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!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday Photo Cards are Here!!!

It took me a while due to a few bumps in the road, but I made it just in time for the HOLIDAY season.
Here are the 2011 Holiday Cards by CTBaker Designs.

Remember, custom designs are available too and the rest of the collection can be seen in our shop!


(exponent number can change)

 A Child is born

Classic Christmas 

Colorful Christmas 



(available in your team colors at no additional charge)


 Joy to the world

 Laughing all the way

 Christmas Cloud

 Merry Little Christmas


Wonderful Life

 Joy & Happiness


Happy Always

There are 2 ordering options this year...
  1. You Print: Add your design to your cart here, then select your quantity here, and I'll send you a high-res jpeg to print at the photo lab of your choice (Wal-mart, Walgreen's, CVS, Rite Aid, Ritz, etc.) For your convenience I have size A7 envelopes available here in the event that you need them.
  2. I Print: Add your design to your cart here and I'll send you a proof before printing your cards. Once you approve, I'll print them and ship them along with envelopes to you. (If you're local, you can contact me about pick-up.)
For pricing and to see the rest of our collection, visit our shop. Feel free to contact me with questions.

Giving Thanks...Again!

Well I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Mine started out great! Wednesday night I hosted a few of my favorite girlfriends for an impromptu reunion for our friend Leigh, who moved away this summer. It's always a good time when I'm around those girls!

Thursday, Thanksgiving day, I woke up to the smell of blueberry muffins and a little voice {Sam}, saying "mommy, the parade is about to start. You don't want to miss it." I was so excited...they let me sleep until 8:50 AND breakfast was ready!!! What?!?!

I proceeded downstairs with a terrible "runner's cramp" in my stomach, which I thought was weird because I certainly had not been running. I started my food for thanksgiving lunch and we watched the parade. I did my usual kick-line with the Rocketts and I sang and danced along with all the broadway stars, living vicariously through them.

Fast forward to lunch at my mom's. We usually go to the lake with Shan's family for thanksgiving lunch, but we haven't for two years now. Last year our plans changed suddenly when my poor mom was sent to the ER with terrible vertigo. This year we elected not to go because I wanted to help my mom, who has had a particularly awful year health-wise and my aunt Laynie who has not been well either. I even offered to host, but was quickly shot-down. My mom and her 2 sisters pull ALL the weight on holidays and I wanted to make sure they had some help this year. Although, I ended up not being a whole lot of help because of that dumb cramp. It was a no-fine-china packed house...28 to be exact.

Any who! We wrapped up a great lunch and visit with mom's family and headed to the lake to spend the night with Shan's parents. Our plan was to visit, put the boys down, and head out for Black Friday sales. But I just did not feel know, with that cramp. So I went to bed myself at NINE:THIRTY. When do I ever do that? By 10:00pm I was giving thanks for the toilet my head was in and the sweet husband holding my hair.

That cramp...was a stomach virus! I spent all day Friday in bed. No shopping for me! All of our fun black Friday plans had been foiled. I was so bummed!

The picture I posted above says Gobble til you Wobble. I think this year it should have more appropriately said "Snarf til you Barf." On one hand I was thankful that I got to eat my feast before I got sick. On the other hand ... Let's just say it's a lot better going down. Ewwww!!!

Here's to wishing all of you a great rest of the weekend and kick-off to the Christmas holidays. And to those of you watching the big game tonight...Go COCKS!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks!

I am so thankful for my boys' schools and all they provide them. Each morning when I send them off I know they are in good hands.
Oliver is in a preschool that we have been a part of for 10 years now, since I worked there when I was pregnant with Sam. They know us very well and have always taken the best care of my children. I have referred to it as "The Jesus Bubble" for years. It's this safe, sweet little place and I can feel God's presence there.

Sam and Fulton attend a Montessori school. We have been there for 3 years and have LOVED every minute. We can count on them to cover all the bases with their education. They always manage to slip life-skills and character education in some way, some how. I feel like they not only take care of them academically, they take care of their character as well. There is no arrogance and they are taught to appreciate everyone, even if they differ in other aspects of their lives. I love that the values my boys learn at home are also being taught in their school.

Getting close to the holidays there are always some extra special activities going on. Just yesterday, Oliver's class had their Thanksgiving party. And just like most preschools, they bring home the sweetest things. I love PRESCHOOL! He had a little hand print turkey place mat with scripture on it and he had made his Indian head-dress. Here's Chief Oliver...

 My friend Katie and I are the homeroom moms for Fulton's class. We spent the morning making Cornucopias {posted here a while back} and Fingerprint turkeys. They all turned out soooo cute and the kids loved making their own "horn of plenty".

Sam and his classmates are the lucky ducks, though. Today they are headed to the ballet...The Nutcracker! I really wanted to chaperone, but due to budget cuts they were limited as to how many people could go. Sam has never been to a ballet. He's been to recitals and plays, but never a ballet. Last night in a conversation with him, I asked him if he wanted to wear his cute hot chocolate shirt. He said, "no ma'am. We are going to a ballet and we have to look our best." LOVE IT! I asked him what he wanted to wear and he said he thought he should wear his navy blue blazer and a bow tie.
He did. And he looked so adorable handsome! My Dapper Sam...

Any who...I'm so thankful for what their schools offer them. I feel like God has truly blessed us with the best educational opportunities for our family.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's Bullet Time

So, my poor neglected blog has just been floating lifelessly in the blogesphere.
October is such a "bloggable" month for the Bakers. November...not so much. Recently, we (I) have been super busy. The best way to catch you up is with here we go.

  • Fulton finished soccer season...Go Rockets! And a huge Thank You to his great coaches, Coach Brandon & Coach Barker.
  • It's Christmas Card season over at ctbaker a word---CRAZY! But I love it! I'll be posting more info this week on 2 different ordering options.
  • I got to go on another field trip with Fulton's class to see the Princess and the Frog ballet at a local high school. It was fantastic! I got to see two bloggie friends' (Ashley and Beth) little girls dance. And they were beautiful! It made me want to relive my days on how I miss it {sometimes}.
  • The 2011 JLC HOLIDAY MARKET is almost here, which means I have been busy, busy, busy with meetings and preparations for the Personnel office.
  • We're painting the Living room. We've gone from a pale green which I've been looking at for 7 years to a great darker-appley-green. I have a pink sofa and have struggled with whether or not to recover it.'s cheaper to paint than recover so the walls are getting a face lift. I also painted the Smurf-blue yard sale dresser. I'll post on that soon too.
  • We took Ollie-bird to his very first USC football game. He had a blast with Sam and Fulton showing him the "ropes" before, during, and after the game. He held out until well into the 4th quarter. I could tell he was getting restless when he said at the end of the 3rd quarter..."Mommy, I'm done" Me: "With what, hon?" Oliver: "Da Gay-cocks, Mommy." He lasted a lot longer than I thought. But we made great memories that day.

Any who... That's where we've been and where we are. I'm soooooo looking forward to this week and celebrating Thanksgiving, picking out a Christmas tree, and moving into the Cantey Building for the Holiday Market.

{Lots}More to come...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Free THANKSGIVING Printable!

Go get it!!!
There's a free thanksgiving printable at!
Print a few for yourself and someone else!
Happy Monday, folks!

CTBaker Designs: Giving Thanks: It's been a VERY busy fall; LOTS of fun parties to help clients style, cute invites to design, and getting ready for the Christmas card rus...

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Forget-me-not Friday on Sunday

This is the wallpaper in my bathroom...

I share this with you because...

As I was taking a shower Friday, my little friend Oliver, who follows me everywhere was standing in the bathroom chattering, just as he always does. He was asking himself questions AND answering himself over and over like this---

Horsey scare me? Noooooooo
Doggie scare me? Noooooooo
"Squir" (squirrel) scare me? Noooooooo

So I joined in with his answers, having no clue where he's going with this.

"Lion King" scare me? Noooooooo
Tiger (it's a cheetah) scare me? Noooooooo

I continue playing along.

Birdie (it's a peacock) scare me? Noooooooo
Ducks (they're geese) scare me? Noooooooo

Wondering when this will end and why he's naming all these animals and the lion king, I poked my head out of the shower and saw him staring at the wallpaper and pointing out the animals. I just sat back and listened to him re-name several until he said---

Monkey scare me? (Long pause) Yeeeeeeeeeesssssss!

I guess we won't be potty training in that bathroom!

Love him! Could truly eat him with a spoon!!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Happy Halloween in The Acres

Happy Halloween from the Bakers!!!

Papa Smurf and Smurfette

Little Mummies

Monday morning I "liked" a friend's FB status who said it best...Halloween seems to have been going on for days! I loooove Halloween, but we have truly been celebrating since Friday! We went to the annual Pine Island Carnival that Shan's parents take us to every year. It was FREEZING this year, and sprinkling rain. But we still made the best of it. I totally forgot my camera so I only snapped a few pics from my iphone.

Mummies in the Mist!

Fun with Cousins...Madeline-The Sweet Fairy and Kirstin-Progressive's Flo

Cotton Candy!!!
Sam and Kirstin getting ready to ride!

Did I really put my 9 year old on that ride!!!!

The boys got their cotton candy, popcorn, candy, etc. and rode several rides and went on the haunted hayride that they have a love-hate relationship with. It's a wonderful Halloween tradition that we look forward to every year and even with the misty rain and cold night we still had our usual great time!

Saturday was low key but Halloween-y, as the boys attended a party with some buddies at the Kvam's house. I sent Shannon with them, so of course I didn't get any pics...;-)! I got the house and porch all ready for Sunday with final spooky touches and mended their costumes from the wear and tear on Friday night. We made some Halloween cupcakes and all huddled up on the chilly night and watched {most of} the Carolina game together.

Sunday, before church I whipped up a fantastic batch of Pumpkin Waffles with Black Cinnamon Syrup. Yum! Such a nice fall treat and a great start to a wonderful day.

After church, I spent the day getting ready for our 1st EVER FAN Halloween Parade that my mom and I organized. You can read about it here. 
I made a big ol pot of chili and corn muffins for us to have after the parade. It was so chilly out and it hit the spot!
With the great weather and all the Halloween festivities and traditions, it was a perfect fall weekend!
Monday was as busy as ever, as I went on Fu's class field trip, finished our Smurf costumes, and got the boys all ready for the neighborhood party and trick-or-treating.
Here's Halloween night in photos.

Mummies "in character"

Our first trick-or-treat house-our awesome neighbor, Netta

All the neighborhood kids

Headed out on Dr. Ted's Haunted Hayride

Ollie with his BFF Hampton

Lilly and Ted as Princess Peach and the Mushroom
Their boys were Mario and Luigi
Fulton's turn to ride the hay

The dressed-up adults

Uuuummm how does this glow stick work?

Sam digging into his loot...already
Fulton and his buddy Thompson

Oliver's got the hang of it!

Takin' a break for a little snack

Last stop...Muzzy's!

It has been NON-STOP for days!
I am glad we can check all that off! Ready to move ahead...Maybe it's the Christmas commercials that are already on. Hmmm?