Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Hyatt Christmas

I have been MIA from the bloggerverse since right before Christmas but things have been a little CRAY CRAY with the holidays.

The end of last week was a blur. Between fighting the outrageous crowds at the grocery store and places like Target, I was finally able to get everything I needed by Thursday night so I began my baking. I made Red Velvet Cake cookies that i'm obsessed with, homemade brownies, cream cheese sausage balls (recipe from Plain Chicken), and tons of other items. I really loved having my KitchenAid mixer handy during all of this cooking!

Saturday, we were up bright and early and the whole Casey Clan, including the twins, were at our house. It couldn't have gone more perfectly! I absolutely LOVED having my family there and of course, I held one of the girls the majority of the time they were there. <3 them!

Shane and I got some pretty awesome gifts too. 
We racked up on some new clothing items, jewelry, a new down comforter, gifts cards...and a KEURIG. Greatest invention ever. 
We absolutely LOVE it!

 Christmas Eve night and Christmas day, we spent the rest of the time visiting with my mom and stepdad and Shane's side of the family. We loved getting to see everyone, but like usual, we were dog tired by the end of visiting with everyone. 
Shane and I ended Christmas night back at our house watching The Lion King on our new BlueRay DVR player while drinking hot chocolate from our Keurig. 
Needless to say, we loved all of our gifts we got this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Murphy's Law

Just when I thought I was about to be ahead of the game for Christmas...

I caught a freaking stomach virus.

Yes, of all things to happen the week of Christmas, yours truly has been SICK. (and i'll spare you all the terrible details) but it was bad.

This past weekend, Shane and I were small town bound to have a little fun for his birthday. 
And that we did! Shane had a blast hanging out with his friends he doesn't get to see that much. We managed to snap this picture at the ugly sweater party we went to Saturday night. Thanks to my step-mom and her love for fun Christmas sweaters, I was dressed for the part. Hah.

When we got back to Columbia Sunday morning, I was super tired so I decided to take a nap before I began my long list of chores I needed to complete to get ready for this upcoming weekend. Since work is really hectic this week, I was trying to get ahead of the game. Needless to say, four hours later I was still feeling bleh and had made a pretty nice butt imprint on my couch. Shane came home from working and we ordered takeout. I swore that after I ate, I would get my butt in gear. Thus began the longest 24 hours of my life. Within 15 minutes of eating, I felt the nausea start to set in and it only got worse throughout the night. I spent all of yesterday in the bed and Lilo and I battled over who could sleep the most. I finally started feeling myself again about midnight last night. I'm not 100% today, but i'm way better than I was so hopefully whatever I had is GONE.
Now that i'm trying to get back in the swing of things at work, i've made a list of what all I need to get done before Christmas. Since we're hosting Christmas at our house, disinfecting our place from head to toe is #1 on my list. I do NOT want anyone to catch that awful mess.

When I am fully recovered, I have quite a bit of Christmas baking left to finish. On the top of my list are these yummy monsters. Red Velvet Cake Cookies. I made a test batch on Friday to give to some of Shane's family, and they are legit the best cookies I've ever tried. If you are a fan of Red Velvet Cake and anything super moist and creamy, these are perfect. I tried them out in my new kitchenaid and they turned out perfectly. I can't wait to make a ton more for this weekend.

1 box - Red Velvet Cake Mix
1 Egg
1 8oz block of cream cheese (I used the 1/3 less fat)
1 stick of butter
1 tsp of Vanilla
Powdered sugar

Sit out butter and cream cheese and let soften. Add to mixer and beat on low. Add egg, then vanilla, then 1 cup cake mix at a time. Mixture will be a little thicker and stickier. Once mixed well, put dough in refrigerator for 2-3 hours. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into little balls and cover with powdered sugar. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Add more powdered sugar for garnish. 

Such an easy, delicious recipe and these cookies even look gorgeous on display with all of your Christmas decorations! :) Trust me, they won't stay there long.... yumm-o

Friday, December 16, 2011

Well hello...

Tis' the season for busy calendars, lots going on, and no time for blogging.

So while I take a break from the massive amounts of contracts I need to pile through, let's turn up the holiday tunes and catch up shall we?
hmmm where to start?
Well my hubby's bday is tomorrow! I'm so excited, we have a busy weekend planned and he gets to see and hang out with his friends and family! We're small town bound tomorrow to have lunch with his mom and tomorrow night we'll be going to a Christmas shower for one of his high school BFF's who is getting married, followed by an ugly sweater party. I'm excited for that one since I have borrowed an awesome sweater from my step-mom complete with bells. yes, bells. But first, tonight, Shane and I will be having our romantic date night dinner at his restaurant of choice! :)

Oh, and we already exchanged our Christmas presents.... Santa, I can explain. 
I wanted Shane to have his early for numerous reasons. We were going to be busy every night and I wanted him to have some time to enjoy the present I bought him. It's an xbox btw....complete with a kinect and everything. He's loved playing on the kinect and watching movies/tv shows on Netflix this week while i've been busy with Christmas stuff. Plus, he doesn't know it yet, but his family will be giving him a ton of games and even more accessories to go with it.
Ok, ready for the sweet part? I wanted to wait and open my Christmas present on Christmas and just let him enjoy his, but he insisted I open mine, I mean ok, I won't argue. HE BOUGHT ME MY FREAKING KITCHENAID. I was soooo excited, and it's in the color I wanted, cinnamon. He said the reason he wanted me to open mine early was because I kept talking about doing Christmas baking and he wanted me to be able to use my kitchenaid. Husband of the freaking year, people.  
I guess now I should be doing some baking. 
Oh, but I have my recipes picked out and i'll be sure to share, thank you pinterest.

Work has been super BLEH for me the past week. I found out my boss is leaving so things are really about to change. I'm not sure how I feel about this, but we'll see... i've got some other opportunities on the horizon so maybe the new year will bring lots of new things. 

I have had some other distractions to keep my mind off of work things.

Monday night, we went out to 2 dinners. Yes, we're fatty's. Shane's brother graduated from USC, so we had a celebratory dinner for him. After that was over, we sped to a restaurant in Lexington to have dinner with friends for Shannon's birthday! We had a great turnout, and as always, had fun with lots of friends! 


Last night we had Christmas Bunco with a group of friends. It was so much fun getting to see everyone and playing. There was a chance to win close to $100 and I was all about trying to win. Instead, I came in 3rd. SO close. But I did score this super cute bowl Shannon made!

Ok, I really have to catch up on some work. 
Hope you all are enjoying your holiday season!!
Happy Weekend!

Friday, December 9, 2011

In the Christmas Spirit...

Happy Friday lovelies!!! 

Let me just start this post off with this little number from my FAVORITE Christmas album, Hanson "Snowed In". That's right.... 90's child right here...

Anyways, while you enjoy my teenage crushes, let me tell you about the first Christmas party I went to last night. My old job and awesome coworkers at the arena had their annual Christmas Party and kindly let me come crash hang out. It was so great seeing them, and since I think of most of them as friends, not just former coworkers, I loved hanging out and catching up....with a few cocktails in hand on the company card of course. Poor Shane had to miss out since he's still feeling sick. :(

Tonight is MY office Christmas party and it should be another fun time! 
I love parties...and ahem, free booze

This Sunday is my two BFF's Shannon and Pam's birthdays! Must be a pretty special day for two people as awesome as they are to both be born on that day! I took this fun little picture for them yesterday to send since sadly, I won't be seeing either of them on their actual birthdays.

Love you Shan and Pammie K!

Hope you all have a GREAT weekend and are enjoying the Christmas season as much as I am!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

time for a brain dump

This might win the award for most random post.... we'll see. but here goes.

1. This week, I have felt so blah. I think it's my mood. Everything is getting to me. There is a lot of negativity going on around me right now and as much as I really don't mind listening and being there for people, it really puts a damper on my happy go lucky spirit. This time of year should be a happy time and a time to be thankful for what we DO have, not resentful for what we don't have.

2. My poor hubby is sick. It started Monday morning, he woke up with a sore throat and has rapidly developed a cough and sounds terrible. I can tell he can't get comfortable at night and has trouble breathing (=snoring) so it's been keeping me up too. I feel bad for him because I can tell he doesn't feel good, but he never complains about not feeling well. He just sucks it up and goes about his day like normal. SO not me. Everyone in my path knows when i'm sick and I complain enough to make you feel like the world is ending. I'm sure Shane hopes he doesn't pass his sickness along to me...I'm really no fun when I don't feel good.

3. I'm 95% finished with Christmas shopping. I started pretty early this year and other than a few random items on my Christmas list, and anxiously awaiting some online purchases to arrive in the mail... i'm finished. I'm happy about that too. It allows me to get to enjoy the remainder of the Christmas season without getting in a bad mood fighting the last minute shoppers.

4. Speaking of online shopping, I'm not happy with the USPS right now. Like at all. I ordered a ton of little gifts and stocking stuffers from a website and they shipped it in a padded envelope a little bigger than a legal size piece of paper. Our mailman did some harry potter magic to bend and stuff the envelope in to our tiny mailbox, ruining most of the things I had ordered. When I called the post office to file a complaint, they were everything but helpful. My patience was pretty much lost once I got off the phone with them, but hopefully I made it clear that our postman can't shove packages like that in our mailbox. *here's to hoping anyways.

5. Shane and I went to Florence again this past Saturday. I was a little resentful about having to make the trip (because this was the 4th weekend in a row I was in Florence), but i'm so happy we did. We got to see a lot of family I don't get to see that often, and Shane got to meet a few of my family that he didn't get too meet at the wedding. Oh, and we got to spend the evening with my brother, sis-in-law, and the twins. Shane loved napping on the couch holding the girls, and I tried to help feed and change, and I even got to bathe them. It was freaking precious. But i'm pretty sure Shane got the easy end of the deal... hmm? hah.

6. Seeing a lot of Facebook posts about exams, finals, and papers makes me SO glad i'm not stressing about having to study my heart out every free chance I get. Something i've realized though, I miss how easy it was (well for me anyways) to talk myself out of an assignment, get an extension, higher grade, or whatever. It's not that easy with things at my job. There are no extending deadlines, etc. Hah. Maybe I should have done something more with contract negotiation? hmm. :)

7. Yesterday, I got an email from Pet's Inc here in Columbia, (a no-kill animal shelter where my roomie adopted our spoiled rotten Lilo) that their septic system is broken and they need almost $8000 to replace it. Because of this, they can't give the animals the proper treatment they need to take care of them. They can't clean the floors as well, bathe the animals, and keep the place clean to prevent diseases and bacteria from spreading. The animals are also having to sleep on the concrete because they can't put down blankets and beds to make the animals feel more at home. Last night, Shane and I talked about it and decided to make a small donation to the animal shelter. It's not much, but I know every little bit helps. Its just another reminder how blessed we have been and we should share what we can when others need help. Along with helping Pet's Inc, we picked out some charities that we hope we can make contributions to and help during the holiday season.

8. I believe i've blogged before about my "Semi-Homemade w/ Olivia" skills. I have a gift, habit for going in to the kitchen and throwing together some pretty yummy but random meals. Last night was the perfect exception, and the end result turned out to be one of the best meals i've ever cooked (said so by the hubby himself). I guess you would call it my own version of Shepard's Pie, but it was pretty dang good.
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 bag southwestern style hashbrowns 
1/2 pack ranch seasoning
3 tbsp taco sauce
1/2 block cream cheese
1 precooked pie crust
Shredded cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef and stir in hashbrowns. Let cook on stovetop and mix in ranch seasoning and scallions. After hashbrowns have begun to brown, mix in taco sauce and cream cheese. The consistency will be almost like lumpy mashed potatoes. Empty in to pie shell, sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake on 350 for 20 minutes.

Seriously, the most random/yummiest comfort meal ever. I served with a large helping of green beans and Shane asked to take the leftovers (over half the pie) to work today. oink oink :)

9. Tomorrow marks the first day of a 9 day streak where I have something going on every night. It will be kicked off by going to the end of the CLA office Christmas party. I was "unofficially" invited since I no longer am a staff member, but I plan to drop in at the end so I can say hello to everyone and visit with my favorite coworkers ever. My actual office party is Friday night at my boss' house and should be a great time too! I love a good party anyways! :)

Ok, enough brain dumping for today. Now I have to get to the mountains of paperwork sitting on my desk. Happy Hump Day peeps!!!