measure, this first bit is going to be about 8 table spoons. 
4. Add the second half of the first box. Another splash of whipping cream.
5. This step is very important, unless you enjoy the taste of pure sugar. Take that pinch of salt, put it a measuring spoon, drizzle some warm water from the faucet in the spoon and then stir the water and salt together until it's dissolved. That is very important as well, you don't want salt chunks in your icing! The salt help neutralize the extremely sugary mess you have currently. Now throw that in your icing and mix!
6. If you start getting that dry, crumbly icing mixture-- slowly add more cream. You want the icing to be medium thickness. You should be able to place a knife or spatula in it and not fall over completely. Just kind of lean.  The medium helps the icing from not melting off the cake.
7. Throw some of the icing in a pastry bag and ice them cupcakes!



Nutella cupcakes- final product. My icing was not quite as stiff as I'd like, but it still worked!


 

Dec 9, 2011

Xmas Playlist

Even though we have already set up the tree and the random lights/decorations we have at the house, I'm in this weird Christmas overdrive feeling for this weekend. We aren't even particularly doing anything Christmas-y. Even still, my mind is consumed with presents, lights, cookies and tinsel! I won't ever complain, this is by far my favorite holiday. Above Halloween and my birthday!

I still get so over excited driving in the car and seeing a house all decked out. I can just stare at the Christmas tree for hours. In the mall I want to run past the children to get my shot at telling Santa what I want (not that I actually even know, but that's another story). I just can't get enough of the reds, greens, sparkly lights and the pine and sugar cookie smells. It's euphoric.

I think what makes me most on Christmas is giving my gifts to everyone. I put a lot of thought into them, and I am crazy and have to wrap and adorn the packages with just the right bows, trinkets and ribbons. It's a whole process. But thinking about seeing my sister, or Josh or my Gram when they open their presents this year gives me butterflies.

In addition to my killer gifts (Josh- I know you're reading this, there are no hints! But friends can ask away ;] ), I will by making cookie and cupcake treats to give. I currently have my eyes peeled to find one of those fancy cookie guns. I have been swearing up and down not to spend more than $25 on one, but that hasn't panned out. I've seen them at that price and higher. I'm just going to break down and get one, it will be awesome so I'm not sure why I'm fighting the temptation. So friends, get ready for me to fatten you up more than I already do with treats!


Now for the real reason I made this post. I didn't just want to ramble. I made a little playlist on Spotify with some (not all!) of my favorite Xmas songs.

You can check it out here:: Xmas Playlist - 2011



I hope you enjoy!

Dec 6, 2011

Weekend festivities


As always this was a busy weekend!


I'm going to go a bit in reverse, just because I want to share the baking fun first.

On Sunday morning I attended a holiday cupcake decorating class with my friends Amy and Steph in Philly. Steph had told me about a class her friend was hosting through a website- Skillshare. The website allows you to search for classes of all kinds that are happening locally to your, or even to teach a class of your own!


We learned some awesome techniques to spruce up holiday cupcakes! My favorite was Jackie (our instructor) showing us an amazingly easy technique to make beautiful cupcake roses! I couldnt believe it was as easy as it was!

As well, she showed us a cute way to take traditional white icing and make is tie dye! I loved this little trick. I am going to have fun using it.
Below you can see just some samples I did with only using one color (Wilton - Teal). You can add additional colors to the bag. Also below, I made that crude little instructional in Paint (don't blame me, it's all I have access to with this computer!). It's fairly simple.


A few simple icing drop flowers and a swirl just to show you!


Ignore how awful the drawing is, but you get the idea!

 These are my final products! I am not a fan of the blue rose, but the white one is beautiful. I'm very proud of it.
The wreath is kind of only half done. I think I was just being picky with it. We used tip #67, I don't like that tip for leaves. I am partial to the ones like #366. They look like little open bird beaks if you look at the on the side (kind of like this: > ). The make much cleaner pointed leaves.

Cupcakes all ready for some holiday parties!

Amy and I stopped at the King of Prussia mall after the class and got to hang out with Mario!

Now to rewind a bit more- Saturday!
We picked out a Christmas tree Saturday for the house. I love this tree. It's a great size and no giant holes. It's basically perfect!

Unfortunately being a bit new to the whole having our own tree thing, we didn't buy enough lights. So the decorating was paused Saturday until we could get more lights on Sunday night.
After the tree dilema Saturday was great, headed to our friend Dan's birthday celebration and had an awesome time with everyone.

My only complaint is that we couldnt get our hands on white lights! Where do you get these?! All we were finding were tiny strands of white lights. So we had to unfortunately default to colored lights.

Beautiful, naked Xmas tree!


Obviously not NEARLY enough lights!

Once we got the second set of lights, it was game time!
We got all glass ornaments. It's such a class touch. The ornaments are Martha Stewart ones from Home Depot. They came in a giant package of 101 of them for about $25! We were stoked on that. The star and the other random shaped ornaments are Target scores.



I'm a midget.

Our first Christmas tree!
One of my favorite finds at Target.

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