Sunday, November 30, 2008
So much for my carefully laid decorating plans. If you remember, I'd planned to get all the decorations at least stacked in their bins on the back porch for easy access, and the Snow Village (Dept 56 Original Snow Village mostly, but with a few dollar store and other discount store pieces thrown in for good measure!) put up, but I didn't feel up to it today, so I'm resting, instead. This is one busy week coming up, and I don't need to start it feeling out of sorts, so...the decorating will wait until tomorrow!
Are you cutting back on your Christmas gifting or celebrating this year? We are. We have set a budget for the boys' stuff, with "big stuff" getting the bulk of the money and each one getting one "big" thing, a few small things, and a stuffed stocking. Lynn and I are debating on how much we'll spend on each other...I'm thinking that will stay close to what we normally spend, because we don't spend a whole lot on each other anyway. But we'll have stuffed stockings, because that's our favorite part!
With my family, we draw names and then fill that person's stocking (are we sensing a theme here?). We've set a dollar limit this year for the first time. And on Lynn's side, we've decided not to exchange gifts with his extended family (cousins, aunts and uncles) due to several of us having financial issues. And, we may just do small gifts or no gifts with his sisters-still debating that one. I don't want anyone to have to struggle so that they can give my children or Lynn and me a gift. And we're not exchanging with our best friends, Eddie and Melissa this year either. Melissa and I decided that we'll get together to eat and watch a Christmas movie and have good movie snacks together and call it Christmas! I'm going to see if she and I can work in a girls' day out shopping/lunch trip too! We never get to do that, so it would be a gift to me if we could!
I hope this post is not a downer in any way, because honestly, my intent is for this to be good news. It takes a whole lot of pressure off, and makes the real meaning of Christmas to be more obvious and hopefully, celebrated.
After all, He is the Reason for the Season!
Next post: Christmas parade details! Oh I love this stuff!!!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
I think I will. I'm not as far along as I'd hoped to be, but closer than I would be if I hadn't worked on Christmas in July.
Today, Debbie over at Ribbonwood Cottage has some organizing tips for the holidays. She is going to be offering them each day this week...check out her fabulous blog! She is one creative lady!
Here's a few tips of my own to offer:
*Start early. Even if you start right now, you are still starting earlier than most people. When I say that everything you do today to prepare for Christmas is one less thing that you have to do in December, I'm not kidding. I love to have everything done ahead that I possibly can, so that on December 1, all that's left is having FUN for the entire month of December!
*Start by getting organized. Really. OK, this is also what Debbie says to do, but it is so true. Over at Magical Holiday Home there are tons of threads on getting organized. This group of girls and guys are so creative and have so many fabulous ideas. And don't forget Cynthia Townley Ewer's site Organized Christmas is the mac daddy of organizing ideas. (Does anyone still say "mac daddy" or did I just date myself again? Sorry, Jake!)
*Make a list. Make several lists-gifts to buy, gifts to make, food, party plans-whatever. Check it twice, three times...and don't forget to check stuff off when you get it done! Very satisfying!
Very basic tips, but very valuable for getting it all done!
Remember, everything you do today to prepare for Christmas is one less thing you have to do in December, when you could be having lots of Christmas fun!!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The lighter color paper is called "kraft paper" on the label, but it's not at all stiff like a lot of kraft paper is. And the green is actually a sage color. The gold ribbon is a satin ribbon, and I'll be adding in red and green satin ribbon to go with the straw colored raffia and the red raffia. I'll be sure to show you a picture of the finished product after I get something wrapped.
And the best part? I already had the raffia and the paper was only $2 or $3 each roll-it's the first time I've had to buy wrapping paper in a while!!
Remember, anything you do today to prepare for Christmas is that much less you have to do in December!
Will YOU be ready?
Monday, November 10, 2008
Mom used to make all kinds of fudge-chocolate and buttermilk stand out in my memory. She also made what we called Bon-Bons, but I've discovered that they are actually called "Martha Washingtons" for some reason...they are little yummy balls of sugar and nuts, dipped into melted chocolate. Back then, you had to melt paraffin with the chocolate to make it harden correctly...now they make chocolate that does it by itself.
She also made huge amounts of peanut brittle and divinity. I didn't like the divinity but the brittle was good. I remember she couldn't make it when it was too humid or raining...
I have to admit that my candy making is not the caliber hers is...I just melt chocolate and mix in stuff or dip stuff in or whatever...but it's not too bad, if I do say so myself!
Here's a quick, easy and good peanut butter fudge that I make every year.
Peanut Butter Fudge
1 package white almond bark coating (comes in a big block)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup chopped peanuts
Melt the almond bark coating (follow package directions-I do it in the microwave), stir in the peanut butter and the peanuts and pour into a buttered 8x8 baking pan. Let it harden. Slice it up and eat it. That's it.
1 package white almond bark coating
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
crushed peppermint candies or candy canes
Melt the almond bark coating, stir in the extract and crushed candy, spread out on a buttered (or spray it with non-stick cooking spray) waxed paper and let it harden. Break it into pieces.
You can make all kinds of barks using that coating. I like to make almond bark (substitute almond extract and sliced, toasted almonds for the peppermints in the above recipe) or pecan bark (use vanilla extract and finely chopped pecans).
I like to get the chocolate flavored bark and dip things in it..fruit, nuts, cookies, potato chips-yes, potato chips. The sweet/salty thing makes this so good.
I also have a fudge recipe that is easy and good, and I'll share it soon.
Remember, anything you do today to prepare for Christmas is one less thing you have to do in December!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Out of necessity (have I mentioned that big honking "bargain" tv Lynn couldn't turn down? Have I mentioned that it takes up a lot of room? 55 inches of viewing glory. Have I mentioned that it's where I normally put the Christmas tree? Have I mentioned that I'm a tad aggravated?)we will be moving furniture around to put up the main tree (see post below if you are wondering why I said "main tree"!). We will be moving the big denim sofa into the kitchen again. I know that sounds weird, but it used to live in there, as extra seating at the table, and we all loved it. So, it's going back. I have slipcovers for the back cushions that match the curtains in my kitchen, but they are waaaaayyyy at the back of the storage shed, so that ain't happenin this year. I'm going to leave the cushions that match the living room drapes on there, and just make some new valances for the kitchen to coordinate with the cushions. The living room colors and the kitchen colors blend well..so it should be ok. So now instead of using the black, white, red and silver I'd planned in the kitchen, it'll be a soft gold, red and sagey green. I have big ideas...and you can see them all right here on December 15 when we have the virtual Holiday Home Tour on Magical Holiday Home, hosted by yours truly on that date.
If you want to join the tour, just leave me a message with your link and I'll add you. Should be fun-the fall tour was small but pretty. I am hoping several join in this year!
Remember, anything you do today to get ready for Christmas is one less thing you have to do in December!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Here's that recipe I promised. It's an oldie but a goodie. I make it in a 9x13 cake pan, in muffin cups or even in mini muffin cups for mini peanut butter cups. It really does taste a lot like Reece's Cups...
Peanut Butter Cup Bars
1 cup margarine
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup peanut butter (either smooth or chunky-I use smooth because that's what we eat on sandwiches)
2 cups chocolate chips, melted
Melt margarine in saucepan. Add crumbs, confectioners' sugar and peanut butter. Mix well. Spread evenly in buttered 9x12 baking pan. Spread melted chocolate over top. Chill until firm. Cut into bars. Yield: 2 dozen.
These babies freeze like a dream, and to tell you the truth, I like to eat them while still slightly frozen. Or thawed...which ever way I can get them!! I think I'm going to make these for gifts this year, put them in the mini muffin cup papers and package them a dozen to a box. I am going to pick up candy boxes at Hobby Lobby and and tie it all up with a sparkly (of course) ribbon...who wants to be on MY gift list this year??
Whatever you do today to get ready for Christmas is that much less you have to do in December!
Friday, November 7, 2008
The picture is actually from last summer, but it's cute and I like it, so I'm posting it again! This Santa works at a place called "Kringles" in Branson, MO. If you haven't ever visited there, you really, really have to go. It is so wonderful!!
If you've ever been to my house during the holidays, you know that I am a deck-the-entire-house-not-just-the-halls kind of girl. I put a tree in every room, on both porches-front and back-and even several in some rooms. Our trees range from 2' to 9'. Last year we had 16 trees, including the ones outside. Not a typo. Uh, huh, 16. No, the house is about 1500 square feet, not big at all. In fact, quite small. But, at Christmas time, I think it looks a little like a Christmas cottage..and since it's not really a cottage at all but I'd like it to be, that's my little treat to myself!
Here's a few little ideas for decking your halls, living rooms and kitchens!
*Use lots, lots and lots of candles. Although you can go to the department stores and boutiques and spend a ton of money on some scented wax that is going to melt anyway, I suggest you go to the dollar store and get them. Or, go to Wal-Mart and get the ones in the Christmas department-they are really cheap and they smell good. Bring them home and put them everywhere...using caution when they are lit, of course. I know that you know not to leave a burning candle unattended and not to let ribbons or greenery or anything else really get close to the flame, but I'm obligated to tell you in writing not to do that. So don't do that. But do this: take a pretty ribbon and tie it around the candle. Or use a wide, wire-edged one and cut it to fit around the candle and doublestick tape the ends to the back of the candle. Gorgeous.
Or, if you're like me and like things a little sparkly for Christmas, thin down a little Elmer's glue with water and brush it on the candle. Then pour some glitter in a bowl and get a spoon and spoon the glitter over the candle, covering the entire thing. Shake off the excess glitter, let it dry a minute and VIOLA! a gorgeous glittered candle to nestle into some pine or other evergreens. Or place three of them on a pedastal cake plate, place some greenery pieces around it and you have a pretty, simple but elegant centerpiece.
*Use quart jars to make outdoor luminaries. I like them just plain, with some rock salt in the bottom, and a ribbon or raffia bow around the neck, and a little tea light nestled down into the icy looking salt. Very pretty and simple. They look great on front porch steps, if you have those.
*And, continuing the candle theme, how about floating candles in the bathtub during a party at your house? I do this often and it never fails to get enthusiastic responses from everyone! Just buy holiday shaped floating candles, run the tub about 2/3 full, light the candles and set them afloat! If you have one, you can even float a fresh wreath with the candles, or get some of those clear Christmas ball ornaments and float them to look like bubbles! Cute!!
I hope you are excited about the 48 days left until Christmas. 48, people!!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Not to worry...we still have 49 whole days to get ready! And if you've been getting ready for several months, it's not so bad!
- Not even December and I'm already feeling behind.....
- Happy Thanksgiving!
- 29 Days-a tiny sneak peek and a schedule, of sorts...
- 30 Day Countdown...and we're off!
- Spy Elves!
- 38 days!
- Wrapping up Christmas
- Christmas Goodies
- 46 Days and Counting!
- Peanut Butter Cup Bars and 47 Days!
- Decking the Halls-48 days left!
- 49 Days of Christmas Fun!
- ▼ November (12)
- Cathy Miller
- I love to cook, decorate, entertain and plan the holidays. I'm wife to one handsome man and mom to three handsome boys, I love God, my family and my country. I'm the one at the small town parade waving the American flag!! Almost all the holidays are celebrated at our house, and we like it that way!!