Party Party Party

Another year for this big, bad world. 2012 and she’s still going strong. In that same boat is my mom. No she is not 2012, but freshly fifty and has never looked better! Beauty and grace really do come with age.

Last night we threw her a surprise fiftieth bash. Full of friends, family, food, and this cake. Three tiers – chocolate cake with buttercream, raspberries, and chocolate ganache; a classic white cake, and a chocolate cake with mint buttercream.

Between Christmas and planning this party, my last few weeks have been absolute mayhem. Sorry for the total absence, but don’t worry, I am back! Hope you all have a superb evening celebrating the crazy, busy year we just had and the exciting, new year that is yet to come!

Infinite x’s and o’s

Siblings, Cookies, and High-Stakes

Last night was our family cookie bake.

Actually, cookie bake would be an understatement of last night’s events. Over 70 frosted cookies, 40 wreaths, 137 spritz, and 13 gingerbread men in less than 5 hours = a cookie marathon. Yes, lots of blood, sweat, and tears when the Orke’s bake for Christmas. It is a time where laughter and good cheer is mixed with uber competitive decorating. This year, stakes were high – the sibling who receives the most votes for “best decorated cookie” (from the last/ O-R-K-E picture) will receive a full day of pampering at the losers’ expense. The sibling with the least votes will have to run around the house and do a snow angel in a swimsuit. Laughter, frosting, and somewhat-friendly family competition – I wouldn’t have my cookie bakes any other way :)

Please feel free to share your votes here! Otherwise, share them on Twitter or Facebook :)

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Ornamenting

My family has a very special tradition.

This tradition is six years strong and something I am always proud to share. With three siblings and historically bare wallets, Christmas was often a time when mom would help finance each of our presents for one another. Sure, it was nice to see that Liz got me an awesome toy or shirt, but in the end there was little sentimental value attached to any of those things.

Six years ago, my mom came up with an amazingly special idea. Christmas gift exchange became an ornament swap, where each of us would make ornaments for the other siblings. Each ornament had to be about something special that happened that year. My mom felt this new tradition was a great way to build collections of meaningful ornaments for when each of us grew up and had our own Christmas tree.

I guess it’s true, a mother is always right. Since this tradition began, I have received ornaments about many special milestones: the year I got my driver’s license, the year I was accepted into Madison, the year my baking frenzy began, and many many more. I can’t wait to share these stories with my own kids when I decorate my own tree.

I’ve figured out what ornaments I am going to make for each of my siblings this year, and I would SO clue you in…. but there is a very, very small chance that my brother and sisters are reading this, and I cannot risk ruining the surprise just because I so badly want to share it with all of you! I can, however, give you some great DIY ornament ideas if this is a tradition you’d like to adopt…afterall, tis the season of giving and sharing ;)

Joy Ornament by {Wild Olive}

Fabric Balls by {Martha Stewart}

Glittering Musical Box by {Salt Tree}

Snowy Balloon Ornament by {Martha Stewart}

Christmas List Ornament by {Craft Snob}

Infinite x’s and o’s

To My Fellow Book Worms…

{Photo via English Muse}

Winter break is just around the corner, which means we will now have endless hours to read books that we are actually interested in. The New York Times Bestsellers list has always been my go-to place for great new reads…that is until I found this site:

What Should I Read Next?

A site that keeps track of the books you have read, and based on that, gives you recommendations of books to read next. Pure genius.

Infinite x’s and o’s

Rolo Brownie Bites

Soooooo, this has been a Christmas of many firsts for me.

Okay maybe it’s only one first, but it’s a big BAD first that needs to be discussed. This bad first is otherwise known as our colorful Christmas tree.

Our white christmas tree lights were dying and broken and missing…so Momma Orke decided to get us new lights. When she returned from the store, what did she have in hand? A box of colored lights. COLORED LIGHTS. I mean no offense to any person reading this, but a colorful christmas tree is as homey as a rave in a dingy basement. Yes….you got it, not homey at all.

So twenty-year-old Eme pouted and refused to decorate the tree, which has always been an absolute MUST for me. I literally sat in the kitchen and did not even glance towards the living room for a solid hour.

Maybe it was closer to 45 minutes…okay make it 30. By the time I looked over, the tree was practically decorated and I felt total sadness all over again. So maybe it wasn’t white lights, but it was still a Christmas tree.

And I love Christmas, not for the presents but for the smells, the decorations, the spirit, and the magic. A couple of orange bulbs can’t ruin that (yes, I know..orange bulbs on a Christmas tree!? I am equally perplexed). Still, There will always be another Christmas, another Christmas tree with white lights….oh, AND these brownies, ummmmmm ROCK. (Recipe from Naomi of Bakers Royale.)

Infinite x’s and o’s

College Gifting

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It’s no hidden secret, college students are broke. Dwindling finances (especially after this weekend in Chicago) should not mean that I/we have to resort to dollar store presents and white elephant gifts. We are so above that. Miss Desirée of 36th Avenue gets us, which is why I love her 25 handmade gifts for under $5. The tea-cup candles, coffee cup sleeves, and book marks are just a few of my faves.

Infinite x’s and o’s