Thursday, December 29, 2011

Egg Nog Coffee Cake

Hey all! (sheepish wave)

It's been awhile, but the end of school, our Vegas trip and the holidays took all my time and sucked it up into a black hole. I have a ton of posts I need to write, including my final 30 before 30 update because yup the big 3-0 happened.

I wanted to share a recipe with you, in case you have a New Year's brunch or (like us) still have another Christmas gathering to go to. When I made this, I completely forgot to take pictures, but I managed to get one picture of the last piece. My 13 year old nephew called it incredible. This is a Betty Crocker recipe, and Betty did not disappoint! The best part is that you can make it the night before and have just pop it in the oven in the morning!

Overnight Eggnog Streusel Coffeecake

Streusel Topping
1/3 cup sugar
1 T flour
1T softened butter
1/2 t nutmeg

Coffee Cake
1 cup  sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup egg nog
8 ounces sour cream (1 small container)
1 t vanilla extract (Betty asked for rum extract, I had vanilla)
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Eggnog Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2ish T eggnog

Mix the streussel topping in a small bowl and set it aside.

With an electric mixer beat1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup butter, or mix with spoon and get your work out in. Beat in 1 cup eggnog, the sour cream, vanilla and eggs until blended. Stir in 2 1/2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Spread in  a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle Streusel Topping over batter. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. (If you don't want to keep it in the fridge, just reduce bake time to 30-35 minutes) Let it cool and drizzle the egg nog glaze over the top.

Mine looks nothing like Betty's pictures. But it was delish!!!

Did you try out any new holiday foods this year?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My weekend: a little Christmas, a LOT of Running

This weekend the Mister and I headed up to Portland for an overnight adventure. Even though Portland is only about an hour away, we rarely go up there outside of holidays with my family, so this was a fun little treat for us.

Saturday we started by dropping the dog off at his hotel- or the local kennel. This time he seemed happy to be there, which is good I guess. Usually he pulls and tries to leave with us when we drop him off. I guess our little boy is growing up.

Then we headed up to Portland to pick up my packet for the half-marathon I signed up for on Sunday. The running store is in a cute little neighborhood so we walked around and found a yummy Hawaiian place for lunch/early dinner. I didn't take any pictures but this pretty much sums up our meals.
Then we checked into our hotel. Portland has a great mass transit system, and neither of us really like to drive, especially in traffic that is more than 5 cars, so we decided to hop on the MAX train and head down to the zoo. WAIT just a minute, it is December and it was well after lunch time so what is the point in going down to the zoo at night? ZOOLIGHTS!

Every year the Portland Zoo decorates for the holidays with tons of lights. The pathways are lit up, the trees are covered in lights, they have wintery themed decorations and they have tons of lit up animals (not the real ones). It is so fantastic. I have only been a couple times, and this was the first year that the Mister had ever been. He liked it well enough, except the wait to get on the zoo train. We waited over an hour. Boo.

So, our photography could use some help, but I think you get the idea.

The next morning we headed over to the Adidas campus and I got ready to go.

There were over 1900 runners signed up for this race. 1900 cold runners! The high while we were running was somewhere between 30 and 32 degrees. But, it was such a fun race! There were tons of costumes and tinsel and jingle bells and elves and Santas. So much fun!

Much like my Zombie Zumba outfit, I went for a Christmas shirt with my running clothes.
This was after mile 13, when the Mister found me. Yes I am smiling, because I was actually having fun!

The back of my shirt says "believe." I hope it gave some inspiration to runners behind me. (I just read that sentence again and I am not trying to say I was the fastest or even close to the fastest person in the race. I just think we all need some inspiration in a 13.1 mile run!)

I was running near a group of 6 people who might or might not have been 3 married couples. They were older than me, and it looked like they were having the best time. They were in Christmas-y outfits and I would see them stop in different places (like a bar, with a spectator holding a sign that said "you are all Kenyans" a group of carolers etc) and pose for pictures.

One of my favorite parts of big runs like this happens at the finish line. When I crossed the line, the announcer said my name. It just makes you feel like you won the race (even though I was well over an hour and a half behind the winner). It's just such an amazing feeling!
This is me after the race. (Cute right? ha!) Instead of medals, they gave us these silver bells commemorating the race. It was so cool to hear all the finishers ringing their bells at the finish line and at the after party!

The stats for this race (because you are dying to know):
Overall finish time and average per mile time- 2 hours 49 minutes (12:59 mile)
Overall place- 1705/1948
Age group place (females 25-29 my last race in this age group!) 177/196

There was a 72 year old man and a 70 year old woman that both beat me. You know what I say to that- you go old people. I hope I can still be doing these half-marathons when I am in my 70's!

One of the best parts of these races are the different inspirational shirts people make to run in. One that really kept me going was a woman's vest that had this phrase (or something really close to this) on it: "There will be days you don't think you can run a marathon. But there will be a lifetime of knowing that you have." So true.Two years ago I wouldn't have considered myself a runner, and it's still hard for me to say I am a runner, but I set a goal to finish a 5K and then I did it. Next up, I did a half marathon and a full marathon (NEVER AGAIN!!). Crossing the finish line is such a great feeling!

Are you a runner? Have you ever wanted to run a race? What is stopping you?

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Christmas Mantle

I found this fun little linky party over at alamode and knew I wanted to join the fun!

I have always loved decorating the mantle for Christmas. Growing up, starting around age 8 or 9, my "job" was to decorate our mantle for the holidays. My mom had a collection of brass candle sticks and bells that I would nestle in to a fake pine garland strung with white lights. I always felt so proud of it when I was done, and thought it looked so fancy. When the Mister and I bought our house I LOVED the fact that we had a fireplace and a mantle and I couldn't wait for Christmas to decorate. (Which was quite a ways a way since we moved in on Valentine's Day!)

While our tree is a "family tree" the mantle definitely has a theme: candy! You have already seen my peppermint wreath (a couple times now!) and it is for sure the star of the show, but the other little details are just as fun. Besides for the peppermint candy colors (red and white) I also lean towards the brighter green colors. (Dare I say it... lime!) Enough chit chat! Lets get to some pictures
Here's the whole shebang.

Here's our stockings. I couldn't find stocking holders that I liked, so I semi-DIYed a set. Actually, I did find some at Pier 1 for $20 or so a piece, which I just couldn't do.So I got a set (of 2!) plain stocking holders and hot glued an oversized ornament to one, and a decorative present thing to the other. The total for this little project was about $15 for both! The large vase is filled with some red and white sequined filler balls that I got after Christmas one year. I found the large stack of presents near the green stocking at Shop-Ko (do other people have Shop-Ko?) for 50% off. There are other random candy ornaments that I have picked up at Target over the last two years. This year they had the green ones so I got a couple.
The base of the mantle. Those are our engagement pictures

I love these Santas. Someday they will probably become a centerpiece for our
holiday table.

We use this basket to hold the remotes and our iPod chargers.
I think I picked this up at Michael's.
The one problem with decorating the mantle at Christmas is that I get real sad in January when I put everything away. We don't really have anything that we keep up there year round to replace it with. That is something that I need to work on!

Do you decorate a mantle for Christmas?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dare to DIY: Dare to Deck the Halls

My name is Casey and I can't stop crafting for the holidays. Phew. They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, right? I have already posted a few of these projects, with my tutorials (or attempts at tutorials), but for this weeks Dare to DIY party, I thought I would do an overview of my 2011 holiday crafts.

1. Wedding Invitation Ornament
Our wedding invite in an ornament!

2. Ornament Wreath
3. Christmas Card Holder
Empty frame+little bit of ribbon +super cute wrapping paper+ itty bitty clothes pins=
no more storing Christmas cards in a basket

4. Coming soon (?)
These super cute fabrics will become Christmas pillows... When I get the time to bust out my sewing machine and get it done.

What have you been crafting for the holidays?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

This weekend the Mister and I went the whole half mile down to the tree lot to pick out our 2011 Christmas tree. I love the idea of cutting down our own tree, and really living in Oregon, we have very little excuse not to. But, since we haven't started that tradition (maybe with future littles?) I do like supporting the local high school's senior all night party and buying our tree from there. The high school kids are super polite and helpful too, so its a good experience.

Growing up, our Christmas tree was decorated in an assortment of ornaments that were collected throughout the years and brought out every year. We would buy a new ornament or two every year to add to the collection. In high school I would see pictures of trees like these beauties and I always told my mom that I wanted a "themed" tree.

After college, when I got my first couple of trees on my own, I did do the "theme" thing. One year was all blue and silver and the other my tree was decked out in pink and lime green. I still think these trees are gorgeous. (I wouldn't call my pink/lime green tree gorgeous, but it was fun). My sister in law and the Mister's aunt also both do fabulous trees that could come straight out of a decorators magazine. I love looking at them when I am at their houses during the holidays. But, for the two years that the Mister and I have lived in our house, our tree is what I call a "family" tree. Our collection of ornaments grows every year. Each vacation we get a new ornament to go on the tree to commemorate the trip. This year as we were getting out the ornaments I smiled and remembered when we got each of them. I know someday when we do have littles that I will tell them the stories behind all of the baubles that fill our tree.

Here is our tree for 2011...

Since there are no littles in our life now, I will share some of my favorites with you all.

We got this on our Honeymoon. We spent one day in Disneyland

Yes this is a pickle. There is a German Tradition with pickle
I got this the year we got married in honor of my new last name.

We got this cutie in Hawaii this summer

I got this one the other day. Candy cane doggy bone? Love it!
I want to find an ornament that has some meaning in Mexican culture to honor the Mister's heritage (since my German heritage is covered with the pickle). And I need to find a cute kitty ornament for Allison. Also we have a trip to Vegas coming up, so there should be another ornament from that trip.

Do you do a "themed" tree? Or do you have a "family" tree?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dare to DIY... Dare to Give Homemade Gifts

It's week 4/6 of Kim's Dare to DIY blog party! This week she is daring us to give homemade gifts. I never know how to feel about giving homemade gifts. I LOVE receiving homemade things, but I always feel like the things I make aren't good enough or exciting enough to give.  I display my crafts here in our house, but I start to feel self conscious when I give them away as a gift.

Anywho, taking some inspiration from Pinterest, I decided to make coasters with Scrabble tiles. I knew I wanted to make these for awhile. My BFF and I have played Scrabble together forever. In high school we would play Scrabble after school, on the weekends basically all the time. That probably makes us sound like nerds. Maybe we were, but we were happy :)

The hardest part of making these was actually finding the Scrabble tiles. I looked for about two months in all of the thrift stores/Goodwill's around me pretty regularly. I thought I found a set once, but when I got up to the register to buy it, I opened it and there weren't any tiles in the box! I ended up getting a set from my mom, and I bought some tiles on ebay as well. You can also order some from Hasboro directly, but it takes like 6 weeks and by the time I thought to look it up, it would have been too late.

The Supplies
Scrabble tiles
Glue gun
Sheets of cork
A box knife

Each coaster is made up of 4- 4 letter words. (or a 3 letter word and a blank). Figure out the words you want to use ahead of time, and lay them out. If you only have one set of tiles, it might get a little frustrating because you only have a limited amount of letters. Since I was pulling from two sets, it made it a bit easier.

I cannot figure out how to rotate this picture! So frustrating!

After you figure out your sets of words, line up the first letter in the corner of a sheet of cork. It's really important that your first tile is lined up, otherwise the rest will be crooked too.

** I noticed a couple tiles were not the same size as others. For example one of the I tiles was shorter. There are plenty of I's in a Scrabble game so it was easy to swap out.***

Then glue all the tiles down, and cut the cork with a box knife.

I made 4 total. These two are "drink" themed. I made one with her name, her hubby's name, their dog's name (all four letters each!) and "BABY" since her daughter is 6 letters. I also made one with their daughter's name (on two lines) and her birthday "JUNE ONE"

I think they turned out cute, and because of our love for Scrabble, it worked for us.

Do you give homemade gifts? Do you ever feel self conscious about it?