Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays

Greetings! I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas with loved ones! We spend the holiday with the Bakers in Mobile. We got to town late Thursday evening & we immediately went to meet up with some of JD's friends from high shool: Jon, Brian, Stig, Sneul. It ended up being an early night after our waiter accidently spilled someone's drink all over me, my cell phone, & my new purse - lovely :(

The next morning we all were pretty lazy - we did get out to run a couple of last minute grocery store errands & had lunch at JD's favorite Mobile bbq joint, Saucy Q's (yummmm). Once we got back to the house, Pam & Katie started cooking / baking for that evening's family celebration. Katie made Nan's *famous* chocolate cake & the Bottega mac & cheese - both were excellent! I "helped" Johnny fry the oysters & chicken fingers (a family tradition)later that night. Luna & Benny were a big help too, especially when Johnny accidently dropped any batter :)

Every year on Christmas Eve, the Baker / Modling clan gets together for a dinner of fried oysters (with other assorted goods), followed by exchanging of presents with the extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins). Growing up in my family, we always waited & exchanged gifts on Christmas day, but it is nice to break it up & be able to be with lots of family during the holidays.

After the family left, we cleaned up the kitchen & got ready for Santa!! JD, Katie, & I always get to open one gift on Christmas Eve from Pam & Johnny - our Christmas pajamas!! This year there was a special surprise under the tree from Santa to all the pups (Wilson, Tanner, Sadie, Luna, & Benny - yes, we did Christmas with 5 dogs) - CHRISTMAS PAJAMAS!!! Here is a picture I got of JD with our pups in their new pajamas: (too precious)

Christmas Day was so nice & relaxing this year - usually JD & his band (Doubt of the Benefit) play a Christmas-Day-night show at Soul Kitchen, but this year they weren't able to do it as the drummer wasn't going to be in town. This was the first time in 6 years (since I started dating JD) that the guys didn't do the Christmas show & although we missed hearing them, it was so nice to be able to relax & enjoy the holiday & time with family. We spent most of the day tinkering with the new Christmas goods : Katie got GLEE kareoke for the Wii, I got a new CAMERA with a carrying case & tri-pod from the hubbs (someone was reading my blog, possibly?), & JD got a beer home-brewing kit!! I think JD was more excited about that than the rest of us put together - he can't wait to start brewing & have a party at the house for his first batch (um, it makes 5 gallons people - come thirsty!!)!

Here are a few more pictures from Christmas at the Bakers - I'm trying out the new camera, so they aren't too great...

Later that evening JD's friends Brian & Charles (in from NYC)came to visit & see the Bakers new house. We ended up going downtown with them to see some other folks & JD's friend Stig was DJ'ing at Boo Radley's. As you can imagine, this ended up being a later night than anticipated, but it was good to see old friends!

Sunday we loaded up the car & the pups & headed back to Birmingham. On the way home we reflected about the holiday (which we started celebrating a couple of weeks ago wiht the Goodroes) & thought about how belssed we are to have such a great network family & friends who love & support us in all we do.

We hope that everyone had a great Christmas holiday & we wish you the very best in 2011!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

snuggly babies

we have a good time here...

{holiday treats}

last night I tried a new recipe for a fun holiday treat to share with the sweet girls at work, chocolate sugar cookies! They turned out pretty good, although I wish they were a little sweeter. The recipe is pretty basic, so it allows you to personalize it as you wish! I think I am going to try icing mine to add some holiday *happy* & to add some sweetness:


2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
4 squares BAKER'S Unsweetened Chocolate
1 cup butter or margarine
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

MIX flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add 1 cup sugar, egg and vanilla; mix well. Stir in flour mixture until well blended. Refrigerate 15 min. or until dough is easy to handle.

HEAT oven to 375°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in remaining sugar. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets.

BAKE 8 to 10 min. or until centers are set. Cool on baking sheets 1 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Monday, December 20, 2010


just wanted to do a quick post to reflect on the great weekend we had with our families. It seems we never get to see them enough, so the holidays are such a treat to spend time together. JD & I are so blessed to have such a great family who provide lots of love & support in all that we do.

We hope that everybody is enjoying spending the holidays with loved ones too!

Friday, December 17, 2010

{holiday spirit}

Well, we FINALLY got all of the outdoor Christmas decorations up - just in time for Christmas... what do you guys think?

Ha ha - totally kidding :) We did, however, stumble across this *gem* while looking at holiday lights last weekend with Mom & Dad Goodroe. This picture doesn't even begin to do it justice - for those readers who live in Birmingham, try to find yourself over in the Crestline Village area & take a drive down Beech Road. You will NOT be disappointed!

And let me go ahead & say that I won't tolerate any witty remarks about how this is a "typical Auburn fan"... :)

Hope that everybody is ready for the holidays - JD & I kick off our family celebrations this weekend with the Goodroe family! Looking forward to spending more time with the family & having our usual traditional Christmas.

Safe travels for those of you who are going to be on the road / in the air!

Until next time,

peace & love.

the bakers.

Friday, December 10, 2010

{love this guy}


**Can't get enough of those Auburn Tigers - here's a picture I saw on another blog & couldn't help but share... On the way to GLENDALE!!!


Just a short note today to say how EXCITED I am about the holidays!! Last night I got several presents wrapped & put under the tree, so in my mind it's officially the holidays! There's such a difference when you actually get presents under the tree!

I am also excited because the Goodroes are coming to town this weekend to visit!! Mom & Dad haven't ever seen our house decorated at Christmas {this will be our third Christmas on Daly Street}, so we decided it was high-time they made the trip over! I think we are going to check out the new outlet mall in Leeds {Shops at Grand River} & try to wrap up our holiday shopping. It blows my mind that we will actually start our gift exchanges with extended family NEXT WEEKEND!! Where have the holidays gone?!? I'm also hoping that we will be able to ride around & see some Christmas lights while Mom & Dad are in town. This was something that we always did when I was growing up in Snellville, & I think it's only appropriate that we do it now in Birmingham!

Wanted to also say what fun I had this past week with some good girlfriends - Wednesday night a few of us went to the Innovation Depot in downtown to make our own stockings!! When I say 'make your own stocking', I mean it. They provided the burlap & all the various fabrics, buttons, pins, yarn, thread, etc... but we actually assembled everything & sewed the stockings together.

I have to admit, I was a little overwhelmed when the sweet girl was explaining what we were going to be doing, but I quickly got over my nerves & just went for it. 2.5 hours later we all had stockings! Everybody's looked amazing - very unique & I thought reflected each personality very well. I named my stocking the "Raggedy Ann" stocking - I went with a patchwork-style design. It actually turned out better than I thought it would - take a look for yourself: {please excuse the clutter on the bookshelves...}

It ended up being the perfect holiday-inspired evening with good friends! I know that everybody stays so busy all year, and the holidays are no different, so it was really good to spend an evening just relaxing with friends.

I also wanted to share a recipe that I tried last weekend for the Baker's house warming party {which, by the way, was a TOTAL success!!} It's a recipe that I found on another blog, Plain Chicken, which my friend Natalie introduced me to... it's a recipe for Sausage Cheese Muffins, & I like to think of them as a really nice alternative to sausage balls {the muffins aren't nearly as greasy}:

Sausage & Cheese Muffins

1 lb. hot ground pork sausage
1 tsp onion powder
3 cups all-purpose baking mix
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed fiesta nacho cheese soup
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup buttermilk (I used skim milk)

Cook sausage and onion in a large skillet over medium to med-high heat, stirring until it crumbles and no longer pink. Drain and cool.

Preheat oven to 375. Combine sausage, baking mix, and shredded cheese in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Stir together the soup and water; add to sausage mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon until lightly greased mini muffin tins, filling to tops of cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.

This recipe made about 36 mini muffins, so get ready to feed a crowd when you make them! Last weekend I made over 70 of them for the house-warming & they were all gone (needless to say, a crowd-pleaser!).

I think that's all for now - I'm going to continue my Christmas playlist on Pandora {hey, it's only the holidays once a year, right??}

Until next time...

peace & love.

the bakers.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The HOLIDAYS are Here!!

The Bakers are in full swing for the holiday season!! We kicked off the holiday season as we usually do with a trip to Social Circle, GA to spend Thanksgiving with the Goodroes! This is one of my favorite things to do because it gives us some much-needed time with my family who we don't get to see as often as we'd like. Also, I came to a realization this Thanksgiving - I may actually enjoy this holiday more than Christmas even... no gifts, or sales, or decorations - it's all about FAMILY & FRIENDS & spending time together with a great meal.
After another wonderful holiday meal, prepared mostly by my mom & dad {although I did have a few contributions!}, the family took advantage of some much-needed relaxation. It always surprises me how relaxed I can feel when I am back at "home" with my family. The next day, we cheered on the Auburn Tigers as they DEFEATED the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl! To me, this has never been the biggest game of the season; however, with an UNDEFEATED season on the line, it definitely adds to the excitement!
As we all know by now, the Tigers are headed to Glendale, AZ for the 2010 National Championship game in January!! I, for one, would LOVE to be in attendance, but I fear that I'll have to watch the game like so many other Auburn fans from the comfort of my own living room. Oh well, a girl can dream, can't she?!?
I was forced to wait until the weekend after Thanksgiving to start decorating for Christmas - I know this may come as a surprise to some readers as I have been blogging about my excitement to decorate / celebrate the holidays since August!! We decided to go with a live Christmas tree again this year, which I think is my new favorite holiday tradition for the Bakers. The excitement of sorting through the hundreds of beautiful trees to pick the *perfect* one for us has been so fun for us, & I look forward to continuing this tradition when we have a family some day.
This year, decorating proved to be an emotional time for us. JD & I both lost a Grandmother this year, & we found ourselves remembering fondly all of the holidays we were so lucky to have had with these special ladies. We had several new holiday decorations this year of items left to us from our sweet Grandmothers & we have a whole new appreciation for each piece. See JD's cousin, Lane's blog post about the beautiful Radko ornaments that were so loved by Gigi. Here is a picture I took with my phone of our completed Christmas tree - I hope to have some more pictures of our house all decorated posted soon, so stay tuned!

If you look carefully you can also see two of our sweet babies who wanted to be apart of the holiday photo :)

Until next time, I hope that everyone has a safe & very happy holiday!!

peace & love - the bakers.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Well, we made it. This past weekend was what we've all been looking forward to since May - the FLORY WEDDING in LAS VEGAS!! It was EVERYTHING I thought it would be, plus more! To no one's surprise, Sarah looked absolutely breath-taking. By far the most beautiful bride I've ever seen - and I'd argue that her bridal portraits could easily grace the cover of the top Wedding Magazines! Everything about the weekend festivities was perfect - and now the happy couple are enjoying a well-deserved vacation in Antigua!
A few of my favorite moments from the weekend include:
*Christine getting frisked at the Birmingham airport before 7am on Friday morning
*Arriving at the MGM Grand hotel for the first time & squeeling when I saw my girlfriends...and they were squeeling too.
*Getting VIP treatment at TAO all night for Sarah's bachelorette party {thanks Em!}
*Watching the AUBURN TIGERS beat UGA on Saturday
*Hearing everybody speeches at the rehearsal dinner - S&D are so very LOVED!
*Mr. Bill {Sarah's Daddy} video-ing EVERYTHING from his iPhone 4... & then immediately editing & posting it on youtube :)
*and I have saved my very favorite part of the weekend for last: The Wedding Ceremony. It was personal. It was emotional. It was unique. It was Sarah & Daron. I will never ever forget the beautiful words exchanged that day. There wasn't a dry eye in the bunch...

Here are a couple of photos I got from the weekend - enjoy!!

We are so happy for our dear friends, the Florys, & wish them the very best for a life full of love & happiness!!

JD & I can't wait to go back to Vegas - I have a feeling that it's the kind of place that you can go several times & have a completely different experience with each visit!! Until next time, I'm gonna start "boning up" on my Roulette skills :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

the Bakers lately

Hi All - Hope everybody is doing well!! Can you believe it's already November?!? The holidays are right around the corner & I couldn't be happier :) I seriously had to resist the urge to pull the Christmas stuff out of storage on Monday night & start decorating... ha!

Just wanted to post about what the Bakers have been up to as of late... JD has been staying really busy playing with his bands, JD & the Man and Dangerous Cousin. I think that he has had at least one show a week for the last month & we hope that will continue through November / December! Recently he has played at Otey's, O'Dalys Pub, & this week he will be playing at Big Blue Bagel in Crestline and at Touchdowns in Auburn for HomeComing weekend {war eagle!}! He's also about half way through another school term!

This past weekend we went down to Mobile {first time since Memorial Day :(} to help JD's mom & dad move to their new house!! It's only a few short blocks from the apartment they've been renting the last few years, so still close to downtown. And - better yet - the new house is on the Mardi Gras parade route!! Who could ask for more? I'm bummed I have no pictures to share of the weekend, but my camera is on the fritz! While we were in Mobile we were able to have a little fun - JD & Sam played a show at our favorite bar, O'Dalys Pub. It was a pre-Halloween show, so everybody was in costume. Here is a picture of JD & Sam all dressed up before the show {they were Mormons}:

The coming weeks will be busy ones for the Bakers: next weekend we head to LAS VEGAS for the FLORY WEDDING!!!! {Me = overwhelmed with joy & excitement} Following that I head up to Nashville to celebrate my best friend's engagement party {yay for Katie + Nate}! Then the holiday rush officially begins! We are really looking forward to getting to spend some time at "home" with our families this holiday season.

To end this post, I want to give a quick shout out to my AUBURN TIGERS!!! 9-0 on the season!?! Each week it has been so fun to watch the Tigers come together to defeat the next opponent! We hope this trend continues through December 4 for the SEC Championship!! WAAAARRRRR EAGLE! HEY!!

***I AM A TERRIBLE MOMMY!!! I had intended to end this posting with a mention that our sweet kitty, Aja, came home on Halloween!! JD heard her meow'ing in the front yard & after a little hesitation she came close enough for him to snatch her up & bring her inside!! It was a very emotional reunion for us all & we are so happy that she is home & seems to be okay. She does have a couple of scratches on her head / face, so we are taking her to the vet on Friday just to make sure! WELCOME HOME KITTY!!! {thanks for the reminder, Tonya...I'm a flake}

Friday, October 22, 2010

one lucky gal...

Good Morning bloggers :) I hope everyone is having a great FRIDAY!!

This morning I wanted to share how thankful I am for all the great friends & family we have in Birmingham!! Although neither of our parents live here, we feel an overwhelming amount of love & support from our network of extended family members & friends who feel like family!

As some of you may have already read from my Facebook page, earlier this week JD & I lost our kitty, Aja. She is usually an inside-only cat, but she accidently got out of the house on Monday night. Unfortunately, we have been unable to find her since then. It has been a long week of walking the streets in our neighborhood looking in all the nooks & crannies (and believe me - there are A LOT of places a kitty would love to hide!!), but during our search I have continued to stay positive through reassuring words & encouragement from our friends & family. Thanks to each of you for your thoughts & prayers! We hope to find her soon!

I leave you with a picture of our sweet kitty:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

lingerie shower? success.

Just a quick shout-out today to two of my absolute favorites: Katie Davies (soon-to-be-Kivett) & Brittany Cole - these two cuties hosted the greatest lingerie shower this past weekend in Nashville (quickly becoming my favorite city)!!

The big fuss was for another one of my favorites, SARAH ELIZABETH WILCOX (soon-to-be-FLORY)!!! That's right folks, we're at the 31-day mark until S & D tie the knot in the fabulous LAS VEGAS NEVADA!!

BUT - I can't get too excited about the Vegas wedding... afterall, I've got to get another dear friend, Liz Perry, hitched this weekend at Lake Martin :)

But seriously, Kate & Brittany - thanks for doing such a great job on the pin-up themed shower!! Everything was great : food, fellowship, fun. You should consider an international party planning business :)

(*sorry no pictures from this trip... as usual, the batteries in my camera were dead - as were my back-up-batteries. death.)


PS: I hope there are as many Jersey Shore quotes being thrown around in Vegas as there were in Nash this weekend :) "Grenade. Grundle. Chodes."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

LBP is getting MARRIED!!

This past weekend was absolutely LOVELY!! It was perfect Fall weather & best of all, I got to spend it with friends at the lake!! Saturday morning a small group of friends went to Lake Martin to celebrate Liz's Bachelorette Party :) Here are a few pictures from the lingerie shower:

We can't believe that in two short weeks Liz & Richard will be getting married!!! We are so excited to be able to share this special day with them!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

*Loving our Living Room*

A few weeks ago the Baker family began the task of going through Gigi's house - the days proved to be a sentimental one, a day where we all remembered & celebrated Gigi's life. I think that JD's cousin, Lane, described it perfectly in her blog post

JD & I were very fortunate to be able to bring so many precious reminders of Gigi home with us that day. We have always been somewhat of "home-bodies", but have found that we enjoy spending time at home even more now. I think it is because our house is now filled with Gigi's spirit & her presence - we have daily reminders of what a special lady she was.

Here are a few pictures of our living room with some of our new "treasures":

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Ever to conquer, Never to yield"

The weekend of September 18 was a special one for me as I was able to return to the Plains to watch the Auburn Tigers take on the Clemson Tigers. JD wasn't able to make it as he had a show in Hoover with a new band he has joined, Dangerous Cousin

It was a great day all around - Auburn pulled out a victory in overtime after being down at halftime, I got to spend some time with my girlfriends, & even got to catch up with some good friends I hadn't seen in a few years while celebrating Blake & Natalie's upcoming nuptials!! Here are some pictures from the day:


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Remembering Gigi

Faith is trusting what the eye can't see.
Eyes see the prowling lion.
Faith sees Daniel's angel.
Eyes see storms.
Faith sees Noah's rainbow.
Eyes see giants.
Faith seen Canaan.
Your eyes see your faults.
Your faith sees your Savior.
Your eyes see your guilt.
Your faith sees His blood.
Your eyes see your grave.
Your faith sees a city whose builder and maker is God.
Your eyes look in the mirror & see a sinner, a failure, a promise-breaker.
But by FAITH you look in the mirror & see a robed prodigal bearing a ring of grace on your finger & the kiss of your Father on your face.

This was a responsive reading from Gigi's service, an exerpt from Safe In the Sheppard's Arms by Max Lucado

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oh, Mexico

Hi there - found some old pictures in my camera from our trip to Mexico last year & wanted to share...

Way down here you need a reason to move
Feel a fool running your stateside games
Lose your load, leave your mind behind, Baby James

Oh, Mexico
It sounds so simple I just got to go
The sun's so hot I forgot to go home
Guess I'll have to go now

"Americano" got the sleepy eye
But his body's still shaking like a live wire
Sleepy "SeƱorita" with the eyes on fire

Oh, Mexico
It sounds so sweet with the sun sinking low
Moon's so bright like to light up the night
Make everything all right

Baby's hungry and the money's all gone
The folks back home don't want to talk on the phone
She gets a long letter, sends back a postcard; times are hard

Oh, down in Mexico
I never really been so I don't really know
Oh, Mexico
I guess I'll have to go

...we had so much fun on this vacation to celebrate our second wedding anniversary!! Looking forward to our anniversary this year as we will be in VEGAS for the Flory Wedding!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Christmas in July...

...well, August.

I don't know what it is, but I've been thinking a lot about Christmas lately!! I find myself getting excited at the thought of cooler weather, crispness of the air, decorating the house, seeing family, giving gifts - I haven't LOVED our Christmas decorations since we moved in our house 3 years ago, so in my free time I have begun scouring the internet for decorating ideas! Here are a few things that caught my eye:

This week has been an especially busy one for the Bakers as we prepared for Supper Club this weekend! We are serving up a true old fashioned summer BBQ equipped with all the 'fixins: BBQ pulled-pork sandwiches, ribs, potato salad, slaw, baked beans, pickles, & banana pudding for dessert! I hope our guests bring an appetite because they sure won't leave hungry :) The biggest project we did this week was painting our patio furniture! We were able to get a great deal on a 5 piece Hampton Beach patio set at the of last summer. I was happy with what we got, but I always thought everything looked kind of drab out there - everything was in the same color family. This week we painted all 5 pieces black & it has made a HUGE difference - I am so happy with the results! I do not have a "before" picture, but here is a shot of it now (sorry for the bad quality, it's from my phone):

This time next week we will be getting ready to head to Rosemary Beach with my parents for a few days! We are so excited about this trip as I have not been able to take a vacation with my parents since high school! Dad found a great place for us to stay - it's much larger than the 4 of us need, but the owners' parents live in Social Circle where my parents live, so we were able to get a great deal! JD & I will only be there for a 4-day weekend, but Mom & Dad are going to stay the rest of the week; actually, my Dad's siblings & spouses are going to join them after we leave - what a great opportunity for the family to get together at such a relaxing venue! Here is the place we're staying:

Well, I think that is about it for now - before I go I want to say a few words... earlier this week, JD's sister Katie had to say goodbye to her kitty, Ginger. Ginger had been a part of Katie's life for over 14 years. She followed her from her high school home down in Mobile, to Tuscaloosa for college, to Birmingham, to Auburn, & back to Birmingham. They had shared a lot of special moments together. It is never easy to say goodbye to a pet, especially when you have the kind of connection that Katie & Ginger had. We will all miss her.

Until next time...

peace & love.