Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Highlights and The New Year

How was your Christmas?  We had a good Christmas at our house.  With the exception of my son getting sick it was a wonderful few days.  My daughter and I lit the advent candle at church for the candlelight service.  She was nervous, but all went well.  We were supposed to do it as a family but my husband ended up taking my son to the emergency room late in the day.  Unfortunately, it was a viral infection that just needed to work it's way out of his system.  Poor lil' guy, not a fun way to spend a few days.  He is finally over it.  My husband and I both have really nasty colds.  I guess my daugher has been the only lucky one so far.  I did surprise my hubby with a new Kindle, he really liked it.   The look on his face was priceless.  He said he'd share with me too!

Christmas Eve in her PJ's, a family tradition

We have accomplished a lot in the past few week despite illness, and doctor appts.  We cleaned and purged my son's room.  I took down some of my Christmas today.  I have changed over to more of a winter thyme look.  I'll show you soon.  Then my daughter worked on her room.  My goal is to finish with the playroom and maybe get some scrapping in tomorrow. 

For dinner tonight I made some of this Winter Minestrone Soup.  I have been watching some of my DVR shows and Giada made this for her family at Christmas.  It was yummy!  Great for when you have a cold or it's just cold outside. 

I thought I would link up my favorite all time posts, some I picked out and some that you liked!

Top Posts

Chocolate Minty Cookies/Guest Room

It's Almost My Favorite Time of the Year!

Do it Yourself Primitive Trashcan

Mantle Project and More Fall Decorating

Well, I hope 2010 brought about many good things in your life.  For us it was all about change, faith and gratitude.  I am praying for a bright future.  How about you what are your goals for the New Year?

Here are a few things I hope to achieve in 2011

~Better healthy, eating better and getting fit again

~Growing stronger in my faith, studying more

~Saying no to things that don't bless my family or praise God

~My husband finding a full-time job that he really enjoys and can take pride in

~Health for my family

Have a Wonderful New Year, Be Blessed!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas, Peanut Butter Fudge Recipe

Good afternoon bloggers!  I hope the season brings you peace, joy and happiness!  I have tried to make an effort to slow down and reflect on the real meaning of the season.  Last weekend we went to a Live Nativity, it was just wonderful.  If you ever get a chance you should try and attend one.  It was a cold night but we were able to stay fairly warm in the barn with the heaters something I know wasn't there for little baby Jesus.  The kids got to hold a baby lamb.   During the reading the little sheep kept baaing, and bleating so cute.  They also had camels too.  We had Christmas early with my family.  Over Christmas we will spend time with my in-laws and just the four of us.  I look forward to relaxing with the family without worrying about school, work and practices.

This week I baked up some Cinnamon Biscotti, Oatmeal cookies and made Peanut Butter Fudge.  My mom used to make the best fudge.  She always used the chunky peanut butter.  I do like the texture better.  I used creamy because it's what I had.    I googled some tips and that really helped. 

One of favorites is Grasshoppers I make this every year with the kids. 

Here's the recipe I used for the fudge.

Peanut Butter Fudge

3 cups sugar
3 Tbsp. light corn syrup
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
3/4 cup peanut butter

Mix everything together except the peanut butter and cook to soft ball stage.  Take from heat and cool a bit before adding peanut butter.  Beat in peanut butter thoroughly and pour into greased pan.  Let cool and cut into squares. 

Tips:  Heat to 235-240 degrees, use a candy thermometer.  When heating you can stir together the ingredients but after the mixture begins to boil take out spoon and leave it alone.  Then watch it carefully take it off heat when it reaches correct temperature.  Let it cool to about 110 degrees.  My mixture started to set up almost upon stirring so don't wait too long. 

How are you doing with your gifts this year?  Are you done shopping and wrapping?  I got a few presents early yesterday.  You may want to get one for yourself if you like old recipes and Vintage decorating.  I was so excited.  If you haven't checked out her blog Southern Plate you should she's a wonderful blogger and down home southern cook.  Move over Paula comes Christy Jordan.  Also, I have the first Farm Chicks book so I knew when I saw this one I would love it too.   I'm sure I'll be sharing more about these books after I've had time to pour over them some more. 

Merry Christmas! Many blessings to you and your family,


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Good evening!  I hope you're tucked in safely with a warm fire where you live.  We're expecting more snow tonight here in the midwest.  I wanted to show you some more pictures of my Christmas decorating.  First the kids playroom.  We are blessed to have three mantels in our home.  I get to play around with different looks, as my hubby loves to tease me about. 

I wanted a winter feeling with snowy flakes and greens.  I used my antique green lamp, few snowflakes, garland dusted with snow, and ball jars to achieve the look.  I've searched high and low for this pom pom garland.  I ended up finding it at two places Meijer (Katie Brown collection) and Dollar General believe it or not.  The little tree was a garage sale find.  I painted the base white with antique medium over top.

This is my Snowman collection in the basement.  I've been collecting them for about 20 years.

This is my basement fireplace mantel.  I didn't change it much from last year.  I really loved my window frame with the frosty grapevine and snowmen.

my little winter village

Here's an overall shot of the room.  I did a little forest of trees in the corner. 

my favorite snowmen, chalkware collection

These are the theatre style seats that my hubby built me last year.  I had to deck them out with snowmen.  I'm still looking for the perfect throws.

Blessing this Christmas to you and your family,


Saturday, December 11, 2010

More Christmas Inspiration and Shopping Finds!

Good Saturday, blogging friends! I hope this weekend finds you with all the joy the season offers with reflection on the reason for the Season...the little baby in a manger.

I went shopping with hubby yesterday and we had lunch together.  I look forward to these daytime dates.  We have a hard time doing this on the weekends.  I found these lighted twigs (Kirkland's) I have looked for them for awhile.  I finally got them.  They are really neat I look forward to them using them all year round.  They are not LED.  I have to tell you I'm not a huge fan of the LED's.  Last year we bought the icycle LED's they cast a bluish white that I just didn't care for.  All season long they broke off as the wind battered them so this year we drug out our little white lights that we've had forever buying a few more strands.  Our house has a very high peak that you can't reach even with a tall ladder, you really need a cherry picker.  At $150 a day we decided against that .  Our lights are just on the porch and rails.  One of my goals this year was to buy the candles for the windows with the timers and new stockings.  I got candles but not the stockings just yet.  I'm still trying to find ones I like.  I'm going to have my MIL embroider our names on them.  Here's a peak at our new candles and the source was Plow and Hearth.  They were pricey but worth it.  I got the dark bronze. They come on by turning them the first night (we set ours for 5:30) then they come on every night at the same time and stay on for 6 hours or so.  They have a built in timer. No more coming home in the dark.  I have always loved the candle in the window, so welcoming! I'm going to eventually buy candles for my side windows as well.  Right now we have some for our front, that was 11 window in all...Whew! 

Here they are at night in the background.
They are a soft yellow.

Here's the little branches in my mantle, I added the Let It Snow on the chalkboard too.

Up close

I hope to share my outdoor decorations soon.  The candles in the windows are so pretty at night.
Next week I'll be sharing my upstairs and downstairs decorations along with holiday goodies.
Hope you're having a blessed weekend,


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Good morning time for more pictures of my Christmas Decor.  I really love this time of year, it's truly magical.  We'll start in my favorite room, The Kitchen.  Truly this is the heart of the home all year through.

My Kitchen

At night

I added the greens and white lights mixed in with my antiques and pitchers.

my minature kitchen tree in my granite ware pan, it has tiny gumdrop garland, gooseberry patch cookie cutters and gingerbread ornaments

My favorite wooden Nativity from my childhood, He is the reason for the season!  All the pieces all fit in the stable.  However, I can never get them back in...I'm puzzle challenged!

This is my Dining Room. My hoosier, all decked out with gingerbread men.  Check out my photo album for more pictures of my home, I've updated it.

I linked up with Rhonda at Southern Hospitality!  Check out other ideas.  If you're visiting me I'd love to welcome you to my blog.  I enjoy getting new followers and read every comment.

May God Bless You This Year,


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cookies...It's Baking Season!

Yesterday was one of those perfect days for baking it snowed all day long. My kids practically begged me to make the gingerbread houses with them. Ok ... not quite. We cheat a little bit, usually a store bought kit. My daughter really gets into the decorating. Ok I admit these are my least favorite things to bake. However, I love the process and spending time with the kids. We baked our own gingerbread men to go in our little village. My son likes the engineering part more than the actual decorating.

It was National Cookie Day yesterday, did you eat one?? I know we did at our house. Here's some yummy ideas that I want to make.

She is having a give away this book too.

I love the combo of toffee and chocolate.

If that's not enough check out Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen for more ideas it was Cookie week this last week.

I like National Cookie Network for tips and tricks about baking cookies, freezing them, cookie exhange party info or if you have any problems while baking.  Is anyone having an exchange this year, I'd love to hear about it.

Here's some links to my favorite cookies and tried and true recipes!

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips, everybody loves these and for the holidays you can do red/green chips~

Double Chocolate Cookies, Martha

Merry Baking Season,


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas!

Welcome to my Christmas Open House!  I love Christmas and I look forward to this time of year more than any other.  I truly love Christmas.  I love making my home warm and cozy looking for all who enter during the holiday season.  I have so many wonderful family memories of Christmas.  When I decorate or do crafts with my kids and bake for the holidays we're making our own memories.  I feel that the true meaning of Christmas is sometimes lost ...the baby in a manager.  What a precious gift!  Take time to spend time with him this season and your heart will be blessed in a wonderful way! 

I'm linking up with The Lettered Cottage, Mantels is the theme.  Go check out all the inspiration over there, really neat. This year I went for a different look than my normal red, green and traditional.  I found myself inspired by white, snowflakes a little more sparkle.  I just love Aunt Ruthie's home Sugar Pie Farmhouse and you'll see some similiarities here if you follow her blog.  I have always loved gingerbread men.  I got a girl this year.  She is so cute!  The theme for this year is RED, WHITE and SNOWFLAKES!

All of my snowflake and candy cane ornaments are from Lowe's (on clearance last year) and Hobby Lobby.  The white pine cone candle holder is from Warm Glow.

close up of our tree
I found the Joy sign at Hobby Lobby, it makes me smile when I walk by it.

This is my sofa table that faces into my kitchen.  I like it here better because you see it when you enter from the side door or the garage. I took a ball jar, milk bottle added a little sparkly snow and placed the candy cane ornaments on top. Then I added some kitchen themed items.  I bought the little peppermint tree at HL last year too.  The round tablecloth was an ebay find.  I've had my red graniteware coffeepot for a long time. 

I hope you found something you liked, I'll be back soon with more pictures of my Santa collection, Kitchen and more!

Have a Merry Christmas,