Peanut Butter Fudge

Growing up, making homemade fudge with my grandma, who our whole family lovingly called Baba, was always a sweet, special time. Every Christmas, we’d have a day devoted to “makin’ candy” and she’d have all the ingredients laid out, the pans buttered, and her apron on.

10636141_10152719144859328_7025704446969539574_n

She was the best cook in the world, and as mischievous and playful as they come. My memories with her as a little girl are treasures that I’m so grateful for. And what I wouldn’t give for my little girl to be able to have those same memories with her. We all miss her every day!

13124957_1076570842366086_8038774573679902769_n13166001_1076570852366085_9088749757346110974_n

Now, my Mama and I continue the “candy makin'” tradition every year at Christmas in her honor. This year, Landon sopped the spoon and couldn’t stop saying “mmmmm!” Do you ever have days that you wish you could just freeze in your memory forever? That’s what this day was like for me. What a treasure!

IMG_9331.jpg

Once you’ve had this fudge, it’s honestly hard to eat any other kind. This really is the best recipe… and I might be just a littttle biased. It’s not grainy or dry like some fudge recipes are, and the flavor is perfect – not too peanut buttery (if there is such a thing), not too much vanilla, and it makes a ton – so there’s plenty to give to your friends and neighbors!

It’s so easy and fun to make!

Ingredients:

  • One jar of marshmallow fluff
  • One bag of peanut butter chips
  • Two sticks of real butter
  • 5 cups of sugar
  • One can of cream
  • One teaspoon of vanilla
  • A little bit of butter to grease your pan with

Instructions:

  • First, go ahead and butter grease your pan. It should be a big, deep baking pan.
  • Put marshmallow cream and peanut butter chips in a large bowl.
  • In a pot on the stove on medium heat, begin stirring together 5 cups of sugar, can of cream, and both sticks of butter. You must stir continuously.
  • When this mixture comes to a boil, continue stirring and boil for 7 minutes.
  • After the 7 minutes of stirring while boiling, pour into bowl over marshmallow fluff and peanut butter chips, add teaspoon of vanilla, and stir until well mixed. Everything should be well dissolved and creamy.
  • Then, quickly pour into greased pan (it begins to harden quickly) and allow to sit overnight.
  • The next morning, your fudge will be ready to cut!
Advertisements

The Billy Graham Library at Christmas

We went to the Billy Graham Library one night this week and I shared some video clips of our time there on my insta story. I was so surprised to have several people message me asking where we were, all very interested but never having been. My family has been going to the Billy Graham Library for years, ever since it first opened in 2007. It’s a special place to go at any time of year, but Christmastime is my favorite!

The atmosphere is so peaceful and there’s so much to see, including Billy Graham’s childhood home, which was built in 1927 and moved onto the property. The Gospel is presented beautifully and it’s a great place to go spend a few hours or a whole day! There’s even a cute little cafe there, and my Mama loves their chicken salad sandwiches. At Christmas, there is a live nativity and lights and the biggest, most beautiful tree in the lobby. It’s such a pretty place, and you can truly feel the Lord’s presence.

IMG_9530IMG_9426IMG_9439IMG_9445IMG_9464IMG_9478IMG_9507

You can read more about the Library here and find directions and more details about hours, parking, and admission (which is free) here.

Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments

My cousin, Kristen and I are six months apart and our little boys are also six months apart. It was so much fun growing up together and now watching our boys together is so special! Briggs is such a sweetheart and I can only imagine all the fun he and Landon will have as they get older… and all the trouble they’ll get in together!

We finally got around to making handmade Christmas ornaments this year and it was so easy and fun, I want to share the recipe! There are tons of different recipes and instructions for salt dough ornaments on Pinterest, and we were really happy with the way these turned out!

You may notice that the holes are at the wrong end of some of our ornaments… and we really don’t have any excuse except #blonde and #pregnancybrain – and also, keeping toddlers out of trouble while trying to make happy Christmas memories! Hahaha honestly, I think it makes me love them even more!

IMG_9288.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Straw for poking hole
  • Ribbon for hanging
  • Paint for decorating

Instructions:

  • Mix together ingredients, kneading into a thick dough.
  • Sprinkle flour onto surface and rolling pin so dough doesn’t stick.
  • Roll out dough, just like you would sugar cookie dough.
  • Press baby’s hand or foot into dough, cut out around it, and use a straw to poke a hole for hanging.
  • Bake on lined baking sheet for 3 hours at 200 degrees.
  • Once cool, paint and allow to dry and attach ribbon for hanging.

IT’S A GIRL!

Landon is getting a SISTER and Grayson and I couldn’t be more thrilled! I dared to utter that I had a feeling it was a girl a few times during my first trimester, but was not 100% sure. All I had to go by was how I felt, which just seemed different than how I felt when I was pregnant with Landon. With Landon, I experienced no nausea whatsoever, but this time around, I did struggle through a few weeks of queasiness (although not nearly as bad as some friends of mine have). I never actually got sick, but was noticeably more sensitive to smells and sometimes felt very nauseas at random times throughout the day.

At the end of my first trimester, I chose to have the genetic testing that checks for markers indicating chromosome abnormalities pointing to Downs Syndrome and Spina Bifida. I realize this is very controversial and I totally understand why some women feel that there is no need for this testing, especially considering that I am 100% pro-life, no matter what. But, I wanted to do the testing, just to give myself peace of mind (and I did so with Landon, as well). I didn’t think that gender results would come back with this testing, but… it did!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but I love the way Jesus works! The week of Halloween brought about a terrible stomach virus to my little family. It started with Landon, then I got sick, and then Gray and my Mama, too. We struggled through it, but it wasn’t pretty and as soon as I felt well enough, I threw the windows open and began cloroxing like a crazy person. Grayson caught the bug on a Sunday night and was up every hour that night sick as could be. The next morning, he was still in bad shape, so he got a substitute teacher and decided to take a half day to rest (which he never, ever does, so ya know it had to be bad). And that’s when the phone rang…

The doctor called to share the results of my genetic testing and had good news! Everything looked normal and our baby was healthy! I was so thankful and relieved, and glad once again that I had chosen to do the testing. Then, she asked me if I wanted to know the gender! I couldn’t believe it! The gender? At 13 weeks? Ahhhh! I put the phone on speaker just in time for Grayson and me to hear it together.

“It’s a baby girl!”

I lost it, ya’ll. All the tears. They came out of nowhere and didn’t stop. I couldn’t believe it. When I go to the doctor, I mentally prepare myself for days ahead of time. I wasn’t even expecting to hear the results of genetic testing for two more days, and I definitely wasn’t expecting to find out the gender! If Gray hadn’t been sick and at home that morning, we would never have been able to hear that news together! I’m telling ya, my God is a God who cares about the little details, and that makes me love Him even more.

IMG_9306.jpgFullSizeRender.jpg


 

We chose a name for our little girl, should God ever entrust us with such a gift, a long time ago, before we even got married. We knew that we would want to name her after someone who means the world to us, someone who is a role model to us both, someone who loves the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength, and who we love dearly. Tony Harper. The man who has faithfully served our church for 40 years, a man who fought for our country, a man who is completely sold out to Jesus and loves his family like Christ loves the church… He has the biggest heart, loves people with an selflessness that is unmatched, and has more integrity than anyone I know. He not only married Grayson and me, but also filled a role that no one else could have. He walked me down the aisle. He’s loved me like a Daddy should have, and was not only there when I was born, but also when my son was born 23 years later. He and his precious wife, Karen, have been so influential in our lives and we are so honored to give our daughter their namesake. Tony is a rock, a tree planted by streams of water, and his humbleness and faithfulness will be his legacy forever.

10917888_10205644492537264_4254537006326890601_n10917418_10205798412105157_4658848137427343692_nfullsizeoutput_5ab.jpeg

Nothing I could say about him would do justice to the amount of love in my heart, but with all that being said, we are honored to name our little girl Harper Gray Bedenbaugh.

IMG_3896.jpg

Photo by M.Lanier Photography

Elk River Evergreens: A new favorite tradition

Every year for my entire life, the weekend after Thanksgiving, we’d tromp through my uncle Bill’s tree patch to find the perfect Christmas tree. We’d chop it down, he’d bale it for us, and we’d go home and listen to Christmas music, Mama would make a big pot of soup, and we’d decorate our tree. Those are some of my most cherished Christmas memories.

My uncle Bill was a special man. Unapologetically himself. You’d really have to have known him to know what I mean, but lets just say he was one of a kind and I loved him very much. He was one of the first people we told that we were pregnant with Landon, and we snapped this picture right after we told him the news. What I wouldn’t give for our kids to have the same sweet memories with him that I have!

12299322_10208034224199062_6637421743577619087_n.jpg

My uncle Bill died two years ago, and we knew after his death, picking out our Christmas tree would never be the same. It really was, in some ways, the end of an era.

So, Landon’s first Christmas was our first year having to find our tree elsewhere. I was sad and wanted so badly to find a new tradition to treasure with my baby. We scrambled around at the last minute and finally chose a little tree lot where we were able to get a pretty tree and snap a few pictures to remember Landon’s first tree-picking experience. It was fine, but I wasn’t really satisfied with it. I wanted something more. Something special. Something we’d all look forward to year after year.

fullsizeoutput_b5dIMG_6034

This year, we set out to find a Christmas tree and I vaguely remembered seeing a friend of mine post a picture at a tree farm nearby on Instagram. I couldn’t remember if she had said the exact location, so I went back and found her post, and sure enough, it said “Elk River Evergreens.” We made our way down to Elk Park, which is only about 15 minutes from my grandparent’s house in Banner Elk, with no idea what to expect. We had high hopes, and I am so glad to say that our experience there far exceeded our expectations!

Come to find out, her family actually owns this tree farm and let me just say that you could feel the love, happiness, and excitement buzzing around the entire property. There were a ton of people there – hundreds even- and everything was so well organized. There were workers there helping guide the cars as you parked, and then once you got out, a worker met you and asked your name and where you’re from, which they wrote on a tag and gave you to attach to the tree once you’d picked it out. There were thousands of beautiful trees to choose from, a hay ride that took you up the hill, and they gave you a card with the prices listed and clear instructions for what to do once you’d found your tree.

We had the most fun looking through the trees, just letting Landon run and play and explore. This year, everything is so fascinating for him. It’s like he’s seeing everything for the first time and I wish I could just bottle up the wonder and awe in his eyes. It’s magical.

IMG_8552IMG_8605IMG_8609IMG_8663

The farm has tons of cute photo ops, super friendly workers, and a cute cafe complete with checkers on every table where you can get hot chocolate, apple cider, and popcorn. They even had little bags of animal crackers for the kiddos, all completely free of charge.

IMG_8651

There is also a gift shop where you can purchase beautiful, unique ornaments and Christmas decor. They sell wreaths there, too, and you have a chance to look at everything and get a snack while they bale your tree and take it to your car for you.

IMG_8644

For some families, finding a new place to get a Christmas tree would be no big deal, but for mine it was truly an answer to prayers. I don’t like change and really value traditions, so after my uncle Bill’s death, this new tradition to begin with our growing family is something I just can’t stop talking about! It’s been several weeks and I’m still telling everyone about it!

IMG_8687

I know this post is a little late, because by December 6th most people already have their trees up, but I just had to share what a great experience my family had at Elk River Evergreens in Elk Park, NC. If you haven’t got a tree yet, you still have time! Their last day of the season is this coming Sunday, December 10th and I promise, it’s worth the drive! We are already looking forward to going back next year! To see their facebook page, click here!