Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday Favorites (December 15, 2017- Festive Faves Edition)



Feels good to be back to Friday Favorites!
Linking up with Erika, Andrea and Narci HERE


Here are some recent and festive faves....






Elin Hilderbrand's Winter Street Series


So friends...after meeting Elin a few weeks ago, I started racing through her Winter Street Series so I can get to the fourth and final novel...the actual hard cover that she signed for me...can't wait to hold it in my hands!  

In the last few weeks, I finished the first novel Winter Street, the second novel, Winter Stroll, and the third novel Winter Storms...now, I have picked up the actual book and have the started the finale, Winter Soltice...I LOVE these characters!  I LOVE Nantucket any time of the year but I am finding it so fun and festive to read all about the Christmastime fun on the island...especially this time of year! 





My Festive PJ Top from Old Navy

Love!!  (Find it HERE )


and this is what it looks like NOT in mirror image ;)




Yule Log...On Demand

Nuff Said ;)







Pointsettia Champagne Cocktail



Friends, here is a yummy and easy cocktail for you to serve at your next holiday gathering!

3 ingredients...that's it!


 

 Dinner at Greer's

As you know by now, by reading this blog, my friend Greer is an amazing cook.  She had some of us besties over last night for a wonderful and elegant dinner.  Everything was delicious but the company was even better...one of those times I looked around and just felt grateful :)











We are getting ready for a weekend jam packed with festive fun...what are you up to?


    Thursday, December 14, 2017

    Pine Cone Cheese Ball



    I am often asked for recipe suggestions but I will tell you that most of the requests are at Christmastime and more often than not, friends and family are looking for suggestions for appetizers.

    We did an appetizer theme for my holiday recipe exchange party again this year.  It seems to be the most popular and I am excited to try my friends' recipes now that they are all compiled in one place!


    When wanting to share a recipe with you today, I wanted to share something helpful for the season.  This one was a crowd pleaser at a few parties we attended over the last few years as well as on Christmas Eve with our family.


    Simple, beautiful and oh so delicious...here it goes

     Pine Cone Cheese Ball

    INGREDIENTS
    1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup light mayonnaise
    5 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
    1 Tbsp chopped green onion
    1 tsp chopped dill weed
    1/8 tsp pepper
    1 1/4 cup whole almonds, toasted

    DIRECTIONS
    Combine cream cheese and mayonnaise and mix well in a food processor or blender. Stir in the cooked bacon, green onion, dill weed and pepper. Cover and chill overnight.
    Shape the cheese mixture into two small pinecones on serving plate. Starting at the narrow end, place almonds into the cheese on a slight angle, forming rows. Garnish with rosemary twigs to resemble pine needles. Serve with crackers.

    Wednesday, December 13, 2017

    Workin' It Wednesday: Getting Ready for the Holidays Edition

    So this year, all bets are off. After losing a week during Christmas season, I am a bit behind.  However, when you are responsible for holding Christmas together and getting it all done, you rally.


    Here are a few things I do each year to get ready for the Christmas season.  Linking up with Erika and Shay HERE


    Christmas Cards


    We take our family picture Thanksgiving Weekend so I can take advantage of the Black Friday card sales on Shutterfly,  I get the cards ordered on Black Friday and they are in early so I can start sending them out!


    Traditions


    I look at the calendar and figure out when we are going to take part in our annual traditions: Annual Holiday Recipe Exchange, Jammie Christmas, Visiting the Cemeteries, Visiting loved ones, Stone Zoo Lights, Festival of Trees, baking and LOTS of Hallmark movies :) 



    Outfits



    I usually get the girls nice dresses (that match) on Ebay or online somewhere.  Christmas Eve is the first time they will wear them and then they will wear them again for the Wolverines Awards Day AND even again at the Daddy Daughter Dance in early spring.  This year, I got their dresses even earlier so they could wear them to the bat mitzvah we attended during Thanksgiving Weekend. It is nice to know that part is already done! 



    Wrapping/Presents


    I am usually done by now but this year, this is what I am struggling with.  I need to finish buying, getting all of the stocking stuffers and wrapping.  My goal is to get it all done this weekend- fingers crossed!


    How do you prepare for the holidays?

    Tuesday, December 12, 2017

    2017 AYC National Cheer Competition

    What a ride it has been.  Diana started cheering at ECE when she was 4.  She started with the Windham Wolverines when she was 5 and it has been such a ride!  It has been filled with excitement, lots of hard work, tears, laughs, joys and struggles.  This may be the end of cheer for Diana....she has lots of thinking to do but if this is the end...what a way to go out!

    We just got back from Florida where she and her team competed in the 2017 AYC Cheer Nationals.  It was an amazing experience and one that she and I will remember forever.


    It was such a struggle for us to get here but it was truly meant to be.  We got to spend some QT together and share some wonderful memories with friends and fellow Wolverines coaches and board members.  Here is a little look at what our week looked like....


    Wednesday

    After getting a half of day of work in, Rob raced us along with Lea and Sam to the Providence RI airport.  We flew out of there instead of Boston as we saved over $300!  Snapped a few pics showing our excitement (and nervousness!) 



     We got in late on Wednesday so we got changed for bed and crashed AND I had to get a pic of Lea in her Mickey PJ's...she absolutely kills me!

     Thursday

    The next morning was the most challenging to get through.  We had lots of lines to face and lots of registration to complete.  We had to do team check in and registration and so many pictures.  The girls did so well being patient!  After that, we got a practice in as well as a team review with one of the judges.   









    After the tough part, we started toasting the fact that we made it to nationals!  Woohoo!

    and some more festive pics at our hotel- The Omni- I highly recommend this hotel/resort at Championsgate.  It was so beautiful....the food was incredible and the service impeccable. I was very impressed and consider it one of the best places I have ever stayed- grateful to be able to have been there.







     That afternoon, we had a little free time before we got ready to head to Universal.

    The girls were so excited to hit the wave pool.  They actually ran between the wave pool, the large pool with a water slide and the lazy river...they had an absolute ball!


    That night, we headed to Universal and had so much fun.  We started with dinner at The Cowfish which was amazing!







    and then hit some rides...I loved the Jimmy Fallon ride...he is one of my faves anyway and the ride just brought him to life.  After that, some of us went over to the Simpsons ride and I really got ill on that ride....even when I closed my eyes, I felt so sick...I even started sweating..it was not pretty...we can laugh about it now but EEK!!  Ha ha!!








    After more rides for the kids, we tried to hit Harry Potter BUT the ride got stuck with people on it for about an hour and they shut it down for the night- so scary!!  We did a few more rides and decided to end the night with the Despicable Me ride.  We were howling because Lea and I had the same reaction on the Simpsons ride and decided to stick to the stationary seats on the Minion ride...along with some other friends. I snapped a pic of us "elderly ladies" doing our thing....hysterical!

    The kids loved it and afterwards we got to take our pic with a minion too- so cute!





    Friday

    This was our free day and we lived it up.  We soaked up so much sun and pool time during the day....we all had a ball!









    Then some of us headed to Fort Wilderness Lodge for a quick bite and to grab the bus to Magic Kingdom as that night was Mickey's Christmas Party...it was everything we had imagined and more.  Magic Kingdom is still my favorite place and it was truly magical.

    First, at Fort Wilderness (so beautifully decorated)








    and then at Magic Kingdom.  Mickey's Christmas Party entailed different treat stops throughout the park.  We looked for the inflatable candy canes and when we found one, we stopped and the kids got cookies and eggnog and snow cones....so much fun!



    We had to get ears of course ;)




    and Lea bought us the light necklaces back at home and we brought them with us- thank God we did- EVERYONE had them on! :)

    Inside my favorite ride- Ariel's Grotto


    and my favorite part....the castle...all lit up with icicle lights...even MORE magical...insert heart eyes emoji here!






    We ended our night with ice cream at the Soda Shop on Main St USA.

    Saturday

    It was finally competition day and the girls were ready!  Tired...but ready!  We met in the lobby and all hopped on the bus which Diana proclaimed, "this looks just like Dance Moms!"  oops ;)

    Snapped a team pic before boarding.....

    and when we got there, we checked in and then headed to stretching and warmups.  They had a great photo booth for the girls to play around with too :)






    The girls ROCKED the mat...simply ROCKED it!  We were so proud.  I didn't get a video from the Saturday performance.  The top 5 teams would advance to Super Sunday and guess what?  Though we had to wait for about two hours to get the results, they made it- they scored 2nd!  Although the wait was torture, they were so happy with their results!





    That afternoon, we headed back to the hotel for a late lunch and then headed back to Universal so we could finally hit the Chocolate Emporium that Lea insisted on.  It was an epic evening...filled with so many laughs and shenanigans....we will never forget it!

    The Chocolate Emporium is an incredible restaurant with delicious food and drinks AND mouth watering and creative shakes for dessert..we completely indulged!













     Sunday

    One last day to shine.  The girls gave it their all- they rocked the mat again but came up short.  They lost by .2 of a point!  Heartbreaking!  So close!  We were still so proud of all of their work and all they accomplished this season.  One of the moms got a video of Sunday's performance...check it out....


    So as we always say....that's a wrap!
    What a way to go out....Simply Amazing....

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