Saturday, November 30, 2013

holiday cheer.


My most favorite season is upon us, friends. 

I absolutely live for this time of year--the decorations, the baked treats, gifting to friends and family, snail mail cards filled with seasons greetings, winter weather accessorizing, the overall cheerfulness in the air... I just LOVE the holidays! I'm a total sucker for cheesy Lifetime movies and overdosing on cups of hot cocoa during this season--it's obnoxious, and I refuse to apologize for it! 

Of all the holiday traditions, decorating is right up at the top. It should come as no surprise that Thanksgiving dinner had hardly been put away before we were pulling box after box from our teeny, tiny hall closet. Seriously, it's a Jenga puzzle to get all of those boxes back in there, but I don't care! There is decorating to be done!

Here's a little taste of the sights around our casa right now. I'm absolutely smitten with all of our holiday decorations and never tire of putting them out year after year after year. 

What are your favorite seasonal traditions? Is your decorating style over the top, or do you prefer to keep it minimalistic?

view looking toward the dining area.  
one day, i hope to have a mantel :)
until then, the entertainment console will have to do!
thanks mom, for the idea to add a glittery monogram to our stockings--i love it!
garland above the living room mirror.
small wreath i made several years ago on the antique bar cart.
it wouldn't be the holidays without home alone.
other cute finds from the target dollar spot!
large wreath detail on the front door. 

Happy, Happy Holidays friends! Enjoy every second of this beautiful season!

Cheers!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

baking with pumpkins.

Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and there are pumpkins EVERYWHERE.

And candy from those trick-or-treaters who never came.

Darn them.

Leave no pumpkin to waste (nor any fun sized Snickers bar!) and whip up this easy, pumpkin-based fall favorite from our kitchen. Whether you're like me and prefer all pumpkin guts (cleaned and processed, of course!) to come from a can located on aisle 12, or if you don't mind rolling up your sleeves and going after that gourd (or is it a squash?) yourself, these pumpkin-infused treats are hard to beat!



Pumpkin Spiced Muffins
These little devils could not be any tastier or easier to make. I learned this method a few years ago at a Weight Watchers meeting, and have been making them every fall since then. Instead of using oil and eggs, simply sub a can of pure pumpkin. The results are delicious and far less calories and fat than its full-flavor counterpart! You can easily sub the spice cake for any other box of cake mix, but something about the way the spice cake marries with the pumpkin yields a perfect medley of fall flavors. I made these last weekend and Spencer said they tasted like little bites of pumpkin pie. WIN!

Ingredients
1 box spice cake mix
1 (15 oz.) can pure pumpkin
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions
Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix until just combined.
Spoon into prepared muffin tins, lined with paper liners.
Bake according to directions on the cake mix.

That's it! These little guys are so moist and delicious. Your whole house will smell amazing while they are baking!
BONUS: They freeze really well, too. Just freeze leftovers in a sealed plastic baggie. Pop one out whenever you feel like it and microwave for 30 seconds.

..........

We both love these muffins! I'm thinking I'll make them again for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. Don't take my word on these, ya'll. Put them on your to-do list ASAP! :) 

Friday, November 1, 2013

exploring fall.

I've been quiet on the blog lately. It's certainly not that I don't have anything to say, because I can think of so many things I want to write about on a daily basis!

Instead, we've just been enjoying the peacefulness of fall. :)

I've been cooking more at night (Lean Cuisine's be gone!) and watching tons of Netflix underneath warm, fuzzy blankets. I've baked pies, muffins, and cookies and we've spent entire days on the sofa, just watching football. My wardrobe has changed from t-shirts and flip-flops to sweaters, skinnies, and riding boots. I've been knitting up a storm and seeing lots of friendly faces. :)



Speaking of knitting, it's finally cool enough here in Southern California to pull out the stash of hand knits! It's like Christmas morning every time I open that beloved drawer of knitwear. I really need to make a better habit of wearing what I make :)

All in all, we've both been taking it easy and exploring fall. Such a lovely, short-lived time of year that I'd hate to waste a minute of it!