Sensational Superbowl Snacks!

As one of the worlds… NOT biggest fans of NFL football, I will admit that I love the superbowl because of the party foods, and for some reason the superbowl brings out the best in party foods. Its almost like party goers compete to bring the best treat to the table. and Im not mad about that because…. who doesn’t want to be on the tasting end of such an epic food battle!? So I have tried to do some of the grunt work for you, and am here to suggest a few options for you to take to your viewing party for the big game!

Delightfully Delicious Dips!

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This delicious dip is from yummly.com and I definitely want to try it! I am a huge fan of a mexican dip and this one has 7-scrumptious layers! Definitely a must try if you’re looking for something to make for the party. I feel like a mexican dip is always my go to, so I might try something new this year if we have superbowl plans.

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This dip is from better homes and gardens and, while it looks like a traditional guac. leave it to bhg to add a new spin on an oldie but a goodie! If you’re looking to do just that with your Sunday snacks, try this Pineapple Black Bean Guac. Sounds yummmmyyyy!

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OK, I found this one on Pinterest and have been dying to try it! Even though its call the skinny poolside dip, I really want it to be my delicious game day appetizer! I think if we go to a party this will be my dip of choice. The only way I WONT bring it is if i make some other kind of treat. But like I said, all this depends on how our plans develop.

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OR if you are looking to be the healthy option at the party try this creamy peanut butter dip which pairs great with apples! 

Simple Snacks on a Stick

You have to admit that anything that is served on a skewer becomes doubly awesome! Its a convenient all-in-one snack and its SO easy for self serving at parties. People can just walk by and grab a skewer and drop it on their plate. And its not as messy as a dip! No scooping and dropping and all that messy stuff, so here are some cute little skewers I found on line that I would definitely recommend trying!

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These hamburger skewers are awesome! and I think they are super cute. I have no idea how you even make the little buns but, who even cares!!! If I saw these at a party it would take me like 20 minutes just to get over how adorable they were before I could eat them!

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I have been DYING to make these, because David and I love caprese salad! Its so simple and delicious annnnd I like it even more as an appetizer on a toothpick. Plus it would be so easy to make! Some chopped Mozzarella cheese, little cherry tomatoes and spinach and give it a little balsamic drizzle.

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I also really like this fun take on anti-pasta salad, which looks so yummy! I think its a great way to bring something different to the table!

Individual Treats

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I love the look of the layered dips in smaller bowls! I think its a great way to kind of portion it out so A) people arent crowding the table B) they arent making a mess and C) you dont have to worry about the dreaded double dippers!

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I also think this veggie cup is SUCH an awesome idea. Put the veggie dip in the bottom with the sticks in the top, easy, no mess, and its a great display on your table!

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I also love these scoops with the dips already put inside them which makes the perfect one bite snack! I think besides being able to see all the layers of the dip in the clear cup, that this is my favorite presentation. I am all about creating convenience with minimal fuss. And I think this does that and then you dont have to worry about all those tiny little plastic cups!

Hopefully you are now inspired to make a plethora of delicious things for Sundays Superbowl events! And make sure you eat lots of yummy party food, this delicious day only comes once a year!

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The Man Chili

I have never been a HUGE fan of chili, I only like it a few times throughout the winter. Its something that I have to have a distinct craving for. I feel like some people could eat it all the time, but Im not really one of those people. I have to say that David does a pretty jam up job of making a delicious chilly. As you know, this past weekend I danced my botty off at the convention in Charlotte, so while doing his laundry at my apartment David decided to multitask and take on dinner as well. I know what a dream, right? A man who cooks AND does his own laundry. Hes TAKEN! Sorry ladies. Ok, enough about David, lets talk about this man chili he mad. He says its adapted from his Mom’s recipe but I have a hard time believing that she loaded it with as much meat and onions and peppers as David does… so I think thats where the adaptation must come in. None the less I love it. Especially after it sits in the pot and stews ALL DAY so that it gets nice and flavorful. David says that now that hes letting me FINALLY put this recipe on line that I am giving away his one secret in life. SO, guard it safely, because little David has nothing left to hide! And trust me, this is one secret you’ll be glad he finally shared!



Ingredients

  • 1 Large Green  Bell Pepper
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion
  • Italian Sausage (removed from the casing and browned)
  • 1-2 lbs Ground Beef, browned (depending on how meaty you want the chili)
  • 1/2 Lb of thinly sliced steak, browned
  • 2 Medium Cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large can of Kidney Beans or Black Beans
  • 22oz of  beer of your choice
  • The Add a little something extra (These are some of David’s go-to add-ins: balsmaic vinegar, whochestshire sauce, soy sauce,  small piece of chocolate, salsa, other types of vinegar, jalapenos, fresh tomatoes, etc, just something to add some extra flavor)

Instructions

  • Chop and sautee all peppers and Onions
  • Then, brown/cook all meat.
  • Next add all ingredients to the crock pot, layering with peppers and onions, then meat, then the beans, tomatoes, and then add-ins. Make sure you have enough liquid to cover all the ingredients.

Chili

 

  • The turn crock pot on low and bring the mixture to a simmer. Once simmering allow to sit, stirring occasionally until the chili thickens. Make sure not to bring the heat up too quickly because you dont want to burn what is on the bottom of the pot. 
  • David usually lets his cook about 6-8 hours before he lets us feast! Once the chili is prepared we serve it up wit some sour cream and a little shredded cheese. So delicious!

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Save it!

The Cat is outta the bag! David and I have been keeping something under wraps since November and the time as finally come that we get to share it with everyooooone! When we went to get our engagement pictures made in November, we also had  a date with our videographer and shot a save the date video! This is something that she came to us about. She was really interested in creating one, but had never done it before. I knew she was super creative and when we had our first meeting she had all these great ideas! We ended up searching interest for all these cute wedding and engagement pictures and tried to find a way to tie them all together in a video, she even made this hilarious animatic with stick figure stills of all the ideas we had so David and I could try to figure out what we were doing! Once we…. kind of had it planned out I spent some time making lots o’crafty things!

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I bought these cool little pendants from hobby lobby and all I had to do was paint the letters on them… and my freehand isnt the best so luckily I had a few extra for my mistaaaakes!

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We also included a fun little photobooth segment in our video so I made a bowtie for David and he made me so raaather fashionable cat-eye glasses. Don’t let him fool you, hes a pretty crafty little devil!

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Dont we look so fashionable!?

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We also saw this really cool picture with a parasol that we liked on line so we got creative and tried to find a way to include it into our video! David and I also wanted to include a message to our guests in the video so there are little word snippets all over the place!


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Also, I just find this picture to be rather comical, my bff took it, she came along the day of the shoot to be our prop master  and just hang out and help behind the scenes because she’s the bomb.com!

So, check out our video and if your in the Aiken/Augusta area, give Courtney at Sweet Tea Videography a call, she’s awesome. If this sounds like a shameless plug, it definitely is! Prior to talking to Courtney, David and I weren’t even going to hire a videographer. She approached me to ask if I had found anyone and I kind of explained to her it was an expense I was considering cutting because I wasn’t overly interested in having a video of just the ceremony because other than the occasional anniversary I didn’t feel like it was anything I would ever look at, and if I am going to spend a couple thousand dollars on something I wanted it to be worth it. Courtney was so great about respecting my view and just said I understand but if you change your mind, here is my info an my portfolio. As soon as I saw her first video I knew I had to have it. She will definitely do the traditional ceremony video but she creates these amazing highlight reels of the whole evening and it just makes everything so much more fun to watch, its like an inside look into our big day, which will be a great keepsake down the road! We get to pick our own music, and vibe, and it can be as serious or fun as we want it to be! I can’t wait to see how the final product comes out, If you have a few extra minutes, check out some of her different videoes on vimeo! She does so many different creative things, not just weddings! So, shameless plug over, check out our fun little videooooo because we love it!

 

Movement Monday – Masters of Movement

This weekend I went to a dance convention here in Charlotte, and despite the fact that I can barely walk and seemed to have also contracted the death over the weekend, it was AWESOME! We took classes from some of the most memorable So You Think You Can Dance contestants and all-stars (tWitch, Allison Holker, Alex Wong, Ade Chike, Kent Boyd, Joshua Allen, Eleanor, etc.) It was so amazing! They all brought something different, technically, and stylistically to the table. I love a creative melding of the minds and I feel like thats what conventions are, a chance to hone your craft by building your toolset with skills from the Masters. I have to say that this weekend my two favorite classes were with Kent and Ade Chike! They were So on point! Kent’s class was right up my ally style wise, and he even complimented me (Telling me he “Freaking Loved me” and referring to me as his great girl) and then he gave me a high five and danced next to me at the end of class!  Whiccccch basically made my life! I die.  His choreography has this great mix of simplicity and impact and i just loved it. It was a cool way to learn that you dont have to be jumping and running all over the stage to make an impact with your movement and sometimes its just the smallest nuances that can make the most beautiful moments in a piece. As for Ade Chike, if you thought the way he moved on TV was breath taking you should see it in person. Its like watching water flow in a stream. He just never stops moving and has such amazing control of his body, its like his movement could go on forever. The perfect example of the energy shooting out of your finger tips and your toes. He must use every muscle known to man… and then some! Its kind of unbelievable! His combo was such a nod to his personal style and I loved that because it was so different. It was great practice in fluidity of motion and stretching through movement, which I know I struggle with sometimes. Because as a dancer you always think about hitting those “picture moments” But this dance was about the journey of the movement and getting to those picture moments was just as important as hitting them.

So, here is an oldie of these two masters doing a piece together on SYTYCD. I wish  had a video of their solos from this weekend because they were absolutely magical! But Alas, we will just be thankful we have this piece!

You only Disappear – performed by Kent and Ade Chike

Easy Peasy Crock Pot Pork Chops

For some reason lately I feel like I have been really pressed for time. Everytime I want to cook dinner, I feel like I am running out the door to get somewhere or just to tired to make it happen, which bums me out because I do like to cook. Its just a matter of time and effort these days. But I have decided I wont let a little time crunch bring me down, so to the crock pot it is. Which, actually benefits me in the long run because I can make enough to eat throughout the week! hollaaaaaaaaaa! So this week I made this simple pork chop recipe in the crock pot on Tuesday night and have enjoyed it for lunch and will enjoy it for dinner again this week! Nothing like killing two birds with one stone… or 4 meals with one crock pot in my case! So, give this one a try, here’s all you need!

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 Pork Chops
  • 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
  • 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1Tbsp of Paprika
  • 1Tbsp of Garlic Powder
  • 1Tbsp of Poulty Seasoning
  • 1tsp of Dried Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste


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Instructions:

Wisk all of the ingrdients togeter in a large bowl. Place the Pork Chops on the bottom of the slow cooker, and cut a few small slits in them so that the marinade can soak in. Then pour mixture over them to completely cover. Once this is done cook them on high for 4 hours OR low for 7-8 hours.

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I cooked mine the full 8 hours since I was at work and I feel like they got a little over done for my liking. But it was an easy meal and all the spices made it super flavorful, so if your in a bind one week, give this one a try, its almost too easy! I mixed everything up and put it in the crockpot the morning of, right before going to work, and it only took about 10 minutes to prep. Thats my kind of meal!

 

 

 

5 Faux Finishes…

… Your expensive interior designer never told you about!

Ok, not that I have ever had an “expensive interior designer, but I am sure if I hired one, they wouldn’t be into the DIY, make it look like it cost $5000 on a $50 budget, etc etc. I feel like those are only things that happen on HGTV. So with a little pinning, and some research I found some really cool ways you can spice up a room in your house on a budget, which is going to come in handy when David and I move in to our new place in a few months (more on that as is progresses)

1. Beadboard upgrades!

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I know, I know beadboard is all the rage in that rustic shabby chic design craze right now, but who wants to break the bank and spend all that time hanging beadboard, when you can get the same effect with a roll of wall paper! Im not even kidding! You can get it at Lowes on the cheap, like as low as $15 a roll.

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And some are even designed to be painted over so you can have some color besides white, but… alas, I am a traditionalist, and I enjoy the coastal coolness of a nice white bead board. I especially love it on cabinets, buuut im not sure the wallpaper is your best bet on that one, however… if you’re brave enough to try, give me a shout and let me know how that worked. 

2. Concrete Countertops
No, I do not want you to go out and have someone pour you custom made countertops to fit your existing kitchen, while that may be somewhat cheaper than the nicer stone options, its still not super cheap, but you know what is…. ARDEX overlawys, orginally used to refinish floors, this blogger shows you how to apply it on top of an existing ugly countertop to get those to-die-for concrete surfaces with a little elbow grease and DIY.
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3. Mercury Glass
If you’re ever on pinterest, I know you have seen this one, but I still really love it and its such a cheap alternative to BUYING an antique mercury glass piece. These Pottery Barn lamps are over $250. I mean, most lamps from there are expensive, but you could buy a glass lamp from Ikea for like $20 or $30 and do thsi faux finish and only spend like 10-15% of the original cost. So much more cost effective!

mercury-glass-lamp-burlap-shadeThis blog has an awesome tutorial and list of what you need, I have tried this before, because I had some of the looking glass spray pint left from another project, and once you get the hang of it, it definitely works, but dont be mad if you have to doa  couple trial runs first. I’d try your luck with some dollar tree glass votives to test first. But I think hers turned out really awesome! 
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4. The Industrial Faux Finish

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Sometimes, we think that to get that rustic old look you have to be willing to go out hunting in antique shops, or thrift stores for that perfect find, but sometimes all you need is a little paint. This blogger created an industrial rusted faux finish on some paper mache letters, and it looks so cool! Imagine all the different things you could put this finish on to get those rustic accent pieces for your home!

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5. Through the looking glass!
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This isnt really a faux finish, but its a great way to spice up the same old pice of furniture time and time again. Add a glass top and frame it out, OR buy a table that already has glass a glass top and place a decorative paper underneath, you can give it TONS of different looks with minimal effort and its a great way to add some extra pizzaz to your holiday decor, throughout the year!

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So! get to gettin and jazz up your home on the cheap, especially during these cold winter months before the outdoors start calling and your knee deep in landscaping, deck refinishing, garden planting, and every other outdoor project that you do to prep for summer!

 

 

 

A Jolly Holiday!

Sadly, yesterday was my rude awakening and return to reality, and I am not sure what I was thinking when I believed that our Disney vacation would be a nice way to relax and get away. While there was no rest for the weary, we did have a BLAST!

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Im just going to share the highlights with you here, because we did SO much stuff, and I don’t want to bore you with all the mundane details. Sorry if you follow me on instagram or Facebook, you might be seeing some of this twice! Also, I still can’t believe that this is the first time David and I have gone on an extended vacation together that required a lot of travel, and thank goodness we travel well together, because that would have been an unfortunate thing to test out on our Honeymoon in August!

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We arrived at Disney and to our hotel on Wednesday night and immediately hit the hay because we had a 7:30am call time, to be at the Magic Kingdom for the big opening, with the train and the dancing and the whole shebang! And, luckily we made it there the first day, because as the week went on, the harder it was for me to make those early morning departure times.

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We made sure to hit all the highlights in the Magic Kingdom on the first day, we definitely hit the ground running, and I almost feel like I still haven’t stopped. Our first stop was Main Street USA and the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, we had to stop at City Hall to get our celebration buttons (more on that later!)

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The it was off to The Chapeau to get our Ears, we look fab, we know!

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We also made sure to take a ride on the Train around the Magic Kingdom, and quick walk by the castle.

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I also had to stop and grab a pic with my favorite leading lady, Mary Poppins, who wished David and I a Jolly Holiday indeed! Shes the best!

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Also, David and I made sure to pick up our just engaged buttons, even though we have been engaged since August, because… its fun, and everyone wished you congratulations, which was awesome for like… 2 hours and then we decided to retire our buttons.

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We also hit up some of the classic rides like Dumbo, the tea cups, a carousel for Turner, David’s nephew, Buzz Lightyear (where I scored an epically low amount of points) and Space Mountain, one of Davids favorites.

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Then we stopped by the new portion of the Magic Kingdom, Fantasy Land, to ride the Little Mermaid ride, because I also LOVE the little mermaid, and the theming for the ride was so awesome, I know, Im a nerd! But I loved it! I mean it looks just like the Prince’s castle in the movie.

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and we contemplated going to Be Our Guest until we realized the line was wraped around the building… So David and i decided to be adventurous and try out these waffle sandwiches. WHICH WERE SO GOOD! Mine was fruit and nutella, and Davids was sweet and sour chicken, which I thought was weird but he seemed to really like it. We also did a little shopping on main street, and rode through the haunted mansion, pirates of the Caribbean, and big thunder mountain, at some point during our time at Disney, there was a lot of park hopping going on!

DSC01274My nutella and fruit waffle sandwich
DSC01275David’s Sweet and Sour Chicken Waffle Sandwich

David also took me on a “date night” in Epcot and we ate at the Rose and Crown in “England” which was delicious! David also got this thing called the Imperial Sampler which had like 5 or 6 different beers, and it was delicious!  Then we bummed around and tried to catch some last minute rides on all the EPCOT staples like Soarin’ and Test Track and Spaceship Earth.

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At Hollywood Studios David, his mom, and I took an animation drawing class, which was really cool! We got to draw Gumpy, annnnd David’s was the best, depressing. Hes quite the artist. I should take more advantage of this, I feel like. Don’t tell him!
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We also did a late night at EPCOT, taking a trip around the world and a second spin on some of the previously mentioned rides! with and EPIC fail on Disney’s part, because the closed the Monorail, but enough on that disaster because my blood pressure is rising just thinking about all the anger and crying children that we encountered.

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We did the safari at the Animal Kingdom, and it was so awesome, there were so many animals out and about, David said it was the most they have seen in a while. Woot! We also, rode David’s Mom’s favorite Ride… it was called Dinosaur and lets just say it was NOT my favorite ride. Also we waited in line for what seemed like half a lifetime to ride Expedition Everest…. but it was awesome so I was less upset after the fact. Also, side note, I definitely think that fast pass really holds up the progress with trying to get people on rides… oh welllllll.
DSC01260(This is not from the animal kingdom but i think its funny, so here you go!)

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We also spent some time at Downtown Disney, mostly picking up some souvineers, like Disney Christmas ornaments for our first Christmas together, and these matching pins from up!!! Also, David and I each bought each other a take home item, I got David this C-3-potat-O and he bought me an Eeyore pillow pet 😀 and I love him! Annnnd we got these cute little coffee mugs! We tried not to spend too much money, but sometimes you cant resist.

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I really feel like Disney is more for adults, Ithink I appreciated a lot of the theming and organization of things a lot more now than I did as a kid, and being independent at Disney is much more fun. I think you are just more aware and less overwhelmed when youre older, and lets be honest were all just kids at heart! I am so glad that I am coming into such a fun family in August, and super excited that they took me on their little family get away to Disney! Definitely an awesome christmas present!
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In hot water

Do you like candles? I love them. And I have been really into volcano candles lately…. you know the ones from anthro. that make it smell so delicious in there? I love the smell AND the jars they come in.

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Which brings me to my dilemma of the day, I want to use those jars for more that just holding the candles, but I cant ever get them cleaned out. I have heard lots of tricks over the year but never found one that pleased my critical eye. BUT! This newest trick won me over, it was almost too easy, and I can’t believe I didnt think of it before seeing it on Pinterest, but thats how those things always are. Anywho, you probably have a ton of candles at home that look like this ( I know, it looks like there is a ton of candle left, and there was, but the wick was at the bottom, so it refused to light again)

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and you think, what a waste, this is such a nice jar, I need to use it to (insert something creative here), but there is all this wax residue inside. WELL, fear not! All you have to do is bring some water to a boil in a large pot and then pour the boiling water into the candle jar

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Let sit and cool until the wax rises to the top and starts to solidify. You want it to be pretty hard, but not SO hard that it won’t crack when you press on the top.

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After about 30 minutes or so, mine looked like this, and I was tired of waiting and about to fall asleep ( I dont know why I start these projects late at night, I guess I’m bored) so I popped it into the freezer for about 5 minutes to help expedite the process. When I pulled it out, I lightly pressed the top to crack it.
IMG_2533Then, I used a strainer to drain out the water and hold the wax, the initial process did I pretty good job getting the wax out, but like I said, I needed it to be perfect, like I just bought the empty jar, and I was nervous to put it in the dishwasher with the wax inside the jar because I didn’t want wax on my dishes or all melted and stuck to the inside of the dishwasher.

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So with a warm wet rag and a little elbow grease I was able to get the rest of the the wax out, and now its perfectly clean. I was pretty proud of this little accomplishment mostly because I REFUSED to throw it away because, like I said, i liked the jar, and I was determined to find a way to repurpose it…. not that I have done that part yet, BUT its clean and ready for whatever it might become in its second life! Maybe a vase for some hydrangeas, or a canister for something in the bathroom, like my make up brushes or hair ties or bobby pins since it has a bigger top than a mason jar. Who knows!?! Im just glad its no longer filled with crusty candle wax!

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Family Fun Time! (and homemade Cheddar Garlic Biscuits)

This weekend David and I played host, in my little apartment, to both my parents who came up to help us finish putting together everything for our Save The Dates which were sending out sooooon!

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Which Im really excited about! But we wanted to get everything done before we left to go to Disney (Did I tell you that?? David’s parents are taking us all to Disney as our Christmas present, YAY! and we leave on Wednesday!). Its hard to believe this will be the first family vacation David and I have taken together, but more on that after it happens! Anyways, we had so much fun hanging out with my parents and making them dinner, and taking them to some of our favorite spots in charlotte, we have lots of big changes coming up this year so its always awesome to know we have our family to lean, and help us out when things get stressful and crazy!

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But David and I decided to make his shrimp and grits for them and I wanted to try my hand at home made cheddar biscuits to pair with them, and they were a hit, and for as simple as they were, if I weren’t trying to cut back on all my carbs to start shaping up for the wedding, I would make those bad boys on the reg! Here’s all you need to do!

Ingredients: 

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2 cups of bisquick
1/2 – 1 full cup of sharp cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesey you want them, we only used 1/2 cup)
2/3 cup of milk
1/4 cup of butter
1/2 tsp of garlic powder

Instructions: 

Pre heat the oven and then in a large bowl mix all of the ingredients together, until the mix is soft and doughy.
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Then use spoons to create dollops of the batter on a greased cookie sheet.

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Then bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes, or until they are a nice golden brown!

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