Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, everyone!
From What's Bakin'?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday faves

I love the holidays and all the hustling and bustling. We always have fun parties to attend, special artwork and projects coming home with the boys, and great traditions. Over the years I have really started looking forward to several things - from decorations and sweet treats to special events and people. I thought I'd share them with you!

(in no particular order)


My momma is to blame for this seasonal addiction. They only come around this time of year down south. It's probably a good thing. In recent years she introduced these to me. If you've never had them...RUN to the nearest grocery store and buy all of them (unless it's my grocery store---I've already bought them all.)

The JLC Holiday Market

Read all about it here and here

My Ceramic Christmas Tree

This little ceramic tree was made by my Grandmother's (my mom's mom) hands. A few years after she passed away, my momma gave it to me. I couldn't be more delighted to have it. It's such a treasure!


I write a post on this every year! So if you've been following me for a while, you know how much I love to make these, eat these, and give them as gifts! It is a very special Italian tradition started by my Great-Grandmother (my dad's grand-mother) many moons ago. We haven't had our Biscotti day this year, but we'll probably do it this week some time. YAY! I love passing this tradition on to a fifth generation with my boys.

My Tree

I. Love. My. Tree. Every. Year.
We spend hours trying to find the perfect tree. It's kinda like Goldilocks and the three bears. {Maybe that'll be my next pot to put my hand in... Goldilocks and the Four Bears- a Christmas story!} I love decorating it. I love driving up and seeing it twinkle through my front window. I love sitting in the LR at night by the light of it. It's truly one of my favorite things of the entire year. We leave it up as long as possible; until the Epiphany (January 6). I'm always sad to see it go and my house looks so bare without it. If there are any decorators out there who can tell me how to fill my void year-round...I'd love the advice.

The 30+ year-old plastic musical bells at my mom and dad's

These have been a favorite in our family for ages. They will not die! My brothers and I wait in great anticipation for their annual appearance. My mom posted a video of them last year on FB. (If you're my FB friend you can view it here.) It was hilarious. If I can get my hands on the video...I'll add it to this post. Yes! We are aware that they are completely out of tune and don't even resemble half the songs they're supposed to be playing, but that's why we love them.

The Bunco Christmas Party

 The Girls
Shannon H., Shannon K., Mason, Me, Ellen, Jen, Ansley, Marie, & Allison (We were missing Darby and Leigh)
The Boys
Tommy, Jimmy, Steven, Chad, Patrick, Shan, Lindsay, & Brian (Minus John, Malcolm, and Patrick)
Have I ever mentioned all the good cooks in the bunch??? What a spread!

There are many a-posts on this blog about my bunco girls and how much I love them {and their husbands}. One thing is for sure, with this group, there is NEVER a dull moment. I am so thankful for them!

The Saluda Shoals Lights on the River

Worth. Every. Dime
We have blast every year as we ride through the miles of beautiful lights with our hot chocolate and Christmas tunes in the background. The oooos and ahhhhhs of children young and old are the best part!

St. John's Christmas Pageant and Christmas Eve Service

 Sam 2009

The pageant- It's short and sweet with little to no frills, but it lights up my Christmas Eve every year. The voices of the children reading and singing brings joyful tears to my eyes. I love hearing them deliver God's word.

The Christmas Eve Service- It's breath-taking, up-lifting, and awesome. I am ALWAYS moved to tears by the carols and hymns. I feel an amazing sense of peace, calmness, and gratitude. With all the holiday drama and craziness, it's easy to lose sight of the true reason we celebrate, but that service brings me back. I am so grateful for it!

We are so blessed with with so many fun traditions and special opportunities to make memories with our boys. I love that I grew up in a very tradition-oriented family, so that I can pass it on.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hilarity Part II

Y'all might remember my post from last year...I linked to one of my favorite blogs, The Pregnant Chicken. She did a post on awkward pregnancy pics. It was absolutely hilarious. WELL! She just posted a Part II.
I cannot stop laughing!
Here it is...
Go there... NOW!

Friday, December 09, 2011

My FIRST Re-do

Several months ago I went to a yard sale and scored an old blue dresser for $15! I have been needing the extra storage space for table linens and wrapping paper for a long time now. I had no idea what color to paint it or where I'd put it for the longest time. It kinda floated around the house looking for a home. It landed happily in the living room, but as you will see it needed some major TLC. I had a vision and I finally  got to work.

I have been very inspired by one of my favorite blogs, Centsational Girl. She is amazing! I have been following her for a while now and I just love how she turns sad, lonely pieces into beautiful focal points. I love how she makes furniture POP.

My first hurdle was to find a color that was pop-able against my pale green walls and that would down-play the loudness of my must-have-hot-pink-sofa. I have a table skirt that's a floral print with pinks, greens, browns, and darker yellows. I have lots of this fabric left over with the intentions of making a throw pillows, which never 7 years. BUT I haven't given up hope. They will be done...soon.

I decided on the darkest shade of gold in the table skirt. It's called Yukon Gold and I love it. It definitely POPS!

We roughed it up and primed it with 2 coats of KILZ white primer. When that cured, I painted 2 coats of the Yukon Gold. The pulls were gun-metal grey, which I didn't really mind, but they just didn't go with anything else. I used this great brown hammered spray paint by Rustoleum and gave them a face lift too.

Any who! I was super pleased with the outcome for my first real re-do project. Thank goodness my momma is a re-do diva and was standing by to answer my ignorant questions. I had lots.

I was so excited about getting started, I almost forgot to take pics.

Blue Dresser Before:

Gold Dresser After:

Yay me! My table linens and wrapping paper are all neatly tucked away now. I just love it.

We had to move it to put the Christmas tree in the LR. So, for the time being, it is the display spot for my growing Nutcracker collection.

The Centsational Girl would be proud!

{I also have a story about the lamp. That's to come. So stay tuned.}

Thursday, December 08, 2011


I fell into my annual blackhole last week.

That blackhole is called The Holiday Market, sponsored by the Junior League of Columbia.

For the past 5 years I have helped organize this enormous under-taking along with an amazing group of ridiculously talented and well-organized women.

I have compared it to a pregancy, leading up to labor & delivery.

It is a year-long process. We start meeting once a month, then twice a month, then weekly...and then TA-DA! It's market week! During market week we spend just about every waking moment together. We learn way too so much about each other.

Planning the market is so much fun. It's great to watch friendships blossom, to be a part of a team, and see another thematic vision unfold. I am always inspired by the beautiful decorations and the way our committee takes a big metal warehouse-type building and turns it into a holiday wonderland. It's simply amazing! In fact, the color scheme was so beautiful that my house very closely resembles the to follow.

It is a loooong week, but lots of fun. We host 3 big events in addition to standard shopping hours.
Our big Holiday Market Preview Party is held the night before the market opens to the public. It is a black tie event with TONS of great food and drinks! I always look forward to seeing what people are wearing. This year, I went for cheap and comfortable!

{FORGIVE THE TERRIBLE IPHONE PICS! I was so busy running back and forth, to and from the personnel office to keep up with a camera and my phone.}

Thursday night we hold the Ladies Night Out event. JUST FYI: This is a presold event that sells out every year. Get your tickets ahead of time next year if you missed it this year. It is the best time! I always bump into some of my favorite people there. pics because I just couldn't juggle it all.

Me and my sweet friend, Eron. She's a long-time, dear buddy. We have a whole slew of pics like this circa 1990. It's been years, but still seems like yesterday since we posed cheek-to-cheek. LOVE HER!!! She was just one of the several familiar faces that I was able to visit with that night. It really is a great "girlie" time!

Then there's PJ's with Santa; a family event. It's always a great time for the kids. There's tumbling, Christmas movies, story time, cookies and milk, the balloon man, face painting, crafts, and of course... SANTA!

{At least Ollie wasn't screaming this year! He still doesn't look too sure though.}

In the past, I have had the pleasure of chairing/vice-chairing a couple events; Ladies Night Out (in its infancy-2007 & 2008) and PJs with Santa (the inaugural year-2009). I have also been behind the scenes with Marketing (2010) and Personnel (2011). I have to admit, I love the event planning the most. Who knows what next year will hold. I will probably finish out my JLC career in the Holiday Market placement in the next few years

Any who... the market was a huge success again this year. I was so happy to be part of it.

Now, to climb out of the blackhole, finish decorating my house, get caught up on Christmas card orders, and do some holiday-ish stuff.

Stay tuned!