Chilly Outside...Chili Inside

1:40 PM

Seriously delicious!

One thing I like about this chilly weather is the foods that are so great to make and eat in them. While spending my daytime hours off (because I'm working night shift tonight), I made chili. I can almost hear you all saying "yum". 

This chili is a spin off of The Eat Clean Diet chili recipe. Made with all organic products it's doubly yummy, and great for you! It was made with diced tomatoes, white onion, garlic, kidney beans, chili beans mix, tomato juice, and bison. All purchased from our local Wegman's and farmer's market. It's so easy to make, give the ground bison a quick browning and throw the rest of it in the crock-pot for a couple hours, and you're set!

Enjoy! I'm off for a quick walk with the pups and then back to have a bowl of this chili myself!


Quick Visit "Home"

3:23 PM

The holiday season is always filled with lots of traveling to see friends and family. This week we made a quick trip "home" to Columbus, Ohio. Although, I haven't lived in Columbus since I was 18, I still call it home. There is something about Columbus that I love, you just have a good feeling here. Maybe it's the ability to see The "Shoe" (home of the buckeye's) from my parents house, driving by my high school, or knowing how to get anywhere without the use of my GPS that makes it feel like home. I love where we live now in Bethlehem, PA and quite honestly, wherever Kurt is makes it home to me.

We arrived yesterday to The Brake Family Christmas, a great tradition on the first Sunday after Christmas that has happened since my grandpa was a little boy. All of the Brake brothers and sisters get together with their children and great grandchildren yet, and celebrate the season together. We get together visit, reminisce, and get up to speed on what is going on in their life. I haven't been to one in two years, and man has it felt good to be there with everyone! However, I did get mistaken for being pregnant (seriously going to hit the pavement when I get home), and while holding my cousin and attempting to get her to sleep she was mistaken as being my child....this must mean that we NEED to get home more often.  Kurt even got to give my great aunt a iPad tutorial...she loved it!

We've gotten our fill of our favorite Indian food, and soon Chipotle, YUM!

This was just what we needed after the busy weeks that Kurt and I have had, and it's been great to actually see my husbud for more than just a few short hours a day.

I hope that you all are having a great holiday season, just don't forget the true reason for the season...our amazing Jesus!


The Days Are Flying By!

8:36 PM

Maybe it is just because I have so much to do this week, but the days really are flying by. Here we are just a few short days before Christmas and I am rushing to get everything done!

So much to do and so little time is what I feel like, but at the same time I'm not really stressed (which is a nice change!). I'm not sure if that I'm OK with things not getting done, or if I'm just too tired to really have it sink in that I might not get everything done..oh well! By this Friday I will have put in a 97 hour pay period (that's in two weeks), and boy am I feeling it! I think what is really getting me is having no set schedule at all. I love my job, and I love being a nurse, but it is so hard to work 7p-a7, and then turn around eight hours later and come back to work 3p-11p, then to come BACK to work the next day1p-11p. Such is the life of a new RN, you take what you can get, and I'm grateful for the hours I do get! Today was my one day off then back at it until Saturday morning at 7am...then I am free for a few days! In which we will head back to Ohio to visit some of the family from back there, which is going to be SO nice.

After putting in a few good hours shopping today, I think I have almost all of the shopping done, just a few small things left here and there. Tonight will be spent wrapping the gifts and making some homemade candy. Salted caramels, turtles, and buckeyes...oh my! 

So, in conclusion...I'm sorry for slacking big-time this last week...but it was a little hectic. I'll get better, I promise!

I hope you all are busy little elves and have all of your Christmas goodies ready!

Count Your Blessings

6:35 PM

Last night the hubs, pups, and I all got comfy in bed and fell asleep watching White Christmas (what an amazing movie!). This clip came on and it's probably one of my favorites, and my favorite  song from the whole movie...other than Sisters!

This movie just reminded me about the spirit of Christmas that we all forget about often, and that is to count our blessings. We often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season with the shopping, traffic at the mall, and what is the BEST gift that we can get for someone.

So instead of honking at that person who takes a little to long when the light turns green, or upset at the person who grabbed that last of the size medium shirt you wanted to get. Take a moment, breathe, and count the many many blessings that you have in your life!

Just for fun, here's the other song I was talking about!


Three of My Blessings

12:30 AM

Alright, so it's time to introduce three of the major loves of my life. 

First and foremost, Kurt, the most amazing husband (or "husbud", a term I have picked up from my mother in love) anyone could ask/hope/pray for. He really is the biggest blessing in my life as he keeps me as level headed as possible with I need to be, and reminds me to just relax. He served our country for five years in the Navy, and I couldn't be more proud of him for the service he provided. He's a giant goofball, and while sometimes I might give him that look of, "enough babe!" He knows that I would never want him to lose this trait. Also, his love of all things Star Wars is amazing, as well as his expansive knowledge of everything to do with movies is impressive. You'll hear more and more about him in blogs to come I'm sure!

Then we have our wonderful children, ahem, dogs...Bear and Bailey. 

Bear is the most laid back and well behaved dog I have ever owned. He listens, does what you ask him to do, and thinks a jaunt around the block is plenty of exercise. He's three and acts about 10, and is 120 lbs of pure love. We know he's a lab and looks as if he could be pure bred, but we have no clue as Kurt rescued him while he was stationed in Spain . Recently, we found our Bear is epileptic. We found out after experiencing three gran mal seizures with him, which were each easily the most scary five minutes of my life. He's started on medication and getting back to himself!

Bailey is puppy through and through. She just turned one at the end of October, and is very much full of puppy energy. She wants to be on the move and play ALL day, and night much to our dismay, but we still love her to pieces. She's our little beauty queen...and knows it. Bailey was a rescue as well, and she's a chocolate lab, something mix. I've never owned a female dog before, and wow are they different. I love her to pieces and I think God brought her into our life for a reason. She tests our patience daily and proves to us no matter how difficult it may be, stick with the training with her, and love her unconditionally. We love watching her change and grow into a great dog.

I sure do love my husbud and pups!

My Cup of Tea

1:00 PM

Super yummy tea, and can we talk about the amazing color it is!?!
Ok, so growing up I was never much of a tea drinker, at all. Recently in the last year or so hot tea has become my yummy drink of choice. On a rainy/cold day like today here in Bethlehem,  it is the perfect choice!
Teavana tea's are simply amazing!
While doing some Christmas shopping at the Lehigh Valley Mall, I came across Teavana. Now, this wasn't the FIRST time I've been to Teavana. It was my store of choice at the Kenwood Mall when we lived in Cincinnati, Ohio. I don't think I can express the excitement I felt when I saw it here in the Lehigh Valley. I went on in and decided I would just have to go ahead and get a little Christmas gift, just for me! 
Youthberry and Wild Orange Blossom Tea
After browsing the AMAZING selection of teas they have there (seriously there are so many choices, and you can blend pretty much anything you want together.) I decided to go with the yummy sample of Youthberry Wild Orange Blossom Blend . Maybe it's just my own little thing, but I think that loose leaf just plain tastes better. This tea is naturally slightly sweet, has a hint or orange, and an amazing berry flavor Not to mention, the smell that is in the air while this tea is steeping is to die for!
These lemon honey sticks are a staple when it comes to tea drinking.
Like I said before I was never much of a tea drinker until recently. When I started drinking tea, it was how I drank my coffee...with lots of sugar and extra "stuff" added to it. Now I've come to really love the flavor of tea! More often then not I can drink the tea straight up, and love it, but sometimes its nice to have a little hint of something extra in it, especially when you have a scratchy throat like I do today. So these little lemon honey sticks are the perfect addition to my tea! They are a little plastic straw that is sealed on both ends and has some lemon flavored honey inside, just waiting to be added to your drink of choice. I picked them up at our local Wegemans for a whopping $2.99...I think (don't hold me to that price!).They add the perfect amount of honey, as it's pre-portioned. Which is very helpful if you can be heavy handed like me sometimes. 

This is my cup of tea!


My Kind of Friday Night

10:01 PM

Vino + Crafting = My Kind of Friday Night. That's my kind of equation!

So, remember that really awesome craft idea that I had for displaying greeting cards, well I decided to pour myself a nice glass of organic wine
 (in a recycled material wine glass none the less) and gave it a shot! 

Supplies: wood ring, wood clothes pins, ribbon, glue gun, and glue gun sticks.
Yummy organic wine...seriously SO good!
These are the best wine glasses made from recycled materials!

I can't resist sharing the amazing deal that I got on these wine glasses. Four recycled glass wine glasses from The Bon-Ton on clearance for $1.99! 
Can't beat that!

On to the craft! So, I saw several different versions of this craft on several different blogs, and decided to just take my own spin on it. Basically, we don't have a fireplace or mantle to display the greeting cards that we get from all of our loving friends and family this holiday season. (ok, so we DO have a place to put them. However, it doesn't keep them out of reach from the pups.) We have lots of open wall space and figured why not take advantage of it!

Here is the end product!
I can't wait until this is full of cards!

I won't lie this didn't go off without a hitch...I had a few failed attempts at getting the clothes pins to stay attached to the ring, and switched the ribbon out last minute to some red ribbon that I had laying around, but overall I think it was a success! Let me know what you guys think!


Holiday Cards

8:41 PM

'Tis the season of Holiday cards! You've already received your Thanksgiving cards, you're getting Christmas cards and many more to come, and you may even get the "Happy Holiday's!" cards into the new year. I was trying to come up with a creative way to display all these cards (will see this post tomorrow), and realized that I hadn't ordered our cards yet. While following my good friend over at Lo & Behold I came upon this fantastic opportunity that she had blogged about!

Thanks to shutterfly (which we used for our Christmas card last year as well!) they are giving away 50 free cards to bloggers who choose to use their blog as an outlet to discuss their favorite shutterfly card! There are so many choices and so many of them are great, and since I already use it for my photo books for clients, I decided I should jump on the train and get going and get some free cards.

Here are some of my favorites!

Please feel free to leave feedback and let me know what you like best!
If you want to take part and get your 50 free cards go here!

"Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree"

5:34 PM

Kickin' off this blogging thing with the Holiday spirit! This week we put up our Christmas tree, and let me tell you, I love it! It seems that every year its a bit of an adventure to actually get the tree up and the way that you like it. First we went to a little Christmas tree farm here in Bethlehem, PA with most of the Emeigh clan in tow, after searching through the rows of Douglas, Concolor, and Fraser fir we decided on....the Fraser! Only to find out after getting it ALL the way back to be the most expensive tree on the farm.
Oh well! We LOVE our tree!

Ornaments from our first Christmas as well as from when we both were kids.

Once the tree made it home it was time to get it up and decorated...a challenge in itself. I don't know if this happens to your tree, but somehow between the ride home and getting it in the tree stand it becomes unable to stand up straight. No matter what we tried, it leaned forward and to the right. Our fix: a magazine and a devotional under one side of the stand and covered it with a tree skirt!

It's so great to be spending Christmas in our own house together, and I got in the decorating spirit. Here are a few other holiday decorations that I made/put up. Enjoy!

This was made from a vase from our wedding, peppermint candies,
and some flowers from a local craft store.

These little babies were a purchase that I made at our church's Christmas Boutique!
Love the maple scented taper in them.

Garland...that I think I've had since decorating my dorm at XU.

Great stocking hangers from Christmas Tree Shop...beware of that store, it's dangerous!

Stockings for a family of four: Me, Kurt, and our two 90+ lbs each of love Bear & Bailey!

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