Five on Friday - Black Friday

Friday, November 28, 2014

This is so accurate... although I justify it in my mind with 2 main reasons: 1. We all go as a family (until my dad gets tired and goes home) so we all enjoy running around together 2. I can't pass up a deal knowing the item I've been eyeing for Christmas will be 50% that day. I'm going to try to highlight some black Friday deals I'm most excited for.

One - Old Navy
EVERYTHING IN THE STORE IS 50%. EVERYTHING PEOPLE! I don't need to say anything else. 

Two - Target
There are a few random things I want to get from here (mainly for Stephen so I can't say on here because he might read it ;)) But when DVDs are for $4 & $6 (they're not advertising crappy DVDs either), all clothes are 40% off and great doorbusters, how can you not stop by? I have noticed in the past few years that Target has stepped up their Black Friday game and has everything relatively organized.

Three - Best Buy
We're still not entirely sure if we'll stop here because the only thing we're looking for from here is a new phone for both Stephen and I.

Four - Loft & J Crew
Loft & J Crew usually have some pretty good sales going on during Black Friday. I didn't see an add on their websites (could've totally missed it) but we usually stop in while visiting the mall.

Five - Ulta
I'm hoping Ulta has some pretty good deals as well. This would be a great place to find some little things for the women in your family or friends.

Usually we hit the big ticket stores then head over to the mall and just shop the amazing deals. I'm trying to get a little more organized this year with specific lists for the people in my family I need to shop for. If you love battling the Black Friday crowd - good luck! If you prefer to stay home and shop online - enjoy shopping in your pj's ;)

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving! Enjoy this precious time with your families around the kitchen table.

I am so thankful to be spending today (and this whole week) with my family. The Lord has truly blessed us!

My Favorite Things Linkup: Stocking Stuffers

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Today's post is number 2 of 3 for the 2nd annual Favorite Things Linkup and I'm talking about stocking stuffers. Here are a few stocking stuffers that are on my Christmas list as well as some other ones that would be fun to get.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Monday, November 24, 2014

I can't believe Thanksgiving is only a few days away! Stephen and I are loving our time up north with my family. Since Thanksgiving is this week and after that is nothing but Christmas, I'm giving y'all one last pumpkin recipe. We had a potluck this week at work and I decided to bring pumpkin coffee cake. I made it for a different potluck a few years ago as well and it's been a hit both times! I got the recipe here and it's super easy to make!

Please ignore my not very good pictures, I couldn't get that great of one.

Cake with the crumbled brown sugar topping before baking

Cake and topping post baking

Sugar glaze

After first pouring the glaze on the cake

After the glaze has settled into the cake

- 1/3 cup water
- 1 (15 oz) can pureed pumpkin
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 (18 oz) box yellow cake mix
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup brown sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1. In a large bowl, mix together the water, pumpkin, eggs, 1 tbsp vanilla and pumpkin pie spice until well combined. Add the cake mix and baking soda and mix until combined.

2. Grease a 9x13 pan and pour the batter into the pan. 

3. In a smaller bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of brown sugar, flour and melted butter. Stir until well combined and then use your fingers to sprinkle over the cake.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min. Make sure cake is done but inserting a toothpick. If toothpick is clean, the cake is done.

5. For the glaze, combine 1/2 brown sugar, granulated sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract and heavy cream in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir until all sugar is dissolved. 

6. After the cake has baked, poke holes in the top with a toothpick so the glaze can seep into the cake. Pour the glaze over the cake, making sure to cover all surfaces. Serve the cake warm, at room temperature or cold. 

If you need any last minute pumpkin recipes you can check out my pumpkin bread, pumpkin dip, roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin cookies. Goodness I've made a lot of pumpkin goodies! Also don't forget to check out my favorite Thanksgiving dishes

I hope you enjoy this week with family and friends!

Five on Friday: My Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes

Friday, November 21, 2014

I can't believe it's already Friday and I couldn't be more excited! Tomorrow we are flying out to spend Thanksgiving with my family and we have all sorts of fun activities planned, Thanksgiving is in 6 days, Black Friday is in a week and the minute Thanksgiving is over - the Christmas decorations will come out and the music will begin!

This week, I decided to post my 5 favorite side dishes for Thanksgiving. Numbers 1-3 are recipes from my mom - dishes my sister and I request every year and numbers 4-5 are simple recipes I found online (I have no clue how they taste but they look good!)

One - Squash Casserole 

Picture via (I don't have any personal pictures of these recipes)

- 5-6 yellow squashes (sliced, cooked and drained)
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 stick butter (sliced)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- salt & pepper
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divide - 1 cup for topping)
- 2 cups Ritz cracker crumbs (divide - 1 cup for topping)

1. Mix together all ingredients and place into a 9x13 dish (don't mash the squash)
2. Top with the cup of cheese and cup of crackers 
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes

Two - Hashbrown Casserole 

Picture via

- 1 pkg (1 lb 4 oz) shredded hashbrowns
- 1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup
- 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup butter (melted) 
- 2 tbsp diced onion
Topping (optional):
- 2 cups cornflakes
- 1/2 cup butter (melted)

1. Combine all ingredients, except hashbrowns, in a separate bowl
2. Place the hashbrowns in a greased 9x13 baking dish
3. Add the bowl mixture to the hashbrowns and stir until well mixed
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes
5. While the casserole is baking, stir together the cornflakes and melted butter
6. After the casserole has baked for 45 minutes, sprinkle the cornflake mixture on top and bake for another 5-10 minutes

Three - Cold Broccoli Salad

Picture via

The quantities depend on how much you'd like to make. Just be smart and make sure all your proportions are even.
- Broccoli
- Purple onion
- Raisins
- Nuts (I like cashews the best)
- 8 strips of bacon (crumbled)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 1/4-1/2 cup sugar

1. Chop the broccoli and onion (if not pre-chopped)
2. Cook bacon - make sure it's nice and crispy, then crumble it up
3. Combine all salad ingredients in one large bowl
4. Combine the dressing ingredients in another bowl
5. Top the salad with the dressing and mix well, making sure everything is covered
6. Chill before serving and serve cold

Four - Mouthwatering Mashed Potatoes

Picture & Recipe via

- 5 lbs potatoes
- 1 cup of butter
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 2 tsp salt
- pepper
- chopped chives

1. Wash and scrub potatoes, then add them to a pot with salt and cover with water
2. Bring to a boil and cook covered for 40-50 minutes (to make sure the potatoes are cooked through, stick a knife through the center and see if it comes out easily - if it doesn't continue to cook them)
3. Melt the butter and heat the half-and-half in the microwave
4. Drain the potatoes and allow them to cool slightly
5. Once the potatoes are cooled enough, take off the peel and add the potatoes to a large bowl
6. Mash the potatoes and add the melted butter, heated half-and-half and salt making sure to stir to combine
7. Serve warm and topped with chives and pepper

Five - Hassle-Free Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Picture & Recipe via

- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt 
- 12 tbsp butter (cold, unsalted and cut into 1/2 in cubes)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 3 large eggs (room temp)
- 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
- 1 cup half-and-half (or cream)
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt

1. Prep the dough by adding the flour, sugar, salt, cubed butter and buttermilk into a food processor. Pulse 6-7 times until the dough forms (it should be slightly sticky but manageable) 
2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate while making the filling
3. In a large bowl, whisk the room-temp eggs then add the pumpkin puree, half-and-half, dark brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Whisk until lump free
4. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a 12 in circle that's about 1/4 in thick
5. Place the dough in a pie dish, fold any excess dough underneath and crimp the edges (If the dough feels too soft at this point, stick it in the freezer for 10 min)
6. Pour the pumpkin puree mixture into the dough-lined pie dish and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes
7. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cook for an additional 40-50 minutes (make sure the pie is cooked through by using a toothpick)
8. Allow the pie to cook for at least 2 hours before serving

I hope all these recipes help you finalize your Thanksgiving meals! 

My Favorite Things Linkup: My List

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Either I dropped the ball or didn't want to do two posts in one day but I had to participate in April's Second Annual My Favorite Things Linkup. Today everyone is sharing their Christmas wish list, next will be stocking stuffers then gifts for the family. Without further adieu here are some of the things I'm asking for this year.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

1. Samsung Galaxy S5 Phone - Currently I have a Galaxy S3 and it's pretty much on it's last leg of life so I'm going to cash in my upgrade and get the new S5. I am so excited! I'm probably most looking forward to the camera on the phone being SO much better than my current phone (hopefully the pictures on my blog will be a lot better).

2. Kate Spade Galaxy S5 Case - I love me a cute phone case and it's Kate Spade? Double win. They have a ton of other cute cases as well but this black and white stripped one is my favorite.

3. Old Navy Quilted Tweed Vest - Y'all better believe that when the entire Old Navy store will be 50% off, I'll be getting lots of great goodies from there. I want to monogram this as well with a black stitch - hopefully it'll work since the vest is more on the thick side.

4. Gold Bracelet - Okay, not going to lie - this weekend Limited was having 50% off all full priced items so I snagged this bracelet already. I promise it's in a box and won't be opened till Christmas ;)

5. New Sunglasses - I would love to get some Ray Bans but I personally can't spend that much money on something that can break so easily, so I will be looking at the sale racks for some new aviators. I currently have a great pair of Fossil ones that I found for $15 but the paint is chipping so it's time for some new sun glasses.

6. New Sneakers - I'm still not sure what kind exactly I want, but I know it's time to replace my holey ones. These Nike ones are adorable with the leopard print and currently are on sale. If I don't find any during Black Friday, I might have to snag these.

7. Old Navy Plaid Shirt - I've been seeing a ton of cute outfits incorporating plaid shirts and Old Navy has a huge variety of great plaid shirts. I will definitely be pushing and shoving the other Black Friday shoppers to get my hands on one ;)

I really enjoyed seeing everyone's lists! It's neat to see the differences in styles and wants this holiday season. Can't wait to see everyone's stocking stuffer ideas next week!

Thanksgiving Holiday Linkup

Today I'm talking about Thanksgiving dinner place card ideas for part 2 of 3 of the Holiday Link Up hosted by Home of MalonesKatie ElizabethHome Sweet Ruby & Lisa Loves John. I love seeing everyone's adorable ideas for the various holiday's that we are linking up for. You can see my Halloween post from last month here and I can't wait to link up for Christmas.

Usually it's just the four of us for Thanksgiving so we stay in our pj's all day and don't make any special "Thanksgiving day specific" decorations. Since Stephen will be joining us this year, we all I feel the need to "try" a little harder this Thanksgiving. Who knows if I'll actually get around to making some place cards but it's definitely fun to say I'll try ;)

I love this idea of painting a mini pumpkin - classic and trendy

This wine cork place card is simple and perfect especially for those who have tons of wine corks and don't know what to do with them

It doesn't get any easier than picking up some pine cones from your backyard and throwing a name card in it - just make sure you don't bring in any unwelcomed dinner guests

I'd say this one is for the super crafty and adventurous girls. They're super cute but I can guarantee mine would not look like Pilgrim hats

I love this one, super classic, simple and easy!

This placemat is perfect for Thanksgiving, especially for those with kiddos because it gives them something to do - after everyone has filled it out, talk about all the things you're thankful for

If anyone is looking for printables, here is a link to some adorable plaid and turkey menus, place cards, etc.

Monday Madness

Monday, November 17, 2014

Okay, so today isn't really madness (at least I hope so) but Saturday we started Christmas shopping and spent Sunday researching gifts for family. This probably isn't the best but I'm itching for black Friday! I have found lots of things I want for Christmas but I'm trying to hold out because I know the deals will be so much better come Black Friday. 

Anyways, on Friday UCF had a televised game so after work we all headed over to a big tailgate which was super fun - as always. My boss brought his turkey fryer and made all sorts of delicious, heart-clogging food. I tried fried bacon - Oh.My.Word. it was so good! He was also kind enough to make fried Oreo's at my request. After a few hours, I headed home to have some delicious dinner with Stephen and we watched Guardians of the Galaxy.  Okay not going to lie, I thought it'd be a great movie since it's a Marvel movie and everyone who saw it said it was great. Stephen and I did not like it - I even fell asleep and didn't care that I had missed some of it. Hopefully the Avengers 2 won't disappoint like this one did. 

Knightro ridin' in style

Fried Oreo's.. mmmmm

Saturday, Stephen needed to get his car worked on and the dealership was near a big Orlando mall so we loaded up for a fun day of shopping and dinner after the oil was changed. I was surprised and excited to see that Frozen was on tv when we got into the lounge area. (I was very proud of myself that I didn't cry over this movie in public - it makes me cry every time) After Frozen was over, we realized it was an Apple TV so we found Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and got about 10 minutes into it before they called us and said the car was done. 


My mom let me borrow this scarf so I decided to wear it on Saturday. I got a ton of compliments while we were at the mall so I had to share a picture of it.

I couldn't find the exact scarf online but my mom got it on sale at Talbots

At the mall, we ran into The Limited which was having a huge sale - 50% off all full priced items. I found this shirt on sale for $22 then it was an additional 40% off. I had to snag it for a Christmas gift. It'll be perfect to wear to work or with jeans. 

After the mall, Stephen had the brilliant idea of going to Downtown Disney and getting our favorite dinner dessert combo - the Greek salad and BBQ chicken sandwich from Earl of Sandwich and the cookie bite sundae from Ghirardelli. We used to do this all the time with my family and when we had season passes to Disney but since we don't have passes anymore, we rarely go over there. We eminently enjoyed our dinner and loved the memories it brought back.

Super fail on this picture - too funny not to share

Our delicious dinner and dessert

We stopped by the Ghirardelli store to get our free Holiday chocolates! 

Stop by the blog tomorrow for a Thanksgiving holiday link up! I'll be sharing my favorite Thanksgiving table decorations. 

Five on Friday: Christmas Card Ideas

Friday, November 14, 2014

Even though Thanksgiving isn't here yet, it's never too early to start thinking about Christmas cards! I love to make Christmas cards and sending them out and I love receiving other cards as well. For this week's Five on Friday I decided to put together some of my favorite Christmas cards. All of the cards featured in this post are from Minted because they have some amazing cards!

I want Stephen to design our card this year because it'd be very easy for him, but I'm not really sure after printing them and buying envelopes that it'll be very cost effective. If anyone has any experience with this, I'd love to hear your advice!

One - Pretty Script Cards

This is the type I'd like Stephen to make for us

Two - Chalkboard Cards

Three - Newlywed Cards

Four - Fun Color Cards

Five - Pictureless Cards

I hope these cards help you get a good idea of what you'd like to make this year. Everyone enjoys a great Christmas card!