gingerbreadEvery year since I turned three I’ve made these gingerbread cookies.  First with my mom, then when I came home from college, then once I started teaching I made them for my class, and this year they were the favors at Lydia’s birthday party.  They’re perfect…..not too sweet, and contain just the right amount of spices.gingerbreadIngredients:

6 cups of flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon of cloves

3 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ginger

1 cup of butter

1 1/4 of cup sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1 cup of molasses


Wax paper

cookie cutters



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and set the butter out to soften.

Sift the following into 1 cup of flour: salt, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and set aside.

Cream: butter, sugar, egg

Heat: 1/3 cup of water and then stir in baking soda. As it is still bubbling, stir in molasses.

Add molasses mixture to butter mixture and mix.

Add dry mixture and beat until mixed.

Add 5 more cups of flour (1 at a time), beat until mixed.

Divide the dough into thirds. Roll each piece into a ball and wrap in wax paper.  Chill in the freezer for 1 hour.

After chilling, roll each section of dough onto a floured surface and cut with a floured cookie cutter.

Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 8 -10 minutes then cool on a cooling rack.

gingerbreadAs obsessed with gingerbread as I am? Try this gingerbread martini recipe for the adults while the kiddos snack on cookies!


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2014-12-16_0006Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.

~Janice Maeditere

2014-12-16_0005The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.

~Burton Hillis 2014-12-16_0004At Christmas, all roads lead home.

~Marjorie Holmes
2014-12-16_0003“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

2014-12-16_0002“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

~Isaiah 9:6
From our family to yours………may you have a joyous holiday season!

/ photos by Shutter and Cut Photography /

She: dress / leggings / boots c/o Zappos /

He: jeans / shirt / boots /

Little: skirt c/o OshKosh B’Gosh / moccs c/o Whitney Norko Designs / tee / vest /

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Holiday Party Recipes: Chipotle Bloody Mary

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

#SeasonedGreetings #CollectiveBiaschipotle bloody maryWe hosted our first big party last weekend…..Lydia’s birthday party! As with any party around the holidays, we had about a million things to do beforehand……and wanted to be able to just enjoy the party with our guests.  So, this chipotle bloody mary recipe? Perfect! We made a couple pitchers, and created a Build Your Own Bloody Mary bar.  It was fun, and totally hands off.  Perfect for any party where you’d like a chance to relax and be with guests instead of mixing drinks! It’s my favorite of all the holiday party recipes I’ve tried this season!

The key to this recipe? Chipotle Tabasco Sauce, it adds a spicy layer to the bloody mary mix….without being too hot! We also had more hot sauce on hand….so guests could add more as they wished (we actually had four type of Tabasco)!chipotle bloody mary chipotle bloody maryChipotle Bloody Marys:

1/4 cup of lime juice

2 tablespoons of horseradish

1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons of Chipotle Tabasco Sauce

60 ounces of tomato juice

salt and pepper to taste


Combine in a pitcher, chill for an hour then serve.

To be served with vodka.


chipotle bloody marytabascoInterested in making your own chipotle blood marys? I got my Tabasco during my weekly Target run!730x100letitshine Welcome to Let it Shine!   Welcome to the new, revamped Funday Monday! After two years, we decided to rename our link up to something we felt was a better fit.  Welcome to Let it Shine! Why the name? Because, we want this link up to be just that…..your chance to let it shine! We will be sharing our favorites each week here, and on social media!

let it shine / Holiday Tutu / Holiday Look /  All About the Boots /

Another place we will be showcasing our favs? The Let It Shine Pinterest Board! let it shine hashtag_edited-1

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Gingerbread Martini

This Gingerbread Martini was crafted as a part of a sponsored post for Socialstars and Sweet’N Low…..but my obsession with making it AGAIN and AGAIN? All mine!


gingerbread martiniIt’s Mommy Juice time again……..this post series is seriously becoming my favorite……and now that Christmas is just around the corner….I had a blast experimenting with fun Christmas drink recipes.  After spending hours making this season’s first round of Christmas cookies, I was inspired to make a martini that tasted just like the cookie dough I’d been snacking on all day…….enter, my version of a gingerbread martini!

This was my first time making simple syrup……it was super easy, and I’ll be making a ton more flavors over the next few months.  The syrup itself makes a great holiday gift…..and the drink? DELISH!gingerbread martiniGingerbread Simple Syrup:

1 cup water

1 cup Sweet ‘N Low

1 tablespoon molasses

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon allspice

Combine all ingredients in a small pot.  Still until combined over low heat, then bring mixture to a boil.  Lower heat, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.  Once cool, can be stored in glass jars.

Gingerbread Martini

2  jiggers of gingerbread simple syrup

1/2 cup of skim milk

2  jiggers of vanilla vodka

Combine in cocktail shaker with ice.

Serves 2.

Enjoy!gingerbread martinigingerbread martini

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Five Minute Face: Holiday

holiday makeupTis the season! The season to rush from holiday event to holiday event……..and I feel like I’m starting to run a little ragged.  Between Christmas Teas, cookie swaps and holiday shopping….my days are jam packed.  Luckily, I’ve finally perfected a festive, holiday five minute face that is taking me from shopping trips to parties without a need to scrub, and start again. My summer five minute face post has been so popular, I thought y’all would like to see this one too!

The most important steps in a 5 minute face? Prep + Conceal, Enhance and Finish.

After some experiments, I realized a SUPER important prep for holiday events.  This year, I tried using Crest 3D White Luxe Supreme FlexFit Whitestrips…..and they made a HUGE difference in my holiday makeup application.  A bright smile left me looking refreshed, and I was able to get away with a simple makeup application.  My whole face looked brighter, and I was more comfortable with the attention a bold lip called to my mouth.  Trust me, these babies are effective……I’ve had professional whitening done…….and these lifted my teeth to a comparable shade, plus I didn’t need to book a babysitter.  Hooray for home treatments!

holiday five minute face

five minute face holidayOnce I had the base of a great smile…..creating my holiday five minute face was easy.  I prepped with a primer, and applied a light tinted moisturizer. A hint of nude blush was all that necessary to contour my face. After filling in my brows, I skipped eyeshadow to save time.  A cream nude eyeshadow base, brown liner and mascara were the perfect compliment to a bold, red holiday lip. And, after five minutes……I was ready to take on the holiday season!
holiday makeupGet $7 off your purchase of Crest 3D White Luxe Supreme FlexFit Whitestrips at

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thank you for support the brands that support this blog and our family.

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Christmas Gifts for a One Year Old

christmas gifts for a one year old

 / magnetic blocks / xylophone / alligator push toy / monkey poncho / garden activity cube / nesting and stacking blocks /

I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been asked what Lydia wants for Christmas.  In fact, at this point…..I was sort of at a loss. How do you decide on Christmas Gifts for a One Year Old? They can’t tell you what they want! She just had her birthday.  Plus, we have a TON of great toys that belonged to my nephews.  So, everytime people asked……I felt stuck.  Enter, Get Them Gifts.  Such a simple concept, but it really helped me out when sending our Christmas wishlists off to the grandparents!

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 6.54.10 PM

Get Them Gifts is a database of curated gift options.  Enter the recipient type, occasion, age, and price range…..and they give you a list of the most popular gifts.  Seriously, it’s genius! Each of these toys, I found using the database……and they’re all PERFECT Christmas Gifts for a one year old.  Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 6.54.29 PMStumped for gift ideas? You’re welcome….this is a game changer!

Thank you to Get Them Gifts for my gift ideas, and for sponsoring this discussion. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog and our family!

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First Birthday and OshKosh B’Gosh

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’gosh. I received an OshKosh B’gosh gift card to purchase product and to thank me for my participation. 


And…..just like that…..she’s one. Our baby is a toddler.  She’s talking up a storm, she’s drinking from a cup, she sleeps through the night (most of the time), she eats real people food, and she’s trying to walk. I feel like I blinked, and that first year was over.  Two of our friends had babies recently, and when I left my visit with each of them….I kept thinking, I barely remember Lydia being THAT small.  It’s amazing how much children change and develop during their first year of life….and how quickly as parents we adjust to their new norms (maybe that’s a survival mechanism….otherwise people would never have second children!).

Lydia is really small for her age, so we’ve been pretty lucky in the clothes department….she’s been stuck in the same size for quite some time.  And, not gonna lie….I wasn’t really rushing her into the new size.  So, when she finally got to the point of needing to size up…..I was on the search for a ton of winter basics!  It’s chilly here in Lala land…..and we needed some great layering pieces to get Lydia through the rest of the winter.

When I checked out OshKosh B’Gosh for a little online retail therapy….I was sold.  We all know Oshkosh B’Gosh, right? I mean, I practically lived in their overall growing up!  Well, I’d clearly been missing out….because they have WAY more than overalls.  I bought Lydia a TON of adorable, on trend pieces for winter. They are carrying soft cozy sweaters, comfortable leggings, and some of the cutest tunics and long sleeved tees right now! Plus, did you know that they offer up to a size 12? I thought Oshkosh B’Gosh only carried baby clothes!

Lydia is absolutely obsessed with this outfit….and so am I! The sweater is super soft, and stood up to the washing machine very well……her leggings and tee? Made it through an entire day……which is saying a lot for a one year old! They are comfortable, kid friendly, and looked absolutely adorable from breakfast to play date to dinner.

first birthdayOshKosh B’Gosh has started a holiday campaign this year encouraging us all to #GiveHappy! They’re reminding us to take a few moments this holiday season to give hugs, give smiles, give fun, give time… do all the little things that generate joy during this busy season. So, thought I’d give all of you a little happy……from family pictures, to parties, to holiday events and dinners….you’ll need new outfits for the little ones, right? From now until 12/31/2014 this coupon will give you 25% off at OshKosh B’Gosh!

Print the coupon, pull this post up in store, or use code GIVE25 when shopping online…..and enjoy spending a little less on special attire this season!

 / OshKosh B’Gosh Store Locator / OshKosh B’Gosh Facebook / OshKosh B’Gosh Twitter /

Follow their social media outlets….they post GREAT promo codes all the time!730x100letitshine Welcome to Let it Shine!   Welcome to the new, revamped Funday Monday! After two years, we decided to rename our link up to something we felt was a better fit.  Welcome to Let it Shine! Why the name? Because, we want this link up to be just that…..your chance to let it shine! We will be sharing our favorites each week here, and on social media!

a few of our favs 127

/ Hello Katie Girl / Grace in Style / Sincerely Jenna Marie /

Another place we will be showcasing our favs? The Let It Shine Pinterest Board! let it shine hashtag_edited-1

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Holiday Outfit

holiday outfitIn partnership with Zappos I styled my new Paige jeans and Freebird boots for the holiday season…… I the only one running from party to party this year? And for some reason, more and more of them are during the day! Remember when I shared the first half of my Zappos partnership last month? I styled my Paige Jeans and Freebird boots for fall.  Now, I’m excited to share how I’m remixing them for the busy holiday season.  Classic black and white pieces, plus a bit of sparkle……..they’re the perfect touches to my favorite jeans and heeled boots……for a look that’s stylish and comfortable when celebrating the season!

It’s amazing to me that this was the first time I bought anything but shoes from Zappos……I can’t believe what I missing out on!  My Paige jeans from Zappos are literally my new staple jeans…..and I have about 5 other clothing pieces from Zappos on my list to buy this month.  Their apparel selection is amazing….and don’t get me started on the accessories!

Now about these jeans…..I’m a bit of a jeans snob.  It takes A LOT for me to wear a pair of jeans on a regular basis. Paige was founded by a denim fit model… they’re obsessed with creating a great fitting, quality product. In fact, their goal is to create staples that you’ll live in.  Pieces that go from morning to moonlight, and create a confidence while being worn.

And my boots?  I’ve worn them to work for weeks now.  When I wore them in my fall fashion post, I shared that Freebird by Steven boots are handcrafted from start to finish, using a traditional Goodyear construction.  And now, I can testify to that stellar construction.  I rarely wear boots to work.  Teaching? On your feet. ALL day.  These stood up to the challenge! They’re comfortable and I got tons of compliments every time I wore them!

holiday outfitWant to see some other great shopping ideas from Zappos? Check out their Holiday Gift Guide!

holiday outfit holiday outfit holiday outfitPaige Jeans c / o Zappos

Freebird Boots c / o Zappos

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog and our family.

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Food Pantry Holiday Makeover

This post is sponsored by Walmart and The Motherhood.Walmart FPHM Campaign logo


“We live in the world’s wealthiest nation. Yet 14.5 percent of U.S. households—nearly 49 million Americans, including 15.9 million children—struggle to put food on the table.”

As a teacher in a high poverty area…..I see the face of hunger.  Unfortunately, I see it way too often.  So, when I hear about programs like Walmart’s Food Pantry Holiday Makeover…..I’m the first to volunteer to share info!

Food Pantries all over the country are in the midst of their busiest time of year…..the cold winter months and holiday season bring more and more hungry families to food pantries as we enjoy christmas parties and festive meals.  To meet the needs of familes, food pantries require a lot more than food donations.  In addition to having enough food, food pantries require storage and packaging plus methods for transporting their meals.

Walmart’s Food Pantry Holiday Makeover campaign is a nationwide campaign that is asking us  to support our local food pantries. Walmart will provide $1.5 million in grants to winning food pantries so that they can upgrade their facilities. The grant can be used to purchase new kitchen and storage equipment, furniture, paint, or other supplies that are needed to support food pantry operations and, in turn, the families they serve.

Want to be involved and support YOUR local food bank?

 Visit & cast one vote per day (24 hours) to help a participating food pantry.

The campaign will run online from Monday, December 2 (12:01 a.m. EST) to Friday, December 12 (11:59 p.m. EST). The 75 food pantries with the most votes at the end of the voting period will each receive a $20,000 grant. The winning food pantries will be announced on December 15.

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