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.