Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful on this Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everybody has a relaxing day spent with loved ones eating too much turkey and drinking too much wine. I'm officially in the holiday spirit... Christmas cards are ordered, we're picking out a Christmas tree tomorrow, and planning is in full swing for our 2nd annual Christmas party at the house next weekend.

This past year has definitely had it's ups and downs, but there is so much to be thankful for and I thank God every day for His many many blessings.

~ I'm always thankful for my amazing H and our adorable duggy





~ I'm thankful for our wonderful friends and family. We are blessed with lifelong friends back in CT.... 


..... and a ridiculously fun group of friends here in FL that I know will be lifelong friends as well...extremely blessed.



With the fam at my cousin's wedding last spring


~ I'm always thankful for our travel experiences. 2013 brought 3 trips back to CT... 2 funerals and a wedding. Hopefully, my trips up there in the future are for all good things. Bring on more weddings and family memories!

2013 also brought lots of fun trips...

NYC with H ~ April


Punta Cana to celebrate H's 30th b-day ~ May 
Recap found here

Miami with friends ~ August 
Recap found here

Labor Day Weekend in St. Pete
Recap found here


Bahamas Cruise ~ November 2013
Recap found here


~ I'm thankful every day for our jobs in this economy and our beautiful home we watched be built 3 years ago.

~ I'm very thankful for our life in Florida. Every day I step outside and feel the warmth on my skin and see the beautiful palm trees and the sun is shining I can't help but smile. Especially when it's winter up north and all the trees are dead. Life is just so much better here, best decision we ever made :)

~ I'm thankful for our health and happiness of not just us but our friends and family as well

As you read this, my turkey is hopefully roasting in the oven while I enjoy some mimosas and am watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade before football is on for the rest of the day (before A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving of course!)


What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Smart Target Holiday Shopping

It's no secret that Target is my happy place, it's almost impossible for me to walk out of that store without spending a crap ton of money. The store seriously has everything.... home decor, beauty products, clothes, shoes, accessories, electronics, groceries, party supplies, etc...

But one of the reasons I love shopping there is how affordable it is. Not only are they generally cheaper than other retailers and grocery stores, but they also provide multiple ways to save which is great with the busiest shopping season of the year fastly approaching.

1. Coupons

I check their site every week and print off coupons to save even more than I already am on top of their already low prices and weekly sales.



2. Red Card

I was reluctant to sign up for a red card until a little over a year ago. I always thought there was some kind of a catch such as an annual fee, but there are no catches. I have the debit card which is directly linked to my checking account and I save 5% on every single transaction including online orders. Plus I get free shipping on every online order. It's amazing watching my total saved for the whole year.







3. Cartwheel App

My new favorite way to save is with Target Cartwheel where you choose from hundreds of available offers for additional savings. I only started using this app a few weeks ago, and I've already saved close to $10 with it. You simply add the offers you'd like to save on to your app, and have the check out associate scan the bar code on your phone before paying.



Considering I do a lot of my Christmas shopping at Target (gifts, stocking stuffers, wrapping paper, baking supplies, etc...) it's fantastic that there are several ways for me to wrack up savings.

If you plan on doing any holiday shopping this weekend, make sure you're armed with their weekly ad, coupons, and the cartwheel app. And if you haven't gotten a red card yet, what are you waiting for?! Open one at the check out and you'll continue saving at every visit.

**Disclosure: I am receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for the above blog post**

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fall Bucket List Recap

I can't believe we're already entering the holiday season, but I'm very proud of myself for accomplishing more on my fall bucket list than my summer bucket list.

1. Pick my own pumpkin

We picked pumpkins when we went to the corn maze and I even drove a tractor





2. Decorate for fall not just Halloween

Finally picked up some cute fall decor and I've only continued adding to it the past few months. Most of the fall decor has been put away because I'm married to a child who wanted to decorate for Christmas as soon as Halloween was over. I was able to hold him off until this past weekend and then Christmas exploded in our house. I told him as long as the dining room is still decorated for fall and Thanksgiving through this Thursday then by all means go ahead :-P


3. Lots of nights by the fire pit

We've started lighting the fire pit, but not as much as I would have liked. I'm hoping we'll get a lot more use out of it through the holiday season.



4. Get lost in a corn maze

We went with our neighbors in mid-October and it was so much fun. They even had a slide that dumped you into the corn maze area.



5. Carve a pumpkin

We carved a silly face this year :)



6. Go to a football game

We didn't make it to any NFL games this year, but we got last minute tickets to the UGA vs UF game which is apparently the world's biggest cocktail party/tailgate. SO.MUCH.FUN! Go Dawgs!






7. Haunted hayride

Sadly, we didn't get to go on a haunted hayride like last year, but we did go to a haunted house with friends the weekend before Halloween.




8. Make a pumpkin cheesecake and/or pumpkin spice cupcakes and try to make apple butter for the first time

I made pumpkin spice cupcakes for a pre-Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving feast 


....and I tried out apple butter for the first time :)




9. Wine tasting

Ugh... big fat fail and it's one of my favorite things to do in the fall! Booo!


10. Indulge in s'mores and apple cider donuts

Does a s'mores milkshake count? But I did make some baked apple cider donuts since I couldn't find any around these parts.



11. Watch It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!

Of course I watched this as the trick-or-treaters ringing the doorbell started winding down on Halloween



Now it's time to have a holiday season bucket list... so much I want to do... so little time!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

One of my favorite Thanksgiving desserts is not pumpkin pie or apple pie but pumpkin cheesecake. Plus, I make mine with reduced fat ingredients so it's not a diet's worst nightmare :)



Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Beat three 8 oz. packages of cream cheese until smooth

Add 15 oz. of pumpkin puree, 3 eggs, 1 egg yolk, 1/4 cup of sour cream, 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar, 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. of ground nutmeg, 1/8 tsp. of ground cloves, and beat together until well blended.

Add 2 tbsp. of flour and 1 tsp. of vanilla, beat well until blended

Pour into crust and spread evenly and place in oven for 1 hour

Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours

Serve with whipped cream or cool whip

*I substitute in reduced fat cream cheese and fat free sour cream and serve with fat free cool whip... still delish!

* I don't have a cheesecake pan, so I pour the batter into 2 pre-made pie crusts and bake in those.

Finished Product



Joining Jessica and Ashley for Taste of Tuesday, hop on over and share a recipe with us :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Weekend Holiday Shenanigans

I think I've finally recovered from last weekend's birthday cruise and I'm excited because I feel like the holiday season is officially upon us. I did a lot of shopping this weekend for holiday decor for our upcoming Christmas party, baked my first batch of Christmas cookies, and we went to our friend's Holiday Kickoff Party. Bring it on!


~ Iced eggnog latte... way too hot for a hot beverage and a beautiful red cup

~ Went to a nursery to look for new trees and flowers for our landscaping

~ Picked up an adorable toss pillow from Target

~ Getting lost in all the holiday decor at Old Time Pottery

~ Loot picked up over the weekend, including an adorable snowman Christmas countdown figurine

~ Love this Kate Spade towel from Bed Bath & Beyond

~ Made my 1st batch of Creme de Menthe cookies for the season

~ Yummy cookies for the party

~ Beautiful tree at our friend's house for the Holiday Kickoff Party


Such a fun night with great friends and have I mentioned lately how much I love living in Florida? Yeah, it will never get old being outside during the holiday season :)


Joining Sami for Weekend Shenanigans, hop on over and share your weekend with us

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Loves

As I'm still recovering from last weekend's Bahamas cruise shenanigans I'm loving that it's Friday. I definitely need to catch up on some much needed rest this weekend.

~ I'm loving that the Naked3 palette was released yesterday. I already have the original, Naked2, and Naked Basics palettes and love them all. Hopefully this beauty will be waiting for me under the Christmas tree this year :)



~ I'm loving that Meg is hosting an ornament swap such a cute idea to meet new bloggy friends and have something new and festive to put on the tree.




~ I'm loving my new sparkly coffee mug I got on the cruise last weekend




~ I'm loving my new metallic eye shadow from Sephora. You can find it here




~ I'm loving that Catching Fire is now in theaters #TeamPeeta 






~ I'm loving that we have our 1st holiday party of the season this weekend. Let the madness begin!



~ I'm loving my new festive salt and pepper shakers from Target. You can find them here



~ I'm loving my current finds on Pinterest:




























What are YOU loving today?

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