December 22, 2010

Wordle: Blog Edition

One of Joy the Baker's readers created a wordle from words most often used on her blog. I was unaware that you could do that with a blog or website, so I was interested to see what the results from my blog would be. The bigger the word, the more often the word is used.

I love that the word used most is "thankful." This past year has felt more like a fog, a year I've been wishing away. But in the midst of crazy, sometimes difficult seasons, I had much to be thankful for. Such a good reminder.

I also noticed that the name Jesus is smaller than I would have hoped. I'll definitely work on that in 2011. If I have so much to be thankful for, the credit should be going to the one who provides all good things  - my savior, Jesus Christ.

And "cookie" is the second most used word? Really? That explains why my jeans have felt tighter this year. Maybe I'll cut back after the holidays. Maybe.

I'm getting so excited for Christmas!

I'm also really excited to see Garth Brooks in concert tonight.

(Highlights from our Christmas vacation to come!)

December 17, 2010

This Afternoon

Has been filled with lots of wrapping and lots of glitter on my floors.

This year I decided to add more color under the tree. I think I like it!

Such a fun time of year.

Have a great weekend!

December 12, 2010

Cookie Exchange

Last night I attended my first cookie exchange. I've been missing out! It was a wonderful evening filled with amazing cookies and conversation with a few of my favorite coworkers.

I ended up not making cookies at all. My last few attempts at baking have been less than stellar, so instead I went with a recipe that is almost impossible to mess up - Oreo Truffles.

Oreo Truffles

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 pkg.  (1 lb. 2 oz.) Oreo cookies, finely crushed (about 4-1/4 cups), divided
2 pkg. (8 squares each) Baker's semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Mix cream cheese and 3 cups cookie crumbs until well blended.
Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls. Dip in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.
Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

*I used crushed candy canes to top instead of the cookies.

My friend Jennifer hosted the event at her beautiful Nashville home. You can see her before and after photos and lots of other fun things over here.

I was supposed to attend another cookie exchange this evening, but instead Todd and I sat in traffic for nearly two hours when a snow storm decided to hit our city. Thankfully we made it home and can enjoy the snow from the inside of our home, and not the side of the road like a lot of people we saw tonight.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

December 5, 2010

Cross Country Update and Cookie Swaps

Last Thursday I left way too early in the morning for a 5am flight to Los Angeles. The next day I headed to New York. Because of some unfortunate events, I ended up in New York City alone after the band I had traveled with returned home. With several hours to kill, I decided to visit Manhattan solo. My hotel was five miles from the city and I couldn't leave without seeing "The Tree" or the storefronts on 5th Avenue. I have to admit, I was nervous. I don't know my way around Manhattan all that well. I can get myself to Anthropologie and Dean & Deluca and that's about it. I had never hailed a cab on my own. Just the thought of it made me consider hiding in my hotel room until it was time for my flight. But after a pep talk from my husband, I got over my fears, called a cab and was off to the city. I found a great little cafe for brunch. The artichoke and sun dried tomato frittata was incredible, not to mention the organic homemade breads. As I sat at my table with warm tea in hand, watching the people walk by, I felt confident and independent. I was handling myself well for a country girl from the Ozarks.

I strolled leisurely up and down 5th Avenue, taking in the unbelievable storefront windows. Such exquisite attention to detail. I stood for quite some time watching the ice skaters in Rockefeller Center, telling myself that I would be back to skate with my husband one day.

New York in December really is as magical as everyone says. I truly hope to celebrate the season there with my family someday soon.


Changing topics just a bit - this year I have been invited to two cookie swaps. I'm struggling with recipes because my last two attempts at desserts have not been successful. I'm not much of a baker. I think it's because the measurements have to be exact and the timing must be perfect. I get distracted easily. But I must bring something, so during my long hours in the airport, I found a few cookie recipes that might do the trick.

Todd would love these Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps.
Recipe here.

These Honeyed Almond-Cherry Shortbread Cookies look delicious.
Recipe here.

Recently I've had a slight obsession with Earl Grey tea. These Earl Grey Tea Cookies might be perfect as I'm sure they will be a nice compliment to the warm drinks that will be served.
Recipe here.

I'm so thankful to be home, pondering over cookie recipes and not stressing about flight connections and early call times.

I want to be very intentional with my time these next few weeks. This year has been challenging to say the least, and I want to go out strong. I don't want to spread myself so thin that I'm not able to soak in the precious time I have with family and friends.

I want to live in the moment and be, not do.

Now back to those cookies...