Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Christmas Story: Part 2

Early Christmas morning was reserved for our little family gift exchange with Ellie and Bootsy! Both of them were clearly ready for the presents!

We all missed the Whittakers in New Orleans (on Christmas Eve too!), but were with them in spirit - sending lots of love & holiday wishes their way!

By mid-morning, we were headed to my dad's for more gift opening and breakfast casserole, made by Jeff (a Christmas miracle?) We all caravanned to Matthews for more gifts with mom, dinner, and lots of games at Yiayia's!

The festivities didn't end there, but with a few drinks at Angry Ale's to get us warmed up for Shiva's birthday! Fortunately, Lindsey hopped off her flight home in Charlotte to celebrate too. We had way too much fun playing Beatles Rock Band at Sarah's house on Saturday night... The picture is a little blurry, but it shows all the girls rocking out together for Shiva's 26th!

We topped off our week of Christmas cheer with a visit from my brothers, John & Richard, and nephews, Caleb & William, on Sunday night. We had another big family dinner - with siblings, grandparents, cousins, the whole crew! I also lost (badly) to the 6 and 7 year olds in Wii.

Our first Whittaker family Christmas was so full of holiday happiness... We are blessed by such wonderful family & friends! Most of all, it was perfect to spend it as husband & wife!

A Christmas Story: Part 1

Merry Christmas! We had the best first Christmas together, with lots of visitors, family & friends!

We kicked off Christmas on Sunday with the Christmas pageant at Church and the arrival of my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins from Houston.

Christmas week continued with a combined Kelly birthday and Whittaker Christmas celebration on Monday night. After a delicious dinner and birthday cake, we exchanged gifts. Now if only we could find those pictures of Kelly modeling her new Snuggie!

On Tuesday, my sister April and her family came into town for a big family spaghetti dinner at my dad's house (18 people in total). Wednesday night was girls night at our house, complete with melted snowmen (my favorite holiday beverage) and the Masonboro Boys at the Gin Mill.

Christmas Eve was spent wrapping a few final gifts, and a quick visit from Santa for Ellie!

We spent the evening at Church and my Yiayia's house, before heading home to tuck the pups into bed before Santa came!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tis the Season

Although the season is almost over, we still wanted to post a few pictures of our first holiday!

Last year, we were given an ornament shower (best idea ever!) around the holidays. So, needless to say, we were excited to put all of our beautiful decorations out together! Here are just a few examples...

After receiving these great '12 Days of Christmas' ornaments at the shower from my mom, I set out to buy a tree stand to display them. Unfortunately, the stand at Crate & Barrel is around $80! So we found this great substitute at a yard sale last year... We were so excited to finally put it all together!

Aside from decorating, I also did a bit of holiday baking! With lots of help from my mom and Sarah, we put together these goodie boxes with homemade baklava and Christmas cookies.

Earlier this year, I seriously lucked out in finding a cookie press at (another!) yard sale. It worked perfectly and came with all the attachments to make the tree, snowflake, poinsettia, and wreath cookies.

Having the house decorated and lots of baked goodies certainly helped our Christmas spirit... and got us started on a few new traditions of our own!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Overdue Updates

We're sure that you've missed our posts so much! The time since our last update has been so incredibly busy! To catch everyone up on the last couple of weeks, here is a long overdue update...

Going all the way back to Thanksgiving weekend (Jeff's favorite of the year)... The Masonboro Boys played a great show on Friday night at the Visulite and Erin & Bob were in town! Not to mention that Jeff was out in full force for Black Friday sales (up and out by 4 AM!) On Saturday, Jeff and Ellie went on the annual Thanksgiving weekend camping trip (much to Jeff's dismay, I stayed at home in our nice, warm house) We also bought our Christmas tree and did a lot of decorating! Pictures to come of the house during our first holiday season soon!

Last weekend, we were so lucky to celebrate Kelly and Nick's engagement and the meeting of the families! The Chappels were so much fun, and we can't wait until the wedding in June. Lots of love and congratulations to the soon-to-be bride and groom!

This weekend, I am working on a research paper, reflection paper, and a group project.. In between lots of fun Christmas activities! Hope to have some holiday-themed posts up next week! Until then, wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We have a lot to be thankful for this year... Our marriage (& all this newlywed bliss), our wonderful families, our pup Ellie, the best of friends near & far, our health, our home together, our jobs... The list could go on and on!

Not to mention all of the day-to-day things that give us little reasons to be thankful... For us, those include Thursday night television (the lineup: Community, The Office, 30 Rock, It's Always Sunny), WAM Asian Grill, Redbox DVD rentals, Craig's List & yard sales, a good deal on anything, Carolina basketball season, and pajama pants.

Hope you all can find lots of reasons (big & small) to be thankful this season!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bluegrass & Blue Cheese Coleslaw

On Saturday night, we headed out to the annual Sharon Hills neighborhood barbeque. Every year, my dad’s neighborhood hosts a November get-together – complete with pulled pork BBQ, sauces, drinks, a big outdoor fire, and a Southern Bluegrass Band.

(perhaps a glimpse into the Masonboro Boys future?)

Each family is asked to bring a side, so I went with a recipe from my mother-in-law that is always a crowd pleaser. Even doubling the recipe and being a little late to the festivities, we still left with only about a spoonful of the dish!

Karen's Blue Cheese Coleslaw
1 bag of tri-color coleslaw mix
2 lemons juiced (I use the bottled lemon juice, and add generously to give the desired consistency – plus I like mine to have a stronger lemon taste)
2-3 teaspoons of horseradish (I always use 3 heaping tsp)
1½ cup of mayonnaise
1 block of crumbled blue cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, horseradish, salt, and pepper. Combine with coleslaw and mix well. Add crumbled blue cheese and mix well. Refrigerate and serve.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No Sew Bedskirt

Over the weekend, we put a little dent in our never-ending 'to do' list for the house. My DIY project for the weekend was a 'no sew' bedskirt, inspired by this post.

Sewing is one of the skills I have yet to master in my new-found domestic pursuits. Since I do not own or know how to even turn on a sewing machine, I loved this project.

I'd been searching for a brown twill bedskirt to match our upholstered head board. There are plenty of brown bed skirts out there, but none in a textured fabric that I could find. The exception being one from the company that makes our head board (so the fabric would be exactly the same) - Major problem: The budget buster price of $285!

I found these brown twill window panels on sale at Pier 1 a few weeks ago for $40! The beauty of using window panels is that the edges are all already finished. The steps are so simple:

1. Lay the first panel out on one side of the boxspring.

2. Measure from the floor to the bottom of the panel to ensure that it is level all the way around. I decided to make mine 1 inch from the floor.

3. Safety pin the far edge of the panel to the fabric on your box spring. Note that the corner will most likely touch the ground, and so you'll need to pull one piece up and under (like folding the corners of the fitted sheet on your bed) and safety pin there as well.

4. Repeat with the other panel, but start at the halfway point of the boxspring with a crease, so that it looks like there is a pleat in the bedskirt. You will most likely want to go over this with an iron to flatten the fabric.

I'm still working on the crease and the corners, but overall I'm really happy with how the bedskirt came out! The price is hard to beat, and no more looking at the bedframe and under-bed storage bins!

Before Shot:


Monday, November 16, 2009

Let It All Hang Out

Has anyone tried open bathroom shelving before? I was inspired after seeing this post on Young House Love.

I mentioned the idea to Jeff, and the next day I came home from work to a missing linen closet door! We have a fairly small bathroom, and the closet door opens to block the shower - so we love the space-saving solution. For right now, we're giving it a little test run and keeping an eye out for discount wicker baskets.

I wonder how long we could actually keep the shelves looking like this?

{all images via Young House Love}

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rainy Week...

It has been a rainy, dreary week here, and I have been feeling the effects.

I think that the rain would be much more bearable in a home like this one... How can you not love all of the open spaces and white walls along with the bright prints and pops of color? The logs above the fireplace and the floors add just a little rustic touch that I love too! You can click here to see more pictures of the home!

{all images via Canadian House & Home}

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


We were fortunate enough to celebrate the marriage of our good friends, Alex & Kat, over the weekend! Best wishes, lots of love, and happiness to the newlyweds!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

More Bang for Your Buck

I have to admit that before I met Jeff I was not much of a bargain shopper. While he would argue that I’m still not, I’m definitely on my way (as in, I no longer think that ‘sale’ means that no one else wants it and I shouldn’t either).

One of my biggest breakthroughs was finding the joy in yard sale and estate sale finds. I have to admit that estate sales are my favorite, especially when you can find beautiful old china, serve ware, and accessories. Hopefully, ‘More Bang for Your Buck’ will be a recurring feature – with lots of estate and yard sale finds, tips, and deals to be had!

My first estate sale purchase was a set of silver plated Rogers Bros flatware. I’m so excited to use these for Christmas parties, baby showers, and other Eddie Ross style events. What really sold me were the iced tea spoons… Where can you find these anymore? It made me think of holidays at my grandparents house, and I was hooked.

Fortunately, we were there on the last day of the sale – So bargains were ours for the taking! Lesson Learned 1: Never be afraid to ask for a better price. I’ve now gathered up the courage to ask for a specific price, but at the time all I offered was, “what is the best you can do on this?”

Next thing I knew, I was walking out with an 89 piece (oh my gosh!) set of antique silver plated flatware in a nice wooden box for a little less than $100. You may be thinking that I got taken… But here is a search around the web for comparable deals.

Rogers Bros silver plated flatware set in the same pattern, only 55 pieces: $175 on eBay

The same set with only 47 pieces (almost half of what we got): $99 also on eBay

Not to mention the find that had me giddy… On Replacements Limited, a brand new set of the same pattern (62 pieces) for $699!

Sometimes asking is all it takes to score a great bargain!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Born to Run

While I was bound to my books and my desk at school, Jeff went to see the Boss in concert last night. Bruce Springsteen performed his entire 'Born to Run' album, while my dear husband watched from the 2nd row!

Here is his up-close view of the set list... Anyone else jealous?

Finding Your Style

I came across this quiz last night on Young House Love (one of my new design blog obsessions). It was fun to see how our design styles compared to each other - Surprisingly, very similar!

Mine was the Loft Style. I mostly agree... Except for fashion-drive. Um, has anyone seen my closet? But pets, kids and practicality get a big yes!

Jeff's style was Estate, which happened to be my runner-up. I love that they provide you with your second-place style too. This one I totally see as our style, with our shared love of old, bungalow style homes and vintage/estate/loved (much nicer than saying used) furniture finds.

Not to mention that 'robust outdoor life' totally gets Jeff.

Click here to find out what your design style is at the Ethan Allen website! What were your styles?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Over the weekend, we had a lot to celebrate! We had dinner and drinks with friends to celebrate Jeff's birthday on Friday, and tunes by the Masonboro Boys at Angry Ale's Halloween party on Saturday.

In honor of the birthday and holiday, I decided to make a recipe from Patent and the Pantry. These pumpkin cupcakes were so easy and delicious! Plus, since Jeff is not a huge fan of icing (aka he is crazy), he loved the alternative to the standard birthday cake.

I think that these would be perfect throughout the fall! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (I didn't have any, so I left this out - They were still great)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and the spices. In another bowl, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and eggs. Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Then whisk in pumpkin puree.

Line the cupcake pan with liners, and fill each about halfway with batter. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester comes out clean (about 20 to 25 minutes). Rotate the pans if needed. Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely before icing.

Cream Cheese Icing:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and sugar.

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Welcome to Our Blog!

Inspired by many of our friends' creative blogs, we decided to put something together to keep all of our family and friends up to date on the Whittaker household!

We can't wait to share all of our home improvement projects, decorating on a budget tips, recipes, travel adventures, and more!