Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving Recap!

This Thanksgiving we spent at John's mom's house (who also lives in New Mexico).  It was nice that we were able to spend the holiday with family... although I was missing my side of the family in Minnesota!.  The weather was beautiful and little Scout enjoyed playing outside all day (John's mom has a fenced yard).

The turkey was grilled, and it turned out fabulous! I made my grandma's stuffing and John made macaroni.  Now I should clarify, this isn't just any macaroni... It is a recipe that he got from his uncle in Atlanta - and John loves, loves this stuff!  He is even particular about the brand of ingredients he uses, except this year, he slightly altered the recipe by adding green chiles (since we live in New Mexico, and all!).






Friday, November 29, 2013

Fashion Friday: Black Friday

When it comes to Black Friday, I am more of an 8 am type of girl (the whole 4 am, 3 am... etc. thing doesn't quite appeal to me!).  Let's be honest, I am just now coming out of a food coma and don't want to push myself too hard... it's the holidays, people!

I do, however, love to get out on the town and stop by a few stores, even if only Target, to see what the deals are and to feel the holiday excitement (and thankfully, most of the crazies have calmed down by 8 am).  

Shamefully, last night John and I made a little trip to Target... I know, I know - you probably think I am a terrible person for shopping on Thanksgiving, but if it is any excuse, we don't shop for the TVs and electronics, but for the two-for-one wrapping paper deals. :)



When Black Friday shopping, I want to be comfy, but still look great just in case I am still out shopping around mid-afternoon (I don't want to look like I rolled out of bed at 3:30 pm!).  Below you'll find some Black Friday options that I am loving.  They're easy to wear, but still look put-together!



Untitled #18  

Pearl jewelry




Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

John and I have so much to be thankful for... it is hard to know where to start!


I am thankful for my faith in Christ, and the confidence in knowing that as long as I put Him first, everything else will fall into place.

I am thankful for my husband who loves me no matter what.  He is my best friend, and I am looking forward to the next 100+ years with him. :)

I am thankful for my family and friends who support John and me no matter what.  There is always someone we can call if we need help, advice, or just a listening ear.

I am thankful for my fur babies!!  They are oh-so sweet, and I cherish them dearly.

I am thankful for our health (and the health of our family and friends).

I am thankful that John and I both have jobs.  So many people are struggling to find work, and we are so blessed to have career-oriented jobs.

I am thankful for all of our provisions.  Our apartment, cars, etc., John and I have all that we could need, plus more. 


John and I will be spending this Thanksgiving with his mom (who also lives in New Mexico).  Although his mom will be making the majority of the food, it would not be Thanksgiving without my grandma's famous stuffing.  She makes the BEST stuffing, and even though I will never be able to copy her recipe exactly, I feel like I get closer every year.  I would probably be able to emulate it better with practice, but this sacred recipe is saved only for Thanksgiving!  To be honest, if my Thanksgiving consisted of only her stuffing, I would be more than okay with that.

John and I have been very busy working the past few weeks, and I am ashamed to admit that it is less than a month until Christmas and we have not yet purchased our Christmas tree (but that is on the agenda for this weekend!).  We are finally starting to get into a routine, and within the past few weeks, it seems like New Mexico has started to feel more like home - I am giving credit to the holidays and the planning of our upcoming Christmas tree!

Speaking of home, New Mexico received a notable snow fall this past weekend!  Depending on the location within Albuquerque, there was 2-3 inches of snow in the city itself and up to 10 inches in the "East Mountain" suburbs.  This was very exciting to me (partly because it felt like the holidays, but mostly because I knew it would be gone and back into the mid 40s in two days, or so).  The only downside to this weather was the fact that John and I had Christmas pictures scheduled that morning.  It was frigid cold and terribly windy, so I am hoping we get at least one good picture to send out!  John agreed to take Christmas pictures only if Scout could be included.  So we compromised, and she got to be in about half of them. :)

Scout loved the snow and ran around like a lunatic... it was her first time seeing snow, and I didn't think she was going to like it (when she was a puppy she would shiver if it was less than 40 degrees outside), but she loved it!  In fact, she would pretend to need to go potty to go outside and play - it was super cute at first, but as you can imagine, got very cold after a while!



Dinner at Turtle Mountain Brewing Company


Scout's first snow mustache.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Christmas Stocking-stuffers

When I was growing up, my family always opened gifts on Christmas Eve after a big Christmas Eve dinner and an hour or two of playing family games (I think this is a Minnesota thing, not totally sure).  Since our main event, so to speak, occurred on Christmas Eve, Christmas morning consisted mostly of stocking-stuffers and a big Christmas Day breakfast.

Believe it or not (most people think this is crazy), I never believed in Santa Clause (my parents never encouraged believing in a fictional obese white man for the sake of fun... can you believe their nerve?!).  And honestly, I just don't understand the Christmas jazz around Santa.  I will likely continue this non-belief with my someday children (I want them to celebrate the real reason for the season!). I know, I know, you probably think I am a grinch with no Christmas spirit, BUT this just isn't the case.  Trust me, I am a Christmas-freak... :)

Are there any other non-Santa believers out there?  We gotta stick together!  I would be interested to know how Santa Clause ties into other people's Christmas traditions. I just don't understand the whole Santa thing... why put any emphasis on anything but the birth of Jesus Christ? 

ANYWAY, since all of our gifts were opened on Christmas Eve, stockings were the highlight of Christmas morning... those were our "Santa" gifts. ;)  Even now, John and I continue our stocking-stuffer tradition.  Below you'll find some of our favorite gifts to receive as stocking-stuffers.


For her:

1. Nail polish
2. Earrings 
3. Perfume
4. Starbucks gift card
5. Scarves




 

For him:

1. Smartwool socks
2. Fly fishing flies
3. Cologne
4. Nalgene
5. Pocket knife





For the four-legged family members:

1. Stuffed duck
2. Himalayan dog chew
3. Bully stick (gross, but they love 'em)
4. Orvis Shotshell collar
5. Everlasting treat ball


For more favorite stocking-stuffers, check out the below link-up!!


 




Monday, November 25, 2013

Puppy's first snow day!

More on this past weekend coming soon! 
Ain't she a cutie?!


DIY: Chalkboard!

Pretty much everyone I know has caught on to the DIY chalkboard trend.  So, I thought there was no better time than now to make one (or three) of my own!

Christmas movie bucket list coming soon!


You will need:
- Picture frames (I bought mine from Goodwill and painted the frames with gold spray paint)
- Chalkboard paint (I used a spray can)
- Chalk (I had both a chalk pen and the traditional chalk sticks)

How to:
1.  Take apart your picture frame and (if desired) paint the outer frame whatever color you choose.
2.  Paint the backing of the picture with chalkboard paint.  I did several (5, or so) thin coats.
    - For my first and second chalkboards I painted the cardboard/wood backing.  This worked well, but you will have to be careful if you planning on getting the wood wet (while cleaning, for example).  Also, since the cardboard/wood is somewhat porous, it doesn't clean with a dry rag super great.
    - For my third chalkboard I decided to try and paint the glass that was originally part of the picture frame.  This worked better than the wood backing, in my opinion.  The only downside is that it is breakable (so you will need to be more careful with it than if you were just painting the wood backing). Also, you will want to make sure that you do not use anything sharp on the surface that would scrape off the paint from the glass.
3.  After painting the chalk, let it dry for 24 hours before using (resist the urge to skip this step!).
4.  Before drawing on the chalkboard, take a piece of chalk and shade the entire chalk board using the side of the chalk (this will help prevent future drawings on the chalkboard to get "burned" in).
5.  After you cure your chalkboard, put the board back into the frame, and draw away!




If you are awesome at hand lettering with chalk, then that is great (and I am very jealous of you!).  But no worries if you aren't a calligraphy pro... there is an easy cheat to get great looking lettering!  I used this tutorial, and it worked fabulous.

 And if you're looking to make your chalkboard art permanent, there are lacquer sprays (fixatives) available to preserve your doodling (or just use a white Sharpe or colored pencil)!

Here are some other fun chalkboard ideas... so easy, inexpensive, and totally fun!

Chalkboard to-do list.

Chalkboard glass stems.

Chalkboard drawer organization.

Chalkboard chargers and place settings.

Chalkboard cheese board.

Chalkboard wall for kiddo drawings.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Five on Friday!



Grab button for FIVE ON FRIDAY AT THE GOOD LIFE BLOG




[ONE]

lunch time love notes.

Yes, I framed a paper towel! :) Whenever possible, John and I like to bring our lunches to work to try and save a little bit of money.  I usually pack them the night before and often leave John a note on his napkin.  Last week John surprised me with a note in my lunch!  "You are worth far more than rubies. Prov. 31:10"  I love my man. :)




[TWO]

diy table... just in time for thanksgiving!

I have had my eye on a few DIY farm tables for a while now, and John and I finally bit the bullet and made one! We have not stained the table yet and haven't bought any chairs, but at least we are making some lovely progress. DIY tutorial coming soon!






[THREE]

adorable cupcake holders.

I found these fabulous gems at Home Goods (really, where else?), and fell in baking love.  The red and green had the perfect holiday feel without being too loud (and the scalloped edges had me right away...).  And the great thing about these babies is that you don't even need a muffin tin!  Just place directly on a baking sheet and you're good to go.



[FOUR]

chex mixxxx!!

When I was growing up my mom would make Chex mix every holiday season, and it has since become a non-negotiable, must-have snack.  I made a batch a few days ago and have been eating it much quicker than I would like to admit.  We follow the Chex mix recipe pretty closely, but substitute some of the seasoning salt with celery salt (and we add Cheez-Its instead of bagel chips).





[FIVE] 

lovely earrings (...which happen to be a steal!).

I saw these fabulous earrings on the Five for Friday here, and I just couldn't pass them up.  I ordered them from Lord and Taylor and they were only $12.15 (plus an extra $5 shipping)!  Talk about a steal! I know I will be wearing these a lot this year.











Wednesday, November 20, 2013

DIY: Pressing Fall Leaves

Even though the weather still feels like fall (in the mid 50s during the day), almost all of the color from the trees is gone.  In an attempt to preserve a little color, until next year, perhaps, I decided to press and save some aspen leaves that I picked up in Taos a few weeks ago.  I'm just not quite ready for my favorite season to be over! :)

I tried three different ways to press leaves...

1. Ironing between wax paper
(Take two pieces of wax paper, with the leaves in the middle, and iron them using a no-steam setting.  Place a cloth over the top piece of wax paper to protect your iron, and take care not to burn any of the leaves by leaving the iron in one place for too long.  The wax paper will melt together, but you can peel it apart to expose the leaves... or just cut around the leaves, leaving the wax paper in place.) 

After ironing between wax paper.

2. Soaking in glycerin
(I was able to find glycerin in the cake decorating section of Hobby Lobby.  I only could find the small bottles so I bought 5 of them.  Mix equal parts water and glycerin, and then completely submerge the leaves in the solution for one week (it's an eye sore...).  Everything I read said that this method produced the longest lasting results... but for me, it made a big sticky mess!)

Soaking in glycerin. Use a cake pan to keep leaves submerged.

 
3. Pressing in a heavy book
(Simply take heavy books, place leaves in the middle, and press for one week. Ta da! (Can you tell that this is my preference?!))


Pressing in a heavy book.


Surprisingly, for me, the easiest way - pressing in John's law school books - also produced the best results... I knew they would come in handy!

Once you have pressed the leaves, frame or display them how you please.  




I have a ton of leaves left over and plan on completing some of these DIYs just in time for Thanksgiving!


Pressed leaves photo mat 
Pressed leaves candle
Pressed leaves garland
Pressed leaves monogram 
Pressed leaves place cards

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Quail Hunting

This past weekend John and Scout went quail hunting in the foothills of the Organ Mountains and the Florida Mountains.  They went with John's coworker's husband and their two German Shorthaired Pointers, Taz and Addy.  Unfortunately they did not find any quail, but there were tons of doves, and dove season opens in two weeks. Despite not seeing any quail, it was still great experience for Scout to get out in the field and run the terrain with experienced dogs.

Although there were no encounters with birds, Scout did stumble upon a rattlesnake.  John saw Scout jumping around in a bush as if she was stalking something and then she very abruptly jumped back (as if she was scared).  John walked over to the bush and it turned out that there was a rattle snake that lunged at Scout (John could hear the rattle through his ear plugs!).  They shot the rattle snake (which had 9 rattles, indicating that it was an older snake), and we are so thankful that little Scout did not get bit!  When John and Scout arrived home on Sunday night, Scout was so tired and slept the whole evening... it was like life before we got a Brittany puppy!

While John and Scout were gone busy hunting, I stayed busy doing a ton of laundry, vacuuming, and doing some serious deep cleaning... this may not sound like fun, but it was fabulous.  I also watched a couple of chick flicks, ate pizza, and slept in.  My kind of weekend! But I am so very happy to have my husband and puppy safely home.  :) :)








Thursday, November 14, 2013

Libby's Pumpkin Crumble-Top Muffins

We all know about Libby's pumpkin pie... but do you know about Libby's pumpkin crumble-top muffins?? Oh my word... they are amazing.  I mean really, I can't think of a better November morning breakfast.

My sweetest friend, Hannah, sent me a lovely Michigan-fall care package from Plymouth Orchards which included a pumpkin cookie mix and pumpkin butter.  The cookie mix called to use the pumpkin butter, but I couldn't bring myself to use the pumpkin butter all at once.  As a substitute, I used Libby's pumpkin pie mix.  On the inside of the pumpkin pie mix wrapper, I found this lovely recipe... it was fate.



What you need:

  • 4 cups all-purpose baking mix (I used Bisquick)
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 2/3 cup quick or old-fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 can (30 oz.) Libby's Pumpkin Pie Mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • Streusel topping (recipe follows)

How to:
1.  Combine raisins, baking mix, sugar, oats, and cinnamon into a large bowl.
2.  Combine pumpkin pie mix and eggs into a medium bowl.
3.  For the streusel topping, combine 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon into a small bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons of butter, using a knife, until the mixture is crumbly (don't over mix the butter).
4.  Stir the pumpkin pie and egg mixture into the large bowl.
5.  Fill a lined muffin tin 3/4 full with the batter and sprinkle with streusel topping.
6.  Bake for 15 minutes or so, at 400 degrees.




Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Agility Class

If you haven't noticed, John and I are obsessed with our dog. :)

Last week Scout and I went with a friend and her dog, Marble, to a doggie agility class!  Before the agility class we met in Nob Hill for coffee, and the puppies enjoyed people-watching from the "petio."

After coffee we headed over to the agility class where Scout and Marble (and their friend Luca) practiced running through tunnels, hurdling bars, climbing A-frames and all sorts of fun stuff... Needless to say, they were naturals and oh-so adorable! ;)




In less exciting people news, I have officially started my job (it will be my third day of work today).  And John has his second basketball game tomorrow!

Also, we have decided to build a Restoration Hardware style farm house table... I will let you know how it goes.  AND John and Scout leave for a weekend of quail hunting on Friday!
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