Radiating Sunshine: December 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014's Hopes & Resolutions

So, just like every other blogger in the blogosphere I'm writing a post about New Year's resolutions… Last year I kind of copped out on the whole New Year's resolution thing… I discussed continuing to strengthen my relationship with God and live optimistically, check it out here. But, this year I am making some practical and objective hopes for 2014. 

Blogger Life

75 GFC Followers
Radiating Sunshine's 2 Year Anniversary
Blog Sponsors

Personal Life

For we live by faith, not by sight 
2 Corinthians 5:7
Check off 10+ items off of my 101 in 1001 list
Study Abroad
Continue to update my quote journal 
"Do everything with so much love in your heart
that you would never want to do it any other way!"

What are some of your 2014's Hopes and Resolutions? Share them below!

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Year in Review


Got reunited with my favorite girls! 



Went to the beach for a week with my close High School friends. For the full story on the Beach Week tradition, check it out here!


Then, I spent my summer in Texas working at Texas A&M University, in College Station. I worked for a program called Duke TIP for a few months and it was one of the best summer's to date! I traveled to San Antonio and saw the river walk and the Alamo. To review my travels and job, click here


And after a long two months of being away I got to see my two best friends at an Orioles game.


And when I went back to school I started a new job! I've now worked a full semester as the Area Coordinator of Terrace. This picture was taken at High Rock near my school with my fellow ACs. 


I started my 101 in 1001 in September… and I've completed a few of them! 

101 in 1001



 Junior Ring Dance with some of my favorite girls :)


Also, went to a few Raven's games with my dad! 


and won free chick-fil-a for a year… hello a meal a week! Curious on why we look exhausted and rained on… check out the post on the rainy camping adventure!


I couldn't not include a picture of my beautiful family who are constantly supporting me! 
Another big moment in 2013 was when my parents gave me permission to study abroad in Austria 
for a month in June!! Thank you, mom and dad. 


For Christmas I got my first nice camera! So, say goodbye to my poor quality photos and hello to nicer pictures. I'm so excited to capture more memories with this beauty and be able to share them all with you. 

And before I conclude this post… I wanted to just thank you to everyone who reads my posts
and (or) follows Radiating Sunshine! You guys are truly amazing and have made 2013 a great year. Stay tuned for all the exciting things that 2014 has to offer :)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Snowflake Swap

I've been blogging for a year and a half, but I didn't seriously start blogging until this summer when I left Maryland to live in Texas and work at a summer camp for students who are gifted and talented! Once there I started blogging a few times a week to give my family and friends updates in my life. So, now that Radiating Sunshine has grown up a bit I decided to branch out and in that process I've met so many amazing bloggers! I came across the Snowflake Swap back in November and immediately signed up. The Snowflake Swap is an opportunity for bloggers to get paired up, spread holiday cheer, and network with other bloggers. 

So, without further adieu I would like to give a shout out to my snowflake swap partner, Meg @ Borrowed Heaven! About a month ago, Meg and I began chatting over email. We have emailed each other almost every day and if we aren't doing that then we are commenting on each other's blogs and (or) sending crazy snap chats! It has been such a pleasure to get to know her and discover so many things like the North East Blogger Network  and Influenster! I would seriously go check out this lady's blog because she has so much going on and she writes the cutest stuff… plus she is engaged so if you love reading about cute stories and wedding plans than hop on over to her page!


Now, for the reveal of the Snowflake Swap package. Besides getting to meet another blogger you also get to give and receive a gift! Here is what Meg sent me: 


Can we just comment on how adorable this Disney Princess wrapping paper is… I'm a kid at heart!


the gifts: 

gift tag making kit
warm vanilla sugar foam hand soap
paper lantern
pens- *in my favorite colors I may note: navy, pink, raspberry*
room spray for my room at school
ornament
candy


Love the ornament and its preppy-ness! But, seriously it went right on the tree for everyone to see!


And the gift tag making kit has come in handy for this Christmas! I've used it on all of my gifts and it seriously is the cutest thing! Definitely appeals to my crafty side :)  

Thanks, Meg for picking out all of these gifts so well and for making them personal. When I signed up for the Snowflake Swap I never would have imagined getting to "meet" such an amazing person. Good luck on all of your wedding plans and you can expect the terrifying selfie snap chats to continue!

Oh… and if you're too lazy to scroll back up to the top check out Meg's blog, here!! :p

Friday, December 27, 2013

All Things Christmas

So, I planned this post to be about holiday food… but some things changed and well, it is what it is. So, instead I'm writing about all things Christmas, which features some of the food and other family traditions that we do to celebrate Jesus' birthday! And on a side note, Santa brought me a new camera… so, say goodbye to those old crappy pictures from my iPhone and hello to better quality photos. 


So, what you see above is our appetizer table! We had crab dip, clams casino, steamed shrimp, stuffed mushrooms, a cheese ball, spinach dip, turkey rolls, sugar cookie, and homemade coconut chocolate clusters! The majority of the appetizers came from my aunt's Christmas Eve party so its nice to not waste any food and relieve some of the pressure of cooking extra dishes!


The dinner table! My family always does the scratch-off tradition. We've done this for so many years and it always adds extra excitement! I would totally recommend doing something like this if you host a holiday dinner… not to mention you get the chance to win a buck or two!  

Anyways, I'm sad to say that there is no dinner spread picture. Unfortunately, when dinner was served I got thrown up on by my baby cousin and was washing my hair. By the time I got downstairs to grab my plate, the family had already made a mess of the dinner spread! For dinner we had turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, kale salad, potato rolls, grilled carrots, and stuffing! The sweet potatoes were the best dish as usual… I swear I could eat only sweet potatoes for dinner. 


And last but not least above is the dessert spread! Excuse my pup, Juneau as she photo bombs this picture… but, isn't she the cutest anyways? So, we had 2 pumpkin pies, 2 apple pies, sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, brownies and chocolate truffles. I couldn't even force myself to have dessert because I was so full… but I'm sure the pies and cookies were delicious!


And after dinner and presents we did our family photo! I love my family to pieces, especially since they tolerate my need to take photos for all of you :)


The cutest baby that you see above is the newest addition to our family! 
Check out those beautiful blue eyes, God sure did an amazing job with this cutie.


And finally I wanted to end this post with my cousin Ari! She slepped over on Christmas Day and it was so great. Ari used to live with us when we were in High School and it was probably one of the best times of my life. I had another sister and we were so close. I can't even explain to you guys how amazing it was to just stay up all night giggling and chatting with this girl again! We will forever be sisters even though we live in different homes :)

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and that you
got to soak up as much family time as possible. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

DIY Holiday Bunting


This is probably one of the cheapest crafts you will ever find on Pinterest or on a blog because it cost me NO MONEY. But, seriously not a dime… only time. See what I did there? I should be come a poet. Anyways, getting back to this super cute craft that you can do in less than an hour that will add some Christmas decor to your home. 


Instructions
1. find a brown paper bag (I used a shopping bag) 
2. cut out eight 3.5 inch by 2 inch rectangles 
3. either go online or draw letters onto the rectangles
4. leave one of the rectangles for a pretty shape of your choosing
5. color in the letters with a white colored pencil
6. using a ball point pen make two holes in the top corner of each rectangle
7. weave white yarn through the bunting 
8. tape it up 

And there ya go! Probably one of the cheapest and easiest crafts you'll ever do. 
happy holidays

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Christmas Sleepover

So, curious how to have a fabulous Christmas sleepover with your best friends… stay tuned folks because I have a complete account of my Christmas themed sleepover with my two favorite girls!
Hopefully this will be one of the last poor quality WaveCam pics from the iPhone!
One-So, start your Christmas sleepover by grazing the kitchen for dinner. If you're lucky you'll find a box of Mac and Cheese, some spinach for a salad, and leftovers from various places! Not to mention, your fridge will be thanking you for making so much space so you can start prepping for Christmas dinner leftovers! 

Ignore the pile of bread and casserole dishes… my mom likes to "assemble" her dishes several days before the holiday!
Two- Next on the Christmas sleepover agenda is the gingerbread house! Now, this is a Honsberger family tradition that we have continued over the years. This year I had my two best girlies help create the beauty you'll see below!



Yeah, the icing wasn't really working as well as we hoped… so we kind of made a mess of our "gingerbread house"

not pictured: Hannah and I chasing each other around the kitchen with our hands covered in icing. Also, not pictured: me tripping over a chair as I barely escaped Hannah's hand full of icing and Hannah on the floor dying with laughter as Juneau (my dog) licked the icing off of her face. 


So, we stepped away from the traditional gingerbread house… but I think our Ginger-bunny with green hair eating a snowman is pretty original. I mean come on if this doesn't win for the cutest gingerbread house I don't know what will!

Three- Next on the Christmas sleepover agenda is SUGAR COOKIES! So, we made two different batches… we did the traditional cut out cookies with sprinkles and then we made these beauties… Christmas swirl cookies! I'll post the recipe for y'all later when I go over what fine foods will be making their appearance at our Christmas dinner. 


Four- Also, you can't forget a gift exchange between your friends! If you're lucky like I am you will have a friend who is super crafty and will make you cute room decorations that you won't be able to stop looking at and saying how much you love them! Thanks Alex for making Hannah and I these cute wall decorations! But, seriously I love it… to death… like I'm looking at it right now. 


 Five- I would also suggest ending your night with a Christmas movie… We watched Love Actually and by we I mean… I fell asleep 15 minutes in, Hannah made it through half, and at 2:30am I woke up to find Alex watching it by herself. Sorry Alex, I'm such a grandma! 

Anyways, there are the ingredients to having the best Christmas themed- sleepover with your friends… If your a boy well, you may want to alternate some (or all) of the ingredients! Happy Christmas Eve Eve! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Best Christmas Rolls

#71 on my 101 in 1001 list was to 'Learn a New Recipe from My Grandma' and boy is that what I did this past Wednesday. To start this post, I wanted to let you all know how extraordinary my Grandma is.  So, many of my childhood memories have her in them and I am so blessed that I have the opportunity to learn so much from her, including this delicious Potato Rolls recipe that we made together and that I wanted to share with all of you. Maybe, you'll make them this holiday season for your family to enjoy. 

Anyways, Grandma Bee got this one of a kind recipe from an old friend, probably 15 years ago at least. The potato rolls have been made appearances at all of our holiday dinners since I can remember, so it was definitely a recipe I wanted to learn. When I was younger, I loved them so much my Grandma made some for my birthday -- thats true dedication to roll eating right there. Anyways, if you were considering buying your rolls for your holiday feast… I would strongly recommend you reconsider that plan and maybe take an alternative route. 

Check out this cute recipe card that was typed on the typewriter and has clearly been put to use!
Below is the potato roll recipe. Now, since this recipe has been passed down from a number of different people and my Grandma has made this thousands of times... I inserted asterisks where my Grandma made special notes about what to do, the notes are also typed below. 

** cold water: My Grandma recommends that after you boiled the potatoes, save a cup of the water and put it in the fridge to keep it cold. The potato water really adds extra flavoring.
** yeast: make sure that the yeast is fully dissolved. This is crucial otherwise your dough may not rise and you will not want to start from scratch! Warm water activates the yeast. 
** kneading the dough: set the egg time and knead the whole time. 
** dough rising: Make sure you place the bowl in a warm spot...we put ours next to the fire place. And you will know the dough is ready to be rolled when it had risen twice its original size. 
** biscuit cutter: if you don't have one, a cookie cutter will do. Just make sure it comes out in a circle. Also, don't over roll the dough. You want the dough to be light and fluffy, not completely flattened.
** parker roll: fancy way of saying take the top half and laying it on top of the other half. Place the bottom half on the baking sheet. The buttered side of the dough should be on the outside of the roll. 

I have also taken some pictures of the process, if you needed some reference points! I am know roll master, but hopefully the directions and notes will come in handy.

one- before my grandma starts baking she lays out all of her ingredients and measures them all out properly too. Definitely saves time and helps her stay organized in the kitchen
two- this is what the potato, crisco, potato water, scalded milk, sugar and salt mixture looked like after being mixed. There are a few potato chunks and that is fine.
three- after the flour has been added
four- the dough has fully risen!
five- rolling out the dough on my Grandma's flour mat and cutting out our rolls
six- the finished product! We taste tested after they were out of the oven and they were so good!

If you decide to make them a week or so before your holiday party or dinner then put them in the freezer. Make sure they are in a sealed container and pull them out 2 days before so that they can thaw. Heat the oven to about 300 and put them in just to warm them up. Remember, they are already baked!


And while you wait for your dough to rise… grab a friend or your Grandma and play a few rounds of cards… Our game of choice: rummy! But, you can play whatever you'd like! Thanks Grandma for teaching me how to make this holiday favorite.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you try out this wonderful roll recipe! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Holiday Post

Happy Holidays!!

So, now that I am officially home and am writing this post as I sit next to a beautiful Christmas tree and am sipping some hot chocolate. I can officially say that it feels like the holidays. I definitely have Christmas cheer while I'm away at college, but there is something different about being home with your family that really brings out the holiday spirit. Anyways, today I'm writing a holiday themed post… probably the one of many too come... So, for now I'll let some Christmasy pictures take it away


Before break, my residents and I decorated sugar cookies for a hall program! Talk about a fun and yummy time! These pretty things were gobbled up by my staff at our weekly staff meeting… thank goodness or I'm pretty sure I would have eaten them ALL! 


I had to take a picture of my favorite cookie! I would even say its Pinterest worthy?


And here is a Christmas-selfie… Take it in friends… take it in… Those golden curls, the crispness of the artificial white Christmas tree, the fact that my wonderful friend Bobby, took 10 pictures of this exact pose and until he decided he was done and told me to use this one for this post. 


And it wouldn't be the holidays without some Christmas music! I made this playlist during Thanksgiving Break and have listened to it on repeat constantly. I must say I think my favorite Christmas song would be, Happy Holiday by Andy Williams. I love the classic  Christmas music… I'm not the biggest fan of all the re-makes even if they are done by a great artist. I guess I'm just a traditional gal, but if you find a re-make that you can't get enough of send me the name!

What is your favorite Christmas song?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Productive Way to Start Break

So, I've been home for a day and my productivity levels have soared (if only this happened during the last few weeks of the semester). Anyways, today I've made healthy banana bread, did a load of laundry, cleaned/ organized my bathroom and bedroom, and finally attacked this crazy mess of a closet,  that you see below!

Now, for the past year and half I have only come home in 1-3 week intervals, which has led to my closet becoming a dumping ground with clothes I don't usually wear and (or) clothes I only wear to work… So, I came home for winter break to a messy closet and a room full of unorganized drawers. 

Well, not anymore folks!  



Check out this closet make-over! Finally, I reorganized and cleaned up this space. I also decided to go through all the clothing I had left at home and donate the stuff I don't wear. I had to do the whole "but maybe I'll wear this at some event" type of cognitive reasoning, but I managed to fill two boxes of clothing that I hope to drop off at Good Will this week!

So, it looks like I can also check off #83 on my 101 in 1001 list! In my opinion it was a very productive day. Next on my list is to go through all of my books and donate the ones I've already read. Hopefully I can keep this productivity going throughout break, but I just allowed myself to log back into Netflix so that may be inhibiting! Anyways, hope you all had a great weekend :)
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