Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Superlatives

Remember your senior year in high school when everyone voted on the Senior Superlatives?  Some were a great honor (“Best Smile,” “Most Friendly,” or “Most Likely to Succeed”) while others were embarrassing (“Biggest Flirt”).  I never got a Senior Superlative.  I wonder what mine would have been if I had gotten one?

Another year has come and gone, and like most of you out there, I’m thinking back over the year.  This year was filled with both happy and sad moments, and a lot has changed since I posted my year-in-review last New Year’s Eve.  I don’t like to dwell on the past, but I do want to acknowledge some of the superlatives from this year. 

Most Mysterious Post:

“Out of My Hands”


When I published this post, all sorts of people were asking me, “What’s going on???”  Many people thought it was job-related… and it was!  Just not related to my full-time job!  Last January I made the decision to audition and join the Instructor Team with Queen City DanceOut.  Since then, my life has changed.  I’ve danced on a lot of stages in front of a lot of people since then and even performed in a parade.  And I have met some amazing people, too!  That’s the best part!


Most Emotional Post:

This one’s a tie between “A Different Kind of Valentine’s Day”


and “Special Blessings.”


If you’ve been reading for some time, then you know this year was extra tough, as we lost two of my grandparents this spring.  We have missed both of them so much this year, and it was hard to lose them so close together.  But their memories live on and we know the two of them are together in Heaven.


Funniest Post:

“A Sisterly Guide to Running Your First 5K”


This has probably gotten the most laughs this year.  It’s my honest look at how I got ready to run my first 5K. 


Most Popular Recipe:

Dixie-Style Dining: Mimi’s Christmas Breakfast


This is the easiest brunch/breakfast casserole you’ll ever make.  But it’s sooooo tasty.  I shared this in September and it it has been my most popular recipe EVER.  It was crazy popular on Pinterest.  Have you tried it yet?  If not, make it for your New Year’s Day breakfast!


Favorite New Recipe (for me):

Chicken Divan (my grandmother’s recipe)


Even though it wasn’t really a difficult recipe to make, this was one of my favorite recipes that I made this year.  It’s so hearty and warm.  I need to make this again soon! 

Biggest Celebration:

That’s easy: “I Do: Cheers to the Happy Couple”


It was so wonderful to end the year with such a fabulous family celebration.  My sister Adrienne got married to Paul in Greenville, a week before Christmas this year.  I am so happy for them!

Other things I have loved about 2011:

  • countless Zumba classes
  • sushi
  • 90210 reruns on the Soap Network
  • my new Canon Rebel camera
  • Pitbull songs
  • fun times with friends and family
  • celebrating 10 years of marriage

So there you have it… a little tiny look at 2011 in the Confessions House.  I want to thank all of you for reading.  When I started this blog in 2010, I never could have predicted how much I would love keeping up with it.  It’s a lot of work and sometimes the husband wants to throw my computer out the window because I spend so much time on it, but he put up with me anyway!  (Thanks, husband!!!)

I am so excited to begin a new year.  Here are some goals I am hoping to accomplish this year:

  • do more running and run an 8K this spring (I hope!)
  • do more yoga and weight training
  • keep cooking my way through my grandmother’s recipe box
  • do a better job with keeping our house clean and organized and free of clutter

What are your year-end celebrations?  What are you hoping to do in 2012?


(photo from New Year’s Eve 2010)

Happy New Year, friends!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lessons from Christmas 2011

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your families.  The Confessions family just returned from a four-night stay with my parents and we just had a wonderful time.  I thought since I have been away for a few days that I would give a quick little recap.

Lesson number one… I think my child might just be the cutest thing I have ever seen in a Santa hat.  I know… I am biased. 


Lesson number two… my family knows how to do it right on Christmas Eve.  This tradition of pigging out enjoying goodies after church on Christmas Eve started way back since before I can remember.  Every Christmas Eve, we prepared all sorts of goodies to eat.  The menu varied from year-to-year, as we got older and were able to help, but some of the items were staples and reappeared each year: deviled eggs, summer sausage and cheese, my dad’s famous onion dip, shrimp, and veggies.


Lesson three… we are completely blessed.  Santa was very generous and we all received very special and generous gifts.  We are blessed beyond belief.

Lesson four… even when you haven’t seen your high school friends in three+ years, it’s like no time has passed.  The conversation didn’t miss a beat.



Lesson five… even if the doctor says, “This cough medicine is REALLY strong.  So please only use it at night."  That may not actually be accurate.  (Is it sad that I was so excited about my cough syrup with codeine?  So disappointed.  It didn’t help at all!)

Lesson six… after such fun and excitement, sometimes you have to come home to a super-easy dinner: meatball subs and homemade “fries.”  Oops. I just realized that we are missing a veg.  Well, we’ll try again tomorrow.



(Excuse the lack of photos.  I was feeling so bad that I just didn’t do a good job taking them.  Thankfully I am on the road to recovery now!)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Brunch

Happy holidays!  I hope all of you are enjoying time with your family and friends this week!  I am lucky to have 2 full weeks away from work each year.  Usually we host a holiday party to get together with all our friends, but this year with all the craziness of the wedding, we decided to forego it for a year.  Instead, I decided it would be fun to have a girls’ brunch. 

Unfortunately not everyone is lucky to be off of work, but some of my teacher friends + Kati enjoyed a fun brunch together on Thursday morning!



What’s a brunch without mimosas? :)

There was no shortage of food… we had ham rolls (made by Angie but not pictured)…

baked apple french toast (made by Mandy)…


Mimi’s Christmas Breakfast made by yours truly (click for recipe)…


and a delicious cheese ball and fruit! 



Everything was delicious and we all left stuffed!


It was lots of fun catching up with one another and having a leisurely breakfast!  It was also fun to see Kati one last time before her baby girl decides to make an appearance. 


She’ll be joining the world any day now and I can’t wait to meet her!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dixie-Style Dining: Butter Cookies

Friends, I learned something today.  Actually, I learned a few things. 

1.  Glee Season 2 is now available on Netflix!  Yes!  I had so much fun watching Season 1 this summer, and I was dying to see Season 2.  AND right now we are watching the Britney Spears episode.  Oh yeah.  It’s awesome.  I totally wish I could go back in time and be in Glee Club.  Well, only if it was THIS Glee Club.

2.  A cookie press is the coolest thing ever.  You can make so many fun shapes with this tool.

3.  You know how sometimes you bite into a cookie and it’s light and sweet and crunchy and amazing?  Well, I learned the secret to that.  It’s BUTTER. 


Every year, my grandmother would make tons of Christmas cookies.  She made chocolate chip, peanut, and butter cookies in various shapes.  She made gobs and gobs of them.  Every day she would refill the cookie platter and we never. ran. out.  Seriously, no matter how many guests we had or how many we ate… there were always more. 

Several months ago, as we were going through my grandparents’ things, I found my grandmother’s cookie press.  As I sorted through the little discs that make different shapes, I found the flower and tree I remembered, and I knew I had to have the press.  I always wanted to get one, but it’s so much more special to have my grandmother’s.  As I was making these cookies today, it was a special feeling knowing that this was how she made these cookies.



It was only fitting that I used her butter cookie recipe, too.


Dixie’s Butter Cookies

Now, let me be clear here.  These are in no way healthy or very good for you… but they are good for your soul and I promise you that they will melt in your mouth.  They are light and crunchy and have a rich buttery, sweet flavor.  You could probably make any shape cookie, but I used a cookie press to make little tree-shaped cookies.  I topped mine with green sprinkles to make them extra special!  I also made only half of this batch and made approximately 3-4 dozen cookies with it.  The recipe below is for a full batch.


  • 1 lb. butter
  • 2 cups sugar (I used white granulated)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 cups flour (I used unbleached all-purpose)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 12 tsp (or 1/4 cup) milk (I used skim)


In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together.  Add egg yolks and vanilla and mix well.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture.  Blend.  Add 1/2 the milk.  Mix.  Add another 1/3 of the flour, and then mix.   Add rest of milk.  Mix.  Finally add the rest of the flour and mix.  Shape cookies and cake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes (the time really depends on the size of the cookie) until the edges are golden.  Cool and enjoy!







Tuesday, December 20, 2011

“I Do!” Cheers to the Happy Couple! (Part 2)

So, I believe I left off after the rehearsal dinner…

Saturday morning began with hair and makeup for the bridal party. 

IMG_1925 IMG_1928



Everyone was excited and smiling… ready for the main event!  It all went by so quickly!  The entire weekend was a whirlwind!  You know how when you are having a wonderful time, you wish time would slow down?  That’s how I felt all weekend.  When we finished getting beautified, our shuttle bus picked us up and transported us to the church so we could finish getting ready and take a few photos before the wedding ceremony.





Sadie was so excited about putting on her Flower Girl dress.  The closer we got to the ceremony, the more nervous I got.  I wasn’t nervous about my duties as Matron of Honor… I was nervous about having my 3-year-old in the wedding.  Last summer, Sadie was a flower girl in m y sister Meredith’s wedding, and as soon as she came down the aisle, we escorted her out of the church to play in the nursery.  This time, we were going to attempt to keep her in the church.  If any of you have a toddler, you understand what a risky move this was.  But I just thought this was such a special event… and I wanted her to be able to witness the wedding.








Sadie amazed us all.  Not only did she make it through the entire service… she actually stood up front next to me the whole time and watched everything!  I could not believe it!





Then it was time to party!  The reception was so much fun.  The band was fun and got the crowd involved… including the kiddos!











We danced and danced, until it was time for the bride and groom to make their big exit!



It was like a fairy tale… they rode off in a carriage decorated with Christmas lights!




It’s hard to believe my little sister is married now!  I’m so happy for her and she couldn’t have picked a better husband!

So now…

it’s time to focus on the holidays!  Next up: Cookies!