5 Easy and Popular Party Foods

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I know I have been talking a lot about food lately, but it IS the holidays and good food is everywhere ! I just can’t help myself. I won’t be sharing any recipes today but I will be sharing some easy, fun foods that I love enjoying at any holiday party! I always have great ideas for parties and party foods, but when it comes down to it, I just procrastinate a little too long. These are some party foods that I can always turn to if I am running behind and looking for a treat that will be loved.

1.Pepper Jelly Dip.

My first pick is so easy, yet so good. Pepper Jelly Dip is perfect for when you are throwing together a quick party or forgot to make a dish for tonight’s Christmas party. All you need is a block of cream cheese, a jar of pepper jelly, and some crackers to dip in it. Go ahead and bring a serving knife or butter knife because cheap plastic knives and a cracker won’t cut through the cream cheese easily.

2. Bacon Wrapped Smokies

Need I say more? So easy & you can find the recipe online for cooking instructions. These take a little more time to prepare, but they don’t require a lot of ingredients and they are a crowd favorite at every party we serve them at. You just need bacon, a pack of smokey sausages, brown sugar, and tooth picks.

3. Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Cody’s mom always makes these around the holidays. They are great if you have a sweet tooth . I have made them for teachers as Christmas gifts and we have served them at parties. You just use chocolate chip cookie dough and a peanut butter cup and place them in a mini muffin pan & POOF!! You have a perfect sweet treat for any holiday event.

4. Deviled Eggs

Okay, so these are kind of hit or miss but my family and I love them. They are a staple at any family gathering. Once the eggs are boiled and peeled, the prepping process is so easy. They are a great finger food to have at any party.

5. Cake Balls

Homemade cakeballs are always a hit. Never fails. You almost can’t mess this one up. They have to be baked and frozen, but they are so simple. The hardest part is the chocolate coating, but even if they look bad they are still usually a hit because they taste so good.

I hope some of these holiday food ideas save you at this year’s holiday parties. We love these items at almost every party and they are usually the things that people gather around and clear out before the party ends. If something caught your eye and you do want me to make a recipe post, leave a comment. Happy holidays !

Favorite Fall Activities

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I am sitting outside, on my balcony right now and it is 73 degrees in Louisiana.The cool wind is blowing and I swear that I can smell pumpkin everywhere that I turn! So with this cooler weather, I am going to set aside the travel blogs and the summer ideas and pickup some seasonal topics. This week, I am going to give you a whole list of fun fall activities that you can do even with COVID regulations. There will be a mix of party, stay at home, and day time activities. Let’s go!

My first personal favorite activity is a murder mystery party. I love to throw a good party and this is one that we have started doing every fall. This is a perfect party to have with new guests that may not know each other because everyone plays a different part and has to speak to everyone at the party. This gives your guests the perfect opportunity to get out of their shell and get to know each other. You can also make the rounds last as long or as short as you would like and just hangout or sit at a fire when it’s over. You can find party packages by googling, but our favorite place to get them is mymurdermysteryparty.com

Go visit a haunted house or a haunted maze! I am sure that most places require you to wear a mask during this one, but it could still be so fun. Just bring a big group of friends and grab dinner before hand. These usually aren’t terrifying, but they are a great way to enjoy the halloween season.

Photo by Alyssa Fisher Photography

The next activity is more of a two in one. I love visiting the pumpkin patch and since it is outside it is a perfect place to go during COVID. You don’t have to worry about wearing a mask usually and you can stay as far away from people as you would like. The reason I said that this was more of a two in one is because of what happens after the pumpkin patch. Once everyone has their perfect pumpkin picked out, head to the store and get some tools to carve or paint pumpkins. I prefer to paint my pumpkins because it isn’t as messy and it keeps the pumpkin good for a longer period of time, but to each his own. If you enjoy carving pumpkins, carve to your heart’s desire. If you like to paint, just remember to give your pumpkin time to dry.

This is probably the most laid back and pro social distance idea on this list. Movie night. Get all your girlfriends together or just grab your guy and binge watch your favorite fall movies! I would defnitely have all of the Halloween Town movies and Hocus Pocus on my list!

A halloween costume party is a given at this time of year! Tell all your friends to put on their favorite costumes, get a bunch of fun fall games prepared, gather fire wood, and fill the table with all the yummiest fall snacks you can find. This is another party idea, but this idea is a classic and can be as chill or as put together as you choose. Just don’t forget to do a little costume contest at the end and enjoy yourself.

A bonfire is fall given in the south! Around here, having the first bonfire of the year is a privilege and once someone starts a bonfire, they usually occur every weekend until the weather begins to warm up. Fall is the perfect time for a bonfire because the weather is cold enough to enjoy a warm fire, but it is warm enough to enjoy being outside. I am not a cold weather person, so this is very important to me! hah!

Photo by Alyssa Fisher Photography

Another great fall activity is just going on a walk. For real! I love to watch the leaves change( though that is super rare in Louisiana) and soaking up  all the cool weather. Just find a nearby park and go take a stroll. Take time to look at the sky, the leaves, and the animals.

The final activity on my list is baking! I love to bake in the fall. All of the warm toasty tastes of the fall comfort food just gives me chills. You can get so creative with this and there are even pre made cookies and easy recipes for those who don’t have a talent for cooking.

Alright, so now that our creativity has been awakened and the world hasn’t completely ended from COVID, go out and enjoy fall. Try some of these activities, put your own spin on them, or come up with your own! Comment and let me know what your favorite fall activity is! Have a great day and Happy Fall Y’all!!

Going Back to Work After Three Months: What I Wish I had Done.

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Monday made one month since I went back to work after exactly three month off. This is something that most of us are facing or are going to have to face in the near future. In today’s post I’m going to share a few things I wish I had done before going back to work and over all how this past month has been for me.

The first thing I wish I would have done is get my sleep schedule back on track. During self quarantine, my sleep schedule got really confused. I was staying up until 4 a.m. and waking up at 11 a.m., sometimes even 12 p.m. I am a barista, so I have to be at work as early as 5 a.m. some days. Not fixing my sleep schedule bit me in the butt and over all made me exhausted everyday for the next two weeks.

The next thing I wish I would have done before starting work is get into some type of routine that fit work into it. My quarantine routine worked great. I got all my housework and school work done everyday , worked out, went on a walk with my husband, and was ready to hangout and relax by 10 p.m. that was my routine. When work got thrown into the mix it put everything to a halt. I still haven’t gotten caught up on dishes and I haven’t worked out since I started work again.

The last thing I would have done is write more. I would have gotten caught up on my school work and on my blog posts, so I wasn’t hustling to get everything done each week. I’ve gotten in a good groove with all of these things recently, but when I first started work again, it was awful.

Over all, this month at work has been a challenge. I have worked more often than I planned to and been exhausted everyday when I got home. I just recently (about a week ago) got into a good groove and got my whole daily routine and schedule planned out. I have seen more productivity from myself in the past two weeks than I had the 2 months before everything shut down.

If you are starting work again soon, go easy on yourself and give yourself lots of grace. Things around your house are probably going to be chaotic for the next few weeks. That is okay. It will get better. Thanks for reading and if you have already gone back to work, leave some comments below about what you struggled with or advice you may have!

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Living in a Tent for a Week Chattanooga, Tennessee

This time last month Cody and I were in Tennessee living in a tent. Yes you heard that right. For a whole week in June we slept in a tent… and it actually wasn’t bad. This weeks post is going to be all about that week: what we did, where we went, and how we survived living in a tent for a week in the summer with a dog.

Originally we wanted to spend our anniversary in Texas on Lake Travis, but due to the pandemic we decided it was best to go to Tennessee. The weather was going to be perfect for camping, so we looked around for different camp sites to set up camp at. We finally landed on Lookout Mountain KOA. It was reasonably priced, nice, and it wasn’t booked up yet! Although this campground isn’t actually in Tennessee, it’s right on the state line.

Our Campground was alot nicer than we expected. We had showers and multiple bathrooms. Our campsite was also more closed off from everyone else and every tent site has water and electricity. The woman in the campground store was so nice. We went in every day for ice and by the second day she knew us and would always ask what adventures we had gone on that day and how our stay was.

We ate at a few restaurants, but we also cooked at our campsite using our Ozark Trail camping stove. We cooked spagetti, garlic bread, eggs, toast, and sausage on our stove. It worked so well and helped us expand our food options since we were there for a week. (We knew hot dogs over the fire wouldn’t cut it every night)

Our camping stove

On the night of our anniversary, we decided to go on a date. There was a local pizza restaurant and winery pretty close to our camp site. The Lookout Winery exceded our expectations. They are family owned and make real italian, wood fired pizzas. They even import their ingredients from Italy. The owners wife was talking to us about their pizzas and wine. We did a wine tasting and found out that all of their wines are homemade in the restaurant and made with no chemicals. I didn’t know this before, but most wines have chemicals in them to preserve them and those chemicals give you hangovers. So, the owner actually told us that with their wines you don’t get any hangovers. We did the sampling deal for all 15 wines (we shared and it was 1 oz. of each flavor) and they gave us a sheet to rate each wine. We spent the evening enjoying our wine and pizza and watching the sunset on the lake. It was so beautiful and a great way for us to celebrate. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone in/visiting the area around Chattanooga . They really had a passion for what they do and a kindness like no other toward their customers.

Pizza from Lookout Winery
Pizza and Wine tasting at Lookout Winery

We also stopped for lunch at the Terminal Brew House in Downtown Chattanooga . We had Zoey with us, so we had to sit outside in the heat, but their patio was so beautiful and shaded us from the hot sun. We shared a baked chicken with peach salsa and a flight of beer. One of my favorite things to do when I visit a brewery is to get a flight of beer, mainly because I love drinking out of the little glasses, but also because it gives you an opportunity to try different beers and find one you like. At this particular brewery, they had a flight with six beers that offered one of each of their beers. Overall our food and service was amazing. Everyone was so nice and accommodating. Our waiter even brought out a bowl of water for Zoey to stay cool.

Beer Flights at Terminal Brew House
Happy Zoey at Terminal Brewhouse

Though the food was beyond what we expected to eat while camping, our main goal for this trip was to explore outdoors. We visited a lot of different swimming holes and went white water rafting. There are alot of different companies that you can go with if you choose to go white water rafting. We chose Quest Expeditions. There was absolutely no social distancing involved, so if you are worried about that I would probobly look into other activities. We were loaded on a bud and then paired off for our rafts. The guide taught us how to use our paddles, what all of the different terms meant (because times are tough when your boat is about to flip!) ,and showed us what to do if we went over board. The rapids weren’t too crazy. They were rough enough to have fun and create a challenge, but not too rough.(To give you an example, there were kids out there in rafts) Our trip took about an hour and a half to go all the way down the river and no one from our group was thrown overboard.

We visited two different swimming holes that involved hiking. This first swimming hole that we visited was ‘The Blue Hole’ in Soddy Daisy. We weren’t sure where we were going, we just started hiking. We hiked for about two miles before we got to the swimming hole.(There are so many different swimming holes along the way if two miles is a long way for you. We just had a goal to get to The Blue Hole.) The hiked involved crossing a stream with a heavy current. (Also not a great place to go if you easy get hurt.) Once we got to the swimming hole, it was worth the hike. The hike weaned a lot of people out, so there weren’t a tone of people there, the water was crystal clear, and there was a diving spot where people jumped off a cliff.

The other swimming hole we went to was Foster Falls. It was a much shorter hike , but it was mostly down hill and steep. I almost fell twice ( luckily I caught myself. ) it isn’t the best place to visit if you have no coordination and you are walking a dog. The swimming hole had a huge waterfall and clear water, but it was packed. There were so many people there that it was hard to find a spot to keep our things. Luckily everyone there was pretty chill.

Foster Falls

Overall, I loved our trip to Tennessee. The weather was great the whole time and there were so many things to do in the area (even with the riots and pandemic happening.) If you ever find yourself in the area, make sure to stop by some of these places and let me know what you think! Thanks for reading along !