Tips for Holiday Entertaining

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

Happy Monday!  I hope your Christmas was extra Merry and full of all the people that make your heart the happiest.  Ours was pretty low-key which was pure perfection amidst the everyday chaos of our lives.  If you’re like me you are probably having a hard time realizing that 2016 is upon us but that means so is New Year’s Eve.  EEK.  If you have some holiday entertaining today but got behind on the planning I have some quick-tips to make your NYE a success!

tips for holiday entertaining

1.  Light a Festive Candle

Holiday Smell

My friend Julie is a military spouse and entrepreneur who makes the most amazing candles.  She gifted me with the Holiday Crush candle at a holiday party and it has been a staple in our house since.  Some of my other favorites are berry sangria, love notes, and hydrangea morning.  There’s nothing like a welcoming scent to bring the festivities to you!  You can find Julie’s candles HERE.


2.  Have a great appetizer

I am a huge fan of delicious appetizers to enjoy while conversing with my guests.  I love a good vegetable tray, dip, or classic cheese and crackers.  If you’re really in a pinch you can simply put some Blue Diamond almonds in a beautiful bowl and you’ll be good to go!  The honey roasted almonds are a particular favorite of mine.

Blue Diamond Almonds


3.  Invite Good Guests

At the end of the day, if you invite the right people any party will be great!  I love nothing more than to be surrounded by our closest friends and family because I know regardless of how much or little time I have to prepare the outcome is going to be great because after all it’s the PEOPLE who make the party.


I am off to keep tackling my “to do” list.  I have one more week off of rotations before I go back to work and don’t come up to breathe again until after my boards in April.  Yikes!  I hope your coffee is strong and your day is happy to start your week off right!


What’s your #1 tip for holiday entertaining?

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Countdown to Christmas

Happy Monday friends! I survived another week on campus, passed my exams, and hopefully rocked my last standardized patient ever! It was a LONG week with little time to do more than sit in class and prepare for the next exam. That being said, Christmas is FRIDAY and the countdown to Christmas is on.


We steadily have made our way through our Holiday Bucket List and scratched off the last line item yesterday with some Christmas baking. It was a far cry from my sugar cookies of the past but the girls had a messy blast and the whole process was absolute perfection and these might be my favorite cookies yet since both my girls dove in hands first.


Baking Christmas Cookies

Baking Christmas Cookies 1

Now, I plan to kick my feet up, enjoy hot cocoa, and relish in my Christmas movies for the next few days before they get put away for another year.  Some of my favorites include my all-time-favorite of Love Actually as well as The Holiday, Elf, A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, and so many more.



If you’re looking for some Christmas movies to enjoy over the next few nights check out this sweet calendar from Netflix.  The real question is how many of these movies can you sneak in to the next 4 days ….


Netflix Christmas Calendar

Hope your Monday is great and your week short :)

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This post is brought to you as part of my partnership with Netflix as a member of their Stream Team.

Our December Bucket List

Can you believe that Christmas is a mere 16 days away?! It’s going to be here before we know it! In an effort to make the most of this holiday season with somewhat limited free time I sat down and made our family a December Bucket List of all the things I hoped to do as a family before Christmas. I am sharing it with you today in case you too are looking for a fun family list :)


Holiday Bucket List
We have already started making a dent in it ourselves. Last weekend we cuddled on the couch in Christmas pajamas, popped popcorn, and watched a Mickey Mouse Christmas. Then Saturday we headed into town for our annual Christmas parade and got to wave at Santa! Sunday called for gingerbread houses which was almost too much for Bryn to handle.

Christmas Pajamas Sisters

Town Christmas Parade

Decorating Gingerbread House

What’s on YOUR Holiday bucket list?

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A Belated Valentine’s Day

Happy Monday!  I am through the worst of it now and officially have THREE weeks left in didactic.  Hold me?  My unintentional break from blogging happened to coincide with Valentine’s Day and I didn’t get to share how Chris and I celebrated with you.  Normally I wouldn’t go back to it but since making a marriage a priority is important to me I thought I would still share :)


Chris and I had the opportunity to spend the night down in Savannah for the holiday because my mother-in-law was here to watch the girls.  I had a big test that I could have been studying for but chunking out the time for my main squeeze was just as important.  We happened to have a free night stay that was about to expire so it worked out perfectly and we hit up a a Marriott in Savannah for the night.  Is it wrong that I was just was excited for a full night sleep with tiny interruptions as I was to be out with my hubby?  #MomLife

PA School Tip:  If you’re in a relationship and want to still be in one at the end of your program you must make time for the people that matter.  You can always have the excuse that you don’t have the time but you have to make it.  No excuses.


For dinner we decided on a new-to-us restaurant called Pacci.  Pacci is dedicated to sourcing local and fresh ingredients for their menu.  You could definitely taste the freshness in everything we had!  It was a nice modern place and since we had an early reservation it was pretty empty.

Pacci Savannah
For appetizers we got truffle parmesan fries which were out of this world and the crab cannellone.  The  cannellone had lump blue crab, ricotta, bechamel sauce, lemon preserved tomatoes.  HOLY COW.  I could have just had a few of those for dinner!

Pacci Savannah 2
For my main dish I got the Gemelli Caserecce with garden‎ herbs, market vegetables, shaved parmesean, and added chicken.  Honestly?  It was just ok.  The star of the show was definitely the crab cannellone.


After dinner we decided to walk around Savannah.  I feel so very fortunate to live in such a picturesque city!  It was nice to just casually stroll among the oak trees and do a little bit of shopping.  The ability to just have conversation and not be chasing busy toddlers was a gift in itself.


We the made our way to Lulu’s Chocolate Bar for dessert but unfortunately the line was 45 minutes.  However, you can take dessert to go so we did just that!  A little strawberry suspension cake, chocolate chip cheesecake and champagne from Kroger made the perfect end to the evening.  We enjoyed it on the patio of our hotel and just got to talk about anything and everything.



Overall it was the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day. And yes – the quality of sleep was amazing.


How do you make your relationships a priority?


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Grandma’s Pearls

I didn’t really write about it but back in October my Grandma Ida passed away from a long battle with cancer.  It was in the midst of the quarter and I wasn’t sure if I was going to bring it up on here or not.  Losing someone you care about is a deeply personal thing and while I love you guys, I am also a fairly private person.  She was my last living (full) grandparent which made me feel the loss even deeper.  However, a very special Christmas gift made me change my mind and I wanted to pay tribute to the amazing woman my Grandma was.

Grandma Ida



My grandmother came from humble beginnings on a farm in the midwest.  She grew up during the Great Depression and her stories of that time were both heartbreaking and enthralling.  Her life was a hard one but she made the most of it.  My grandmother buried three children during her lifetime (out of 7) which is heartbreak no mother should have to endure.  What she lacked in wealth my grandmother made up for with humor, laughter, and love.  She never had fine things but what she did have she treasured.


When she passed, my mom asked me if there was anything I wanted.  She listed what few things there were and I decided on this stuffed bunny that I had memories from my childhood of.  My mom set off to mail it to me, but a simple mistake by UPS sent it to my mom’s house instead of mine …. where the box was stolen off the porch and the bunny lost forever.  The loss hurt because it was the one treasure I would have of my grandmother.  However, I was thankful because another package with my mom’s treasures was left untouched.


So when my mom sat my sister and I down at our family Christmas saying she had gifts from Grandma I wasn’t sure what to expect.  We were handed these little boxes to open.  Inside, was a poem.  If you know my mom you also know she loves to commemorate everything with a  song 😉


Grandma's Pearls 2


My grandmother had a string of faux pearls that my mother took, had restrung, and given to us as bracelets to cherish for ever.


Grandma's Pearls


I miss my grandma and there have been tough moments since she passed, like deleting her mailing address from my Christmas list etc.  Her faith was deep so I know she spent the holidays partying it up with Jesus at the greatest of all birthdays in heaven for Christmas.  While this bracelet would mean nothing to someone else, it will be one of my most cherished possessions.


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