Friday, December 28, 2012

Coffee Date

     I have been reading these coffee date posts over at Rags to Stitches for awhile now, but until now I haven’t taken my blog out for coffee.  So here goes.

     If we were having coffee today, I would suggest that we stay in our pajamas and drink coffee on the couch…preferably out of Christmas mugs.  I would let you choose from our fairly gigantic selection.  I would drink out of this one.

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     I would tell you how I got this on sale at Kohl’s last year after Christmas and how I would never have paid the full price.  Then I might tell you how my mother used a coupon to buy me the matching platter.  I would probably start telling you all about my mother.  She is such a giver – definitely her spiritual gift.  After talking about spiritual gifts, I would tell you that I’m not sure I know what mine is.  I would definitely crack some sort of corny joke like, “Is micromanaging a spiritual gift?”
     I would ask you about your Christmas and tell you that it all sounds so fun!  Christmas talking would lead right into talking about all the delicious food we ate.  What did you have?  Was it incredible?

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     I would show you this picture and tell you that I made this adorable burlap wreath for my sister.  I would tell you I wish I could just hang out and make wreaths instead of job hunting.  Job. Hunting. Is. Lame.  I knew finding a teaching job at this point in the year was sort of a long shot.  I’m ready to take any available teaching assistant job, but you can’t apply for a job that doesn’t exist.  I would be totally honest and tell you that I’m really discouraged right now.


via

This encouraged me yesterday.  I would share it with you and hope it encouraged you too.

     When we finished our coffee I would tell you that you are more than welcome to hang out for awhile.  If you have to go I totally understand.  I would remind to come back soon for more coffee and chance to see some new exciting stuff around here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I’m a Real Blogger Now

     What is it about a holiday that makes us feel like we’ve lost five days and haven’t slept for ten?  I love Christmas (duh), but I’m writing this post at 7 p.m., and it feels like midnight!  I’ve been Christmasing for days and days and days, and taking just a few minutes to rest is so nice (understatement).
      You know what’s not so nice?  The fact that I Christmased all that time and made it out with not a single picture.  Not one.  Blog fail.  On the bright side, we woke up to snow (“snow, snow, snow, snoooooow”)!  Not a lot, and it melted by the afternoon, but it was so pretty while it lasted.

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     In other news…I’m a real blogger now.  I got not one, but two, statement necklaces and some adorable gray Toms for Christmas!  Pictures soon.  Definitely.

Final bit of news?
I did it.
I bit the bullet.
I swore I never would.
But I did.
I don’t even have a smart phone.
But…
I joined
@allycami

Let’s hang out there too!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Tree Love

     Things have been a little busy lately, and I’m just not sure if I’ll be able to post much between now and Christmas, but I did want to take a little minute to wish all of you a very, very Merry Christmas!  This has been a big year for my little blog, and I’m so glad that I got to share it with y’all. 

Christmas tree, 1957
via

Walter Dymond, groundskeeper of Harold Lloyd’s estate, Greenacres, with the Lloyd Christmas tree.  He was responsible for the construction of the Christmas tree from two trees (wiring the branches of one into the other), and placed the ornaments where Mr Lloyd directed.  The tree remained up, all year ‘round. - (1972)
via

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

100% My Heart

     So excited for this Girl Behind the Blog day!  First things first, I love Ashley from 5OhWifey and Kerrie from The Williams Post.  If you don’t read their blogs…go now. 
     Back now?  Good.  On to today’s post.  Today’s prompt is about our favorite holiday traditions, and oh boy is that right up my alley!  I. Love. Christmas.  Naturally I have to share my faves with y’all.  Full disclosure: my video is a little too long (not too much).  Also full disclosure: I’m not apologizing for the length, because what I shared is 100% my heart at Christmastime.

Let’s have a little introduction for all you cuties who are new here!

     I’m Allyson.  You can read the condensed version of me here.  The longer version is shared in drips and drops all along the way.  I love getting to link up and meet new bloggers.  I hope you’ll stick around for a little bit!

Without further ado…



Thanks for hanging out with me today!  I hope all of you are having a wonderful Christmas.

5ohwifey
    
Also...you must go check out this adorable DIY teacher gift from my sweet sponsor Kristin!  Loving it!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pomp and Circumstance…and Chocolate

     It’s been a quick three and a half years.  I feel about a hundred years older.  I have met some of the most wonderful people and the one I’ll be spending the rest of my life with.  I’ve accrued twice the amount of stuff.

But.

I GRADUATED.

     Saturday, I graduated college.  I expected to be really emotional during the ceremony, but I was much more controlled…and so happy.  To be quite honest, I don’t feel all that different yet.  It doesn’t feel very real…I expect that will come when I get a big girl job.  I’ve been sending applications and interviewing but haven’t heard back yet (hopefully soon).

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     According to our pre-Christmas calendar meeting, my mother, sister, and I had decided to do our annual chocolate-covering day the afternoon of graduation.  In spite of total exhaustion, we each had a Coke, hopped into our pajamas, and toughened up.  The rest of our night looked something like this:

120 mini Rice Krispies
5 packages of Oreos
5 packages of Candy Kwik
2 bags of pretzels
and 1 go-pack of mini Oreos

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(From top left: candy bark, close up, rice krispies, close up, our stash of goodies to give away)

     We tried to come up with some new ideas this year since we do tend to give these to the same people each year.  The candy bark was so simple and turned out so cute. 
     Recipe?  Melt chocolate.  Pour it on parchment paper on to the counter.  Spread until fairly thin.  Cover with whatever you want.  Cut.
     Even though 120 may be a little excessive, the rice krispies might be one of my favorites this year.  They’re different from what we usually do, and they give a little break from the chocolate overload.
     Recipe?  Buy mini rice krispies (they come in a box of 40).  You could make them…but we didn’t.  Dip in chocolate.  Dip in sprinkles.
     We also did big oreos – tradition, and I did a go-pack of mini oreos because Keith said he likes those better…  We did one bag of pretzel twists, which is a definite downscale from last year (…I think we did four then).  All told, we made 12 plastic containers, about 30 treat bags, 1 assorted tray, and had plenty left over.
We tend to go overboard.
     This is one of my favorite things to do for Christmas!  These little tins (or plastic containers) are the perfect thing for Sunday school teachers, coworkers, your hairdresser…everybody.  What’s great about these is that we aren’t giving cookies (which can go stale) or huge portions of anything.  It’s just a sweet little snack that doesn’t take a lot of time to do.

I hope your houses are filled with delicious Christmas goodies…
and if they aren’t
please take some of the million rice krispies of my hands (before I eat every single one of them)!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Prayers for Connecticut

     I was fully prepared to spend the next few weeks posting about Christmas and all of the fun things going on, but before we can get there, I feel so led to post about the tragedy in Connecticut.  To put it lightly, like all of you, I am overwhelmed with sadness at this senseless act.  I am in the middle of applying for teaching jobs; I just finished student teaching, and I cannot even begin to fathom losing my sweet kiddies to this kind of event.  My heart is just broken over the loss of such innocent lives.
     I just graduated, but I will always remember that one of the first things I learned in my education classes is that children should feel safe at school.  We are not always sure of their home lives, but we should strive to make school a safe place.  How devastating that the safety of the school building has been shattered for so many children.  For the past few days, I have been in almost constant prayer for the victims, their families, and the community of Newtown.  Overwhelming is truly the only word that comes to mind.
     My heart hurts for the families and for the community. I don’t yet have my own children, but I have been in so many classrooms. I may not know the love a mother has for her child, but I know the love a teacher has for her students.

Heavenly Father,
I pray that You will give the families of the victims
and the community of Newtown
that peace that only You can give…
the one that passes all understanding.
I pray that out of this tragedy,
You will create something so beautiful.
Heal those who are broken.
Shower them in Your love.
Fill them with peace and hope.
Fill our nation with hope.
Do Your will.
Comfort the parents and the families;
let them know beyond a shadow of a doubt
that those sweet babies are in Heaven.
They are being held by Your Father
and will never hurt again.

     Regardless of where you fall politically, this is a tragedy.  Lives are shattered,and their hope does not come from legislation.  Their hope can come only from the Lord.  These families need an outpouring of love.  I am committed to lifting them up in prayer.  Please pray; that is the most far-reaching, powerful thing we can do for them right now.  Pray, pray, pray.

Dear Jesus,

It's a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.

These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.

The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?

Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod's jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.

Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.

Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won't you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.

This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.

Hopefully,
Your Children
via

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree, Tree, Tree

     I know…I’ve been leading you on.  I’ve been talking about decorations for weeks, and promising to show them to you…and I haven’t.  Until today!
     We’re pretty obsessed with decorations around my house.  We do quite a bit the same from year to year, but our main tree is always something different.  The ornaments are basically the same, but it never looks the same.  Somehow we always end up with the most interesting looking trees.  They either have a hole in the back, a weird lump on one side, or a shape never before seen on a tree.
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This tree will never be in Southern Living…but it will always be in our house at Christmastime.
     In case you can’t tell (sorry about the photo…I live in the most poorly lit house in America), this tree is humongous at the bottom and super skinny at the top.  It looks like the Grinch’s head, and I love it!  I’m thinking I’ll do a post soon on the ornaments.  A few of my favorite details:  the icicles thrown everywhere, the stuff-ins and sparkly picks, and the paper doily angels at the top.
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     This is one of my favorite things ever.  The glass ornaments keep it looking very vintage and classy.  I love the sparkly mesh underneath; that’s new this year!
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     This one is mine.  While I wouldn’t do a white tree as my main tree, for brightly colored funsies it’s perfect.  I added a couple of new ornaments this year…I’ll have to include them in the ornament post.
     There you have it…well, the main trees that is.  There is plenty still left to show, and I will definitely be doing that.  I hope all of you have decorations up and glowing.  How many trees do you have?
P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Graphic Image giveaway going on!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Giveaway - Graphic Image

     I have this planner.   I use it to keep track of pretty  much everything going on.  Every once in awhile, my mother, sister, and I sit down with our planners and have a “calendar meeting” just to make sure we have our ducks in a row.  These last few months I would have been a total mess if I hadn’t kept things written down.
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     My planner has been good to me…so I almost feel bad for this next statement…but she’s just kind of…plain.  Granted she was free, and didn’t fall apart when I spilled water all over her, but still plain.
     With a new year starting so soon (…I know), it just makes sense that I start fresh, right?  Right.  That’s where this story gets interesting.  Y’all know how much I love GiGi, right?  I think we may have discussed it before (here, here, here).  Well…a few months ago, Graphic Image sent me the prettiest, sassiest little datebook you have ever laid eyes on.  It’s like they know me.  I have now gone from this:
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to this:
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     I am beyond excited to start filing it with dates ( *June 22*)!  Like all of their other products, this planner is leather bound and so classy.  Of course I opted for orange, my fave, but they have so many great color (and metallic) options to choose from.  I got the week-at-a-view option, but there are several layouts and sizes to choose from.  If I were you, I would hop right over there and start picking your favorite one because Graphic Image has graciously offered to give away a datebook to one lucky reader!  All of this:
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    could be delivered in a cute yellow box right to your door.  All you have to do is use the Rafflecopter below!  The giveaway will run through next Wednesday, and I’ll announce a winner toward the end of the week.  Good luck!
P.S.  There was a winner from the last giveaway…I emailed her directly, but forgot to give her a shoutout here.  Congratulations, MC Chau!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 7, 2012

Am I Old Enough for That…

     Today…I am no longer a student teacher.  I have to admit…it’s bittersweet.  I loved both of my placements, and even though I am so ready to be done, I’m going to miss my sweet kiddos!  One of boys cried today…twice.  As if I can handle that!  He said, “I’m going to miss you because when I smile you smile with me.”  Unless you’re made of stone…that might be one of the most precious things you’ve ever heard.
     The day didn’t start that precious.  I was running a few minutes late.  I forgot the cute little Christmas pencils I had for my class.  I stopped at the drugstore to get some more; of course they didn’t have any.  It was raining.

In spite of all that…
     They were as precious as ever, and I barely kept it together.  To top off the day, I got a call to schedule a job interview! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)  Please say a little prayer for me next Tuesday.  It’s going to be a pretty busy week – moving home on Monday, interview Tuesday, graduation practice Thursday, and graduation (!!!!!!) Saturday.
 
Am I old enough for all this?
     I guess if I’m old enough to get married I can do the rest of it.  On that note, when I get  home, I will be in full wedding planning mode.  I need to get my flowers nailed down, my cake figured out, my veil, my shoes, what everyone else is wearing…basically everything except the date, the photography, and the dress (love…I want to wear it every day.  No seriously.).
I think I’ll start with a nap.
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Oh the Weather Outside Is…

…totally disgusting
     I mean really.  Four days into December (Christmas, Christmas, Christmas), and the highs are pushing 70.  I think that’s gross.  I can’t even wear my sweaters!  I saw someone today in flip flops, flip flops.  I don’t care if it’s 1, 000, 000 degrees…in December, we wear real shoes.
I know I live in west Tennessee and will never see this all December,
but the humidity has got to go…got to.
I’m boycotting everything until it’s really December

that’s not true.
I’ll be back in day or so with the Christmas decorations I’ve already promised to post about.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Eat and Be Merry

     Get ready…because this cake is going to blow your mind.  My daddy doesn’t even really like cake (he’s a pie person), but he seriously talks about this all the time…how could I not make it for him?  Over Thanksgiving break, he and my mother went to a cabin in the mountains.  I planned to have this waiting on him when he got back, but due to some rather unfortunate plumbing problems (lame), they had to come back early…so he obviously needed a feel-better cake.  My sister and I spent the whole weekend wreath making, movie watching, and cracker baking.

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You will need:
3 c. applesauce (sweet)
2 c. sugar
2 c. raisins (not necessary…but delicious)
4 c. all purpose flour
1 c. chopped walnuts (optional…but also delicious)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. shortening

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…to be quite honest, the recipe I used didn’t have actual directions…so I’ll tell you what we did (which worked perfectly).

1.  Mix all the dry ingredients, and whisk together.
2.  In a separate mixing bowl, mix applesauce and shortening (you may need to use a hand mixer to break up the shortening).
3.  A little at a time, mix the dry into the wet and mix well.

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Steps 1, 2, and 3…adorable helper not optional.

4.  If desired, mix in raisins and walnuts. 
5.  Pour batter into well greased pan or Pyrex.  I used Crisco to grease them, but I’m sure you could use parchment paper or another method.
6.  Bake in preheated oven on 350 for about 25ish minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  (Note:  We made two smaller cakes, so the cooking time may need to be adjusted.  I would start at 25 and move up as needed).

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At this point, your cakes should have pulled away from the edges of the pan, and your house should smell like Christmas!

For the icing, you will need:
2 c. sugar
1 c. milk
1 tbsp. butter

1.  Cook on stovetop until creamy and spread on cake.  (Note:  This will not thicken up like frosting.  It’s more like a glaze that will need to be poured over the top…it would work as a poke cake too!)

Eat and be merry!

     In case you’re hesitant about the applesauce, this is not a slap-you-in-the-face appley kind of cake.  It really is very similar to a spice cake.  Basically…Christmas in a Pyrex.  Make it…go now.

P.S.  We finished decorating today…pictures soon!