This is THANKSGIVING WEEK! I am so excited, today I am doing some baking with my mom and sister Helena. Food is important, (obviously!) but equally important in my mind are the beverages that will be consumed while cooking, decorating, and of course, eating! In keeping with an autumnal/Thanksgiving theme, I found several cocktails with apple cider as a main ingredient. YUM!
Click on the pictures for links to the recipes.
Apple Cider Sangria, perfect for sipping while you decorate the day-of, or if your meal is earlier in the day.
Hot Apple Cider with Rosemary…it doesn’t get cozier than this!
Hot Spiced Drunken Apple Cider. Out of all three I think this one appeals to me the most, I can’t wait to make this while we are in New Jersey. Delish!
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @bellamarie_va to see what I’m making for Thanksgiving and get my recipes! Tag me at #thanksgivingwithbella to show me what you’re up to this week!
Here are five things that made me smile this week. Tag me at #bellalovesfriday and post a picture of something that made YOU smile this week!
My mother-in-law gave us an Advent calendar and I am really looking forward to using it this year…December here we come!
Love this little guy’s smile…it hits me fresh every time!
My sister Helena (second one from the left) and three of her friends had a photo shoot this past week with my favorite photographer, Melanie Wasko. I’m just breathless from all the beauty here! Click on the photo for more info on Melanie Wasko Photography…check her out and like her on Facebook too!
Thankful for moments of peace and quiet….after the littles are in bed and Mike and I take a few minutes to catch up. Light some candles, sip a glass of wine…
I’m especially thankful for strong, healthy boys. Edward slipped and fell this week, cutting himself right above the eye on the bottom of the couch. We thought he may need a couple stitches but we didn’t need them after all. Being in the emergency room at CHKD was a fresh reminder about how good I have it. Made me thankful that Edward was only there for a small cut and not something more serious. Very very grateful! On another note, he got two of these little plastic Thor action figures from his Grandpa Bill and Grandma, and he is obsessed! As you can see here, he even insists on sleeping with them. Haha!
I am very excited for Thanksgiving this year! Mike and the boys and I are heading up to New Jersey to spend the holiday with Mike’s family. I am secretly hoping for snow while we are there, I would love for Edward to be able to frolic and play in a REAL snowfall, the flurries we occasionally get here in Virginia Beach don’t really count. I have been looking on Pinterest a lot recently, collecting some fun and easy ideas for decorations. Since Thanksgiving won’t be at my house this year it will be a little different not doing all the decor myself, but I’m going to ask my mother-in-law if I can add in a few things of my own…namely a Thankful Tree, which you will see a how-to below!
Just click on the image for the link.
Click HERE for an easy and printable leaf template if you want to use actual leaves on your Thankful Tree.
Last but CERTAINLY not least, every cook needs a pick-me-up while slaving away in the kitchen…may I highly recommend you whip up one or more of these Pumpkin Spice Lattes to sustain you as you cook and decorate! Enjoy!
Take pictures of your thanksgiving food and decor and tag me #thanksgivingwithbella so I can see and be inspired by all your ideas!
Hi everyone! It’s only been a week since I posted last, but it feels much longer. Life has been very busy recently, but I’m excited to share a YUMMY recipe with you today! This recipe is perfect for using up those super ripe bananas that don’t taste that good anymore but you don’t want to throw out. Found HERE on Two Peas and Their Pod. I made some alterations based on what I had on hand (semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of vegan and honey in place of agave nectar), and they turned out quite well. I’m not going to stand here and say that you couldn’t tell the difference between these and a gooey chocolate chip cookie…but these are super delicious and moist, and I have for sure found my go-to recipe for something gluten-free/banana related. Yay! Try these out, you will thank me!
Since we are in the process of preparing to move within the next couple months, the wheels of my mind are constantly spinning with decor ideas, and I will not be stopped by small details…for example, I have no idea of what the layout of our new house will be, but that doesn’t hinder my imagination! One of our bathrooms has a gray/black theme with a few pops of yellow here and there, which I love. I don’t see myself wanting to change that completely, so I put together a design board that expanded on my current theme. I can’t wait to move!!!
I’ve made pork chops numerous times, and when preparing them this past weekend, I just couldn’t bring myself to make them the same old way. I was tired of opening the cupboard and dumping on a random assortment of spices, hoping everything turned out. My M. O. is to rummage around and pull dinner together at the last minute, and it usually turns out pretty well, if I do say so myself! However, I’m learning more and more that sometimes nothing beats a good recipe that someone else has taken the time to perfect. I did a brief bit of searching and found a recipe for breaded pork chops from the Food Network. And let me tell you, it was YUM!
Instead of the pickled cucumbers and dipping sauce I made roasted potatoes and a green salad, and the pork chops turned out fabulously. I didn’t have the time, but if you want the recipe to be completely gluten-free, a relatively easy alternative to bread crumbs is to blend almonds to a powder and use them instead. I’ve done it before and I actually like the taste of almond “crumbs” better.
A sweet moment between Bruce and my grandma who has Alzheimer’s….neither of them quite sure about the other!
Two dear friends who we hadn’t seen a long time came into town unexpectedly last weekend. It was a brief and happy reunion!
It’s finally been feeling like fall weather-wise around here, and I experimented making myself some “healthy hot chocolate” recipe found at Forever en Fleur, one of my fav blogs! So easy, takes about 3 minutes…you’ll thank me :)
Love Rachel Bilson’s hair here, I’m thinking about doing someone similar with mine, sortof a subtle ombré. This will be the very FIRST time I’ve ever colored my hair! A little nervous, I hope it looks good!
Ok, read this last caption carefully! These beautiful rocks are components for a DIY project I’m working on. I’m super excited to show you guys! So excited in fact, that I want to give you, my fabulous readers, the chance to win one of the beautiful “something’s” that I’m making. All you have to do is follow Pearls Slipping Off A String, follow me on Instagram @bellamarie_va, and comment below with your guess as to what I’m making. Be creative! The first three people to guess correctly will win a prize! The winners and the finished product of what I’m giving away will be revealed next week…good luck!
As a mom of two little ones, most days I only have a few minutes to apply makeup before someone is needing my attention…on top of that, in spite of my mom’s best efforts to teach me how to put on makeup, I’ve never seemed to be much good at it! From day to day I have a simple routine of a light foundation, a shimmery base eyeshadow, mascara, and on some days a thin line of dark eyeliner. This liner from Almay is great because it has a smudging tip attached…this helps to make a dark liner look less harsh. I recently tried L’Oreal’s True Match foundation and was so pleased I am using it exclusively now…it is light and doesn’t “cake” on at all. And after years of constantly experimenting with the latest and greatest mascaras, I’ve finally found two that I love. I use Almay mascara first to separate and lengthen the lashes, and L’Oreal mascara on top to add volume. Lastly, I simply adore Baby Lips lip balm! It comes in light colors very close to one’s natural lip color, so smooth and moisturizing. Love!
I do spice things up a little more if I’m going out or have an event, but I’ll save that for another post!
All of the products I use are under $15.00, and my skin has never broken out from not using top of the line makeup. It’s not Chanel, but I’m happy with it! Comment with some of your tried and true beauty tips, I’m always open to trying new things!
Here in Hampton Roads, VA, it feels like winter had officially (finally!) come. For a while I was going for a run when Mike came home from work in the evenings, but I had to give that up temporarily while he was out of town. However, I am back on track and running in the evenings again! I’ve aways laughed a little disbelievingly at people who would say that running was relaxing, but believe it or not, I am now one of those people. I think being a mom has a lot to do with it…having even a short amount of time where I’m alone and no one is calling my name is very therapeutic!
All that to say, with cold weather here to stay for a while, I realized I need to get some workout clothes that are outdoors appropriate. And while I wish I could say that shopping at Lululemon was next on my to-do list, it’s not. Because at Lululemon a running shirt costs $160.00. Which is ridiculous. So I’ve done a bit of hunting around to find some equally stylish and warm clothes for those of us with more restricted budgets.
Today’s Five on Friday will be…well, a few more than five pictures! The purpose of this post is to document things that made me glad during the week, and while there were numerous moments that made me smile, one day in particular stood out. Having Mike home from being out of town for so long has been wonderful, we all missed him so much! He took the day off on Monday and the four of us went to a pumpkin patch. So many things made the day exceptionally happy. Being close to Mike after so long a part. My little Edward seeking independence, sitting on the opposite side of the hay ride from us and relishing his freedom! Seeing the beauty of creation around us…the clear blue sky and crisp autumn air. The wonder I feel each time I’m close to a horse, their power and gentle beauty amazes me. The awe on Bruce’s face when the goat licked his hand. Edward’s delight while swinging on the tire swing (for about 45 minutes!). My little Hodge family all together. I couldn’t ask for much more than that.