Friday, December 20, 2013

had a very shiny nose

Because what is Christmas without a little Rudolph?

You'll notice Sawyer can't finish the song because he had to take a sip of his drink.. he's definitely my son.

 Merry Christmas from our family to yours, see y'all after the holidays!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

comfy christmas

During Christmas we are usually in the car traveling, chasing after Sawyer and his new toys, or on the floor at our parents/grandparent's houses opening gifts. So, when I see people posting fabulous outfits with sequins, glitter and heels I am always like, huh?. Color me a little jealous that y'all get to rock some serious fashion during the hectic holidays.

this is about as fancy as I get on a Christmas morning: scarf & a sweater

Don't get me wrong, I will throw on a bedazzled sweater or shirt in a hot minute for a Christmas party or dinner, but come Christmas morning you can usually find me in a comfy ensemble.

This year thanks to Target I will be brightening the holiday with an ironic twist. I got a great Griswold Family Christmas t-shirt (from the Men's section...) that I plan on wearing to the big Wallace family Christmas at Josh's Aunt Becky's house.

And won again at Target with a Santa hat-wearing skull sweater (also from the Men's section - SOLD OUT) that I can wear on Christmas day!
Target has some other comfy options for Christmas tees too that are a lot more fun than your average ugly Christmas sweater.
And my personal favorite from Target:

Judith March also has some fun Christmas-themed shirts that are a little pricey, but can be found here and here (and other places too).

And I got a great "preppy Santa" shirt on sale from Lauren James too that I wore around during holiday shopping time!

Do you rock a festive outfit near Christmas? 
Glitter and sparkles or silliness & cotton?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Venison "Cube Steak" Rollups

thanks to Jordan, my brother-in-law, Josh and I have a freezer full of deer meat in all shapes and forms. So, I am always looking for new ways to cook it and was happy to stumble upon a "Stuffed Cube Steak Rollup" recipe on a blog called "Another Waters" and modified it more for our taste!

You'll have to forgive my lack of pictures, I decided about mid way through the recipe "hey, I should blog this."

4-5 pieces cube steaks (or cubed venison meat)
marinade (recipe below)
2 oz cream cheese, softened
4-5 pieces uncooked bacon
1 Tbsp. dried parsley

   1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
   6 tablespoons soy sauce
   1/4 cup minced garlic
   1/2 medium onion, chopped
   1 tablespoon dried Rosemary
   1 tablespoon pepper
   3 tablespoons steak seasoning of your choice
   3 tablespoons of your steak sauce of choice (I used A1)

1. Combine the ingredients for your marinade and blend well in a food processor (or just by hand) and pour over your meat. Marinate for 4 to 24 hours, I like to marinate mine for the whole 24, it has more flavor!

2. Pre-heat oven to 375 (although this will be grilled you will need the oven later). Once your meat has marinated, mix your softened cream cheese with the parsley and smear on one side of each piece of meat.

3. Roll your venison or cubed steak into a roll with the cream cheese on the inside and wrap with bacon.

4. Here comes the tricky part. Because the meat is all rolled up, it makes it hard to cook all the way through. I turned my George Forman grill to high and seared the meat brown on the outsides for about 10 minutes on each side, flipping every 5 minutes then I put it in the oven at 375 until the insides are no longer pink, usually around 20 minutes or so. 

I do not have a picture of the finished product because we ate so quickly, trust me it is delicious!

Monday, December 16, 2013

mini vacation

Josh and I took a little mini, one-night vacation Saturday night to go to Durham and see the Carolina Ballet perform The Nutcracker at the Durham Performing Arts Center and to enjoy a lunch Christmas get together with out tailgate crew on Sunday.

It was awesome.

Not just because we ate good food and I got to wear a pretty dress to a ballet, but because it was nice to just get away together.

Just that one night away where I could enjoy a long shower without worrying about using up the hot water or if Sawyer was going to come climbing in the shower was enough to make the trip amazing.

Saturday, we ate a quick lunch at the Cheesecake Factory( because I had a gift card.... that I left in the car... oops). Then went to our hotel and relaxed (and napped since I have bronchitis, of course) before the ballet.

I got to wear my new dress, which is probably going to be getting lots of wear since it is my new favorite.

Eliza J "Lace & Fraille" Dress 

And then we took the hotel shuttle to the tobacco district to grab some dinner. We went to Cuban Revolution and sadly, were not impressed. I expected our paella and tostones to be full of flavor, but sadly they fell flat. My "Sweet Teani" was good though!

excuse the horrible hotel room lighting 
The ballet was absolutely beautiful. It had magic, acrobatics and all kinds of stuff in addition to the amazing dancing. Josh even seemed to enjoy it, when usually he'd be tired of sitting still after the first 30 minutes. 

I had never seen the ballet version of The Nutcracker before, but had seen the movie starring Macauly Culkin back in the day, and I am glad that I did. I feel like I would have been confused about what was happening if not.

Sunday we slept in a little before grabbing breakfast in the hotel and running some last minute Christmas errands in Raleigh (including buying a a Jake & the Neverland Pirates comforter for Sawyer's pirate ship bed). 

Then we met our tailgate crew for lunch at Tobacco Road in downtown Raleigh. It was a little different to not have a "party" for our Christmas get together, like we usually do  but it was nice to spend some time with our friends since we don't seem them all that often when it isn't football season!

From now through Christmas we have something scheduled almost every day! Between year-end meetings at work, gatherings with friends & family and some last-minute shopping it will be a busy, busy time for all of us. But tis the season!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

the ten.

There are so many books that have stayed with me over the years. Some that I have read recently, but most are stories from when I was younger and discovering my love for reading. I saw on Facebook where people were doing one of those lists things about their favorite books and I thought of a TON of books that have shaped my life, but here are ten books that came to mind.

1. "If You Only Knew" from The Friendship Ring Series by Rachel Vail
I read this book in like sixth or seventh grade (which is about the age of the characters) and I was so drawn the character, Zoe. She is tall and lanky and surrounded by petite little friends and she felt like a monster. I was the exact same way at that age. I remember standing all stooped over so I wouldn't stand out so badly among my tiny little friends.

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I wrote in a blog post a long time ago (before I really got into blogging) that I felt like I was born in the wrong generation and was meant to be a 1920's flapper girl instead. After I read this book in high school, I just fell in love with the easy going lifestyle of the Jazz Age. (p.s. I have yet to see the movie out of fear that I'll hate it since I love the book so much).

3. I'll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm
This is a children's book that my parents used to read to me and that was given to me by my Uncle Kenny who died of AIDS when I was around 4 years old. The sad story is about a little boy and his dog and their transition through life together. Such a sweet story about love and loss. It still makes me cry to even think about it.

4. Love the One You're With by Emily Griffin
This book is about the "what if". That little doubt that makes you wonder "what if I had taken another path instead of the one I'm on". It reminded me that it's okay to not be the exact same person as your spouse, to not have everything in common and that every marriage has its flaws.

5. The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell
This is a Christian folklore book about three trees and where they end up in life. The trees have amazing dreams of what they'll be someday but are disheartened by what they eventually become "lowly objects" in comparison to the great adventures they had planned for. However they all end up serving amazing purposes, one as the manger where Christ is laid as a baby, one as a fishing boat where the Lord commanded the storm to be still and another becomes the cross. It's a great story!

6. Plantation by Dorothea Benton Frank

 I love just about every book written by Dorothea Benton Frank, but this book spoke to me so much because the mother, Miss Lavinia in the story reminds me so much of my sharp-tongued Mema Kay. Both Lavinia and Mema have that talent of insulting and complimenting you at the same time and the story is so beautifully written I just lost myself in this book.

7. Blubber by Judy Blume
This book is like the "Mean Girls" of middle school. I wish I could say this book meant so much to me because I was bullied as a kid, but no it meant so much to me because I was the bully. My friends and I were so mean to a girl in sixth and seventh grade that I am so surprised she didn't have a complete nervous breakdown. I re-read this book in high school as part of a women's literature class and was reminded again how easy it is to want to be part of an in-crowd so you participate in mean-spirited fun.

8. Marley & Me by John Grogan

My mema gave me this book shortly after Josh & I had to put our sweet Mac Daddy to sleep (read about him here) and I cried most of the way through it. Our crazy Mac was so much like Marley, you never knew what you'd find when you walked in the door at our house. He ate squeakers out of toys, never listened to a word we said and was spoiled absolutely rotten but he was our first fur child and putting him down was the hardest thing we've ever had to do.

9. Can't Stay Away from the Sweet Valley High Senior Year by Francine Pascal

This entire series was amazing as we hang out with the Wakefield twins in their senior year of high school, but the first book is really a big changing point for Jessica Wakefield when she makes a bad decision that shapes her entire senior year after rumors are spread about her being a slut. Without going into detail, this is my junior year of high school in a nutshell. Also, 99 cents for a NSYNC poster? Hoolllaaaa.

10. The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

I used to make my mama read this to me all the time, it's a children's story about being careful what you wish for and it is still one of my favorites.

What are some books that have stayed with you over the years?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

violent shepherd

You may have seen this picture I posted of Sawyer practicing for the Christmas program at church on Sunday on my instagram:

Yes, my crazy child is starring in the Christmas program at church. This is the same child who yelled "mommy pooted" at a Hobby Lobby so who knows what he will yell on stage in front of our entire church family.

He had his first practice this past Sunday and was a little unsure at first about how he felt his costume...

But then when I reminded him that he gets to sing as loud as he wants (which he loves to do) and hold a special shepherd's staff (aka a stick, his weapon of choice) he got pumped.

In the midst of the 30 minute rehearsal, Sawyer managed to do the following things:

  • inform one of the other children that she was "singing all the words not right"
  • hit himself with the shepherd's staff
  • hit me with the shepherd's staff
  • tell the children's worship teacher she was "singing all the words not right"
  • scream when I tried to take off his outfit when practice was over
I promise to get video of this performance on 12/22, I am sure it will be quite the event. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

25 Days

This year, me and Josh decided it would be a good time to start a 25 days of Christmas tradition with Sawyer. So, each night we open a little paper bag that has a very small treat inside (little toy, pair of socks, crayons, etc) and read a bible verse.  

I found a great list of scriptures at Over the Big Moon and so far Sawyer has actually listened pretty well without saying "can we open the bag yet?!!" too many times. I am so excited about starting this tradition and I hope that by reading the Word each night it will remind our little man that Christmas might involve getting lots of fun gifts, but it also about the birth of our Savior. 

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Friday, December 6, 2013


I just wasted 45 minutes of my life in Walmart, the wrong Walmart actually.

You see, in hopes that Sawyer will start sleeping in his own bed (since he's been in ours since June, yes June) Santa is bringing him this magical pirate ship bed.

Well, today I went to Walmart to pick up the mattress for the bed (just the mattress, because of course Santa hasn't finished the bed yet) and waited in line for a good 20 minutes at customer service, only to be told I was in the wrong line and needed to be in the layaway line.

I walk back to layaway and there are a billion people back there. Well, after waiting for a about 15 minutes I finally get to the counter and hand the cashier my paper to scan for the mattress.

She then says five words... "you in the wrong store"

"Wrong store," I said, "But we only have one Walmart?"!

NOPE. We have another one, a brand new one, all the way on the other side of town. So now, I have not only wasted 45 minutes of my lunch in the wrong Walmart, but I have to drive all the way to the other Walmart when I get off work at 5 o'clock. In rush hour traffic. On a Friday. On the day that a lot of students are going home because exams are almost over.

Sawyer better love this bed like a brother.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Our house has officially been Christmas'ed (yes, I did just turn Christmas into a verb). After several glue gun burns, lots of chasing after Sawyer when he stole ribbon and tape and spending more money than I care to mention at Hobby Lobby, we are finally done decorating our home!

it might be Christmas time, but I still have my Relay support sign out front!

Thanks to Pinterest, I completely re-did most of our decor with some rustic touches. Check out Pinterest's version of a few products and mine...

I used Simplicity in the South's idea for some Joy buckets, but added some burlap & fabric garland as well (this one a lot easier than the rag garland I made last week) that I saw on Do It Yourself Divas.

I made mine a little more "Christmas-y" with pine cones & berries and adding some red to the burlap bunch garland.

Then thanks to Live a Little Wilder and Wood Lawn Lane, I created a little "NOEL" sign over the couch with some pinecone garland.

I just used more red & green (since I already had the moss "E" sitting on the shelf over my bed) and then hot glued the same ribbon from the pine cones to the edges of a cheap $2 mirror from Wal-Mart.

Then I fell in love with this crate, jar & greenery center piece over at DIY Queens and decided I needed to recreate it too.

Here is the Pinterest version:
And here's mine! I did not have a vintage wooden box sitting around so heyyy burlap covered shoebox.

Now, I must go attempt to remove the glitter and burlap strings from everything I own.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

sad high school heart

As I am sure you've heard, Paul Walker died Saturday in a fiery car crash along with the driver of the car, Roger Rodas.
While I (obviously) wasn't lucky enough to know this beautiful actor personally, I grew up on his movies. Movies that he starred in were part of big moments in my life, no matter how silly as that sounds.

I remember watching "She's All That" with all my girl friends at a huge sleepover party in 7th grade.

Joy Ride was the first "scary movie" I saw in theaters with my friends....

The Fast & The Furious was the movie I went and saw with all the girls at my new high school as a "get to know them" kind of lunch and dinner date...

And "2 Fast 2 Furious" was the movie I watched with my two best friends when I transferred back to public school for my junior and senior year. We even signed funny notes with "I love you more than Paul Walker covered in cool whip & jello" (yes, we were strange).

His movies, no matter how bad some of them may have been, were part of big moments in my life, and therefore he was too. So, I am sad that he will not make another movie, and even sadder for his family and friends.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ruffle Trees

Once again, I found a cute Christmas craft on Pinterest that I thought looked super easy that was actually a little difficult. But thankfully, my little trees were cute enough to be worth the hassle.

After seeing these trees from Inspiring Homestyle, I thought ,"hmm, that might not be too hard, I mean I had several of those rags left over from the rag garland last week so this will be easy peasy".
While it wasn't as time-consuming as the rag garland, making all my ruffles even, hiding the straight edge of the fabric and making sure everything lined up right was an OCD nightmare, but after the first one, I got the hang of it!

ribbon (or fabric)
hot glue
cone (Styrofoam, paper mache, wood, doesn't matter)

1. Now, if you follow Traci's directions, you would have bought ribbon like a smart person. Since I already had fabric, I decided to cut my fabric into 3.5" wide strips (like the ribbon she used) and then wrap them around the cone to see how long they needed to be.

2. Fold the strip of fabric (or ribbon) in half vertically and hot glue the sides together (so it will go from being 3.5" inches wide to 1.75" wide).

3. Cut along the side to make little ruffles. I cut about half way up and put about half an inch between each cut. You can't really see it very well, it shows up better on Traci's version.

Staci's ribbon version

4. Next, wrap your ruffle with the flat side around the tree, securing with hot glue. This is where things got frustrating for me.

You see, as I wrapped the fabric then tried to repeat the step again with my next layer of ruffles, the ruffles weren't covering the flat section of the layer underneath. Because of the little bubble of fabric that wasn't wrapping tight to the cone. 

So, I went back, cut a little notch and hot glued that booger down. 

5. Repeat the steps above, measuring, cutting, gluing, making ruffles and securing each ruffle strip to the cone until you give up get to the tip.

6. Now, Traci made a cute little burlap cross over thing to finish out her tree, but I had a little mini star from Michael's (from their "My Own Tree" collection). So I went almost to the top then just colored the paper mache cone red around the tip and put my little star on top. Oh, and I made a white & red one too.

I'll tell you about those little bags in the background on Wednesday...