Be Thankful

Be Thankful

Thanksgiving is undoubtedly one of the best days of the year. Nothing is better than having an entire day focusing around family, and having a few sweet treats and savory sides thrown into the mix as well is just the icing on the cake… or, the whip cream on the pie!

Be Thankful - Thanksgiving 2014The Thanksgiving holiday for our family is very laid-back and relaxing. I know a lot of people travel, or attend many brunches and dinners, some even being more formal affairs. Our holiday consists of running the Turkey Trot Thursday morning, followed by lunch at my parents with dessert to follow, and then usually in the evening is dinner with Tim’s family. Thankfully our families don’t live too far from one another so it definitely makes the holiday commutes pretty easy. We are definitely blessed to not have to spend the majority of the holiday driving in our car from house to house.

This Thanksgiving weekend I am thankful for:

  • Being able to run the local Turkey Trot race with my mom, brother and husband. What started off as a ‘test run’ about six years ago has now become a Thanksgiving tradition. Even though the weather can be so cold, especially last year, it always feels so great to get a little exercise in before feasting on turkey and stuffing. Plus, completing it alongside my family makes it that much better.  I am not trained ‘per se’ for this year’s race, but I sure plan on finishing the five miles and having a great time doing so!

Be Thankful - Thanksgiving 2014

  • Baking and preparing the Thanksgiving meal. I absolutely love to help my mom cook the holiday meal, and I look forward to pie making each and every year. This year I will be whipping up the same indulgent Pecan-Chocolate Chip Pie recipe I have made for the past few years, alongside a few heathy Dashing Dish recipes including Sweet Potato Casserole w/ Pecan Maple Topping, and Creamy Pumpkin Trifle.
  • Black Friday research. Although we don’t go nuts on the Black Friday sales, my mom and I do have a tradition of doing a little shopping the day after Thanksgiving. What we have noticed the past couple years is that if we leave the house around 7 or 8, most of the shopping fanatics have already came and went and a lot of the sales are still available and the products are still in stock. We go through the Black Friday ads early afternoon on Thanksgiving after our meal and then make our list for Friday shopping. We are only gone usually about half a day, but that is just enough to help us get our shopping fill without feeling exhausted.
  • Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1. I am so excited because my family has plans to go see Mockingjay Friday. I flew through all the books and just love the movies so far too. If you haven’t read the books though, I really suggest you do! I promise they are even better than the movies. I literally could not put book two, Catching Fire, down!
  • OSU v. Michigan. Since I am an OSU alum and huge Buckeyes fan, this event just had to make the list. Saturday is our big rival game against Michigan and I am looking forward to watching.
  • Christmas decorations. This weekend also marks that time of the year in our house when fall décor is replaced with Christmas trees, garland, ornaments, stocking, and shining light strands galore. I just love this time of the year when I can sip some hot cocoa, listen to Michael Buble’s Christmas album, watching Christmas movies and decorate the house. Perfection!

Be Thankful - Thanksgiving 2014

  • Family. Last, but not least. I am really looking forward to having my whole family under one roof again. My brother and I are very close, but I haven’t seen him since August. He is a college baseball coach in Kentucky and his schedule is crazy and he is rarely ever home on the weekends. I know my mom and dad are thrilled to have him home for a few days and so am I! I am also looking forward to seeing my aunt and uncle and my cousin and her family. Spending that time with Tim’s family is so important as well and I am grateful to be able to spend the holiday with those I love. I know that not everyone has that opportunity, but it is definitely the thing I am thankful for most of all!

Be Thankful - Thanksgiving 2014

Conversation Time.

  • What are you looking forward to this Thanksgiving? Do you have any big plans? Any Thanksgiving traditions you are looking forward to celebrating?
  • Do you travel for Thanksgiving? If so, where is your destination this year?
  • What are you thankful for this year?
  • Who has seen Mockingjay yet? What were your thoughts on the movie??
My Home Reveal: Living Room and Office Space

My Home Reveal: Living Room and Office Space

Owning your first home can teach you a lot about yourself. In the almost four years we have had our home, we’ve put a ton of work and thought into creating a space we love and that feels like us. Since this house is our first true place, there has definitely been plenty of trial and error in finding our home style and the furnishings and décor that go along with it.

My Home Reveal: Living Room and Office SpaceLike many homeowners, we’ve made some mistakes along the way. There are furniture pieces I chose four years ago that I wouldn’t buy today, and vice versa. I think that is pretty standard, but the good news is that these ‘mistakes’ are aiding in leading me to the right choices.

My Home Reveal: Living Room and Office SpacePaint color is another area that has caused a few hiccups along the way. True story:

  • Paint does not look the same in your home as it does in the store.
  • Paint can look great in one room of your house and not so great in another.

This was the color before:

http://www.target.com/p/threshold-pine-cone-curtain-rod-oil-rubbed-bronze/-/A-14105112#prodSlot=medium_1_11&term=curtain+rod

http://www.target.com/p/threshold-pine-cone-curtain-rod-oil-rubbed-bronze/-/A-14105112#prodSlot=medium_1_11&term=curtain+rodAnd here is the after:

My Home Reveal: Living Room and Office SpaceYou can tell that both shades of paint are grey, but just a subtle change in the colors can make a huge difference in the look of a room. In fact, paint color can vary wall-to-wall even in the same room. It’s pretty crazy how loving or despising a color can completely depend on the lighting. Who knew?! I sure didn’t before I became a homeowner.

My Home Reveal: Living Room and Office SpaceSince our living room/office space is located next to our covered front porch, we really don’t get a lot of light shining in, which in turn means that any paint color you use is going to look that much darker.

My Home Reveal: Living Room and Office SpaceWell, we didn’t realize that and we started with a deep shade of grey that turned out to be way too dark, especially when paired with a black leather couch and a black media center. All the dark colors were way too much when combined together.

My Home Reveal: Living Room and Office SpaceSo from that lesson I learned I prefer lighter colors, and slowly yet surely I have made some much needed changes. We kept with the grey theme, but repainted the room using a color that is a few shades lighter.

My Home Reveal: Living Room and Office SpaceWe also sold the black leather couch and replaced it with a light linen couch that has a few pillows that tie in the grey walls and the black media center, which we are keeping for now. Eventually I would like to get something like this to replace it.

My Home Reveal: Living Room and Office SpaceI chose a white and light grey patterned rug from Pottery Barn, and we are still in the market for a coffee table to tie that portion of the space together.  My window treatments are simple white, dotted curtains from Ikea that hang from a rustic bronze curtain rod with pine cone detail, which came from Target and can be found here. (I have the same rod hanging in my dining room as well. I love it!)

My white computer desk is from Pottery Barn, and I am still on the hunt for the perfect desk chair. I am thinking something like this or this, but my decision is still up in the air.

My Home Reveal: Living Room and Office SpaceTo balance out a pricier desk, I have a few budget-friendly details including this ‘Letters’ box from Home Goods, and my lamp. The base of the lamp is actually a vintage milk glass piece that was my great grandma’s and later my grandma’s, and the lamp shade is from Target that I thought played nicely with the color and the pattern of the Pottery Barn rug, similar to this one.  I thought the two were a good mix of vintage and modern when paired together.

I also recently purchased a large, rustic frame from Hobby Lobby for a poster print I ordered from Snapfish, which will be hung above the couch. Another piece I would love to get eventually is a bookshelf and a filing system so we can stay organized with our paperwork. All in good time though!

Conversation Time.

  • Tell me about a painting challenge in your home. Have you ever chosen a paint color and then disliked the outcome? Did you repaint the room or decide to just live with it?
  • Think back to your first place. How has your home style changed since the beginning? What lessons on design have you learned since then? What words would you say describes your home style? I would describe my home style as a combination of traditional and rustic, with a touch of coastal!
DIY Wreath Making

DIY Wreath Making

Today is a very special Pinterest-inspired episode of Living Dayton and I will be on the show sharing a segment revolving around one of my very favorite crafts, wreath making.

DIY - How to Make an Easy, Rustic WreathI came across this pin and used it as inspiration for creating a super simple and rustic wreath that can be displayed just about any time of the year.

DIY - How to Make an Easy, Rustic WreathI kept the budget low by using a small wreath, which in return required less foliage for decorating. I am not sure how familiar you may be with craft stores, but quality fake foliage can be very expensive. In my opinion though, the extra cost is worth it every single time.

DIY - How to Make an Easy, Rustic WreathIf you want a wreath that looks classy and chic enough to hang in your home, then I suggest splurging and getting more bang-for-your-buck by utilizing every part of the stem including the flowers and the leaves. Also, most craft stores have circulating specials; so if possible, try and wait to buy until the foliage, wreaths and ribbon goes on sale.

DIY - How to Make an Easy, Rustic Wreath

What you need:

  • Wire Cutters
  • Craft Wire
  • Grapevine Wreath
  • 3 large floral stems (I used hydrangeas)
  • Optional: 3 inch width wire ribbon for bow making, or a pre-made bow of your choosing

DIY - How to Make an Easy, Rustic Wreath

Steps:

  • Lay wreath flat and use wire cutters to trim the stems. I like to cut wire stems a few inches from the leaves or flowers so I can weave the stem into the wreath.
  • Arrange as you would like. I think three flowers on the bottom corner looks great with or without a bow tied to the opposite upper corner.
  • Weave the wired leaf and flower stems through the grapevine to secure, and use craft wire for extra support where needed. Tie bow onto wreath with craft wire.

DIY - How to Make an Easy, Rustic Wreath

Conversation Time.

  • What is the best Pinterest project you’ve ever done?
  • Share the link to your Pinterest page in the comments section, I would love to follow! You can find my Pinterest page here!
Lightened-Up Classic Apple Pie

Lightened-Up Classic Apple Pie

Although yesterday’s snowfall makes it feel more like Christmas time than mid-November, I am sure I’m not the only one who is looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving next week.  As much as I love Christmas, I am not a fan of skipping holidays and although I may plan on putting up a few Christmas decorations this weekend, it doesn’t mean I am wishing for the next month to go by quickly!

Lightened-Up Classic Apple Pie - Thanksgiving DessertThanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I am looking forward to celebrating with my family, running the annual turkey trot, eating yummy food, and simply being thankful for all the blessings in my life. When it comes to the Thanksgiving meal, my family likes to try and keep it as traditional as possible, but it’s always fun to add a few new recipes to the usual holiday menu.

Lightened-Up Classic Apple Pie - Thanksgiving DessertPlus, some of those fresh recipe ideas have even become a staple on our Thanksgiving menu, like this Pecan Chocolate Chip Pie that has now been a sweet ending to our meal two years in a row. Another recipe that will be making an appearance this Thanksgiving is my Classic Autumn Snack Mix, which will be perfect for munching while watching football and flipping through those Black Friday Ads.

Classic Autumn Snack MixA traditional apple pie can be found on many Thanksgiving dinner tables, and the recipe I’m sharing today would be perfect for putting a lighter twist on an expected treat. My apple pie is made fresh with a smaller amount of ingredients and less butter, sugar and crust than most apple pies.

Lightened-Up Classic Apple Pie - Thanksgiving DessertThink of this pie as a lighter version of a classic. Feel free to have a slice all on its own served heated and a la mode, or pair a slice with a small sliver of the Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie.

Lightened-Up Classic Apple Pie - Thanksgiving Dessert

Lightened-Up Classic Apple Pie

Lightened-Up Classic Apple Pie - Thanksgiving Dessert

Ingredients

  • 1 pie crust, thawed and placed into a pie pan (I use a refrigerated crust, but feel free to use a homemade version if you prefer)
  • 3 large or 6 small apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar or sugar in the raw

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, add sliced apples and lemon juice. Stir to combine and add in flour, stirring once again. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and salt.

Pour apple filling into the pie crust.

Lightened-Up Classic Apple Pie - Thanksgiving DessertCut the butter into thin slices and place on top of the apples. Feel free to add additional uncooked pie crust such as the shapes I made using a knife or cookie cutter on top of the pie.

Lightened-Up Classic Apple Pie - Thanksgiving DessertBake for 15 minutes.

Pour melted butter on top of pie and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake an additional 2-3 more minutes or until sugar is lightly caramelized. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Lightened-Up Classic Apple Pie - Thanksgiving Dessert

Conversation Time.

  • What are your favorite Thanksgiving desserts? This year, we will be enjoying birthday cake as one of the desserts at our holiday dinner!
  • What is the best new recipe you’ve added to your holiday meal? Do you tend to stick to a traditional menu or do you enjoy trying new recipes?
The Icing on the Cake

The Icing on the Cake

If you read Monday’s post, then you know I just celebrated my 26th birthday! Sure, gifts are always fun no matter the age, but as the years go by the whole ‘getting older’ part can become a little less exciting and a little more intimidating. However, in my opinion, a birthday is also a perfect time for reflecting on the past year, and making plans and setting goals for the upcoming year.

Another beautiful thing about birthdays is of course, the birthday cake. Full of sugar, frosted in rich buttercream, decorated with even more sugar and frosting, then topped with lit candles. The traditional birthday dessert is absolutely the ‘icing on the cake’ … literally!

Ele Cake Co.Monday night, Tim and I met my parents for dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. It is tradition for me to choose Cheesecake Factory for my birthday dinner, where I then proceed to order two slices of cheesecake just because you know, it’s my birthday and it’s hard to choose just one! Anyway, my brother wasn’t able to be in town this year so I requested to postpone our usual destination until the holidays, so a new location it was.

Since we were meeting both my parents right after work, we decided to only take one car north of town. It turns out that Tim was surprising me with a birthday cake from my favorite bakery where we also ordered our wedding cake, Ele Cake Co. Tim called my mom and asked if she could possibly swing by and pick up the already paid for cake before dinner since he was driving me and wanted it to be a surprise.

Ele Cake Co.Well, wouldn’t you know that my mom immediately started laughing; she couldn’t believe what was happening. She too had ordered me a birthday cake and both cakes were iced in rich buttercream, both were decorated with a fall theme, and both were ordered from my favorite cakery, Ele Cake Co. So funny! She arrived at dinner with not just one cake, but two. There were only four of us attending dinner, but we had enough cake to feed almost 35 people!

As it turns out, I may not have ordered two slices of cheesecake for my birthday, but I instead received two amazing, delicious, thoughtful and beautiful birthday cakes from two of my very favorite people. We decided to cut into the smaller round cake that my mom brought and save the ¼ sheet cake that Tim picked for Thanksgiving dessert. The cake was decorated in beautiful fall leaves and muted autumn colors, so with a little press-and-seal wrap and foil wrapped tightly around the box, the cake will be placed in the freezer and served for the holiday.

Ele Cake Co.So yes, the cake was absolutely delicious of course, but the thought put behind the orders and surprises by my family was just the sweetest thing … Even sweeter than the buttercream frosted cakes! Relationships in life, with The Lord, my family and my friends, are truly the most important things and I felt so blessed Monday to be reminded of how blessed I am to be surrounded by such loving and amazing people every day.

Ele Cake Co.Conversation Time.

  • What are the birthday traditions in your family?  Is there a certain way you celebrate, or a certain restaurant you visit each year?
  • Do you have a favorite bakery for ordering cakes? Or, do you prefer a homemade version instead?
  • What is your favorite flavor of cake?