Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Year in Review

I can't believe its December 30th and 2012 is coming to a close.
I wanted to recap the past year and reflect on what a wonderful year it has been.
I'm skipping January because it was relatively uneventful,
 and I started this blog in February.

In March, I completed my first month of sewing classes and showed off some of my new skills.

In May, we went to New Orleans for our 2nd anniversary,

In June, we did some decorating around the house and I had a DIY disaster.

In July, I finished and installed my biggest sewing project yet,

In August, I went to Houston and Asheville did some more DIY projects and lots of cooking.

In September, I made 4 goals (more to come on that later) and 

In November, I put my gratitude into action.

In December, we prepared for our big Christmas dinner and hosted both sides.

All in all, 2012 has been an eventful and amazing year.
I don't know how 2013 could possible top it,
but stay with me because I have a feeling it will. :)

xoxo - Bethany

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012 in Pictures

Christmas was wonderful. It was a great time with family from both sides.
Eighteen people total, with 6 kids under 8.
Even though there was a stomach bug going around, everyone rallied in the end.
Food, presents, and more food.
Now that we've pulled if off, I know we could do it again and it's not so scary.

xoxo - Bethany

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

I've been busy, busy, busy around here getting ready for the big Christmas feast!
I'll be back next week, but in the meantime I hope you have a safe and happy holiday with your loved ones.

xoxo - Bethany

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mint Chocolate Bark

Can you believe Christmas is two weeks away?!
I can't!
I've been doing a lot of cooking to test out recipes
for the big Christmas dinner I'm hosting.

One dessert I tried, and ate it all loved
was this Mint Chocolate Bark.
It's sooo easy and sooo good.

I repinned this recipe from from my friend April on Pinterest.

Here's the details. I halfed the recipe, and next time I'll be making the whole thing for sure!
Also, I couldn't find mint extract so I didn't use it, but it was plenty minty without.
I did go heavy with the Andes, though.

16 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon mint extract (NOT peppermint), optional
Green food coloring
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 box (4.67-ounces) Andes Crème de Menthe Thins, unwrapped and coarsely chopped


1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler (or in 30-second intervals in the microwave on 50% power, stirring after each). Once the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Add the mint extract, if using, and stir to combine. Add a few drops of green food coloring and stir until desired color is reached.
3. Spread the white chocolate mixture onto the prepared pan in an even layer (depending on the size of the pan and how thick you’d like your bark, you may not need the entire surface of the pan). Refrigerate for 15 minutes, until just about set.
4. Meanwhile, melt the semisweet chocolate over a double boiler (or in 30-second intervals in the microwave on 50% power, stirring after each). Once the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Pour over the white chocolate layer and spread evenly over top. Sprinkle with the chopped Andes mints and press down lightly to push the mints into the top chocolate layer. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until completely set.
5. Cut the bark or break into uneven pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. When stored in the refrigerator, it will keep for at least 2 weeks.


xoxo - Bethany

Monday, December 10, 2012

Simple Mercury Glass Mantel

Hello friends!
Today, I'm showing off our fireplace mantel all decked out for Christmas.

Yes, that's a big honkin' TV and speaker in the middle of our mantel, and the main focal point of the room.
We have priorities...TV over design in the Battles household.

I kept it pretty simple.
Pottery Barn stockings we got a few years ago,
and glittered pinecone tree I got at Marshalls. 
Although, I think I could have DIY'ed
it myself if I had to.
(Yes, DIY'ed is a word here.)
Other than that, I just mixed in some glittery branches and berries in my pitcher vase.

I also tried out flameless led candles for the first time, not only for safety,
but also so I wouldn't get soot on the wall.

 I actually think they look natural lit in the hurricane, 
and emit a pretty glowing flicker.

More features of the Christmas decorating we've been doing around
here coming soon!

I'm linking up again!


xoxo - Bethany

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas Crafts

Hello y'all!
I can't believe December is here!
In honor of the Season, I'm sharing with you a few Christmas crafts I've done recently.
All three of these ideas came from Pinterest. You can follow me here.

The first is for my big a Christmas dinner I'm hosting.
I made placecard holders from dollar store ornaments,

Here's how they turned out.

I will redo the actual placecards before Christmas dinner.
I just busted some out real quick to give you an idea.

Here's a close up.

I think they turned out cute.

The second one doesn't really constitute a craft, per se.
But, I had been looking for a way to display Christmas cards as they came in 
and saw this idea and thought it was easy perfect.

Simply using clothes pins to hang them on the garland on the banister.
Already had the clothes pins. Already had the garland.
Win, win.

This third one, is so easy it doesn't really qualify as a craft either.
and I thought I'd share.

I needed a centerpiece that was substantial enough to fill my 
8 foot long dining table,
but easily moveable whenever I have company over.
This is what I did.

First, get a tray.
I got this plastic one from the Dollar Store.

 This is so you can easily move the centerpiece once its assembled.

Next, put a wreath of your choice on top of the tray.
This one was a plain one on sale at JoAnn's,
and I added the  floral picks myself.

Then get a footed bowl or candle holder.
I got this one at Marshall's for less than $20.00.
(I saw a similar one at Pottery Barn recently for $45.00!)
I didn't mind spending a little money on this because I know it will get used after the Holidays
for a jewelry catch all, potpourri dish, etc. 

 Put your bowl/candle holder in the center of the wreath.
Next add a candle...

Easy layered centerpiece.

I'm linking up with Cassie for the Christmas Cheer to the Blogosphere
Craft Linky Party!

xoxo - Bethany

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gratitude in Action : The Gratitude List

I'm back today with my final installment of the Gratitude in Action series.
 A way I've been expressing my gratitude for almost 7 years now,
is through gratitude lists.


My only rule is I can't list anything I've listed before.
That keeps me searching my life for things to be grateful for.
So even bad days, when I'm on a pity pot,
I have to search for new things to be grateful for.
And that makes my bad days...not so bad

Today is a good day,
so a gratitude list was easy...

  1. I'm grateful my first ever chocolate pie turned out!
  2. The Christmas decorations are out and the house is full of Holiday cheer.(stay tuned for pictures)
  3.  I had an evening of complete TV control last night while my husband was out of the house.
  4. Ivy hasn't had an accident in the house since I posted about it here.
  5. The ability to express myself here on this blog
That's it!
I hope you all have enjoyed this gratitude in action series.
I know it hasn't been the funniest, or coolest, or most interesting of all blog series.
But it did me good to write about it, if nothing else.

 xoxo - Bethany

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trip Art

I hope y'all had a great Thanksgiving.
Mine was, family, relaxing, online shopping...
A great weekend!

I realized over the weekend I never shared with you 
the art we bought on our trip.

We bough two small pastels.
One in Dubrovnik and one in Venice.

Here's the one from Dubronik.

We bought it without the frame and mat,
and Jason found a frame store going out of business and go it matted and framed for a really great deal.
I like what he picked out.
We have it in the downstairs bath and it really looks good with the shower curtain we already had in there.

I apologize for the poor pictures...there's hardly any natural light to be had - its so gray outside!
And the energy efficient light bulbs we have aren't exactly in place for the beautiful glow they cast.

And here's the Venice piece.

The artist also built and gold leafed the frame.
I'm don't really like the gold frame on the builder beige walls in the powder room,
but the wall color will change down the road.
With the right color, it will really pop.

Here's a close up.

Its of St Mark's Square, which was around the corner from our hotel.
*Sigh* I already want to go back.

Unfortunately, I'm headed off to work this afternoon and not Venice.
I'm pretty nervous because I'm giving a presentation I've never done before tonight.
Wish me luck!

xoxo- Bethany



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratitude in Action: Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Today, I'm continuing the Gratitude in Action Series 
 by bringing you 5 ways I am putting my gratitude into action today.
Here they are:

  1. We're driving to Arkansas today. Six hours one way, for one meal. We left at 6AM, and are turning around and driving back tomorrow. That's love (gratitude) in action people.
  2. I'm not going to complain the entire trip. This is a personal goal of sorts. When I am in the car for hours at a time, I tend to get cranky. But I am grateful for my husband and family! And I'm determined to show it.
  3. I'm taking a hostess gift. Jason's cousin, Amy and her husband Tommy, host Thanksgiving dinner EVERY year. With my Christmas Dinner looming, I'm more grateful than ever all I have to do is show up and eat!
  4. I'm picking up the phone and giving out the hugs. I plan of making some phone calls to people I am very grateful for, but don't have the pleasure of seeing today. And giving the ones I do, great big hugs! Sounds simple. But its the small things! (My mother in law is going to get an extra big hug, because she offered to let me raid her closets and borrow some of  her entertaining/ serving pieces for the Holidays.)
  5. Prayer. I'm going to use some of that 6 hours in the car to reflect of all I have to be grateful for and thank Him who has supplied it all!
I hope wherever you are and whoever you are with,
you're having a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

xoxo - Bethany

P.S. - I've very grateful for you, dear readers of this blog. Thank you for reading.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

How Ivy Sealed her Fate

 Lately, Ivy has had some...incontinence issues.
At first, she peed on the carpet. 
Her favorite pee spot is, in fact, the doorway to the Master bedroom.
I kind of chalked it up to the fact that it was a new house,
and she was marking her territory.
Don't get me wrong...I didn't like it,
but it wasn't the end of the world.
We just kept all the bedroom doors closed when we weren't home, 
along with a baby gate at the top of the stairs
so she couldn't get to any carpet.
Also, I started taking her outside more frequently.

Then, she peed on one of my couch pillows.
Forgive my pun, but boy, was I pissed!
And the very next day, she peed on the bed.
So I thought, she must be sick.

So we went to the vet.
They did a urine test.
They did blood work.
And after a couple hundred bucks, 
they said Ivy is the healthiest 12 year old dog they've seen.
Nothing wrong with her.

Then we went on our Mediterranean vacation
and we boarded Ivy.
When we got home,
she was getting up in the middle of the night 
and wandering the house.
To make sure she's not peeing on everything in sight,
I've been getting up with her.
Sometimes, it's up to 3 times a night!
Then one night, she peed in the bed again!

So I thought, surely she's sick, this cannot be behavioral.
So we went back vet.
We paid then a couple more hundred dollars and they did x-rays and another urinalysis.
No kidney stones.
No tumors.
Her bladder looks healthy.
Everything looks normal.
Which was like the worst news we could get.
So we just have a temperamental dog that gets mad when we leave?

Then, one night we went to dinner a movie and while we were gone,
Ivy peed on our Turkey carpet.
This time, she pushed Jason over the edge.
I had been mad at her for a little while.
But now, he is finally mad!

So she's sealed her fate...

Now, unless we are home Ivy has to stay outside.
But the good news is we have a big fenced backyard and she has a doghouse.
 I still feel kind of bad about it, 
so I made her a no sew blanket.
Here she is, trying it out.

I hope she likes it.
For all I care, she can pee on it.
Next dog, we're crate training.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude in Action: There's No Place Like Home

Today, I'm continuing my Gratitude in Action series
by keeping it simple.
One of the things I'm most grateful for in my life today,
is the ability to work part time, 
and not stay in job where I'm trapped in a cubicle and miserable.

I would much rather be at home a few days a week and
I'm only able to do that because of Jason.
He works twice as hard, so I don't have to.
And I appreciate it immensely.
 How do I put my gratitude into action?
Cleaning Toilets.
You Get the idea... the housework.

 But most days, when I'm off work and home alone
and no one's watching, I would much rather
sit on the couch, read, drink coffee and be lazy.
Don't get me wrong. I do this...
but after a while, I get up
 and I try to be of service in some way to my husband.


Because I know he is off working hard,
and I know I should be too.

xoxo - Bethany  


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Drinking it up!

This year, I  lost my mind and
volunteered to host Christmas dinner for our extended family.
Both Jason's side and mine;
so I'm expecting 12 adults and 5 kiddos.
I'm really getting excited about hosting and working out the anxiety I was feeling.

Along with getting excited, I'm starting to make lists and plan what I need to pull this off.
Luckily for me, my amazing Nana bought me 8 place settings of the Lenox Holiday China.
Along with what I already had, and a couple of additional plates I'm going to get,
I will have enough for the 12 adults.

But, I didn't know what drinkware I was going to use to serve iced tea or water in with dinner.
That is until, the heavens opened up and God smiled upon me at the dollar store last week.
 I was there to buy the Operation Christmas Child gifts,

 For a dollar a piece?! I'll take 12!!
Just like the iconic Reluctant Entertainer,
it really is the small things in life
that make me smile the widest,
like my dollar store drinking glasses.

xoxo - Bethany

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gratitude in Action: Operation Christmas Child

Today, I'm continuing my Gratitude in Action series by blogging about a charity Jason and I have supported the past couple of years, Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child.
Operation Christmas Child gives children in impoverished countries an opportunity to learn about Christ while receiving a box of gifts they desperately need.

We went to the dollar store and bought toiletries, school supplies and small toys
and packed them in a plastic shoe box.
Next week we will drop it off at a local church,
and it will be delivered to a child next month.
You can even track your shoe box online to see where
it is delivered.

At this time of the year, its really easy for me to get caught up in what I want....
The children on the receiving end of these shoe boxes don't have a fraction
 of what your or I have.
When asked what they want, most of them say stuff like socks, soap and writing utensils.
It really puts things in perspective for me.
And reminds me of how much I have to be grateful for. 
That's why I'm giving back.
Click here to find more information if you would like to pack a shoe box for a child.
The national collection week is November 12-19th so you still have time!

xoxo - Bethany

Monday, November 5, 2012

God Provides

This weekend, I was in Memphis, staying with my brother and his family, while visiting friends, 
and taking care of business at "the vacation home".
No, not a fun, fancy-pants vacation home.
"Vacation Home" is our attempt at comic relief when talking about our house in
 Memphis we never could sell when we moved to Nashville.
After a deal fell through 2 days before closing, we paid 2 mortgages for 6 months.
Not fun. Or easy.
So we decided to rent it out to stop the financial bleeding.
And everything was all rosey for 12 whole months, 
until that renter moved out last month when the lease was up.
Then fear and panic set in again.
What if it is totally wrecked???
What if we can't find another renter??? 
What if we have to pay 2 mortgages all over again for months???
But, God provides what we need.

 It wasn't completely wrecked.
And we have a signed 12 month lease.
We're actually renting  the house to the lady Jason bought it from.
She never wanted to sell it, but was forced to due to her circumstances,
and has missed it.
Her kids even still refer to our house as home.
Her and her husband at the time, bought it in its original 1950s condition
and renovated it; so she has put alot of love into this house in the past.
She wants to buy it back from us, but is currently finishing her nursing degree.
So a year or two it will happen.
In the meantime, I am glad it is rented.
And I'm glad it is rented to someone who loves it and will take care of it. 
God has provided for our family.
God has provided for her family.

xoxo - Bethany

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gratitude in Action

Because November is the Thanksgiving month,
I am doing a series on gratitude every Thursday in November.

Gratitude has changed for me over the years.
It used to be, I was grateful for all the"stuff" in my life,
and then as I matured, I became grateful for the people in my life.
Now, I have reached a point where I am grateful for all of the above, life in general,
and most importantly the undeserved  grace that has been given to me.

The way I show this gratitude has changed for me, as well.
It used to be, I simply said, "Thank you."
But now, I believe that gratitude should be shown,
instead of just spoken.
In other words, there should be action behind that gratitude.
A giving back, if you will.

This week, I voted.
Don't worry, I'm not about to get all preachy...
I'm not even going to tell you who I voted for.
That's not the point.
The point is that I took the action.

Because, I am grateful.
Grateful to live a country where I can vote.
Where I can say what I want to say.
And do what I want to do.
Where I am free.
God bless America.

Stay tuned for more gratitude in action posts,
every Thursday in November.

Thanks for reading!

xoxo - Bethany

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mountain Apple Cobbler

Happy Halloween!
I hope everyone has a safe and happy night, whether they are out and about, or at home.
I will be at home eating passing out candy and watching Nashville on ABC.
I wanted to share a treat with y'all that is To. Die. For.
Seriously, its amazing, so much so, I almost didn't get a picture of it before it was eaten up!

 (I went with the freaky font because A) It's Halloween - duh! and B) Frankly this is the prettiest food picture I've ever taken. I thought twice about posting it, but I'm just keepin' it real)

Okay, something you must know about the recipe before you read any further.
It has a weird secret ingredient.
I was skeptical. And it sounded kinda gross.
But trust me, the end result is delish!
It's Mountain Dew.
Yes, this recipe calls for one can of Mountain Dew. 
Forgive me, please.
But in my defense...this not some sort of clean eating organic foodie website.
I just post stuff that taste good to me and my man. Amen.
Okay, enough of the's the recipe.

Mountain Apple Cobbler - adapted from All Recipes

2 large granny smith apples pealed, cored, and cut into 8 wedges each
2 cans of crescent rolls
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, melted
1 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 can of lemon lime soda (such as Mountain Dew)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Unroll the crescent roll dough, and separate the sheets into individual triangles. Roll each apple wedge into a triangle of dough, and place them into the baking dish, seam sides down.
  3. Mix the melted butter, sugars, and cinnamon in a bowl, and spoon evenly over the dough-wrapped apple slices. Pour the soda over the rolls.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is browned, the apples are cooked through, and the cobbler is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes. 
xoxo - Bethany

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Biscotti

As soon as I read the November issue of Southern Living,
I knew I wanted to make this pumpkin biscotti.
I love any and all pumpkin desserts
...and I love biscotti!

I must say, although it turned out really good, 
it's kind of time consuming.
And it was harder than I expected to find the pumpkin seeds.

Other than that, it's a great recipe for a fall party or having company.

Here's the recipe:


1 cup shelled, raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose baking mix (I used Pioneer Baking Mix)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Bake pumpkin seeds in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, beat sugar and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Stir in canned pumpkin. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add baking mix and pumpkin pie spice, beating until blended.
3. Gently fold pumpkin seeds into sugar mixture. Cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm.
4. Divide dough in half. Shape each portion into a 12- x 3-inch slightly flattened log on a lightly greased baking sheet, using lightly floured hands.
5. Bake at 325° for 35 minutes or until firm. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely (about 1 hour). Cut each log diagonally into 3/4-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife, using a gentle sawing motion. Place on greased baking sheets.
6. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes; turn cookies over, and bake 20 more minutes. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely (about 30 minutes). Store in airtight containers up to 4 days.


xoxo - Bethany

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Confession and a Question

I have a confession.
Until yesterday, I had never seen Steel Magnolias.
Yes, I know. It's a wonder that I can still claim to be a Southern woman; but it's true.

My only excuse is I was 5 when it came out initially.
I know you probably already know this...but it really is a great movie.
The comedy, the's a classic
Sally Field's acting is flawless.
She plays a quintessential southern mother to a tee.
Although, I must say Dolly Parton as Truvy is my favorite character.
Simply because, she exudes southern whit and charm without even trying.

So my question to you...who is your favorite Steel Magnolias character and why?

xoxo - Bethany