Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Reason for the Season

Check out this wonderful video... Merry Christmas to you all!

Where's the Line to See Jesus?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Darlene's Christmas Cookie Recipe Party Week 3

Darlene at Our Creative Life is hosting a Christmas Cookie Recipe party. Click here to get all the details!

Shiner Bock Chocolate Chip Cookies

This are definitely for the adults in your life!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups room temperature Shiner Bock beer
1-12 oz. Package Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 Tbsp. Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Cut in flour, baking soda and vanilla. Blend in beer slowly to form a soft dough. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir again adding chocolate chips. Freeze batter for 15 minutes. Drop by teaspoonfuls and top with a walnut piece. Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly brown. Cool one minute on cookie sheet and remove to wire rack.

I tested these cookies for Robin's Cookie Exchange Cookie Contest. While they didn't win, they were quite good!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Aren't these adorable?

It was Snack Day at the office today and one of my coworkers brought these darling snowmen in. They are powdered donuts stacked on top of each other secured with a pretzel rod. The hats are mint patties and reeses cups. The faces are drawn on with icing and the arms are pretzel sticks! They are sitting on a bed of snow (coconut). Adorable!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Not Christmas Unless...

I read a lot of blogs and on one blog there was this darling post about It's Not Christmas Unless... I wish I was better at remembering where I saw this post so I could give the author credit. If you know, leave me a post!

For us, it's not Christmas unless...

...our daughter puts the angel on top of the tree. She's 24 now and it's difficult to lift her to the top of the tree.

... we bake cookies and make candy until the cows come home! We made four cookies and six candies this year!

... we watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. I have watched this television special since the 60s. My favorite Christmas song comes from this show!

... we open stockings on Christmas morning! It is my favorite part of the day.

... I read a Christmasy novel. This year I read two by Debbie Macomber, with Mrs. Miracle being one.

... we go and see a Transiberian Orchestra concert! They rock!

... we go and see a Christmas program put on by elementary students. It is always adorable.

... we sing Christmas carols at Mass, perferrably Midnight Mass, but any will do!

... I send out Christmas cards, even if it is just a few.

... we open Santa's Sack on Christmas Eve. The bag always contains our pjs and a game and snacks for Christmas Eve fun.

... we hang the ornaments on the tree that my grandparents made. There are several crocheted ornaments and a clothespin reindeer that I must see every year.

... we pull Christmas crackers on Christmas morning! We usually do this right before we eat breakfast.

... we watch homemade family videos of prior Christmases. We LOVE doing this!

... we go around town and look at Christmas lights with our peppermint hot cocoa and pizza.

... I taste my mom's peanut butter balls and her eggnog. Delightful.

... we see our Christmas mice collection on the buffet in the family room. They are so cheerful and fun.

I'd love to hear about your traditions that you cannot do without!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Preparations for a Holiday Party

Mr. Christmas Tree Lane hosts a party for his staff every year. We have done this for about fifteen years, so we have it down to a science! This past Sunday we made the sweets for the party... tipsy cherries, oreo truffles(two kinds!), Bailey balls, pretzel rods, and crockpot candy! These are all requested items and we try to accomodate and please everyone!

Last night we cleaned house. Tonight we will make all the dips and I will set out all the trays and bowls we will use and put labels on everything. Tomorrow night we thaw the shrimp, cook up all the meats, make the veggie trays, the roll up trays and the meat and cheese trays. Thursday I will get things out and start to decorate the platters. I'll light candles and put on music and wait for the guests!! It is always so much fun!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lovely Christmas Decorations

These Christmas decorations are from my daughter's apartment... she does a beautiful job!

Tulle is her bow of choice!

The living room tree...

This black and white tree is themed after her wedding...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Darlene's Christmas Cookie Recipe Party Week 2

Darlene at Our Creative Life is hosting a Christmas Cookie Recipe party. Click here to get all the details!

Peppermint Meltaways

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. Combine flour and cornstarch; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and no longer than an hour. Shape into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

In a small bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk, extract and food coloring if desired; beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cookies; sprinkle with crushed candies. Store in an airtight container.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Home for the Holidays 2009

Rhoda is having a Christmas Homes Tour at her place! Go and check out all the lovely homes here. This will also be my entry for the Hooked on Houses home tour tomorrow!

Here are just a few photos from our house this year:

Bob surprised me with this new black tree... so I had to decorate it with our college colors: black and gold!

Our nutcracker display in our foyer...

We got a new 9 foot tree for our living room this year. I think it looks great with our 12 foot ceilings!

Here is the ball wreath I made with Rhoda's help!

A tiny peek at our kitchen...

Enjoy the tours!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pay it Forward

I joined a Pay it Forward event sponsored by Pea at Pea's Corner.

Here is how it works:

"If you want to join in the fun, just leave a comment saying you'd like to be included. The first 3 people to do so will receive a gift from me sometime during the next year. In turn, you are to post a Pay It Forward post on your blog and send a gift to three people who agree to participate."

If you are interested in doing this, I plan to send out a Valentine craft to you in time for Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cookie Cutter Swap

I participated in a fun swap this year sponsored by Sue at Country Pleasures.

My partner was from Oklahoma. I was so tempted to send her a Missouri shaped cookie cutter but I restrained myself from doing so!

I received the cutest box! Inside were four antique cookie cutters decorated with bells and bows, a darling box of cookie cutters wrapped in old pattern paper (totally adorable) and a sweet towel!

I believe Sue has done this swap before and so I would definitely follow her site for a chance to participate next year!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Victorian Christmas

One of the local colleges puts on a Victorian Christmas every year. We have never attended it but this year the timing was right and so we did!

The walkway was lined with luminaries. It was lightly snowing so it was definitely the right atmosphere! The students met us at the door with Victorian dress and spoke in lovely English accents. We were seated at a table for four that was festively decorated with a red candle and teacups.

The night was one of music: there were choirs singing, duets of the violin and flute, solos and even we sang a few Christmas carols.

We were served wassail and figgy pudding! I have always wanted to try figgy pudding!

Do you make an effort to attend the local holiday events? I think it would be worth your while!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Outdoor Decorations

For me, the decorating of the outside of the house is like giving a little gift to our neighbors and friends who come to visit during the holiday season. This year we decided to do something new and I am pleased with the results!

We used lighted wreaths on the windows, garland on the columns and doors, and a wooden Santa that a friend made me years ago. I added a little garland on the bench that is outside along with a cute little lantern I found at Walmart. I added bows to the rusty fence outside and some garland and bows to the mailbox. The red is such a festive color and really stands out.

What is your outside decor for Christmas like this year?

A Little Puppy Holiday Cheer

Christmas 2009

We put out stockings for our two dogs and our cat. We love to watch them play with their gifts on Christmas! They usually love the ribbons and papers, too. Do you special things with your pets as well?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Newsletters

I LOVE getting those Christmas newsletters that most people seem to find annoying. I love to read about my friends and their lives, especially when they are not around me often. I love to hear about their children's accomplishments. I am not one of those people who feel they are braggy or rude. I love to celebrate life's gifts!

This year I wrote a blog and am giving all my friends the address to view it. I have copied it for my Christmas notebook and for all my friends who do not use the internet.

You can see it here:

Our Christmas Newsletter

Friday, December 4, 2009

Darlene's Christmas Cookie Recipe Party Week 1

Darlene at Our Creative Life is hosting a Christmas Cookie Recipe party. Click here to get all the details!

Gumdrop Cookies

3/4 c shortening
3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 t almond flavoring
1 3/4 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 c chopped gumdrops

Cream shortening and sugar, add in flavoring. Beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add slowly to the creamed mixture. Stir in gumdrops.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rockefeller Center Christmas Special

Is there anything better than watching the Christmas special and drinking peppermint hot cocoa? What Christmas specials are you watching this year?

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

Look at this neat idea!

Hot Chocolate on a Stick Recipe

I know a secretary or two who will be getting these for Christmas in a pretty Christmas mug!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009