Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We hope ...

that 2009 brings each of you peace, love, health, wealth and happiness!!!

Ya'll be safe tonight!


We are getting crazy tonight, girls.

Welch's Sparkling White Grape Juice is what I picked up last night as my beverage of choice to ring in the new year! You are jealous you aren't gonna be with me tonight, huh. Now I have absolutely nothing against indulging in an adult beverage (and the Beau definitely has nothing against it) but for about a year my body has taken a complete and utter hatred to the slightest bit of alcohol ... I think it might have to do with the medicine I take. But anyhow, it's weird. I couldn't even get down a half a glass of wine the other night at a wedding. So tonight I decided I would take an alternate route but still be able to pop a bottle at midnight :)

I started to regret not making any New Years plans this year but it is probably for the best ... and definitely best for our budget. My number one New Years Resolution is to get 100% out of credit card debt (we are very close) and to start saving like nobodies business. We are starting Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University in January and I am pumped ... I have read some of his books and I listen to him on the radio religiously but I think the class will be great for the Beau and I to do together. My second resolution is to only drink one coke per week ... it sounds easy enough but you people don't know how much I LOVE coke. I love it ... it is a sickness, really! I have a couple of other personal resolutions and I am excited about a new, fresh year. 2008 has been an absolutely great year for me but change is always good and I am looking forward to making some good changes.

So, tonight I think the Beau and I will get take-out, watch some movies, and I will drink my sparkling grape juice at midnight. However, tomorrow I have some real plans. I am going to have some friends over for a late lunch and I have a menu all worked up. This is what we are having:

Pork Tenderloin
Collard Greens
Mixture of black-eyed peas, tomatoes & jalapenos (this sounds gross to me but the Beau loves it)
Macaroni & Cheese
Brown Rice
Home-made Corn Bread
And not sure what for dessert

I think that will be an appropriate New Years Day meal, don't you? Macaroni & Cheese and Brown Rice might be 2 of my favorite side dishes of all time. Want the recipes? Sure you do!

Macaroni & Cheese (Paula Deen's Recipe)

4 cups cooked elbow macaroni
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Cook macaroni and drain. While macaroni is still hot, add cheese. In separate bowl, combine all other ingredients and add to macaroni. Pour mixture into casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 45 minutes.

Brown Rice

1 cup white rice, uncooked
1 can of beef broth
1 can of beef consomme
1 package of Lipton's dry onion soup mix

Combine all ingredients into baking dish. It is going to look like a lot of liquid and not enough rice but don't worry, the rice will absorb all the liquid while baking. Bake at 350 degrees for appx. one hour.

Oh and another question ... am I the only person that has to work today? I will probably be back later because I am bored to tears. Please try and keep me entertained!!!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008


First and foremost, I have some birthday shout-outs! My bff, Fran, turns the big 2-5 today ... mercy she's old :) Lord knows we have been through it all together since we met in the 5th grade - I can't believe that was 15 years ago! We went to college together and shared a 2x4 freshman year (also known as a dorm room) and she stood beside me as my maid-of-honor in my wedding. Anyone that knows her can testify that she is one-of-a-kind and I love her to the moon and back! Happy Birthday to my Fran-Fran!!! And all you locals better leave her a happy b-day comment ... you know who you are and I know you are reading :) Ha!

Miss Georgia Girl is also celebrating a birthday today! Although she has gone MIA on the blog-front I forgive her because she was my blog inspiration. She got that sweet baby girl home from China and I know she keeps her busy! Happy Birthday A. - I hope that it is the best one yet!

I got to see Georgia Girl and her entire family on Christmas night ... it was truly the best part of my Christmas. GG's precious, precious mama has been sick so a whole group of her friends got together and surprised her at her front door Christmas evening holding candles and singing her favorite Christmas carols. I could barely get any words out though because I was afraid that I would "ugly cry" ... I am such a baby! It was a very special time and made me so happy to live in a town with such wonderful people. Here are a few pics I stole from GG's facebook ...

And a couple of other random pics of my girls and me over the Christmas holidays at various parties ... I love and miss all of you!!!


Monday, December 29, 2008

The fun's over - I am ready to hibernate!

I hope that you all had yourselves a merry little Christmas. We sure did and I am sad that it over ... I always am. I am really dreading taking all the decor down ... everything is going to look so bare! I guess everyone still has New Year's Eve to look forward to but I have never been a huge fan of the holiday. In past years there has always been such a hype about NYE plans and it always was a little bit of a let down. This year I think the Beau and I are going to stay home, have dinner, and ring in the New Year from the comfort of our couch. Maybe as the clock approaches midnight I will turn on the Sex and the City movie to the part where Auld Lang Syne plays - it was such a pretty version!

There is not too much going on for us in January so I would be content to hibernate during the entire month. I have just the tools to keep me busy! I didn't get Marcia Brady's new book for Christmas but I did get these ...

I finished Prep last night and it was soo good and soo addicting. I received the first 2 Twilight books and I am saving those for Monday when I report for Jury Duty! I will probably start sTori Telling tonight.

For book club we are reading Redeeming Love during the months of January and February (we extended it for 2 months because it is a longer book). I just ordered it from Amazon today and I am ready to get started! I have heard such wonderful things about this book and I think it will be a good one to have discussions about.

While I was perusing Amazon I put these in my basket - I haven't ordered them yet but I plan to soon. A few of them I have been wanting for awhile and others I had never heard of before but I am sure, from the titles, they will be right up my alley!

All by Celia Rivenbark ...

1. We're Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle

2. Stop Dressing your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: A Slightly Tarnished Southern Belle's Words of Wisdom

3. Bless your Heart, Tramp: and other Southern Endearments

4. Not Tonight, Honey ... Wait 'til I'm a Size 6 by Susan Reinhardt

5. Somebody is going to Die if Lilly Beth doesn't Catch that Bouquet by Gayden Metcalfe & Charlotte Hays

6. Don't Sleep with a Bubba ... Unless your Eggs are in Wheelchairs by Susan Reinhardt (this one is in honor of my bf Fran - love you dear)

So, I think that is enough to keep me busy for at least a month. Anything else that you can think of that I should add to my list?


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Poem 2008

Twas the eve before Christmas eve and all through our condo*,
The Belle is not relaxing nor is the Beau.

They both are still working and that really sucks,
A few days off is not in their luck!

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care,
But neither will be filled for their is no money to spare :)

No worries were had - we are still young newlyweds,
And their are no children to nestle all snug in their beds.

Instead we'll stay up late and drink Bailey's by the fire,
Knowing 2008 has brought us our every desire!

Screw the recession and money that's tight,
We'll just hug each other with all of our might!

Christmas is about families and memories - not things,
We are anxious to see what 2009 brings!

We pray many blessings for God to bestow,
And please don't forget that we would love some snow!!!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Much Love, A Belle and her Beau


*we live in an apartment, not a condo, but for rhyming sake!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Just call me crazy for Brady.

Here's a story about a man named Brady .... yep, I am talking about the Brady Bunch. I love The Brady Bunch. Always have, always will. The Beau made a weak attempt in trying to embarrass me over the weekend by telling our house guests that A Very Brady Christmas was my absolute favorite Christmas movie (this is not a lie). It didn't work though. I am not embarrassed or ashamed. I plan on watching it this Christmas Eve just as I have watched it every Christmas Eve for the past 10 or 12 years.

Please tell me that at least a couple of you have watched this classic. Yes, I consider this movie a classic :) I cry every single time I watch it when Mike gets trapped in the building and Carol starts singing "O Come All Ye Faithful". It's so emotional! If you didn't watch the Brady's when you were a kid there is something wrong with you and we can't be friends. Kidding. Sorta.

Now if you are really crazy (like me) you will put this on your Christmas wish list...

I have watched Marcia, Marcia, Marcia on Celebrity Fit Club and I am very interested in reading her new book. Don't judge - homegirl apparently has a story to tell. If it happens to be under my Christmas tree I will be very happy and I will report back! If it is not under my tree I wonder if the girls in my book club will think I am weird for suggesting it? Ha!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Day One (Thurs) - Party One - Take One!

Talk about needing a haircut - the Beau needs one in a bad way. And that beard need to go. I don't know what it is about him and his need to grow a beard in the winter time. Hellooo? It ain't even cold!

3 more days of Christmas Chaos, 4 more parties ... let the games begin!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas ~ with every Christmas card I write

I have been checking about, err, 10 times a day for the past 10 days just to see if there is any inkling of hope that there could possibly be a dramatic turn of events resulting in me seeing some snow between now and Christmas. Don't worry ... there is not. Today it is 72 and tomorrow will be 73 stupid-degrees. I am so jealous reading all of your blogs with beautiful pictures of white powder all over the ground. Couldn't we just get a couple of flakes?!? I really like living in Georgia near my family and friends but I also like seasons. I want to live where there is a distinctive winter, spring, summer and fall. And I don't like it to get over about 85 degrees - unless I am at the beach. I am living in the wrong state folks because none of my stipulations are being met here. If any of you just have a couple of seconds and would like to put a word in on my behalf to the Big Guy upstairs in regards to some snow I sure would appreciate it. Thanks!


I almost made it a week.

I know I promised that I would go at least a week or two before sharing another recipe with ya'll but I just couldn't resist. Lots of you seem to be hosting Christmas dinner at your homes and if you are in need of another side dish I have one! This is a Grape Salad and it is so yummy that it can be eatten as a dessert. Seriously. I made it last night for the party we are going to tonight and I licked the spoon when I was done like it was cake batter.

3 cups red seedless grapes
1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened (I should own stock in cream cheese)
1 8oz. carton sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans (holy cow I had no idea how expensive pecans and walnuts are ... yikes)

Mix cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl.
Fold in grapes.

Spread in medium sized baking dish.

On top of mixture, spread brown sugar and then the pecans.

Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Serves appx. 10 people.

So I marked lots off of my list last night - go me! Going for a brow wax at lunch and few highlights tomorrow at 4:30. Hallelujah!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's time to hunker down

and for me to devise a plan. I am getting a little flustered as the days before Christmas are getting scarce and I have lots and lots to do. This is what I have on tap through the weekend:

After work today I must prepare dinner, wrap a couple of gifts, prepare a dish for tomorrow's work Christmas party, prepare another dish for tomorrow's night-time Christmas party, make sure that house is clean for guests that are arriving on Friday (yippee!).

Tomorrow I must attend work Christmas party during the day and attend a Christmas party for the Beau's local alumni chapter of his fraternity that evening. The latter party will be loads of fun I'm sure, however it will probably run late so all household chores must be done tonight (pressure!).

Friday night Couple #1 arrives to stay the weekend with us and we will attend Engagement Party #1 for Bride #1.

Saturday afternoon I must attend a Christmas Shower for Bride #2, Couple #2 arrives to stay Saturday night with us (in addition to Couple #1) and we will all attend Engagement Party #2 for Bride #3 that evening. Whew!!! You with me?

Sunday morning the Beau and I will wake up super early to hug our guests good-bye and drive 2 hours to attend Family Christmas Celebration #1 and drive 2 hours back home that afternoon. There will also have to be some convincing of the Beau to let me stop by some mall at some point to pick up appx. 3 last minute Christmas gifts.

In addition to tasks I have listed above, my eyebrows need waxed something serious and I would love a couple of highlights before I see every single soul that I know this weekend. And their mama. Literally.


Welp, Its been been real and its been fun ...

But it ain't been real fun! Ya'll I don't even know where to begin in telling this story. My experience last night was catastrophic-hysteria.

Okay so let me preface by telling you that we live in this gorgeous, antebellum-style, historic home in town that is broken up in to 4 separate apartments. Behind the house are 2 carriage-style apartments. The only terrible thing about our living situation is that we do not have our own washing machine and dryer hook-ups. There is a washing machine and dryer that we can use but we have to share it with the other 5 tenants and you have to walk outside and you have to use quarters and it is just a huge pain. So, basically, I do as little laundry as possible.

The laundry has begun to pile up and I mean really pile up. So the Beau and I decided to go to the laundry mat last night. We just think it is a nice, fun, clean, classy, safe place to spend a Tuesday night. I kid, I kid. It was just the best solution to get all the laundry knocked out as quickly as possible. We pile up our many loads of laundry and get to washing. The machines there are huge and it costs $4.25 just to wash one load - but that is okay because you can wash like triple the clothes. We load up about 5 machines and then realize that one of the machines has a serious malfunction because it is pouring out water. These machines are heavy-duty and once you start them there is no way to stop them until the load is completely finished. So the Beau runs over there to find out that there is something wrong with the door (it is a front-loader) and it will not stay shut unless you push it in. There is a timer on the machine and there was 27 minutes left at this time. I was freaking out asking him if he was going to stand there and push the door closed the entire time. He said that was the only option and, mind you, there is water still pouring out even when he is holding it shut - it was just a lot less than before. There was no attendant at the laundry mat and we could not find a mop or anything to soak up all the water.

It was a huge mess but good thing we were in jovial spirits because we laughed hysterically the entire time! It was all we could do.

The Beau holding the door shut!

Bless his heart!

Still holding it!

Never a dull moment! The funniest part of it was after about 20 minutes of holding that door shut the Beau looked up and said, "Washer was full" like Uncle Eddy on Christmas Vacation. I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe!

Just another day in Paradise!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Since I am being sentimental today

Two things you should know:

Number One: I love the holidays ... like I really, really love the holidays. For several different reasons.

Number Two: I can be a teensy-weensy bit emotional. Especially around the holidays. It's not a dramatic emotional ... more like a I always tear up at the Christmas Eve service while singing Silent Night kind of emotional. Nothing too out of the ordinary.

Today I ran home for lunch and made a pb&j for lunch because I spent the majority of my lunch break running errands and didn't have time for much else. I pulled out the loaf of Sunbeam bread and took notice ... you usually see this on a loaf of Sunbeam

But during the holidays you see a picture like this

Little Miss Sunbeam is praying and in small words it reads, Not by Bread Alone. Has anyone ever noticed this? I got a teensy-weensy bit emotional. One reason I love the holidays is because people take time to spread messages that they wouldn't normally throughout the other 11 months of the year. I thought that this was such a simple message but so strong at the same time.

Are there simple things about the holidays that you love?

"Jesus answered, 'It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Matthew 4:4


Attention all Newlyweds!

My friend, N, told me about the sweetest idea the other day that I have to share with all you newlyweds. You will need to go and purchase a clear Christmas ball like the ones pictured above ... make sure that the top can be taken off. Then cut off a sprig of your Christmas tree (this obviously only works if you have a live Christmas tree). Put the piece of the tree inside of the ornament.

Now you and your Beau will always have a "piece" of your first Christmas together! Awww ... how sweet!!! {tear}


Monday, December 15, 2008

Come on in ... watch your step!

Can I get you anything? Wanna look around?

This is my first Christmas as a blogger and I am so excited to participate in Boomama's Tour of Homes! Since we have already established that I am so incredibly nosey this is right up my alley {squeal}!!! Okay, shall we get started?

My wreath was my one decoration purchase of the year and I am thrilled with it. I would prefer that our door wasn't stark white but what can you do??!!

Not too much decor in the kitchen because it is rather small ...

This is my funky, little lime green, grinch-esque tree. It needs something ... not sure what though. Perhaps some ribbon tied to the branches?

Just a few plates on the wall ... follow me in here where things get a little more festive!
What you can do with cheap Christmas balls!

I worked really hard on my mantle this year as it is the main focal point of the house. Our stockings are my absolute favorite. This is the mine ...

This is the Beau's ... it says CHEER.

Our first "married" Christmas tree! The tree skirt was an early Christmas present and it is awfully cute. The middle green panel is monogrammed with our last name and the 2 red panels on each side are monogrammed with each of our first names. Once we have kiddos we will put each of their names on a panel!

Get ready because ornaments are my thing! I think I have mentioned before that I have been collecting Christopher Radko ornaments since I was in high school. They are the only things i really collect. They are pricey but I treasure them and I love getting them out of their boxes each year. Each ornament has a special meaning and serves as a reminder of events, trips, memories, etc. I will share with you some of my favorites!

I was an ADPi in college and met the most fabulous group of girls imaginable! I am so thankful for each and every one of them.
This was given to us as a wedding gift. I will always remember our wedding day and the thrill of being a newlywed!
This little guy is a golf tee ... I got it after I went with my mom and dad to the Masters golf tournament in Augusta. My mom and I got video-taped while we were there because we were decked out in our Lilly spring dresses - we were in a commercial!
This snowman has the Eiffel Tower behind him (you can't see very good). I spent a couple weeks in Europe one summer and it was one of the best experiences of my life!
This is my prince-charming. I got him before I went to college in hopes that one day he would come!
This is my Hawaiian Santa - a great big surprise trip I took with my parents to Maui!
This is the ornament commemorating September 11th.
A pair of ice skates. For years my friends from high school would go up to Atlanta before Christmas and go ice skating and eat dinner at Cafe TuTuTango. I wonder if that place still exists?

And Muffy Vanderbear! I used to LOVE Muffy when I was little. Did any of you have any of these bears?

I guess that about wraps it up ~ I sure did enjoy showing you all around! I hope that you will come back next year. Merry Christmas!!!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Because I love each and every one of you

and because I want you to all receive a ginormous amounts of compliments on your "domestic-ness" I am going to share with you my 2 favorite appetizers. Ever. After this I won't share any more recipes for like a week. Or two. Promise.

I had Book Club on Wednesday night and I was sick and didn't go to work but I was in charge of snacks so I had to go and drop off the food - I received 3 requests the next day for the recipes.

The first is a Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Let me tell you, all spinach dips are not created equal and this is best in the world. It is a Pampered Chef recipe and calls for all sorts of fancy equipment that I do not own so I will just tell you how I make it. mmmmK?

1 package of frozen creamed spinach (heat in microwave like package instructs)
1 jar of marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/4 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 clove of garlic, minced

Mix all ingredients together and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. I prefer to serve with baked pita chips but the Beau prefers Fritos.

The second appetizer is my all-time favorite. All-time ... that is saying a lot. The recipe doesn't really have a name that I know of so I just call them Pinwheel Things.

Here is what you need (I usually double everything and make make 2 batches):

1 roll of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
1 8oz. cream cheese
1 bag of Real Bacon Pieces or Bits
1 Bushel of Green Onions, chopped

First you spread out your Crescent Rolls to make one large rectangle. Try to smooth out all the perforations. Then you will spread your cream cheese on top of the dough like this -

On top of the cream cheese, add your bacon and green onions.

Now you are going to roll up the dough (from the long side) like a jelly roll and then cut into about 1 inch slices. Discard ends. When cutting it is best to use a serrated knife. Put on a greased cookie sheet. They should look something like this -

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Serve and graciously accept all compliments!

Okay, so hurry along now and go make yourself fat! One more thing, let it be known that I do cook real meals every once in a while. I just prefer fun food like this :)