Wednesday, December 8, 2010

a little bit of time

i wish i had more time to blog and bake and shop and hold my baby and be with my husband and family and rest. but -- this is a fun and busy time of year! and the free time i do have goes to snuggling, not blogging. i read blogs, i find recipes and look at sweet pictures, but putting one together myself just isn't easy sometimes. so - if there is anyone out there that actually reads this, i'm sorry. i'm trying.

i have a little bit of time right now, so here's a little update.

we put up our tree! i LOVE it. i have really pretty pictures of the mantle and tree, but not on this computer, so here's one from my phone.

she is kind of obsessed with hats lately. when we found this in our christmas decorations she was really excited about putting it one. she just plays like normal, only in a santa hat!

also - i'm on a baking rampage! i took about a week break after thanksgiving, but i couldn't wait much longer. on my list of things to make:

this weekend my 10 year old niece and 5 year old nephew are coming to town. we are going to make and decorate christmas cookies from scratch! i can't wait!!

i'm also going to make this before they get there. i hope. for some reason i'm craving a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. and i found this website that gives the cheesecake factory's recipe. hello!

this might look kind of strange, but TRUST ME - it's the most amazing stuff you will EVER put in your mouth. just make it and eat it. and eat it and eat it and eat it. you'll be mad at me. it's so good. caramel puff corn. enjoy.

hopefully i'll be back soon. i'll definitely be documenting this weekends baking extravaganza!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

thanksgiving prep

oh man! i love love LOVE thanksgiving. i love the fact that i'm off work. i love that i get to eat crazy amounts of comfort food. i love spending time with my family. and i love that i get to decorate for christmas the next day! this year i'm super excited for a couple of reasons.

1- our family is going to gatlinburg! my mom rented a beautiful cabin in the smokey mountains and we get to spend 4 wonderful nights enjoying the mountain air, relaxing in a hot tub on the wrap-around porch, hiking, eating, playing games and just being with my family!

2- going to g-burg means 4 straight days with these wonderful people

this is my little brother and his fiance. johnathan and darcy (or as i call them, jo & darc) are getting married next may. they are both really busy, so even though we all live in lexington, we hardly get to see each other. jo is an amazing chef at a local restaurant. darc serves there a few nights a week, but also has a 9-5 job. it's always so great to hang out with them. jo and i are 6 years apart and have always gotten along great. we "get" each other.

3- speaking of jo - he always makes our thanksgiving meals. and they are always A-MAZ-ING! i can't wait to eat his food all weekend long!

4- i get to make the desserts! i love to bake. love to make pretty sweet treats, and (not to brag) i'm kind of good at it. i've been making things lately, trying to test out what i want for thanksgiving day. lately i've made:

paula dean's gingerbread pumpkin triffle

this was SUPER easy and looked beautiful just like the picture. click {here} for recipe

joy of baking's pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting

i'm not a huge pumpkin fan, so i decided to add chocolate chips. they were yummy! and the cookies were nice and soft. i'd call them a muffin-cookie. click {here} for this recipe.

tasty kitchen's oreo cheescake cookies

i have to be honest - these did not turn out as good as i thought they were going to be. still very yummy. i was just expecting more... recipe {here}

and better homes and garden's maple pumpkin cheesecake. this one came out of my better homes cook-book, but i found a scanned version of the recipe here. this cheesecake is amazing and one pumpkin dessert i really, really love. i've made it the past 3 thanksgivings.

shaun of course loves them all. and darc and my mom are big pumpkin fans too. but jo and i really aren't. so, next i'm going to try a pecan pie. pioneer woman has an amazing recipe that i want to try. i love how she titles it "pie that will make you cry". she definitely has me convinced to try it!

she also has me excited to make these - bacon onion cheddar biscuits

i know, not a dessert. but can you imagine waking up and having these for breakfast?? or even with our thanksgiving meal??

man! i'm getting hungry!

so - what are you making this thanksgiving? any amazing recipes i should try?

i'll be back soon to show you some ideas i have for the table setting. another thing i'm excited about this year!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

fun find on etsy

i just found the cutest thing for C's room!

as you may remember from the post about C's room, i have a little bird theme going. well, just recently we moved her furniture. her crib was in a corner and both walls were exterior walls. with the temperatures dropping and only 1 vent in her room, i am trying to figure out how to keep her warmer at night without sweating shaun and i out! so, i rearranged her furniture.

to make stuff on the walls make sense, i had to move things around. now, i have one wall that is pretty bare. it's the wall her crib used to be on. but - i think i've come up with a solution and should have it resolved after i visit IKEA this weekend. i'm going to purchase a few of these shelves.

they are picture ledges. we got some for our master bedroom a couple of months ago and i really love the concept. very easy to install and fairly inexpensive. (duh - it's IKEA)

ok - but back to the title. since i have a little bird theme going on in her room, i could NOT pass up these little cuties -

aren't they precious? they are easy-to-apply vinyl stickers that come in a variety of colors. and only $5!! honestly, i'm not big on decals, but in a little girls room, i think they could be really cute and fun. i can't wait to get them and add them to her room. i plan on having a couple sitting on her new shelves! they come from an esty shop called elaphannie and they are the small ella vinyl decal.

i'll be sure the post more pictures once i have the shelf and birdies up!

and check out this shop. there are TONS of cute decals!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

christmas cards from shutterfly

i'm crazy about stationary. i love cards, of all kind. thank you notes, birthday cards, christmas cards, you name it. so, i'm already thinking about christmas cards. i can't help it, i love stationary!

and then yesterday a co-worker sent me this:

"If you have a website or a blog get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly"

huh? what? i'm in!

every year shaun and i take pictures and put them in our christmas cards. we usually just buy cute cards and then slip the picture it in, but i have always drooled and dreamed about beautiful cards from a place like shutterfly. but it's christmas, and we love buying gifts, so i save money. but this year will be different!

i've already looked through all their card choices and chosen my favorite 3. when looking through the cards i had a few things i was specifically looking for. the card had to say christmas, not happy holidays. i wanted a fairly simple design so the picture or pictures would be the main focus. and i want the card to be christmas colors. to me that is mostly reds and greens.

ok, here are my top 3:


simple design and i love the rustic look. and i like a big picture for the family and then small sides pictures for kids.


i know, it's got more than the "traditional" christmas colors in it, but i really love that MERRY is at the top.


i love the simplicity of this one. and i'm a big fan of monograms, so i get excited to see a C on that ribbon.

so, which one should i choose?

what are some of your favorites? check out shutterfly
{here} for all their cute options for christmas cards. or, check them out {here} for other cute ideas like calendars.

and if you're a blogger and interested in receiving
50 FREE HOLIDAY CARDS from Shutterfly, click {here} and find out how.

thanks Shutterfly!

*click on pictures to go to the exact card on shutterfly's website*

Monday, October 25, 2010

my little pumpkin

this past weekend it was "fall", but it was hot! dang. i'm not one to wish away the seasons, but why can't it be a little chilly?

we went out to a local pumpkin patch. we had made plans to go a few weeks ago but decided to postpone it because it was 85 degrees outside! well, this past weekend it was 75. better, i guess.

she kept talking to these little goats calling them "buddy!" that's what we call kona.

and a few cute pics of the bestikids

and a successful picture of us both looking at the camera and smiling! not at the pumpkin patch, but i just wanted to share.

happy fall everyone!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

embarrassing = funny

i'm thinking about starting an embarrassing=funny section of my blog. originally i wanted this blog to be full or crafts and recipes i have tried, but i'm beginning to realize that its kind of hard to take pictures of everything i bake. but i was thinking, "i do embarrassing things all the time." so, i think i'll start sharing the funny ones.

this one is for cami.

yesterday as i was walking out of the gym a guy around my age was walking in. when i saw him i thought "hey, there's brad!" but then i thought "wonder why brad's here. must be using kevin's guest pass." and then i thought "why the heck is brad in lexington?"

finally i realized it wasn't brad, but some guy that looked JUST like brad.

then the "brad look-a-like" smiled at me, held the open the door and said, "hey"

then i realized i hadn't taken my eyes off of him during this whole conversation i had just had in my head. literally. never. stopped. staring. at. him.

i was so sure he was brad.

now i'm embarrassed.

but i wish it had been brad b/c that means that cami would be here too. and it means that i wouldn't have been "checking out" some random dude about to go work-out.

sorry dude. i thought you were someone else.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

family pictures

i had a friend take some pictures of our little family after C's 1st birthday. i'm really, REALLY pleased with them and wanted to share.


if you like her work, check her out. she's awesome and VERY patient.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Golf Charity for Lymphoma - Libby Ryder

On July 24th, 2010 our good friend Libby Ryder was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Libby is 26 and has a beautiful 7 month old baby named Ava Suzanna. She is married to our good friend Justin and they currently live in Chesapeake, Virginia. Justin is on Young Life staff as the Area Director and Libby is a stay at home Mom.

This disease has hit Libby fast. A couple of months ago she had some leg pain. Now she is enduring 6-7 hours of chemotherapy every other Thursday. She is tired and weak and trying to be the best Mom possible so that she can enjoy every moment of her baby. She blogs almost daily. If you would like to read more about her story, I highly suggest you visit her blog: {}

This October 16th, some friends have rallied together and have decided to throw a charity golf outing in Libby's honor. All proceeds from this outing will go directly to Libby and Justin. It's our goal to raise money so that paying medical bills is something they don't have to worry about. We will do that for them.

Shaun and I have the goal to sponsor 5 holes. Each hole sponsor is $200. We want to raise $1000 to put in Libby and Justin's pocket. And with your help, we can do just that! No donation is too small.

Now, don't be confused...I do NOT play golf. But Shaun will be participating and creating foursomes. If you would like to play in this outing, please leave a comment and I will get you his contact info.

If you would like to contribute to sponsoring a hole, PLEASE let me know. The group putting together this outing is not technically a "charity". We are just sisters and brothers in Christ helping our sister that is sick. So, the donations you give will not be tax deductible. If you would like to contribute and help sponsor a hole, please leave a comment and I will get you our address and who to make checks out to. We will be sponsoring each hole with the name TEAM COOK. We can also make arrangements to pick up cash or a check at your convenience.

{Libby Ryder Charity Golf Outing}

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kearney Hills Golf Course 3403 Kearney Rd., Lexington, KY

7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.
Registration at Golf Course (same day registration, must come with a foursome)

8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Shotgun Start

1:30 p.m. - ???? p.m. Lunch & Raffles
{Kearney Hills Club House following golf}

Fees: $80 per player. Foursome Scramble Format.
*Proceeds go to Justin and Libby Ryder

Includes: Green fees, cart, lunch

{Sponsorship Opportunities:}
*Proceeds go to Justin and Libby Ryder
Hole Sponsor: $200

Thursday, September 16, 2010


yes - today is my birthday! and i LOVE my birthday. the hubs has been so great - he has given me a birthday week! it's been so wonderful and i've loved it all!

and today i decided to look at some pictures that were taken of me when i was C's age. our birthdays are only 12 days apart. it was so fun and really amazing how much she looks like me.

these 2 were of when we were both under a year and i just love them!

this is my 1st birthday 28 years ago.

and this is why i have always loved my birthday. surrounded by family and love.

thanks for all my wonderful wishes and all the birthday love.

and thank you shauny for my birthday week!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

she turned 1

that's right. my baby, the whole reason i started this blog, is now a 1 year old. it's crazy and wonderful and scary all at the same time.

i wanted to post and share a few pictures from her special day.

her birthday was over labor day weekend. if you live in Lexington, you know that saturday the 4th (her actual birthday) was PERFECT weather wise. it was chilly in the morning and once the sun came out the day was perfectly perfect. not hot at all. a slight breeze, and perfect for a cook-out!

i worked really hard at making sure C's actual birthday was a stress-free-super-fun-for-everyone day. shaun and i stayed up late friday night and made sure we had as much ready for the party as possible. on saturday morning we literally just sat around, had coffee and realized that our baby is growing up way too fast.

one of the first things i had decided for C's party was that i wanted to make her cake. and i wanted to make her cake in the shape of a GIANT cupcake. so - i started looking for the pans that are shaped like the top and bottom of a giant cupcake. $35!! errrr--no. so i borrowed one from a friend. it turned out so great and C loved it! it was a real crowd pleaser too. everyone was freaking out about it. i kept explaining how easy it was but everyone was still blown away. it was really funny!

some of the things i did in preperation for her party were fun and perfect little touches for a 1 year olds part. (meaning - she will never remember and never know, but mommy will. so i didn't go overboard, but she still got some special things)

i made a birthday banner.

have you seen these? i don't know exactly where i got the idea, but when i saw them for sale on etsy i knew i could it myself. it was so simple. i didn't take any step-by-step pictures, but it seriously is so easy, you will be able to understand my directions.

- computer/printer
- ribbon
- scrapbook paper with designs of choice
- cardstock
- glue stick
- single hole punch
- paper slicer (optional)

1- simply print your statement on your choice of cardstock color. i alternated colors of paper, and wanted at least 2 letters on each page so not to waste paper. so, i just alternated letters. (that parts confusing to explain, but not to do...sorry)
2- once all your letters are printed off, use the paper slicer for clean lines
3- cut your scrapbook paper about 2 inches larger than your letters so you can see the edges
4- glue cardstock letters to scrapbook paper
5- punch a hole in the top two corners on the scrapbook paper
6- string the ribbon through each hole, creating the words.

see - TOO easy!

I decided I wanted to do something with C's monthly pictures so we could all get a glimpse at just how quickly she has changed over the past year. this project was a cute touch and even easier than the banner.

- twine
- clothes pins (i found really small colorful ones at Michael's)
- colored cardstock
- glue stick
- pictures

1- cut cardstock into rectangles slightly bigger than your picture
2- glue pictures to cardstock
3- clotheline pictures to twine

soooo easy and everyone LOVED it!

i also wanted to do something with pictures for the center pieces. i bought some mason jars and ribbon at Michael's. C's room is yellow and pink, so i went with yellow and pink ribbons. i just hot glued the ribbons around the jars and added a little bow in the front. then, i got some of those floral arrangment card holders (free from Michael's) and using the same concept as above with the montly pictures, stuck them in the mason jars full of flowers. the pictures i decided to use were from the day C was born. a small touch, but they really meant a lot to me.

we had an amazing day. it was so wonderful to have so many friends and family that love caroline so much that they came in out of town or sacrificed a beautiful saturday afternoon to watch a 1 year old smash into cake and learn how to open presents. we are truly blessed and i'm so thankful for all the support we have.

to my baby- mommy and daddy love you so much. i don't think you will be able to understand our love for you until you have babies of your own. i know that's how it was for me. you are the most precious thing in our lives right now. we wake up each morning to your beautiful face and can't wait to kiss it. you have been such a wonderful light in our lives this past year. you are loved more everyday and we are so honored to be your parents. you will never remember the day your were born, but i promise you baby, we will never forget. love you will all my heart. ~mommy