Our Mini Family

Our Mini Linky Party | Week 150

Woohoo! 150!

Oh, how the time flies! I mean, can you believe we've been kicking it together every single Saturday for the last 150 weeks?! It's so hard to believe it's been that long, but I am so thankful that you come to join me every week and share your latest projects and recipes with us and our mini community of creatives!

Also, I cannot believe Thanksgiving is only a few days away! This year has absolutely flown by so far, and I'm excited to see what the rest of the year brings!

Game Day Buffalo Chicken Sliders

This simple and delicious appetizer recipe is one of our game day favorites! Thanks to our friends at Foster Farms for partnering with us and for sponsoring this recipe blog post.

Once a Sun Devil, always a Sun Devil!

Celebrating game day has always been a passion of mine, even long before my first Arizona State Football game days in Tempe, AZ! When I was in high school, I joined the marching band and grew a love for everything game day--tailgating, pre-game and half-time shows, playing bandstand tunes in the bleachers in-between plays on the field, and getting everyone excited and keeping the energy alive off of the field and in the crowd. 

When I joined the Arizona State Sun Devil Marching Band as a college freshman, it was such an immersive and fun way to jump head first into college life and learning to appreciate college ball. Spending my first year away from home as a young adult was overwhelming, but I owe most of my sanity and feeling 'at home' so quickly in Arizona to my marching band family. We would spend many hours a week together, and I quickly grew a bond with so many of the members of the SDMB during practices, at off-hour parties, and most of all during game day!

Through the countless memories I made as a member of my university's marching band and then attending the home games even after I had moved on from the band and entered into Greek life, I have embraced being a Sun Devil even all these years after graduation! Game day is no joke in our house--we always pull out all the stops to take our tailgating and homegating to the next level when our team is playing. Today, I am sharing a classic appetizer I love to make for game day (and it's even more special when my beloved Sun Devils are taking on those darn Wildcats in a traditional rivalry game between these Arizona schools). 

4 Easy Ways to Wrap a Bottle Gift

Toss aside the cliché bottle gift bags and wrap a bottle of wine with pizzazz! Save these easy and festive ways to wrap a bottle gift--thanks to Wente Vineyards for sponsoring this post!

Wrapping gifts stresses me O-U-T! 

Most of us love wine for the holidays (I know that Adam and I do that's for sure), and it's oftentimes a really lovely gift to bring to a party or surprise a friend with as a Christmas gift. But when it comes time to figure out how to wrap it I start scratching my head. 

The practical side of me thinks, "well, I can just head to Walmart and pick up a bottle gift bag and be done with it." Then, the creative crafty side of me thinks, "but, on the other hand, wouldn't you want to give them something you took the time to personalize?" Like an angel and a devil on my shoulders whispering in my ears, I'm forced to make a decision and the headache kicks in. 

Being practical is great and all, but I know that the holidays are meant to bring joy and express gratitude and love of the special people in our lives. So I take it upon myself to throw aside the cliché bottle gift bag and come up with a fun way to present this bottle of wine to my friend for her Christmas gift! 

Today, I am sharing four very easy ways to wrap a bottle gift ideas that go beyond the traditional bottle gift bag! 

Bacon and Queso French Fries

This shop/post has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #PlayPauseRefresh #CollectiveBias

With so many new shows to keep up with, I have started hosting a girls night in to stream all of the episodes we need to catch up on!

All summer long, I did nothing but complain about how there weren't any good new television shows to watch and I just ended up binge-watching reruns of old seasons of some of my favorite shows to keep me over until fall. Now that fall is here, I cannot help but laugh because I feel nothing short of overwhelmed by how many amazing shows are out right now all at once, and how difficult it can be to stay caught up so I don't read or see any spoilers online!

My girlfriend suggested we get together and watch tv, but when I went over to her house, she didn't have anything for us to eat or drink and we all ended up hangry and grouchy with nothing to snack on while we watched our shows. So I decided that it was my responsibility to assume the hostess role, and I have been hosting our weekly/mostly bi-weekly girls nights in where I have the ladies come over to watch our tv shows and enjoy delicious food and drinks all night long. 

Today, I'm sharing a recipe for these amazing bacon and queso french fries the girls have been begging me to make again. I made these fries for the first time the week of Halloween when our favorite 80's inspired, science fiction thriller show came back for its second season (if you've been living under a rock, for the last month or so, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about).

Our Mini Linky Party | Week 149

Good morning!

Happy Saturday! We will be spending time with family this weekend, so I am taking a bit of a holiday hiatus for the next few days or so. 

This last week, I spent much of my time preparing for an upcoming blogger event I am hosting here in Arizona. It is going to be such a great event! Half of the event tickets were claimed within just a few hours of the event invites going out, and there has been a lot of buzz around our local blogger community about it. I am so excited to merge some of my experience with party planning with other bloggers who live near me! 

We are planning on having the event in Mesa, and we will be having a white elephant gift exchange. So fun!! I haven't been to a white elephant/dirty Santa/Yankee swap party in years! I thought it would be a fun ice breaker for some of the bloggers attneidng who don't normally make it out ot events with some of the regulars, so we can all get to know each other a little better and plan to collaborate even more in the future! 

8 Dessert Recipes to Try this Thanksgiving

Enjoy these eight decadent dessert recipes to elevate your timeless turkey day traditions! 

Can you believe Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away?! 

Before we know it, it will be Christmas and then New Year's Eve, and we will be welcoming 2018 with open arms! I love this time of year, even though it can feel rather hectic at times and, honestly, kind of expensive and difficult to budget. My poor wallet knows that Christmas is around the corner, and I am, believe it or not, almost done with all of my holiday shopping! Yay! It's always a great feeling when I do not procrastinate and I am able to get ahead of schedule. I feel like when I actually get stuff done ahead of time I can truly enjoy the holiday season and not feel like a chicken with its head cut off running around town trying to get everything done at the last minute. 

Today, I am sharing a bounty of some delicious dessert ideas to try this month with the arrival of almost everyone's favorite food holiday! Be sure to save all of the recipe ideas you want to try (including these incredible, mini sweet potato cupcakes from If You Give a Blonde a Kitchen blog) and also enter to win a prize!

Apple, Sausage, and Cranberry Stuffing

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #TurkeyDayTips #CollectiveBias

Over the years, our Thanksgiving traditions from when we were growing up in Massachusetts and spending time with our families have grown into a 'Friendsgiving' of sorts, where we host all of our friends here in Arizona who also find themselves thousands of miles away from the rest of their families. 

Since my first Thanksgiving away from my family, as a freshman studying at Arizona State University, it has become easier and easier to develop new traditions without feeling too melancholy and missing out on the old ones. Celebrating holidays while I was away at college was difficult at times, but I always found solace spending as much time as I could with my friends and co-workers who were also far away from their families. Since graduation and getting married, I began to develop my own personal Thanksgiving traditions with Adam and we began starting up some new ways to enjoy Thanksgiving together, with our friends, and celebrating with our mini Arizona family!

Learning to prepare and cook an entire Thanksgiving Day meal by myself (with some help from Adam, of course) was a bit overwhelming, to say the least. When I first starting planning our annual Friendsgiving, I took to Pinterest to get some ideas for recipes. Overwhelmed with literally thousands of ways to cook a turkey, I turned off my laptop and ran into the other room and stood in my kitchen and contemplated if I had made a mistake offering my home to a dozen of our closest friends for a holiday that comes with such high of expectations. 

With time, I narrowed down the thousands and thousands of recipe ideas to a few that I have stuck by over the years that have been well-received by our friends at Friendsgiving dinner. Today, I am sharing one of these recipes--this apple, sausage, and cranberry stuffing tastes like home and goes perfectly with all of your other Thanksgiving favorites such as an oven baked Butterball Whole Turkey, red wine, Marie Callender's Dessert Pies and Marie Callender's Loaf Cakes, etc!

Holiday Blueberry Monkey Bread

This blueberry monkey bread recipe is perfect to bake with a loved one during the holidays! What may surprise you is how it even comes with a secret ingredient you may not expect to see in a dessert recipe (thanks to Joan of Arc Cheese for sponsoring this blog post!) 

Adam didn't yell at me once this year for pulling out the Christmas decorations the day after Halloween! 

Although, he did passive aggressively share a meme with me from Bob's Burgers that in a roundabout way totally made fun of the fact that I cannot contain myself when it comes to Christmas decorating earlier than everyone else does. 

All joking aside, we hold the holidays near and dear to our hearts. Adam and I have had some wonderful years enjoying the holidays together, and we are always thankful when he does not have to work on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (or even the eve of Christmas Eve aka my birthday!) With all that is merry and bright, we cherish the holiday season in our own way. We may not have a home bustling with children yelling with excitement waiting for Santa Claus to come, but we have little traditions that we celebrate in our own way that make the holidays feel like our own. 

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