Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bailey Dailies Year in Review

2011 was such a wonderful year for us! Check out our highlights:

January: We rang in the New Year with the Hayes in Orlando and watched as Bama beat Michigan St in the Capital One Bowl. I turned 27, and we got a HUGE snow that shut everything down for a week! We also got to go skiing in NC with Gus, Amy, Frankie, and Becka.
February: Hung out with Frankie and Becka, Bradley and Laurie, and Jay and Claire in Mobile for our first Mardi Gras Ball.
March: On the road again! We went to San Diego for Forrest to present his research. It was SUCH a great trip!!
April: On the 27th, the state experienced the worst outbreak of tornadoes it had seen in several years. We were lucky that none of our family or friends was seriously injured, but so many people lost homes and lives. We also started our Young Marrieds group at church, and it has been going strong ever since! Forrest and I also became members of the Regency dance club.
May: We went to Tuscaloosa to celebrate its recovery AND Bradley and Laurie's wedding!
June: Not only did we celebrate our 2nd anniversary, but we went to Philadelphia for Frankie and Becka's wedding, where Jay and Claire also got engaged! We also were a part of Jess and Brittany's wedding as well!
July: We celebrated the Hayes' wedding AND they became our neighbors. I also got to go to Orlando to watch my sister compete in the Princess America Pageant. She got 2nd runner up!! We also attended Strud and Allison's wedding.
August: I got to be filmed for Say Yes to the Dress, Bridesmaids edition, for Claire's wedding! I also went to my friend Ashley Reynold's wedding and celebrated with lots of sorority sisters. Forrest and I got to go to a special Red Elephant Club scrimmage in Ttown.
September: We went with the Hayes' to the Bama v. Penn St game! I also was in my friend Jennifer Burt's wedding. Forrest took and passed his boards!
October: What a fun month! We kicked it off in Gainesville where not only did we get to see Bama crush the Gators, but Farrah and I got to meet Paul Finebaum! That same day, our cousin Brooks was born. We also went to Ole Miss with the Hayes AND were a part of Zach and Kelley's wedding. Forrest also took and passed his last boards!
November: There was a SNAKE in the basement, which my sweet friend Lance killed. We had lots of fun football, especially when we beat AU!! We celebrated a joint Bailey/McCord Thanksgiving and we hosted our annual Old Fashioned Piano Party.
December: Forrest turned 27, and we celebrated with friends at dinner in Birmingham. Forrest and Sonny were in the Reindeer Run and Forrest got 1st in his age group and Sonny was the first dog to cross the finish line. They were in the paper!! We celebrated Christmas for 2 weeks with parties, family, friends, and lots and lots of food!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Tour, 2011

We have had so much fun this Christmas season! It seems like we have been just going and going! Last week was no exception. On Monday I had "tea" with Alana, Paige and Susan. What a fun girls' night!! Tuesday was Alie and Michael's Christmas Party which is always a blast. On Wednesday night, Forrest and I had dinner with our friends Emily and Kyle Battles. We went to high school with them and Kyle has just taken a position in Gadsden as a dentist! Then on Thursday night, Farrah hosted us and our neighbors at their house for an Italian supper. It was so much fun to get to spend time with our sweet neighbors! We laughed and laughed til way after 10!! Then on Friday we had our Christmas lunch at McCord and Martin (and exchanged gifts--hooray) and then went on to Bal d Or and the Annual Christmas Party that night. Whew!! Could you keep up!? If that wasn't enough, the real fun started on Saturday, Christmas Eve, when we officially began the Bailey Christmas Tour, 2011.
We started the day with lunch at Aunt Jan's. Seriously, Forrest and I have been counting down the days until Jan's famous 4 layer dessert. After stuffing ourselves, we swung by the Bailey's house to say hi to Mrs. Bailey who was feeling under the weather, and then hurried back to town for Christmas Eve Mass with my family. I was SO excited to get there and be able to sit right behind the Le Blancs. I haven't seen Eloise since the AU game and OMG has she grown! It was so much fun to get to watch her during her first Mass! After Mass, it was off to Aunt Sue and Uncle John's for Christmas Eve dinner and presents!!
Girl cousins at Aunt Sue's

After eating way to much for the 2nd time that day, we headed back out to Duck Springs to Aunt Susan and Uncle Bruce's for a very Bailey Christmas. I was so excited to get to see baby Brooks, who just keeps growing! He was ready for bed when we arrived, but he did get to open his CAT book we gave him, which he of course loved! :)
After snacks and presents at the Bruce Bailey's, we went up to Forrest's parents' house to open family presents. This year, instead of going to Selma, Selma came to Gadsden, so Forrest's grandmother and Aunt Carol were there, as well as our cousin Aaron. We had so much fun opening gifts, and thankfully, NOT eating any more!!! We actually went back by my parents' on the way home to spend a little time with my brother since we haven't seen him much over the break. Then it was home to bed!
Hooray for Christmas Day! We woke up at a dead sprint and rushed to my parents' to open presents with them. We had a yummy breakfast and lots and lots of gifts for all!!

Ruff wondering why there are no more presents
Then we all packed into the car (in between bags of gifts and food) and went to Birmingham for the Ross Family Christmas. Again, we ate and ate and ate! We had lasagna this year, as well as ham, tenderloin, turkey, and I think one more meat! We opened presents and then attempted to squeeze in some dessert before the annual stair step pic!

A sea of presents at the Ross's!

Cousins by age: Stevie, Me, Roy, Ashley, Andrew, MMM, Greg, Ebie, JuJu, Joseph

And now the actual stair steps. I will forever be the first step, now that Joseph made a 4 person jump!
Once we were home, we went back out to Duck Springs for treats at the Baileys again. At one point, I felt so full and tired I had to lay my head down on the table!! WHAT A DAY!!! We are so blessed to have such a wonderful family!!
You would think that all of that "Christmas-ing" would have us laid out yesterday, but not us! We spent the day after Christmas exchanging clothes that were too small and shopping at the outlets in Leeds. I got 4 new pairs of shoes--yay!! Over all, Christmas was wonderful and I can't believe that it is already over!! I hope that you and your family had a wonderful holiday together and are getting excited for the New Year! I know we are!!

Bal d' Or 2011


 This year, Bal d' Or was the Friday before Christmas. It made things a little hectic, but as always, we had so much fun! Pics below!!


Bal d Or was on the same night as the "Annual Christmas Party", hosted by Laura this year. We made an appearance before, and then showed back up afterwards. This is Kendall, Laura, and me!


Forrest was asked to run the spot light this year. He did a great job!


The Hayes were our guests again this year. Farrah and I had a blast dancing all night!

Sweet girl friends!
Amy, Farrah, Kelly, and me

Me, MMM, and Mom

All of the Supper Club girls. I can't believe we are all so grown up!!
Sarah (UA Law), Paige (UAB Dentistry) Holly (Vandy Law), Susan (UAB Dentistry), MMM (UA Senior), Hannah (Samford Law), Rebecca (UA Grad School), Me

Me and my forever roomie Molly! Can you believe we did Bal d Or together 7 years ago???

Molly, Holly, and I on our Bal d' Or night in 2004!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Treats

This year I had this romantic vision of me taking a Saturday and baking adorable and delicious Christmas treats for all of our friends and neighbors. Well, it didn't go exactly like that, but I have in fact been baking like a crazy woman. Below are the recipes of the treats I attempted. Hope you enjoy!!


Clockwise from top: Cake batter truffles, White Chocolate Cherry Cookies, Snuggles, Apple Cinnamon Cookies, Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies, Muddy Buddy Cookie Dough Truffles
(worst picture ever, I know)


Muddy Buddy Cookie Dough Truffles (from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In the bowl of mixer, beat 1/2 stick butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add sugars and beat on medium for about a minute, until fluffy (although, it wasn't what I would call "fluffy"). Add milk and vanilla and beat on medium until combined. Add flour and beat until fully mixed.
Roll mixture into balls and place on wax paper. The size is up to you! Place in the freezer for about 20 min so they firm up.
Place powdered sugar in a small bowl. Heat chocolate and 1 stick butter in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring in between. Once melted and fully combined, dip the cookie dough balls in the chocolate, one at a time, removing by sliding fork underneath. Immediately place in the powdered sugar, and quickly coat. Slide fork underneath an place on wax paper lined baking sheet.
Once they have set up a bit, give them a second coating of powdered sugar.
(Mine are NOT round and it was NOT easy to coat them in the sugar and make them look good at the same time. However, they are DELICIOUS so who really cares about their presentation?? Not me!)

Peanut Butter and Nutella Swirl Cookies (from The Girl Who Ate Everything)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
Approx. 1/4 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Mix until well blended.
Add four, baking soda and salt. Drizzle Nutella on top of the dough then swril it through the dough with a butter knife (I used a fork--they look fine).
Chill dough 15 minutes in the refrigerator. (I chilled over night, but then let it sit out to warm back up a bit). Roll into balls by hand. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Using a fork, press the balls to flatten slightly (I forgot this part but they still look yummy!). Bake until edges are very lightly browned (about 7-10 min).
Allow to rest 2 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring cookies onto cooling rack.

Apple Cinnamon Cookies (again from The Girl Who Ate Everything)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Drink Mix (10 packets-next to the hot chocolate)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinna mon
1 (14 oz) bag of Kraft Chewy Caramels

Preheat oven to 350.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper so the caramel doesn't stick)
In a small bowl, which together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.
With an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar, salt and all 10 packages of apple cider drink mix until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Add vanilla and mix well.
Gradually add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix until just combined.
Scoop out cookie dough ball about the size of a walnut.
Flatten the ball of dough slightly in the palm of your hand. Press the unwrapped caramel into the center of your dough and seal the dough around it, covering it completely.
Shape the dough into a ball, and place on parchment covered cookie sheets about 3 inches apart.
Bake 11-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. They might not look quite done in the center but it is OK!!!
Once the cookies are done, carefully slide the parchment off the baking sheet right onto the counter.
Allow cookies to partially cool on the parchment. When they are cool enough to be firm but slightly warm, carefully flip cookies upside down so they don't drizzle caramel out of the bottom.
Makes about 2-3 dozen cookies. Eat at room temp or slightly warmed in the microwave.

Cake Batter Truffles

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup yellow cake mix
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons sprinkles

Coating:
16 oz almond bark or candy melts
4 tablespoons yellow cake mix
sprinkles

Beat together butter and sugar using electric mixer until combined. Blend in vanilla. Add cake mix, flour and salt and mix thoroughly. Add 3 tablespoons of milk or more if needed to make dough consistency. Mix in sprinkles by hand. Roll dough into one inch balls and place on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm.
Melt bark in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Stir between intervals. Once melted, quickly stir in cake mix until incorporated completely. Using a forkdip truffles into the almond bark and shake off excess bark by tapping the bottom of the fork on the side of your bowl. Place truffles bark on the cookie sheet and top with sprinkles.  Chill in refrigerator until served.

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies (The Girl Who Ate Everything)

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped (reserve 2 tablespoons of liquid from cherries)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup  sugar
1/ cup cold butter
12 ounces white chocolate baking chips (you have to chop it up, so the chips are easier than squares)
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 drops red food coloring
2 teaspoons shortening
Red or white sprinkles

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well reserving 2 tablespoons of cherry liquid for later.
In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pasty blender (or 2 forks), cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained and chopped cherries and 4 oz of the chopped white chocolate. Stir in the 2 tablespoons reserved cherry liquid, almond extract, and food coloring. mixture will be very dry and look like crumbs. Don't worry. That's normal. Using your hands, knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.
Shape dough into 3/4 inch balls. The cookies do not spread much so make sure your balls are well formed. Having slightly damp hands helps here. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2 inch rounds.
Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until centers are set. Do not overbake!! Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
Melt the remaining white chocolate and shortening together in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edges in sprinkles. Place cookies on wax paper until chocolate is set.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Time is Here!!!

I hope you all read that in your best Charlie Brown singing voice!! Christmas is upon us and I am SO NOT READY! Not that I am not excited, but I just don't have as much finished as I would like!! I am currently sitting in my office surrounded by bags of gifts that I am hoping to wrap this afternoon. Thank you speaker phone!! I feel really behind this year so hopefully I can catch up today. We have had so many fun things to do that I haven't had time to bake or wrap, which I am not saying is a bad thing!!
Last week was SO much fun! On Tuesday we had book club and as a treat we did a dirty santa with books! Everyone brought a book they had already read (not a book club book, obviously) so it didn't cost anything but it was still really fun! Poor Catherine L got her books stolen about 5 times! We also did a Christmas Jar this year, and I was so glad to be able to get it for my nominee. I will be presenting it to him this week and I know it will make such a huge difference in his life. If you haven't read the book the Christmas Jar, you definitely have to!
On Wednesday night Forrest and I attended the Dental School Tacky Christmas party! I had the BEST sweater, thanks to Justin and Farrah, and Forrest wore his Bad Santa outfit from a few  years ago. It was really warm that night so we got to sit outside and enjoy being with our friends. The party was a Julie's house and OMG it was fantastic! She showed me her costume room, which blew me away! We stayed late and had a blast!!

Friday night was the annual Santa Claus dance. I LOVE when Forrest gets to wear his Santa suit, and I think he does too! This year, I had a surprise. I had the bridesmaids dress that I wore in Lauren and Joseph's wedding remade into a Santa dress! I thought I was too adorable!! Before the dance we went out to eat with Justin and Farrah and Jay and Claire. Then, it was off for a a fun fun night!!! The pictures below speak for themselves!!


Some of the book club girls and Jay!
Kate, Farrah, Claire, Brandi, Kelli
Kelly, Jay, and Me
Saturday was a big day for me: I got a new car!!! If you know me, you know that I have been driving the same car since my daddy bought it for me when I was 15 1/2. (1999). It was the best little car and once I got married it was such a blessing: I never had to pay any payments and since it was my dad's, he handled all the other incidentals. Thanks Daddy! Well, we had decided that the time had come to get a new one and so we went to see my cousin Stevie at King Acura Wednesday before the party. I had no intention of getting one now, I was just in town and figured I'd drive it just to see. Well, it was great! Honestly though, so long as it looks cute and drives well, I don't have high standards for cars. I didn't even really care about the color until they practically made me have an opinion (which was a mistake---they had to get real specific after that!!). They were able to work everything out so that I could get it now, so I said YES!! I picked it up on Saturday by myself (while Forrest did lovely things like clean out the gutters) and was beyond excited. I did feel like I was leaving my other car at the pound--sad!! Claire reminded me the night before that "cars don't have feelings" so that made it easier--haha! I spent a lovely day in Birmingham having lunch with Aunt Fran and Mimi, Christmas shopping (which is why I have tons of bags in my office now) and going to Mass. I probably had a million tiny hear attacks driving the new car around town. I was so scared that I would get hit or someone would hit me!!

Saying good bye!

Hello new car!!
On Sunday, we went to church in Duck Springs and it was SO much fun because we got to sing lots and lots of Christmas carols. :) Afterwards we headed to Huntsville to see our sweet friends Lauren and Joseph and their baby boy Hudson, whom I haven't seen since right after he was born. I was having so much fun driving my new car, that is, until I got pulled over! I have only ever received one ticket so I was mortified. The officer was really sweet and told me all about driving school (haha, which of course I know everything about--he didn't realize I am a judge). I honestly had NO idea what speed I was going, which is I guess where the problem lies, but my old car vibrated when I got to a certain speed and the new one didn't! Of course, everyone laughed at me all day, but I guess I have now learned a valuable lesson in the need to use cruise control!!!
Despite the ticket, we had a fabulous day with the Pucketts. Lauren prepared a tasty lunch, complete with the BEST mashed potatoes ever (Pioneer Woman, I'm there!), and we had a blast playing with baby Hudson!!

Trying to open his present from us.

Who knew books tasted so delicious!
That night we had dinner with my parents and then decorated Christmas Cookies! We were just like little kids! Forrest actually was pretty good at it (those steady dentist hands are handy in all sorts of situations) and everyone, even my dad, got into it. I hope that is a tradition we can keep going!! Also, mom and MMM had found a little present for Ruffles, which she loves!!!

Cookie Mayhem

Some of my creations

Forrest's masterpieces

Ruff loved her Miss Claws dress! She is still wearing it!
Wish me luck on my wrapping today---I will feel 1000% better if I can get that taken care of! Merry Christmas too all!

***Also, if you would, please pray for my sweet friend Kristen. She was in a car accident and sustained a head injury. It looks like she is going to be fine, but it will be a long road to recovery. Thanks!***

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Well, the holidays are upon us, and that means Christmas parties!!! Last week between the 2 of us, we had 5! Tuesday was the Gadsden Service Guild party, which was so much fun and a great way to honor our past presidents. Our VP Amy hosted the first annual event and it was a huge success! Then on Wednesday Forrest attended a surprise birthday party for his friend Timothy. I hated to miss it but the logistics of getting to Birmingham didn't work out so Forrest had to go solo. Timothy is such a good friend and I'm so glad he enjoyed his birthday! Thursday was the Etowah County Bar Christmas Party. We had a blast at this party every year. John Jennings, a local attorney, hosts it at his home and despite the orange and blue decor (haha) it is the perfect spot to celebrate. We were some of the last ones to leave but that was ok, because Forrest had Friday off! Hooray! On Friday we had dinner at Jonathan and Denise's, which was fun as always. The week seemed to have tired most of us out though, so we didn't stay too late.
Saturday was a BIG day for us! Sonny and Forrest entered the Reindeer Run, a 5K run benefiting the Humane Society where we got Ruffles. As Ruff is not made for speed (and neither am I) she and I went to cheer on our boys. The event was lovely, with lots of snacks for people AND dogs! Forrest is a great runner but hasn't been running lately because of the cold and since it is dark when he gets home, so he was a little rusty. There were a lot of experienced looking runners so I didn't really expect them to win or anything, I mean, we were just there for fun! I really figured they would just do "ok" when the race began and Sonny seemed more interested in sniffing out the competition. Oh well. Ruffles got lots of love and attention from her Humane Society friends while we waited for our boys to cross the finish line. A couple of "serious" runners rounded the corner as the winners and right when I started to wonder how long it would take Forrest to finish, there they were! Sonny and Forrest were racing around the corner heading to the finish line, neck and neck with a lady and her giant dog Apollo. Well, the crowd went wild! I had told everyone Sonny's name so we were all cheering "GO SONNY GO"!!! He pranced and pranced as they crossed the finish line!!! Sonny was the first dog to finish and Forrest won 1st place in his age division! Hooray!! We were all so proud!! It was a GREAT event and I can't wait until they get to do it again next year. Maybe I will have to try it out myself!

Sonny ready to run!

And off they go!

Crossing the finish line!!!

Celebrating

After receiving their medal!!

I found Sonny on the bed that night--he was all tuckered out!!
After the race we had to head back home to get ready to host our Young Marrieds Christmas Party. I have so enjoyed being a part of this group--they are all so nice and fun! I was doing a "soup supper" and made my taco soup and a new crock pot potato soup. This made it so easy to cook since I basically only had to worry about one soup. I had garlic bread for the potato and chips for the taco, and everyone else brought appetizers and desserts. We had a blast! We watched the Heisman Trophy presentation until Trent Richardson didn't win and then told stories, some funny and some SCARY (thanks Matt, I may never sleep again) until it was time to go.
On Sunday, we got lots of texts alerting us to the fact that Sonny and Forrest were in the paper! Check our their pic!

We had lunch with Forrest's parents and I got my first look at the head board Forrest is making me. It looks fantastic!!! He brought it home for the final touches and I can't wait to show it to you!!! My sister brought her doggie Maggie over for a play date with Sonny, and as usual, we had a crowd of dogs by the end!! We are such the cool dog hang out!!! After MMM left I decided it was time to start my holiday baking. I found several recipes I wanted to try and set out to begin my most favorite looking one: White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies. Well, they took me 2 hrs and they look terrible, although they taste great!!! I didn't have the energy to make any more so I have lots and lots of baking ahead of me this week!! I know that isn't anything I HAVE to do but it is fun and I want to do it!! We also had dinner at my parents' and helped decorate their tree. My sister was home but my brother wasn't and that was a little sad, but we were running out of available time to get it done, so we had to.
This is Forrest's last week of school before his break--yipee--and we have several more holiday gatherings before Christmas. I can't believe that it is so close. I have TONS of shopping to do and of course wrapping!! Tis the Season!!!

OH--and if you were wondering if the cats had calmed down about the tree...
That would be the tree skirt, NOT under the tree.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

King of the Christmas Tree

One of my FAVORITE things about Christmas is the tree! I mean, it smells amazing, looks darling, and without it, it just doesn't feel like it's Christmas!! We picked up our tree on Saturday and because it had been tied up, I wanted to give it a few days to "settle". We decorated it Monday night and had the best time! I love pulling out the ornaments each year and reminiscing about each one. Some are funny (like my "Sonny" ornaments), some are sentimental (ones from our vacations), and others Forrest tries to hide (like the zebra purse one). Don't you think it looks grand?


Can you spot the 2 cats hiding under it?
This year we have encountered a slight problem involving the tree. We moved it from the living room to the den, since the piano took its place and I didn't like where we had it last year. I thought the den would be GREAT since we are in there the majority of the time and we could see it and smell it while we watch tv, eat, what have you. Well, when we brought it in the cats went nuts. They were very curious about it and kept creeping up to it and circling it, like they were casing it or something. (My mom says that maybe they think they are outside and my Uncle John thinks that the evergreen smell reminds them of catnip. I just think they want an excuse to act up!) Before too long they were FIGHTING each other for the tree! Stella has set up his base camp under the tree and if Brownie comes close, he ambushes her. Then they wrestle for a while and then they run circles around the tree and then go shooting out through the house. Brownie does the same thing when she finds herself alone with the tree. Yesterday, I thought the fighting had stopped because they were laying under it together. Then I heard a little "tink tink tink", and lo and behold, they were pulling ornaments off the tree and batting them to each other like soccer players. OMG. They have never done that. I can't even imagine what it looks like today. I have had to move all low hanging ornaments AND take off the tree skirt because they like to claw at in while wrestling each other. I'm pretty sure the solution to this problem is to put lots of presents under it so they can't hang out there any more. Then they will tear off the bows, though. Oh well, at least they are entertaining to watch!!! Merry Christmas!!
Circling it, trying to figure out what is going on!

A break in the action. They have also been pulling the cards off my card tree.

I'm so cute, you can't get mad!!

Brother did it!! Not me!!

Stella is about to pounce on Brownie. For real.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Forrest's Birthday Week

Hi to all!! I sit here trying not to sneak a little cat nap at my desk---I have started on the Hunger Games, as suggested by my bff Farrah and I can't quit reading which means I am also not sleeping!!! I'm pretty sure if I stop reading, something bad will happen, so it is all up to me!!!
During the times when my nose wasn't stuck in a book (kindle), I was busy celebrating Forrest's 27th birthday last week! Hooray! Don't you just love birthdays? It is the only day of the year reserved JUST FOR YOU!! (well, I personally reserve a month, but you know). Forrest isn't that big into bdays but I am so I tried to make his extra special. We had a yummy dinner with his parents on Tuesday night and he got some great gifts. Now that he is transitioning out of school where he wears scrubs all day to working (where he probably will still wear scrubs all day), he really needs some "grown up clothes" for meetings and events, etc. To that end, I have told EVERYONE who will listen to please buy Forrest clothes for his birthday and Christmas, and so far they have not disappointed!
We continued the celebration on Friday night at Cocina Superior with several of his best fraternity friends. He had the BEST time reuniting with all the guys this summer at all the Lambda Chi weddings and I thought it would be great fun to get them all together again for a little birthday dinner. It meant so much to him (and to me) that everyone drove up (or down) just to celebrate with us!!! Dinner was great, as were the mango mojitos (oh my) and of course we laughed and told stories all night!!!

Attempting to get a pic of Forrest and his cookie cake. People kept making him laugh!

Our party group, minus Jess and Brittany, who had to leave early.
On Saturday Forrest and I just spent the day together getting things done. Maybe it sounds silly, but I sometimes feel like we hardly see each other any more! We have been busy lately after work and school so a day together was very nice! We didn't do anything grand, we picked up some gifts in Boaz (along with a tasty dip cone--yum), found him a gorgeous gray camel hair jacket, and got our Christmas tree!!! After putting the tree up we watched one of our favorite holiday movies: Last Holiday!! Forrest fell asleep half way though (he had been at a dental seminar all Friday and half of Saturday--can you blame him?) so we need to plan an night to finish it and decorate the tree!

We moved the tree to the den this year. The cats are very interested in it!! More to come on that later!
Sunday was also a nice day for us. We got Chinese after church (a rare treat!) and while Forrest studied Farrah and I went to Claire's Christmas Shower. She got SO many gifts---I can't wait to borrow most of them!!! :) I am so excited that her wedding festivities are starting up! After a quick power nap, we headed to my parents for dinner and to watch the BCS bowl game reveal. Bama is number 2 and headed to the National Championship for the 2nd time in 3 years! Woohoo!!! We couldn't be more proud of our team!! We want to go to the game soooooo badly (especially since it is right after my bday!) so we are currently trying to find a way to make that happen. Anyone have a hook up???? :)
I also wanted to mention that we were invited to eat dinner at our new neighbors' house on Thursday. They are Indian and made us the most delicious meal of Indian dishes!!! We had way way way too much fun and we will definitely be doing it again soon. Thanks so much for having us!! The sweetest thing about them is that they LOVE Sonny!!! He likes to play in their yard and they always have treats for him. We appreciate them putting up with our boy!!
Hope you all have a fun week of Christmas parties ahead!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Katie's Pumpkin Dump Cake

Katie was so kind as to send me the recipe for her delicious dump cake! Please find it below! While she used pumpkin, she says that "the cool thing about dump cake is you can do just about whatever you want on the bottom part. I've had apple dump cake and pineapple dump cake! YUM!". I can't wait to see what options I can come up with!


Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1 box of yellow cake mix
2 sticks butter/margarine (It doesn't always take this much)
cinnamon
pecans

1. Mix eggs, brown sugar, condensed milk, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice in bowl. Pour in baking dish.
2. Sprinkle entire box of yellow cake mix over pumpkin mixture (not mixed with anything). The pumpkin mixture is soupy but the flour should sit on top just fine.
3. Sprinkle pecans on top of cake mix.
4. Place a layer of thinly sliced butter over entire cake. This is what makes the cake mix not powdery once cooked. (Some people melt the butter and pour it but I find it's more even if you layer the butter in slices)
5. Sprinkle cinnamon to taste.
6. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until top is melted and edges are just barely brown.
 
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