Friday, December 30, 2011

Michael's bananas foster

This is by far my favorite thing that Michael ever makes.  The problem is, he never uses exact measurements, but this should be a good guesstimate :)
The cast of characters
butter (about 1/4 cup)
brown sugar (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup)
2 bananas halved and sliced
dash of cinnamon
dark rum
banana liqueur
melt butter in skillet.  add sugar. stir constantly until boiling.
add bananas and let cook just until bananas start to soften
add about 1/2 cup of rum and 1/4 cup of banana liqueur
Now for the fun part :)
After the liqueur has heated just a few seconds stand back and light the bananas on fire!
throw a dash of cinnamon into the fire and watch the sparkles.
In the mean time, scoop up some vanilla ice cream. (this is my job)
Add bananas over the top and enjoy!
Except for my strange little girl that chooses Reese's cups instead...
xo, Dawn

Thursday, December 29, 2011

An authentic Chinese meal

Tonight was one of those special moments that we usually take for granted.
We were with some of our best friends...making dinner, hoping the kids weren't killing each other, just visiting and having a great time.
I love nights like tonight.
Francis (our Chinese friend) and his family are here visiting, so they made "real" Chinese food for us at the Stockstill's tonight.  It was mostly yummy.  I'm pretty sure I can't get into the tofu thing though.
We ended the night sitting by the fire, drinking coffee, and discussing the difference between a midget and a dwarf.  Who could have known there was a difference?
I am so thankful for friends.
xo, Dawn

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Recipe: Peppermint Bark

Hello Dear Readers! My name is Rae Veda and I blog over on An Eclectic Heap. I'm so honored Dawn asked me to guest post and I'm so excited to be here!

Peppermint bark is one of my favorite holiday treats. Not to mention… It's so easy to make! Let's get started!


-Dark Chocolate
-White Chocolate
-Round peppermint candies or candy canes
-3 bowls
-Crushing tool
-Tin foil


1. Line pan with tin foil and set aside.
2. Put candies in a bag & crush. Set aside.
3. Put dark chocolate chips into one bowl and white into another. Warm up in the microwave (separately) in 15 second intervals until melted completely. Don't do more than 15 second intervals because chocolate burns easily.
4. Pour dark chocolate in first and let harden. I put mine in the freezer to make the process go faster.
5. Repeat with the white chocolate.
6. Sprinkle on peppermint and toss back in the freezer. Let harden and then break into bite sized pieces when at room temperature.

I hope you enjoy! This is my favorite holiday treat. xo, rv

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

St. John's Day School

Next Tuesday, I will be starting my new teaching job at St. John's Day School.  I have many mixed emotions about this.  On one hand, I am extremely excited.  If I was ever going to teach again, I definitely wanted it to be at St. John's.  This is where we have always hoped that Anne would go to school.  Their emphasis on the arts along with it's historical downtown location make it inviting and enchanting.  It is the school where Cyndi has taught so many years...and through her, I've come to know and love so many people there as well.  When I got a phone call a few weeks ago asking if I would take on Cyndi's first grade class, I didn't know how to respond.  I was honored that they would even think of me, but at the same time the thought of walking into that school every day without her being there seems overwhelming and painful. 
I decided I would take the job though.
I knew that this would be a blessing to our family and those children.  Cyndi loved them so much, and I just hope that I can carry on her legacy of loving God and loving people.
 I know that once I get started the pain will subside and I'll just love it there.  I'm so excited to see what God has in store and how he will continue to use this tragedy for good.
Goodnight sweet readers.
xo, Dawn


Sunday, December 25, 2011

twister, game on

During our pajama party at mama's Friday night, we had a vicious game of Twister going.  It's literally been years since I played, and I'd say we all had a good laugh over it.  And we're taking all the laughs we can get these days.
I hope you all had a wonderful day.  We enjoyed being with family and friends and tried to focus on how good the Lord is in spite of our pain.  I truly have so much to be thankful for.
love, Dawn

what we wore: on Christmas Eve

I got my sweet brother in law to snap a few pictures today before lunch at Gran's.  The weather was perfect, we were pretty well coordinated, and I just love their backyard.  It created the perfect setting for some family photos.
I thought it'd be fun to do a family wardrobe post :)
On me: cardigan and necklace, Click Boutique; button up, Belk; jeans, Calvin Klein; boots, Minnetonka
on him: cardigan, UO; radio flyer tshirt, vintage; jeans, Levi's; shoes, converse; hat, gifted
on her: dress, JKkids; tights, Gap; boots, gifted... and we are loving her new haircut :)
Although today has been really sad at times, we're trying hard to make this a special Christmas for Anne...and for all of us.  We are still missing Cyndi terribly...she always made everything so fun.

I hope that you all are having a very Merry Christmas!
Love you all!
xo, Dawn


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Traditions with Annalee

I love the holidays. As a matter of fact, I’m a bit holiday obsessed. I love strolling the avenues to look at the Christmas trees, I love seeing all the different takes on holiday décor, I love the cheeriness that is all around, I love the smells and the cold weather. I love everything about Christmas but mostly I love old traditions and creating new ones.
This Christmas marks our first as homeowners, and it’s such a different feeling – almost as if you’re experiencing things for the first time. I have to admit that I’m a bit of a holiday tradition nazi. We have never waivered from our routine, and I always get upset if anyone tries to deviate from the schedule.
For as long as I can remember we go to the Christmas Eve service at our church at 5PM. The candlelight gathering is followed by dinner at my parents’ house, then we all stay up to watch Christmas Vacation for the umpteenth time. We all sleep over (even though my brothers and I are 31, 29 and 26 in age and have spouses and children) and are woken up by our Aunt Barbara on Christmas morning. Each year, she sneaks into each room and gently wakes us up at an hour that most would consider far too early.
She waits on the top of the staircase until we’ve all brushed our teeth and are ready to go downstairs. She used to wait for us because my brothers would always try to run downstairs before I could and I would get super upset because they saw their Santa pile first… but now I think she just does it out of habit.
I love every little detail of our family’s Christmas but things are slowly starting to change. The Christmas Eve dinner will be at our new house this year, and I’m excited to take on the role of holiday host. We usually have shrimp and wild rice (another tradition!), and I’d love to share it with you.

Mom’s Shrimp and Wild Rice

½ cup plain flour
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup thinly sliced onion
2 pounds cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup melted butter, divided
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 cups cooked wild rice
                       Few drops of Tabasco                       

Gradually add flour to ½ cup melted butter; cook over low heat, stirring constantly until bubbly. Gradually add chicken broth; cook until smooth and thickened, stirring constantly. Add white pepper; simmer 2 to 3 minutes.

Sauté onions and mushrooms in remaining ½ cup butter; drain. Combine white sauce, sautéed vegetables and remaining ingredients. Spoon into 2 greased 2-quart casseroles. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

It’s a really elegant meal and is one of those rare casserole dishes that looks quite beautiful in a Pyrex. We usually pair it with green bean bundles, salad and rolls. Our friend Carol Bounds Tillery gave my mom this recipe in 1983. It’s a Rice family tradition, and it’s always a huge hit!
We lost my grandfather in 2008, and we have been slowly losing my grandmother to Alzheimer’s for 10 years. My parents and my aunt are nearing 60, and grandchildren are starting to arrive. Our family is evolving but as we all get older and things start to change, it’s so refreshing to know that traditions, memories and recipes live on forever.
Thank you, Annalee, for sharing the fun traditions you have with your family!  I loved seeing all of the old photos and reading about your Christmases. 
xo, Dawn

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

DIY hand warmers with English Anderson

Hello all! I'm English and I blog over at Be Freckled! I am so grateful and honored to be writing this guest post for hello dearie. To show my appreciation, I wanted to do a quick and easy tutorial that will benefit everyone [well, those dealing with colder climates like myself here in Germany]. Here is a step by step process for hand warmers, using every day items you probably have at home.

List of items needed:

Fabric. All of the fabric I used was purchased at a thrift store, and upcycled into hand warmers. Please be careful in choosing material, though; these hand warmers will be heated in the microwave, and need to be created out of fabrics that won’t melt. I used 100 percent cotton, 100 percent poly-fleece, cotton flannel, and cotton thermal. This tutorial calls for a liner for which I used plain white cotton.

If you will be sewing by hand [like I did], you will need scissors, needle, thread, pins, funnel [or a rolled up coffee filter in my case], and rice.

You can also add different herbs to make the rice smell less like...well, rice. I grabbed mint, orange peel, and lemon extract. You could also use lavender, vanilla, or any other oils/herbs/spices you prefer.

Step 1. If using an oil or extract or anything liquid, sprinkle a measured portion of rice with the scent. Let sit until dry.

Step 2. From the fabric you will be using for the external portion of the hand warmer, cut a rectangle so that when folded in half, it is the size you desire. My folded squares were about 3” x 3”.

Step 3. There are two ways to use the fabric you just cut; you can keep folded in half to cut down on sewing, and only have to close three sides. OR you can cut into two squares and pin together.

Step 4. From the fabric you will use for the liner, cut a rectangle. When folded in half, it should be slightly smaller than the other square. My liner was about 2” x2”. I just kept this liner folded instead of sewing all four sides. I also gave up on trying to make it a perfect square since no one can see it. Also, please excuse my sewing skills. I have none.

Step 5. Sew the liner closed on two [if folded] / three [if cut] sides with stitches that will not let the grains of rice through. On the final side, only close 3/4 of the way.

Step 6. Using your funnel [or rolled up coffee filter], fill the liner 3/4 full with rice. Make sure you also add the herbs or spices if you are using them.

Step 7. Finish closing the liner. Set aside.

Step 8. Taking the fabric that will be external, stitch together three sides. Again, excuse my lack of sewing knowledge. I did my best...

Step 9. Place the rice filled liner inside your new pocket. Stitch the final side closed.

Step 10. Heat hand warmer in microwave for 30-45 seconds. Will stay warm for 30-45 minutes!

If you’re a little more needle & thread savvy, should be no problem to come up with different patterns and designs. They’re perfect little stocking stuffers or hostess gifts for upcoming holiday parties, and wonderful if you don’t want to use chemicals and unknown materials.

I hope you enjoy!