Favorite 2012 DIY Posts

Hi friends! I hope all of you had a great weekend. We're still nursing our sweet baby H back to health as he recovers from the flu. He's doing much better and David and I sincerely appreciate your prayers and well wishes for our pea pod! And H gives all of you a virtual fist bump for the love : ) 

 While there is so much for me to reflect on from 2012 (more on that later this week), I'm popping in today to share my favorite do-it-yourself project posts from two-oh-twelve. It's been a fun year of DIY projects around these parts, that's for sure. In all honesty, I'd kind of forgotten all about some of these projects, so I enjoyed revisiting them. I hope you enjoy looking back too!

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10 Merry Holiday Mantels

You know what they call those of us who get behind on life? Big. Fat. Slackers. 

As a side note, I am way behind on reading emails, answering questions and (so sadly!) reading your blogs. I'm still learning how to incorporate raising a bambino with regular life, so please bear with me. This week, my sweet H has the flu (I know, very tough and scary for a four month old... prayers and wishes for a speedy recovery for my little man are greatly appreciated!) and next week, I go back to work (eek!) so please hold tight onto this little blog while we adjust. I am so, so grateful that y'all are out there reading and I can't wait to have more fun projects to dive into with y'all. Hopefully there will be a few fun things coming up in the near future.

So aaaaanyways, here we are, about a month after my holiday mantel link party and several days after Christmas itself, and I still haven't shared my favorite mantel picks. Womp womp.

While these may be a day late and a dollar short, they are certainly fun inspiration for next year! I've actually been pinning my little heart away, tucking a few of these bad boys in my pocket for next year. Without further ado, check out some of my favorite holiday mantels!

So who's ready to get started on their holiday decorations for next year?! : )

Merry Christmas {From A Naked Baby}

From our (naked) family to yours...

have a very merry Christmas!

*Yes, I was so that girl who put a picture of her naked, fat baby on our Christmas card this year. Of course, the real card had our real names on it I couldn't help myself... look at those rolls! Ho ho ho!

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pie Recipe {Christmas Cookies}

I promised several of you that I would post this recipe before this weekend, so here you go! These homemade oatmeal cream pie cookies were the star of my Christmas cookie party last weekend. I found the recipe on Pinterest but tweaked a few ingredients to make it my own. 

One major change I made was to add cinnamon to the recipe. I actually didn't bake the cookies with the cinnamon in them because I didn't realize they needed cinnamon until after they were baked. So for my party last weekend, I simply sprinkled a cinnamon sugar mix on the top of the cookies. While that little mixture was good, I'm sure the cinnamon would be delish baked into the cookie!

I N G R E D I E N T S 
-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-1/4 cup peanut butter
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1 tablespoon cinnamon 
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1 egg
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 cup quick-cooking oats
-2 teaspoons hot water
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 7 ounce jar marshmallow creme
-1/2 cup shortening
-1/3 cup powdered sugar
 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet; set aside. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, the 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon and the baking powder; set aside. 
2. In a large bowl combine butter and peanut butter. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. 
3. Beat in granulated sugar and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla just until combined. 
4. Stir in flour mixture and oats just until combined.
5. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons two inches apart onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light brown and centers are set. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.
6. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the hot water and the 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir until salt dissolves. Add marshmallow creme, shortening, and powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined.
7. Spread marshmallow mixture on the flat side of half of the cookies. Top each frosted cookie with another cookie, flat side down.

I hope some of you have a chance to make these this holiday weekend. They're the perfect Christmas cookie, so whip up a batch and enjoy them with your family!

Baby HDawg Holiday Fashion {My Little Guy Looking Fly}

I'm the first to admit that I haven't gotten my pre-momma mojo back in the fashion department since having baby H. I think that once I go back to work at the first of the year (eek! a couple short weeks!), that will all change. But in the spirit of linking up with our last Christmas Cheer in the Blogosphere post with Michaela today, I thought I'd spare you my yoga pants and give you a little taste of some baby fashion.

How cute is my kid? I mean, seriously. 

Back at the end of November (almost a month ago, so H was right at three months), David and I took HDawg to visit the Santa at Lenox Mall in Atlanta. We went on a Monday afternoon, so there were no lines. In fact, the entire ordeal only took about three minutes since H didn't exactly have a long list of toys to give to ol' Santy.

His button up, vest and matching argyle socks (my favorite part) are from The Children's Place and his jeans and moccasins are from Old Navy. I've been surprised at how many cute baby boy clothes they have at the ON. And cheap too, of course.

This was my favorite photo from the day. HDawg didn't cry, but he definitely was giving Santa the stink eye. I don't blame him, that big white beard is kind of creepy.

After Santa, we headed over to ride the Pink Pig, an Atlanta tradition. Back in my kiddo days, the ride used to circle around the top of the toy department in Rich's department store. Sounds fabulous, right? Now, it rolls around the floor of the mall parking deck under a white tent. Womp womp. But that's ok- David and I both rode the pig as babes, so we wanted our little guy to have the same Atlanta tradition. Of course, H was too young to be allowed to ride it, so all we got was a photo in front of it. Whatever works, right?

So there you have it, HDawg's fly holiday fashion. He told me to tell you that he's linking up with Michaela today and you should too... all the cool kids are doing it!

Christmas Vignette

One of my favorite architectural elements of our slate room is the fun ledge that runs along one of the window walls in the room. It's perfect for this lazy gal, who still hasn't hung a single piece of art on the walls of that room! Who needs holes in the wall when you can just lean stuff on the ledge?!

And Christmas decor is no exception.

I added some fun Santa-themed trinkets to the ledge, including a glitter "ho ho ho" sign I picked up in the dollar bin at Target a few years ago, a picture of my little man sitting on Santa's lap and a stuffed Santa.

I also filled up an Ikea shadow box with some tiny ornaments. Aren't they cute?!

I think this sweet and simple vignette brings some fun cheer to our living room, don't you? PS. You know you wish you had a gigantic changing table/pack n' play in your living room, don't you? Be jealous.

 Got any fun holiday decor spots around your house? Pop on over to Courtney's to link up!

Christmas Cookie Party {AKA My Weekend Sugar Coma}

There's really nothing that beats the dessert table at holiday functions. Cakes, pies, brownies, treats, cookies... mmm, the cookies. So when my girlfriends and I decided to get our crew together for a holiday shindig, there were no questions asked. Time to do a cookie exchange!

 In the chaos and fun of hosting all of our guests, I was totally a bad blogger and forgot to break out the camera. This time around, iPhone pictures will just have to do, I suppose!

David and I hosted the party at our house, so I decided to get things started by making a few different cookies. I made chocolate + peppermint dipped sugar cookies, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, gingerbread cookies and homemade oatmeal cream pie cookies. Oh yes, homemade oatmeal cream pies. They were Amazeballs, USA. I'll share the recipe on the blog later this week!

My girlfriends also made some awesome cookies, like Andes mint chocolate cookies and chocolate iced sugar cookies. Don't worry, I tried them all. Scrumptious.

Speaking of those lovely ladies, here we are in front of my rustic glam Christmas mantel. Aren't they all beautiful? I love my friends!

We had so much fun enjoying our cookies, drinking coffee and playing a dirty Santa white elephant gift exchange. I might have walked away with an iTunes gift card, woot. It was the perfect way to spend a rainy holiday weekend! And yes, I sent them all home with a Santa shaped gift bag filled with cookies. Gotta have something for the ride home! And tomorrow. And Tuesday. We had a lot of cookies : )

Now it's time to snap out of my sugar coma and jump on the treadmill, am I right? Or Santa won't be the only one with a tummy that shakes like a bowl full of jelly ; )

Psst! I announced the winner of the Lulu & Georgia mirror giveaway right here! Was it you?

 Also, don't forget that tomorrow is another big Christmas Cheer in the Blogosphere holiday link up over at Courtney's blog! She'll be hosting a holiday vignette party, so you can pretty much link up any of your holiday decor posts! Table settings... outside decor... that kind of thing. If it's holiday decor related, it's good for tomorrow's party!


 Yesterday, I sat down to write a post to apologize to y'all. I had promised you that I would feature some of my favorite mantels from the holiday mantel link party at some point last week. I had planned to tell you in my post yesterday what a crazy week I had and how life sort of got in the way of writing that post. Among other things, we had three house showings, I dealt with a nursing illness and little H had a really tough time with his acid reflux (particularly at night!), leaving David and I exhausted.

As I pulled my laptop out yesterday to explain all of this to y'all, I also flipped on the TV. Immediately, I was overwhelmed by the news of the devastation in Connecticut. Babies. Shot and killed. An unimaginable grief came over me as I experienced a national tragedy like this for the first time as a parent. The rest of the afternoon, I sat and cried with our President, holding my sweet baby on my chest and thanking the Lord that I had him to hold on to.

So, suffice it to say, I'm not worried about holiday mantels right now. And I feel beyond blessed that I have a sweet baby who just might sometimes keep me up at night. And a beautiful house to raise him in. And a wonderful husband whom I love very much. All blessings. All mine. I feel ashamed for having even considered them as stressful or negative at all. The Connecticut tragedy has certainly brought some perspective to my life, that's for sure.

This weekend, I'll be praying for the families in Connecticut. David, baby H and I have several holiday parties with our friends and families and I look forward to spending time with those I love. These are precious moments that I will treasure. I truly hope that you get to do the same. Have a great weekend, friends.

Healthy {Dairy Free} Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Nothing says "hello, winter!" like a fabulous chicken pot pie, am I right?! So a few years ago, when I found a recipe for a quasi-healthy version of this delicious comfort food in a magazine, I snatched it up and copied it into my recipe book faster than you can say "get in mah belly."
After making a few tweaks of my own, this recipe is becoming a classic in my household.
I N G R E D I E N T S :
1 lb. chicken breasts
1 tblsp. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
bag of frozen peas + carrots, cooked
3 tblsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white cooking wine
2 cups almond milk
1 tblsp. fresh thyme
salt and pepper
store-bought pie crust
D I R E C T I O N S :
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cook chicken in boiling water until cooked through, then shred.
3. Cook onions in olive oil in a saucepan until they begin to soften (approximately six to eight minutes). Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring, for one minute.
4. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about five minutes. Add the milk and simmer until the sauce thickens, two to three minutes.
5. Stir in the chicken, peas + carrots, thyme, salt and pepper.
6. Transfer the mix to a shallow baking dish and cover with the pie crust.
7. Place the pot pie on a baking sheet and bake until bubbling and the crust is golden, approximately thirty minutes.
8. Come to my house and share this delicious meal with me!
 Seriously. You have to share. It's that good.
So, what delicious winter recipes do you have up your sleeve? I want to see your fun recipes linked up over on Natasha's blog today, as part of our holiday link party!

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