Seeing Doubles… of Santa?

So I don’t usually get too excited about the final products of the crafts I make. Mostly because they are not up to my rediculously high standards of having that store-bought look. But I have to tell you. That has all changed.

A few weeks ago I was looking for an easy Christmas painting to try out on one of the many canvases laying in my basement. I looked for a while until I came across this blog.

She showed how she made her very own version of an expensive Pottery Barn painting and for a fraction of the cost! Might I add the original Pottery Barn Santa was over $100?!?  I loved how it looked but wanted a similar look without putting a dent in my pocket. I was sold.

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^^ Santa on the left is my vintage-Santa and the one on the right is my retro-Santa. The vintage-Santa is the print that is used on the original over-priced Pottery Barn Santa.

This project takes very few materials and if you can trace a picture and color in the lines, you can accomplish this one.

The first step is finding a Santa picture you like (or any picture for that matter). I found both of these (A and B). The one on the left (A) was the original Pottery Barn art that I fell in love with, but I also loved the retro-ness of the one on the right (B).

So I tried both.

I printed the images out and with the side of a pencil, shaded the entire back of the image. Then, I flipped the image over so it was laying face up on the canvas. Make sure to tape down the image on your canvas otherwise the paper will slip and you’ll lose your tracing lines.

I then traced the entire Santa face. Tracing it will then transfer the shading from the opposite side onto the canvas. I will warn you it will be VERY light. So after I was done tracing the Santa face, I went over the faint lines on the canvas once more with a pencil. This made it SO much easier to see.

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Now that I had the picture on my canvas, all I had to do was paint! I picked up some paint pens, ones that have a calligraphy tip, to make angles easier. You can pick any color, but I chose gold for my retro-Santa and silver for my vintage-Santa.

I filled in the lines with my paint, referring back to the original image when necessary. And that’s it! If you want, you can add a colorful border which I plan on doing.

Or if you’re feeling extra whimsical, you can go over your paint with clear ModgePodge and then cover it in glitter. I bought gold glitter for my retro-Santa but was so happy with how it turned out, I decided against the glitter.

It was such an easy project and one that I can now use for other holidays. You can really make it as personal as you want since you are the one making it your own. I don’t know why I never thought to do this before.  So please don’t spend an arm and a leg for holiday canvas! Just make your own!

So, tell me! Which Santa do you like better?

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Come back soon to see where I place it in our new placeand be sure to check out A Bowl Full of Lemons  and Ladybug Blessings for other great craft ideas!

Game Day: Pick a Jersey, Any Jersey

I have not always been the biggest football fan. Growing up I would roll my eyes when my dad or brother had it on TV, just waiting till I could change the channel.

But over the years (I think high school football was the change) I have slowly started associating football with fall, and even started paying attention to the game. Thank goodess I did, too, because when I met David, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

He’s from Texas. Where football is bred in kids from a small age. So when David and I started dating, as with most couples picking up on each others interests, I started becoming more interested in football (mostly so I could understand what he was yelling at the TV). Now I’ve grown to love the sport, not as much as David, but enough to go to all the NFL football stadiums to see the Houston Texans play (and to head to Indiana in December for a game).

With that said, we are a split household. David is a Texans fan. And naturally, I’m a Detroit Lions fan. But because we are in different conferences and barley play each other, this hardly ever seems to be an issue. So I tend to root the Texans on too, as he also does with the Lions.

If you are looking for any NFL jerseys this holiday season I would suggest looking to Fanatics. They are a great company for purchasing your jerseys from, as you can get any from the high end of jerseys to the more moderatly priced ones and all teams in between. But when I was putting together my outfit, I couldn’t just do one, now could I?! I had to support both of my teams.

So here are a few outfit ideas if you are heading to the big game this Sunday. Obviously if you’re heading to a Lions game you’ll want to bundle up a bit more, hence the sweater for underneath. And I figured with the Texans you could get away with some lighter layers. Let me know which outfit you’d wear! And yes, you can base it on which team you root for…

NFL-Game-DayI had to represent my boy JJ Watt for the Texans. He.Is.An.Animal.

But be sure to check out Fanatics for all your jersey needs! This is a perfect Christmas gift for the NFL lover in your life. And I’m sure you’ll find something in your price range, too!

oh Hey Friday | holiday prep

Is it just me, or did this week just fly by?! And I gotta say I am NOT complaining about it. Another week has come and gone and with that comes Fridays. I think I’m really enjoying linking with The Farmers Wife and SEPTEMBER Farm so here I go, once again.

1. The holidays are pretty much around the corner. And as much as I try to hold off on Christmas decorations and peppermint flavored coffee, I can’t help but sneak a Christmas song or two into my Pandora time. But then again I’m that person who at the age of 15 went through a serious  Christmas phase in the middle of August and listened to nothing BUT Christmas music… That probably doesn’t lean on the side of normal, does it? So what do YOU think is the right time to pull out the holiday gear? Nov.1 too early? Or are you someone who waits till right before December 25?

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^^ I sure do love Christmas.

2. Would you like to meet my husband? OF COURSE YOU DO!  He was recently in a national commercial for his work at Quicken Loans in Detroit. Yes, you read right. NATIONAL. ESPN, CNN, you know the usual.I used to work at Quicken and it was such a postive expereince. But he’s just killin’ it over there. Check out the following commercial! He’s at 00:27 and again at 01:05. He’s the sharp lookin’ one in the pink shirt (I dressed him that day so I get some credit, right?)

3. Last year I made a full set of Gift Guides for the Christmas season. Just some unique trinkets or gifts to get for various people in your life. Last year I made gift guides for your man in your life, for kids, for gadget lovers, the outdoorsman, the jokester and several others. Let me know if you have any ideas as to who I should touch upon this year. I’ve already got some great ideas and some even better gifts planned for the gift guides. Can’t wait to show you! Remeber this one from last year?

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^^Last year’s gift guide for the guys.

4. Last weekend was a happy one. Two of my best friends came and visited, one from D.C. and the other from South Bend, IN. There is something about being an adult and far away from your girlfriends that is very difficult. It’s not something I expected but I find myself just missing having a girl around. When I left for college, I specifically chose to not continue most of my friendships back home, as they were not necessarily healthy friendships or people I wanted in my life. Now it’s biting me in the butt a bit because all of my friends from college are scattered across the country. David, who most of you know moved up here from Texas, even has more friends up here than I do. I guess it’s a transition point in life. I’m gonna need to befriend some local people I think. Do they have such things as blind friend-dates? ……And yes… I am now realizing how lame that sounds…

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5. Has anyone decided what they’re doing for a New Years resolution? Okay, I realize I’m jumping the gun. It’s not even Thanksgiving and I’m talking New Years already? But I’m very excited this time around! I’m not a huge fan of the idea of “resolutions” mostly because I just can’t seem to make it past February. But last year I said I wanted to read more. Which I did. And this year, I plan to run more. So much more that I am even planning to do one race a month. Even if it’s just a 5k, come January 1, I will be running in my first race on New Years Day. The whole plan is to build up to a half marathon. The idea of a half marathon has me shakin’ in my boots but I guess now is a better time than any to start. Now I just have to get used to running in the cold. Any ideas for resolutions just yet?

Thanks again to The Famer’s Wife and SEPTEMBER Farm for hosting today’s link up and be sure to check out their blogs! Have a happy Friday :)

10 Things I Do to Make Me Feel Like I have My Life Under Control

Too long of a blog post title? Nahhhh.

I’ve only been at this new job for a week and a half. But already work is piling up to my earlobes. Not that I’m not used to being busy, because I am. But I have found in my life that I go through spurts of feeling like my life is a spiraling whirlwind that I have no control over. So I’ve taken up a few… practices, if you will, to make me feel like I have my life even just a teensy bit under control.

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  1. Talk it out. Give yourself a place and a someone to vent to. We’re human and we need interaction and we are certainly not meant to bottle things up. Just talk.With someone. Anyone. Husband. Friend. Therapist. Even if all you’re talking about is how you feel like you don’t have your life in control, TALKING about it helps. It allows you to mentally process and even get feedback, if needed. I’m quite the chatter box, but when it comes to putting my frustrations out in words, I have a much harder time. But once I’ve actually taken the time to talk with someone, I instantly feel better.
  2. Schedule Relaxing. Even if it’s only once a month. Schedule it. Now here’s the hard part. Don’t miss it. It’s very hard for me to relax. I’ve told David that even when we’re on vacation I have a hard time relaxing because I can’t stop thinking about everything I’ll have to do when I get back home. Bath it up. Add some salts. Grab a magazine. Join the pedi-mani life. Coffee on the front porch. Take a nap. Or just lay in bed and stare at the ceiling. Whatever you can accomplish in terms of relaxing is a huge win in my book.524885_3436266105050_937293532_n
  3. Say What You Mean. This is always a big help in terms of taking some things off your plate. I’m a yes person. I don’t like to say no to people but I’m starting to learn it’s a way of taking care of yourself. Say No. Make use of that word. By saying it, you’re already in control of something. But as much as you may want to say yes all the time you’re body just may not be able to handle it. Do yourself a favor and don’t commit to everything. You certainly don’t want to burn out.
  4. Write It down. Courtesy of my mother, I am a list maker. So I write everything I need to do down. The big mistake I used to make was having a lot of little lists. Well what do you think is going to happen with a lot of lists? They are going to get lost. So put them in one spot. On an app in your phone (Clear is a great one to download). Post its. A notepad. Pick one. And stick to it.
  5. Keep What You Need. Toss the rest. It’s perfectly okay to keep things and hold on to sentimental items. But if you’re saving every little piece of clothing your child ever wore or every single A+ paper they ever got, you should probably consider downsizing. Being that I just moved I’ve found I am a PRO at throwing things away. Left and right I was tossing things out. And let me just say. It feels so good to do it!
  6. Find a Home for Everything. When you’re done using something, put it away right away And in the same spot every time. It’s basic kid stuff. But so basic that I apparently wasn’t good at it right away. But now I have a plce for everything. Digital things included. If you’re anything like me, you have albums and albums on your computer of photos.  Organize them. I don’t care how. You can decide that but I promise you’ll feel so accomplished once you go through and clean out your computer (and back it up). Also sign up for Dropbox.com. It is your friend.
  7. Get Dressed. Attempt to get dressed (hair and makeup) every day. Or at least the days you have to be ultra productive. When I was in college, I was always told by one of my professors that people who take the time to get ready in the morning tend to be more focused in class. And it was so true. Even if I had been scrubbed out all year for class, come test day I would always try and make myself more presentable. Subconciously you’re more alert and more confident. Two things I am a fan of. So when you have to get stuff done either at work or home, try to skip the sweatpants and head for the jeans.
  8. Put Away Your Watch. Or your iPhone. Just stop watching the time. Get done with what you can and don’t fret about the rest. Easier said than done, right? Everything now a days is timed and held down to the very minute. It makes life a little stressful sometimes. But I’ve found that I work better or am at least less stressed if I stop checking my watch all the time. Yes of course check it every now and then. But try and put it aside more and force yourself not to look at it for a bit. And then see how much you get done!
  9. Read this: Matt. 6:25-2725 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,[a] or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?[b]
  10. Pray. No explanation needed, really. I always feel like I’ve got my life together a little better when I start my day with prayer. Some days less than others, but I know He’s taking care of it, so why worry, right?!?

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Crushing Goals

I am a girl of goals. Not big, huge goals. But I have found over time that I work more productively if I have something in mind that I am working towards. Whether it be training for a race or to get my to-do list done by Saturday evening, I have to have it written out (take my Bucket List for example), otherwise I have a hard time staying focused. Not ADD (although some may say otherwise), I just get excited by a lot of different things all at once.

With that said. Last week I got to cross something wonderful off my Bucket List. I got promoted at work! Now, I don’t talk about work very often here on the blog for many reasons. I don’t even know if I’ve ever told you where I work. But I WILL tell you I WAS an Administrative Assistant. Which I wasn’t always proud of, but am so happy with how that job turned out. It’s easy to feel like you’re not doing anything important as an Assistant. But if you ARE one, I promise, you are doing VERY important things. I know firsthand. But NOW I am transitioning into a Web Content Specialist.

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I am so excited to get all my training done and know everything there is to know about HTML and CSS and Javascript and all those wonderful nerdy things that I’ve always been interested in learning but never thought I’d actually go into. But it’s funny to look back at how I felt when I wrote my bucket list. Being promoted was never really something I was sure of would happen. Mostly because I was an assistant. I didn’t think there was anywhere to go.

But God has bigger plans for me than I can see. All the things I complained about in my first job, He has found a way to fix in this new job. I don’t sit all by myself now. I’m on a team with other people. I have someone to actually talk to. Like, a real human being. Whattt?! I have a window! And my own thermostat! No more feeling deprived of Vitamin D or shivering under a blanket. I’m sure in time I’ll find something to complain about at the new job because let’s be honest. I’m human. As in, very, very human.

So I tell you all this so 1. You can share in my excitement, 2. So you can maybe see where you want change in your life and trust God that He’s got it all in control (as always) and 3. On a more practical note, let you know it’ll be a little harder for me to post here but I am taking a stance here and now to not let it fall by the way side. If any blogger out there has any advice for juggling a big job and their blog, I’d love a teensy bit of advice! And maybe a hug (is there such thing as an e-hug?). Cause I know I’m gonna need it as I continue into my rigorous training…

No more scheduling meetings for this girl! Just attending them! And on that note, heading out for a meeting now… I’ve got some more goals to crush!

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R.I.P. Couch: Moving Woes

We did it. Moving day has come and gone and we are officially in our new home. And let me just say I would like to avoid another moving day for quite a while. Kudos to military families who have to move a lot. I give you all a lot of brownie points.

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We are still in the process of getting rid of boxes and putting things away and hanging things on the wall. But here are the first few adventures we had in the first few days of our home. Along with photos of the mess that was our home the last few weeks. It’s a little better now and more photos will be coming soon. Hopefully. If I can find my camera in the mess…

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** First “adventure” we had started ON moving day. The movers arrived bright and early at the apartment and started using their crazy fast/heavy lifting skills to move all our boxes and furniture out in lightning speed. I was so impressed and couldn’t help but think how much LONGER this would have taken if we had not have had movers. If you’re moving… movers are a BIG help. They are the real heros out there. Anyways, so we made the trek over to our new townhome. All the boxes got inside. And then the furniture started coming in. Or at least attempting to come in.

The movers got to the couch… and were stuck. Literally. It’s a very large couch, about 8 feet long, which we had wanted in the first place. But it was about two inches too big for the door frame. The movers tried everything. There was NO getting this thing into our new home. So we asked them what they normally do when this happens…their answer? The owners generally have to toss the couch. WHAT?! We just bought this couch a year ago. And we love this couch. Turns out one of our movers was a young guy in need of a couch. He couldn’t pay anything for the couch. So. Our big blue beautiful couch was bequeathed on to our moving guy. A very sad day. But happy for him. After the movers left, David and I headed to Art Van/ Gardner White and ended up finding a smaller couch in coral (YES coral) that we fell in love with. So now we have a coral couch. The only crummy thing? All of our decorations and living room pillows, etc are all meant to go with a blue couch. Not a coral couch. So there will be some re-decoration needed in the very-near future.

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^^ Also, although I love our green TV cabinet that David painted, we are going to make the upgrade soon to something a little more natural. green and coral… weird combo…

** Next “adventure” happened when the movers were still with us. At the old place, they disassembled our bed and handed us a bag of all the screws and hardware to put the bed back together. Well if you’ve ever moved, then you know how crazy and stressful it can be. Our minds were in a million places so once we had all made it to the new place, the movers asked us for the bag of screws again so they could re-assemble the bed…….David and I looked at each other…. Do you have them?… No, do you?…. No…… Maybe we left them at the old place, I guess I’ll drive back and check (me) and you stay with the movers… So that’s what I did. I drove all the way back to the old apartment. (Meanwhile, the couch scenario is happening back at the new place). Once I arrive at the old apartment, I scrounge around for 15 minutes but the bag of screws is nowhere to be found. Long story short, after the movers left, we had to drive 30 minutes out of the way to the Gardner White warehouse and buy new screws. So now we have a bed that is stable and won’t collapse on us in the middle of the night. After a VERY long moving day, it was nice to be able to climb into the one thing that was assembled, our bed.

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^^ Turns out, this was the first room that actually started feeling homey.

** Maybe everyone else already knows this, but word to the wise… when you move to a new home, I would highly suggest bug-bombing the place first. Because we didn’t. And because we are in a townhome with a basement and such, we have bugs. Large bugs and flying bugs. The realization hit us when David started screaming, rather high pitched (although you didn’t hear that from me). Neither David or I really mind bugs at all but when we’re talking two inch long centipedes scurrying at you… you’d scream too. We found at least 5 of them when we decided to let our complex know. Thankfully they sent out an extermainator and the issue is mostly cleared up now. Thank the good Lord above cause I was afraid to go in the basement to do laundry the first few days…

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^^ Our beautifully mismatched kitchen table and set of three chairs… We never really figured out what happened to the fourth chair…Anyone know of nice dining set for sale? ;)

All in all, the move day consisted of a decent amount of stress, a few too many expletives, 2.5 tanks of gas, one leaking bottle, two rolls of packing tape, 3 rolls of bubble wrap, 50+ boxes, two vacation days and two very tired people. But it’s done. In one long weekend we were able to finish the move. I will say that it’s an understament to say I’m happy it’s over. And now we’ve started the next process… Decorating. Thankfully there is less of a timeline on that one.  But at the end of the day, I can happily say it’s starting to feel just right. Like home.

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^^ An ode to our big, blue, beautiful couch. That comfy seat really was there for us in times of exhaustion and movie marathons. I guess that’s all you can really ask for in a couch.

Oh Hey Friday | aka Moving Day

Today I thought I’d try a new link up, so I’ll be over with September Farm and The Farmer’s Wife for Oh Hey Friday.

You may notice they are both Farmer’s wives? Well I secretly always wanted to live on a farm when I was little so now that I live 15 minutes outside of the city, I have taken to reading their blogs on the daily. And I would suggest you do the same. You’ll thank me :)

So. HereWeGo.

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1. Today is moving day. *takes Advil now* I’m a little reluctant, excited, stressed and anxious for it all. It’s early so I decided I’d take a few happy-quiet moments to myself with my computer and coffee before all havoc breaks loose. We have known this day was coming for a month now but it wasn’t until last week that we started to do anything significant in terms of packing. Thank God for my mom who helped us get it started. So we are currently surrounded by boxes galore and labels out the yin-yang. Today we’ll spend the rest of the day packing up the last bits of odds and ends and start bringing over the first trips of boxes. Then one more night in our first home together and tomorrow the movers will be here to get the furniture.

*sigh*

I’m excited to move. It’s a new chapter. But it’ll be sad to say goodbye to this little place that we fell in LOVE with once we finally found it. Change is good though, no matter how bad I am at it…

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^^My current view…

2. The exciting part of being in a new place is decorating. D and I stopped in to look at our new home on Wednesday evening for the first time after the lease signing. Thankfully, I now have a better idea of what our place specifically looks like and the amount of wall space and where I am going to put everything. It’s funny, when we were apartment/ townhome hunting, one of the first things I’d ask David when we entered a new place is…”So where will the Christmas tree go?” It’s important to get the necessities out of the way, am I right or am I right?!

So needless to say I’ve been on a Homegoods-meets-Michael’s-meets-IKEA kick for sometime now. I’ve been wanting to find the perfect curtains and rugs specifically. Probably because I couldn’t have them in our old place. I’m loving this one from IKEA at the moment (the one on the right). Now I just gotta pull the trigger!

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3. David and I are gonna take some photos in the next few weeks downtown as there are some awesome settings of exposed brick, graffiti, and unique backdrops. The last time we took good photos together (besides our wedding) was for our engagaement shoot. But my plan is to take some every year to see how we change over the years. Once we find our tripod that went missing amidst packing we’ll head out. Now I just need to figure out what to wear!

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4. Being moving day and all, it’s probably a bad day to be sore. But alas, here I am. Sipping coffee and wishing I was soaking my toes. I’ve gotten back into running and have loved almost every bit of it. The fact that I generally feel more awake through the day or can feel my calves taking shape again is a plus. But man, this morning my legs sure do feel like jello. So moving today, along with with strenuous lifting, is going to be very very comical.

5. Around this time of year, I like to reminisce about the days I was studyin abroad in Europe. The app Timehop doesn’t help with the daily reminders of what exotic place I was off to 5 years ago today…sheesh… Anyways I was inspired (by Timehop) to go back through my photos from back then and just remember teh amazing places I went. Well, I got to one photo and had to laugh out loud (and slightly cringe) as I ran out to the living room telling David, “Hey! Check out this picture! Remember when I got kicked out of the vatican?!?” And that my friends, is a story for another day :)

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^^ Post kicking out… Pre-sneaking-back-in ;) I promise it sounds worse than it is…

On that note, have a happy Friday and an even better weekend!

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread with Cinnamon Glaze

My favorite kind of recipes to make are the ones where you see a picture and KNOW that it is delicious. You know nothing about the ingredients you just know you must make this delectable, mouth watering concoction of goodness lest you die by means of drowning (because of the drooling obvi).

This recipe was one of those recipes. At first I thought maybe it was just the photoraphy skills on this one were just really up to par. But then I made it and thought… eh… no it’s just plain good all around.

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This is a chocolate pumpkin bread with a super easy cinnamon glaze. It could probably be called ‘cake’ and it would make more sense but by calling it bread it sounds like there is more nutrional value in it, you are insinuating you can eat it other times besides dessert. Which is what I did. Many times.

I got the original recipe here, from Heather who is a fantasical cook and deserves many gold stars for her ability to conquer in the kitchen.

This ‘bread’ is mouth watering. It’s extremely moist (because of the pumpkin) and it looks much denser than it actually is. The cinnamon glaze adds the right spiciness to it and can be compared to Starbucks’ chocolate cinnamon bread, which I believe they discontinued…damnYouStarbucks. Although this IS a better substitute anyways.

Before I get into the ingredients, I would suggest adding a little more pumpkin than what is called for, as when eating it, there really is no pumpkin flavor. It’s more of a moistener. Also, the batter is going to seem outrageously thick and you may wonder (if you’re anything like me) how you screwed it up. Don’t fret my friend. You didn’t screw it up. It is supposed to be that thick. Promise. It won’t seem so thick once it’s baked.

Okay. With those disclaimers in place, here are the things you’ll need for your new favorite fall dessert:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Cinnamon Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350. Spray your loaf pan with non stick spray.
  2. With a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. It’s suggested to use a standing mixer but because I am KitchenAid-less, I used a hand mixer and it worked fine.
  3. Next add your eggs and mix until creamy. Add vanilla and pumpkin and mix.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and partially combine.
  5. Add the milk and mix until creamy/smooth.
  6. Transfer your batter to the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes.
  7. Once the bread is done, let it cool for a while. It needs to be cool enough that it won’t melt your glaze.
  8. ONCE it’s cool, in a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, cinnamon, heavy cream and salt until smooth.
  9. Lastly, remove the bread from the pan and drizzle your glaze all over the bread.
  10. Now lick the bowl :)

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This is a great recipe if you are having guests over as it looks pretty but is easy to prepare. Also good for kids. Sticky fingers love this kind of stuff, or so I’m told. Check out the other recipes I’ve tried on my “Made it and Loved it” board on Pinterest!