holidays

holidays

Holiday Cards… It’s only June!

I just got choked up thinking about our Christmas card this year. We haven’t sent one in a while, but this year we’ll definitely be sending them out. I was driving home from work when I started thinking about a Christmas card with me, Steve, and our kids. And all the sudden I got choked up and tears sprang into my eyes.

I was also thinking about how I would have the kids posing with their backs to the camera or in the shadows so I can actually post pictures of them on Facebook and other social media sites. And actually, on here! Thinking of posing them with their hands and arms so that they made like big shadow heart on the ground and I can post that. From what I understand, we aren’t allowed to post pictures of their faces until they are legally our children.

I told one of the parents from school today whom I absolutely adore and she has been so amazing to me this past year and a half. She was so excited that I think she almost started crying when I told her we were adopting.

Kids. Family. I’m going to be a mommy.

Classes countdown: 25 days!

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Crafty Christmas from a Jew-Girl

Disclaimer: I was raised Jewish, in a synagogue, became a Bat Mitzvah at 13, was confirmed at 16ish, worked at Jewish summer camps, and taught at the synagogue I grew up in. That said…

I love the Christmas season. I mean LOVE it. No, I don’t mean the December holidays season. I mean the Christmas season. Working at the YMCA and for a landscape company with a thriving Christmas tree decorating business certainly didn’t help this obsession. I love the music, decorations, trees, decorating the trees, decorating the house, cookie exchanges, Secret Santa’s, and the weather. OK, that last one is just the time of year and not Christmas specific. I don’t, however, care about the religious aspect of it. Jewish, remember? While I’m not a practicing Jew-girl and haven’t set foot into a synagogue since my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah several years ago, I’m still not quite ready to give up my Jewish identity. And no, having 7 tattoos doesn’t make a difference in that aspect.

Sure, I married a non-Jewish guy who technically celebrates Christmas, it was never important to him growing up. Pretty much how I feel about Chanukkah. I almost always forget to take my menorah out of my Christmas ornaments box (not kidding) and even when I do, I maybe light 3 days of candles maximum. And, my Christian friends usually have to tell me when Chanukkah is. Pretty bad, huh? By the same token, we have discussed our children’s religious upbringing and haven’t decided exactly how it’ll occur, but it will be open for them to choose. I am fascinated by other religions and cultures, why shouldn’t my children be as well?

Anywho… This wasn’t supposed to be a religious post. Back to the pretties…

If you’re one of my Pinterest buddies, you’ve seen the boards I have for Holiday Decor and Holiday Gift Ideas. There are also a few ideas sprinkled into my Crafty Goodness board that I just haven’t edited and moved yet.

So, I found this super cute tree during one of my many searches and decided to re-create it. I actually am quite pleased with how it turned out.


pretty-ditty.blogspot.com via Becca on Pinterest

And here is mine:

I also found some amazing DIY yarn wreaths and this was my choice to emulate. Lots of styrofoam balls of varying sizes, wrapped in scraps of yarn and stuck together. I bought a wire “wreath” and now just need to figure out the best way to attach my yarn covered styrofoam to it.

Source: etsy.com via Becca on Pinterest

And mine… Any idea on how to attach it? I pinned the yarn even though the directions suggest hot glue. Hot glue and my fingers don’t get along very well… I have 6 large and 12 small styrofoam balls. (I tried so hard to not use the word “balls” bc my 5 year old self is now giggling…) I also have small glass ornaments to use if I need to fill in more space. Ornament box, remember?


* wow, I had a real problem with the fonts and images in this post *

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Inkubook Photo Book Giveaway, Ends 12/4/11

Super Short Giveaway! So I slacked on this bc life kept getting in the way. Also bc I seem to have somewhat lost my blogging mojo. I blame the holidays.

Anyhow! Do you want to win a photo book, calendar or photo cards from Inkubook? They are an amazing company with a whole array of page layouts, backgrounds and sizes for their books, not to mention your choice of hard or soft cover. They also have calendars and photo cards with tons of layouts. And in case you simply have no idea what to do, they have a whole section of ideas for your perusal.

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All you need to do to enter is leave me a comment telling me what occasion you would create for your book if you win. Or hey, would you make calendars or photo cards? We’ve made 3 books with Inkubook and love them all!

Extra entries, leave a separate comment with a link to each:
– Subscribe to my blog or let me know you’re already a follower/ RSS reader
– Share this on Facebook or Twitter: I entered to win an @inkubook photo book from @rbfletcher & you can too! #Giveaway ends 12/4/11 ~ http://rbfl.me/2112
– Blog about this giveaway

I’ll use Random.org to pick a winner on December 4th. You don’t have to be a blogger to win, just make sure you use an active email address when you leave your comment so I can contact you if you win.

PS- Just in case you win, you might want to start putting your book/ calendar/ photo cards together as the code expires on December 7th. It is for a project of up to $34.95, not including shipping. Hey, I said I slacked!

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This post was sponsored by Inkubook. I received a photo book in exchange for providing my opinion on their products. All reviews and opinions are my own.

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Shutterfly Holiday Cards Giveaway

Shutterfly | Colors of WonderI dunno about you, but we love us some holiday cards. No, not Christmas cards, and not Hanukkah cards, but holiday cards. We have a mixture of religions on our address list, so our message tends to be generic. I have been sending holiday cards out myself for many years prior to even meeting the hubby, and they are always fun to give and receive.

But I digress! I wish I could say I’ve been loyal to one company, but let’s face it,I am a deals shopper. The last couple of years we used Shutterfly; this year will be no different. I haven’t been disappointed yet! The cards are always high quality and they have so many designs.

We used Shutterfly as the photo dump site for our trip to Las Vegas and other wedding pictures, which was so convenient! We made photo books, and possibly will make a few calendars for gifts this year, and definitely the holiday cards for the December holidays.

Shutterfly | Merry Twig Wreath

Do you prefer to send a flat or tent card? What about receiving- what’s your preference? I personally like to receive flat cards only because it makes it easier to read the messages on our card wall every year.

Not only do I get to send beautiful Shutterfly cards this year, but, my lovely readers, you get the opportunity as well. I have 3 codes for 25 Free Cards of your choice. That’s right, there will be three winners!

All you need to do to enter is go check out the vast selection of holiday cards and leave a comment telling me which one you would choose if you win. Also tell my one of your favorite holiday traditions. (Hey we’re newlyweds and could always use some new ideas.)

Extra entries, leave a separate comment with a link to each:
– Subscribe to my blog or let me know you’re already a follower/ RSS reader
– Share this on Facebook or Twitter: Enter to win 1 of 3 sets of 25 @shutterfly holiday cards from @rbfletcher ~ #giveaway ends 11/9/11 ~ http://rbfl.me/2035
– Blog about this giveaway

Shutterfly | Confetti Jacks

I’ll use Random.org to pick a winner on November 9th. You don’t have to be a blogger to win, just make sure you use an active email address when you leave your comment so I can contact you if you win.

Do you notice a theme with the cards I like? 😉 These were 3 of my top choices for this years cards.

This post was sponsored by Shutterfly. I am getting 50 free cards in exchange for providing my opinion on Shutterfly cards. All reviews and opinions are my own. If you are a blogger and interested in getting 25 free cards for your opinion, you can sign up here.
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St. Patrick’s Day Cooking

St Patricks banner | BeccaBlogs.com
Happy St Patrick’s Day to all my Irish and “I wish I was Irish” friends out there! I fall into the latter category, but that doesn’t stop me from having a 4-leaf clover and a Celtic triskele tattoos on my ankle. Nor does it stop me from loving the heck out of all things Irish. OK, except the beer. But I don’t drink any beer so I figure it’s a moot point anyhow. Today on one of my favorite holidays, I am making one of my all time favorite meals: Corned Beef and Cabbage.

You know you love it too! It’s seriously one of the easiest things to make too. I’ve never made it in a crock pot before, so this is a new recipe for me. Normally I boil it for hours then bake it to let the sauce cook it. I’ll post that recipe as well.

Corned Beef and Veggies cooking | BeccaBlogs.com

But for today, I am following the “Traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage” recipe that I found via Crock-Pot.com. Actually, I got it from their iPhone app, but it’s the same thing really.

Ingredients
12 new potatoes quartered
4 carrot(s) sliced
4 pounds corned beef brisket
2 onion(s) sliced
3 bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
1 head cabbage wedged

Directions
* Place potatoes and carrots in bottom of slow cooker.
* Add brisket, onion, bay leaves and peppercorns.
* Add enough water to cover. Cook on Low 8-10 hours or High 4-5 hours.
* Add cabbage halfway through cooking.

Now, here’s the thing. I generally followed the above recipe. I left out the bay leaves and peppercorn, used 8 white potatoes, and only 2.5lbs of corned beef. What I don’t understand is how they managed to cram all that food into a 6qt crock pot. With my modifications, the lid barely fits. I can’t even imagine how over crowded it would be with 1.5lbs more of meat. Hopefully it will shrink enough for me to cram the cabbage into the pot in about 4 hours.

St. Patrick's shamrocks | BeccaBlogs.comMy go-to recipe is not only super easy, but unbelievably delicious as well. I’ve been making this version for well over 10 years and not just on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s great any time of the year!

Brown Sugar/ Mustard Glazed Corned Beef and Cabbage

Ingredients
Corned Beef
1 head of Cabbage
Red potatoes
Carrots
Brown Sugar
Yellow Mustard

This is much more of a guideline, than a recipe. Make enough to feed your family. And don’t forget that the corned beef will shrink roughly 1/3 of it’s original side after cooking.

Follow package directions to boil the corned beef and enclosed flavor packet. This usually takes several hours. You can either trim the excess fat or leave it. I leave it because it adds to the flavor while cooking.

Cut the potatoes and cabbage into quarters and slice the carrots. Place around the corned beef and completely cover with water.

Once the corned beef is fully cooked and extremely tender, remove from water and let cool for about 10 minutes. Leave the vegetables in the water, but turn off the heat.

Preheat the oven to 325*.

Mix the brown sugar and yellow mustard together. The ratio is roughly 1:1, but you can add extra brown sugar for a sweeter sauce.

Place the corned beef on a large piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Liberally spread the brown sugar and mustard glaze on the widest part of the corned beef. Wrap in foil to seal completely.

Bake the corned beef for about 20 minutes or until the glaze begins to darken and get crusty.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Slice and enjoy!

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Valentine’s Day: We don’t celebrate

We’ve been married for 4 months, dated for 3 years and I finally told Steve a few days ago that I don’t care about Valentine’s Day. Like, at all. I never really saw the point of taking a single day out of an entire year to profess your love for someone. Really? What about the other 364 days? What is so special about a single day? Show your loved ones year round bc it just makes sense!

Also, why do women insist upon making their significant others feel like crap if they forget to buy them flowers, candy and jewelry? Another thing I never understood. Early on in our relationship, I did get a big bouquet of pink roses (I’m so not a fan of roses!) and daisies and a really pretty necklace from Steve. And I always make a nice dinner – not that it necessarily has to be on the actual date. I like to cook. Hell, I might even bake something. I made the above cupcakes a few years ago mostly bc I was on a major cupcake fix and also bc Steve brought home a bag of conversation hearts. =)

A single woman in our office is making a huge deal out of this “holiday” by telling all the men that forgetting to buy their wives/ girlfriends lots of gifts is grounds for a divorce. I just shook my head in disgust.

Sure, it’s nice to get the carnations in high school and dole out Scooby Doo valentine’s as a child, but is it really that big of a deal? I, personally, would much rather show my amazing husband how much I love him throughout the entire year.

Steve made a comment the other day (when I informed him I didn’t want anything) about how we’ll be lucky to even see each other on Monday. He works at 9pm and I typically don’t get home until 7-7:30pm. We barely have any time together on the days when I do work.

What about you? Are you a hard core Valentine’s Day supporter or is it just another day?

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Happy New Years Eve!

We are continuing our tradition of hanging out, just the 2 of us, and having a very low key evening. Tonight it’s pork chops, black eyed peas and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. I didn’t realize that Steve wasn’t a fan of Countdown shows, but I DID know he likes the Traveling Pants girls. This is part of why I love this man.

Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe New Years Eve and a minimal hangover tomorrow morning!

My 2011 welcome post will come either later or tomorrow.

Cheers, y’all!

Personal photo... ushering in 2010

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Merry Christmas!

I may be Jewish, but I love Christmas and Christmas carols. For many years, I’ve even had a Christmas tree. I still have it, but it’s packed away somewhere and our house is too small to put it up. Sad face.

For as long as I can remember (aka since 1993-ish), I have celebrated Christmas with my best friend beginning with our road trips to Newton, NC up until last year at her house in Jacksonville. I know we’ve missed a few years here and there, but this year it seems especially noticeable to not be with her and my godsons. It doesn’t help that the last time we saw each other was last Christmas. And I miss her so so much.

This year, Steve and I went to our extended family’s house for Nochebueno (Christmas Eve). I ate my first whole roasted pig – well, not the whole pig obviously! – that was roasting in a fire pit all day. And it was delicious! We were surrounded by family, friends and new friends with lots of fantastic food. And even better desserts including my cinnamon sugar biscotti and double chocolate chip and walnut cookies. (Entry with both those to come.) Huge thanks to the entire Torres clan for having us over!

I hope you all have a wonderful family and friend filled weekend whether you celebrate Christmas or not! I know I certainly will be taking advantage of my amazing husband being off work tomorrow.

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Post-Wedding Update Type Post (Including TTD Pictures!)

Whoops! Had that OvernightPrints link all wrong! My bad.

Wow, has it really been 3 days since I last posted? Craziness!

This weekend has been really productive for me in terms of post-wedding stuff. And considering that we bought ourselves a Hanukkah/ early Christmas Wii, that’s really saying something!

Let’s see, in the last 5 days I…

+ordered our marriage certificate
+received our CD of Trash the Dress pictures from the amazingly talented Emeric Photography
+ordered our holiday cards (using an Emeric picture) from Shutterfly
+wrote, completed, changed, and ordered our holiday newsletter from Vistaprint
+ordered our Thank You cards (also using an Emeric picture) from OvernightPrints
+just finished and ordered our 2nd Inkubook that we won in the giveaway (all Emeric pictures)
+played lots and lots of Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
+spent loads of time with my amazing hubby
+began knitting a pair of socks for a test knit

You want to see some of them, right? Seriously, I am in love with these pictures!

Using my Ebates account for Shutterfly, OvernightPrints, and Vistaprint, I am expecting a nice big fat refund check soon. I will never again shop online without first checking there to see what rebates I’ll get. It’s like the best “discount” ever! For OvernightPrints, I already had a coupon (HOLIDAY) for 50% off the cards, so not only was my order discounted, but I’m getting cash back. Yes, I’m cheap like that.

Most of our stuff was dependent on getting the CD, which is why so much happened so quickly. I had everything all laid out and just waiting for the picture. Of course, even then, I was still popping different pictures into the layouts.

This post is not sponsored by any company, I just happen to love Ebates and online shopping. <3

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Hello Miami “Winter” – Please Stay A While

Days like today warm my little winter-starved heart. It will be in the 50s all day long in Miami and that just makes me ridiculously happy. The windier, the better because that drops the temp even more.

Sure, I knew what the weather was like down here before we moved. I was never moving here for the weather and was pretty damn depressed that I was leaving my cold weather and chances of snow for extreme heat year round. No, I’m not a freak, I LOVE cold weather! I also hate Miami. Yes, that does make me weird to the majority of the non-Miami residing population. We moved for family, cheaper rent (alas more expensive everything else), and a job. But mostly family.

Never in a million year did this Miami born and raised girl expect to be craving snow and weather in the 20s and 30s. It’s gotten to the point where I am seeking out jobs to apply for in states that HAVE an average snowfall listed. This 50* “winter” stuff doesn’t cut it for me anymore. I want to be able to wear my hats, scarves, and sweaters. Yesterday, it was over 80* all day and I went to work in shorts and a t-shirt. Also, I saw many Facebook postings of snow and freezing weather. Yeah, color me jealous. I’m sure they were jealous of the heat down here and, frankly, they can have it.

Yesterday I was searching through pictures from the last 11 months for our holiday newsletter and relished looking through the 2 folders of snow. It was depressing me. I do know that heavy and long winters can take a toll on people, but that’s what all this heat does to me. I don’t want to leave the house. Our a/c bill skyrockets the hotter it gets. It’s just so blah. Poor Phoenix doesn’t get why it’s so hot out as his winter coat keeps reappearing. There’s seriously enough fur for a whole new kitten every time I brush him.

In other news, I’m finally compiling what is needed for our January reception/ party. With the holidays coming up and mail likely being delayed, I should order it soon. Gotta pow-wow with our “party planners” soon to figure out what we need!

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Designing our Holiday Cards

Tonight I decided to spend my down time after Thanksgiving dinner festivities working on our holiday cards, thank you cards, and a few photo books on Shutterfly. I have a few coupon codes, plus all our pictures – professional, mine and Cathy’s – were all uploaded to Shutterfly, so it’s about time to work on them. My biggest problem is picking which pictures to use! There are so many great pictures between the wedding day itself and our Trash the Dress session 2 days later. Jessie and Jason Emeric took some truly phenomenal pictures of us laughing and having a grand time and I have a strong feeling that their pictures will be on both the thank you and holiday cards.

This pictures is another possibility as it’s one of my fave from the wedding day itself. Tough decisions!

I’m still awaiting the disc from Emeric, which hopefully will arrive soon as our free book code expires on November 30th!

When you make holiday cards, do you use their templates and pop pictures in or do you upload a full design? I typically have been uploading my own design whenever I make cards of any type, but the ones in Shutterfly are actually super cute!

Also, for those still awaiting the Trash the Dress pictures, I will post them once they arrive! I don’t want to post the slide show as there’s a few I didn’t like how I looked in them, so y’all will just have to wait a bit longer. =D

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I may complain and be overly paranoid about having children “this late in life,” but I know I am truly thankful for what I do have.

I am thankful for, in no particular order:
… my family
… my friends – strictly online or real-life
… my best friend and my 2 amazing godsons
… you, my blog readers
… having a puppy snuggle my belly and a fat cat snuggle my feet every night while I sleep
… the few hours a day that I get to spend with Steve
… our weekends together
… my creativity
… my ability to walk, talk, and breathe freely
… having a roof over my head
… not being subjected to sheer misery on a daily basis at my previous job
… my health
… so much more!

And certainly, I am the most thankful for my fantastic husband. We are celebrating 3 years together this Sunday, the 28th (though there is debate about that) and I couldn’t be more thankful and lucky that he came into my life. This is truly a case of kissing a lot of frogs before finding my perfect match. No, not “prince” because I, quite frankly, never wanted a prince. I wanted an equal in my life, someone that respected me, loved me, cherished me and had fun with me exactly as I am. I received all that and even more the day I agreed to meet Steve after months of emailing and IMing.

The date of our anniversary is under debate as our first date had some pretty major hiccups. My friends Nichole and Miles started texting and calling frantically before I was done with my first course. It turns out their apartment complex was on fire so our date was cut majorly short. We had our second date 3 days later and that is when Steve thought the official date was. To me it will always be November 28th. <3

OK, so this turned into an anniversary-type post as well. I’m still a newlywed!

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