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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wanna Be Butterfingers

I saw Mallorie post before Christmas that this concoction is a staple in their house every year and I knew I had to try these babies out. I was skeptical when she told me they taste like Butterfingers but wowzas...they do! They are delicious!!!!! I made some on Thursday for a girls night but plan on bringing some to our New Years Eve festivities! I am sure they will be gone in 2.5 seconds.

Peanut butter
Baker's chocolate

1. Spread peanut butter between 2 cheez-it crackers
2. Dip in melted baker's chocolate
3. Let harden 
4. Enjoy! 

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Year In Review

2011 has been so great for us, I started off the year as a Fanning and married the love of my life and finished the year as a Hart! What a blessing this year was. Ups and downs and pretty much every single big life decision you can make all in one year. 

Here is a look back into our 2011


Other highlights of 2011 include
  • Growing my relationship with the Lord, joining a small group, and watching the Lord provide.
  • Something sparked in me when we moved into a bigger home and now I have a love for cooking.
  • Making wonderful, real friends through the blogging community

In 2012, we look forward to...
  • My best friend Alyssa's wedding next week! I am so excited to be her Matron of Honor
  • Our 1 year wedding anniversary!
  • Buying our first home this spring
  • Trying out ethnic recipes (we have been talking about making Thai and Greek food)
  • Lots of great job stuff for Jon
  • Hopefully some fun travel/trips
  • Busting out my sewing machine (I took a 4 month class a few years ago and haven't touched it since!)
  • Something super exciting that I will share in a few weeks (no babies!)

I hope 2012 brings you nothing but the best!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Christmas Story

Yesterday I shared pictures and stories from our Christmas last week and I also mentioned that Jon gave me a wonderful gift I would share later. I opened up the sweetest card with a few homemade gift certificates (a romantic night out & unlimited smoochies were my favorites) and then this letter written by my husband. I know it is long and picture-less but it is worth reading, I promise!

Once upon a time… there was an amazing young couple who was having their first Christmas as man and wife.  This couple had so many blessings in their first year of marriage that it would be hard to imagine their life getting any better.  They started it off with the best wedding imaginable.  They had a beautiful and relaxing honeymoon not soon to be forgotten.  They adopted the cutest French Bulldog puppy to start their family together.  Both of them got new, exciting jobs working for great companies.  She started her own blog that quickly grew in popularity.  They took trips, they had so much fun with friends and family, they got involved in small group and dedicated themselves more than ever to their church.  Everything seemed to be going so well.  What else could God have in store for them?

Throughout the year, this couple had been touched and guided by the Lord in so many ways.  Whether it was through church sermons, spiritual song, or new friends sent to them who they could finally connect with spiritually, God was always there leading the way.  One particular day, their church sermon spoke to the man so clearly that he left church full of excitement, eager to discuss it with his wife.  The topic was tithing -- a willingness to offer up 10% of their income to do God’s work, whether it be through donations to the church, helping those in need, whatever it was they felt called to.  It was not an easy decision because this couple had faced various financial burdens and they were focused on buying a house to expand their family.  Nevertheless, their pastor challenged them to trust in the Lord, tithe their 10%, and watch how He would work in their lives to reward them.  Somewhat reluctantly, this couple agreed to do it and wait to see what God had in store.

With the Christmas holiday quickly approaching, the couple decided not to tithe in November but instead holdover that money to put to great use by adopting families-in-need in December.  They began researching places to give, causes that spoke to them, people who truly needed their help.  The more they looked for individuals and families in need, the more excited they got about the thought of giving even simple items to people who had almost nothing at all.  What started with an intention to adopt one or two families actually turned into the sponsoring of two Eldercare members with disabilities and three families who lost everything in the Bastrop wildfires.  Each individual and family had their own unique circumstances, but the one common thread between them was their incredible appreciation for the little things the couple was able to provide them during their time of need.  

Sweatshirts, toys, dog food, giftcards for groceries, a vacuum cleaner – all things most people would take for granted were received with such thanks and it warmed the couple’s hearts.

The couple knew that tithing was the right thing to do, and trusted that God would reward them for putting their trust in Him.  The smiles on the adoptee’s faces were rewarding.  The kind words and embraces of gratitude that were shared with the couple were even more rewarding.  The experience of seeing such sadness and desperation in those adoptees’ lives, along with the couple’s new recognition of how blessed they truly are in their own lives, was beyond humbling.  And as if all of this didn’t make the young couple feel great as it was, God provided for them financially as well.  The morning after they had made their largest and most significant purchase of gifts for these families, the man received something very unexpected in his email…

… It was his very first purchase order at his new company, well ahead of its anticipated and somewhat shaky timeline.  The deal would not only pay the couple more than enough money to cover what they had spent on these families, but also cover their next month’s tithe as well.  

Some may call it coincidence, but the couple firmly believed that everything happens for a reason.  It was plain to see that God was rewarding them for putting all of their trust in Him.  The couple’s pastor had challenged them to tithe 10% and watch how God would work in their lives.  He had told stories of families with financial crisis putting their trust in God through tithing, and who would then suddenly receive miraculous financial gifts and see things happening in their lives without any explanation other than God.  The couple could now understand this for themselves and feel even closer to God than they ever had before.  Without opening a single gift for themselves, this had already become the best Christmas the couple could have ever asked for and one that they will never forget.  


Isn't it amazing how God provides?  I was so reluctant to hand over our 10% even though it is such a small amount in the grand scheme of things. But the Lord promises, you give to Him and He gives back. Not just with spiritual gifts but financial too. We are walking examples of that. I had questions and God answered. I was weary, He calmed my soul. We gave to Him and He showed us grace. God is so good! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our Christmas

We had an amazing Christmas with our family, our first being husband and wife! The festivities started on Thursday with homemade stromboli and games at my parents house. Friday the fam had our 3rd annual Christmas Eve-Eve bowling night with dinner beforehand at Big Daddy's Burger (where Jon previously ate a burger with 2 grilled cheese as buns). It was tons of fun! I knew socializing would get in the way of bowling so I decided not to bowl but ended up bowling for my lil sis in the second her 9.5 size shoes! Oh and you had to Tebow if you marked! The night ended with froyo :-)

Saturday, Christmas Eve, Jon and I hosted lunch for my family. 2 of us, 2 parents, 2 sisters, 1 brother, 1 brother in law and 2 was a full house!! The menu consisted of: sweet and sour meatballs, ceasar salads, parmesan garlic mashed potatoes, homemade broccoli cheese soup, homemade sausage tortellini soup, mac n cheese with cauliflower and cheddar bay biscuits. Let's just say I WAY overcooked and Jon and I will be eating leftovers for days.

The tradition is we open gifts from the siblings on Christmas Eve so we did that after lunch and opened up our family gift (which is almost always a game). If you haven't heard of Telestrations, you should probably go buy it! This game was a hit in our house the whole weekend, it is HYSTERICAL! it is a mix between Pictionary and much fun!

Ernie loves his cousin Athena the yellow lab

I got Tomi a cute little black beret and since Ernie is French, we figured he needed a photo shoot in it

And Tomi was sure to get individual shots of each of us

We attended the 4pm service at church and it was fantastic!! Last year our church did a Cirque de Soleil type Christmas show so we were wondering how they would top it but it was great. Our church does some really amazing/artistic videos and they filmed a modern day Mary/Joe around Austin to help tell the Christmas story. There were also some super adorable kiddos singing and dancing. Oh and they had fake snow falling! We ate dinner at my parents and played more Telestrations (told ya we were addicted) and slept over.

We woke up at 8am and started Christmas! Boy does Christmas change when there are no true "believers" in the house. Us girls were lucky James is so much younger than us because we got Santa a lot longer than most!

Ernie got lots of gifts from his Gramma and Grampa 
It was a "sign" Christmas for the Harts!
(the stressball was from my mom and said Mother In Law lol!)

Our family is very close to Cori's inlaws, we are like one big happy family, it is fun! For the past couple of years we have gone to their house for brunch and this year it was rainy so corn-hole was out. The rest of the afternoon/evening we hung out, played games and watched Never Say Never (my lil sis is obsessed! She was tearing up!). We had a delicious dinner of steak and salmon, we sure did eat good this weekend!! And how could I forget this...

(he still has it, I love it!)

James' big gift was a snow boarding trip with his friends that was planned to leave at 11pm on Christmas night. James wouldn't let his 3 big sisters go with our parents to drop him off (okay okay so we baby him and love him way too much!) but we were sneaky. We had my parents go to the mailbox before dropping him off and the 3 of us girls and two hubbies made a sign, had party blowers, and dressed in snow hats/goggles to surprise him at the house. Let's just say James wasn't as excited as we were haha. What a lucky guy to have 5 older siblings like us!

Our big gift was a Home Depot gift card that we will probably blow right through when we buy a house! I also got riding boots, a gorgeous glass mistletoe, my first Wooly Snowman (my mom has collected them for years), and from Jon, TOMS shoes. Unfortunately you could only buy the mustache ones during November but the shoes ended up looking so weird on feet are way too fat! Jon also gave me another wonderful gift that I plan on doing a whole post about. 

Jon and I both had Monday off and we slept in, bought a 9 1/2 foot tree 1/2 off for next year, and the best of all, we were on TV! I recognized a news anchor at Target because she fills in for my favorite radio morning show and I said hello. She asked to interview us about day-after-Christmas shopping and we ended up being on the 5p, 9p and then next morning segments...all with different quotes! Yesterday at the gym, one of the trainers recognized us from the news haha! Jon's stache was destined for Hollywood.  Check us out!

I couldn't have asked for a more relaxing, fun, blessed Christmas!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

La Madeline's Tomato Basil Soup

Hi friends! I hope you all had a blessed Christmas because the Harts sure did. I am busy catching up with things back to work today and didn't want to leave ya hanging so enjoy this recipe for La Madeline's delicious tomato basil soup to keep you warm. 

(us on Christmas even, yep Jon is in shorts!)


Have you ever eaten at La Madeline?? If not...go right now!! It is an adorable little French cafe/bistro and I am pretty sure they are all over the US. One of my favorite things to get there is their tomato basil soup so you can imagine how I pretty much died when I found the recipe here. I am a stickler for straight from the can Campbell's tomato soup but nothing beats the real thing.

2 (28oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 tsp dried basil (or 12 fresh basil leaves)
1 stick butter, unsalted
3/4 cup whipping cream
Salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste

(the elephants are our salt and pepper)

1. Simmer the tomatoes (undrained) for 30 minutes in a deep saucepan or pot
2. Add the basil and puree in small batches in a food processor
3. Return to the pot and add the butter, cream and salt/pepper/garlic and stir over low heat until fully blended
4. You should probably serve your soup with none other than GRILLED CHEESE! yummy

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The savior is born!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,  Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
-Isaiah 9:6


Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmastime is here

Last night kicked off our Christmas festivities. Well family festivities because everyone is in town. Cori and her husband are in town from Dallas and Tomi is home for winter break. My mom prepared dough and we all stuffed our own stromboli. It was a lot of fun!! Before having dinner at my parents house, Jon and I dropped off gifts to the 72 year old man from our church who lost his home in a fire and then another fire victim family. I want to dedicate a whole post to our experience sometime soon, it was quite moving for us.

Making stromboli

Wrapping gifts

Tonight we are continuing our 3rd year of dinner and bowling with the family. I am usually the one to volunteer to sit out if the teams are uneven, it is more of a social thing for me! Tomorrow Jon and I are hosting Christmas Eve lunch before we go to the Christmas production at our church. If you are looking for a church for Christmas, check out ours!! Gateway Community Church is putting on 7 performances of "Once Upon a Christmas". Last year it was kind of like Cirque de Soleil, so cool! 

Here are some scenes from Christmas, thus far.

Our tree

Homemade ornaments
 (2 wooden H's covered in burlap and jute, our wedding invitation curled up into a glass ornament and then mine, Jon and Ernie's handprints on scrapbook paper. My mom used to do this when we were young and I want to do it every year now that we have a little family)

Ernie visiting Santa

My company Christmas party on Wednesday

Merry Christmas and blessings!

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday Randoms

  • For those of you who don't know, I am barely 5 feet tall. This sucks in many circumstances because I feel like my hips are level with every sharp counter corner/door knob. I hit my hip pretty hard this weekend and look what I found on Tuesday. It is literally green. I bruise so easily
  • I tweeted on Tuesday about Jon going to the Austin ping pong club. Nerdy hubby!! He has never played on a basketball, football or baseball team but definitely played ping pong at Baylor. He is the real deal! Let's just say his paddle cost more than any purse I own. And he looks like he just ran a marathon when he gets back from the club.
  • Speaking of Twitter, I kind of don't like the new one. It doesn't notify me of new things and DMs are impossible to find. Question...anyone know how to get the URL of a single tweet? You used to be able to click on the time stamp and it would show the tweet on its own web page. Anyone?
  • Last weekend I was talking with some girls about guns and they were all saying they never want to own one. Jon is not a hunter but he owns 3 guns (.40 caliber and .357 magnum and a giant rifle). He also inherited his grandpa's guns when his dad passed away but we can't exactly carry those on a plane from Cleveland. Anyway, he only uses them at the shooting range and they are never loaded. I told Jon about the convo and he styled me to look like a redneck and took this picture.
  • We watched the movie Friends with Benefits early this week and I thought it was cute. I really like Mila Kunis. The music during the credits was "Pumped Up Kicks" which I am sure we are all sick of. It was already past 11 on a work night but we decided to do kareoke with our iphones. I pulled up the lyrics on mine and Jon pulled up the instrumental. Pumped Up Kicks was so fun to sing!! I tried to do some She and Him Christmas songs and Katy Perry "Firework"...I sucked! Yep we are random
  • Speaking of games, we have been trying to do other fun things at night rather than watch TV. The TV we do watch seems to be a lot of football lately (happy hubby=happy wife sometimes!) so I started making up football games for us to play. I pulled up notes on my phone and quizzed Jon on all the NFL football team names...super easy for my NFL crazed husband. Over the next couple of days we played NFL quarterbacks, NFL head coaches and the most 100 NFL players. Jon did not miss ONE! I even did bonus questions asking where they went to college, awards they've won, etc. I don't know why I had so much fun with this but I can't think of any more to do? He doesn't know NBA as well as he does NFL. 
  • Ernie is so cute and cuddly when it's cold. He sleeps like a little human, spooned against me at night. 
  • Tuesday night Jon and I dropped off some gifts for elders in our neighborhood that we 'adopted'. The first was very sad and eye opening. The man was 56 and we think was mentally challenged/learning challenged. He invited us into his 1 room apartment that was literally a cloud of smoke that I knew was not cigarette smoke. He was SO grateful for a warm sweatshirt and a Wal Mart gift card. He was smiling ear to ear. We were so humbled leaving his house knowing that he is so content receiving so little. We both got the coughs and really bad headaches after leaving, we had to immediately wash our clothes and clean out the car because the pot smoke was so bad. We are praying for this man to be prosperous in 2012. The second was a woman who was sweet and talkative. She showed us pictures of her family and told us about her health issues. She said she was going to use the gift card to buy healthy food so she can get healthy. We are so thankful for what the Lord has given us, it really put things into perspective. We are delivering gifts to fire victims this afternoon. 
  • Last night was my company Christmas party and it was SO fun! I took some great pics and need to upload those soon.
  • Jon is currently in the kitchen making us breakfast tacos...he makes the most amazing ones you will ever eat. I can never re-create them. Maybe he can do a vlog on how he does it?
  • Tonight starts the Christmas festivities...dinner at my parents house! My mom is making homemade stromboli...yummy.  
  • If you missed Monday's post, I am starting a Pinspired series so if you have any Pinterest projects you've been working on, I'd love to showcase you on my blog!

What random stuff do you have going on today? Last minute Christmas prep? Baking? Shopping?


    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Will you accept this rose??

    Bachelor anyone?? 
     P.S. the new season starts on January 2nd!

    This past weekend I had the pleasure of hosting a bachelorette party for my best friend Alyssa, who is getting married in 17 days!! Insane! I couldn't be more excited. Her future hubby is an absolute gem, I am so happy they found each other! You may recognize these ladies from the bridal shower I threw for her in October.

    We had lunch at Mimi's Cafe in the Hill Country Galleria before heading to my parent's lakehouse (my little sister, Tomi, joined us!).

    Once arriving at the lakehouse, the bridesmaids decorated with panties, pink, and streamers. I wonder where the cliche pink bachelorette party came from? We busted out treats and queso and of course...cocktails. 

    I bought the mixers for a pink grapefruit margarita I saw on Pinterest and it was good...but not great. I guess I didn't realize how bitter grapefruit juice was and added with tequila, it just wasn't the best. The drinks of choice were pink wine with fresca and champagne. Who doesn't love the champagne giggles, especially when you are drinking out of man part straws.

    Alyssa and her future hubs are spending 8 days in Maui after their wedding (I am typing this with a super jealous tone!) and we wanted to send her off with goodies for her honeymoon. Don't worry Alyssa, I am not posting pictures! One of my bridesmaids gave me a wire hanger with Mrs. Hart on it for one of my bridal showers and I knew I wanted to get one for Alyssa (I actually ordered it days after she got engaged!). I ordered it from Etsy. I also made her one of those glass Christmas ball ornaments with her wedding invitation in it (and she made me one!).

    We spent the rest of the day playing games (I interviewed Adam and Alyssa pretty much got every single answer correct!), eating, drinking and doing normal girl-sleepover things. 

    Sunday morning I made an egg casserole and pumpkin muffins and we busted out the mimosas. It was such a relaxing and fabulous weekend. It's funny when you get married that you forget what sleepovers are like! I can't wait to watch my best friend walk down the aisle on January 7th!!

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Ritz cracker cheddar chicken

    This recipe comes to you from What's Cookin' Chicago via Pinterest. Jon and I eat chicken multiple times a week and I am always looking for new ways of preparing it. This recipe did not disappoint, I can't wait to make it again!

    2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (we love the big bone-in breasts so I de-boned those)
    4 tbsp melted butter
    16 Ritz crackers, crushed
    6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    3 stalks green onions, thinly sliced
    Salt and pepper

    1. Melt butter in a shallow dish (I used a pie dish)

    2. Add crushed crackers, cheese, garlic, scallions, and salt and pepper (to taste)

    3. Coat the chicken breasts in the cracker/cheese mixture

    4. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through

    (that is a cheddar bacon biscuit on the side)

    5. Enjoy the mess outta this recipe! 

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