Tag Archives: holiday

The Art of a Southern Holiday Season

Curating a southern holiday season is a true art form. The American South, like most other parts of the world, is deeply rooted in culture and traditions- many revolving around the holiday season! Below are a few ways to insure a Southern Holiday Season!

Magnolia Garland
Magnolias are already a southern staple when it comes to greenery, and their leaves are perfect for southern Christmas decor. Magnolia leaves are deep green, shiny, and will keep for the duration of the holidays! I’m hoping to make either a magnolia garland or wreath this week!

When South Carolinian Joel Roberts Poinsett served as the Ambassador to Mexico in the early 1800’s, he fell in love with the classic Christmas plant. He immediately shipped some home to South Carolina, where they were eventually named after him. Poinsettas are used to warm weather, so they’re perfect for our mild southern winters.

cocktail 1Polite Drunkenness
If there is ever a time to indulge, this is it! With all the parties and holiday gatherings, you’re likely to encounter an eggnog or two. Or hot toddy. Or mulled wine. Or spiked cider. Take your pick, really. While it’s appropriate to have a drink or two, keep it classy and don’t get smashed! We are southern ladies and gentlemen, after all.  😉

Cookie Exchanges
Cookie exchanges are one of my favorite holiday traditions. In my life I’ve mostly experienced them in the context of church lady Christmas parties (my favorite!). Cookie exchanges are a great way to experience a variety of holiday treats, while only having to make 1!

apple sauce 2Apple Butter
While apple butter originated in Europe hundreds of years ago, in America it’s a southern tradition. Made by reducing apples and spices, apple butter is spread on biscuits, served over meat, and added to baking items – my favorite being apple butter donuts. My mother makes apple butter every holiday season and throughout the year!

New Years Superstitions
This is one tradition I’ve been known to skip on occasion. It’s customary to cook a southern feast on New Years Day consisting of black-eyed peas, greens, ham, and cornbread. Consuming this meal on New Year’s Day is said to bring good luck and fortune to the new year!

What customs and traditions do you believe are required for a southern holiday season?

Christmas Week Update

ornament(Here’s a photo from a few years ago when I made these game pieces into ornaments)
How is Christmas THIS WEEK? Where did December go? Where did November go? I’ve felt like a crazy person for the last month because we’ve been so busy, and I don’t always deal well with being busy. We’ve had long days at work, parties to go to, parties to plan, events to volunteer at, babies to visit, goodies to bake, movies to watch, etc.
-Speaking of movies to watch, we saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens twice during opening weekend! We went opening night, and then again on Saturday. Both viewing experiences were great!! Go see it now!!
-This weekend was freezing, but my weather app tells me it’ll be 86 on Christmas Day. Booooooooooo. #floridalife
-Ray isn’t feeling well, which honestly isn’t a surprise since we’re ALWAYS sick during Christmas. I’m still feeling ok, but pounding vitamin c, water, and attempting to get some sleep.
– Per usual, I JUST started making a diy Christmas present. If it turns out well, I’ll post pictures next week!

How’s your week been?

Caramel Apple Sangria

cocktail 1cocktail 3This year for Friendsgiving, Ray and I decided to offer a fall/winter inspired cocktail. We knew we could go one of two ways. Apple based or cranberry based. This year we went with apple.cocktail 2We knew we wanted to make it in large batches to accommodate for the crowd. We chose a simple, but delicious Caramel Apple Sangria recipe.
Here’s what you need:
1 gallon Apple Cider or Apple Juice
1 large bottle Pinot Grigio
3/4 bottle Caramel Vodka
chopped apples for garnish
Mix, refrigerate, and serve!
Pro Tip – We used two different types of apples, red delicious and pink lady because that’s what we had on hand. The pink lady apples definitely help up better than the red delicious, which got a little mushy. I suggest using extra crisp apples like pink lady or gala.

We served this cocktail in a a medium sized glass drink dispenser. It was a big hit at Friendsgiving this year, but I think it would also be appropriate for a Christmas party!

Halloween Costume Round-up

halloween 2013 1I know people say this all the time, but marriage comes with challenges. One of the challenges we’ve had to face is Halloween costumes. I love Halloween and love dressing up. I’m ok making multiple costumes for multiple Halloween parties. Ray, on the other hand, does not share my love for Halloween. He doesn’t hate it, but he’s fine just not really wearing a costume. Or worse, going as himself. Another challenge we face is the issue of couples costumes. I ALWAYS want us to dress in couples costumes, but figuring something out that’s awesome for me and easy for him isn’t always easy.
Here are a few of our costumes of the past:photo 2
1. Bjork and a dude with a jetpack. – Non-couples costumes.We helped each other with our costumes, even though we weren’t officially a couple. This was a really fun party and after a few drinks I remember people asking us why we were holding hands. 🙂 Unfortunately, I could not find a photo of Ray’s jetpack… but believe me, it was cool. It had working fans and lights!

photo 12. Pawnee Goddess and Dale Tompkins (our friend/pastor) – Non-couples costume year 2. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any full body photos of us. The main part of my costume was the Pawnee Goddess vest my mom made for me! Ray’s costume included khaki shorts, a bright polo with Church On The Way emblem, name tag, fake glasses, and crocs.

photo (3)3. Khaki Scout (from Moonrise Kingdom) and Dorothy – Again with the non-couples costumes. I’m so disappointed I didn’t dress up as Suzey as a raven from Moonrise Kingdom. These were last minute costumes we came up with a few hours before a party. Ray’s cute but I just looked pretty boring.

halloween 2013 24. Little Mouse, Big Hungry Bear and the Red Ripe Strawberry – Literary costumes. When I worked for the library all employees dressed as characters from books. I choose a character from my favorite children’s book. Ray was a really good sport.

photo (2)5. Duck Dynasty and a duck. Again, super easy and last minute. At that time Ray was being told on the reg that he looked like a Duck Dynasty brother so we thought it was fitting.

So, those are a few of the Halloween costumes of our past. We’re both getting excited about this year’s costumes! 😉

Cooking with Ray – Apple Cider

One of our 12 dates of Christmas (blog post coming soon!) was to make cider together. We had never made it before, so we looked over several (ok, more like 30) different recipes and variations. We ended up just winging it and I think it turned out perfectly!
This is more of a method rather than a recipe, so feel free to modify.
You will need: 1 giant jug of apple juice (we used a cheap brand, as we were adding things to make it delicious), 1 orange, 1 lime, 3 – 4 cinnamon sticks, a small handfull of whole cloves, a teaspoon of allspice, and a few pinches of ground cinnamon to taste. Put all ingredients in a large pot, stir and let it simmer for about an hour or two before drinking. orange cinnamon - 1cider - 1spicesstove

(Yes, our kitchen walls are pink.)

cider 2This cider tastes just as delicious cold as it does hot! Let us know if you try this!