Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Very Merry Ravens Christmas Eve

This afternoon we got the chance to go to the Ravens/Browns game, what a great Christmas present!! And to make it even better, Tyler knows someone that was able to get us on the field during warmups! It was so cool to see the players up close, they were huge! Here are some photos from our day!

The passes that got us on the field. Too bad we didn't get to keep them though. That would have been a super cool souvenir.

Walking down the tunnel... so excited!

We can see our seats from the field... way up at the top. And let me tell you, it was super cold up there today.

The offense during warmups

Joe Flacco our QB... Wacco for Flacco!

And then the defense came out to warmup.

And the best part of the entire day, Terrell Suggs gave us a fist pump! Amazing!

Ray Lewis firing the team up

We got to stay on the field for only 20 minutes and then they made us leave. But we had just enough time to get a picture before we left. What an awesome experience. Thanks to Mama Rogers for the tickets and thanks to Tyler's co-worker for getting us the passes onto the field.

We hope that everyone is having a great Christmas Eve, however you may be spending it. Love to all of our family and friends for making this Christmas season so wonderful so far. We will be spending tomorrow just the two of us (and the pups) in the morning, before heading to my parents house for dinner and family time. Then we have the entire week off together. Looking forward to relaxing for the week.

And the Ravens win was a great way to start the Christmas weekend. We have clinched a spot in the playoffs, and are one step closer to winning our division!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oh what a Baltimore Christmas

For those of you who may not know (and I don't know how), I love Baltimore. I love everything about it, and I love to show my Baltimore pride whenever possible. So today, I was walking during lunch with a co-worker, and she decided she wanted to stop in the Natty Boh store to look for a Christmas gift for her Dad. (For those outside of Baltimore that may not know, Natty Boh is a beer company, whose mascot has become the unofficial mascot of Baltimore). Well, while in the store, I found Natty Boh dog collars. I am not one for shopping for my pets for Christmas, those little beasts get spoiled enough every day of the year, but I had to have these and show my Baltimore pride just a little bit more. So really, I guess more of a gift for myself anyways because my dogs hate wearing collars. But aren't they awesome?!

 Purple for Oliver and red for Jack

And just when I thought my shopping (for myself) was complete, I walk into a furniture/nick-knack store looking for a gift for a friend, and what do I see staring at me at the register but this:

 Didn't even care what the price was, I had to have it. Oh I should mention for those who may not know, Tyler and I live in a neighborhood of Baltimore called Pigtown. It's a little known neighborhood of Baltimore that is growing in popularity, and we love it!
So, Merry Christmas to me! Now I just need to find the right place to hang it in the house... stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Reindeer Cookies

So I saw these little cuties on a website and decided that I would make them for a holiday cookie exchange in my office. While adorable, they were not the easiest thing to make. So I am providing the directions below, but you have been warned!

First, pick your favorite kind of cookies to make. I chose peanut butter for mine, and used the recipe off of the back of the Jif peanut butter. After mixing the batter I rolled the dough into one inch balls and then flattened them between my plams and finally pinched part of the cookie to shape the nose. Baked these bad boys for 7 1/2 minutes and pulled them out of the oven.

As soon as they came out, I had to work quick to put the "facial features" on. Chocolate covered pretzels for the antlers, mini chocolate chips for eyes, and an M & M for the nose. This was the tricky part. Since the cookie and pan were hot, the chocolate melted quickly and made quite the mess. I had originally thought this would be a great project with kids, but DO NOT do that. It was hot and messy. So I finally got everything in place and put them on the rack to cool. The second batch did go a little better.

So then when they finally cooled, and the chocolate set, I went to put them in a cookie jar, but when I stacked them, the antlers kept getting knocked off. Ahhhh!

Good luck to anyone that wants to try them. They are super cute, but you have been warned. Oh and I used regular sized chocolate pretzels, but maybe try to find mini ones if you can. They might be easier! Happy baking!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Halfway finished with grad school!

Well I won't have to see this building again for about a month and a half! Another semester of graduate school was completed yesterday as I turned in my final term paper. I can't even begin to descripe how good it felt to hit the send button on that email.

I think the next month and a half will see me catching up on all the books that I want to read but haven't had the chance, and hitting the gym more as I have neglected that as well with this hectic schedule.

Many, many, many thanks to Tyler for doing extra around the house and cooking dinner for me on the nights that I was home late from work and school. It made the semester not as stressful with a few less things to worry about.

Now I am officially halfway done with 21 credits in the 42 credit program... 3 more semesters to go!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Holiday Wine Tasting

What a wonderful night we had last night we some good friends. We got an invite from a friend of ours to go to a wine tasting at a local Maryland winery, and the winery really had a great event. There was of course a wine tasting  and some tasty hors d'oeuvres. Then when we were done with that we got a few bottles of wine and a pizza and sat around some tables that were set up outside and talked and listened to Christmas music. This little guy on the right sat with us and begged. It was like being at home.

We want to thank our friends Leah and Jeremy for such a great time, and want to recommend that anyone in the Maryland area check out the Basignani Winery if you need something to do. Good wine, and they have lots of events throughout the year.

As we left, the snow began to fall, making the evening that much more perfect. We finished the evening off watching Elf in the car on the ride home. A great way to spend the last weekend before Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Cards

Another checkmark on the Christmas to-do list last night... Christmas cards written out, stamped, stuffed and placed in the mailbox! We can't wait until everyone gets them so we can share some photos from our annual family photo shoot! And if you are keeping the whole Martin family Christmas card collection, we are up to card number four.

This year we sent cards to friends and family in eight different states, and sent cards to as many people with the last name Barnes as we did Martin. We sent the most cards to people in Maryland, with Washington and Massachusetts coming in with a tie for second.

Anyway... we hope everyone loves them, I know I did! I had to make 8 different choices for Tyler to help me choose from, and amazingly we both had the same favorite.

And we have absolutely loved all of the cards we have received so far from our family and friends. It makes opening the mailbox not so scary... oh right the credit card bills from holiday shopping don't come until next month when the Christmas cards stop. Hmmm something to think about...

Well Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas

My favorite holiday is finally here! It's Christmas time! So it has taken me longer than usual to get in the Christmas spirit, the weather in Baltimore has been insane. Sixty degree temps in December, I simply cannot take it! It is finally in the fiftys which is a bit better for this winter loving gal, but I think that my hopes and dreams of a white Christmas have been shot. Anywho... I guess that the warm weather was a blessing in disguise as Tyler and I went to chop down a Christmas tree. This is not a fun task when it is freezing out, however, I was not in the mood for the hot apple cider this year as in years past. We got a beauty though!

 We went to the same tree farm we go to every year, and tried to find a Douglass Fir, which is what we get every year, but changed it up and got a Fraiser Fir instead. Tyler graciously cut the tree while I snapped pictures!

Here is the nine feet of glourious tree in our living room! I love having high ceilings!

 And here she is with all of the lights and ornaments! We had lots of new ornaments this year after all of our travels this summer, so it was fun to think about all of our trips! For those of you who don't know, Ty and I get an ornament from each place we visit as a souvenir.

And no presents under the tree yet, but a silly little Corgi who thinks that the tree skirt is his new dog bed.

We hope that everyone is having a wonderful holiday season so far, and we cannot wait to spend some time with our family and friends in the next few weeks celebrating!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Holiday Treat

Every year my office has a potluck holiday party. For some this may be an annoyance, but I find it to be a time when I can be creative and bake or cook, which I love to do. In the past I have taken Pillsbury crescent rolls and made them into a wreath and a Christmas tree with veggie dip on top. Both turned out great and were a big hit. This year I went with a dessert, and it turned out pretty good, so I wanted to share! 

It's a Santa hat brownie bite!!

So these were really simple. I took one box of my favorite brownie mix. Made it in a bite-size muffin pan. Then took them out and let them cool. Once cool I used some white icing to secure a strawberry on the brownie bite, I had cut the top off of the strawberry to make it flat. Finally, I piped some white icing around the bottom of the strawberry and placed a dot on top.

They were super simple, and I think that they turned out super cute too! Tyler was my taste-tester and said that they were delicious. We will see how everyone likes them tomorrow!

One box of brownie mix made 2 dozen brownie bites.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Round Two

After spending Thanksgiving Day at the Ravens game, we still needed to celebrate with the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner with family and friends, so we did... but on Saturday. I got up bright and early Saturday morning and headed up to Mama Rogers's house to help create a delicious Thanksgiving feast!

When I got there I found that the pies were already made and waiting for us to dig in. But it was alright because there was plenty of other things to do to get ready. We set the table and decorated, and got out all of the plates and silverware. We were ready for the twelve people that were coming to eat! 

There were four dogs who were there too! Thanks to my parents for letting us bring our little monsters to the feast. So while we waited for the turkey to finish cooking and the right time to start the sides, I played outside with the dogs, which helps with my sleep at night I have to say. I can't believe that Jack is five and Oliver is seven and they have so much energy. But enough of that... that can be for another post. Jack kindly posed for a picture in the yard, but Oliver was not as cooperative, so here he is!

Well dinner was ready around six, and we all sat down to a feast. Turkey and all of the trimmings! It was absolutely delicious, and I can't believe that Thanksgiving is only once a year! I think that whoever has to cook probably appreciates that fact though! So after eating we watched some football and headed home with two sleepy pups and full bellies! 

Thanks as always to Mama Rogers for being the hostess with the mostess! Dinner was amazing and can't wait until the next one!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Marathon Madness

This post is long overdue, but it HAS to be done. Last month, we cheered on one of my closest friends as she ran AND completed the Baltimore marathon. While running 26.2 miles is in no way easy, I have heard that the Baltimore one is one of the toughest with all the hills. Thankfully it was a beautiful day, not too hot or cold, which hopefully helped. And while I could never imagine running 26.2 miles in 4 hours, I worked really hard with the help of another friend to make some signs and get up nice and early to be out there cheering. Congrats to Soph on completing her first marathon!

Here are all the girls bright and early at the starting line. We didn't get to see Soph start, but we left from here to go and find her. And here were some of our signs... the pink says: "getting up early to make this sign wasn't easy either" and the orange says: "We love our marathon running best friend"

On to our second stop! We parked the car and walked to miles 10-12 to hold up signs and cheer on the runners. We finally got to see Sophia and she was going strong and still smiling.

And at our last stop we saw Sophia again... right before the finish line!! That's her in the bright yellow tank top! It was so awesome to see her make it to the finish.

And then we found her in the crowd with her finishers medal and all she wanted was a beer, so we helped her out!

Soph with her training partner Meg who also finished the marathon. Meg actually finished under 3 hours and 20 minutes so she qualified for the Boston Marathon. And Soph with her roommate Jess who also came to cheer.

Best friends since high school! At the finish line with balloons, beers and the signs. So proud!

Congrats again to Sophia on finishing the marathon, it was quite the feat! Time to start training for the next one!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Very Ravens Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was a little different this year. Instead of heading to see family and sit around the dinner table, we headed out with thousands of other Ravens fans for a tailgate and some NFL football. We had a delicious turkey dinner thanks to the guys of the Tailgate Taskforce and headed to the game to watch the Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers... which helped in the trash talk with my college roommate. A different Thanksgiving, and a lot of fun!!

Our hosts for Thanksgiving Dinner... Tailgate Taskforce. They had four turkeys and all of the trimmings!

Commemorative cups from the day

Everyone at dinner! Even though we were outside we were with my mom and a few of our good friends along with all of the Ravens fans!

Our seats to watch the Ravens win!

And a new Ravens tradition... at every game, the fans sing along with this White Stripes song. It is so cool to hear everyone yelling and getting into it, and getting energized for the home team!

To everyone, near and far... we hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever and however you may have celebrated! All of our love!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Greatest Baseball Player Ever

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity through work to go to the dedication of a new statue in Baltimore for Brooks Robinson. Even though he retired from baseball before I was even born, he is still my favorite baseball player of all time. I have had the chance to meet him a few times too, and he is just such an amazing guy. So after the event, I wanted to go back and see the statue up close, so on a beautiful Baltimore afternoon, Tyler and I took a walk to Camden Yards to see the statue.

The walk through Pigtown to the statue

At the new Brooks Robinson plaza right outside of the stadium.

And there it is. Most appropriately with a gold glove.

Some Brooks Robinson history, and also the explanation behind the gold glove on the statue... for Brooks's 16 gold gloves during his career!

Me and Brooks!

After checking out the statue, we walked over to the Sports Legends Museum, which has tons of sports memorabilia for Maryland sports.

The Oriole Bird from the float that brought the Orioles to town.

A replica cover from Sports Illustrated with the two Baltimore Robinsons, Brooks and Frank.

Some Cal Ripken history. The banner that hung on the warehouse outside of Oriole Park (where we had our wedding reception) marking Cal Ripken's record breaking 2131 game.

Our two favorite mascots from Baltimore, the Oriole Bird and Poe from the Ravens!

Some Baltimore football history. Johnny Unitas, the best quarterback in NFL history

Tyler got to test his skills as a goalie in the lacrosse exhibit.

And I got to be apart of the Preakness exhibit.

And we got to rub Testudo's nose on the way out. Good luck for the players of University of Maryland athletics.

And the day wasn't over without a stop at Pickles Pub for a beer and some Old Bay fries!

A great Baltimore sports day, and we recommend that everyone check out the museum when you are in the city!