Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

This year, we did two Thanksgivings. On Thursday, we did dinner with my mom, my grandma, and my youngest brother's family. On Friday, we did dinner at our house with M's family.

Here's a look at our weekend Instagram style:

I made mini-cheesecakes for Thursday's dessert and I also sent a few with my husband to work on Black Friday for my former coworkers who started their day at Midnight.

My brother deep fried the turkey. It was delicious! This is by far my favorite way to cook turkey.

I made my first ever pumpkin pie for Friday's dessert. It turned out great. Too bad everybody enjoyed the leftover mini-cheesecakes or was too full for dessert. M and I ended up eating the whole pie by ourselves over the course of the weekend.

It's already been requested that I make the mini-cheesecakes again for Christmas.

Of course, family time also means game time. We love to play Apples to Apples!

While I did not go out shopping on Black Friday, I did take advantage of the online sales and do some early shopping on Wednesday. I did look at the Cyber Monday sales, but sadly the things I know I want to buy are not deals today. Plus, my husband's workplace is offering a bigger employee discount starting tomorrow and their online site has some good offers that go through tomorrow, so I'll be ordering tomorrow instead!

How was your Thanksgiving? Do any shopping this weekend?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Social - 4s

Sunday Social

Name 4 jobs you’ve had in your life
  • Grocery store cashier
  • Retail department supervisor
  • Paraprofessional
  • First grade teacher
Name 4 movies you would watch over and over
  • The Princess Bride
  • Tangled
  • Pride & Prejudice
  • Bride & Prejudice
Name 4 places you have lived.
  • The house I grew up in in my hometown
  • Muncie while I went to Ball State University
  • Tampa, FL
  • Our current house in our hometown
Name 4 of your favorite foods
  • Pizza
  • Buffalo Wings
  • Warm chocolate chip cookies
  • Chips & Salsa from my favorite local Mexican restaurant
Name 4 things you always carry with you
  • Cell Phone
  • Wallet
  • Planner
  • Lip gloss
Name 4 places you have been on vacation.
  • Walt Disney World
  • Washington D.C.
  • Mackinac Island
  • Minneapolis

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Farm Rich Review

I recently had the opportunity to try some snacks and appetizers from Farm Rich and I wanted to share with you my experience.

Farm Rich makes frozen snacks and appetizers that easy to make and their variety ensures that there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Since M and I are big fans of mozzarella stick appetizers at restaurants, the first Farm Rich product we tried was their Mozzarella Cheese Sticks. We loved them! They were really easy to make. In fact, we even made them two different ways. I baked some the first time and then M threw some in our deep fryer one night for a snack. They were delicious either way!

I especially love that they are made with 100% real mozzarella cheese and the breading is seasoned just right. They're even a source of both calcium and protein.

Next, because we love pepperoni pizza, M requested that we try the Mini Pizza Slices. Again, these were very easy to make. I baked some up with the cheese sticks one night, but they can also be made in the microwave.

These were really tasty too. The pizza crust is stuffed with mozzarella cheese (100% real again) and pepperoni slices and some marinara sauce. I love that they use whole pepperoni slices so you can actually taste the pepperoni in every bite. Again, these are a source of both calcium and protein.

Will we be trying these products again? Definitely! I think Farm Rich products will be a staple in our freezer from now on. They were tasty, filling, and so easy to make. I can't wait to try some of their other products, like the Mozzarella Bites!

If you're looking for a wholesome, easy-to-prepare snack, I highly recommend Farm Rich snacks and appetizers!

Disclaimer: I was provided with free products to review for this post. All opinions are my own.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Free Card from Treat

Have I got a Treat for you today! (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

You may know that Shutterfly has a greeting card brand called Treat. They offer lots of great cards that you can personalize and send very easily on their website.

I recently used them to personalize a card for my friends Tricia and Ryan to congratulate them on the birth of their son. It was absolutely perfect and they loved it.

Tricia loves gnomes, so this was perfect!
I loved that it was easy to do and arrived quickly (I had it sent to me to give to them since we didn't know when the baby would arrive.) It was made on nice thick cardstock and I was impressed with the quality.

So, I'm really happy to share with you today a code for a free greeting card of your choice from Treat! They've got everything from Thanksgiving cards, to birthday cards, to anniversary cards, and even get well cards, in addition to tons of others.

Just use code TREATBLOGR today, Monday November 19 or tomorrow, Tuesday November 20 to get a free personalized card.

Now, I'm off to find a card to get for free!

What kind of card are you going to get?
Disclaimer: I was provided with compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Social - Thankful

Sunday Social

For this week's Sunday Social, instead of questions, we're talking about what we are thankful for in honor of Thanksgiving.

First of all, I'm thankful for my family and my husband's family. They're so supportive and loving. I'm looking forward to spending the holidays with all of them.


I'm thankful for my best friends who never fail to make me laugh. We've had a lot of great times together and I can't wait for more!

I'm also thankful for this little friend Tricia's brand new son! He finally arrived 2 weeks after his due date and after ruining my fun "Guess Baby's Birthday" shower game. Don't worry, I'll be reminding him of that every year on his birthday. I held him the day after he was born and the baby fever is definitely running high now!

I'm thankful for my job. It may not be the full-time job I want, but it's a lot closer than my previous retail job and I actually enjoy it. I'm very thankful that for the first time in 7 years, I won't be working on Black Friday.


I'm thankful for my husband who puts up with my crazy and just gets me. I love being married to him and I can't wait to see what our future brings.

I'm thankful for our cats.

What are you thankful for this year?


Monday, November 12, 2012

Vera Bradley Quilt Garden

Growing up in Amish country, I'm no stranger to the art of quilting. OK, I've never done it myself, but I'm used to seeing them everywhere & I've seen plenty of women in the area working on them. One unique way of quilting in this area is quilt gardens.

Scattered throughout the local area are 19 flower gardens laid out to resemble quilts. They are beautiful and it's fun to watch them develop as their plants grow and flowers bloom. Just driving around town, I have the opportunity to see several of them throughout the summer. But, one garden in particular is my favorite.

Every year, the local botanical garden grows the Vera Bradley Quilt Garden. It's inspired by the current breast cancer awareness pattern and a quilt designed by a local artist using that fabric. This year, the quilt, Star of Hope, used the Tea Garden pattern.

On my grandma's birthday back in August, we went for a walk at the botanical garden and I was able to get some pictures of this year's Vera Bradley Quilt Garden and I wanted to share them with you! Unfortunately, since I didn't know we were going to the garden, all I had was my phone camera, so the pictures aren't the greatest, but I think they give you a good idea of what the garden looks like.

First view of the garden across the lake

An up-close view of the flowers used.

The quilt garden from above
There are begonias, marigolds, geraniums, alyssum, and vinca all in the garden in addition to some evergreens and lilies. It really is quite pretty and I do see the colors of the Tea Garden pattern in this garden.

I'm excited to see what they come up with next year using the Ribbons pattern since it is my new favorite pattern!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Social - Thanksgiving

Sunday Social

Favorite Thanksgiving Memory

I think my favorite is when I was living in Florida and couldn't go home for Thanksgiving. I actually cooked a turkey breast and some of the fixings and my brother came over from his college in Daytona and we had Thanksgiving together. It was nice to be with family even though we were several states away from the rest of our family.

Favorite Thanksgiving Food

Um, everything? I love Thanksgiving. I am really looking forward to the deep fried turkey my brother does though. It's the best turkey I've ever had!

What is a Thanksgiving Tradition you and your family have?

Our only tradition is that we get together. M and I are kind of starting one where we do Thanksgiving with my family on Thursday and then his family on Friday after he works his 12 hour Black Friday shift.

Show us a favorite Thanksgiving picture(or 5) from years past

My childhood pictures are still at my mom's house and we don't really take pictures on Thanksgiving. We tend to take a bunch of pictures at Christmas. I do have this picture that M and I took last year for our Christmas cards...

What are you most looking forward to about this Thanksgiving?

Deep fried turkey!
Getting out the Christmas decorations
Not working on Black Friday for the first time in 7 years!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Tiny Prints Holiday Cards

Now that it's November and Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away (What?!) I'm getting excited about Christmas. I'd love to just start decorating now, but I'll settle for listening to Christmas music and planning some shopping until the weekend after Thanksgiving.

One thing I'm not putting off though is picking a Christmas card. I love the tradition of sending and receiving cards and I'm looking forward to finding those festive envelopes in the mail. 

Of course, once I started thinking about Christmas cards, I started by checking out my new favorite source for paper products, Tiny Prints. I had such a great experience ordering the baby shower invitations from them, that I was eager to work with them again.

Here, let me show you some of my favorite Christmas Cards from Tiny Prints.

I love the plaid design on this one. Plaid just says Christmas to me!

I like how this one looks like a chalkboard.

I'm a big fan of white Christmases, so I love the sentiment of this card.

I also found some cards that I like that don't apply to us this year, but I wanted to share them with you because I like them so much.

This is a great card for a newly married couple. Christmas cards are a great use of those wedding pictures.

If we had had a baby this year, this is so the Christmas card we'd be sending. How cute is this? I love it!

If you're looking for Christmas cards this year, I highly recommend you check out Tiny Prints. If you're looking for a deal, be sure to check out their Special Offers page.

Also, be sure to check out Tiny Prints on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and their own blog.
Disclaimer:Tiny Prints is providing me with a promo code in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Recipe: Three Cheese Pepperoni Pasta Bake

I've got a fabulous new recipe for you all today! I was inspired by a couple of recipes I found over the past few months and was finally inspired to try them a few weeks ago.

I'm a bad blogger and forgot to take pictures, but I did write down what I did, so I'm sharing it with you today. Since I combined two recipes, I'm calling it Three Cheese Pepperoni Pasta Bake, but really it's just a fancy name for stuffed shells.

This recipe will make a 13x9 baking dish of shells, so adjust as needed. I'm going to give you the ingredients for the filling  as I made it, but I must warn that it makes way more than you'll need. I ended up with plenty of extra, so I think you'd be fine halving that portion and having plenty.

Three Cheese Pepperoni Pasta Bake
inspired by The Pioneer Woman's Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells and Everyday Food's Pepperoni Pasta Bake


20 jumbo pasta shells
30 oz Whole milk ricotta cheese
8 oz Parmesan cheese shredded
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1 egg
3 cups marinara sauce
2 oz small pepperoni slices
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta shells for half of the directed cooking time. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, half the Parmesan, Romano cheese, egg, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. I also tossed in some dried basil, but you could also chop up some fresh and throw it in.

Spread 1 cup marinara in a 9x13 baking dish. Fill each shell with cheese mixture (1 heaping tablespoon.) Place face down on the sauce. Repeat until cheese mixture is gone.

Top shells with 2 cups marinara. Cover with foil and bake until sauce is bubbling about 25 minutes. Remove foil, and top shells with pepperoni, then remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted and brown in spots, about 5 to 10 minutes.

My husband and I loved this recipe! It was super easy to make and very delicious. It's definitely going into our recipe rotation.

Try it today!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Doctor Who's Day - Favorite Catchphrase

Today's Doctor Who's Day topic is favorite catchphrase. Just about every Doctor has had a catchphrase and most have more than one.

All of the Doctor's recent catchphrases have been fun. I enjoy the way Ten says "Well..." a lot and of course, "Allons-y!" Eleven says "Geronimo" occasionally and an article of clothing is often "cool."

But I think my favorite catchphrase comes from Nine...

Nine said "Fantastic" a lot. And the best part was it was usually in a situation that was less than fantastic. He got so excited about being in peril and having to save the world. He was a pretty upbeat guy even in the face of danger and I enjoyed that.

Of course, my absolute favorite catchphrase doesn't come from The Doctor...

What is your favorite Doctor Who catchphrase?


Monday, November 5, 2012

Vera Bradley Spring 2013 Retirees

With the new Vera Bradley Winter 2012 colors debuting last Friday, it's time to look ahead to Spring. For a look at what colors are coming out in Spring 2013, check out OhMyVera!

Today, I'm taking a look at what I predict will retire prior to the launch of the new spring colors. (EDIT: I was right! These are the colors that are retiring, along with Rosy Posies!) First up, the colors I believe we will be saying good bye to shortly.

Rhythm & Blues
Floral Nightingale
Mocha Rouge
Very Berry Paisley

Last time, I predicted that Rosie Posies would be retied, but it wasn't. I am still predicting that it will be retired any day now. The color came out in Spring 2012, but none of the new products in the Fall or Winter releases are being made in this color.

Next, I believe that the following styles will be retired in all available colors. Some of these may be restyled and brought back in the new colors.

Chain Bag

East West Tote

Laptop Backpack


Hatbox Cosmetic

Lunch Date

Chain Lanyard

Gallery Wallet

Sad to see a color or style go? Excited about a new color? Leave a comment below and let's discuss!

Disclosure: This post does contain affiliate links. Clicking on these links may yield commission for this blog. All opinions are my own. Vera Bradley has no idea who I am. I just really love their stuff!