Monday, December 31, 2012

Perfect Party Recipe Favorites

It's time to ring in the new year and these are two of my
favorite tried and true party recipes. I've shared them before and they are definitely worth repeating. They are both quick, easy and simply delicious!
Sparkling Cranberry Punch
Mix together:
1 bottle champagne or sparkling wine
1 bottle sprite
2 cans frozen cranberry juice

Add ice cubes and frozen cranberries. For a family friendly version, simply omit the champagne or substitute a bottle of sparking grape juice. This recipe is really versatile in that you can change the flavor by experimenting with other flavors of frozen juice and garnish with a complimentary fruit. You really can't go wrong. Cheers!

Sugared Pecans
1 lb. whole pecans (4cups)
1egg white
1 tsp cold water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
Use a fork to beat the egg white with water in a large bowl until frothy, then fold in pecans. Mix sugar, cinnamon and salt together, then mix into pecans. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour at 250 degrees. Stir occasionally while baking and again when you remove cookie sheet from the oven. Delicious warm, perfect for hostess gifts or goodie bags and they freeze well too. I guarantee rave reviews!

Wishing you all good things in 2013!
I hope all your dreams and wishes come true!

Friday, December 28, 2012

I got junk for Christmas!

I got what every girl dreams of for Christmas - a garage full of junk! More precisely, it's a garage full of architectural salvage and it's totally awesome!
And of course this junk comes with a story, so let's start at the beginning. About a week before Christmas, my husband and I headed out for a last bit of Christmas shopping. On the way, he said he wanted to make a quick stop. His company was about to tear down an old house and he just wanted to be sure the site was ready. When we pulled up to the site, I saw the excavator first.
It took me a few seconds to actually take notice of the house. "Seriously, you're tearing this down?" I was out of that car in a flash!
Do you see what I see?
Kevin walked the property and I peeked in all the windows. "Can we go inside?" He called his construction manager and found out that he had taken the key home with him and we wouldn't be able to get inside until the next day and that's when the house was coming down. I told myself that was probably for the best as I had a million and one things to do before Christmas. Rescuing architectural salvage was definitely not on my to do list just days before Christmas. Sigh!
The next day it was cold, rainy and just plain nasty outside. I was all cozy and warm baking cookies. Kevin called me from work and says that it was too muddy to work at the job site and did I still want to see the inside of the house. I turned off the oven, grabbed my boots and headed out the door, camera in hand of course. And the very first thing I saw when I pulled up to the house was Kevin pulling the shutters off the front porch. Now that's my guy!
And as expected, the inside of the house was pretty sad.
Yes, the vines were growing through the windows!

And sadly, the furniture was way beyond repair - broken and covered in mold!
But I was really intrigued with the doors and the hardware.
Supposedly the last residents had been college students.
Many of the walls were covered with graffiti. Just don't read it too closely!
It was clear that at one time this had been a lovely home. I loved exploring it. But Kevin had to get back to work. I had to get back to my cookies. The house was freezing. We didn't have any tools with us and we were not dressed for deconstruction. So sadly I left with just the two shutters from the front porch. The next day, the house came tumbling down. Kevin said the guys managed to save me a few of the porch posts if I was interested. At that point I may have mentioned a time or two (or three or four) that if he ever tears down another house, I expect advance notice and first dibs!!! Sigh!

A few days later it was the morning of Christmas Eve and Kevin wanted to deliver the porch posts to our storage garage. What? I thought he was crazy. The kids were home and it was Christmas Eve for goodness sakes! Well after much begging, prodding and getting the kids involved, we all headed to the garage. Quite honestly, I complained the whole way there!
Then the garage door opened and you guessed it, Kevin's guys had saved much more than the porch posts!
He said they did their very best to save as many architectural pieces as possible. I know they don't read my blog, but thanks guys!
These shutters were found in the basement of the house in great condition.
And yes, my junk had little red bows on it!
How cute is that?
Rust can be so sweet!
I just love the doors!
And today, I felt the need to drive by the job site and check it out. You can't even tell there was ever a house there. But I have some wonderful bits and pieces that were saved and will find their way to a brand new life!

I feel a bit silly for not figuring out what was up on Christmas Eve. I know I've mentioned it before, but I'm definitely married to one of the good guys. I'm a lucky girl! And on the way home from the garage, the snow started. I've already shared the story of our White Christmas here. Like I said, it was magical! Sigh!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A White Christmas!

I absolutely love snow and it's always a special treat when we have a white Christmas!
So when snow started falling during the afternoon on Christmas Eve I was totally thrilled!

We spent most of the day baking cookies. then headed around the corner for dinner with some very dear friends.

When we returned late that night, the air was so still and calm.

It was Christmas Eve and the snow just made it feel magical!

Instead of heading to bed, we headed outside to play!

And the night just wouldn't be complete without a friendly snowball fight!

We finally headed inside to gather round the trees.

I counted my blessings.
And it took my breath away!
I hope your Christmas was magical too!