Holiday baking part two coming up!

So tonight and tomorrow morning I will be wrapping up my holiday baking and I have a few more delicious recipes to share with you as we go!

I am hosting my family for Christmas Eve this year which is nice because I can cook like crazy and don’t have to find ways to transport everything lol! We’re having a pretty traditional meal this year, ham, potatoes, shrimp, and some delicious sides. I will have a few goodies out the fudge, haystacks, and spritz cookies that I made earlier this week, and tonight we’re putting together traditional Christmas cookies, red velvet truffles, marshmallow treat wreaths, and I have to make some more chex mix because we might have already eaten up the first batch hahaha!

Christmas cookies

Tomorrow morning I’m making monkey bread, dill rolls, and corn casserole. I’ll have all of these great recipes ready to share soon! Merry Christmas!

 

Kitchen Renovation

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook then you already know that we are in the process of renovating our kitchen.  Although quite  project we are doing all of the renovations on our own DIY style. Thankfully my husband is a licensed contractor and does amazing work.

So here’s the story… we moved into our home 13 years ago. When we moved in the kitchen was original to when the house was built in the 50’s.  We made cosmetic upgrades to get us by but the original cabinetry (handmade plywood) and chipped Formica counters stayed.

As much as I would like to go crazy and design and build my dream kitchen, this is not our forever home, and so we’re sticking to a $5000 budget. That’s $5000 to do EVERYTHING! Cabinets, Counter tops, Floors, Backsplash, Lighting… EVERYTHING! It’s kind of daunting to fit everything in that budget!

So Here is the plan…

BEFORE

Kitchen Before

We have already removed the upper cabinets, and the trim you see at the ceiling has now also been removed. We are keeping some of our appliances and since they are stainless steel this works out perfectly. We will invest in a new Microwave hood vent for over the stove.

We are making the risky decision not to re-install upper cabinets. This is a cost savings, and I feel like it’s kind of a trendy design choice. I also had a mini heart attack at the thought of losing all of that storage, but I think we came up with a way to resolve that and stay on budget… We’re incorporating some open shelving near the sink for glass ware and a few other dishes that we use a lot.

We are installing a stock cream colored cabinet from Lowe’s from the Caspian Collection… They look like this…

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I like the fact that they aren’t super white… I was really afraid to go too stark white as this is a LARGE room. Once lowers are installed we found a stock black Formica counter top, stainless steel sink, beautiful stone back splash, and vinyl plank flooring. We’re installing a new soffit with can lighting, and pendants over the counter top. The finished project should look very similar to this… although this is a crude cut and paste rendering that I did myself lol!!

Kitchen After Rendering

I’m ready to see the finished project already, but we have a long way to go… it will be interesting to see how close we get to my conceptualized drawings! Wish us luck!!

Let me know your thoughts on our idea to eliminate uppers! I’m still nervous! Thanks for reading!

 

Labor Day at the Last Minute

This past weekend was Labor Day weekend and although I had to work on Saturday, we still managed to fit in a brief get away.  My husband and I love to travel and frequently do quick weekend trips to some of our favorite hangouts. We seem to gravitate toward the water here in Michigan (maybe because there’s water everywhere lol) but this time we decided to try a new… or newer destination. We had both been here before but not in a very long time. I think I was in high school!! We visited none other that Frankenmuth MI.

Welkommen

Frankenmuth is a couple hours north east of us, and seemed like a good fit for a quick stop vacation. We however didn’t take into account that this was after all a holiday weekend in a tourist town. We didn’t make reservations ahead and upon arriving found that all of the hotels were fully booked except the Frankemuth Motel. Now, I’m not usually a fan of Motel’s but this was a surprise, a little dated but clean, spacious, and the staff was very friendly. It was a quick walk from there to the Main st. action.

Frankenmuth_Motel.jpg

Once checked in we traveled over to main street to see what was happening there are a tons of little shops and specialty stores.  We walked and walked, stopped by the Historical Museum, listened to the Glockenspiel, walked the historic covered bridge, and took in the sites…Did I mention that this place is literally coated in tons and tons and tons of gorgeous flowers!!

Frankenmuthflowers1

They had flowers everywhere lining the streets, hanging from the light poles, across all the building fronts, it was beautiful! In the evening we visited “the Tavern” a local hangout bar, it was OK. traveled from there to Tiffany’s there we had a couple of drinks and appetizers, and shared a dessert. It was a nice quiet laid back evening.

The next day we had lunch at Zehnder’s. They are famous for the chicken dinner served family style with all the delicious sides you can eat. We opted out of an all you can eat menu and order individual meals.

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Now I usually order a pretty healthy entree’ I’m not overly picky but I don’t like a lot of heavy food especially early in the day.  So I thought I’ll play it safe and order a hot chicken sandwich… This was not an ordinary chicken  sandwich…

What I thought I was getting… Chicken on sandwich bread or bun with lettuce, tomato, etc… something like this…

Chicken sandwhich

What I actually got was a monotone plate covered in gravy! It was like drowning in gravy lol. Everything gravy…gravy…gravy…gravy…

Zehnders chick sand

Although not what I was expecting I ate it and it was delicious and I was super sleepy the rest of the day lol.

We let our food settle after that on the Bavarian Belle Riverboat tour, this is a nice relaxing tour of the river and the surrounding hotels and establishments there is an entertaining tour guide telling you about the boat, the covered bridge, and many of the area attractions that can be viewed from the river.

bavarian-belle-riverboat

We ended our quick visit to Frankenmuth with a trip to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, a huge holiday store with everything you could possibly think of that is holiday related. I remember it as a kid and it’s still that awesome.

Bronner's

So all in all a nice trip away and something a little different that our usual get away. If you’ve never visited Frankenmuth I highly recommend a visit. It has a lot of beautiful sites, shopping, attractions, and a little old world German/ Bavarian flare. Thanks for reading!

 

Fantastic Fall Cookies for the WIN!

So after polling my various social media outlets, email subscribers, and getting some feedback right here on WordPress.com, it looks like this fall I will be hosting a blog series on Fabulous Fall Cookies!

Fall cookies

I’ve already started to compile a list of favorites, and can’t wait to get in the kitchen and get things started! I will include a couple of sugar free options as well, so stay tuned! I promise there will be a little something for every taste… Happy Fall Baking Y’all!

 

Fall Blog Series

Morning Everyone! I need some help deciding on a Fall Blog series! I have been tossing around a few ideas but I would like your feedback please! I am trying to choose between a few themes they are…. drum-roll please…. Fall cookie series,  Homemade Holiday, or Cozy Breakfasts

The fall cookie series would be just what it sounds like. A baking series with several different cookies that are great for fall entertaining and maybe just a yummy treat around the house.

Fall cookies

The Homemade Holiday series would be a grouping of side dishes made from scratch that you could incorporate into your holiday menu. Things like Perfect Parker House rolls, Candied yams from scratch (no canned yams people!), Pies, green bean casserole with homemade cream of mushroom soup. I think you get the picture here….

Holiday Feast

And finally one of my faves the cozy breakfast series. I could eat breakfast all the time. This series would focus on warm wonderful breakfast foods for a quick morning, or a big family breakfast feast!

Cozy Breakfast

So those are the options! Let me know what your thoughts are. I can’t wait to see what we’ll be cooking up this fall!

Cheers to 20 Years!

Cheers

Today my husband Andy and I celebrate 20 years of marriage. It’s quite a milestone, and I’m both glad and sometimes a little surprised we made it this far lol. One thing they don’t tell you when your young and in love is that marriage is HARD! You have to be willing to work at it, and understand that not every moment of your life is a family picture… Christmas card…pumpkin spiced latte…perfect date kind of day with your spouse.

In twenty years we’ve lived together in three different homes, our first was a tiny two bedroom bungalow with dated blue carpet… but it was perfect for us then. We’ve lived through the births of three beautiful babies, and survived the devastating loss of our Logan.  We’ve collectively held 8 different jobs, and now live in the challenge of working together. We’ve made countless friends, enjoyed hours of fun together, and have done a bit of travelling.

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In twenty years we have learned how to both communicate effectively, and shut each other out… not a proud moment usually. We’ve laughed, cried, screamed, sulked, joked, surprised, and most of the time loved each other. On less of a becoming note I will say though that we have also hurt each others feelings, forgotten to be the most responsible people we know, called each other terrible names, and yes even contemplated a divorce. What you come to realize after 20 years though is that all of it is normal, and sometimes expected and although not always fun, it’s part of life.

I’ve enjoyed the last 20 years.  There are things I would have done differently but I would never change the person that I have spent those 20 years with.  So, Cheers to 20 years Andrew Richard Bailey. I love you.

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Slow Blogger Here…

It has been a whirlwind year. I feel like 2018 now way more than half finished has seriously blown past me.

The garden center attempted to stay open all year for the first time in our history and although we saw a few familiar faces now and again, we have decided that for January and Early February in the future we will likely be closed. This gives Andy and I a much needed mental and physical break before hitting the busy stride of the Spring/Summer Season.

I have done a little cooking and baking but really not much. I’m thinking about working through a couple of cooking or baking series for you all… maybe a fall cookie week, or eggs many ways ( I love eggs)… I’m still kicking around some ideas, and am open to suggestions if you have any. Otherwise my poor kitchen has been a revolving door of the plain old usual, nothing fun to report for now.

This Wednesday my husband and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. We made our annual trip to Las Vegas for some fun. I’ll put together a separate trip post to share with you. I also have a couple of reviews on some of the places we visited while we were there that I’ll share too.

This past weekend was the annual Jackson County Relay For Life. Our team met our $1000 goal, and I am anxious for the final team meeting to see where the final tally lands for the event overall. It’s always a fun and inspiring time, and we really enjoy participating.

And, finally it’s PAGEANT WEEK! Our daughter Brianna is competing as a top ten finalist in the Jackson County Teen USA pageant and I could not be more excited for her! I love pageant week! She has rehearsal daily this week, and Friday night is the big night to cheer her on! She’s a bright beautiful girl and I’m sure she will do great!

My New Year’s resolutions are doing ok…. lol. I think I might actually be turning into a morning person believe it or not, I continue to work out fairly regularly, and now if I could jut make some time for some of my hobbies I’ll be a happy camper. I think that is all I have to report on for now. Let me know your thoughts about a cooking/ baking series for this fall I think if I provide myself with a specific thing to do it will force me to actually do it lol. I’ll post a vacay update, and those reviews soon. Thanks for continuing to support my blogging adventure! Bye for now!