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12.30.2010

A Year in Review

Dear 2010,

Two years ago, I started calling you 'The Best Year of My Life' and if anything, I was short in my expectations. I feel as if I've just gotten to know you and here we are, about to part ways to welcome a new go-around the sun. The past 365 days have been nothing short of amazing...

The year started out with the best New Years Eve celebration EVER and I wasn't lacking party invitations when I chose to throw a pajama party with two of my favorite boys, Dr. Pepper and Ryan Seacrest. Complete with Chinese take out, it was definitely Webster's definition of single girl on NYE, but it was the best NYE I've had to date. In early January, I added in extra measure to ensure your fabulousness, 2010, and threw a Plate Smashing Bash. Whatever the source or cause, it worked and 2009's bad juju was warded off just in time for all the sparkle.

February is my most favorite month of the year and this year, every weekend held a new adventure: a Super Bowl Party, the World's Greatest Sitter, a 3-Day Drink-a-Thon in Seattle, a visit from relatives, Twinkie turned 4, the best first date EVER, and when the Matsuri Festival was rained out, I found a happy $1000 surprise hanging out in my dryer. Seriously. All of these good February fortunes, I accredit to the February Fairy who visits me every year and sprinkles all 28 days with extra glitter {and when that runs out, apparently, cash}.

Once March rolled around and Twinkie's staples had been removed from her noggin, an experience I do not recommend, I was getting slightly uncomfortable with an upcoming birthday and decided something needed to change my perspective. Enter: 30 Before 30 and on March 17, exactly one month before my birthday, I set out on my 30 day journey to do 30 awesome things for myself before I turned 30. Some big, some little, but all for me; I even talked the best first date ever, VIP, into some tasks. I can honestly say that by the time April arrived, I was happier than ever and birthday number 30 took the blue ribbon award in being the best ever.

May brought GLEE Live to the valley, a fantastic voyage through Planet Orange with a Spurs sweep, the end of Captain Red's kindergarten year, a visit from B, new ink, and the beginning of summer.

In June, my little man turned 6, my main man turned 31, Songstress learned to ride without training wheels, we went fishing up north with N & S, and Green Apple Design was officially launched. I may have missed the wedding of a century in July {I don't want to talk about it}, but I enjoyed an impromptu weekend up north with my kids, a surprise 4th of July firework show on the side of the road, we celebrated 90 with Grams, and I baked over 400 cupcakes. Seriously.

With the start of August, came the start of the school. Songstress in the 2nd grade, Captain Red in the 1st, and Twinkie at home for one last year {BTW, I already loathe the baby stealing August 2011}. For the first time ever, VIP and I spent an entire weekend on the cabin couch with the fireplace, rain, 10 movies and pizza delivery and not long after that, September arrived with a three-day Labor Day weekend in Vegas ~ I finally made it to VEGAS, people! And after a very long 4 days in Sin City, I was soooo over it. However, it was one of the best weekends of the year. September also brought the news of my second round of Auntiness; happy to announce that Baby Girl M is due this Spring.

One of my top favorite 2010 highlights was our first family vacation to DISNEYLAND ~ welcome October! Nothing brought greater joy this fall than seeing my kids faces light up as we entered the Happiest Place on Earth. Shortly after our return home, Songstress turned 8 and before we knew it, it was November. GAD threw the most successful Alzheimer's fundraiser, VIP and I adopted a new black lab baby girl, Holliday, and we enjoyed football and food on our first Thanksgiving together. Six hours later, bestie J and I shopped our way into the holiday spirit with our traditional 3:30am mall-iday date on Black Friday and before we knew it, we were here: December 2010 welcoming old traditions and creating new ones.

According to our t-sharts {no, that's not a typo}
B: Mimi, VIP, Me, Papa
F: Songstress, Twinkie, Captain Red


Oh 2010, I have dreaded blogging my most favorite post of every year {this one, in case you were confused} because I knew it meant your end was very near, as in tomorrow, and it is with the heaviest of hearts that I bid you adieu for parting is such sweet sorrow. I can only cross my fingers and hope that your awesomeness will carry far into the decade. 2011 certainly has big moments to fill, we should all wish it luck.

Thanks for the glitter,
~ Missi

12.26.2010

12 Days After Christmas



The first day after Christmas, my true love and I had a fight
So I chopped the pear tree down and burned it just for spite
Then with a single cartridge, I shot that blasted partridge
My true love, my true love, my true love gave to me

The second day after Christmas, I pulled on old rubber gloves
And very gently wrung the necks of both turtle doves
My true love, my true love, my true love gave to me

The third day after Christmas, my mother caught the croup
I had to use the three French hens to make some chicken soup
The four calling birds were a big mistake for their language was obscene
The five golden rings were completely fake and they turned my fingers green

The sixth day after Christmas, the six laying geese wouldn't lay
I gave the whole darn gaggle to the ASPCA
On the seventh day, what a mess I found
All seven of the swimming swans had drowned
My true love, my true love, my true love gave to me

The eighth day after Christmas, before they could suspect
I bundled up the eight maids a'milking, nine pipers piping, ten ladies dancing, eleven lords a'leaping, twelve drummers drumming {well, actually I kept one of the drummers} and sent them back collect
I wrote my true love, "We are through, love!"
And I said in so many words,
"Furthermore your Christmas gifts were for the birds!"
~ Frederick Silver

12.24.2010

12 Days of Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me twelve drummers drumming.You could pick up a box of these drumsticks...

Or just watch this a few times for the same effect....



Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!

12.23.2010

12 Days of Christmas

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eleven pipers piping... Personally, I think these are better than regular pipes ~ except maybe bagpipes. That would be cool too...


Vintage Bubble Pipes, Esty seller CoveTableCurosities $5.99

In a small bowl, combine the following to make your own homemade bubble solution ~

1 c distilled water
2 T dawn dish soap
1 T glycerin

12.22.2010

10 Minute Tomato Soup

Best tomato soup recipe ever. Nom, nom, nom...

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 c canned diced tomatoes, with juice
1 c water
2/3 c heavy cream
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan, melt butter and evoo. Add onion and garlic, saute until translucent. Add tomatoes, water, cream, spices, sugar, and season to taste. Bring to a boil. Transfer to a blender and on low, combine until smooth and creamy. Transfer back to pot and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Combine it with a grilled cheese sandwich and top it with cheesy croutons. DELISH!

12 Days of Christmas

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, ten lords a leaping...

12.21.2010

12 Days of Christmas

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me nine ladies dancing. Just what I need. I have a better idea. Curl up with one of these dancing ladies...


And don't forget a can of these pirouette cookies to snack on!

12.20.2010

12 Days of Christmas

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eight maids a milking...

This season, treat your friends to one of these delicious homemade treats using Brach's Milk Maid Caramels. I'm so clever.

~ Caramel Apples ~
Courtesy of Brach's

14 oz package Brach's Milk Maid Caramels
Wooden sticks
5 -6 medium apples {I like green!}
2 tbsp water

Microwave {I like shortcuts!}: Wash and dry apples thoroughly. Unwrap and place the caramels and water in a microwavable bowl and melt on high for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until the mixture is smooth. Place each apple into the bowl, spooning mixture over the apples coating as desired. Insert a wooden stick into the stem end and remove from bowl.

Roll around in toppings like crushed nuts, candies, or chocolate. Place on wax paper and refrigerate until set.
~ Turtle Brownies ~
Courtesy of Brach's


1 double fudge brownie mix
14 oz bag Brach's Milk Maid Caramels
1 tbsp heavy cream, half and half, or milk

Prepare brownie mix as directed. Spread half of the batter in a greased 9 x 9" pan. Slice half of the caramels into 1/4" thick pieces. and spread evenly over the brownie batter. Cover with remaining brownie batter and bake as directed. Remove from oven. Melt remaining caramels with cream in the microwave on high power, 40-45 seconds, stir well. Microwave an additional 20 seconds or until caramel is smooth. Drizzle over warm brownies and let cool completely on wire rack.

~ Caramel Bars ~
Courtesy of Brach's

1 c all purpose flour
1 1/4 c quick cooking oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c butter
3/4 c sugar
14 oz Brach's Milk Maid Caramels
small can evaporated milk
1/2 c chopped pecans

For the cookie crust, combine flour, oats, soda and salt. In a mixing bowl, beat butter 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in oat mixture until crumbly. Do not over mix.

Reserve 1 c of crust and press the rest into a 9 x 13 x 2" baking dish. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

In saucepan, cook unwrapped caramels and evaporated milk over low heat until the caramels melt and mixture is smooth. Spread over pre-baked cookie crust. Sprinkle the nuts, reserved crust on top, and chocolate chips {optional}. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until crumbs are golden. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

12.19.2010

12 Days of Christmas

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, seven swans a'swimming. With this How-To video, you can make seven, seventeen, or seven hundred swans! Use it to hold a gift certificate this Christmas {a much more practical gift than seven birds}.

12.18.2010

12 Days of Christmas

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me six geese a'laying. The problem with geese is that they're noisy. After they fly away, I suggest you should lay down with these geese:

Goose Down Comforter by Calvin Klein, Macy's $349

And then perhaps cover it with one of these...

Eternally Duvet, Jennifer Adams Home $210

Jaipur Duvet, Echo Design $130

Willow White Duvet, DKNY $149

Antique Floral Duvet, Urban Outfitters $78

Matine Toile Duvet Cover, Pottery Barn $169

12.17.2010

The Proposal

As if I needed more adorable in my life...



This short film was shown in a real movie theater on 12.12.10. The couple's dearest friends and family snuck in after the lights went down and after more than a decade of togetherness and this adorable film, she said yes. Yay! Visit the groom's blog for the whole romantic story. I just love the song, "Yours Alone" by Nicholas Kirk and William Wilkerson. You can listen to more of their tunes here.

12 Days of Christmas

On the 5th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me five gold rings! I thought we could all appreciate these fabulous rings and with this recipe, you get more than five ~ win, win! Enjoy!

~ Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings ~
Courtesy of The Barefoot Contessa and The Food Network

2 large Spanish onions (or 3 yellow onions)
2 c buttermilk
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c yellow cornmeal
1 qt vegetable oil

Peel the onions and slice them to 1/4 - 1/2" thick and separate them into rings. Combine buttermilk, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper in a medium bowl. Add the onion rings, toss well, and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes (they can sit in the buttermilk for a few hours if need be). In another bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Set aside.

When you're ready to start frying, preheat the oven to 200 and line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees in a deep pan or dutch oven. Working in batches, lift some onions from the buttermilk and dredge them through the flour mixture. Drop into the hot oil and fry for approx 2 minutes, until golden, turning them once with tongs. Don't crowd them! Place the finished onion rings on the paper towels, sprinkle liberally with salt, and keep them warm in the oven while you finish frying the rest. They will remain crisp in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

12.16.2010

12 Days of Christmas

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four calling birds; they left a message. A few of my favorite calling bird accessories...

Hamburger Phone, Fred Flare $26

Plunger iPhone Stand, Perpetual Kid $5.99

Useless Info Sticky Pad, Knock Knock $3.25
Smens Gourmet Scented Pens ~ Holiday Edition, Everything Smells $14.95

12.15.2010

12 Days of Christmas

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me three French hens! Except, the three French hens weren't available, so how about some chicken noodle soup courtesy of the three French hens?

~ The Lady's Chicken Noodle Soup ~
Courtesy of Paula Deen and The Food Network

Stock:
1 fryer chicken, about 2-3 pounds, cut up
3 1/2 quarts water
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 1/2 - 2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 bay leaves
3 chicken bouillon cubes
kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste

Soup:
2 c sliced carrots
2 c sliced celery, with leafy green tops
2 1/2 c uncooked egg noodles
1 c sliced mushrooms
3 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
1/3 c cooking sherry
2 tsp chopped rosemary leaves
1 c grated parmesan cheese, optional
3/4 c heavy cream, optional
seasoning salt
fresh ground pepper
crusty French bread for dipping

For the stock:
Add all ingredients to the stock pot. Cook until the chicken is tender, about 35 - 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool. Remove and discard bay leaves and onion. You should have approx 3 quarts of stock. When the chicken is cool enough to touch, pick bones clean, discarding bones, skin, and cartilage. Set chicken aside.

For the soup:
Bring the stock back up to a boil and add carrots. Cook for 3 minutes and add celery. Continue to cook for 5 - 10 minutes. Add egg noodles and cook according to package directions. When noodles are done, add chicken, mushrooms, parsley, sherry, and rosemary. Add parmesan and heavy cream, if using. Cook for another 2 minutes and adjust seasoning. Enjoy along with a nice hot crusty loaf of French bread.

12.14.2010

12 Days of Christmas

On the 2nd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me two turtle doves...

~ Chocolate Turtles ~
Courtesy of Dove Chocolate Discoveries
Dove Chocolate Discoveries Chef Series dark or milk chocolates - liquid tempered
Pecan halves
Caramel candy squares
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Place pecan halves in clusters on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Top each cluster with a caramel candy and a few grains of salt.

Bake for 5 minutes or until caramels are soft. Using the back of a buttered spoon, press down on each caramel to squish it into the pecans. Let cool completely.

Drizzle tempered chocolate over the cooled pecans and let cool before storing.


Don't forget to come back tomorrow for the 10th day of Christmas!

12.13.2010

12 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree! Traditionally, the 12 days of Christmas starts on December 26th, but the traditional holiday song is of French origin and well, I'm not French. So my 12 days of Christmas starts now with this delicious treat...

~ Apple and Pear Crisp ~
Courtesy of The Barefoot Contessa & The Food Network

Filling:
2 lbs ripe Bosc pears (about 4)
2 lbs firm honeycrisp apples (about 6)
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Topping:
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp salt
1 c old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 lb (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat oven to 350.

Peel, core, and cut the apples and pears into large chunks. Place the fruit in a large bowl and add the zests, juices, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into a 9 x 12 x 2 inch oval baking dish.

For the topping:

Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed 1 minute, until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering completely.

Place the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm.



This is fantastic with ice cream, by the way. Come back tomorrow for the 11th day of Christmas!

12.08.2010

We Need Popcorn

Last night we watched 1960's classic holiday film, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with Burl Ives...

And it made me think of all the other holiday films I absolutely adore that I must watch this season. What are your holiday favorites? This is my list of To See's this holiday season, in no particular order...

{kleenex NOT optional}


12.07.2010

Better to Give Than to Receive

I'm a big supporter of the phrase, "it's better to give than to receive" and since it's the season for giving, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite Esty finds. Happy Mall-idays!

You can't go wrong with this Personalized Ornament $14 from Chi Cerca Trova. In fact, a few of my friends will unwrap one this year. Christine, shop owner, is top notch when it comes to customer service.


I think I may have to snatch up one of these Cupcake Beanies from CMU55, $30


This Christmas Bunting, $25 from Bekah Jennings, should hang on every mantle.


I'm wearing mine. Get yours from Brag About It, $40


Eat, drink, and be merry with this Holiday Flask, $18 from Kryan2Designs


I may not be able to figure out my iPod {even after 4 years}, but I certainly can figure this out. iPood Onsie Iron-On Transfer, $5 from The Design Vine


For the rock n' roller, a Personalized Guitar Pick $18 from Jessie McCann


Protect those Kindles, Nooks, eReaders, iPads, Notebooks, and iPhones with a handmade case like this one, $21.99 from Tha Meow Designs