New Year

2015 is here. A new day, a fresh start, a breath of fresh air. I approach this year with both joy and sadness. Joy for new beginnings, sadness as it is a year in which my dad exists only in spirit, my heart, and my memories. Knowing him though, he would want me to find the joy, be happy, and go on as many adventures as possible, so that is the plan. Find the joy, find peace, and dance like a crazy person (already got that one down).

That said, their were some genuinely good moments during the holiday season this year, and I am thrilled that small moments of happiness are creeping back into life.

Forgive the sheer volume of photos of my newest nephew. I just can’t help myself.

farm

Ooooh Sparkles!

nephew

In their Christmas Jammies! Love them.nephews

Grammies are happiest with their grand-babies in their arms.grammy nephew

We like to nap on Christmas.uncle and neice aunt and nephew

My mom adopted a sweet labradoodle from the humane society. She wanted to have a buddy around the house. Sweet Lucy was not what she expected to get. Not the right breed, the right size, with too long of fur. But dearie me, the more time I spend around this sweet dog, the convinced I become that she was meant to be my mom’s dear friend. She is quickly on her way to becoming the worlds most spoiled/loved dog.

labradoodle

Seriously, how cute is this face?labradoodle

T was excited for Christmas 😉Christmas wrappingflowers new years

Here is to you 2015! I expect the back to the future hover board to be perfected by the end of the year. 🙂

signature

Advertisements

Holiday Glimpses

Tis the season…..

-For Amy Grant’s Home for Christmas to be played on repeat multiple times a day.

-To binge watch the Hallmark Channels bad Christmas movies (much to T’s dismay).

-To be a little kinder and hug a little harder.

-To have secrets tucked away in small nooks and crannies to avoid inquisitive eyes.

-For spending way too much time on the Martha Stewart website picking out the perfect holiday desserts.

-To find joy in the small things.

If ever there was a month to make my heart a little lighter, or a year when it is needed, it’s this December. I love selecting gifts and wrapping them up in neat little packages, decorating the Christmas tree, and working on Christmas crafts for friends. I crave nothing for myself, other than a few good hours around a fireplace or dining table with loved ones (and maybe some Beats by Dre).

Hints of the season.

Sorel Boots

The first dusting of snow, and the only reason I ever put on a pair of Sorel boots. Snuggly, but not a fashion statement, no matter what J. Crew says.

Honda Civic

Millie all loaded up with my Charlie brown tree. Totally said the “tree prayer” and sawed it down with own two hands.

Charlie Brown Tree

She’s a gem!

Vanilla ExtractMy treats I made for Friends for Christmas this year. Yum!

I hope your having a festive season.

signature

Semi Sweet Pistachio Torte

For years I thought I couldn’t bake. What it really comes down to, is that I cannot bake chocolate chip cookies. Even though I followed the recipes to the letter, batches and batches of cookies have been turned into puddles, bricks, and charred black circles. I can even destroy tollhouse ready made cookie dough… I’m not kidding, ask my mother. Once I realized that I seem to be the bermuda triangle for cookies, I started testing out some different types of dessert making, and joyously discovered that I can indeed make other tasty treats.

Now that my baking mystery has been solved, I have loved making the desserts for my family’s holiday gatherings. This year for Christmas I tried out Martha Stewart’s (love her) recipe for Chocolate Pistachio Torte and it turned out amazing, so I thought I’d share a few things I learned along the way.

Original recipe link here:

http://www.marthastewart.com/313305/chocolate-pistachio-torte?czone=entertaining/holiday-entertaining/holidaycenter-foods&gallery=923519&slide=313305&center=276958

IMG_2228

Many of Martha Stewarts recipes call for a double boiler, which I don’t own. Not realizing that I needed one until after I bought the ingredients and got started, I came up with the above contraption and it worked great! I filled the pot about 1/3 of the way up, placed my cooling rack on top and then placed a heat safe pyrex with my butter and chocolate on top of that. It took about the same amount of time as a double boiler would have, and still gave it the right consistency.

IMG_2230

A bit of my cake stuck to the pan while baking, as I don’t think I floured well enough. Fortunately the chocolate ganache filled in the whole 😉

DSCN0043

Ta Da!

DSCN0044

I think this is the closest one of my desserts has ever come to resembling the original picture. I was quite pleased!

DSCN0045

And a little ravenous.

DSCN0047

Don’t worry, If I can do it, you can do it!

signature

Holidaze

Christmas is over and i’ve been relaxing/recovering the past few days in preparation for the New Year! December went by in a flurry of party’s, gift exchanges, work dinners, and family time. It has truly been a joyous month, but i’m definitely ready for a bit of a slow down starting on the first. As I have barely blogged this month (whoops), I thought I gather up a few of my favorite photos from the month to share with you!

Had coffee with these two Gems! This is the face little F.T. makes when you ask hime to smile. Cheese!

IMG_2233

Holiday barn potluck, complete with petting zoo, rope swing, and horseback rides.

IMG_2192

Lil Sebastian any one? J.K.

Mini pony! She kept trying to eat my jacket. I giggled a lot.

IMG_2190

And no December is complete without a bonfire!

IMG_2195

Brown paper packages tied up with string! Please tell me you sang that.

IMG_2178

Apple pie making setup! If you have never used an apple corer/peeler, find one. So simple a tool, but it has made peeling apples a relatively relaxing experience, as I hate peeling them with a traditional peeler.

IMG_2229

Unbaked, but one of the prettiest pies I’ve ever made. Sadly, I forgot to get an after shot 😦

IMG_2231

My sister and her family surprised us on Christmas eve by showing up at our parents house. We don’t often get to see them on Christmas, and we were more than a little excited. Their outfits also put my parents and I to shame 😦 , as I spent most of the week in leggings and tee’s.

DSCN0018

Sweet little E clearly isn’t having any of their shenanigans.

DSCN0017

Strike a pose sister dear!

  DSCN0072 DSCN0070

Ninja turtle O! I’m so glad this cartoon has made a comeback.

DSCN0062

Love my little nephews!

DSCN0060

Dinner’s served!

DSCN0048

We are totally normal….

DSCN0056

DSCN0053

The parents…. What is my father looking at?

DSCN0058

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

DSCN0009

signature