Merry Christmas from the Hostetters.

This has been a big month for me. There were those snowstorms (and snow makes me giddy as all get out), I had a birthday (and if snow makes me giddy, birthdays make me astronomically spastic in a very happy way), and…I GRADUATED COLLEGE.

Scratch that, this month hasn’t just been big. This may be the most enormous month of my life. A month jam packed full of my fast heart beating a million miles an hour, of hypervenalating-first over great gifts, then over papers yet to be written, of cozying up (by the heater behind our couch that I like to close my eyes and pretend is a fire) and watching so many more episodes of so many more shows then I ever have. Ever. Cause that’s what snow days are for, right? Or so Brent tells me.

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(Relaxing is a new thing to me. New since my marriage, that kind of new. I think I’m getting pretty good at it though. I’m almost at the point where I can focus on a conversation while a basket of unfolded laundry sits on my bed, just calling out to me. See, aren’t I good?)

This week I learned that Brent does not appreciate when I save a very full trash can for HIM to empty (especially in a snowy storm). I also learned that he is an excellent gift giver. As evidenced by my new periwinkle blue statement necklace (Francesca’s, I know I was impressed too), my new cozy PJ’s (perfect for a snow day) AND my favoriteTom’s Desert Wedges!!! These shoes were my dream for this winter season, and they are living up to my expectations. Definitely THE most comfortable pair of shoes with a heel that I have ever owned. And I swear, they look cute with (almost) EVERYTHING!

In fact, I wore them on our birthday date to The Terrain at Styers.

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The Terrain may seriously be my favorite place ever. Not only is it owned by Urban Outfitters, Inc. (owner of Anthropologie, my other favorite store), it is just so cute, rustic, inspiring and green all over. This greenhouse/boutique-y shop carries clothing housewares and of course- LOTS of stuff that makes you want to garden for the rest of your life. Their Christmas decor was exquisite and our dining experience at the Garden Cafe was impeccable. Located off of Route 1 in Glen Mills, PA, the Terrain is only like an hour and a half drive from Lancaster! I highly reccomend this mini daytrip. It made my birthday!

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So after a beautiful birthday, I woke up Tuesday morning to MORE unexpected snow! (Only unexpected because I haven’t been keeping up with The Weather Channel since we opted out of cable). I took a little 7 AM walk down to Central Market for our neccessities (eggs, milk, kale and sweet potatoes of course) and the world was just dreamy. Seriously, Lime Street sparkled and I have never felt the city so peaceful. I really love days like this, me with a cup of Earl Grey tea- perched on our little Ikea couch taking in every glistening second of the snow storm as I rapidly type the day away about communication theories and cognitive dissonance. This is how I ended my college carreer. Writing my final papers in a snow storm. Sipping out of my new birthday H mug (i’m obsessed with my married monogram). And every so often, a longing glance out our living room window.

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Graduation was rather anti-climactic, if I do say so myself. They pronounced my name wrong (it’s HOE-stetter not HOSS-stetter) and I was a little hot. But it’s ok, because my diplomas coming in the mail and I am DONE. (To be honest with you, there were times in my college career when none of us were sure I’d EVER get to say that word-in reference to undergrad at least).

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And now it’s Christmas. Our very FIRST Christmas. And I am thrilled. I feel like i’m in my element, decorating our home, wrapping gift upon gift (I think the final consensus is- can I get paid for gift wrapping or is that a dying trade?) I thought I was so cool, getting all my shopping done in October. Let me tell you something, that backfires. Bad. Once I was done with all of the “neccesary shopping,” the most wonderful time of the year truly hit and I LOVE THE MALL AT CHRISTMAS. (Seriously, usually the mall makes me hot and dehydrated and induces hives. But not at Christmas. NO WAY). So Brent had to give me a budget and say “No more random cute things for random people,” and I had to vow to save shopping for after Thanksgiving…check back with me next year.

mantleThe stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Brent would decide to go shopping sometime before Christmas.

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My Christmas cards ended up overflowing from my “that was a nice thought Katie” garland to a collage covering our freezer door. chalk

I practiced a little “Pinspired” chalk art. (More like “Pincopied”)

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We are ready for the holiday to commence. We are ready for a new year to commence! A new year of memories, of togetherness, of all the newness of marriage unfolding into even more experiences. When I look at life as I knew it last year at this time, and life as I know it now- I REALLY CAN’T BELIEVE IT! Just goes to show how much can change, how much I can really handle and how much I am blessed. We love you all, and are wishing you a very Merry, Light & Bright and EVERY OTHER ADJECTIVE Christmas. 

Love from,

B + K

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be still my BURSTING heart.

I am full.

full of joy.

full of anticipation.

full of thankfullness.

full of coffee (therefore making me rather jittery/energetic for 10:30 PM)

full just thinking about a certain turkey dinner coming soon…

full to the brim, to my fullest prior-to-bursting potential.

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As many of you may have witnessed from my previous post, I did the deed…

I decorated for a certain holiday before another certain holiday.

Some may take offense to this, and rightly so. The Christmas hype gives way to a slippery slope of forgetfullness about thankfullness.  Gone are the days of cornucopias and pilgrim figurines. Forget orange and brown, give me evergreens and red nosed reindeers. My husband, while powerless to my decorating powers (he would hate to admit it, but I’m honest), noticed a certain tendency about me. When September hits, I am so in love with pumpkins that I practically want to marry them (hello middle school catch phrase. bet you haven’t heard that one in a while). But come end-of-November-snow-flurrying days and I practically loathe those who would even show a jack-o-lantern’s face in their window. Brent does this imitation of me like I’m a total crazy person, “GET THAT PUMPKIN OFF YOUR PORCH. I’M OFFENDED THAT YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR FROSTY THE SNOWMAN INFLATABLE OUT THERE YET,” in a cranky cat lady voice (but no worries, I don’t believe in Frosty the Snowman inflatables by any means. Only The Grinch Who Stole Christmas). While he is totally kidding, (at least I don’t THINK I sound like that), he shows me something about myself…and I hate when that happens.

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I am what I would call a holiday oriented person. Give me a chance to party and I will party. Give me a chance to rearrange all the furniture and anything that qualifies as a decoration, and I will do it. Don’t give me a chance, and I will still do it.

Christmas is my FAVORITE holiday. It is also two weeks after my birthday, making it located in my FAVORITE month. I love the holiday cheer, the holiday colors, the sweet little twinkle lights, the hustle and bustle of every store imaginable (including those in the deadly mall…and you know that’s serious business, cause I hate the mall). I feel so much satisfaction walking down the garland lined city streets, soaking in the window decor, and when my neighbors put up their Christmas decorations I feel a sense of pride for my street. Is this obsession? I prefer to think not…but who really knows?

All this rambling is not my point.

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Yes, I put my Christmas decorations up one week before the “acceptable” time. Yes, you might as well string me out on a row of Christmas lights and call me one of them. But before you write me off, I have a suggestion.

I believe that, in essence, Thanksgiving & Christmas can stand for one in the same.

joy

peace

grace

thankfullness

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Tomorrow we will give thanks. We will feel full, and hopefully in more ways than one. We will reminisce over years of life’s beauty, and anticipate more to come. I don’t want to miss out on this, and although my home is red and green, I don’t believe I will.

Tomorrow we will give thanks

and then…

the miracle.

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I promise you that, although I am proud of my shimmery antler candleabra (if you are wondering why I am discussing candleabras and cornucopias…I guess I just felt creative tonight. either that or I’m an old soul). Anyway, although I love to decorate and feel happy off all this Christmas hype, I don’t ever want to forget truth. I don’t ever want to write off the miracle, the Child, the reason.

Thanksgiving precedes the miracle.

Why can’t we celebrate both?

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#JOY

Wanna Eat Oatmeal that Tastes Like Cake!? {The Traditional Recipe Post}

Last night I started to decorate for Christmas.

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My heart is on the verge of exploding into happy little bits, which is why I am blogging at 7:30 on a Sunday morning. My husband is lying in bed next to me, thinking I’m crazy, wishing I had the screen light on low, and wishing that my rapid typing sound would go away (I was the fasted typer in the 8th grade, so when I say rapid, I mean it.)

But I am really excited, so the click-click-clicking of the keyboard will not be disappearing until you get sick of what I have to say.

This morning we are going to eat baked oatmeal, healthbaked oatmeal. And I think it tastes like cake. (Well, ok, cake might be a slight exaggeration…but it definitely has the texture of cake…)

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This recipe was shared with me by a friend who is well versed in the art of clean eating. In sum, this diet is simply eating whole, natural foods that were created for your body to digest…not all that “ADDED CALCIUM” stuff (aka. the Frosted Flakes I buy at least weekly for my husband’s nutritious pleasure). I will admit, although I enjoy eating healthy, I am no queen of the clean eating domain. But I was pretty proud of this delicious creation and, let’s be honest, when my husband eats it for breakfast (a man in love with buttery pancakes, crispy bacon and let’s not forget- the aforementioned frosted flakes)…you know it’s gotta be good.

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Before I begin…let me share with you the three most pertinent (in my mind) ingredients that I used to make this as clean/healthy as it gets. You could call these the power foods, and I’ve been making it my goal to incorporate them as I alter our diet to a slightly more “whole” version of what it was.

1. Sucanat

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Essentially, this sweetener is pure, dried sugar cane juice and unlike white sugar or even brown sugar it retains it’s molasses content. Vitamins and minerals are still in tact after the processing of this product, making it the most “healthy” of the sugars. The sucanat I have was passed on to me from the same friend who inspired this recipe post! She orders her sucanat on Amazon.

2. Coconut Oil

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I’m sure you’ve all heard of coconut oil. Classified as a superfood, the oil is suggested to increase energy and therefore help burn fat. It also has been shown to help improve the immune system and aid in digestion. (Along with a long list of other debatable benefits). As oils go, this can get pretty pricy. I got mine at the local Sharp Shopper for $3.19, but I’ve seen huge bottles at Costco for a decent price.

3. Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

This ingredient was completely new to me. According to the website , Bragg Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar is “unfiltered, unheated, unpasteurized and 5% acidity. It is rich in enzymes and potassium, supports a healthy immune system, helps control weight, promotes digestion and pH balance, helps soothe dry throats and helps remove body sludge toxins.” (EW). In other words, this is really healthy and you should go buy a bottle. Again, this was given to me by my friend, but I’ve seen it at local health food stores such as Lemon Street Market for about $4.

So after that very long introduction to all the basic health food groups plus a run down of my morning, here you have it. The long awaited-

Apple Pie Oatmeal

(My own altered version based on what I had and what worked for me. Feel free to click the link above for the full-out super-healthy organic way)

2-1/2 c. regular oats

1 c. of water

2 TBSP Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 c. Coconut Oil

4 Eggs

1/2 c. Sucanat

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

2 tsp. Cinnamon

2 tsp. Vanilla

2 c. Chopped Apples

(at this point you can kind of mix & match with fruits. the original recipe suggests apples or pears and raisins…but I knew if I added raisins I would be the only one eating that pan of dangerously good but healthy stuff.)

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Now here is where the planning ahead part comes in.

Step 1: Soak the 2 c. of oats in the 1 c. of water and 2 TBSP Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar for 12-24 hours. Basically I through this all together around 9PM and baked it around 8 AM. This soaking is what makes it soo moist and cakey.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Beat oil, sugar an eggs until glossy. At baking powder, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Then beat in oats and fruit of your choice.

Step 3: Pour the mixture into a 9″ by 13″ greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. (This creates the most moist but still cooked through texture. If you prefer your oatmeal on the dryer side, bake longer).

I will warn you, the original recipe says serve with maple syrup and butter, which we did not (don’t tell Brent). This oatmeal is not SUPER sweet, which I like. To get a sweeter flavor, add more sweetener (can I be any more obvious) or pour lots of syrup on top to sell your husband on healthy eating (he won’t know what hit him). We did milk and I thought it tasted just fine.

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And that is IT! The yummiest baked oatmeal I’ve tried in a while, all while being healthy and feeling like maybe you fulfilled one New Years Resolution before you make some more. (Don’t ask me what that resolution would be).

Love you all! I’m gonna go wake my sleeping husband and eat my Apple Pie Oatmeal.

(Could I sound more infomercialish?)