Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Dinner Party

This past weekend hubby and I had our friends Dory and Tim from The Doyle Dispatch over for dinner. I love to entertain and definitely don't do it enough, so I was excited to plan a yummy meal and get out all of my fun serving ware. Side note: I wish I could be that quintessential Southern woman who sets the table every night and uses my good serving pieces, but some nights I can not even get it together enough to have dinner at the table. Yes, I am talking about dinner on the couch. Oh dear, I feel like I have just revealed a deep dark secret to you. I will blame part of it on my profession (which I love), but after taking care of 17 other little people all day and running on full speed every moment, the only thing I want to do when I get home is put on my pajamas at 3:00 and laze around and do nothing relax and rest.

Annnnnway as usual, blah blah blah, I am off topic. SO--on the menu were some of my favorites, and luckily our guests seemed to like them too!

We started with baked brie. I topped it with cranberry jalepeno jam and pecan chips. This jam is so delicious and I have also served it over cream cheese as an appetizer. I got it from my friend who sells Wildtree. Have you heard of it? It is a fabulous company that offers quick, simple, and delicious food items AND all of their products are all natural and organic. So amazing! Here is her website if you want to check everything out. Seriously not a product promo, I truly love this stuff! Annnnnnyway....I served the brie hot out of the oven with some crackers and it was mega delish!

For our main course we had hubby and I's absolute favorite soup and a fall/winter tradition in our house: Ina Garten's roasted potato and leek soup (recipe here). Oh yummy yummy. Everyone must try this, and it doesn't really require too many ingredients or steps. The recipe is really simplified if you have an immersion blender because then you can dump everything in the pot and blend it up at once. Best.invention.ever. I didn't take a good picture of the soup served up, but you top it with these crispy shallots and fresh grated parmesan cheese {my mouth is watering...}.

With the soup I served a simple salad of baby field greens, pears, shaved parmesan, and dried cranberries, as well as some warm crusty bread with butter or garlic dipping oil (also from Wildtree).

For dessert we had chocolate lava cakes courtesy of Trader Joe's. Gotta love something you can take out of the package and stick right in the oven!

We were pretty lucky hosts, because not only were our guests our great friends who we really enjoy spending time with, but they brought us some pretty rocking host gifts. Hubby received the most ridiculously awesome beer/drink caddy that was handmade by Tim! Make sure you check out the super cool bottle opener he attached to the side. It was filled with some of hubby's favorite beers as well as a few Cheerwines. They know him so well. :) How amazing is this:

And lucky lady me got some homemade brown sugar scrub. Mmm it smells like sweet deliciousness and it is fabulous for my poor winter cracked hands. In fact its so good I think it could be used for more than hands. After my next shower I will be smelling like a out!

I hope you enjoyed visiting our dinner party!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Adventures in Christmas Wreath Making

Two Saturdays ago I went with two friends to Deck The Halls, an annual fundraiser for Hilliard House. You can read all about Hilliard House and this fabulous event here.

We got to the farm where the event was being held a little later than we had originally planned because that morning my friend Katie and I had been canning applesauce. This was only my second time canning and the process is still a little slow going. Anyway...

Once we got there we dove right in by getting our wreath forms and choosing our greens. The event was super organized and there were areas for each type of green, wreath accessories, bows, etc. We found ourselves a table and began crafting. Let me tell you it was really overwhelming. Where does a non crafty person begin with a pile of greenery and a metal circle?! Bit by bit is the answer. I didn't really have a "vision" but I slowly started attaching little bits. Here is what the start of my wreath looked like. Puny right?

Here are some pictures of the girls working on their wreaths:

This special creation has a story to go with it. Check out my friend Dory's blog over at The Doyle Dispatch for the low down on this:

Here we are with our finished products!

And here is my little wreath hanging on my front door. Its a little wonky, but not too bad for my first attempt. I wanted to go with the natural Christmas look, which is why I chose the pinecones and burlap bow. 

After our adventure here are some lessons we learned for next year:
1. Bring a folding camp chair. Standing over a table for several hours gets a little tiring.
2. Get there at the beginning so you can create all day. It takes longer than you think to make one thing and if you want more than one (you can make as much as you can carry) then you need a lot of time.
3. Bring a tote bag to easily get your creations home.
4. Go to Homemades by Suzanne in Ashland for lunch first because it is amazing. We were so sad we didn't think to do that this time around!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Liebster Award!

Super excited to share that my bloggy friend Samantha from Designer in Teal nominated me for The Liebster Award! Samantha and I found each others blogs through Virginia is for Bloggers, and she always has great things to share!

The Liebster award is given to an up and coming blogger who has less than 200 followers. Blogs are nominated by fellow bloggers, and while there is not an official organization that runs this or chooses a winner, it is a fun way for bloggers to get to know each other and discover new blogs. I have to say this motivates me to get off my tooshie and be better about updating this blog. Poor little thing has been ignored in the last few weeks.

Here are the rules:
1. Post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator sets for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Nominate 11 blogs that you love (also with less than 200 followers). Link them to your post and let them know they have been nominated.
5. No tag backs!

11 random things about me:

1. I am an only child.
2. I am always cold. Brrr even right this second as I am typing this.
3. I am a kindergarten teacher, but my bachelor's is in business and economics--weird quarter life crisis thing happened there...
4. I love sweets!
5. I took a class in college called the Chemistry of Winemaking (it was also a travel course to Napa). Also the start of my total appreciation for wine. Yum!
6. I joined Delta Zeta sorority in college.
7. I love to read and sometimes on the weekend or in the summer I will sit and read an entire book in a day.
8. I love to be outside. I like hiking, being at the beach, being in the mountains, sitting on my deck, laying in my hammock, eating outside, etc.
9. I am super sensitive and will cry or get sad over the smallest things: a sad commercial, something on the radio or tv, movies, books, a animal on the side of the road (squished), etc. It doesn't take much.
10. I have a thing for statement necklaces and love to spice up an outfit with a big gob-o-something necklace.
11. I do not like sports. At all. Ick. Call me an extreme girly girl if you'd like. ;)

Questions from Samantha:

1. Where is the coolest place you have ever vacationed/visited? Definitely Austria. Hubby and I went there with my parents the summer before last and it was amazing. It was so beautiful. We spent a lot of time exploring smaller cities and towns and everything was so charming. I cannot even begin to list everything I loved about this trip.

2. What is your favorite meal? Well in my family we call it a "pick-up". Basically it is just lots of little appetizers and yummies. The ideal pick-up includes different cheeses and meats, crusty bread, olives and other goodies from the olive bar (pickled veggies, olive tapenade, etc), and a good bottle of wine! Oh dear, I'm drooling...

3. What season do you enjoy most and why? Fall, fall, fall! I love everything about it! I love the cooler crisp air (I've always been a jeans and sweater kind of girl), being cozy, fires in the fire place, making soups and stews, baking, colored leaves, hot apple cider, apple picking, pumpkins, yummy fallish scents, and a million more things.

4. What is the best gift you have ever received? Hmmm for some reason that is tough for me to answer. I will go with my engagement ring because it represents the love and commitment between me and my hubby (Too mushy? Sorry friends.)

5. Do you prefer coffee, tea, or neither? I am going to go with tea. I have loved tea since I was little and can remember picking out a {decaf} tea bag from my Grammie's tea jar when we would go to visit her.  I went through a coffee phase last year, and while I still enjoy it, I am back to tea which has always been my fave anyway.

6. Are you an early bird or night owl? Neither. I need a good night's sleep to function and for me that means going to bed at a decent time and sleeping until a normal time (not the 5:30 time that my alarm goes off every morning). My hubby can attest to the seriousness of this! :)

7. What was your favorite subject in grade school? Science. I still love science and it is one of my favorite things to teach my students.

8. How did you come up with your blog name and style? I have always been a classic pearl kind of girl, but I also love a t-shirt and jeans. My family used to tease me about wearing pearls with everything, so the name was fitting. For the style I like cute preppy colors and designs plus I thought they matched the name well.

9. Cat person or dog person? Dog. I don't have any pets, but my preference is dogs. My dream is to have a male Yorkie that I will name Scooter. One day!

10. What does an ideal weekend look like for you? In my dreams...a weekend get away in an exotic place. In reality, relaxing at home. I am a homebody and love to be cozy at home reading, relaxing with hubby, watching a movie, or having friends over. The perfect weekend will also include spending time in the kitchen baking up a yummy treat and making a good meal that I wouldn't normally take the time for during the week. Some people may consider it boring, but I consider it perfection!

11. If you could live in any other era, what would it be? The 1920's. I love the fashion and culture of this time period.

The 11 {awesome} blogs I nominate!

1. Dory @ The Doyle Dispatch
2. Meggan @ Lila Grace
3. Luisa @LaBelleMadeleine
4. Anna @ My Semi-Charmed Life
5. Robin @ Our Semi-Organic Life
6. Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
7. The ladies @ RVA Brunch Club
8. Kristin @ Vignettes

Well I didn't quite follow the rules. :( Many of the blogs I follow have more than 200 followers and while I am still discovering new blogs every day this is all I could come up with right now.

Questions for the nominees:

1. What is one wish you have for your blog?
2. What is your favorite ice cream topping?
3. What is your dream vacation?
4. Cake or cupcakes?
5. What is your favorite accessory and why?
6. Windows down or air conditioning in the car?
7. What is your favorite holiday and why?
8. What is your favorite dessert?
9. What are two things you carry in your purse at all times?
10. Wine, beer, or neither?
11. What is your favorite style of food (Mexican, Italian, Asian, etc...)?

Well thanks for reading friends! I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about me. Take some time to check out these fabulous other blogs I have nominated!