Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Life Happened!

I am so sorry about the lack of pictures, posts and participation over the past three computer is down. Not the internet, which would be easy enough to fix, but the computer itself. So...until I can access my photos, no pictures of the decorated Hamlet! I'm using my mom's computer to post this, just in case anyone has wondered where I've been!!

Hopefully...I'll see you later!

Merry, Merry!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Change of Plans...

...due to a dead camera battery! I was waiting until today to finish up a few little things in the bedroom then take pictures, but I didn't account for a dead camera battery! So, I'm postponing today's tour until tomorrow, tomorrow's tour until get the picture.

But, please, do come back! I do have a decorated bedroom, just very few pictures of it!

Merry, Merry!

You could Even Say it Glows!

Add Leann to your list of homes to visit and check out her collections! So pretty!

Two new additions!

Here's a couple of late additions! Glad they could join us!

Deckr8ter has a pretty slideshow of her home.

And Minnieco has hers up on Photobucket, as well!


Merry, Merry!

Holiday Tour of Homes!

Welcome to our first Holiday Tour of Homes! Most participants are members at Magical Holiday Home and "meet" frequently on the message board. We decided this summer to do this tour and everyone has been feverishly working to get their homes and blogs ready, so let's not waste any more time and get right to it!

First off, let's visit Tricia's home and see what Possiblitlies she has in store for us!

Next, Jessica has invited us into her holiday dressed home for a little Christmas Whimsey!

Now on to some Memorable Holidays at Brittany's home.

And our fearless leader, Ginger, has some Rudolph Day Ramblings to share with us!

Now Lisa has invited us to visit her Little Corner of the World to see her treasures.

We have another Tricia who is Celebrating Seasons with us....

And for a sweet treat, Candy Cane News is full of sweet yumminess!

Next, my sweet friend Aggy, also known as Adrienne, shares her Love of Christmas!

Tiffani is expecting a Jolly Christmas in Bama and wants us to join her!

Leah knows that Love Grows Best at Christmas!

SnowAngel has some Holiday Memories to show us...

Dancing Elf's home a t 358 Red Oak Drive holds some pretty treasures...

And we have another Cathi, who is celebrating A Quilter's Christmas with us.

Jana is sharing her lovely home also...

Here's a new blog that looks wonderful already! Printersdevil has some pretty things ready to view!

Jinglemom is our final participant! Hmm...seems like I've forgotten someone...oh, yeah, Me!!

If you check the post below, you can see my humble offerings!

Thanks to everyone who has A. Participated, and B. Viewed!!

Come back all week...I'll be showing my decorations all week long!

Merry, Merry!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Welcome to the Magical Holiday Tour of Magical Holiday Homes!

Welcome to Christmas at the Hamlet! We are not totally decorated, but we are almost done. I planned to do the front porch Sunday, but it was raining and I'm not that dedicated! But I'll get it done, and when I do, you'll be among the first to see it!

So, here's a brief tour of some of my decorations. Check back every day this week and you'll get the complete tour!

Let's start in the master bedroom. Our bedroom is decorated in creamy ivory and cranberry red, so Christmas decorations just look natural in there! I added some soft gold and silver. Here's the tree over the bed:

It has white lights, ivory poinsettias trimmed in gold glitter and the gold glass balls. That's a piece of tulle that I tied around the bottom in a sort of abstract bow....I love the colors with the red and white quilt, which you'll see more of tomorrow.

Both windows have these berry wreaths hanging in the center of them. I love the toile and checks together. My mom and I collaborated on these curtains this summer. I'm still wanting to add some fringe or beaded trim or something to jazz them up. Maybe after Christmas I'll get around to that.

Now, on to the kitchen! This is the wire planter that I showed you yesterday. It's sitting on the antique desk that matches my bedroom furniture. My mom and dad bought it for me brand spanking new when I was, a long time ago. It's now antique. That's all you really need to know. I have plans of refinishing it in the same colors, but we haven't quite gotten to that yet.

And this is the south end of the house. I normally have black and white toile curtains up, but we had to move the denim couch into the kitchen to make room for the tree in the living room, so I took the toile down. I actually used to have this couch in the living room all the time and had slipcovers in toile, but they are buried way back in the storage building, and it truly wasn't that important to me to find them. So I just used this paper banner I made that says "Joyeux Noel" and lighted garland for a valance for the holidays! See the red "gems" hanging from the light?

This little vignette is in the corner of the kitchen, by the fridge. I love the simplicity of it.

By the way, those are jingle bells in the jar. I have the jingle bell tree in the kitchen, so be looking for that later in the week!
This is the top of the fridge, with a small collection of white pitchers and red berries. You can see the snow village behind the pitchers.

More kitchen later! Now let's move to the living/family room. It's the room you walk into when you open the front door. I love the cranberry red of the walls.

This is the opening into the hallway. I made this banner too. The pictures are favorites of ours at Christmas.

You'll see more of this clock later this week-it was Lynn's father's clock, and we have placed it in a spot that you can see from the living room.

And this is the mantle that I struggled with all week. I like the little bitty houses-I collected them many years ago from Dillard's and bought one per week for something like 6 weeks each year. I added some glitter to them this year.

You'll be seeing more of all of the house as the week progresses. Keep checking back, because I have a little give away planned at the end of the week!
And don't forget to check out all of the other houses on the tour, too, by clicking on the links in the post above this one.
Thanks for dropping by! Be sure to check back tomorrow!!
Merry, Merry!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tree Trimming update and a little sneak peek!

We got our tree yesterday! We picked the kids up as planned and headed out to the tree farm. We went to a tree farm where we know the owner...and it payed off big! Because this is his last year in business (he's retiring), he let me HAVE, free and for no charge, an additional tree to cut up and use for decorating. How SWEET is that?? Yay! Plus, he was very generous handing out free hot chocolate and candy canes!

So, here's the tree BEFORE:

And here it is AFTER:

The boys did a good job spreading out the red and really looks pretty in the corner of our living room. Totally worth all the moving of furniture and cleaning of floors it required!
And, here's a little sneak peek at the upcoming Holiday Tour of Homes.

This is a wire planter that I bought on the 70% off shelf at Hobby Lobby last spring...I spray painted it copper and it normally lives on the top of the corner china cabinet with faux eggs and feathers in it. All fall it had a small pumpkin in it has glass bulbs and berries! The "runner" is a paper napkin that I unfolded (unfortunately I didn't get all the wrinkles out...can you iron paper?) and spread on the white French Provincial style desk that I use in the kitchen as a buffet.

And, since I've griped so much about it, I thought I'd go ahead and show you my mantle:

I'm loving it!
I will be showing my house all week long, starting Monday morning with the Holiday Home Tour! I'll do an overview of the entire house, then each day we'll focus on one room at a time. Tuesday, it'll be my favorite room! Can you guess what it is?
Hope to see you Monday!
Merry, Merry,

Friday, December 12, 2008

Celebrating Christmas

Have you ever seen the ezine Celebrating Christmas? It's a pretty good resource to have. I always download it (it's free) and then just print out whatever I decide I want to put in my Christmas notebook. Some years I've printed the whole thing, but recently I've just saved it to a flashdrive (bright red, of course) and keep it in the notebook. Then if I want to browse it or use it as a reference for something, it's right there.

Are you ready for the home tour Monday? I've very excited. If you need some inspiration or just want a jumpstart to home touring, check out Tracey's blog and scroll down to the past two days, then follow the links. So much glittery, blingy, Christmasy inspiration you may need two days to get through it. I can't believe how many talented folks there are out there.

Speaking of talented folks, wait until you see my friend Phyllis's house all done up for the holidays. It is nothing short of spectacular. I truly mean that. It is unbelievable, and she does it all herself. She hosted our Bunco Christmas gathering last night (where I scored some sweet prizes...) and she agreed to let me post some pictures of her home. I forgot my camera (duh!) so she loaned me hers, and even agreed to email the pics to me. So as soon as I get them, I'll post them. You honestly won't believe it. It makes my feeble attempts look like a kindergartner's attempts!

Are you still looking for some inspiration for Christmas breakfast or brunch? I got some yummy sounding recipes in my inbox today, so I'll share!! Hope you find something delicious to prepare for your own "Delightful Christmas Brunch"!

What's going on in your world today? We'll be doing that Christmas Tree cutting expedition today, and then tomorrow, it's Finish Up day...what ever is not decorated by tomorrow is not getting decorated! I have to get some photos made to post on the home tour Monday!!

Merry, Merry!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Getting there...

This is a picture from last year...I used my vintage Santa and a mercury glass one we got for our Christmas wedding shower (yes, I had a Christmas themed wedding shower in September before our October 98 wedding!! How totally cool is that?), along with some books and snowflakes. I loved the way it looked....

This year? Not happening. The mantle is just not coming together as well as I would have hoped. In fact, none of the decorating is coming together. I'm struggling....but it's finally falling into place, piece by piece.
I'm almost done with the kitchen, and they boys' room just needs a snow flurry or two to finish it...their bathroom is done (except for the cleaning...will that stench ever go away? Maybe when the boys move out?? That's only 10 or 12 more years...), our room is about half done and the outside is almost done. No more details, but I promise it'll be ready by Monday, for the MHH Holiday Tour of Homes! If you want to participate, sign up here! Or, if you'd prefer, just leave me a message here on this post. Either way, check back Monday and take the tour of several beautiful homes!!
We are going Friday to get the tree. The plan is to pick the boys up from school and head to the Christmas tree farm...we'll cut our tree, stop by Starbucks for hot chocolate, then head home. Benjie already dug out the big tree stand, and has it ready and waiting, and I've been sorting ornaments and lights in preparation of the decorating party! It'll be a party of 5, with more hot chocolate, chili and cornbread, cookies, candy, and carols! Hopefully, I'll remember to get the camera out and take pictures!
What are you doing to get ready for Christmas? Leave me a message and tell me.
By the way, I'm working on a little give away for next week...we'll be touring my home all week, and I am planning a giveaway at the end of it! Stay tuned...
Merry, Merry!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Breakfast Sandwich

This is a good recipe for anytime you want a quick and easy breakfast, but I think it's especially good on Christmas morning. This is one of those "methods" rather than recipes-once you get the basics down, you can switch it up any way you'd like.

Breakfast Sandwich
1 loaf French bread, sliced in half lengthwise (this sandwich is best if you buy the bread a couple of days ahead and freeze it, or use day-old French bread)
1 pound breakfast sausage, browned and drained
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 small green bell pepper, finely chopped
12 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried mustard
1 small can chopped green chilies, drained
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterrey Jack or pepper jack)

Hollow out the center of the French bread. Layer the sausage, onion and bell pepper into the bottom of the bread shell. Add the salt, pepper and mustard to the eggs and mix well. Pour the eggs over the sausage mixture and sprinkle with the chopped green chilies. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the chilies and top with the bread top. Wrap the sandwich tightly with foil, place in a 350 degree oven on a cookie sheet, and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until eggs are set and cheese is melted. Unwrap the sandwich and let it cool slightly, then cut into slices and serve.

You could substitute a smoked sausage (I like turkey) and cut it up and brown the slices, then sprinkle them over the bread and proceed as above. Ham and Swiss would be yummy, too. You could even crumble cooked bacon in it.

I usually serve this with fresh fruit and coffee. Add a flute of juice and you've got a party!

What are you up to today?

Merry, Merry!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Yikes! 22 Days!

I'm having the hardest time getting my decorating done this year. Most of my decorations are in the storage shed in the back yard, and it's a mess. I mean a mess. So I need lots of help to get all the boxes and totes out and into the house. I did go out there yesterday and pulled out a few boxes, sifted through them, took out what I wanted and put the boxes back.

I know exactly how I want the house to look, so I'm trying to only bring those things into the house. I put the Snow Village on top of the cabinets yesterday, but I neglected to bring in the extention cords and didn't buy any "snow", so it's pretty dark and bare up there.

I did get a tree up in the boys' bathroom (a tiny little one with white lights and red glass balls) and a tree up in our room (no details-you'll see it on the 15th, but I'm VERY HAPPY with it!), but that's about it. The kitchen is a total wreck and will be until I get finished.

Lynn and I are both off Friday afternoon, so he's agreed to help me get the stuff out of the shed, sort it and get it in the house. And get the outside done. I'm not sure he realizes that part yet...shhh...don't tell him!

I'm looking forward to the Virtual Holiday Home Tour on December 15. My Magical Holiday Home friends are planning to participate. If you want to also, just leave me a message on this post and give me your link and blog name...and a short description of your decorating style, if you'd like. I hope you join us.

I hope I'm ready!

Merry, Merry!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Downtown Christmas parade!

Isn't that one of the three sweetest faces ever? That's Benjie at the Christmas parade last year. And he's not making a political statement with the election literature...he just liked the candy cane it was attached to!

The parade is tonight. The courthouse and downtown area will be lit around 6:10 or so on Channel 7's weather, then the parade will start. It's a fun night! We even let homework slide for that night (Side note-for the little boys. Their homework is not due until the end of the week. Jacob still has to do his, which is due the next day!)

We love going to our hometown parade. I may have told you about it before, but let me just reminisce a little.

We live in a small city, population under 30,000. Recently, the downtown area has been renovated, making it really pretty and quite picturesque. I would dearly love to see the downtown area become the hub of the city again, as it was when I was a child. Most retail businesses are not located in downtown any more, but spread out down the "main drag", which is Military Road, or on the interstate service roads. But, on the first Monday in December, downtown comes alive. Our courthouse is so gorgeous, very historic looking, and the county employees work very hard to get it decorated. A local family donated a whole bunch of animated life sized decorations. I just love them! It is so festive and so fun!

We always take a bag of popcorn and a couple of thermoses of hot chocolate and coffee to have during the parade. Then, we walk to the courthouse lawn and wait for Santa to appear, fresh from the fire truck at the end of the parade. He will visit with kids that night and several more nights during the holidays. There's always a choir singing, some music playing and free cookies and cocoa after the parade. Everyone is in such a good mood, and it's so pretty with all the lights. Our courthouse is on the Arkansas Trail of Holiday Lights. If you are in the area, stop's worth the drive!

After we get home, we usually have a bowl of homemade soup, and then try to find something on tv that is Christmasy. No one wants the feeling to go away, it's so festive and jolly.

I can't wait until tonight!

What are you doing today that is fun and Christmasy?

Merry, Merry!

About Me

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!!