Monday, December 31, 2012

Petite Vanilla Bean Scones

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This past weekend I had a hankering {I love that word} for a homemade treat. Then I saw the Pioneer Woman tweet about her vanilla bean scones. After scanning her recipe and calling our local health food store to inquire about real vanilla beans I was in business. The business of making vanilla bean scones. Yum.

Do you loves scones as much as I do? I mean honestly, I could eat one every day for the rest of my life and be pretty darn happy.

This recipe is just too good not to share with you guys, so here it goes.


Petite Vanilla Bean Scones

3 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, chilled
1 egg
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 whole vanilla beans
GLAZE:
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 whole vanilla bean

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrap out the vanilla caviar using a knife. Stir the caviar into the cream. Set aside for 15 minutes. 

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut cold butter into slices and use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the flour mixture. Continue until the mixture resembles crumbs. 

Mix vanilla cream with egg and combine with the flour mixture. Stir gently with a fork until it comes together. 

Turn dough onto floured surface and lightly press it together until it forms a rough rectangle. Mixture will be crumbly at this point. Use a rolling pin to roll into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Use a knife to trim the dough into a symmetrical rectangle.

Cut the rectangle into 12 symmetrical squares. Then, cut each square in half diagonally to form two triangles. 

Transfer each triangle onto a baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove from the oven just before they start to turn golden. Cool for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely before glazing.

FOR THE GLAZE: 
Split one vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the vanilla caviar. Stir caviar into the milk. Set aside. 
Mix powdered sugar with the vanilla milk, adding more powdered sugar or milk if necessary to get the right consistency. 
Stir or whisk until completely smooth. One at a time, dunk the top of each scone in the glaze. Transfer to the wire rack and allow the glaze to set completely. 


Enjoy!


{recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman}




Friday, December 28, 2012

Note Trunk {a giveaway}

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Today's giveaway comes from Note Trunk, a darling Etsy shop full of the most beautiful self inking and wooden stamps. I've had my eye on these for a little while now, so when I was offered to review a stamp of my choice and then in turn do a giveaway I was over the moon excited! 

Let me introduce you to the shop, Note Trunk. The beauty and brains behind this operation are Lisa and Robert, truly the sweetest people to work with. 


Today they are offering not one, but two very lucky readers a chance to win a gift certificate to their shop! Charming, right?


Here are just a few of my very favorite stamps they craft.



I had the hardest time deciding on just one. I had to call in reinforcements to help me. The Mr. and my sis, Bree each gave me their two cents to help me pick one. Want to know which one I chose? The stamp in the top right corner. 

My personalized stamp arrived incredibly quick and came in the most charming satchel, pictured in the bottom right hand corner. I was instantly in love. I tested it out a few times and I'm pretty sure my grin went from ear to ear. 

You guys, if you've been in the market for a stamp I'm telling you, look no further. You will be so blessed working with Robert and Lisa at Note Trunk. If you're not one of the winners, this is the perfect place to spend some of your Christmas cash. 

{I was not compensated for this post, I was simply given product to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.}







Thursday, December 27, 2012

Double Chocolate Dipped Cookies

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I'm back today after a whirlwind of Christmas celebrations that I'm still reeling from. I intend on posting a little recap about our wonderful time with family, but not quite yet. 

I want to share a recipe with you that we made for a Christmas party that was a HUGE hit! 

Awhile back I caught a portion of the Pioneer Woman's television show on Food Network. She was making Chocolate Cookies with Toppings. Oh my heavens. They looked incredibly scrumptious. I knew I wanted to make them around Christmas so they could be enjoyed by many. 


They were so wonderful! I will certainly make them again and again. 

Double Chocolate Dipped Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces white chocolate
4 ounces milk chocolate
TOPPINGS:
pistachios, finely chopped
M&M's chopped
Andes Candies, roughly chopped

Cream the butter and powdered sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, mix to combine. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix together until the dough comes together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out cookie dough and cut the cookies using a large rectangle cookie cutter. Re-roll the scraps of dough in order to use as much dough as possible. 

Place the cookies onto baking sheets and bake for 7 minutes. Do not over bake. Cookies will remain the same size and shape. 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on cooling racks. 

Melt the white and milk chocolate in separate bowls in the microwave. Dip half of each cookie into either bowls of chocolate. Immediately sprinkle with toppings of your choice onto just the top side of the cookie so it's able to lay flat. 

Allow the cookies to set on parchment paper before storing them in an airtight container or serving to your guests. 

Enjoy!


{recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

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{Our 2012 Christmas card from Minted}

From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!






 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

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Merry Christmas Eve, friends! 
I want to share an incredible video with you today. I hope you take the time to watch it and be blessed! 









Friday, December 21, 2012

High Five For Friday!

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1//Snow day in Wisconsin
2//My newest Essie color obsession; where's my chauffeur
3//A Christmas Cookie Link Up {there's still time to share your recipe!}
4//Snow day brought on an abundance of snuggling and watching Christmas movies
5//Christmas cookies for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack {can't get enough of them}

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snow Day!

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Today has been declared a snow day. The Mr., Fur Baby, and I are in for the day while Blizzard Brianna gears up to hit the state of Wisconsin. 

Our agenda for the day includes baking molasses cookies, watching Christmas movies, making a batch of my mother in loves chili, and just relaxing while spending time together as a family. 

I love snow days.

If you're in Wisconsin, stay safe and enjoy the snow!


{Check out my new sponsor, Stormy from Life's A Dance. She'll be hanging out at the bottom of each post for the next month!}


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Favorite Holiday Christmas Cookie {a link up}

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Today Kaitlyn and I are asking you guys to link up with us to share your favorite Holiday Christmas cookie recipe and we'll share ours too! 

I'm sharing a favorite that the Mr. and I make every single year; my sweet Grandma's Christmas Cut Out Cookies recipe. This recipe has been passed down for generations. She made this very recipe with her Mom when she was a kid, then she made them with my Mom, and my Mom makes them with us too. I can't wait to carry on the tradition! 

Every December we set up shop preparing the dough, letting it chill, rolling the dough, cutting out the shapes, baking the cookies, and the fun part, decorating! 

This year was no exception. We made 3 batches of her famous recipe and went crazy filling every inch of the kitchen with cookies!  And now? I'm eating Christmas Cut Outs like a mad woman. Morning, noon, and night.

Want to try them for yourself?


Grandma's Christmas Cut Out Cookies

3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening 
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Cream butter, shortening, and sugar. Add eggs, blend well. Add vanilla. 

Sift together flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Add gradually to creamed mixutre. 

Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. 

Roll out the dough on a well floured surface and cut out the cookies using Christmas cookie cutter shapes, re-rolling the scraps in order to use as much of the dough as possible. 

Place cookies on ungreased baking sheets and bake at 425 degrees for 6-8 minutes. 

Cool before frosting and decorating. 

Enjoy!

Christmas Cut Out Cookie Frosting

powdered sugar
butter, softened
milk
vanilla

Add ingredients together and beat until the desired consistency is met. It's one of those eye ball it recipes.


Now it's your turn!
I can't wait to see what delicious recipes you all share. 


Christmas Cookie Link UP








Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gift Giving Guide {for the Fur Baby}

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I'm sitting here eating Christmas cookies, thinking about what to get our sweet Fur Baby for Christmas while watching the snow fall outside. It's a great day!

I decided I would do one final gift giving guide, this time for the Fur Babies in your life. It's a compilation {I love that word} of our Fur Baby's favorite things as well as a couple items I think he would love! 

If you want to check out my previous gift giving guides here you go...
 

1//Gulpy Gulpy Portable Water Dispenser {this goes with us on almost every hiking adventure}
2//Favorite Sports Team Leash {Fur Baby is a dedicated Packers fan}
3//West Paw Design Zisc {Fur Baby's #1 toy pick, also guaranteed against dog damage}
4//Paragon Hedgehog Dental Chew {Fur Baby goes crazy for these}
5//Nina Ottosson Wooden Dog Fighter Puzzle {Fur Baby has mastered this}
6//Rover Dog Bow Tie Collar {Fur Baby wants this, he just doesn't know it yet}
7//Pal Dog Organic Calming Lavender Shampoo {Favorite shampoo for bath time}
8//Apple Cheddar Dog Biscuit Recipe {homemade treats are the best}

Remember to come back tomorrow for the Holiday Christmas Cookie Link Up!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Christmas Cookie Link Up Announcement!

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I have a pretty fun announcement for you all this morning. I am teaming up with Kaitlyn from Wifessionals to bring you a fun link up for the holidays! 

This Wednesday, December 19th, Kaitlyn and I will be sharing our favorite Christmas cookie recipe with you and asking you to join in the fun by linking up to share your own. Feel free to share the tradition behind your recipe or a special memory that might be associated with it as well.

I am pretty excited to visit everyone's blog on Wednesday and read about their favorite recipe, and of course add it to my little collection.
Who can't use more cookie recipes?! One can never have too many, in my opinion.

Tis the season to share cookie recipes with friends...I hope you'll join us!  The more the merrier. Alright, I'll stop with the Christmas one liners. 

Now go get your Holiday Christmas Cookie post ready and come back Wednesday to share it with us all!

 Grab a Button and Share!


Christmas Cookie Link UP

Wisconsin Blogger Christmas {a giveaway}

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My sweet blog friend, Stormy invited me to team up with a great group of ladies all from Wisconsin to bring you a pretty fantastic Christmas giveaway today.

Have fun checking out all these pretty gals. I hope you really take the time to get to know them.
Oh, and good luck!

{Check back a little later today for a second post that includes a very fun announcement!}

 

{Home Sweet Home Sign Is Handmade by Whitney herself!!}
Blog   Twitter   Pinterest   Instagram @whitmeza



{Christmas Goodies Include: EOS Lip Balm, Fleece Socks, Holiday Nail Polish, A Loofa & More}
Blog   Twitter   Pinterest   Facebook   Instagram @stormyann22

Blog   Twitter   Pinterest

 {Large ad space includes a solo guest post & optional giveaway}
Blog  Twitter   Pinterest   Facebook   


Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday's Letters

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{I found this on the Mr.'s phone. Apparently he snapped a picture of me at the Christmas tree farm without me knowing.}

Dear Followers, yes you, and you and you and you, every single one of you. I am blessed to have each of you following this blog of mine. You are the sweetest readers a gal could ask for. I am thankful for you! Oh, and just a heads up, I have some pretty great things in store for you all! Dear Mr., we were Christmas cookie baking machines this week. We cranked out several dozen cut outs for tomorrow's decorating party. Can't wait. Dear Christmas Shopping, I pretty much have you under control, just a few odds and ends that need to be ordered. I love getting you done early so we can enjoy the presents wrapped and under the tree. Dear Fur Baby, you are one of the odds and ends mentioned above. What do you want for Christmas? If you could tell me with your words that would be oh so wonderful! Dear God, this time of year is full of hustle and bustle. We're busy buying gifts for the ones we love, baking goodies, attending parties, and looking forward to spending quality time with family. I don't want a day to pass that I forget the true meaning of Christmas; Jesus. Your son's birth is the most important day, it marks the beginning of the greatest love story ever told.


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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Winter Must Haves

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Living in Wisconsin means we are blessed with exceptionally dry and cold winters. {I hope you sense my sarcasm.} As much as I love snow, I could really do without the bone chilling weather that brings cracking skin, static hair, chapped lips, etc. 

Since I can't change our climate I have learned to have some crucial products on hand. The products you see are items I use on a daily basis to get me through the winters here. I thought I'd share them with you today. Maybe you're looking for the perfect lip balm or a lotion that actually works? I've got you covered! 


2//Aveda Travel Size Hand Relief {kept in my purse}
4//Shea Moisture Organic Baby Healing Lotion {used on body and hands}
7//Tupperware Eco Friendly Water Bottle {it's the only way I stay remotely hydrated}
8//Arbonne ABC Baby Lotion {used on face, for sensitive skin}

I'd love to hear what products are on your must have list this winter! 


{P.S. I'm honored to be featured on The Vanilla Tulip today!}

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

We've Decked the Halls...

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Decorating for Christmas is something we look forward to as soon as the trees are bare. We eagerly anticipate Thanksgiving's arrival because as soon as that holiday has passed we are decking the halls. 

We spend the weekend after Thanksgiving watching Christmas movies, putting up the tree and decorating most rooms in the house with Christmas cheer. 

Here's a little peek at our what our house looks like for Christmas!


{Joining At Home For the Holidays link up!}

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Tree Farm Adventures of 2012

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This past weekend we embarked on a journey as a family. The objective: to create a memory, oh, and chop down a Christmas tree. 

Growing up as a kid I have always, always, always had an artificial Christmas tree. Let me repeat that. I have never in my whole life had a real Christmas tree!

This past weekend that was about to change, kind of. We were getting the tree as a family, but setting it up at my Mom's house. {The Mr. and I already have our beautiful, artificial tree up.}

My Mom found the most picture perfect Christmas Tree Farm; straight out of the movies. It was complete with horse drawn wagon rides and complimentary apple cider, coffee, and cookies. Did I mention how kind the owner and his employees are? The sweetest.  

My 80 year old Grandpa joined us in the fun. He was there to cross "chop down a Christmas tree" off his bucket list. He's the coolest guy around!
 
Here's our day in pictures:
 
 {keeping warm by the fire}

{the pretty gals taking us out to the Christmas trees}

 {the gang from left to right: Matthew {my Mom's sweet guy}, my Mom, Me, my Grandpa, Bree}

{headed down the trail}

 {trees, trees, and more trees}

 {my sweet Mr. and I}

 {sisters}

 {we found the winner}

{my handsome Christmas Tree hauler}

I'm just a little anxious to head back to the same Christmas Tree Farm next year to make some more memories!


Monday, December 10, 2012

iPad Mini {a giveaway}

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Are you excited? I'm excited! 
 
Today I'm co-hosting thee best giveaway in the whole wide world with the sweet and gorgeous Kaitlyn from Wifessionals {and all these pretty ladies pictured below}. 

We're giving one lucky person an iPad Mini this week!
1// Kaitlyn  2// Kaitlin  3// Meg  4// Samantha
5// Brandi  6// Emily  7// Allie  8// Emily
9// Karla  10// Laura  11// Carisa  12// Casey
13// Allie  14// Carolynn  15// Natalie  16// Jami
17// Anna  18// Traci  19// Lauren  20// Ashley
21// Andrea  22// Ashley  23// Christina  24// Melissa
25// Ashlee  26// Kristyn  27// Sara  28// Brittany
 
Black or White? You choose. Want something engraved? Sure!
All you have to do is use the Rafflecopter below to your heart's delight.
The giveaway will run through 11:59pm on Thursday (12/13), so get moving!!!!
 
RULES
1// Giveaway is open to US RESIDENTS only
2// Winner will be notified via email on Friday 12/14/12. You will have 48 hours from the timestamp on the email to respond, or a new winner will be chosen.
3// WINNER WILL BE VERIFIED. If you claim to have done a task you did not - a new winner will be chosen!!!
4// View the Terms & Conditions listed on the Rafflecopter below
Now why don't you enter and win yourself an iPad Mini! 
 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Santa Hat Party Mix {in a jar}

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Last year the Mr. and I made these as party favors for a Christmas party we hosted. We also dropped some off to friends and family as little Christmas gifts. 

We enjoyed working on this recipe together while periodically taking breaks to dance to our "Michael Buble Holiday Radio Station" on Pandora. 

We are hosting another Christmas party this year and our plan is to make these again for the guests.
Maybe we'll even have a repeat dance session!

Santa Hat Party Mix

For the Santa Hats
Sweet and Salty Caramel Bugles 
 Red Melting disks {found at Hobby Lobby}
Mini Marshmallows
White Nonpareils

For the Party Mix
{get creative and add ingredients you enjoy}
3 cups Mini Pretzels
1 cup Salted Dry Roasted Peanuts
2 cups Rice Chex
2 cups Holiday M&M's
8 ounces White Chocolate {for melting}

Melt the red melting disks, along with a tablespoon of shortening {this helps thin the melted disks}, in 30 second intervals on 50% power in the microwave until melted. Immediately start dipping the Bugles, using a fork to scoop it out and gently shake off the excess. Let the coated Bugles set for 10 minutes on parchment or wax paper.

After the Bugles are set, re-melt the red candy {if necessary} and re-dip just the bottoms {the largest part} of the Bugle into the white nonpareils. Next, re-dip the tip of the Bugle into the melted candy and top with a mini marshmallow. Set the Santa hats aside. 

Combine party mix ingredients in a large bowl and give it a good stir. Spread onto a lined baking sheet. 

Melt white chocolate according to package directions and drizzle over the party mix evenly. Transfer to the large bowl you used in the beginning and stir until mix is coated with chocolate. Transfer the party mix back to the lined baking sheet and let dry. 
When chocolate is set add the finished Santa hats into the party mix.

 Fill wide mouth Mason jars with the Santa Hat Party Mix or bring the mix in a festive bowl to a Christmas gathering. Either way, it's sure to be a crowd pleaser! 

 
Enjoy!

{recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups}


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gift Giving Guide {for the Guys}

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Today I bring you a gift giving guide for the gentleman, whether it be for a Husband, Father, Boyfriend, or Brother. 
I asked the Mr. to help me with this one and I'd say he did a pretty great job. 
The Packer beanie in particular is on his Christmas list this year. Some of the other items are staples in his life that he l-o-v-e, loves. 



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gift Giving Guide {for the Gals}

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Today's gift giving guide is for all those {girly} girls in your life; moms, sisters, daughters, best friends.

Once again, some of these items are on my own Christmas list and some are favorites of mine that are must haves in my book. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gift Giving Guide {for the Foodie}

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I am a foodie at heart. I love all things baking, cooking, and of course eating. I created this gift giving guide from some of my favorite things as well as things I would love to receive. 

From one foodie to another. I hope you enjoy! 


Check back tomorrow for another gift giving guide!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Result of my 2013 Planner Conundrum

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Remember my post about The 2013 Planner Conundrum?

Well, I'm happy to report I came to a conclusion. AND, I love my decision. 
Want to know which one was the ultimate winner in my book? 

Here's why: 

I love the ability to personalize almost every detail of the notebook you order. 
Below is the design I "created". 


Inside I have months and weeks. That is very important to me. I can't have one and not the other.

The size. It's perfect and incredibly light. I can carry this in my purse {a must} and/or tuck it in a drawer at home.

Remarkable customer service. I had an issue with their website while I was trying to order so I sent a tweet at them and got a response almost immediately. Then, I was given an email address to contact them and again, immediate response. 

Promo codes. I don't know about you, but I like to find deals and I enjoy knowing I got the best possible price. 
When I'm shopping online I rarely pay full price for anything. www.retailmenot.com usually has a number of different promotion codes for any website. I simply Google "may books promo codes", click on the Retail Me Not Google result and find a list of working promotions. For instance, when I ordered my May Books I used promo code "monolove" to receive a free monogram {worth $5}! Just the other day they had a promotion running for 50% off all orders, so I ordered another May Books to use at my office. 

If you're in the market for a new planner May Books comes highly recommended by me. Planners not your thing? They also have beautiful notes that can also be personalized. 

{May Books has no idea who I am or that I wrote a post promoting their products. These are my honest opinions.}


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Etsy Gift Card {a Featured Sponsor Giveaway}

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 I am so honored to have Teressa Mackey from Newborn Mama sponsoring This Beautiful Life. We hit it off as soon as we started chatting over emails. She is the sweetest, most down to earth Mama I've had the pleasure of getting to know. 

Today she is giving one of you {amazing} readers a chance to win a $25 Etsy Gift Card. Just in time for a little Christmas shopping if you ask me. I am all about supporting handmade shops, especially while gifting for Christmas. 

Please, please take a little time to get to know Teressa. Don't make me beg you, alright?
I promise you will love getting to know her.


{Have you ever seen such a beautiful mama? And come on, that baby boy is quite stunning!}

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