Thursday, December 30, 2010

WINNER: Pillsbury Toaster Strudel: "Million Morning Smiles" prize pack

Congratulations to comment #13  Geoffrey!!!!  You are the winner of the Pillsbury Toaster Strudel: "Million Morning Smiles" prize pack!!!  Prize pack is provided by Pillsbury through MyBlogSpark.

An e-mail has been sent - Please respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be picked!  Thanks!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A December to Remember!

I can't believe December is almost over...and Christmas is two days away!!!  Since I'm REALLY behind on posting pictures I thought I would post a couple from each event in December.  Our biggest news is that Eric graduated & got a job, so we are moving to Georgia!  But don't worry...I will ALWAYS be a Gator fan!  lol.

*Annual Pond Lighting at the North Florida Regional Medical Center, Gainesville
This is a fun event for anyone to go see during the Christmas season.  They have a count down to light up the whole area surrounding the pond!  It was really pretty.  They also had free hot chocolate and cookies, Santa and Mrs. Clause, The Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, and live entertainment (mostly singing).

*SeaWorld with Kristina, Jenna, and Owen
I was so glad to FINALLY get to hang out with my old roomies (and Owen) again!  I have always loved SeaWorld!  The Clyde and Seamore show with the sea lions is my favorite!  The sea lions have such great personality's!  The (fairly) new roller coaster, Manta, is a lot of fun.  You are sitting upright, but right before you take off they turn the seats, so you are in a position as if you were flying like Superman.   The only downside was that the Shamu show just isn't the same since the trainers no longer get in the water with the killer whales.  :( 

They decorate SeaWorld nice for the holiday.  They have Christmas trees all in the water, decorations, and lots of lights.  I even received a little glass dolphin ornament for being a season passholder.  Also, I think the Christmas ice skating show is new...and was fun to watch!  I love seeing all the costume changes...and of course the ice skating itself!

---SEAWORLD HINT--- Jenna & Owen found out that if you are a Florida Resident, instead of buying a single day ticket you can get a "Fun Card" for the same price...which allows you to come back to SeaWorld as many times as you want until the end of 2011!!!  We got ours upgraded at the counter since we originally bought single day tickets.

*Alpha-1 Christmas Party
Great food and company at our annual Christmas party!

*Epcot and Hollywood Studios with the Fam
For lunch we ate at Restaurant Marraskesh, which had Moroccan food (think couscous, cinnamon, thin pastries, lamb, and kebabs).  They have live music and a belly dancer perform on a stage in the middle of the restaurant.  Afterwards, we got to see Whoopi Goldberg tell the Christmas story at the Candlelight Processional.  The story of Jesus' birth is told in between Christmas songs from a choir and orchestra. 
--EPCOT CHRISTMAS PROCESSIONAL HINT-- We got the dinner package where you eat a meal at one of the restaurants in Epcot and then get guaranteed seating for the Candlelight Processional show.  I would highly advise you doing this package if you want to see the show, because it fills up QUICK.  The whole seating area seemed to almost be completely filled by the time the special guests and dinner package peeps got in.

After Epcot, we headed over to HollyWood Studios to see the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  The whole street is filled with lights that dance to the music.  Sadly, these were the last pictures taken by my precious Canon camera.  :(  I think there was some kind of electrical charge in the area that just killed it because my mom and I took a picture at the same time, my camera turned off (forever) and her screen went all wacky and had lines on it.  So...I'm under the impression that Disney killed my camera.

*Paula Deen's Restaurant, The Lady & Sons- Savannah, GA
If I had a bucket list...eating at Paula Deen's restaurant would be on it!  I guess admiring her butter loving recipes from afar has deeply intrigued me to want to try some of them first hand.  I finally got my chance this month!  I had seen mixed reviews on the restaurant, so I wasn't expecting too much....but we were pleasantly surprised!  Eric and I both got the buffet and it was SO delicious!  EVERYTHING was good!  Great hoe cakes and cheese biscuits, creamed corn, sweet tea (was SO good!), yams, fried chicken, collared greens, mashed potatoes....I mean I could go on and on.

I would definitely say it is worth the wait...which by the way--you have to do in the morning!  The restaurant does not take reservations unless you have a party of 10 or more (except on special holidays like Valentine's Day).  To get a seat for the day you have to go by the hostess station the morning you want to go and get a time slot to eat.  I hear that during the tourist season the line can start a couple of hours before the hostess even starts taking names.  I think the hostess starts taking names at 9:30am.  I was there at 9:15am and was the first in line.  Shortly after, people started lining up behind me.  I think the line was so short because it was freezing outside!  Lucky us!  lol.

*Eric's Graduation
Congrats to my wonderful husband for getting an Engineering degree from the University of Florida!

*Ugly Christmas Sweater/ Cookie Party at Work
What do you think about our Christmas sweaters?  Ugly or not?  And which one wins...the black or pink one??  :)

Sorry that this is like a MEGA post.  Have a very Merry Christmas and fabulous New Year!!
<3 Christa

Thursday, December 16, 2010

WINNER: Eat, Pray, Love

Congratulations to comment #8  GMR!!!!  You are the winner of the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert!  An e-mail has been sent - Please respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be picked!  Thanks!

Pillsbury Toaster Strudel: "Million Morning Smiles" prize pack GIVEAWAY!

Your chance to win a Pillsbury Toaster Strudel: "Million Morning Smiles" prize pack BELOW!!!
Prize pack is provided by Pillsbury through MyBlogSpark and includes: A free box of Pillsbury Pastry Strudels of your choice, a Pillsbury® Doughboy® Giggle Doll, along with a smiley face-themed mug, placemat and stress ball.
When your morning routine has you in a hurry, make it a better morning with Pillsbury® Toaster Strudel® frozen pastries. A simple pleasure with sweet filling, creamy icing, and flaky crust, Pillsbury Toaster Strudel pastries are the ones everyone will want to eat - and decorate too! Since every Toaster Strudel pastry can be personalized with your own icing design, your family can gather around the table to kick off the day with a fun delight that will keep everyone smiling all day long!

I decided to try the Cinnamon Roll with Brown Sugar Toaster Strudel.  It was DELICIOUS and so easy to make!  Each toaster strudel comes with it's own little icing packet that has a little spout, making it easy to make whatever design you choose. 

This is how my husband likes his icing.  He calls it "full coverage".

I made a smiley face with my icing.  I think it would be really fun for kids.
You just pop them in the toaster and put your icing on.  They are warm and the pastry part is flaky and yummy.  Needless to say our box didn't last long!

Want a chance to win a month's worth of toaster strudels?!
Pillsbury is also giving you the chance to win Toaster Strudel pastries for a month through the "A Million Morning Smiles" sweepstakes. With over 2,000 winners per week, simply visit and enter to win four boxes of Toaster Strudel from now through February 7, 2011.

Now on to the giveaway!---

 -Please separate each entry with a new comment and leave an e-mail address in case you WIN!!!  If it says +2 entries then write two comments for that entry.

Mandatory Entry (+1 entry) (You must answer this question for all of your other entries to count!) -What tips do you have for making weekday mornings easier for you and your family??

Bonus Entries
- Visit the Pillsbury Toaster Strudel Site and comment on which flavor you would like to try. (+1 entry)
- Follow @Pillsbury on twitter and tweet about this giveaway.  You can use this tweet - #WIN a Pillsbury "Million Morning Smiles" prize pack! @christauf4 @pillsbury #myblogspark (+1 entry per day)
- Follow me via Google Friend Connect. (+2 entries) 

Giveaway will end December 30, 2010 at midnight.  Winner will be selected using and will be notified via e-mail.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be picked.
Thanks and good luck!  :)
Disclamer:  I received a "Million Morning Smiles" prize pack to review and one to give away from Pillsbury through MyBlogSpark.  I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Review and Giveaway: Eat, Pray, Love

I still haven't seen the movie (which I plan on doing soon...I always like to read the book before I see the movie), but I finally finished Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  The book is a compilation of stories from her travels around Italy, India, and Indonesia after an awful divorce.  It's her personal search for happiness; learning more about her self with each experience she encounters in these very different places.  My favorite parts of the book were probably her experiences in Italy- eating, enjoying friends, and eating some more!  lol.  In India she practiced meditation at an Ashram and in Indonesian she hung out with a medicine man and met some unforgettable people.
I wasn't the fastest at reading this book (and sadly will most likely not reach my 20 book goal for the year), but I really enjoyed her down to earth writing style.  Elizabeth Gilbert really puts herself out there, and I think this honesty makes her relatable and interesting.  She also just has a way with words.  She can describe a person, place, or situation in a way that I would never think of, but it fits so well.  I definitely think it is a book worth checking out. 

I figured I would give away my slightly used version of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, so someone else can enjoy it!  :)

-U.S. Residents Only
-No P.O. Boxes
-Please separate each entry with a new comment and leave an e-mail address in case you WIN!!!  If it says +2 entries then write two comments for that entry.

Mandatory Entry (+1 entry) (You must answer this question for all of your other entries to count!) - What makes you want to read Eat, Pray, Love?  (That's it--and you have 1 entry!)

Bonus Entries
- Have you read any of Elizabeth Gilbert's other books or seen the Eat, Pray, Love movie? (+1 entry)
- Visit Elizabeth Gilbert's Website and tell me about something interesting you found. (+1 entry)
- Add @christauf4 on twitter and tweet about this giveaway.  You can use this tweet -  #WIN the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert! @christauf4 #GIVEAWAY (+1 entry per day)
- Follow me via Google Friend Connect. (+2 entries)

Giveaway will end December 15, 2010 at midnight.  Winner will be selected using and will be notified via e-mail.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be picked.
Thanks and good luck!  :)
Disclamer:  I received this book as a gift from my mom.  I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own! 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hey Dude!!!

November 12-14, 2010:  Eric and I met up with family for a weekend of fun at the Westgate River Ranch Resort in River Ranch, Florida.  Everyone keeps asking me if it was like the show Hey Dude that used to be on Nickelodeon.  lol.  Maybe yes, maybe no (I can't quite remember much about the show except that I used to love it!).  My family got there Thursday (I think), so they got to do a couple more things that we didn't (like horse back riding) get to experience (since we had to wait until I got off work and Eric got out of class in Friday).  Here are some pictures/videos of our adventures!

Our cabin -- It was really nice...just like a hotel, but with a full kitchen and living room.

 The "adults" enjoying the pontoon boat ride

Before dinner we went on a hay ride complete with a singing cowboy (Eric just LOVES country music...hahaha).

We saw a lot of COWS!
The hay ride brought us back and we were on to the BBQ for dinner!

I'm not sure this worked....nice try guys
Emily and MacKenna petting the horses behind our cabin

Saturday night we all headed out for the RODEO!

There was bull riding and barrel racing!

They also had a contest where kids had to try to grab a ribbon from calves tails

MacKenna and our friend
 Mom went skeet shooting on her birthday and actually hit a few!

Dad shooting a bow
 That was pretty much the extent of our activities.  I think we packed a lot into such a short trip. 

I want to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING  to all of ya'll!!  I am SO thankful for God, friends, family, and lots more things that I will not list for time's sake.  I hope everyone stays safe and eats TONS of good food!  I've already been to like 3 Thanksgiving dinners and it isn't even Thanksgiving yet!

*I'm going to do a giveaway for the book Eat,Pray,Love -- so stayed tuned for it!

Also-- A fellow blogger, Girl Gone Mom, is having an amazing giveaway for a Keurig Special Edition Brewing System!!!  My parents just got a Keurig and it's amazing!  It's really easy to work and your drink is ready in minutes!  CLICK HERE to find out more information and enter!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Pioneer Woman's Soul Sweet 'Taters

There are two activities that I VERY much enjoy doing...browsing cookbooks (of course they have to have pictures!) and food blogs!  Food.  Yum.  What more can I say?

So you can fully understand why I have become obsessed with The Pioneer Woman's website.  It's amazing!  Not only does she post recipes, but she takes gorgeous pictures-- documenting the whole cooking process from start to finish!

This brings me to my first attempt at making a recipe from THE Pioneer Woman (Did I mention I saw her cookbook at Target this week and got really excited?!).  We had a Thanksgiving themed party at work today for Dana's Birthday and I decided to make sweet potatoes.  CLICK HERE for the recipe and pictures for these "Soul Sweet 'Taters" from the Pioneer Woman.

Preparing my ingredients for the topping

They were really easy to make, but I'm not sure my topping came out the way it was supposed to (hint, hint -- it didn't look like her pictures!).  I prepared the sweet potato mixture the night before and everything was going great.  The next morning I got up to make the topping and stick it in the oven.  I'm really not sure why, but my topping looked totally different than what it was supposed to look like.  I did use brown sugar instead of light brown sugar.  That's one difference.  The rest...I'm not sure.  Her's looks more appealing...a nice, crumby topping.  Mine looked more like poop, but all that matters is that is tasted good (I mean how can you go wrong when it is filled with sugar?!).  Everyone at work said they liked it, so I call it a success and would recommend making it has a Thanksgiving side dish (or dessert!).

Before putting the mixture in the oven -- it's brown sugar people!
I would have posted a picture of the final product, but I didn't bring my camera to work where it was consumed by my fellow hungry co-workers (and myself!).  :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Favorite Sister Stores - Bath & Body Works / Victoria's Secret

Hello all!

I'm getting really excited for the holiday season!  Eric and I went to Bath & Body Works last week and got a candle that smells just like a Christmas tree (Fresh Balsam) to burn next to our four foot fake Christmas tree.  Maybe it will seem like a real tree?!  lol.  I definitely want to start buying "real" Christmas trees once we get settled somewhere (not sure we could fit one anywhere in our current apartment).  So anyways, we bought this great candle and a holiday "sleeve" to go around it.  Here's a link to the sleeves on the Bath & Body Works website -- Candle Sleeves.  We got the "Village" sleeve which has a snowman, Christmas tree, and snowflake on it.  The only bad part is that they are easy to get fingerprints on...but that is going to happen with almost any silver like product.  The best part is that they are only $5!!!  A cheap, easy way to add some holiday cheer to your candle (and room!). 

Then--- It's November!!!---And that doesn't just mean my birthday has arrived-- It's Secret Reward Month at Victoria's Secret.  All you have to do is buy a minimum of $10 worth of merchandise (up until Nov. 30th) and you will receive a Secret Reward card that can be redeemed Dec. 1-19, 2010 for $10, $50, $100, or $500 dollars off your purchase!  You don't know how much it is worth until you redeem it, but every card is at least $10 off your purchase.  So...why am I so excited about this?!  Well...because I won the $500 off last year! really does happen to people!  (And I can hope with all my might that it will happen again!)  ;)  Being my cheap self, I was going to buy something that was a little over $10.  After the cashier rang up my reward card she said I had a balance of 400 and something dollars.  I was like, "Are you kidding?!".  COMPLETE shock ensued.  All I could say was thank you and slowing walk away while customers in line sent there congratualations my way.  Once I got home I was bouncing off the walls, running around my living room screaming!  I can't imagine I will get anything more than $10 off again, but a girl can dream right?! 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Very Happy Birthday to Me

I've had a great birthday week!  Thanks to all my family and close friends who celebrated with me!  It's always a special treat getting to spend time with the people you love most, but don't always get to see frequently.

October 29-30, 2010:  My family (Mom, Dad, Steven) came to visit us Friday night and Saturday.  Friday night we went to the new Genghis Grill  that recently opened up in Gainesville.  If you click the link they have a little video that shows you what it looks like.  We all thought it was really good.  They give you a silver bowl that you take up and fill with a selection of meats, vegetables, spices, and sauces.  Then you take it over to the grill, choose your carbs, and sit back down while they prepare it.  When they are done they bring it back to your table for your eating pleasure.  I think it's cool because you can make your food exactly how you want it (vegetarians and vegans can actually pick stuff out to eat here).

After dinner, we celebrated with an assorted variety of cheesecakes and games.  I hassled people into playing Just Dance 2 for Wii (my parent's got me it as a birthday gift) with me.  I was getting mad because Eric kept beating me (and he shouldn't!), but don't worry I'm going to work on it and start beating him!  I move more than him...he just pays attention to the one hand you have the Wii remote in because that is how it scores you.  This is why I want the XBOX 360 no one can cheat!!!

On Saturday we met Josh and Kristina at the Micanopy Fall Harvest Festival.  The festival had lots of vendors selling food and crafts.  The place was packed!

After the festival, Kristina and Josh came over to watch the FL vs. GA game.  How exciting was that?!  It was definitely a nail biter...I had a headache the whole last part of the game (especially when they went into overtime).  I'm SO glad we won though!  And that win against Vandy yesterday wasn't too shabby either.  Let's hope next week's game against South Carolina ends in us going to the SEC Championship!

During halftime we played Just Dance 2.  It was a lot of fun.  While sadly there is no video evidence of Kristina and I's amazing dance skills...some how there is some of Eric and Josh!  ;)  They probably got higher scores anyway since the boys seem to be the masters at this game.  So please...enjoy the video below!

November 1-6, 2010:  The rest of the week I got to celebrate with other friends and family.  I got to see Jenna, Owen, Kristina, Josh, Mrs. Karen, and Mr. Reggy.  Thanks to everyone!!  I love you all!!