Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hope your holidays are filled with lots of food, family, and fun!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sausage Balls

In my mind, no Thanksgiving or Christmas would be complete without sausage balls.  Both my mom and Grammy make them and they are a staple of breakfast, lunch, and dinner for days surrounding the holidays.

I'm not a huge meat fan, but these can't be beat.  Now, there's a bit of a discrepancy, because when my mom gave me the recipe, I forgot to write down the part about browning the sausage before mixing up the balls.  So I just mixed them raw.  Turns out, no one died, and they were actually quite good (no offense, mom!).  My version of the recipe thus includes no precooking of everyone's second favorite pork product (bacon is #1, duh).  But if that really grosses you out, you could go old school and cook em like mom does. 

Holiday Sausage Balls
- 1 pound package of ground sausage
- 3 cups Bisquick
- 4 cups grated sharp cheddar
- Seasonings to taste: pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning, onion powder, onion flakes, etc

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Spray a baking sheet with spray
3. Combine all ingredients in a big bowl
4. Mix well with fingers
5. Form into 1" balls by rolling.
6. Bake for 18-20 mins until browned (flip them halfway for even cooking).

Easy enough, right?  Well, it is.  However, please see #4.  That's gonna take you like 20 minutes.  Make sure you don't do arms at the gym the week you're making them.  You will get plenty of workout just mixing these little suckers up.  Um, and I won't go into it, but make sure to take off your rings first.  Nothing like burying your hands wrist-deep in raw sausage. 

The sausage isn't quite moist enough to absorb the Bisquick and cheese quickly if you don't precook it - but in my opinion, the finished product is moister and not as dry if you don't precook the sausage.  So keep mixing.  It's totally worth it!

The recipe can easily be double and makes a TON.  They last really well and make for great leftovers.  Yum!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday How-To

How to make a gingerbread house (courtesy of Kacy):

How not to make a gingerbread house (anonymous creator....certainly not me...):

If said gingerbread houses were in competition, which do you think would win?  :)

Moral of the story:  Read box instructions and wait 15 minutes after icing-gluing down the roof.  And don't let your husband help.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lighting the Night

Christmas is this week - how weird is that?  Maybe it's just me, but it doesn't feel like Christmas at all.  I've wrapped all my presents, been listening to festive music for a month, and our house is all decorated... but still, it doesn't feel very Christmassy.  I'm going to just assume it's an off year for me, and go at Christmas full-force next year (which brings me to another point - how weird is it that it's 2010?  I can remember the whole Y2K business like it was only a few years ago!).'s become a Christmas tradition to go see the Christmas lights display that the Gaddy family puts up on their property each year in Fayetteville.  I talked about this display here last year, but it's so awesome I'm posting about it again...  And because I'm bored at work... And because I took an irrational amount of pictures of the lights and need to put them somewhere.

No, the lights don't synch to music or play rockband, but they are a good old fashioned southern lights display - complete with American flag, lots of baby Jesuses, and penguins riding tractors.

So turn up the Christmas tunes and enjoy:

Maybe next year I will have a camera that can capture the fabulousness of them all!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Decking The Halls

Our little version of Christmas Cheer:

Notice something new in our living room?  It's our fancy new bookcase!  Luckily I had mountains of Christmas stuff to stick on it - but there will be a whole separate post on decorating that beauty once the holidays are over -- it will be quite blank until I get some new things!  I already love how cozy it makes the room seem.

Also, I'm kinda in love with the front porch ornaments.  They really look better in the light of day, but I leave and come home under cover of darkness, so this is the best you get!

Happy holiday season.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Halfway to 50...Quarter of a Century...Old.

So, I'm 25.  Officially on the downhill slide to thirty.  I just don't feel old enough to 25!  Not that the age itself really bothers me, it's just that I remember being a kid and thinking 25 was SO old and grown up and "adult" ... and I'm not sure I feel like any of those yet!

I'm not the type to mope over getting older (besides, as my dear mother puts it "getting older is better than the alternative" -- get it... death... good one mom). 

I told Tony I wanted to take a small trip instead of him getting me something.  We decided to head up to Asheville (thanks to some free Biltmore tickets I weaseled from work) and Greenville.  Tony took the initiative to plan everything himself.  And he gets 1,000 husband bonus points because when we went to check into our hotel in Asheville, we entered the room and my whole family was there!  Mom, Dad, Court, Cait, Courtney's bf Byron, Grammy, and even their dogs! 

(my dad is glowing...)

Tony had organized it with them to come meet us for the day and evening.  I love my family so much and hate the fact that I only see them every few months or so, so this was a great treat.  It's always crazy and loud when there are 9 of us, but I love it (in small doses, of course!).  Growing up in a big-ish family makes me cherish those times together.

It even snowed, although it didn't stick.  We froze to death and ate too much food, and topped the evening off with cupcakes. 

My family headed home and Tony and I went to the Biltmore - which I had been to, just not during Christmas.  Everything is a million times more enjoyable when decorated for Christmas.  The hands down best part of the house was the live 30 ft tall tree in their dining room (dining hall is a better word) that was covered in old-fashioned ornaments with real-sized presents hanging from it - apparently the family's presents for the servents were displayed this way when they really lived there. 

We spent some time in Greenville as well, mostly napping in the gloriously huge bed. Nothing to do but relax.
 Great birthday.  Sure beats the alternative. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Photo Cards - On Sale! Woo!

I ordered our holiday cards today!  I will post them once I actually send them out, because they are quite cute!

I opted not to arrange to take a photo, mostly because time is running out, and the thought of trying to make the dogs sit still for a photo makes me tired.  Instead I used a cute picture of Tony and I from a few months ago (back when we were still kinda tan!)

I held off on ordering the cards, because I figured a sale/deal would come up sooner or later.  Sure enough, today only Snapfish has 40% off cards.  I had the card in my shopping cart ready to go, just waiting for an offer like this to come through.  40 cards and envelopes for around $20 (including shipping and tax).  Not too bad!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pumpkin and Nog

We had a wonderful time in Knoxville for Thanksgiving, and it was great to spend lots of quality time with the fam and friends.

I've mentioned how talented my mom is before... here's her Thanksgiving table setting:

My lovely sisters (plus one banana-sized baby girl):

My godmother Patty and I:

All in all, it was a nice, relaxing weekend!  Hope your Thanksgivings were just as nice!  I had tons of mac and cheese, cheese grits, and stuffing.  Not to mention both pumpkin bars -- and pumpkin cake.  And Thanksgiving marks the beginning of Nog Season - that's right - I LOVE eggnog.  To the haters who think it tastes like Windex (...Tony...), you don't know what you're missing.  We even decided Courtney was "nogged up" :)

Diet starts Monday...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

DIY Tinsel Tree

I feel so crafty!

I finally got around to doing a little DIY Christmas decor project that was two years in the works.  I saw this idea on TV 2 years ago, and decided I was going to do it (insert excitement and ambition).  I bought the necessary materials.  Then..... I got lazy.  And this little project got pushed off to "next Christmas" ..... then the next...... but FINALLY I got up enough energy to do this 30 minute project (whew...that was tough)

This is a simple tree that's super easy and cheap to make.

First, you start with a tomato cage.  I think it was $1 when I bought it, but you might need to account for inflation and the rise in standard of living to calculate it's cost in today's currency.

Gather the ends at the top into a point so it makes a cone shape.  Use zip ties to hold them together.  Leave a little extra at the top so it will stay and won't pop off.

Next, thread a strand of lights up through the cage from the inside. [important note: make sure the lights actually work before doing all of this to avoid anger management issues] Zip tie the lights in various places on the cage to keep them spread out, including hanging them from the top.  I used icicle lights, because you get more bang for your buck in terms of lightage.  Make sure to leave a little tail sticking out with the plug end.

I then wrapped the outside of the tree skeleton with tulle that I had leftover from my wedding decor, to keep the garland from sinking into the open parts of the cage.

I happened to have some sparkly thingys that I got a few years back (they were meant as New Years place settings, I think). You could always use feathers or tall vase filler or anything else that looks right. I zip tied these to the top.

Next, gather up some tinsel garland shiny stuff (you will probably need 3-4 sets, and the thicker it is, the better).  This is great to buy on sale after the holidays - it's super cheap and prevalent (unlike those stupid mirrored trees that are always immediately gone on the 26th).

Start at the bottom, and hotglue the garland along the base of the cage.  Keep winding it up and around, gluing in intervals along the vertical "bones" of the cage.  You don't need a ton of glue.

Keep going til you hit the top.  Plug it in, and enjoy!

(it's glows a lot more in person!)

I've linked this to A Soft Place to Land's DIY Day - check it out!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tony and I are currently in Knoxville, eating way too much food and doing a whole lot of nothing!

I have a million things to be thankful for, but most importantly, my wonderfully supportive, loving, and hilarious husband.  He keeps me sane (kinda) and manages to make me happy every single day.  I'm so thankful for my family and extended family - including the two little baby girls who are growing away right now in their mamas [my sister officially found out she's having a girl - as is my sister in law - so I am super excited for TWO little girls!].  I'm so grateful to have loving friends around us (both near and far).  I love the fact that we are blessed with good health, good jobs, and overall good lives.  I'm beyond thankful for my dogs - they keep me laughing (Roxy) and snuggle with me when it's been a rough day (Sandy). 

I'm thankful for all of the blessings of this life - both big and small.

And I'm thankful for the 3 helpings of mac and cheese I'm about to go devour.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Common Sense...Eluded Me...

Here's what I've learned today:

You can't just pack candles up in plastic bins with the rest of the Christmas stuff, and then put them in your attic to sit through the following year, including a record-hot summer....

And it doesn't help if you just toss them in... upside-down...on top of other decorations..

Also of interst - Ikea candles are made out of some weird styrofoam white stuff on the inside, even if they are "red"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Christmas Boxes

When I wrote this post last week about Operation Christmas Child, I promised I would share what we bought to go in the boxes for the kiddos.

Here's what I put in mine (I chose a Girl aged 5-9):
  • Nerds!
  • Fun hair clips and bracelets
  • Mittens (even though this might go to a kid in the desert - oh well!)
  • Dress up slippers
  • Pencils, Colored Pencils, Chalk, Crayons, Notepads, Sticker book
  • Half of a set of plastic jungle animals (Tony took the other half)
  • Soap
  • Lip Gloss
  • Rubber Christmas stampers
  • A stuffed reindeer
    • See my deranged dog in the background?  I have mentioned she LOVES anything white and fluffy, so she was soooooo upset that I wouldn't let her have that reindeer.  I even had to put it on the mantle while I was organizing everything so she wouldn't steal it.  She looked at the mantle for a good two hours -- even after I had already packed it up in the box.  Poor dog - she's lacking in the brains department....

Here's Tony's.  He packed it up before I had the chance to take a picture of what was inside, but a lot of it was similar to mine, with a few extra "boy" things thrown in there. 

[And he did such a good job packing it I couldn't unpack just for a's kinda like when he folds the laundry...I really want to unfold and refold the "right" way, but I try to least while he's watching...]

They take the boxes up until the 23rd - you can find a dropoff location here.

I wish I could pack 1,000 of these.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Painting Made Easier

Do you know what would really make painting easier?  If Tony helped... but let's not go there... ;)

In other news, I painted our office!! Woo!  It only two and a half years....

But I can cross that one off the list ---->

I will post some pictures of it once I actually put the furniture back in :)  In the meantime, I wanted to share the little gadget that made this paint job the easiest one yet.

I feel dumb because I'm pretty sure everyone else in the world knew about this, and I definitely didn't. 

I thankfully crawled out from under my rock on this guy due to my good friend Kirsty's recommendation.  (I technically bought the cheapo version without the fancy handle, but you get the idea!  It was like, $3..)

I didn't have to tape (my arch-enemy)!!  It went PERFECTLY around all of the door and window frames, as well as the ceiling.  The baseboards were a little tricky, as they weren't thick enough for the wheels to ride on, but I used it anyway with a steady hand and got a relatively straight line. 

And honestly, there's some paint on the baseboards.  And I don't care.

Too bad I discovered this tool while painting the last remaining room in our house to be painted..

[ps - Kirsty's husband Josh is on his way home from Afghanistan right now for his leave-- keep him in your thoughts for safe travels home and back :) ]

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thrifting Treasures

I found a few great things at our local thrift store and Goodwill this weekend. 

And what's a trip to the thrift store without following it up with a good spraypainting session?

I found these fabulous candlesticks for under $4 total, that I plan to use for Christmas decor (similar ones from Target were around $8 each and I was sad I never got any last year!).

I loved this little bird too ($2).  And while I liked it in silver, the little waxy lines on it just wouldn't clean off.  So out comes the spraypaint!

It kinda looks porcelain now... I love it!

Side Note:  I'm certainly not the first to tout the amazingness of this thingy - but if you are an avid spraypainter/buyer-of-other-people's-junk and you haven't tried this, then you don't know what you're missing!!  It's a cheap plastic handle (Rustoleum, from Walmart) that snaps right onto the spray can and makes for a much smoother finish on what you paint.  It also eliminates that bizarre cramped shaking twitching finger syndrome.

In my quest to de-red our living room, I put the bird on the mantle.  However, the solid white color needed some balance on the other side.

So I painted this candlestick solid white too:

I definitely need to get a different candle for it, but I like how they balance each other out.  I'm going to replace some of the other accessories too, but I'm going to wait until after Christmas, since it will all be temporarily replaced with festive decor soon anyway!

On a side note, I also got some really cute shirts too - all for $3 each!  (Don't judge me, I wash them well, ok??)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...