In My House

Valentine’s Day Favorites

I don’t know when exactly I went from despising Valentine’s Day to really loving it, but I think it happened somewhere between marrying my hubby and embracing the inevitable girly antics that come with raising two young daughters. Valentine’s Day is unapologetically girly and I love it! Here are a few things rocking my world for this Valentine’s Day.

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1. The Fiesta heart-shaped dish is the perfect candy bowl. I have it in lemongrass (seen here) but it comes in almost every Fiesta shade. Mine is currently filled with Valentine M&Ms. (Bed Bath & Beyond) 2. This banner is a simple way to add a festive touch to a dining room or across the mantel. (Pottery Barn) 3. Pajama pants are a cute and cozy gift idea. (Gap) 4. These raffia hearts would look beautiful in a bowl as a centerpiece or in vases on the mantel. (Pier 1) 5. I bought these conversation heart leggings for both of my daughters. (Target) 6. A Neil Diamond Valentine card. Need I say more? (Debbie Draws Funny on Etsy)

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Food

Christmas Spirit and A Delicious Chocolate Cake

Normally I am a proponent of holding off on decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but this past weekend I started looking at our busy schedule for the next few weeks. That led to hauling the decorations up from the basement, putting everything up, and baking this delicious cake featured in the gorgeous winter issue of Magnolia Journal. The girls even napped to Christmas music while I scurried about cleaning up glitter and cocoa powder.

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Three years old might be the most magical age when it comes to enthusiasm for the holidays. I want to bottle every moment with my oldest daughter. OK, maybe not the occasional tantrum, but you get my drift.

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We put the tree in the dining room this year, mainly because my youngest daughter just started crawling so finding a safe spot in the living room proved to be a challenge. However, I really like it in this spot. It is great to enjoy it during dinner, and it happens to be in front of a window that faces the street.

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The magic of the holidays is in the air. The time between Halloween and New Year’s goes so quickly and seems to fly even faster now that I have two children of my own. I’m trying to focus on work-life balance as much as possible so I don’t miss the special times attending my daughter’s Thanksgiving lunch at preschool and helping with the church Christmas program.

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The recipe for this delicious cake is below. It would make a great treat to share as a holiday gift or to serve at upcoming gatherings. Hint: It doesn’t hurt to pair it with a dry red wine.

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Recipe:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups water

 

  • Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Let the butter and eggs stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, generously grease a 10-inch Bundt pan. Add cocoa powder. Shake and tilt pan to generously coat the bottom, sides, and tube. Shake out any excess cocoa powder.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a small bowl, microwave unsweetened chocolate 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Add both sugars. Beat until combined, scraping the bowl occasionally. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add melted chocolate and vanilla. Beat until combined.
  • Alternately add flour mixture and the water to the chocolate mixture. Beat on low after each addition until just combined. Pour into pan, spreading evenly.
  • Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Sift powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder over the cake.
In My House

Happy Fourth of July Weekend

The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love the togetherness with family and friends without the pressure of buying gifts, complicated meal preparation, and travel plans ruined by blizzards.

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I will admit fireworks paired with dry weather make me a bit nervous. I grew up on a ranch where grass fires and spooked cattle could be the result of firework play. I love that so many small communities put on public firework displays often with the local fire department helping. Fun and safe? Sign me up. Now if I can keep my pyro husband away from the fireworks stands…

This year I am cherishing the holiday even more because it marks my last few days before returning to work after maternity leave. I plan to soak up every single moment with my girls (in their matching outfits because I can) and husband. Happy Fourth of July!

In My House

Too Early To Talk About Christmas?

I have long been a fan of H&M for reasonably priced wardrobe basics, but a few days ago I received their holiday catalog and was blown away. There are so many adorable items. Here are six of my favorites. Everything is available at hm.com.

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1. A gorgeous, winter-inspired duvet cover would work all year round. 2. Suede gloves in a dark burgundy are so ladylike. 3. This whole room is adorable but it was the canvas storage box that looks like a stove that really won me over. Santa is thinking about stuffing it with play food and books and putting it under the tree for my daughter Christmas morning. 4. This tray would be stunning with a few tea lights glowing on top. 5. This is a fun take on the traditional advent calendar. You could put candy, small trinkets, or an inspirational message in the pockets. 6. Forest-inspired Christmas ornaments get me every time.