Running for Boston


Well today I was going to write about how well my arugula is growing, but it just doesn’t feel right with the events at the Boston Marathon on Monday.  Instead, I thought I’d take the time to reflect on what happened and why it hits so close to home for Ryanne and I.

What does running have to do with a blog such as ours that posts about family recipes, sewing projects, and gardening?  Well running for Ryanne and I has become somewhat of a family tradition passed down by our dad.  I wouldn’t really say we have a long line of running enthusiasts in our family, but I’d like to think my dad has started something special… no not a recipe for banana bread, but a love for setting goals and working hard to exceed them, having a healthy lifestyle, and having determination to train for hours upon hours for a race.  As he said during our last race, he hopes Ryanne and I continue to keep up the family tradition of running after he can’t run anymore. I think I replied with “Well maybe if I keep running until I’m 80 I can qualify for Boston because the qualifying time will be easier.”

I was so excited when my dad qualified to run in the Boston Marathon after running his first marathon – I had to make the trip up to Boston to watch him.  I knew he was excited too, talking about the infamous landmarks along those 26.2 miles such as the Newton Hills and the Wellsley girls that he had read about in the book 26 Miles to Boston.  My dad put in countless hours training and had the most amazing training ethic I’d ever seen.  I think my mom was starting to believe she was a “runner’s widow” because my dad was always out running.

When it came time for heading up to Boston, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  I knew the Boston Marathon was the Superbowl of Marathons, but had no idea the type of electricity and sense of pride it brought to the area.  That weekend my husband Matt and I spent time with his father’s side of the family and stayed with his grandmother at her bed and breakfast on Walden Pond.  We’ve always loved going up to Boston to visit, so it was nice to show my parents around as well.

On the day of the race my mom, Matt, and I were so excited and couldn’t wait to get a spot along the race route.  It was set to be the hottest Boston Marathon ever.  My dad kept texting us and updating us from where all of the runners gathered at the start in Hopkinton.  While we were all excited for that day, we also had heavy hearts as it was the 5th anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre, which occured at our alma mater.  My dad wore a shirt to let everyone know he wasn’t just running for himself, but for the 32 people who died.

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Once we got to the race route, about at mile 7, it was so hot I couldn’t imagine running in that heat.  But quickly those thoughts faded as we watched the elite runners go by, runners who were blind, runners who were wearing prosthetics, Team Hoyt, and active duty service members who were hiking the route with their rucksack in memory of fallen soldiers.  The streets were jam-packed with thousands of people for as far as the eye could see.  We watched and waited eagerly to see my dad – I had never been to a race like this before in my life!  I remember cheering and clapping furiously because of the energy of others at the race.  Finally we saw my dad and took the picture below.  I truly believe his smile conveys that running Boston is one of the crowning moments of his life.

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So as I share this experience it’s so hard to believe that something so inhumane and tragic could occur at one of the most positive, energetic, and emotional sporting events in the world.  Lots of runners being interviewed have shared that they feel like it was a personal threat to them, even if they weren’t there.  I feel very much the same way, especially as my dad would have finished up around the time that the bombs went off if he had run it this year.  While the media continues to show the explosions near the finish line, there is one picture I have to keep replaying in my head to remind myself that the world is not a bad place.  This picture is of a runner who had cramped up about 3/4 of a mile from the finish line, right where we were standing.  He could barely walk and had collapsed to his knees.  Seeing this, two other runners ran back and lifted him up carrying him the rest of the way to the finish line.  I will never forget that selfless act of kindness, it truly reminds me that not all in the world is evil. So this week as I go on my runs through Raleigh, I think of and pray for the runners, their families, spectators, Bostonians and know that good will prevail.

Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs = Heaven!


Easter was always a special time of year for our family which entailed going to church, having some type of Easter lunch, Easter egg dying and hunts, and of course coordinating Easter dresses.  If you remember from our Christmas blog posts, our mother never had a shortage of matching or coordinating outfits for Ryanne and I.  Looking through some of our old family pictures last weekend I found a few and unfortunately they don’t convey the talent my mom had at sewing and hand smocking such cute dresses.  Here are a few specimens:

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A-List celebrities such as Taylor Swift and Jessica Biel obviously were inspired by our bangs.

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“We’ve trained all year for this day, leave no egg behind Ryanne!!” – Megan (I didn’t really say that)

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Displaying our goods, another Easter Egg Hunt down.  Now time to get a sugar high in celebration of a good egg-hunting season!

And for the recipe…

Our most FAVORITE Easter treat was not a Peep, or a Cadbury Creme Egg, or even a whole chocolate Easter Bunny, no it was DaGa’s Peanut Butter Easter Eggs!!!!!!!  We anxiously awaited each year as DaGa put the finishing touches on the delicious treat.  It was a recipe she’d also teach her high school home-economics students to make.  I would eat little pieces of mine so it would last for as long as possible, which for a little kid is WILLPOWER!  Yes, DaGa’s Peanut Butter Easter Eggs were that good.

Before our half-marathon last weekend, Ryanne and I made our first attempt at making them on our own.  While they might not be as perfect or big, or pretty as DaGa’s were, I think she might be proud, and honestly my stomach doesn’t care what it looked like 🙂  If you like Reese Peanut Butter Eggs, these are EVEN BETTER!

DaGa’s Peanut Butter Easter Eggs:

Print recipe here!

2 sticks margarine

1 cup creamy peanut butter

4 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 cups dipping chocolate (or 1 bag chocolate chips and 3 tbsp. Crisco like we did)

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How to Make ’em:

First, cream the two sticks of butter with an electric mixer until smooth.

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Add in the cup of peanut butter and the confectioner’s sugar (a little at a time).  Mix until fully incorporated.

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It should look like this yummy goodness when you’re done mixing!

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Then mold the peanut butter mixture into an egg shape as shown by Ryanne. We used about a handful of mix.

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Then put them on parchment or wax paper and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour to harden.

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Once the eggs are hard, melt your dipping chocolate or as we used chocolate chips and crisco in a bowl in the microwave.  Make sure it’s not lumpy or too thick, if it is add more Crisco (yes, Crisco is shortening.)

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Then I stuck a wooden skewer in the top of the egg and dipped it in the chocolate.  You might need to spoon the chocolate over the top.  Once you place the chocolate-dipped egg back on the parchment paper, cover up the hole with more chocolate after you remove the skewer.

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Once you’ve coated all of the eggs in chocolate, put them back in the refrigerator for about an hour.

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Decorate them with icing if you’d like.  DaGa always wrote our names on each egg and decorated them with flowers.  Enjoy!  Store in the refrigerator or in the freezer.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Well even if you aren’t Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is fun to celebrate.  Our way of celebrating this year was running the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach 1/2 Marathon today with our dad.  This is the first race that we have all run together, so it was lots of fun!  The weather was perfect, and despite waking up at 4:30 am for the 6:40 am start time, we had a blast!  We wore St. Patrick’s themed tutus (or as we later decided they looked more like Tinker Bell skirts) and got several compliments on them from bystanders.

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We were very happy with our times, Ryanne and I both set Personal Records and came in the top 10% for the women!  Our dad left us in the dust and ended up getting 3rd place in his age group!

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The best thing about the end of the race was that they had Natty Greene’s beer at the finish line and our medals also served as beer bottle openers 🙂

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Our husbands and mom also came to watch to watch and brought our dogs.  Arlie was prepared! And just in case you ever find yourself in need of a DIY St. Patrick’s tutu…

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I just hot glued tulle and glittery ribbon to another ribbon.  I got all of the materials at A.C. Moore.  Have a great week!

Wedding Recap: The Reception


Good afternoon friends!  This post will be the last of my wedding recaps.  Be sure to check out the rehearsal dinner and ceremony recaps!

After our beach ceremony, guests headed to Lumina Hall for a cocktail hour.  While the cocktail hour was going on the wedding party had fun getting pictures at the beach!

Wedding Part

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beach pic

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We walked across the street and got some pictures on an old dock overlooking the sound.

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After taking TONS of pictures the wedding party headed to the reception to join the rest of our guests.  You could find your name card attached to a white starfish.  Megan and I  filled old drawers with sand and placed the name cards in the sand.

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The wedding couldn’t be complete without pictures of LJ and I at the beach when we were younger.  If you look closely you can see our very loved stuffed animals.

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Some centerpieces were glass hurricanes with candles and surrounding seashells.  Others were tall vases with curly willow branches and white orchids.

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My custom table numbers turned out perfect!  (Check out my DIY wedding table numbers)

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My mom and florist (June) created the centerpiece at the head table as a surprise.  I absolutely loved the incorporation of my mom’s hand made pottery, fruits and vegetables.  I am a dietitian after all!!!

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For our guestbook we asked friends and family to sign their favorite “sea creature”.  We plan to get our poster framed to hang in our home.guest book

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432LJ’s mom made us champagne glasses for the reception.  I absolutely LOVED them!

cake…..and then the real party started!  The Charlie Band were great and TONS of fun!!

The bandThey even got the Floyd and Ulrich’s to sing “shout”

shout502Our night ended way too quickly

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My new husband surprised me with a sweet ride to our hotel room……a Rolls-Royce.

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…And the last surprise were these awesome sparkler pictures my bridesmaids did.  We were beyond blessed to have so many wonderful people surrounding us on the special day!

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Wedding Recap: The Ceremony


…Finally the wedding ceremony pictures!  If you missed the rehearsal dinner  recap be sure to check it out!  Sorry for such a long post….but out of over 400 pictures…it was hard to post only a handful to share with y’all!

Growing up my parents always took Megan and I to the beach every summer.  My mom would have to drag us out of the water to get us to eat a quick sandwich and slap on some more suntan lotion before we were back in the water diving through the waves.  LJ and I both grew up spending many summers down in Emerald Isle, NC.  Since LJ and I both share an appreciation for the beach (and my parents conveniently live 15 minutes away from it), we  couldn’t think of a better place to get married!

The weather is generally gorgeous in Wilmington during October…BUT…with it it being an outdoor ceremony and still technically hurricane season I did a lot of stressing the weeks up to the wedding.  By stressing I mean I may or may not have obsessively checked the 10-day forecast an embarrassing amount.  Fortunately, we could not have asked for a better day to get married on the beach in front of the Hanover Seaside Club.  It was sunny, 70’s, with a cool beach breeze.

The day started pretty early for the girls.  We had to start getting hair and make-up done at 10 am for a 5 pm wedding!  The girls of Hypnotix Spalon traveled to my parents house to do our hair and make-up so we could relax and not worry about rushing around.  I was still a nervous wreck, but it was nice to enjoy a mimosa and spend time relaxing with my bridesmaids.

Now I will do less writing and let you enjoy the pictures…… The dress dress detail make-up

Me with one of my best friends from Tech (Julia)

Julia and I

The best part about a beach ceremony….I got to wear flip flops!

flip flops Our flowers were done by June Sweeny.  She did an OUTSTANDING job.  My mom, sister, and I only met with her once.  I told her what colors I wanted and that I wanted more of a natural look with succulents, orchids, roses, and a lot of texture.  Her creation for the bouquets and centerpieces at the reception were beyond my expectations.  I definitely recommend her! flowers My mom made the vases seen below for all of the bridesmaids.  They placed their bouquets in them and then at the reception they served as the flowers at the head table.  They also made for a cute and unique gift for the bridesmaids!vase holders dress SO thankful for Megan.  It took awhile to do all of those buttons! buttons

Julia, Mallory, Ryanne, Megan, Amanda, Missy

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The Floyd Family: Megan, Jim, Ryanne, and Jane

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We made a sign from an old wooden picket fence.  I did a single layer of white paint and tried to make it look distressed.  My mom painted the coral and wrote our names.Sign1 Sign2 I made the starfish aisle markers.  I took a dow rod, hot glued the starfish to one end and tied a green ribbon at the top.  We stuck them in the sand to make an “aisle” for the wedding party to walk down. starfish aisle

Chris, Isaac, Dakota, Adam and LJ
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I decided to make starfish pins instead of using the traditional flower boutineer.  I thought it tied in with our beach theme.106 handsome groom Megan Dad and I Dad, me, mom 178181

Laughing because LJ’s ring was a little hard to slip over his knuckle….I was worried it wasn’t going to fit!189197207 214

Woohoo! We’re married!  I hope you enjoyed the pictures.  Check back for the after ceremony pictures and the reception!

Wedding Recap: The Rehearsal Dinner


Good afternoon everyone!

Many of you know that my husband (LJ) and I got married on October 13, 2012 in Wrightsville Beach, NC.  SO it may have been three months (and a day) since I got married, but now that the holidays are over and we have a disc of all of our professional photos, Megan and I thought it would be fun to share a recap of different parts of the wedding with y’all.   Better late than never…….right?

I wanted to first give a shout-out to our photographer Erin Whittle.  She is an awesome person with an amazing talent.  She did an OUTSTANDING job capturing the beauty, love, details and laughter of our big day.  My mom always says that the best photographer is one you don’t notice during the ceremony and reception.  She is so right.  I’ve been to weddings where it seems like the photographer is practically elbowing the bridesmaids out of the way to get pictures of the bride and groom during the ceremony.  I don’t remember once seeing Erin during the ceremony or reception (other than obvious times).  Now, my not noticing her maybe had something to do with the fact that I was about to make the biggest commitment of my life (!!!), BUT, my point is if you are in the Wilmington area and are in need of a photographer–I HIGHLY recommend her.  We couldn’t be happier with our pictures (and with my decision to marry LJ).

The obvious place to start would be with the rehearsal.  Our rehearsal took place at my parents gorgeous back yard.    Once we finished rehearsing we headed downtown to the City Club at de Rosset  where the rehearsal dinner was held.  It is a simply southern mansion that was built in 1841 by a prominent family in Wilmington, NC.  It now serves as a social club that hosts many weddings, private parties, and rehearsal dinners every year.  They have rooms on the second floor that are rented out to members (that is where we stayed our wedding night).

The City Club

My mother-in-law Robin, did a wonderful job with the table numbers!  Aren’t they cute?

Table Numbers

She also painted wine glasses for the bride and groom.

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My husband LJ and I in the gorgeous gardens in front of The City Club.

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LJ and I with my parents Jane and Jim Floyd

Family

Megan (matron of honor) and her husband Matt

Megan and MattLJ and I with his sisters (my new sisters) Paige and Leigh

The UlrichsLJ and I with LJ’s father Joe and step-mother Shari Ulrich

Joe and Shari

LJ and I with LJ’s mom Robin Hasz

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LJ with his grandparents Dick and Faye Hasz

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After cocktail hour we sat down to enjoy a delicious dinner.  We started with a simple wedge salad.  LJ and I decided on shrimp n’ grits as our entree.  I wanted to make sure all of our northern guests got a taste of the south.  The City Club definitely did not disappoint!   We got tons of compliments on how good the food was!
Dinner

After passing out gifts, the father of the groom toast, and many laughs later, we headed off to one of our favorite bars in Wilmington– Level Five.  Level Five is a rooftop bar in downtown Wilmington.  We went there the night before Megan and Matt’s wedding, so we continued the tradition for mine.  We had to get a family picture with the newest addition (LJ).

Level 5

LJ and I are so blessed to be a part of two wonderful families.  We had such a great time celebrating with friends and family the night before we got hitched.  Stay tuned for the ceremony and reception wedding recaps!

Happy Monday!

Have Yourself a Beachy Little Christmas


Merry Belated Christmas everyone!  Sorry this post is a few days late.  Ryanne and I have been busy eating delicious Christmas food, spending time with the pups at the beach, and shopping 🙂

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Ryanne and Molly, Megan and Airlie

We hope y’all had a great Christmas, we sure did.  Our Christmases now are a little different than growing up since we spend them with our parents near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.  Everyone in our hometown of Culpeper, Virginia got snow Christmas Eve and the day after; all we got was 60 degree weather and tornado warnings.  How different!

I took a few pictures of our parents’ Christmas decorations.  Our mom has definitely embraced the beach theme for the Holidays!

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Christmas would not be complete with Christmas trees made from crab pots (and decorated with shells from Ryanne’s wedding).  These are made in North Carolina.

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Can you spot the ceramic sea creatures my mom made?

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The beautiful beachy wreath our mom made.

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Coral tree decorated with vintage ornaments from our grandmothers.

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Our dad making some Christmas morning breakfast casserole that was delish!

A somewhat newer Christmas tradition is to skip the traditional Christmas food and instead make Christmas Seafood Gumbo!  It’s quite a process, but the end product makes it all worth it.  Look for the recipe in the coming weeks.   After eating our Christmas Gumbo, we all walked down to our friends/neighbor’s house (that has a fantastic light display) and shared some Lemoncello and Champagne.  Cheers!

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Clockwise starting from the left: Kirk and Donna Davis (Megan’s in-laws), Steve and Donna Thompson (Neighbors/friends), Jim and Jane Floyd (Parents), Megan & Matt (& Airlie the yellow lab), Ryanne and LJ (& Molly the Golden Retriever).

Christmas Cards


Hello there!

We hope that you’ve been baking away and enjoying our 5 Favorite Holiday Treats!

Having the perfect Christmas card was always essential for our family growing up.  Usually we’d pose in our matching outfits for the perfect picture and then stuff them into cards.  That was all before the fancy cards you can make now on Snapfish, Shutterfly, etc.  We thought we’d share our Christmas cards with you this year.  Enjoy!

From the Megan, Matt, & Airlie:

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From Ryanne, LJ, & Molly:

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Day #1: Fake Heath Bars


For Day #1 of our favorite treats, I am going to share with you Fake Heath Bars.  They say that Christmas is the season of giving and, boy, did we give away plenty of treats this time of year.  I can remember making these with my mom, sister, and Grandmother (Daga), making sure we doubled the recipe so we’d have enough to share.

While the next five days consist of our favorite treats….this really is one of my favorites.  I am warning you….they are addicting!  So be ready to package them up and send them to work (LJ’s co-workers may gain some weight by the end of these five days) or give to neighbors because when it comes to Christmas baking, lets get real, their ain’t any good skinny versions honey.

It wouldn’t be right to post about Christmas baking without a Santa picture…..

Megan and Ryanne 1987

Megan and Ryanne 1987

Of course we are once again dressed in matching outfits made by our mom.  I was only 10 months old.   Look at the foehawk I have going on!  By the look on Megan’s face I’m sure she was thinking “All I want for Christmas is for this thing next to me to go away…”.

Print Recipe Here

Ingredients

What you’ll need for Fake Heath Bars:

Baking sheet

Aluminum foil

1 box saltine crackers

2 sticks of butter

1 cup sugar

1 large bag of chocolate chips

First pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Now, take your baking sheet and line it with aluminum foil so that is completely covered.

Baking Sheet

Take your saltine crackers and line the bottom of your baking sheet with them.  As you can see in my picture, they are not going to fit perfectly, so you will have to cut some crackers in half to fit on the sides.

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Set your baking sheet aside and place your two sticks of butter and sugar in a small sauce pan.

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Melt butter and sugar over medium heat. Make sure you are stirring it constantly to avoid any burning or sticking to the pan.  You want it to boil for 3 minutes.  You know it has boiled long enough when it turns into a thin, frothy mixture.  Once it has finished boiling pour the mixture over the saltines.

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You may need to use a spoon or spatula to make sure it is spread evenly over the saltines.  Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

While that is baking make sure you have your chocolate chips out, the bag is open, and a large spoon.  You have to work fast once you remove it from the oven.

Once 10 minutes is up, remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.

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Take your large spoon, using the back, and spread the chocolate chips over the saltines.  The saltines should be hot enough that the chocolate chips start to melt, making the spreading easier.

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Keep spreading until the chocolate chips are fully melted and spread evenly over the saltines.

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Set them aside and let the chocolate cool and harden.  Once they are cool enough cut into squares and serve or package for friends and neighbors.

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Check back tomorrow for our favorite treat # 2….

‘Tis the Season: Five Days of Holiday Treats!


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‘Tis the season of crying babies sitting on Santa’s lap, the aroma of Christmas trees, and the month-long sugar high from eating too many sweets.  The holidays always store many family traditions for us and probably many of you as well.  One tradition we had was traveling down to Richmond, VA to see Santa Claus. From the time I was a baby, my mom always took me and eventually my sister to see “The Real Santa Claus” down at Thalimer’s where we would debut our new Christmas outfits that were often made by my mom and stand in line for hours just to tell Jolly Old St. Nick I wanted “Barbies, jewelry, and American Girl Magazine”.    It was a tradition we didn’t necessarily look forward to at first, exhibited by Ryanne screaming her head off in the picture above, but one we can now look back at and enjoy.  To this day my parents have a picture of Ryanne and I with Santa Claus from 1984 (the year I was born) all the way until when I was in high school.  Dorky that I still went to see Santa as a teen?  Yes I was mortified, but as long as I told my parents I still believed Santa delivered!

In the spirit of giving and family traditions, baking and making treats has always been a fun way to spend time together.  Even while we are all apart living in different areas of the East Coast I feel closer to my family making some of our favorite holiday treats.  So, for the first 5 days of December Ryanne and I will be sharing our 5 favorite holiday treats that we made as little girls and continue to make today.  These treats are great for your holiday party or to give to others as gifts!  We hope y’all enjoy!