HOLIDAY HOME TOUR

It has truly been so fun sharing our home with you and your family this season. With this being our final Christmas in this sweet little North Carolina home, I wanted to make it extra special for our family. I added little touches of Christmas everywhere throughout our home and the decorations even ventured upstairs this year which was so fun to do! So here is a little peek into our home for the holidays. My biggest tip : do whatever makes your house feel like home. However much, however little, do what makes your family feel the joy and believe in the magic of this season.

Thanks for checking our our home and Merry Christmas!

 
 
A wonderful Holiday treat: Bagel crisps + creamy brie + Trader Joe’s sugar plum jam.  Favorite holiday plates from Anthropologie last season,  but these are cute too!

A wonderful Holiday treat: Bagel crisps + creamy brie + Trader Joe’s sugar plum jam.

Favorite holiday plates from Anthropologie last season, but these are cute too!

 
My little coffee stealer.

My little coffee stealer.

 
Add a fun DIY orange garland in your kitchen for instant holiday spirit.

Add a fun DIY orange garland in your kitchen for instant holiday spirit.

 
Messy + beautiful.

Messy + beautiful.

 
Sisters, sisters.

Sisters, sisters.

 
Our holiday book collection was so fun this year! and so were the girls Christmas jammies. You can find the  book selection here  and the  jammies here.

Our holiday book collection was so fun this year! and so were the girls Christmas jammies. You can find the book selection here and the jammies here.

 
These were such a fun DIY. We add to our collection ever year with about 10 new ornaments. This is a DIY I learned from Aubry from  Hello Maypole  and is so easy! Just plastic or glass ornaments, pour a little over a tablespoon of acrylic paint into the ornament and shake shake shake until the paint covers the inside. I then added pretty little ribbon adornments to them all!

These were such a fun DIY. We add to our collection ever year with about 10 new ornaments. This is a DIY I learned from Aubry from Hello Maypole and is so easy! Just plastic or glass ornaments, pour a little over a tablespoon of acrylic paint into the ornament and shake shake shake until the paint covers the inside. I then added pretty little ribbon adornments to them all!

 
The sweetest magical moment from Hadley’s second birthday celebration. Twinkle lights + balloons + magic.

The sweetest magical moment from Hadley’s second birthday celebration. Twinkle lights + balloons + magic.

 
And here’s our 4 year olds birthday dream come true. Waking up to balloons over her bed was magical! And we also add to our paper snowflakes collection each year too!

And here’s our 4 year olds birthday dream come true. Waking up to balloons over her bed was magical! And we also add to our paper snowflakes collection each year too!

 
Our mantel is easily a favorite. It changes often, but it’s typically a mirror or large picture surrounded by trees. You can find the sources on my IG but  most stockings are found here  and  the mirror is here.

Our mantel is easily a favorite. It changes often, but it’s typically a mirror or large picture surrounded by trees. You can find the sources on my IG but most stockings are found here and the mirror is here.

 
Such a sweet moment captured on self timer of me reading my girls books.

Such a sweet moment captured on self timer of me reading my girls books.

 
Displaying vintage ornaments may be my favorite decor of all time. Just dreamy.

Displaying vintage ornaments may be my favorite decor of all time. Just dreamy.

 
Love the sweet smell of cinammon + cranberries + orange slices + nutmeg + rosemary + clove in our home over the holidays. Just bring to a boil then simmer.

Love the sweet smell of cinammon + cranberries + orange slices + nutmeg + rosemary + clove in our home over the holidays. Just bring to a boil then simmer.

 
Adding twinkle lights to the girls room was easily their favorite part of holiday decorations!

Adding twinkle lights to the girls room was easily their favorite part of holiday decorations!

 
The coffee wall was quite magical this season. Our neighbors came over and enjoyed some hot cocoa with us too!

The coffee wall was quite magical this season. Our neighbors came over and enjoyed some hot cocoa with us too!

 
Home Alone on REPEAT!

Home Alone on REPEAT!

 
Fresh garland in alllll the rooms. A classic.

Fresh garland in alllll the rooms. A classic.

 
These sweet girls just love this open area in front of our tree. This is typically where the train finds itself and it’s like my childhood all over again.

These sweet girls just love this open area in front of our tree. This is typically where the train finds itself and it’s like my childhood all over again.

 
This is our guest bedroom! and it’s been so sweet having guest enjoy teeny decorations in their room this season.

This is our guest bedroom! and it’s been so sweet having guest enjoy teeny decorations in their room this season.

 
Our formal tree is in our dining room and the girls have loved looking at these twinkling nights every single night and dancing like sugar plum fairies.

Our formal tree is in our dining room and the girls have loved looking at these twinkling nights every single night and dancing like sugar plum fairies.

 
Another look at our holiday book wall and the girls are wearing the best little antler ears from  Indy and Pippa Co here!

Another look at our holiday book wall and the girls are wearing the best little antler ears from Indy and Pippa Co here!

 
This is the girls’ playroom  (which most sources can be found here!)

This is the girls’ playroom (which most sources can be found here!)

 
We’ve loved sipping hot cocoa and stringing cranberries this season too!

We’ve loved sipping hot cocoa and stringing cranberries this season too!

 
and our  #HawthorneGirlsChalkArt  game is going strong.

and our #HawthorneGirlsChalkArt game is going strong.

 
GUYS! this pic was featured on  ANTHROPOLOGIE! do whattttt?!?! dream come true.
 
we have a tradition to “feed the animals” when they come out of ornament world hibernation. The girls love doing this so much!

we have a tradition to “feed the animals” when they come out of ornament world hibernation. The girls love doing this so much!

 
Probably my favorite capture of the entire season. Oh that evening light peeking in through our sunroom. Just magic.

Probably my favorite capture of the entire season. Oh that evening light peeking in through our sunroom. Just magic.

 
The girls’ twinkle lights in their room at night are so dreamy!

The girls’ twinkle lights in their room at night are so dreamy!

 
My office even got a little holiday spirit. But don’t pay much attention to my poor little plant! hahahah!

My office even got a little holiday spirit. But don’t pay much attention to my poor little plant! hahahah!

 

And there ya have it. A look around our home. This is our bedroom and just adding a simple wreath and twinkle lights completely transformed this area into my dreamland.

Night night!

 

Thank you so incredibly much for taking a look into our home for the holidays! If you loved this post or wanna reference it in the future, be sure to pin an image or this image above for an easy reference in the future!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and thank you for being part of our community!

XOXO, Amy

THANKSGIVING MEAL ROUND UP

 

So let me be really real here. I made this for myself, cause I want something easy to reference every year for Thanksgiving! And now I have it! It’s simple and perfect for the traditional Thanksgiving must haves. But I am all about sharing things that work for me with you! So that’s why I’d be remiss not to share this easy to follow guide for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

All you have to do is print this printable off, mark off all of the recipes / corresponding ingredients that you don’t need, add any additional recipes or substitutions, mark off all of the items you already have in your fridge or pantry and then get to shopping! I like doing all the dry items for grocery pickup and then I go get the frozen/fridge items and fresh items myself! If you’re really fancy, you can even print this off and laminate it for use year after year! Just leave it in a recipe book or in that kitchen “everything drawer” that everybody has and easy peasy lemon squeezy!

So here ya go; here’s my ultimate Thanksgiving shopping list guide!

YOU CAN PRINT IT STRAIGHT FROM THIS DOWNLOAD HERE!

 
 

***NOTE THAT THESE RECIPES ARE GENERALLY FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR TO SIX. YOU WILL NEED TO DOUBLE FOR LARGER FAMILIES OR FOR GATHERINGS.

 

MASHED POTATOES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and quartered

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 cup milk

  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes; drain.

  • In a small saucepan heat butter and milk over low heat until butter is melted. Using a potato masher or electric beater, slowly blend milk mixture into potatoes until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

TURKEY

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 fresh turkey

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme

  • 1 whole lemon, halved

  • 1 onion, quartered

  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise

DIRECTIONS:

  • THAW TURKEY DAY PRIOR

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the zest and juice of the lemon and 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves to the butter mixture. Set aside.

  • Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, halved lemon, quartered onion, and the garlic. Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.

  • Roast the turkey about 2 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil; let rest for 20 minutes.

  • Slice the turkey and serve.

 

HAM

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bone-in ham

  • 1/2 cup whole cloves

  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple rings in heavy syrup

  • 1 (4 ounce) jar chopped maraschino cherries

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).

  • Place ham in a roasting pan. Score the rind of the ham with a diamond pattern. Press a clove into the center of each diamond. Drain the juice from the pineapple rings into a medium bowl, and stir in the brown sugar. Coat the ham with this mixture. Arrange the pineapple rings over the outside of the ham. Place a maraschino cherry in the center of each pineapple ring, and secure with a toothpick.

  • Bake uncovered for 4 to 5 hours, basting frequently with the juices, until the internal temperature of the ham is 160 degrees F (72 degrees C). Be sure the meat thermometer is not touching the bone. Remove toothpicks before serving.

 

HOMEMADE STUFFING

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup butter

  • 3/4 cup chopped onion

  • 9 cups soft bread cubes

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; saute onion in hot butter until onion is soft, 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Put bread cubes in a large bowl. Season bread with salt, sage, thyme, poultry seasoning, and black pepper. Add onion mixture to bread cubes; stir. Pour bread mixture into a large casserole dish and cover the dish with aluminum foil.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until golden and hot, about 1 hour.

 

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE (OUR FAVORITE MEAL SO WE DOUBLE THIS RECIPE BELOW)

INGREDIENTS:

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed (equals 2 cans or 1 frozen bag) 

  • 3 tablespoons butter 

  • 1/2 pound button mushrooms, chopped 

  • 3 tablespoons flour 

  • 1 cup chicken stock 

  • 1 cup half-and-half 

  • 1 can fried onions

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, season with 2 tablespoons salt, and blanch the green beans for 5 minutes. Shock the green beans in a bowl filled with ice water, then remove and set aside to dry.

  • Melt the butter in a large cast-iron pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and some salt and pepper, and cook until just softened. Add the flour and stir to coat the mushrooms. Add the chicken stock, whisking vigorously to smooth out any lumps. Whisk in the half-and-half. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Check the seasoning and adjust with more salt and pepper as needed. Add the green beans, then pour the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

  • Bake for 30 minutes. Let the casserole rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with fried onions to lend some extra crunch. Serve.

 

CORNBREAD + ROLLS

Going easy here. I love the Target Krusteaz Gluten Free Honey Cornbread. Not doing homemade this year. And we typically do Pillsbury Grands Rolls or fresh bakery rolls.

 

CRANBERRY

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 1 cup orange juice

  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the orange juice. Stir in the cranberries, and cook until they start to pop (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat, and transfer to a bowl. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

 

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE (THIS IS WHAT WE CONSIDER OUR DESSERT SO WE DON’T GO TOO HEAVY ON SUGARY MEALS)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups sweet potato, cubed

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Put sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.

  • In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish.

  • In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.

  • Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

 

CROCKPOT CREAM CHEESE CORN (NOTE THAT THIS IS A LONGER RECIPE SO WILL NEED TO BE STARTED WITH THE TURKEY OR EVEN PRIOR)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/4 (16 ounce) packages frozen corn kernels

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a slow cooker, combine corn, cream cheese, butter, milk, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • Cook on High for 2 to 4 hours, or on Low for 4 to 6 hours.

 

MAC + CHEESE BAKE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni shells

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine

  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour

  • 2 cups milk not skim

  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

  • 2 cups of shredded cheese I like sharp cheddar and Swiss

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil; add a generous sprinkling of salt the pasta.

  • While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a skillet or pot large enough to hold the pasta when it's done.

  • Add the flour and stir over medium heat until the mixture is lightly browned; 1-2 minutes.

  • Add the milk and whisk to remove any lumps and add the salt and pepper.

  • Cook over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble. About 6 minutes.

  • Stir in the cheese and whisk until smooth and melted. Turn off the heat.

  • When the pasta is almost done but still firm, drain it and add to the sauce.

  • Stir the pasta into the sauce and bake in a greased 2 quart dish (or an 8x8 pan works pretty well) 20-25 minutes until browned and bubbly. You can also skip baking it if you want it super creamy and just put it under the broiler to brown the top (keep an eye on it) and then serve. 

 

GRAVY (AGAIN NOT DOING ANYTHING HOMEMADE HERE, USING THE MCCORMICK TURKEY GRAVY PACKETS)

 
 

I hope this helps you for your Thanksgiving shopping this season, and for many seasons to come! If this was helpful, be sure you pin one of these images to your pinterest board for future reference! And make sure you let me know in the comments if there’s another recipe you love that I didn’t include on the printable! I always love trying new recipes!

 
 

Hugs and happy baking! oh and HAPPY THANKSGIVING! WE ARE SO GRATEFUL FOR YOU!!!

XOXO, Amy and The Ever Co Family

MAMA'S CHRISTMAS LIST

I’ve been so excited to share with you my favorite Christmas list items this year!

Most of these items are very reasonably priced, but there is maybe (okay yes) one big splurge on there if you’re a coffee drinker. And honestly, this is more of a family present if you’re wanting to make an investment to have Starbucks-like drinks in your home!

I personally own 6 of these items, so they’re coming to you highly recommended. The other 6 are actually on MY Christmas list! (wink wink Blake. ;)

I hope you love these as much as me, and if there’s anything else you love and have on your list, share in the comments below! I’d love to see what you’re asking Santa for this year!

 
 

***EACH OF THESE ARE EASILY ACCESSIBLE AND CAN BE ADDED TO YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING LIST JUST BY CLICKING THE LINK WITHIN THE TITLE OF EACH ITEM!

 
  1. COMFIEST PILLOW EVER (SO I’VE HEARD)

    What I love: I have heard from SOOOOO many people that this pillow is amazing, and I’m also a big believer in Amazon reviews. Those people don’t lie haha! I also oddly enough have very bad allergies to many pillows, and with this one being hypoallergenic it’s a for sure Christmas list item for me!

    What they say: Made in USA. Fully ADJUSTABLE PILLOW with our PROPRIETARY MIX of SHREDDED VISCO ELASTIC MEMORY FOAM - ADD or REMOVE foam to adjust to your comfort, perfect custom made pillow each time - for all sleep positions. Allows greater ventilation - Promotes proper alignment allowing deeper sleep through the night. *PATENT PENDING. REST ASSURED - CertiPUR-US Certified foam. Our pillows are made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP, TCEP flame retardants, mercury, lead and heavy metals, formaldehyde, phthalates regulated by the CPSC, or CFCs. Our foam has been analyzed by independent, accredited testing laboratories. WHAT IS IN YOUR PILLOW? Our pillows meet the CertiPUR-US standards for content, emissions and durability, and are analyzed by independent, accredited testing labs. HYPOALLERGENIC & DUST MITE RESISTANT - allergy sufferers no longer need to compromise comfort! EASY TO CARE FOR - MACHINE WASHABLE - 5 Year Warranty - Guaranteed it will not go flat.

  2. BEST STRAIGHTENER (PERFECT FOR LOOSE WAVES) FOR THE BEST PRICE

    What I love: I’ve been in need of a new straightener since I’ve had the same one for about 10 years (since early college). I’ve heard great things about this one, so this is a must have on my Christmas list! MY NUMBER ONE REASON FOR WANTING IT THOUGH? -there’s an auto off after 90 minutes of non use. And to me, that’s worth it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally left my straightener on, and this feature is golden!

    What they say: LCD digital display. Safety auto off after 90 minutes of non use. Heat up to 380℉ at constant temperature in 15 seconds, takes less time to design a hair style and helps prevent damage.

  3. YETI MUG TO KEEP YOUR COFFEE WARM FOR LONGER

    What I love: We have this (both Blake and I have one) and for the mama who re-warms their coffee 8,000 times this is for you! It actually keeps my coffee warm longer and I don’t have to rewarm it! Plus they’re actually not bad looking which I love too! It also comes in a MILLION color options!

    What they say: The YETI Rambler 14 oz Mug is the toughest, most over-engineered camp mug out there. The full-loop TripleGrip Handle is comfortable for wider hands, so you can fit your mitts fully around your morning joe. Duracoat color means no scratching, peeling, or fading here. Vacuum insulation keeps cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot until the last sip. No sweat design say adios to damp or frostbit fingers. And of course dishwasher safe

  4. BEST REAL LEATHER TOTE

    What I love: Got this tote as an early Christmas/ Birthday present and can’t recommend it enough. If you’re needing a real leather tote that goes with ABSOLUTELY everything AND fits your laptop case, AND will hold up for ALL the years. this is it. Plus, there’s just nothing quite as amazing as the smell of fresh leather! The quality is perfection!!! Love that they’re made right here in the USA too.

  5. MATCHING FAMILY BASEBALL CAPS

    What I love: We also got these as an early Christmas gift for the girls and I and ohhhh my word, I can’t tell you how many compliments we received wearing them! They’re all made with the best quality and the blush pink color is legit perfection. The girls actually LOVE wearing theirs and I love that they will grow with them because the backs are adjustable! So it’s an investment hat for over the years! Plus the modern initial is just the sweetest!!!

  6. COMFIEST SLIPPERS EVER

    What I love: I’ve had these for 2 years now. They were my babymoon gift to myself before I had Hadley and they are my go - to slippers every day. I love that they have hard soles (which makes them totalllyyyyy appropriate for wearing outside the house haha!) The super soft interior is hands down the coziest ever anddddd I love that they come in a ton of color options! In my opinion, you can’t ever go wrong with Uggs! p.s. I also have these Minnetonka ones, and they too are highly recommended as I’ve had these for about 8 years and they’re still in perfect condition!

    What they say: A water-resistant suede slipper is trimmed with shearling and lined with UGGpure, a textile made entirely from wool but shaped to feel and wear like shearling.

  7. WIRELESS HEADPHONES

    What I love: I just signed up for another marathon next spring, so these are the gift I’m asking for to make my marathon training so much better! I am so tired of that stinkin’ cord for my headphones, and these will make all my tangle nightmares disappear! I also love that the reviews for these are amazing, which can always be hit or miss with electronic devices!

    What they say: Just take them out and they're ready to use with all your devices, put them in your ears and they connect instantly. Double-tap either AirPod to activate Siri, without taking your iPhone out of your pocket. 5 hours of listening time on a single charge thanks to the W1 chip. iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models with iOS 10 or later Apple Watch models with watchOS 3 or later Mac models with macOS Sierra or later. Made to keep up with you, thanks to a charging case that holds multiple additional charges for more than 24 hours of listening time. AirPods with Charging Case: More than 24 hours listening time,(3) up to 11 hours talk time(6). Need a quick charge? Just 15 minutes in the case gives you 3 hours of listening time

  8. PORTABLE PHONE AND CAMERA PRINTER

    What I love: I have been wanting this for a few years now and this year I’m really asking for it, because I really want to get better at documenting pictures (and not having them pile up on my phone or computer!) This gives me an easy quick way to print at home, but I ALSO love it because it’s such a perfect printer for putting pictures in my Bible for journaling! I want to start praying for specific people, and this is the perfect answer for that!

    What they say: Printing off social media photos has never been easier from your smartphone. Connect your social media accounts to the free-to-download HP Sprocket App and instantly turn those photos into colorful prints. A Social on-the-go portable printer: Sprocket uses seamless Bluetooth connectivity, so you can set it up at parties and events, and everyone can print their favorite moments from their smartphones or tablets

  9. COMFIEST PULLOVER

    What I love: I’ve been eyeing these for years, and I finally got one during a Labor Day sale this year! AND I bet they’ll be on sale so much during the holidays! So this is your time to get one or add it to your list if you’ve been eyeing them too! They’re super trendy, come in multiple colors AND of course the comfiest pullover ever!!!

    For reference, I am around 127 lbs and 5’4” and I got a size small and love that it’s more on the fitted side as seen in the pic below!

  10. CUTEST KITCHEN BAKING BOOK

    What I love: I am a sucker for cute coffee table books, and this one is just perfection! I obviously love pink, and this one is just the perfect touch to add to our cookbook collection!

    What they say: Home Baked is a beautiful collection of van Boven’s favorite baked goods—warm bread from the oven, sweet banana bread, a gooey cinnamon and caramel pull-apart loaf, rich chocolate cake, shortbread cookies, and more. And alongside these beautiful images of delicious treats, van Boven provides step- by-step instructions for how to make them in your own home. And she leaves no one out—working with different types of flours (including gluten-free) so there is something for everyone to bake. 

  11. BEST HAIRDRYER FOR THE BEST PRICE

    What I love: Blake bought this for me during Prime Day earlier this year, and can I just say I never knew a blow dryer could change your life! hahahah! It’s amazing how much time I save now by actually using a blow dryer that works well! I’m not kidding, this blow dryer is heaven sent and it works so quickly on the girls’ hair too! With a house full of girls with lots of hair (and a hubby with zero hair who just DOESN’T get it ;) It’s important for us to have a good blow dryer!

    What they say: Professional AC motor,1875W high speed could let your hair dry soon, lightweight than other professional blow dryer, perfect for thick hair. Negative Ionic, good for your hair and your healthy, resulting in softer, healthier hair with less static, great to use before flat iron

  12. BIGGEST FAMILY SPLURGE CHRISTMAS PRESENT

    What I love: I of course had to add one big splurge on here, and that’s our coffee machine that we get asked about allllll the time. If you’re a coffee snob, and love your espresso drinks from Starbucks, this is a must. Everyone that comes over to our house asks us to make them a cup, and it truly is Starbucks grade. We love coming up with fun new recipes, and we know this was an investment that will last forever. (p.s. it may even follow us to a coffee shop we plan on opening in the future. ;)

 

Rey to Z hats, Portland Leather Goods tote, and Abercombie pullover seen here.

 

p.s. if you loved this list, then you will also love my Life Hacks blog post, that is my #1 blog posts of all time! The items found here would also be AMAZING Christmas presents for you and your family, and they’re all cheap! So make sure you visit the blog post here to check out my life hacks on a budget. :)

life hacks.jpg
 
christmas list mama.jpg

If you loved this gift guide, or wanna save it for future reference, be sure you pin the image above to a pinterest board so you can come back to it! It means so much to have your support and to have you reading! I pour my heart and time in these posts, so your love and encouragement means more than you know! If there’s anything else on your list, let me know in the comments below. Santa needs some things to get too! ;)

Happy Holiday Shopping.

XOXO, Amy

 

FALL FOOD FAVORITES

 

I have been SO pumped to write this post!

#1, cause I’m a foodie. I love love love yummy food.

#2, cause I’m so excited to share so many recipes that others have mastered so that you can enjoy them with your family too!

#3, cause I just taught myself to bake and cook within the last five years. (When I was 26!) Five years ago I could hardly boil a pot of water let alone boil an egg. Practice and consistency is key! You too can learn to boil water! (hehehe) I hope this inspires you to step out of your (egg)shell! ;)

Disclaimer, we generally eat very healthy in our home - but I also believe in indulging every now and then. I think it’s good for your metabolism to mix things up, but more importantly … I think it’s good for your soul. So many yummy recipes can be altered to meet your diet restrictions and needs, so have fun with the holidays! Make something that’s festive! And if you’re typically picky or very restricted, have fun with baking something and giving it to someone else. I know someone will enjoy it!

p.s. I’m also excited to share our guest blogger today! Kelsey of Klos + Co will be joining us at the end of this entry with 3 AMAZING recipes for you to try with your family!!! Be sure to go give her some love over at her IG here! Thanks so much for pouring your heart (and hands) into those three recipes you shared, Kelsey!

 
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This yummy and EXTRA moist pumpkin bread is from my personal instagram account and was so so easy to make!!! It tasted like starbucks pumpkin loaf! We used it to BOO our neighbors!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 15-oz can 100% pure pumpkin (I use Libby's)

DIRECTIONS:


Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Generously grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with butter and dust with flour (alternatively, use a baking spray with flour in it, such as Pam with Flour or Baker's Joy).


In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk until well combined; set aside.


In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until just blended.


Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Continue beating until very light and fluffy, a few minutes.


Beat in the pumpkin. The mixture might look grainy and curdled at this point -- that's okay.


Add the flour and mix on low speed until combined.


Turn the batter into the prepared pans, dividing evenly, and bake for 65 – 75 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the loaves cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


Fresh out of the oven,the loaves have a deliciously crisp crust. If they last beyond a day, you can toast individual slices to get the same fresh-baked effect.

 

How adorable is this pretzel mix by Amanda Cruse?! And so simple!

This batch, we used: pretzel sticks, @theskinnypop popcorn, @chexcereal rice cereal, festive sprinkles & drizzled w. @ghirardelli white almond bark. Mix in a large bowl, spoon out onto parchment paper or cookie sheet, let harden for fifteen min & then break up into pieces. Store in a glass canister & snack forever! 

 

Cutest and simplest pumpkin crispy treats from the best blog The Mama Notes!!! We love Caitlin!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package of marshmallows

  • 3 tbs butter (or dairy-free butter alternative)

  • 5 cups of pumpkin cereal

DIRECTIONS:

Over low heat stir marshmallows and butter until completely melted. Immediately stir in cereal and remove from heat. Press into a greased glass baking dish, let cool and then cut into squares.

 

Another yummy recipe from my personal page, and this one is extra special cause we make it every year on my daddy’s Heaven welcoming anniversary. Chicken pot pie was his favorite.

INGREDIENTS:

For crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small (1 1/2 cups)

  • 4 medium carrots, diced small (2 cups)

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup frozen peas

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (15 ounces)

  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 2 tablespoons ice water); do not overmix.

  2.  Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour or overnight (or freeze, up to 1 month).

  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the filling: In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high. Add onion and carrots and cook until softened, 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add flour and stir to coat vegetables.

  4. Slowly add broth, whisking constantly until sauce is smooth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in peas. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in chicken and parsley. Pour filling into a 2-quart baking dish.

  5. On a floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Place dough over dish and fold overhang inward while pinching to crimp edge. Cut vents in dough. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling around edge, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

NOTES:

Roll your dough a couple inches larger than your dish: Folding it up and over, pinching as you go, forms a beautiful decorative edge.

To make potpies ahead of time, let the filling cool, then assemble and freeze for up to 4 months. Bake at 425 degrees, 1 1/4 hours (1 hour for small pies).

 
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MUMMY BARK! How cute is this from Creme de la Crumb?!

INGREDIENTS :
• 2 cups white chocolate chips
• 8 oreos
• candy eyes

DIRECTIONS:
1. Chop cookies into quarters and set aside. (Be sure to keep the bits and crumbs that fall aside when you're chopping the cookies).
2. Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on half power for 2 minutes.
3. Stir, return to microwave for 20 seconds at a time stirring after each until smooth.
4. Transfer 1/4 cup of the chocolate to a resealable plastic bag and set aside.
5. Set aside the large cookie pieces and add the rest of the bits and crumbs to the white chocolate and stir to combine.
6. Pour chocolate onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Use the back of a spoon to spread chocolate to 1/8 inch thickness. Press reserved cookie pieces into the chocolate.
7. Put the baking sheet in the fridge or freezer for 2-5 minutes until chocolate cools completely.
8. Snip the corner of the plastic bag and drizzle reserved chocolate over the cooled chocolate and cookies.
9. Press candy eyes into drizzled chocolate in pairs to create mummy eyes.
10. Return to fridge or freezer until completely cooled. Use a butter knife to cut into chocolate to break into pieces and serve or store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

 

Jessica Garvin never disappointing, especially with these pumpkin pie milkshakes! Oh yes!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups vanilla reduced-fat ice cream (such as Healthy Choice), softened

  • 1 cup fat-free milk

  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice

  • 3 tablespoons frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed

  • Pumpkin-pie spice (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Combine first 5 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Pour 3/4 cup ice cream mixture into each of 4 glasses. Top each with about 2 teaspoons whipped topping; sprinkle with the additional pumpkin-pie spice, if desired.

 

The prettiest and tastiest pumpkin pie from one of our all time favorite bloggers Heidi, and if you don’t already follow her - you MUST!!!

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE CRUST

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup shortening

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cold water

FOR THE FILLING

  • 2 cups mashed, cooked pumpkin

  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  • Prepare pie crust by mixing together the flour and salt. Cut shortening into flour; add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time (you may need only 3 tablespoons, or up to 4 tablespoons). Mix dough and repeat until dough is moist enough to hold together.

  • With lightly floured, hands shape dough into a ball. On a lightly floured board roll dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness. With a sharp knife, cut dough 1 1/2 inch larger than the upside-down 8- to 9-inch pie pan. Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer it right-side up onto the pie pan. Unroll, easing dough into the bottom of the pie pan.

  • In a large bowl, beat pumpkin with evaporated milk, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt with an electric mixer or immersion blender. Mix well. Pour into a prepared crust. Bake 40 minutes or until when a knife is inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean.

 

One of our favorite pictures of another one of her gorgeous pies, from one of our favorite people. We love you Casey!

INGREDIENTS:

2 batches of homemade pie crust (or 1 if you roll it out very thinly!)
7-8 small granny smith apples, peeled, sliced, and cored
1 stick butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:


1). Place the peeled, cored, and sliced apples in a large bowl. Set aside.

2). Preheat oven to 425F.

3). In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the 3 tbsp of flour and mix well, forming a paste. Add the water, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and mix well. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, then reduce heat to a simmer for an additional minute.

4). Remove from heat and reserve about 1/3 cup of filling for pie crust. Add remaining filling to apples. Toss well.

5). Pour apples into prepared pie crust, mounding slightly. Top with second pie crust (lattice design, etc). Brush the remaining 1/3 cup caramel filling over the crust.

6). Cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil. I lightly spray the foil so it does not stick to the pie. Place the pie on top of a cookie sheet (to catch any drips) and bake at 425F for 10-12 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350F and bake for another 50 minutes (remove the foil the last 10 minutes to let the crust brown), or until done. The pie is done when the crust is golden-brown and the apples are soft when pierced with a fork.

7). Allow the pie to cool before serving. 

 

Nothing overly complicated here, just the SWEETEST little BOO pancakes by the incredibly inspiring Raven Vasquez!

Get you some letter cutters from Amazon, like these, and cut out homemade or Bisquick pancakes! And the best part is, you can do this for every holiday! We also love using the cutters for cookies too!

 

This is from my personal account and it’s my all time favorite fall recipe! Butternut squash soup!!

It’s the perfect soup for cool days and it’s always such a hit! You can make it sweet or spicy too! Just by adding different flavors! This recipe is super tailorable which I love!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large butternut squash

  • 2 carrots

  • 3 stalks of celery

  • 1 large onion

  • 5 cloves of garlic

  • 6 sage leaves

  • 6 sprigs of thyme

  • 1 sprig of rosemary

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne red pepper powder (or less, if you do not want a little kick)

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 and 1/2 cups vegetable stock

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Peel, pit and chop the butternut squash into 1 inch squares. Add to a large roasting pan.

  3. Chop the carrots, celery and onions in big chunks and add to the pan.

  4. Peel the garlic and add cloves whole.

  5. Add the herbs, red pepper powder, salt and pepper. Add olive oil and toss to coat.

  6. Roast for 1 hour (or up to 1 hour and 15 minutes, if the veggies are not yet soft).

  7. Once the vegetables and herbs are roasted, add to food processor with 1 cup of vegetable stock and puree. Remove the stems from the herbs before pureeing.

  8. Pour mixture into a large saucepan. Add the remaining vegetable stock and stir well.

  9. Simmer on low for 10 minutes.

 

The CUTEST ghost pretzels from the beautiful Kendra of Hen and Co ! Super simple and only three ingredients!! (you can add whatever embellishments you want!)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 (16 oz.) package Vanilla CANDIQUIK® Candy Coating

  • Pretzel rods

  • Mini chocolate chips (sprinkles and eyes for more designs!)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt Vanilla CANDIQUIK in tray according to package directions.

  2. Dip ½ of each pretzel rod in the melted CANDIQUIK; allow excess coating to drip off and place on wax paper.

  3. Before coating has set, place two mini chocolate chips on as the eyes. For the mouth, cut off the tip of a mini chocolate chip and place on the pretzel with the bottom side facing up.

 
 

These ADORABLE ghost cookies are from my girl Haley of Indy and Pippa. Co! Are they not the cutest?!?!?! She actually got this cutter from the Target Halloween section, but I’ll share my all time favorite rolled sugar cookie recipe here that is sooooo easy to frost and make cute like these!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups softened butter

  • 2 cups white sugar (I use 1 1/4 cup and we still love them!) 

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 5 cups flour

  • 2 tspns baking powder

  • 1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

  • Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Here's my all time favorite cream cheese frosting!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter

  • 8 oz. cream cheese

  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 2 tsps vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  • Beat softened butter and cream cheese until well blended.

  • Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy.

 

THE FOLLOWING BY KELSEY KLOS:

Fall is here, or at least that is what I hear/ see every day on instagram. Fall is definitely my favorite season, leaves changing, the holidays upon us and of course, pumpkin EVERYTHING. I unfortunately don't get to experience all the perks of the season. Living in the Virgin Islands fall means, it gets even hotter, I have MAJOR FOMO of pumpkin patches and cozy sweaters and my pumpkin spiced lattes are homemade and iced (no Starbucks for me).

As soon as September hits, I have to get creative to make our home feel like fall. Obviously my regular coffee becomes pumpkin flavored and I defuse all the fall oil blends. But the biggest way to incorporate the season is in the kitchen.

I'm starting with treats for the girls! The first recipe I've been making for my daughter, Denver for breakfast for almost two years, and have been meaning to share. They are mini pancake muffins- great for an easy snack and a quick breakfasts. I used my normal recipe but added a fall twist.

All you need:

Mini muffin tins 

Pam non stick spray

1 packet of Bisquick pancake mix 

1 cup of water (I substitute milk for more protein)

Baby food (this is where I sneak in fruits and veggies! I usually use the leftover baby food packets my girls don't finish) For this recipe to add a fall twist, I used sweet potato and squash.

Cinnamon (add nutmeg and pumpkin spice for fall flavors).

Preheat the oven to 350 and mix together the above ingredients. Spray your muffin tins with Pam and scoop the batter into the tins! I use a melon baller for an even scoop. Bake for 10-15 or until they are done in the middle. I honestly never time these I just use my nose and a toothpick!

And that's it! I put them all into a ziplock and they last us about a week! So great to pair with fresh fruit in the morning, or make it extra special with a little powdered sugar and maple syrup!

 

The best thing to pair with these muffins would obviously be pumpkin spice milk, right!? Inspiration by The Ever Co t shirt I thought I'd whip up some pumpkin spice milk for the girls, while I have my latte.

It super easy, bring your choice of milk to a boil in a saucepan. Add nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of pumpkin purée. Constantly stir to dissolve the purée. Once it has a light orange color let cool and refrigerate. Serve cold!

I added some fun paper straws with a little ribbon to make hem extra festive!

You can also start with heavy cream, so the same processes and you have creamer for your coffee!

 
 

Now for the adults! 

My favorite thing to make in the fall is chili! It makes the whole house smell amazing and SO yummy! Of course, it has to be a rainy day for me to pull off or it's too hot! I really like this recipe because I like to use what I have on hand, substitute for what you got!

What you'll need:

A large pot

A small saucepan 

Choice of meat: we use either chicken (1 breast per person) or jimmy dean sausage (1 tube)

Tomato sauce or salsa (1 jar)

Chili flavor packet 

Veggies of choice. We prefer warm colored peppers, fresh corn, green beans, carrots. This can be as easy as you make it- frozen or canned veggie work just fine. If you have the fresh produce (and the time) go for it.

Beans* optional- we don't prefer them.

Spices: salt, pepper, basil, thyme, cinnamon

Rice or corn bread, which ever you prefer to serve your chili over.

Cheddar cheese and Sour cream for garnish

Another perk of this chili is you can start cooking it as early as you'd like! I really love putting in on the stove at nap time that way when everyone gets their second wind at 5pm I'm not stuck in a hot kitchen.

Coat the big pot in EVOO and put over medium/ high heat.

Add the meat and cook. Add 1/2 the chili packet, olive oil and water to prevent the meat from getting dry. When the meat is almost cooked through add any veggies that need cooked. This is where I add any fresh produce to get a nice brown on them. Then dump in the rest. The jar of sauce, the rest of chili packet, canned veggies, spices to taste, etc.

let simmer!

Cook rice as directed in a small sauce pan before serving. Shred cheddar cheese then finish with sour cream and serve!

Really the best part of fall is the weather gets cooler so you can snuggle your family and little tighter!

Cheers and happy fall y'all!

Xo

Kelsey

 
 
 

pro tip : If you loved any of these recipes, be sure to pin the image above so you can always reference this blog post for fall food favorites in the future! It’ll stay right on your pinterest board for easy reference!

Thank you so MUCH Kelsey for these yummy recipes and to all the others for sharing your gorgeous pictures with us online! You’re truly all so inspirational!

Hugs and Happy Baking, Amy

FALL BUCKET LIST

It's finally here! My favorite blog post of the year : Fall (Halloween) Bucket List!

We go into full Fall mode on September 1st here to squeeze every bit out of this magical time of year that we can! From pumpkin painting to roasting pumpkin seeds to decorating your front porch with fresh pumpkins and mums, here you'll find a mixture of everything to help you celebrate every day like it's a holiday. 

So grab a cup of PSL (pumpkin spice latte), a hot cup of tea or some warm apple cider, cozy up with your favorite flannel throw, light a fall scented candle and join me as we look into a season full of bucket list adventures! 

You can download the bucket list here to print it out at home (or blow it up at an office store)! Then you can laminate it and mark items off the list as you make memories this fall. 

 
 

Create magical costumes via Becky Kimball

 

Winterize your garden via Makelle Ahlin

 

Watch spooky movies (Hocus Pocus is a fave!) via Jessica Garvin

 

Collect new mums via Katie Westphal

 

Make ghost pretzels via Kendra Henderson

 

Hay ride adventures via Caitlin Teal

 

Pumpkin carving sink baths via Melissa Brookes

 

Halloween coloring via Katie Prouty

 

Homemade cinnamon rolls via Caitie Newms

 

Dreamiest porch ever via Kindred Vintage

 

Searching for unique pumpkins via Kayla Sampson

 

Pumpkin patch adventures via Celeste Wright

 

County fair cuteness via Sarah Schneider

 

Pumpkin painting via Brittney McNutt

 

Pumpkin carving and display goals via Jessie Pennington

 

Farmers market fresh flowers via Liz Marie Galvin

 

Camping and glamping adventures via Sarah Schneider

 

Sweetest pumpkin painting via Amanda Rydell

 

Pumpkin seed picking and roasting via Amy Hawthorne 

 

Mum picking adventures via The Shine Project

 

Paper bat decorating perfection via Jessica Garvin

 

Outdoor movie night adventures via Between You and Me Signs

 

Butternut squash soup making via Amy Hawthorne

 

Spooky book reading via Stephanie Kursar

 

Spider web magic via Jessica Garvin

 

Perfect pumpkin finds via The Vintage Exchange

 

Simple fall decor via Hooray Everyday

 

Yummy spooky brittle via Albionfit

 

Family pumpkin carving via House of Lu

 

Spookiest pretty porch display via Urban Outfitters

 

Trick or Treating adventures via Cassidy Compton

 

Gorgeous apple pie via Casey Wiegand

 

Yummiest pumpkin pie via Heid Matson

 

Spooky books and Halloween jammies via Sarah Anderson

 

Leaf jumping adventures via Elsie Larson 

 

BOO cookie cutters via Raven Vasquez

 

Sweetest Halloween jammies cuddles via Calli Fox

 

Ghost pretzels via Stephanie

 

Fall wardrobe goals via Jessica Oakes

 

Pumpkin spice latte bliss via Jessica Garvin

 

Remember always, that as much as we want you to make memories and celebrate life with those you love most, never accept quantity over quality. Make the memories you make count. Chase after the quality of each adventure versus the quantity of adventures you create. So if you finish all 50 of these or just 2, make them count.

xoxo, Amy

FOURTH OF JULY FESTIVITIES

The week of the Fourth is such a sweet holiday for our family, because we always know Blake and I will have time off from any military obligations and can truly spend quality time together. 

It's been so nice to have daddy home and to enjoy celebrating America!

Here's a look into our week and all of the fun family traditions we have. We have LOVED following along with all of your traditions on Instagram and seeing you make memories with your loved ones! 

We started the week with a little dance party (to Party In the USA) to kick off our long week of fun!

 

On the night of the Fourth, we had our annual (tiny) front yard fireworks! We started doing this three years ago when Everly was just a baby and have loved having mini fireworks just for our little family!

KN2A3862.jpg
 
 
 
 
 

We also enjoyed some more fresh farm picked watermelon and drew the cutest fireworks chalk art! You can see more of my chalkart under the #hawthornegirlschalkart hashtag on Instagram! 

Funny story about this pic...I am the most horrible watermelon cutter ever. If I concentrate REALLY hard, I can make it look decent...but I can fly a helicopter; just don't ask me to cut your watermelon. Ha! So, this time I just cut big pieces off and we ate out of it with spoons. And let me tell ya, it was just as delicious + juicy! 

 

With all the time off work, hubs and I took the girls out back and we had a blast playing ALL DAY in our little blow up pool! I grew up playing softball, and Blake's just a great athlete, so we spent a few hours throwing the ball in the backyard while the girls played monkey in the middle! 

 

Then came the fun part! Every year, for the past three years, our incredible neighborhood has thrown a huge Fourth of July celebration.  We have a huge Easter egg hunt and Friendsgiving (for Thanksgiving) as well. We live in a neighborhood pretty far out in the country, so it's a very small secluded one, surrounded by trees and the simple sweet sounds of nature! But it allows all of us to be more like family. We help each other out during deployments, take care of each other's dogs and kids, do house projects together, and the list goes on. I know because of this neighborhood I will never ever settle for a neighborhood we don't love again. 

This neighborhood means so much to us. Not only have we made the most incredible memories here with the best of friends, but we've also raised the girls here. It's the first house Blake and I have remodeled and truly poured our hearts into. We will be moving around December of this year, and our hearts are already trying to prepare for so much change and sadness that comes with moving every few years with the Army. We're just ever so hopeful that we'll find another neighborhood, just like this, where we too can start a new tradition of annual Fourth of July parties. We're so excited to continue this tradition somewhere else! 

For the party the house with the biggest acreage rents a huge bounce house/water slide and all the neighbors pitch in money. They also are the ones that buy all of the huge fireworks and we all pitch in money for that too. Their backyard is huge so all the dads tag team to put on the BEST fireworks show ever! It's truly incredible what a few thousand dollars and a bunch of great neighbors can throw together. Everyone brings food so it's potluck style and we all wear glow in the dark necklaces and it's basically a big Fourth of July kid friendly rave! It's truly the best time ever. We're gonna miss it oh so much. 

Here's a look into our very own backyard fireworks show! 

 
 

I also made these super yummy stuffed sweet peppers which is our favorite appetizer to make for Cinco de Mayo and Fourth of July festivities!

Ingredients:

  • 2 x bag sweet bell peppers
  • 1-2 8oz. cream cheese
  • 1 roll sausage (flavor of choice)

Directions:

  • Cut peppers in half and clean. 
  • Cook sausage until brown and add in cream cheese.
  • Stuff all peppers with mix. 
  • *You can sprinkle breadcrumbs or shredded cheese on top if you want.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
 

We ended the week with baking some good ole Fourth of July cookies to give to our brand new neighbors! You can find my favorite recipe here! 

 
 

Thank you for following our holiday celebrations and we sure do hope they inspire you to create traditions and make memories with those you love! 

KENTUCKY DERBY AND CINCO DE MAYO TRADITIONS

 

Being a Kentucky girl, we ALWAYS celebrate Derby day! But when it falls on Cinco De Mayo, it is a super duper extra special treat for us here at The Ever Co!

 
 

Blake, our Ever Co papa bear, LOVES LOVES LOVES him some Mexican food, and for Derby I always make an antipasto platter with Kentucky bourbon sliders! 

 

Rug: Rugs USA

Table Runner: Anthro (similar available at Target!)

 

So today, we're having our traditional Derby food for lunch and our taco bar for dinner! 

 
 

This morning we started the day with a milk bath for the girls and let them both take their horses in! They loved it so much cause typically their horses stay downstairs in the toy bin.  They're both not old enough yet to understand the Kentucky Derby, but they do both love horses! 

MILK BATH RECIPE:

  • 1-2 cups milk of choice (breastmilk, cows milk and powdered milk all work)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1-3 drops lavendar oil
 

Hair Clip: Ryan and Wren

 

We then turned on our ALL TIME FAVORITE show, SPIRIT: Riding Free on Netflix! Everly is absolutely obsessed with the show and Hadley just ADORES dancing to the intro song!

After some screen time, we always try to go outside to play before naps. We let the girls take their horses outside (something we also typically don't let them do) and it was precious watching them play with the horses after watching the show.

 
 

We gifted Everly her very first Spirit + Lucky set today and we think we've started a new tradition of giving the girls a new toy horse every Derby! It'll be so fun to see their collection grow over the years and it'll be something they look forward to every year...that is until they start asking for a real horse! :) 

 
 

During nap time, Blake and I watched Seabiscuit, one of our favorite movies! Tonight we plan on watching Warhorse to end the night after the girls go down to bed. 

A couple hours before bed we FINALLY got to watch the main event! The Derby!!! It is always so much fun watching the horses every year, and I can't wait to take the whole family to the Derby in real life one day!

After the Derby, we finished the night with the girls watching CoCo and eating our dinner which you can read about below! Our dinner was all about Cinco de Mayo. We just love making these traditions with our family. 

Now on to the food! 

For lunch, we made our traditional Derby appetizers/ lunches: antipasto cheese platters and Kentucky Bourbon sliders! (with a side of margaritas. :) 

Here's what I always get for my cheese boards! 

  • Smoked Gouda Triscuits
  • Ritz Crackers
  • New York Garlic bagel crisps
  • Salame
  • Proscuitto
  • Minced Garlic
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Capers
  • Kalmata Olives
  • Garlic dip
  • Mozzarella balls
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Feta
 
 

Here's the ingredients + instructions for the sliders!

  • Roast Beef or Beef Brisket (I used the Jack Daniels Beef Brisket from Walmart!)
  • American Cheese
  • Mayo
  • Hawaiian Rolls

For dinner, we made our traditional Cinco de Mayo taco bar! (with a side of margaritas yet again. :) 

 
 

Here's what I always get for our taco bar! 

  • Hard and soft taco shells
  • Multigrain tostito chips
  • Green Peppers, onions, red peppers (for fajitas)
  • Fajita chicken and beef
  • Ground beef or turkey
  • Corn
  • Salsa
  • Hot Sauce
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacomole
  • Refried Beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Mexican Rice

We sure do hope you've had just as much fun with your family celebrating both Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby! Next year, if you don't already, maybe you can incorporate some of these traditions with your family! We're big believers in celebrating everyday like it's a holiday and creating traditions that'll last forEVER! 

I'll end with some cute pics that we got of our little Hadley bug wearing her Derby gear. :) 

 
 
 

Hat: Target last year

Outfit: Thrifted

Shoes: Old Navy

 

xx, Amy + The Ever Co

SPEAKING THEIR LOVE LANGUAGE

This Valentines I've chosen to give more with less.

 

I'm a gift giver naturally, it's how I most comfortably show my love language.  But I've realized that not everyone feels loved the most in receiving gifts. And that's a hard concept to grasp! Our love languages aren't all the same, which is totally fine, but it can be a difficult concept for couples to figure out when we feel like we're desperately showing love and it's not being received. 

It's not only important to learn how you show love best, but it's equally as important to learn how your significant other receives love the best! Luckily, Blake and I have figured this out pretty well over the years and I know that while he may not need tangible gifts to feel loved, there's one tangible gift that goes straight to his heart.

And tummy. :) 

 
 
 

Food and sweets are the way to my man's heart. He got that sweet tooth from his momma. :) And while I may not be the best in the kitchen, I've learned so much from my mom and his mom over the years with recipes that they've handed down, and now I've become a self proclaimed chef! Now, I get lost in the kitchen (both literally and figuratively, ha!) but it's because I know just how much a good home cooked meal means to him. It's because I know baked goods speak straight to his soul.  His eyes light up at the smell of homemade apple crisp.  His smile widens at the sight of homemade cream cheese icing for his cookies.  He's such a foodie, so I've learned to show him love this way. 

 
 

You may have seen that I am transitioning out of Active Duty Army service to the Army Reserves this summer.  And with that comes a huge pay cut - a $6,000 one to be exact.  We've been revamping our budget over the last year, and have learned that happiness isn't found in our bank account. I've been learning that I don't need all the things all the time, and have mastered the fill the cart up but put it all back at the checkout line with one final pep talk with myself. (the cashiers hate me haha!)

So for the last year I've been strategically and diligently living with less, needing less, buying less and giving less.  Which honestly is super hard for me, because it's naturally what I love to do.  But I've realized that the decisions I make with our money now are going to have lasting impacts on our future. In the last year, we've realized the truth behind one cliche phrase after another.

 Money can't buy our happiness, but our memories can.

Hence, why we created The Ever Co. 

 
 

Writing is a lost art, and it's an art that my sweet daddy did such a beautiful job of teaching me.  I never want to lose the passion I have for writing, and I'm passionate about instilling the art of writing in our girls.  A handwritten note goes a long way. 

For Valentines I created these "I love you Most" printables (found here) for him.  All week long I'll bake tons of yummy goodies for him to come home to after work.  With each yummy surprise there'll be a card, and on the back a note that reminds him why I love him more.  A note that reminds him all the reasons that I fell in love with him in the first place. I've printed off a ton of these and have hid them all throughout the house for him to find throughout the week of Valentines, but also even long after! Cause I know just how much a note of love means when it's least expected.  There's something so special about the subtle surprise of words that pull on heartstrings. 

And now, I think we have a new Valentine's tradition. 

 
 

We're learning to live a more abundant life with less in our bank account. 

So we challenge you this Valentines (and for holidays after) to not necessarily go out and buy all the things, but to make something-create something-go somewhere, to do something that creates a tradition and that makes lasting memories for you and yours truly.  Sure they'll remember the coolest techy gadget, but will they remember a trip to the place your first met and a picnic even more? 

We challenge you to do things that have tons of meaning and make tons of memory.

I have a good feeling it'll be just as special. (your bank account will thank you too) ;)

 

With the printables purchase from our shop, you get all three of these designs for just $2.99 to print as many as you'd like at home or at an office store! We want to bring you affordable, modern + hip designs in all that we create! We guarantee you can't find these at Target. ;) 

 

Printables- you can find the printables here for just $2.99 in our shop! 

Our cookie cutters were found at Home Goods for just $3.99, but here's similar ones from Target for $8.99! 

Here's my all time favorite rolled sugar cookie recipe! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups softened butter
  • 2 cups white sugar (I use 1 1/4 cup and we still love them!) 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 tspns baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Here's my all time favorite cream cheese frosting!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract

Directions: 

  • Beat softened butter and cream cheese until well blended.
  • Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy.

Happy baking and note writing, loves!

xx, Amy

NEW YEARS BREAKFAST

Every New Years Eve breakfast, Blake makes us homemade biscuits and gravy.  It's a tradition we've shared for six years, and we are so excited to continue it with the girls as they get older! 

 

Here's the recipe for Blake's favorite biscuits + gravy:

Biscuits:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cubed butter
  • 3/4 cup (more or less if needed) milk

Gravy:

  • 1 lb. sausage (we use maple sausage, but if unavailable use maple syrup to taste)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2.5 cups of milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 °F.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Cut butter into mixture until it begins to look like cornmeal.

Make a well with flour mixture and slowly add milk into the middle. Knead dough with your fingers and add milk when necessary. Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to desired thickness. Cut with small biscuit cutter.

Butter bottom of skillet and place biscuits in pan. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Cook sausage until there's minimal red remaining.

Pour in milk and flour.

Stir well, turn to medium heat until boiling then simmer. Let sit until thickens to desired thickness.

 

Enjoy!!! And Happy New Years from us to you! 

 

fall and Halloween traditions

 
 

During the month of October, we love finding fun ways to celebrate the spirit of Halloween and fall throughout the month! We baked sugar cookies and cut them into pumpkins, painted fake pumpkins from the craft store and cooked pancake stacks with orange and black sprinkles! 

 
 

Here are some of our favorite fall activities:

·      Boo’ing our neighbors
·      Creating family costumes
·      Baking pumpkin pie
·      Butternut squash soup
·      Decorating with bats and webs
·      Trick-or-treating
·      Hay rides
·      Apple cider/hot cocoa
·      Roasting pumpkin seeds

·      Raking and jumping in leaves
·      Apple picking
·      Pumpkin patches
·      Halloween pancakes
·      Painting pumpkins
·      Pumpkin carvings
·      Baking Halloween cookies
·      Watching spooky (family friendly) movies
·      Reading spooky children’s books

 
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Below you'll see our two costumes this year! Charlotte's Web and Jurassic Park-family edition! We also went to the farmer's market, played in crunchy leaves and Boo'd our fairy garden!