White Chocolate Peppermint OREO Bites

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Do yall make neighbor gifts at Christmas time? Honestly, I am hit or miss from year to year. It really depends how on top of it I am each Christmas season. I’m hoping to whip up a little something for our neighbors before we head out for Christmas, and I am thinking these delicious white chocolate peppermint OREO bites might be just the right treat! I’m a sucker for anything peppermint this time of year. Peppermint bark, peppermint hot chocolate, peppermint fudge, you name it, I’m game!

So I figured why not take a delicious treat like an OREO and “peppermint-ize” it! They were super easy and only required 3 ingredients. I made them for the ornament exchange I was telling you about the other day and they were a huge hit. Just like the Christmas cranberry punch these delicious bites are festive and will get anyone in the holiday spirit!

Next time you are at the store grab a carton of OREOS (I prefer double stuffed), 1 bag of Ghirardelli white chocolate chips, and a bag of peppermints. It also helps to have some parchment paper on hand.

Lay out your OREOS onto the parchment paper. I found that 1 bag of white chocolate chips was enough to cover about 16 OREOS. Open the peppermints and put them into a zipock bag. I used a hammer and one simple tap on each peppermint crushed it perfectly. Now, pour all of the white chocolate chips in a glass bowl and heated for 1 minutes. It was the perfect amount of time to melt the white chocolate. All it needed was a little stir and it was ready for dipping.

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Now I am sure there is a more professional way to do this, but I just dipped the OREOS with my fingers. Make sure it’s nice and coated and then shake it a bit and let the excess fall back into the bowl.

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 Then lay out on the parchment paper. I dipped about 5 OREOS at a time and then sprinkled with peppermint before the white chocolate hardened.

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Easy as one. two. three! I’m definitely adding another batch of these to my to do list. Neighbors watch out! We are coming for you!

5 Ways to Give Differently This Christmas

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It is hard to believe Thanksgiving has passed, and we are now diving head first into December and the Christmas season. Trees have been decorated, lights strung, children are making their lists, and Christmas music is on the radio. It is in fact the most wonderful time of the year. However, so often during this season stress takes over the holiday spirit is lost. Let’s not let that happen this year. Let’s make the holidays mean more this Christmas and look at giving a little differently.

Christmas Coca Cola

I want to share with you 5 ways to give differently this Christmas.

1. Give Love: First and foremost the holiday season is about love. Share a smile, wave to a stranger, give a little extra grace to everyone this Christmas. Remember it doesn’t have to be grand to be meaningful.

2. Give Back: This is the perfect time of year to teach your children what it means to give back. Here is a great list I created last year for ways to Spread the Light this Christmas. Download the pdf here.

Giving_Back

3. Give Time: Time with family is one of the most cherished gifts we have during the holiday season. Many of you will be traveling near and far to spend time with those you love. Enjoy time with family and friends. Turn off the technology and share old stories, play board games, and enjoy each other’s company.

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4. Give Homemade: We often get caught up in spending, making lists, budgeting, and presents. What if you didn’t this year. One of the most stressful parts of the holiday season can be the gift giving. But that is not how it should be. Giving should be stress free and from the heart. Instead of facing Black Friday craziness, what if you give homemade this year. You can cook treats in the kitchen to give with a handmade family recipe book, frame pictures for grandparents, paint a mug, regift your favorite book, or give an ice cream sundae kit. 

5. Give Memories: Holiday traditions are some of the most cherished memories we have. The traditions can be simple like the menu for Christmas Eve, reading stories under the Christmas tree, singing carols, or making cookies for Santa. I know I am looking forward to being a part of old traditions as well as making new traditions with my little family. Some traditions we plan out, while others just happen. Are there any traditions you look forward to starting with those you love?

This holiday season let’s try and focus on what really matters. Don’t let the stress of financial matters get in the way. Instead make small changes that make a big difference for your financial well-being.

For more holiday planning advice, check out these holiday resources.

Need help creating a budget to stay on track. SunTrust has you covered here.

The holidays are for focusing on moments that matter. But for many Americans, financial stress can get in the way. This year, you can make small changes that make a big difference for your financial well-being.

In this holiday planning guide, you’ll find tips for getting organized and making a plan for holiday spending so you can feel confident in your ability to stay on track with your budget. You’ll see how other Americans are shopping, traveling, celebrating and giving in ways that make the holidays cost less, but mean more.

Download Guide

For more holiday planning advice visit holiday resources

Meaningful spending made easy with a budgeting tool to help you make a plan and stay on track with your holiday spending. Download here.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Tips for Selling Your House

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These past few weeks have been such a whirlwind in our house! About three weeks ago we decided to have a realtor look at our bathrooms to see if we should do anymore updating before trying to sell our house. We were planning to move this fall after baby #2 arrives, but wanted to get any work done before the due date. So, she came over and looked and suggested we try and list it without any more up dates and just see.

So we spend a week de-cluttering, patching nail holes, and getting the house ready to “show.” We put it on the market on a Friday and there were folks lined up to check it out. What a blessing! By Tuesday we had multiple offers and by Thursday we were under contract, OVER list price. We still have a few months until closing which is awesome because we don’t have anywhere to go yet. We are house shopping and know where we want to move, but are still looking for the right house! Hopefully, we find it soon :) I think we really lucked out because we bought in 2010 when the market was near the bottom and now the market is on the rise, but the inventory is still low. SOOOO much about buying/selling has to be timing! So while I am NO expert, I thought I’d share a few tips that I think helped to sell our house, QUICK!

declutter

Declutter. I’m sure you’ve hear this before, but decluttering your house is paramount. If you are like us, you might not even realize how cluttered your house is until you start to put things in storage (or the attic). It’s amazing what clearing off counters and shelves will do; we also put about half of Chickadee’s toys away. She didn’t seem to mind :) In the bathroom we completely cleared off the counters, in the kitchen we cleared off everything except for the mixer, our Keurig, and knives (for the pictures) and then tried to keep anything else on the counters to a minimum. We didn’t do this, but if you have the extra space it’s also a good idea to clean out your closets a little bit. I read about 1/3 of your clothes should go elsewhere to make your closets look roomier. Basically, you want your buyers to see what your house can be, how much storage there is, what it would look like with their furniture. When you declutter the rooms look larger and cleaner and have more potential.

depersonalize

It’s best to remove any over personal items from your house (I feel like this mostly pertains to photos). I didn’t understand this one at first.  However our realtor said that when potential buyers walk through our house and see our personal pictures they start to think more about us living here and our lives than what their lives could be like. You want buyers to imagine themselves in your house, so neutralize it and depersonalize. I kept picture frames up, but filled them with scrapbook paper that matched the rooms decor. If you are going all out you can also cover up/replace any crazy design choices you made like bright accent walls or bold pattern curtains.  

make_inviting

You want your buyers to feel at home when they walk in your house. A few tips for making your home inviting is to light a candle leading up to the show time to make your house smell divine. Bright flowers and a bowl of fresh fruit also make your home feel welcoming. Also, one thing we had to consider was our sweet, but massive, golden retriever Max. During each showing we packed him up with the rest of us to leave the house. Pets can be distracting (even crated) when buyers are looking at your home. You also want to make sure your house doesn’t smell like your pet. The candle or air fresheners will help!

quick fixes

We weren’t up for a massive overhaul of the bathrooms before we listed our house, but there were some small quick fixes we made sure to tackle before our home hit the market. These are the things you probably look past on a daily basis but it might stick out to buyers. For example, door trim that needs freshening up, nail holes, tub grout that needs replacing or light bulbs that have burned out. It is even helpful to have your realtor or a friend give your house an honest once over. They might spot some quick fixes that you missed. Also if you are up for it, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way!

curb appeal

The outside of your house is the buyer’s first impression. It’s IMPORTANT. Make sure your grass it cut, cobwebs brushed away, bushes are trimmed and maybe even put out a new welcome mat or wreath on the door. Make sure porches and decks have been swept and maybe even add some potted plants!

 clean

This is probably another no brainer, but try and keep your house as clean as possible while it is on the market. Sweep, wipe down counters, vacuum before you go to bed. I also spruced up our stainless steal appliances to give them a nice shine and took some Orange Glow to our hardwoods to make them look their best! Another easy way to spruce up the bathroom is using this homemade grout cleaner. I found that if I would clean as we went each day, this process wasn’t too overwhelming. 

natural light

Both in photo taking and when you are leaving your house for a showing make sure there is a lot of natural light! Open and raise the blinds (make sure your windows are clean). Pull back the curtains. Natural light works wonders!

great photos

Photos are important because a lot of the time this is what will get the buyer to your home. In the world of technology most potential buyers will have checked out your listing online before showing up to your house. The pictures don’t have to be Better Homes & Garden quality but they do need to be attractive and bright. Don’t underestimate the power in great pictures. Raise the blinds and let in a lot of natural light, turn on your lights, and shoot from several angles until you find the right one!

timing

When you list your house could be the key to selling quickly. Right now (February 2015) is a great time to list because the market is on the rise and right now the inventory is low, so houses are in high demand. If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of school age children and young families April is probably a better time to list because folks will be looking for closing/moving dates in the summer to coincide with the school year. Your realtor will have a lot of information on this so talk with them and decide when is the prime time for your house to go on the market. 

pricetosell

Resist the urge to overprice your home by a large margin, this will keep a lot of potential buyers from even walking through the front door. This is a hard one because you are so personally attached to your home and probably value it more than those looking to buy it from you. Look at homes in your area or neighborhood that are similar in size and features and use those as comparables when pricing your house. You can also hire an appraiser if you would like for an outside person to give you their opinion on what your home is worth. I think the first few weeks if the best time to get a feel for how potential buyers feel about your home. If it is still on the market a month later you may be forced to lower the price and this sometimes makes buyers wonder if there is something wrong with your home. We felt like we priced our home just right. Because of the inventory being low our neighborhood was in high demand and potential buyers were okay with offering a little over the list price because they felt the price we listed it at was fair. 

…….

Hopefully, these tips will help your sell your house fast and with less anxiety! I know it all seems like a lot of work, buy I think the payoff will be worth it! GOOD LUCK

Oh, and since we had to take new pictures for the listing, I thought I would update our house photos on the blog! So jump on over to the home tour page to take a look!

 

Hand print and Footprint Ornaments AND Gift Tags

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Yall, we have been having SOOOO much fun around here. Christmas with a little one is so magical and full of crafts, baking, and guarding the Christmas tree for inquisitive hands :) After a test run we decided to leave the bottom of our tree bare (except for lights) in fear of them not being around next year! But seriously, I love seeing all the fun through Chickadee’s eyes and I know the magic is going to grow and grow each year!

I have been making a list of Christmas activities I thought baby girl would be old enough for (she’s 14 months) and these hand print and footprint ornaments/gift tags were a must.

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Looking at them they are pretty self explanatory, here are the supplies you will need kid safe paint, cardstock, foam brush, Sharpie, hole punch, ribbon or baker’s twine. And and few tips to keep in mind!

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We had so much fun making these that when we had playgroup yesterday we shared the fun with everyone. Everyone’s art turned out sooo cute! I can’t wait to add these to our gifts under the tree! For those of you making them as ornaments make sure and write your child’s name and the year on the back so when they are 10 you will remember how little, sweet, and magical they were!

I’d love to hear what crafts are on your must make list this Christmas.

 

Baked Honey Lemon Chicken

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So I have a little back story to share with you.

I recently discovered that on Tuesdays, The Fresh Market, sells ground chuck and vegetarian fed/antibiotic free chicken breasts for $2.99 a pound. What an AWESOME deal! This was in May, but I know here in Atlanta they are doing it through June as well (and maybe it will continue each month!). So Chickadee and I headed to The Fresh Market to pick up some meat. The ground chuck was easy to configure how much I wanted, but when it got to the chicken I wasn’t sure…thinking about how I usually buy chicken in the meat department at Publix, I decided to tell them I wanted 6 breasts. I asked for them to wrap them individually for freezing purposes. They started to weigh them one by one and each package was over $4.00….I was like whaaaattttt? Come to find out each breast, was a FULL, two pieces, chicken breast. Folks I ended up buying almost $30 worth of chicken :) Thank goodness for the freezer! So…we have been having a lot of chicken in these parts, like this Pretzel Fried Chicken I shared the other day.

Yesterday, I thawed two more chicken breasts and decided to work with what I had in the pantry and fridge for a simple honey lemon marinade. It actually turned out REALLY great!

Honey Lemon Chicken
A delicious chicken breast seasoning recipe
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 chicken breasts
  2. 2 lemons
  3. 1/2 cup honey
  4. 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  5. Cumin, Salt, Pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large ziplock bag mix the zest and juice of 2 lemons, 1/2 c. honey, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp salt.
  2. Using a knife cut slits across the top of your chicken to better marinate.
  3. Place the chicken in the ziplock bag and shake until chicken is well coated, then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to marinate.
  4. You can either grill or bake the chicken.
  5. If you grill make sure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees (this will take 5-8 minutes on each side over medium heat).
  6. If you prefer to bake, cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. I browned the outside of the meat in a skillet before baking.
  7. Optional: Drizzle with additional honey for added sweetness!
A Step In The Journey http://astepinthejourney.com/

baked_honey_lemon_chicken

I think this would be really great with lime in place of the lemon too!

 

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