Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bread Pudding {Recipe} Mmmmm

On a snowy evening there is almost nothing better than eating a warm dessert while you watch the snow fall. I have the perfect winter recipe to share with you today, Paula Deen's Bread Pudding. It is easy to make, tastes delicious and can be eaten for dessert or breakfast or both. Naturally, I did both.

2 cups Sugar
5 Eggs
2 cups Milk
2 tsp. Vanilla
3 Cups Cubed Bread with Crust on (I used French Bread)

1 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup butter (softened)
1 cup chopped Pecans

1 cup Sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup Butter
2 tsp. Vanilla

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

Get out a large bowl and combine sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla. Stir to combine. Then add in the bread cubes and let soak for 10 minutes.

While bread cubes are soaking get out a medium sized bowl and add the brown sugar, butter and chopped pecans. Make sure you add softened butter and not melted butter so the consistency of these ingredients ends up looking like a crumble.

Evenly pour the bread mixture into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar crumble evenly over the top of the bread mixture. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

While bread mixture is cooling, make the sauce. Combine the sugar, egg, butter and vanilla in a medium sauce pan on medium heat until sugar has melted. Stir frequently. If you are feeling fancy go ahead and add a little brandy to the sauce.

Pour sauce over bread pudding, serve warm with ice cream!

If you prefer Chocolate Bread Pudding, click over here.
Do you have a favorite bread pudding recipe??

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Winter Essentials

On days like today when it is below freezing outside here in Ohio, there are a few things that I feel are essential to surviving the cold...

-C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve: This salve is my new favorite. I use it on my lips and have used it for my cuticles as well. It smells amazing and I have been using it constantly!
-Trader Joe's Sipping Hot Chocolate...just trust me, you need this. It is divine.
-Warm, cozy gloves and a matching hat (I got these arm warmers for Christmas and I'm obsessed!)
-Camellia Hand Cream: My hands have been getting so dry with this winter weather we've been having so I needed a nice lotion to lather on.
-A good book to curl up on the couch with. I just finished Divergent by Veronica Roth and started The Storyteller by Jodi Piccolt.

Here are a few of my favorite cold weather recipes:

Stay warm out there!

Monday, January 20, 2014


This weekend I got together in Indy with some of my best girlfriends from college. It was so good to be back together again. We ate amazing food, explored our old stomping grounds and stayed up way too late talking and reminiscing about college days. It was wonderful to all be back in the same city for a weekend! Here's a look at our mini reunion...
Saturday morning we woke up early, made breakfast together and headed downtown to the Indianapolis City Market. I've missed having these girls around to get ready with and simply do life with...towel hair and all. We explored the market and indulged ourselves with coffee and smoothies.
Blurry, camera phone picture, but I still love it

After the City market we went back to my friend Betsy's house and got out some college scrapbooks.
We ate lunch at McAlister's and were entertained by my friend Katie's adorable daughter, Charlotte. It's so fun seeing your friends in the mom role.
After lunch we ran some errands, drank more coffee and talked and laughed on repeat. That evening our friend Carrie braved the snow storm to join us at Kona Grill for cocktails and a delicious meal.
The rest of the weekend my camera stayed tucked in my camera case because I was so wrapped up in my amazing friends. They are all beautiful women who I wish I could live closer to! I'm so thankful for the friendships I made in college and that they are friendships that will last despite the distance between us.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mountain Style {Aztec sweater+fur trimmed boots}

Sweater: H&M, Chambray Top: Limited, Jeans: Lauren Conrad @ Kohls, Boots: (old) Wilson Leather & Co.
During our stay in the Smoky Mountains, I decided to have some fun with my wardrobe and play up the fact that I was in the mountains during the winter time. You just can't go wrong with an oversized Aztec sweater, chambray and fur trimmed boots. For a minute I felt like Gentri Lee. She always has fabulous adventuring outfits. What would you take to wear for a winter getaway in the mountains?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hiking in the Smoky Mountains

One of my favorite things to do with Drew is hike. It is something we both absolutely love doing. I think it is so important in a marriage to find something you are both passionate about and do it together. We love finding new trails to hike, we love being outside and we love that most parks don't cost you a cent to enter. While we were in the Smoky Mountains for our 1 year anniversary back in 2010 all we did was hike so we were excited to get in another trail during our most recent visit.
We researched a few trails and ended up picking the Hen Wallow Falls Trail. The morning of our hike was completely foggy and in the 40's so we bundled up and headed out. I have never hiked in the fog before and it's not something we ever could have planned, but it was absolutely mesmerizing. I felt like I was in a scene from The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings in the misty mountains.
one of my favorite pictures of my husband ever
We hiked a total of about 4.4 miles and got to see the actual Hen Wallow falls. We did not see a single other person on our hike out and being on a trail that had been known to have bears on it made it a little eerie, but awesome at the same time. This turned out to be one of my favorite hikes.
If you are curious about any of the other trails we've hiked I'd love to recommend some to you if you plan on taking a trip to the Smoky Mountains. Just email me!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

My word to live by for 2014

The last few months of 2013 held a lot of heartache for me and for my family. A few things I have mentioned on my blog and a few I have not, but through it all, it comforted me to know there was hope for what was to come.
Hope of redemption
Hope of healing
Hope of new life
Hope of a better tomorrow
Hope for change

Not only do I want to cling to hope, but I want to give hope to others.
I desire to learn more, grow more and connect more so that I can do that better.

No matter what comes my way in 2014, 
I want to remember that there is always hope because God's promises are true.

My 2013 word was thankful

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Family: The ties that bind us together

Losing people you love is always hard. Losing a member of your family, a person who you are tied to by blood, by memories, by fate is simply tragic. On New Year's eve my Aunt passed away at the age of 56. Death certainly has a way of making you reflect and making you hold tight to every other person you hold dear. We may not always understand why things happen the way they do, but I'm thankful that I have peace knowing that God is in control. As hard as we might try to figure out why things happen, we simply can not rely on our own understanding. All we can do is hold tight to God's promises. He will never leave us, even in death if we trust in him.
My Aunt was a loving and generous woman. She was always planning out something fun for us to do at family functions and she loved to laugh. She always made sure to tell me how much she loved reading my blog and she absolutely loved talking about her family. While I am so incredibly sad that my Aunt will no longer be with us on this earth, I was blessed to know her and I know she is well taken care of with my grandpa and with Jesus in heaven.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


For Christmas my husband surprised me with these incredible Honeycomb shelves that I had been drooling over. He not only slaved away to make them, but he also took pictures as he did it so I could blog about it. He's a keeper that one. He made sure to take detailed pictures of each step so that you (or your significant other) can make some of your own! This post may or may not have taken us hours to complete, but we had so much fun doing it and hope you can find it helpful. I'm going to let my husband take over now since I had absolutely nothing to do with the building of these shelves...
Okay people, this is Allison's husband talking now. I'll guide you through the many steps of making these shelves (I promise, not too hard) and I'll do my best to write this keeping in mind not everyone is savvy when it comes to power tools and building things. I would say this takes about an hour per hexagon shelf, not including staining. I made 4 shelves, so a good 4.5-5 hours if you work straight through. Here is what you need to complete this project (some of it is pictured above):

Materials List
-A triangular speed square is essential (top left).
-Boards to cut. Mine were 6 ft long x 5.5 in wide x 1 inch thick. I used Pine for more of a rustic look. Pine does not leave a smooth cut and has more splinters. If you want a smooth finish, choose Oak, Poplar, or some other kind.
-A miter saw (Electric preferably) A compound miter saw if you are lucky to have one (I don't, please send me one), they look like this. A manual miter saw will work also, see bottom middle picture.
-A coping saw if you don't have a compound miter saw, or if your miter saw isn't a 12 inch blade.  You'll see why later.
-A sander. Electric preferably.
-Quick clamps (Irwin Quick Grips are phenomenal).
-A nail gun with 1.5" brad nails. A hammer and nails would work.  Would be more difficult though.  **NOTE, you could still make these shelves without a nail gun, so keep reading.
-A drill and a counter sink drill bit.
- A few dozen 1.25" screws.  I used SPAX #6 Yellow Zinc Construction Screws.
-A Dozen or so 1.5" screws.  I used SPAX #8 Yellow Zinc Construction Screws
-A pencil. Use a normal #2 or a carpenter pencil if you want to pretend like you know what you're doing.
-Wood stain and something to apply it with.
-Polyurethane and something to apply it with.
Step 1: You are making a hexagon by attaching 6 sides together. I figured I would make each hexagon side 10 inches long. This would result in a hexagon that would be 18 inches at the widest point. If you want longer or shorter sides, that is fine. Just measure your sides by laying the tape measure down and put a tick mark on the top of the board close to the edge every 10 inches.
Step 2: The speed square will allow you to draw a quick line across the board where you made your tick mark so you can eventually cut your 10 inch hexagon sides. Just press it flush against the board, line up your tick mark as shown below, and draw your line across.
Step 3: Double check your measurements to make sure you have 6 hexagon sides all the same length. 
Step 4: Extend your 10 inch lines along the thickness edge by using your square and lining the squared edge flush against the board. The picture below shows the final result.
Step 5: Use a random piece of scrap wood (4-5 inches long would do...any width) and cut it at a 30 degree angle so it looks like the one above. This will serve as a template to figure out where the saw should cut when cutting the angles on our hexagon sides. See Step 13 for setting your miter saw angle.
Step 6: Hold your angle template against the piece that will be your first hexagon side. Line the edge of the angle up with the 10 inch line as seen above. Put a tick mark on top of the board where the edge of the angle begins, as seen below. Don't forget to do this on both ends of your first hexagon side.
Step 7: Use your angle template and repeat step 6 on the other side of your 10 inch line.  Make sure to do this for every 10 inch hexagon side.
Step 8: Back to the good ol' square. Extend your angle template tick marks across the board, but press lightly. You started with one line that was drawn every 10 inches. Now you'll have a line to the left of that, and a line to the right of that. These new lines represent where you will bring the saw blade down at an angle in order to ensure you made even cuts. Before you go whining about all the measurements, I beg you to make these without the measurements and then post the pictures of your lopsided failed attempt at hexagon shelves. If you can't tell, I'm a bit OCD with measurements.
Step 9: Make sure your miter saw is set at 0 degrees.
Step 10: At every 10 inch line, cut the board. You should eventually have 6 hexagon sides, with no angles yet.
Step 11: If your miter saw is not a compound miter saw, you may run into this problem of not being able to cut through the board all the way. On vertical cuts, it's not a problem. Just carefully flip over the board and finish your cut as seen below in the next two pictures.
Step 12: I made four hexagons, so when I cut all my boards to make my hexagon sides, I had a total of 24 sides like the ones pictured above. Please note the pencil line at each end of the board. Remember the tedious step of lining up the angle template and drawing the lines? Well those lines will ensure you make a hexagon and not something that is supposed to look like a hexagon.
Step 13: Time to cut the appropriate angles we need to connect our Hexagon sides. Set your miter saw to 30 degrees. Make sure to tighten it after it is set.
Step 14: Notice the angle on the saw blade and how it comes into contact with the angle template line. Once you have it lined up, turn the saw on and bring the blade down. Rotate your hexagon side and give another 30 degree cut on the other angle template line.
Step 15: So my saw blade was 10 inches and the board was 5.5 inches wide. This means you don't cut through the board all the way. Not the end of the world, your fix is below.
A Manual miter saw. This isn't your fix for the problem above, but I could have used this and cut the boards by hand and would not have had to deal with the issue above. This would have taken a long time, so I didn't do it. It is a cheaper alternative to buying an electric miter saw though.
Step 16: To deal with not cutting through the board all the way, I used a coping saw. It has tiny teeth on the saw blade and will remove the hanging piece just fine. 
*Side note- If you don't want to buy a coping saw you could just break the hanging piece off and sand the nub off later.  In some cases the hanging piece broke off when I made my cuts with the saw. 
 Pictured above is a finished piece. Wahoo!
Step 17: Put your pieces together to make sure they fit properly. If you followed my instructions they will fit pretty well. There shouldn't be any sides that are too long or too short.
 The widest point for these shelves with 10 inch sides is 18 inches across.
 The shelves are about 16 inches across at its shortest point.
Step 18: Put your pieces together to make the design that you would like. Use this as an opportunity to change your mind and to make sure your pieces fit.
Step 19: Time for sanding. Acquire an electric sander and a few pieces of sand paper. I used medium grit sand paper on the wood.
I rounded out all the sharp edges on the boards. This gave it more of a natural, weathered look and fits the theme of our home better. If your home has more of a modern feel, the sharp edges might suit you better. 
Since I was going for the weathered and rustic look, I sanded imperfections into the boards as seen above and below.
Step 20: Time to put the pieces together! I used the Irwin quick clamp to secure one hexagon side to something that wouldn't move around on me. I then connected another side to it as shown.
Step 21: Using your nail gun, nail your pieces together. I put three nails in each joining section. Clamp the section your just nailed on in place, and nail a new piece to it. Continue this process until you have made a hexagon. IF you don't have a nail gun, I would still fasten my pieces to something steady with a clamp, and then proceed to using the counter sink bit and screws in Step 23. I might use an extra pair of hands to hold the sides steady though.
Step 22: Your brads may stick out a bit. No biggie. Grab a hammer and a nail punch and tap them in.
Time to fasten these together with some screws. I highly recommend you spend a few bucks and buy a counter sink bit as seen above next to the head of the drill. I bought this bit from Lowes in a 4 pack for $12 or so. Here is a link. These bits have a small drill bit in them that allows you to adjust them using an allen wrench so the drill bit can be longer. I adjusted mine so the drill bit was as long as possible.
Step 23: Mind where you are drilling please. You may want to eyeball your drill bit off to the side to make sure you are going to drill straight into the other piece and not through the top or through the bottom.
Notice the depth of the counter sink bit. It doesn't take much to get the depth you need. If the counter sink isn't deep enough you can always go back and hit it again just don't drill clear through the board.
 The counter sink depth is 1/4" deep MAX.
I didn't take a picture of it, but I took two of the 1.25" screws and zipped them in. Progress! Repeat this for the remaining sides.
Step 24: I decided that I wanted to add one longer screw going in the opposite directions of the original two to add strength. Take your counter bit, zip a hole into your boards and sink a 1.5" screw in as seen below. Do this to all of your sides.
I placed my hexagons in a row to do one last check to make sure everything was symmetrical.  And guess what? They were. Why were they you asked? They were symmetrical because I took precise measurements at the beginning to make life easier later on. Totally worth it.
Step 25: Take your sander and hit the corners where your connected your sides. Once again, I didn't want the sharp edges.
Step 26: Stain your shelves. I went with Minwax Classic Gray. I also used more of a sponge applicator rather than a sponge brush. That was recommended by the gal at Home Depot.
 Try not to breathe the fumes.
Step 27: So everything is stained and dried, screwed together, etc. In my case, I had four hexagons to work with so I connected them with the Irwin quick grips so I could tack them together with some screws. You'll need the good ol' counter sink again...and a drill.
Step 28: Counter sink four holes in order to connect your hexagons together. It is IMPORTANT you don't go very deep with the counter sink otherwise you run the risk of the screw popping through the other side. In all you need to complete this process 4 more times.
Zip in a couple of 1.25 inch screws and you are finished! Then you just have to hang them (I used a couple L Brackets and attached them to the wall first) and of course style them as my wife would say.
If you use this tutorial and need some help with a step just email me and then I'll run and ask my husband what to do! I hope you can use this tutorial to build your own honeycomb shelves!

*Feel free to pin or share any parts of this post, but please link back to my blog as all content is my own unless stated.