Saturday, December 31, 2011

So Long, 2011

Happy New Years Eve, everyone! 

I must say, 2011 has been a wild ride for me.  A lot of firsts, learning, adjustments, and challenges went into this year.  BUT, I also must say that it has been a great year, because it's been my first year married to Jordan.  : )

I'm sure many of you have resolutions that you're making for 2012, and that's great.  It's good to have ambitions, because it means you care to learn something new or change something to better yourself. 

One 'resolution' I have for 2012 is to kick this blog into high gear!  Meaning, I want to blog more often, challenge myself, and try more new things.  I'm so thankful to all of you who have read my posts since I started this year and who have been so sweet and supportive while I'm just learning the ropes of this thing. 

Have a fun and safe New Years Eve!  I thank God for allowing me to live this year and experience so many blessings.  Here's to 2012 being even BETTER!   : )

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

The merriest day of the year has finally arrived!  We wait all year for it, and then it seems it's gone in a flash.  While we still have the Christmas night ahead of us, I hope we'll all remember what Christmas is really celebrating.  Christmas has always been my favorite holiday; I adore all the twinkly lights, Christmas trees, carols, food and baking galore, time with family, gift giving & receiving, and anything else you can think of that has to do with Christmas.  But why do we even celebrate in the first place?  There would not even be this awesome holiday that we eagerly wait for each year were it not for the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!  Praise God for the wonderful blessing He sent to save all of us who are not worthy!

Love this song that says it all...

I sincerely hope that each and every one of you have had a Merry Christmas, filled with joy, family, friends, and lots of sweets.  : )  Jordan and I are having a wonderful Christmas together!  We had friends over for dinner last night and had a nice time, and today we have been hanging out and I must say I got a very exciting present...a NEW CAMERA!   Yes, that's right folks.  I'm on my way to being able to take better pictures with this baby!  I'm so excited to use it to shoot my next blog! 

Well, I better get off of this computer and get back to my 2 loves.  One of them is hungry....again.  And the other one is destroying a pile of brand new squeaky toys she got this morning, one by one.  I love my life.  <3

Merry Christmas to everyone!  Make sure and thank God today for all of the blessings He's given you, especially the blessing we are celebrating today - Jesus!! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Our 1st Anniversary

Today marks a very special celebration - my and Jordan's 1st anniversary!  I've decided that I'm still going to consider myself a newlywed, because it seems like there's no way a whole year could have already passed since our wedding day.  I must say, us being married was quite an adjustment.  We hardly got any time together before we got married, because I was living in NC and Jordan was already living here in MO by the time he took his precious time to contact me again after initially meeting me in 2007!!!  lol.  But anyways, there were only a few trips made between us before our big day (only 2 trips before he proposed to me on the 3rd trip!!).  Right after getting married, he (insert country accent) "up and moved me" to Missouri.  ; )  Basically, I was living a complete different life.  Having a husband, getting to see Jordan every day, having no family or friends around, no job, no church, new house, etc.  Parts of that were not easy, especially at first...but I always had him.  We have been each other's best friend, family, and support system.  There was a time when I was younger that I could've sworn to you that I would never move out of NC.  Well, look at me now.  Now, if someone asks me, "How do you like it here?", my usual response includes "Well, I miss NC (the actual area, plus my family and friends) so bad!  But I love my husband and I love being married!  I have a great job and friends, a home and a church that we love.  So I guess overall, it's not so bad."  : )

I know we've only been married a year, and I'm probably not qualified to give too much advice in this area as compared to those who have been married a long time, but there is one piece of advice that I truly believe.  The advice that I will give our daughter if God blesses us with one in the future. 

WAIT for the man who pursues you.  The man who's words and actions show you that you are the most important person in the world to him and who wants to spend the rest of his life with you.  The man who is willing to put his time and effort into showing you he cares for you every day.  The man who is so crazy about you that (in my case) asks you on your first date "So seriously, how long do I have to wait before I can propose to you?".  The man who, even after receiving a look of "you're crazy" after that question, will shrug his shoulders, smile, and try again the next day.  A man of GOD who will treat you as God commanded a husband to treat a wife.  A man who will be patient with you and love you despite that fact that you may be going through a hard time.  A man who makes life a greater journey to take with him by your side.  Ladies, you do not need to go out searching for all of this.  Stay strong in your faith and praise God even through your trials, and in His perfect timing, He will bless you with a man like this. 

Thank you Jordan, for being the amazing man that you are.  Thank you for all of your love, patience, and compassion.  Thank you for always making me laugh.  Thank you for wanting me to be your wife and loving me the way my heart desired.  We have a long road still ahead of us, and I can't wait to see what our future holds!  I LOVE YOU!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Potato Casserole

Over Thanksgiving break, Jordan and I went to Kansas to stay with his cousin and her family for a few days.  This was really nice, because not only were we able to be around some family for Thanksgiving, but I had never even met these family members since we got married last year.  It was about time, don't ya think?  They have 3 awesome boys, who were VERY excited to see Cousin Jordan again, and even more excited to meet Katie!  : )  I don't think poor Katie got a break from doing her tricks (sit, shake, high five) the entire time we were there, lol.  It's okay though, she loved those boys and soaked up every bit of attention she got!  Katie even got to have her first experience meeting another animal...pigs!  My 2 favorite animals, dogs and pigs, united at last!  lol   : D

We ate a lot of good food while we were there, too.  One night at dinner, his cousin made this potato casserole, and we loved it!  Bonus - it's super easy to put together!  It's like hashbrowns wrapped in a creamy, cheesy sauce - YUM!  The recipe below is for a full 9x13 pan, but, as usual, I halved the recipe to make an 8x8 pan for us.  Try it out as a simple, delicious side at dinner! 

Potato Casserole

1 bag Ore-Ida frozen hash browns
2 cups grated cheese (any shredded kind that you like; we used mild cheddar)
1/2 cup chopped onion (I've tried this with & without onions, and we prefer it without!)
1 can cream of chicken
1 pt. sour cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups crushed cornflakes
1/2 stick margarine, melted (of course I prefer butter, heehee)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together except cornflakes and butter/margarine.  Place in a 9x13 dish.  Top with crumbled cornflakes and melted butter/margarine.  Bake for 1 hour.  (If you use butter, watch to make sure the cornflakes don't get too dark toward the end of cooking time; if they begin to, cover loosely with aluminum foil and continue baking till done.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cool Mt. Crumpit Peppermint Patty Brownies

I love holiday traditions.  : )  One in particular that my mom and I have always had is our "decorating night".  It's usually the day after Thanksgiving, and we spend all night getting the dozens of boxes of Christmas decorations out of the attic, drag them into the house, and begin spreading Christmas joy over the house.  During the decorating time, we either have Christmas music playing or old Christmas movies (like Rudolph or Frosty) on in the background. 

After we've done all the decorating we can manage for one night, THEN comes my favorite part...watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas!!  Not the old one...the one with Jim Carrey!!  It's my favorite Christmas movie and it never fails that I put it in the DVD player at least once a Christmas season.

Welll, with a Mama who's 18 hours away, guess who had to participate in my Christmas tradition this year with me?  That's right- my better half!  He was such a trooper though!  He has now officially heard me recite the Grinch's lines as he shouts hate messages off his mountaintop to the Who's down below, or deal with a bunch of rotten kids in school as he's harboring a love for Martha May Whovier (pronounced Who-vee-ay).

Anywho ; ), after the movie was over and we'd danced around our tiny living room to "Where Are You Christmas", Jordan decided to flip through the bonus material.  Low and behold, there was a section for 'Recipes'!  I was stunned - why hadn't I seen this before??!  These Cool Mt. Crumpit Peppermint Patty brownies were the recipe that shouted "MAKE ME HOLLY!".  We won't even discuss what Martha May Whovier's recipe on there was....shudder.

Upon further Internet investigation, I discovered that this is actually a Hershey's recipe.  These brownies are minty, fudgy, and very satisfying!  If you love York peppermint patties, you'll love these.  Chocolate and peppermint tastes just like Christmas.  : )

Cool Mt. Crumpit Peppermint Patty Brownies
Recipe from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" DVD; originally from Hershey's

*Due to the alarming amounts of butter & sugar in this recipe, I opted to half this recipe and (making only 1/2 a pan) and share most of the brownies with others.  If you make a whole pan, don't fret!  Share them with friends and family - they'll love it, and you won't be eating all the calories by yourself! 

24 small York peppermint patties, unwrapped
3 sticks melted butter (1 1/2 cup)  (I used half salted and half unsalted because it's what I had on hand.)
3 cups sugar
1 TB vanilla
5 eggs
2 cups AP flour
1 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 for a glass dish).  Grease 13 x 9 dish.  Unwrap peppermint patties.
In large bowl, stir butter, sugar, and vanilla together.  Add eggs and beat until well blended.  Add in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and blend well. 
Reserve 2 cups of batter.  Spread remaining batter in the bottom of the baking dish.  Arrange peppermint patties on top evenly.  Pour reserved batter on top and spread over the patties evenly. 
Bake 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  (My half-pan only baked 40 minutes!!)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Random Things

1.  After my last blog about the Caramel Apple Cake, my laptop died.  Again.  It miraculously turned on again this morning, so I'm taking advantage!  Maybe it will even last long enough for me to post another recipe later.  Who knows?...

2.  I'm pretty sure I got food poisoning from a "certain" restaurant in a neighboring town.  Or I got a virus from someone.  Pretty sure it was food poisoning though.  Either way, it completely ruined my weekend and I won't be eating salad again for a while.

3.  Last week, I got dressed for work in a yellow sweater with green pants.  My husband told me my outfit looked like throw up.  I changed into a purple sweater and he told me I looked beautiful.  What would I do without him sometimes?

4.  My Christmas tree is beautiful and I never want to take it down!!  It's amazing how those twinkly lights make me feel each morning when I turn them on.  : )

5.  My mom surprised me by mailing me a homemade wreath!!  I was sooooo happy!  My mom makes awesome wreaths, so I am a very lucky daughter to have this beauty hanging on my front door!

6.  Jordan and I have our 1st year anniversary in 7 days.  7 DAYS!!  I cannot believe it.  Time flies so quickly.

7.  I hope I can get some real food down today.  I miss it.