Sunday, December 20, 2015

My new Christmas decor finds and crafts.

Of all the holidays, Christmas is my favorite to decorate for. I truly believe it is a magical time. Not just because all the kids are excited for their Elf on the Shelf to fly and make mischief while they sleep, and not just because of Santa Claus and his reindeer. I love Christmastime, because I feel a greater sense of love, and peace, and giving all around me. And it feels magical. I guess that's why I love to make my home feel magical, too.

For years now, I've decorated in mainly red and green. I love the traditional colors of the holiday and all they represent. But, I fell in love with a few items I saw this year that were a range of colors. I had to get them. These trees from Target were my favorite find. I bought them on sale, and I love them!!
 It's hard to see, but I also bought the white ball and jingle bell garland from Target to pin our Christmas cards to. I use small clothespins to pin them on.
 And then, I saw the mini trees and had to buy them, too. They were lonely without their mamas and papas.
 And this garland from West Elm was my other splurge this season. Isn't it so fun?!
I strung it across my hutch with some of the baby trees in there, too.
 Because I have a thing with colors matching, I made sure to place my baby trees by colors in the garland that matched. So, the dark blue, yellow and orange trees are by the "M", "E", and "R", the pink trees are by the pink "S", and the aqua trees are by the "T" and "M". I know; I'm kinda crazy.
My kids helped to make this cute little wooden sticker nativity last year, but I had to share a pic of it. Isn't it so sweet?!
My sis-in-law had a really fun crafting day at her house. She had all the supplies, and we got to choose what we wanted to make. I made this cute glittered reindeer and this "Merry & Bright" sign, too.
 I love how they turned out.
And surprisingly they weren't that hard to do. A little paint, glue, and glitter, and voila!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Teacher Christmas gift.

Avery's preschool teacher is so amazing. Not only is she an incredible teacher, but she is also a dear friend to me. I wanted to do a little something for her for Christmas. I love to do gifts that are color coordinated. This was what I came up with for her in reds.
Included is:
Raspberry Sparkling Ice drink
Small red cranberry candle
red "Wish" ornament from Target
set of small red whisks from Target
Lindt pomegranate chocolate bar

I found the cute red candy cane basket at Target, and the tag is also from Target. I hope she likes it!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Recipe Share: My Mom's Banana Bread

Since it's coming upon Christmas, I'm going to share my mom's wonderful banana bread recipe. I usually make it as muffins, but she always did it as loaves of bread and gave it away to our neighbors. Either way, it is divine, and Christmas isn't the same without it. Enjoy!

MOM'S BANANA BREAD

Ingredients:
2 C. flour
1 C. sugar
3 eggs
3/4 C. oil
2 C. mashed bananas (can also use grated carrots or apples)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts are good)
(I sometimes add a few chocolate chips to the tops of my muffins for extra ooey gooey goodness) 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Pour into well-greased loaf pans (or muffin pans or mini muffin pans - I use a melon baller scoop if making mini muffins). Top with a few chocolate chips, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (if using loaf pans) or about 15-20 minutes for muffins. If doing mini muffins, I'd do between 12-15 minutes. (That may not be the exact time -- I just eyeball it -- when they start looking brown on top, they're done.) Serves 12.

Oh, and I'll even share with you all what my mom's secret is to making them extra moist and good... she lets her bananas get overripe and then freezes them. When you want to make the bread, place the frozen bananas in a bowl of water to thaw. When thawed, measure them out and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Doing this really makes a huge difference in how good the bread tastes.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Neighbor Holiday Gift.

I always like to give my friends and neighbors a little gift for the holidays. This year, I went to pinterest for ideas, and I was so excited when I found this idea there! I liked that I wasn't giving sweets, as we all eat way too many over the holidays, and I also liked that it was fairly easy to put together. 
Here's what's in each bag: 
(You could also put these items in a cute mason jar too. I wanted to spend as little money as possible, so I opted for bags.)
1/3 cup fresh cranberries
1 orange
4 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

There is a printable tag online similar to this one my sis designed for me. I, of course, like hers more. 
Tie up your bag with cute twine, attach your tag, and deliver away! Your neighbors and friends will love this gift.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hawaii getaway with my love.

It's been a really long time since Jason and I had some alone time, and we haven't been back to Hawaii together without kids since our honeymoon. (Obviously we wouldn't have had kids on our honeymoon. Ha.) Anyway, it was seriously so nice to be just with him and to be in such a gorgeous place. Even the airplane ride felt like a vacation without having to worry about kids. We watched a few movies together on the plane, ate our free meal, enjoyed caramel popcorn with macadamia nuts, and yummy chocolate covered macadamia nuts, too! We lived it up! Here are some pics I took from the plane when we were almost there.
 We stayed at the Waikiki Beach Marriott hotel. It was beautiful. These flowers lined the lobby.
The view from our room. Pretty spectacular!
We drove to the North Shore after changing at the hotel.
We parked at the restaurant and then walked to the Surf 'n' Sea shop.
Jase got a few tee shirts there, and then we met Jaime for dinner at Opal Thai. It was delicious. I should've taken more pics. I was too busy enjoying it. Opal is such a friendly restaurant owner. He asks you what flavors you like and don't like and then makes a meal for you that is sure to please. His place was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on The Food Network.
The next day, we spent most of our day at the beach and shopping around Waikiki. It was so nice out - perfectly warm and breezy.
Here are a few pics of a mall we walked around.
I loved this store window.
And how cool is this wall?
 I haven't been in an Urban Outfitters store for a long time. I love that place. The décor is always so cool and funky.
We bought A a new tee shirt and a dress. I love them.
Later that day we deciding to go on a Catamaran sailboat ride. It was an hour and a half ride. I didn't anticipate it being really windy on the water, but boy was it! The waves were probably 10+ feet high! Jason loved it, but I was so sea sick. At one point I had to go throw up in the bathroom on the boat. Ugh. The last half hour on the boat was particularly hard and I just sat with my knees pulled up to my chest, closing my eyes and trying not to think about where I was. Jason held me close to him, and that helped. I was so glad to get off that boat!
The next morning we got ready to drive up to Laie.
This tree is incredible. I had to take a few pics of it.
The drive to Laie was beautiful! I took pics out the car window.
We first stopped to see the LDS Laie temple. I've never been to it. It was breathtaking. The grounds are immaculate and huge.
It was so neat to see the Book of Mormon in so many languages.
After seeing the temple, we went to see Laie Point. It was so incredible!! I've never seen such a place before.  You drive into this neighborhood and go up the hill and park and then you walk up a bit and realize you are somewhere magnificent! The views are the most amazing I've ever seen. The pictures just don't do it justice!
We went to Seven Brothers for lunch. I loved it. I loved the feel of it and the food was really yummy. Their fries and fry sauce were the best I've ever had. It's owned by a member of the church, and the kids who work there are usually students at BYU Hawaii. We walked in right as they were getting ready to open, and saw the employees having a prayer together before they started their shift. It was really sweet.
That afternoon Jaime came down to the beach with her girls. It was so fun seeing them.

That night Jase and I walked all over Waikiki. We ended up having dinner at Benihana, which was so delicious. We had eaten at that same Benihana on our honeymoon 13 years earlier, so it brought back a lot of memories.

The next morning we worked out, and
I had to take a pic of the last breakfast I ate there... the creamy potatoes were so yummy! Jason loved getting an omelette each morning, too. It's quite the treat having someone else make your meals and then clean up after you when you're done!
We went down to the beach as early as we could and enjoyed our last few hours there before we had to leave for the airport.
 We found this spot on the beach where there were tons of fish swimming around. We stood in the water and looked at them for a while.
We talked about the next time we go to Hawaii, how we would love to bring our kids to enjoy the beach with us... and then we said we'd also love to come again by ourselves.. either way, Hawaii would be lovely. We love it there and will always.