Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sweet Treats

Planning a bridal shower, engagement party, dinner party or just need to make a sweet treat?  Well I've got a recipe for you!  I had a church event a few weeks ago and needed to bring a dessert.  The day of the event I was very busy, but didn't want to buy something to bring so I turned to my trusty Southern Living Cookbook and found a recipe for these sweet treats, Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles!!  So easy to make, and very hands off! This recipe was perfect for my on-the-go lifestyle!

Straight from Southern Living

Prep: 40 minutes  Cook:  13 minutes  Other: 5 hours

1/4 cup of whipping cream
1 (4 ounce) bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
1 (4 ounce) semisweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
2 tablespoons hazelnut spread (Such as Nutella - I used 3 since I love this stuff so much!)
1 cup of hazelnuts

Bring cream to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat; remove from heat

Whisk in chocolates and hazelnut spread until blended and smooth.  Transfer mixture to a glass bowl; cover and chill 3 hours or until firm  (it took me less time than this).

Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until hazelnuts are toasted and skins begin to split.  Place warm hazelnuts in a dish towel, rub vigorously to remove skins.

Process toasted hazelnuts in a food processor until ground.  Place in a shallow dish.

Shape chilled chocolate mixture into 1-inch balls, roll in ground hazelnuts.  Cover and chill truffles 2 hours or until ready to serve.

Yields 2 dozen

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Figuring it all Out....

We are still here...still scheming! It seems like every time we have something figured out and concrete answers in place, another curve ball is thrown our way! Here recently, we had devised a "mostly" safe and effective way to build a cottage for cash, with the plan of paying off some of that debt in an effort to have enough capital to build the next one. Well....wouldn't you know...banks have what they call a "Seasoning period" which lasts anywhere from 6 months to a year before they will do any sort of cash-out option. I like my houses bland thank you! Ridiculous...who makes these rules?!

Anyone out there in the blogosphere know of a way around this seasoning period?? I have seen a few options but I thought maybe there was a stone un-turned!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Possibilities of a Courtyard....

So we went to visit the property this weekend (Mikhail, the kiddos, and I) and the foundation is 99% finished...there are a few brick that need to be added to finish out the stairs (front and back). It is going to look so flairs out a bit on the sides and gives it a look of grandeur that just screams wedding!Mason had so many questions about "the Princess's house" and "Where she will get married"....It got me think of how many couples will be getting married on those back steps with there guests sitting in the courtyard...and it made me smile!

That courtyard is one of the aspects of the house that I am most excited about! The possibilities are endless! I can see ceremonies out is large enough to fit a good sized group of people. I think it would be great for a cocktail hour for that bride that just wants a taste of outside...but doesn't want to fully commit! I would love it tented with both ballrooms open to make one huge, cohesive space! On a great Fall evening I think it would be so much fun to have the band and dancing out there...while still getting to eat in a bug-free environment!

I was perusing some courtyard inspiration I wanted to share with you! It made me super (inner Dana) excited to stylize our own!

So pretty and Fresh!
Rehearsal dinner anyone??

Who doesn't want to get married here?!
Love this dinner option - throw in a few market lights and call it a party!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Going in a Different (sort-of) Direction

So you know that old saying that goes "The best laid plans...." I think that saying was invented or coined for the construction of the Bradford. We have a general idea the majority of the time as to where we are going...but the how to get there is always in question. Barring any natural...or county disasters... we pretty much have a plan for how to get the main structure built...the cottages have been stumping us lately!

Now that we are in motion on the main house (Woo Hoo) We have been able to focus on the "where are we going to live" portion of the project. While the carriage house is perfect..and we designed it to fit our needs, we thought that possibly building a one-story structure may be more economical and allow us to do more of the work ourselves (Height = more complicated). Dana and I researched a few plans and decided on a 953 square foot plan that utilized space well and accommodated all of the needs of their family of four. I know it seems small, but we are both used to living in small at this point (I in a small house and Dana in a 2 bedroom apartment) and have found the convenience of it quite nice! Anyhow, any real entertaining we want to do will just take place in the bed and breakfast next door!

We want to keep it all in line with the "French semi-country" feel we have going on so here are a few of the exterior inspirations! Stay tuned for more info (Plans SHOULD be in today...but you know how that goes...)

french cottage - Google Search
Picked this one out because it uses asphalted roofing...and I liked it! So many French Country cottages use a slate, tile, or wood roof which is really cost prohibitive! 

french cottage - Google Search
Loved the door color here...Dana may not know it, but at least her back French doors will be this color!

french cottage - Google Search
This is really close to what the front of the house will look like - false dormer and all! I do love the vines  too! Anyone have an idea of the type of vines that DON'T do damage to your siding?

Monday, August 12, 2013

We have a foundation!

Hello Blog world! I know it has been a while over here and Amber has been holding down the fort! Dana and I have been alternating vacations here lately and we just aren't organized enough to get posts together before hand....we will work on that...maybe :) While WE have been on vacation, construction has not been! They poured the footers last week and the foundation went in this weekend! I can not even tell you how exciting it is! It feels like this thing might really happen!

Getting the bricks delivered!

One angle of the almost completed foundation.

Still working on it....

Today we are finishing up the door order so it is ready in time for framing....which does not look far away!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Real Life Fairytale....

When you think of a fairy tale, what first comes to mind?  Probably a prince, a princess, a castle and a royal ball!  Well a few weeks ago Dana and I had the pleasure of participating in Ashley and Tyler's fairy tale when we coordinated their wedding out at Barclay Villa!

The outside of Barclay Villa

Ashley and Tyler are sweetest couple and dreamed of a Beauty and Beast themed wedding!  It was absolutely gorgeous!  Though the weather wasn't agreeing with the original plan of the ceremony in the gardens, that didn't put a damper on this wedding day! 

The sweetheart table with Cogsworth and Lumiere!

One of the guest tables!  All tables had Beauty and the Beast related names!  
The sweetest father-daughter dance I've ever seen!  He's so proud of his little girl!

All of the following photos by RGB Insight!

Isn't she gorgeous?!

Wedding time!!!

They did it!!!

Their team!

The men vs. the women!

Love <3 <3 <3

A true fairytale!!

Sent off with a sparkling farewell!

I think one of the sweetest things about this wedding was that Tyler planned the whole honeymoon and didn't tell Ashley anything! All she knew was to pack for warm weather and bring her passport!!  She found out at the airport that they were going to be starting the adventure of marriage in JAMAICA!!!  I'd say she picked herself a pretty amazing prince!!!
This wedding was an absolute joy!  I'm so glad I got to be a part of it!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

For all of You Dog Lovers....

So as I mentioned in my first ever blog post, I LOVE my dog Delilah.  Being newlyweds and both recently graduated, kids are not in the near future for us.  That being said, Delilah is our baby! (Brandon will deny this)!
 This is my favorite picture of her!  It's from our engagement shoot.  I swear I did NOT have a photo shoot for my dog! 
  For all of you who are pet owners you know how expensive they are!! Even treats are overpriced in my opinion and you never really know what all is in them.  So I found a recipe for homemade dog treats online with just stuff you have in your kitchen. Delilah loves them!

Here's what you need:
 2 tablespoons of plain applesauce (I add a couple more tablespoons to make softer treats)
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of rolled oats
*You can add a little honey also if your pup likes things a little sweeter
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees

And that's it!!  Let's get mixing....  Mix together the applesauce, peanut butter and egg first.  Then, add in the flour, baking powder and rolled oats.  You'll see your mixture start to thicken up and form into a dough ball.  It's easier if you start to mix with your hands and form a ball.  Now for the fun part: you want to roll your dough out to be about 1/4 inch thick and use your cookie cutter (I got mine from PetSmart - any kind will work) to cut out your treats.  Bake for 15-20 minutes (or until the edges are a golden brown) and let them cool for about 10 minutes and they're ready for your pup!  They store for about 3 or so weeks. 

They were definitely a hit with her!!!  Enjoy!