Monday, December 30, 2013

Top Ten Projects of 2013 (and my 100th Post!!)

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I can't even tell you how excited I am that my last post of 2013 is also my 100th post!!  I totally didn't try that, but it seems like a fitting way to end the first year of House in the Heights.

And what better way to wrap-up the year than with a round-up of the 10 most popular posts?! If you're new around here, check out what you may have missed! 

And the most viewed post of the year (like, by FAR.  I'm talking triple the page views of any other post!).......

Thanks so much to all of YOU for finding, following, and encouraging me this year!  I've learned so much, and am so excited to see what 2014 brings this little piece of home on the Internet.  What I hope most is that House in the Heights can continue to grow, and in order for that to happen, I'm really relying on you!  

So comment, pin and share away!  Every action helps this little blog grow :)

Hoping you have a fab New Year's Eve!  See you next year!

Linking Up At
Sweet Haute
Give Me the Goods Monday

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday Favs 23

Happy Friday!

OMG, the Christmas season was a lucky break for me when it comes to Friday Favs.  All of the gifts that I gave, received, watched other people open have given me so many new things to be excited about!  Plus, the many lovely homes that I was invited into throughout the holiday season have provided me with new ideas for decor, projects to try, and products to share with you!!

Fav #1
Amazon Prime.  How can it be that I have not raved about Amazon Prime yet?!  I was thinking of it this week because it's time to renew our yearly membership, and there is no question that we will be renewing it! Amazon Prime gives us free 2-day shipping on millions of Amazon items, with no minimum purchase required. Seriously people, I can't tell you how often I order small items that I can't buy in my tiny town from Amazon instead of driving the 30 miles that it takes me to get to a major store.  All. The. Time. The 2-day shipping is no joke, either.  If I order on Monday, I have what I need on Wednesday.  Every time.  Not only that, but Prime membership also allows me unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows on Amazon Instant Video, which I stream directly from my smartTV, Kindle, and laptop....don't judge me, I use whatever device is convenient.  I seriously streamed four movies back to back while wrapping my Christmas presents last was awesome.  And last, but not least, Prime membership also allows me to borrow one book per month for free from the Kindle owners lending library. So perfect for a book nerd like me!

Interested in trying Amazon Prime membership out? (Seriously, why wouldn't you be?)  Click on my link below to get a 30-Day free trial of Amazon Prime membership.  There is seriously no obligation, and if you like it (you will!), you can continue your membership past the 30 days for only $79 for the entire year.  It's so well worth it!

(affiliate link)

Fav #2
Crosby and Taylor Pewter Measuring Cup and Spoon Displays.  My aunt has these sitting out in her kitchen, and they are gorgeous! What a convenient, functional and interesting addition to a kitchen!  I loved them. They come in a variety of options, but my favorite is the fish set below.

Crosby & Taylor Fish Pewter Measuring Cups with Display Post
(affiliate link)

Fav #3
Threshold Swirl dinnerware, which I found on supreme clearance at Target yesterday!  You can buy the entire set here, but I was lucky enough to find single pieces on clearance for under $2.50 a plate! I don't want mugs or bowls, so this was perfect for me! I was only able to buy 4 dinner plates, but I did snatch up 8 of the salad plates, which is what I need to set my dining table.  I'm going to search out 4 more dinner plates, and if worst comes to worst, they would look pretty cool paired with other gold or silver rimmed plates.  I'm so excited to create a tablescape with them!

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Fav #4
Wolfgang Puck 10-piece garnishing set.  I got this for Christmas!!  It's so cool.  It has garnishing tools that I didn't even know existed, but am SO excited to use! You know those cool chocolate curls on top of a pie or cupcake?  Now I can make them and other cool garnishes!  I can't wait to show you something fancy that I make! 

Wolfgang Puck 10-piece Garnishing Set with Color Accessory Bag~149095
(affiliate link)

Fav #5
EBates.  Once again, I'm wondering how it can be that I haven't raved to you all about this before!  EBates is a fabulous way to earn some of the money that you spend online back!  All you have to do is sign up for a free account, and then get into the habit of visiting EBates before clicking to the store websites you typically shop.  When you click to stores from the Ebates website, a portion of your purchase goes into your Ebates account and is paid out to you on a quarterly basis!  It's a great way to earn money back, and best of all it is FREE!  Click here to sign up!

EBates Sign Up
(affiliate link)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's a Sunshine Day

Are you picturing The Brady Bunch right now?   I totally am. I can see the Brady kids lined up on that checkerboard floor, bopping along as they each take a turn with the solos.  Not their best moment.

I'm honored to have been given the Sunshine Award by Hidden Infertility, which basically means that sometimes this little old blog brightens her day.  So sweet.

So, as a recipient of this honor, my job is to answer the 10 questions that have been given to me, and then create some questions of my own for the bloggers that I'd like to nominate for the award because they brighten MY days.

1.  What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?

Top 3 is too much pressure! But three things that definitely make it somewhere on the list are: travel to as many of my 'wish list destinations' as possible, write a book, and build a custom home (or buy the house in our town that I call my 'dream house').

2.  Post 5 of your wedding pictures.  

We got married in Antigua, and this is one of my favorite pictures from trip.  Lush, relaxed, gorgeous, just sums up the whole trip perfectly!

Getting ready to walk down the aisle with my dad.

We were married in a wedding gazebo overlooking the Caribbean Sea.  This shot was taken right after our ceremony, as we were walking down to the garden and the beach to have photographs taken.  This is one of my favorite pics, because it looks so relaxed and natural.

 We were fortunate enough to have our parents, brothers, and several other family members make the trip with us.  This is everyone who attended our wedding, and then we had a casual reception for everyone else back home.

How could I not include a shot of the gorgeous beach?  So beautiful.

3.  If you could change your name what would you change it to (first and/or last)?

I wouldn't change anything, but I would perhaps add my maiden name back in, as part of my middle name.  I contemplated keeping it as a second middle name after I got married, but having four names just seemed crazy.  So perhaps I would add it back in there, after my middle name.  But not as a hyphenated last name.....way too long for me!

4.  If you were stuck on a deserted island and could have 5 things, what would they be?

A functional bathroom (that's probably more than one thing, but I'm lumping it into one), a comfy bed with quality sheets, an Internet-connected laptop, a razor, and Mr. M.  Obviously, I'm not into roughing it.

5.  What is the happiest moment in your life so far?

Easy.  Wedding day.

6.  What are your pet peeves?  Something or things that really make you squirm?
I hate when people are late (like, more than a few minutes late) without calling ahead to let me know.  Sorry, but I don't want to sit around waiting for you. And I REALLY hate when people make me late.

7.  What is your biggest fear?
Tornadoes.  I have recurring dreams that a tornado comes and I have to hold on to objects rooted in the ground while the house tears away around me.  Pretty much anytime the topic of tornados comes up, I can be guaranteed that I'll have the tornado dream sometime in the next few nights.  I also get really worked up when we have severe weather warnings.  

8.  Did you ever have a nightmare date and/or break up with a non-serious boyfriend?  

Not really.  I met Mr. M. when I was pretty young, but I do remember having to break it off with a very nice guy with whom I went on a few dates, but just wasn't that into.  It was hard, because he was nice and I like to make people happy.  But I survived.

9.  What do you think is the biggest problem in the world today?
Ooh, tough one! I'm going to go with a pervasive failure to prioritize family over other things. And lack of personal responsibility for one's own actions. OK, so that was two.
10.  Describe your dream vacation.

Tahitian over-water bungalow.  Enough said.

So....on to my nominees! These bloggers truly do brighten my days...and keep me both inspired and entertained! If you've been nominated, and want to share a little more about your fabulous-selves, just write a post answering the 10 questions listed below, and then nominate some bloggers that bring sunshine into your blogosphere. And if you want to skip it....fine by me!

Megan @ Meg Go Run

Here are your questions (I stole some):
1. How long have you been blogging?
2. What inspired you to start blogging?
3.  If you could travel to any three places in the world, where would they be?
4. What's the best concert you've even been to?
5.  Describe your dream house.
6. What are some things on your bucket list?
7.  You MUST change your first name.  What would you change it to?
8. Name five of your favorite blogs (other than House in the Heights, of course!), so that the rest of us can learn of their fabulous-ness.
9. Name a celebrity that you find oddly attractive, someone who wouldn't typically occupy one's 'hot celebs list'.
10. What is your favorite day of the entire year?  Why?

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Monday, December 23, 2013

The Yummy Dozen

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No matter what your holiday traditions are, it's pretty much guaranteed that Christmas morning is nuts. Exchanging gifts, putting together new contraptions, traveling to see loved's a busy morning.

But it's also a special morning, one where my typical breakfast of coffee and a Fiber One bar just doesn't seem quite celebratory enough.  And while its just Mr. M. and I at home on Christmas morning and, if I'm being honest, our Christmas morning breakfast usually consists of coffee and cookies (hey, it's a special day),  I've always thought that having something delicious to pop in the oven while we open gifts would be nice.

Maybe this year is the year that it will happen.  So just in case, I've put together a list of one dozen make-ahead Christmas morning breakfast ideas that sound divine!

And if I decide to just eat a bunch of cookies before noon instead of a formal breakfast.....well, that's OK too!

(All images via Pinterest)
Cranberry Almond French Toast Casserole by Kristen at Capturing Joy.

Christmas Breakfast Skillet Casserole shared over at Crunchy Creamy Sweet.

Cinnamon Baked French Toast by Lovin' From the Oven.

Make-Ahead Breakfast Braid shared at Cooking Club.

Make-Ahead Breakfast Strata from Steeltown Delicious.

Overnight Caramel Apple Rolls shared at Tablespoon

Christmas Morning Monkey Bread shared at Tablespoon.

Overnight Eggnog French Toast Casserole from Five Heart Home.

Pull-Apart Sticky Buns from The Yummy Life.

Overnight Egg-Sausage Bake from Betty Crocker.

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Bake from Making Life Delicious.

Gingerbread Coffee Cake with Cranberry Pecan Streusel from Willow Bird Baking.

YUM.  I don't even know how to decide which one to (maybe) try!  

Which recipe sounds good to you?

Linking Up At
Sweet Haute

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Favs 22

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Happy Friday!  It's my last day of work before Christmas break!!  

Ahhh!  I don't know what I'll do with all of that free time!  I'm hopeful to get started on some fabulous projects for all of you!

As I shared in yesterday's post, last night I hosted a Christmas Cookie Exchange for 14 of my co-workers.  It was a blast!  I now have SO many delicious new cookie recipes....and the makings of a fantastic cookie tray for Christmas morning!

So for this week's favorites, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite cookie recipes from last night.  There were so many delicious recipes, that it was REALLY hard to choose only five, so I tried to select recipes that were a little different than the cookies I already have in my arsenal.  It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it!

Pin, bake, share away!!

Fav #1

Salted Caramel Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 box (17.5 oz) sugar cookie mix
3/4 cup crushed pretzels
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. coarse salt

For cookies: Beat butter, egg, and vanilla until creamy.  Stir in cookie mix and pretzels.  Form into balls, place on un-greased cookie sheet.  Flatten with bottom of floured glass. Bake 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. 
For icing:  Microwave condensed milk in large glass bowl on high for 3 minutes.  Microwave on medium-low (30%) 12-16 minutes, whisking occasionally until thick and caramel colored.  Spread on top of cookies and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. 

Fav #2


1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, butterscotch, or peanut butter chips
1/2 cup of peanut butter (creamy)
1/2 cup of miniature marshmallows
2 cups Chow Mein noodles
Wax paper

In a microwave safe bowl, melt chips and peanut butter for 3-5 minutes at 50% power.  Stir marshmallows and Chow Mein noodles into the mix.  Combine ingredients thoroughly.  Drop mixture b teaspoon onto waxed paper. Put in refrigerator for faster set. 

Fav #3

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

Ingredients for Cake
1 box lemon cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Ingredients for Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
lemon zest, for garnish

Instructions for Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mix together cake mix, oil, and eggs until well combined.  Stir in poppy seeds.  Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.  Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and glaze cookies while still warm.  Cool on wire racks until glaze is set. 

Instructions for Glaze
Whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth.  Spread about 1 tsp. on each cookie.  Garnish with lemon zest. 

Fav #4

Oreo Cream Cheese Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 cups Oreo crumbles
6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup miniature dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, which helps keep the cookies from spreading.  On medium speed, cream butter and cream cheese until thoroughly combined. Add sugar and vanilla, mix well.  Add flour one cup at a time and mix on low just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.  Pour Oreo crumbles in a bowl.  Scoop dough out into roughly 1/5 inch balls, then roll in cookie crumbles, coating thoroughly.  Be sure to cover the dough balls very well in crumbs, as this is what holds the cookie together while baking.  Bake 14-15 minutes and allow to cool on sheet for several minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Fav #5

Baby Ruth Bars

1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup peanut butter
4 cups crisped rice cereal
6 oz. chocolate chips
1 heaping Tbsp. peanut butter

Bring corn syrup and sugar to a boil. Take off heat and add 1 /2 cup peanut butter and crisped rice cereal.  Press into cake pan. Melt 6 oz chocolate chips and one heaping tablespoon of peanut butter.  Spread mixture on top.  

Yum!  Just typing all of that makes me feel like I should go work out!  Enjoy!

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