In 2015 I will…

Happy New Year!  Whether you flaunted your very best pajamas or donned your most sparkly dress, I hope you had a wonderful and safe evening.  It was like any other night at our house and I was in bed at 8PM.  I set an alarm on my phone for 11:55PM so I could watch the ball drop, but sometime before then my phone died so it never rang.  Whoops.

Last year I created a list of 14 goals in honor of 2014, but in all honesty, I revisited that list maybe twice.  Some of the goals were lofty {I definitely did not run a marathon} and the list was lengthy.  Plus, we received some very surprising, life-changing news in March which threw a wrench in my plans {in the best possible way!}.

2015 Goal Make It Happen

Over the past five years I got engaged, graduated from college, moved back to Virginia, became a fur mom, developed a love for running, switched careers, got married, and became a mom.  I’ve got a feeling that 2015 is going to bring all of those things together.

This year I’m keeping the same mantra “make it happen” as last year, but I’m focusing on just five simple goals.  They can be interpreted in a variety of ways and that’s the intention.  They’re meant to be flexible.

2015 Goal Adapt

2015 Goal Connect

2015 Goal Disconnect

2015 Goal Laugh

2015 Goal Trust

To be continued…

— Allison

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Favorite Finds: 10 Classic Christmas Cookies

I’ve done a terrible job this holiday season.  Our Christmas tree wasn’t up until Tuesday, the ornaments are still in boxes, our stockings were hung {with care} from the highchair, the two decorations on display were gifts we’ve received this past week, and I’ve done absolutely zero holiday baking.  Usually Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving in our house.  Next year I’m going to go all out.

Aside from the decorating, the holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends.  To share and engage in traditions that have been passed on from one generation to the next.  I’m not the best baker, but that doesn’t stop me from baking Christmas cookies.  It’s the experience that I love.  There’s something so magical about being in the kitchen, surrounded by sugar, and singing along with Mariah Carey.  I’m so excited by the thought of having Evie {standing on a stool} next to me in years to come!

10 Classic Christmas Cookies

I vividly remember my momma baking two types of Christmas cookies: chocolate crinkles and gingersnaps.  She’d arrange them nicely on a tray to take with her to her cookie exchange parties and would come home with buckets full of assorted iced, powdered, crinkled, and sprinkled cookies.  Throughout the following weeks we’d take a few bites of each, as if we were sampling a box of chocolates.  The bright green Corn Flake wreaths and butterscotch haystacks were always my favorites.

Tip: When searching for chocolate crinkle cookie recipes I learned that some people use Devil’s Food cake mix.  I’ve never tried it, but it could be helpful if you’re in a crunch for time.

This weekend Ryan and I are devoting our time to all things Christmas.  Taking Evie to meet Santa, shopping, decorating {even if it’ll be up for only a week}, wrapping, and baking.  Below I’ve compiled a list of my 10 favorite classic Christmas cookies.  Each recipe can also be found on my Holiday Pinterest board.

1.  Cocoa Crinkle Cookies by HERSHEY’S Kitchens

Cocoa Crinkle Cookies

2.  Gingersnaps by Chef in Training

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3.  Christmas Cornflake Wreaths by Tastes Better from Scratch

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4.  Butterscotch Haystacks by Nutritious Eats

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5.  Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Easy Icing by Sally’s Baking Addiction

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6.  Spiced Gingerbread Man Cookies by The Comfort of Cooking

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7.  Perfect Peanut Butter Blossoms by How Sweet It Is

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8.  Almond Spritz Cookies by A Girl’s Guilty Pleasures

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9.  The Best Snickerdoodles by Averie Cooks

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10.  Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate by Just a Taste

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Question:  What’s your favorite classic Christmas cookie?

Question:  Do you have any family traditions that you look forward to every year?

— Allison

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Thanksgiving 2014

Happy {day after} Thanksgiving!  I hope y’all had a wonderful holiday with your families and friends.

Yesterday morning while I was rocking Evie, I was struck with a strong feeling of thankfulness. Every year there’s something to be thankful for, but this year I feel more thankful than ever…

Ryan – for his devotion.
Evie – our little miracle baby.
Charlie – for his unconditional love.
Family – for their support.
Friends – for their generosity.
My body – for its strength.
My health – for defying the odds.
My career – for giving me a sense of fulfillment.
Travel – for making my life rich.

We celebrated at my momma’s house with a few family friends. I’ve been in charge of cooking the turkey and a few side dishes since high school and despite having 5-week-old, I kept that responsibility going.  I love spending time in the kitchen, especially during the holiday season.

Every year I mean to share a few of our favorite recipes, but for one reason or another, it never happens.  This year I wasn’t able to share any because of computer troubles, also why I haven’t shared Evie’s birth story {part II}.  Thank goodness I married an IT guy…  I think Ryan got everything back up and running.

Last night everyone brought their appetite because there were hardly any leftovers.  I’m not typically a big fan of leftovers, but I make an exception for Thanksgiving leftovers.  I’m hoping to remake a few dishes this weekend while the Thanksgiving ingredients are still in stores so we have some things to munch on and I can share the recipes with y’all.

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Question:  Did you travel for the holiday?  Where do you typically celebrate?

Question:  What’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

— Allison

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