What a Year & a few Resolutions!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Only 2 short days left in the year, and what an exciting year 2011 has been! This afternoon we are heading to Raleigh, NC to ring in the New Year with our longtime & closets friends.  2011 has truly been a wild ride for the Strouds.  Filled with change, transitions, new beginnings, & of course love.

2011 Highlights
February... Valentines Day vacation at a rustic cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains
March....We packed up our condo in Wilmington, and moved from our home state, North Carolina to Virginia Beach, Virginia; for Chris' new job
April...New job for me, working in Real Estate
June...I became a blogger
July...We bought our house
September & October... Saw both our best friends get married!
Wow! What a year. Truly an exciting time in our lives, a year I'm sure we will never forget.

 As great as 2011 was, I am definitely ready for 2012! 

Here's to:

...challenging myself

...running my first 8k

...more patience & less control

...eating more super foods 

...traveling & being adventurous

 ...more blogging, tweeting, & less facebooking

...a silly, strong, & sexy marriage

...longer walks with the dog

...creating an even more fabulous wardrobe

...trying new recipes, great wines, & less chickfila

...growing in Faith, Hope, & Love


Happy New Year!
Have safe, festive, & always fabulous weekend! 
See you next year!

picture via Pinterest

Baptized by Peanut Butter

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Do you have a Kitchen Aid mixer? Well I do, thanks to my wonderful husband!  It truly was the perfect Christmas gift for this little baker/chef in-training.  Unsure of what to make first, I decided on a classic.  Cupcakes, chocolate fudge with peanut butter icing.  Drool.
I made the cupcakes from a box mix, who cares, we all know Betty Crocker knows best.
But the peanut butter frosting I made from scratch.  Super easy, its just powdered sugar, peanut butter, milk & vanilla. 

 For my first attempt piping out frosting from a bag, I don't think I did too bad...I'll get better with a little practice.  I over frosted one, so I had to eat it.  Chocolate peanut butter heaven.

I am truly in love with my mixer, I cannot believe I've gone this long without one.  The quiet hum, ease of use, & minimal cleanup is enough to make this foodie flip.

Thank you Chris, I love my gift & I love you.

Stocking Stuffer Idea....for next year

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yes, Christmas is over...but the Holiday posts keep on coming! This is the last one, I promise...well maybe.  One of my favorite pastimes on Christmas morning is opening up my stocking.  Mom & Dad have always been pretty great at stuffing those stockings with great finds. They normally include the basics: socks, fruit, candy, gum, but there is always a special treat in there too. This year my Dad put the neatness thing in our stockings, and I just had to share this great idea with you!

Popping out of our family* stocking was this......
 A pill bottle....and found this inside.
Note reads: 
For Katie, Prescribed By: David Turner (Dad)
For Fun : Use as much as you can, Morning, Noon, & Night
Side Effects: Sadness after it is gone

Pretty great idea, huh!?!  My Dad is pretty clever, he found a way to recycle those old pill bottles & surprise us with a generous gift.

Thanks again Mom & Dad for a wonderful Christmas. We love you!

*Chris, Lucy & I get one big stocking, another great idea from the parentals!

Christmas Weekend

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Tuesday & I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!  Ours was just delightful.  Here is a picture recap of our Holiday weekend!

Our time was filled with lots of lounging around by the fireplace while admiring the Christmas decor, baking cookies, snuggling with cute pups, a family oyster roast & so much more!

Here is my surprise Christmas present from Chris. I had no clue what it was but he did a very good job! A very good job indeed!  I can't wait to use it!  Any suggestions on what I should make first?

Now we are back in Virginia Beach, and it is so nice to be home.  These next few days I'm going to enjoy our still fresh Christmas tree & decor, (crazy right!?), spend time in my kitchen using my new mixer & crock pot, and get my butt back to the gym...too many Christmas goodies for me! 

Warm Winter

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hello my little nutcrackers & welcome Winter! Today is the first day of  the winter season, as well as the shortest day of the year.  Although the temperature here suggests otherwise....

It feels more like the first day of Spring if you ask me!  And even though it is 70 degrees outside, we are still baking cookies, singing carols, & wrapping gifts because Christmas is only 3 days away!!  Last year we were blessed with a white Christmas here at the beach, so naturally this year is going to be unseasonably warm.  Oh well!  it is truly a wonderful blessing to be here at the beach for the Holidays, some people only dream of an island Christmas. 
Until next time, happy wrapping, cookie decorating, & Christmas movie watching!  Oh, and safe travels for all of you visiting family & friends in far away places!

New Year's Eve Style

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Have you already made plans for New Year's Eve?  Do you go all out and party til the break of dawn? or do you spend a quiet evening in with friends & family?  For us, New Year's is spent with our closest & best friends.  We celebrate by dressing up, eating delicious food, drinking champagne, watching the ball drop, and lighting sparklers.  And as a girly girl, I love any excuse to dress up, and New Year's Eve is definitely no exception!  Here are a few fancy, sparkly, party outfits I would love to wear to ring in the New Year!

Don't you just love anything with sequins?  It just screams "Party Time!"

All shiny ensembles found via Pinterest

Simple Holiday Pleasures

Monday, December 19, 2011

Our sweet Lucy girl, in her Santa hat, next to the Christmas tree. 

Chris & David decorating the house & bushes with Christmas lights!

All Christmas gifts are purchased, wrapped, & ready to be loaded in the sleigh CRV to take down to the beach! Lucy & I are starting our holiday early and heading down to EI* tomorrow morning. 

Another simple pleasure, I got new tires put on my car today!! Yes, I'm excited about tires...I'm getting old.

6 more days until Christmas! Happy shopping!

*beach slang for Emerald Isle, I'm so gangsta...

Have a Festive Weekend!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Good morning my little turtle doves!  Happy Friday & only 9 more days until Christmas! Yes, you heard me right, 9!  So what's on your agenda for the last full weekend before Christmas!?! EEkk!  Well, we will be Christmas shopping,  attending more holiday parties, wrapping presents and anything else we can fit into our weekend...you know us.  But as for today,  I will be recovering relaxing, after a fun evening at our office Christmas party. Tis the season for a little too much eggnog??

Ally, JoAnne & I in our festive holiday gear!  Notice my twinkling lights?!

Until next time, have a safe, festive & fabulous holiday weekend!

When all else fails...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

 Some days are just like that.....

So go on and hug that cute pup.  No matter how your day is going, it will make you feel better. Promise!

Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Good morning my little cranberries!  It is a crisp sunny day here in Virginia Beach, and I hope your are doing as equally as wonderful as I.  While spending countless hours minutes gazing through Pinterest, I found this delicious looking soup.

Its a vegetable tortellini soup, and I just had to try it.  Such a simple recipe but it turned out souper delicious. (haha, to much?)  Another great addition to my recipe box, it was a crowd please with Mr. Stroud. 
 I view a recipe more as guidelines, so I used  fresh three cheese tortellini, 2 carrots, 2 zucchini, a 28 ounce can of crushed tomato and added a little garlic powder, oregano, & lots of basil.  Please feel free to make changes to your liking, after all,  that's what cooking is all about!  Recipe makes more than 5 servings, so its perfect for leftovers.

And as always, thank you Pinterest for making the world a more delicious, crafty, & fashionable place!

First picture found on Pinterest, & second is mine taken via iphone & enhanced via Instagram.

We're sunggled up together like two birds of a feather would be!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Monday my sweet sugar plums!  I hope your weekend brought you good tidings of great joy! (too many Christmas references? Naahhh!)  We had a wonderfully festive & relaxing weekend, snuggling up in our warm house.  Yep!  We have heat!!  So very thankful for the heat, a true blessing, because there are those who go without it.  A fun weekend of watching movies, eating yummy food, laughing & being silly, all while enjoying our beautifully decorated home.

Our front door is adorned with a beautiful fresh wreath.  The natural look of cranberries, pine cones, & poinsettia's is so beautiful & rustic;  its been our theme for the last 3 years, and I just love it!
Nothing beats a real Christmas tree!  I love the smell. I'm very lucky to have a strong man bring it home and set it up.
Red & silver ornaments dress up the Frasier fir, as our home is filled with the sweet aroma of pine. 
 CES & CDS stockings.  Can you guess our middle names?? 
Pointsettia's galore.  Such a colorful & fresh addition to your holiday decor.
 Holly Jolly tea, I found on my latest trip to The Fresh Market.  Flavored with cinnamon, cloves, licorice & apple this is a fabulously delicious holiday treat.
 Back door wreath made of pine cones & cranberries, circa Target 2009.
Even our coffee table is festive!  Warm vanilla candle surrounded by a ring of cranberries; and a collection of holiday magazines.

It has been such a joy to decorate our new home.  Our first Christmas living in Virginia Beach is sure to be filled with comfort & joy!  And I must say...Virginia Beach is surely growing on me.

Bad Christmas Shopper

Friday, December 9, 2011

Only 15 more shopping days until Christmas!  Eeekk!  And I have only just begun.  What kind of Christmas shopper are you?  Do you start in October? July??  Are you done by Thanksgiving?  Or are you out there at 5 o'clock on Christmas Eve, shopping til the last minute?  That's my Mom & Dad, they start Christmas shopping on December 20th, not kidding.  But they always seem to get it done, I think they secretly like the excitement & stress of last minute shopping.  Crazy, I know.   And here I am, a 24 year old woman, on her own, developing her own traditions, and what do I do....revert to my crazy parents bad habits.  Yes, I must admit I am a last minute shopper too. 

So I may do a little Christmas shopping this weekend, or I may put it off a little longer!  I've got 15 days right!?!

Anywho... Happy Friday!  Enjoy your holiday parties, your eggnog sipping & Christmas music listening!!

Mom's Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ever since I made the Pinterest Pumpkin muffins I have been searching for a delicious pumpkin muffin recipe to try, becasue let's face it, they were cupcakes.  So over Thanksgiving my mom gave me her recipe for her pumpkin spice muffins.  I finally made them the other day, and let me tell you, these are the BEST pumpkin muffins ever!!  And not only are they super delicious, but they are also so very simple to make.

1 box spice cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 cup of chopped walnuts
1 can pumpkin
handful of crasins

Mix cake mix, eggs, water, & oil together until smooth.  Then add pumpkin, walnuts & crasins, and mix all together.  Fill greased muffin cups, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Recipe makes 24 muffins.

Makes for the perfect breakfast with a hot mug of tea.  Thanks mom, you always know best!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Relatively new to the world of blogging, I have been learning the tricks of the trade, slowly but surely.  My newest discovery is a sweet little app called Instagram.  If you are a lover of all things Apple ie; ipod, iphone, ipad, ect...then you probably already know about it, or you can mosey on over to your app store and download it for free!  I am still in the process of figuring out all the ins and outs of Instagram, but basically it is neat way to create & share gorgeous photos.  Here are some of my creations!

Pretty cool huh!  Just another fun tool in my blogger arsenal.  And if you have this app, follow me!  And I will also follow you!

All pictures were taken by me via iphone & enhanced via Instagram
Downtown Wilmington, Poinsettia, Backyard view, Boardwalk Holiday Lights, Besties, Fall boots, Sleepy dog, Sandy feet,