Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!!

Christmas 2014 is in the record books!  What a wonderful day with our family!  We enjoyed each other's company, played games, saw a movie, ate wonderful food and through it all, gave thanks to the Lord for giving us his Son!  Jesus is the Reason for the Season!  Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday Spirit

Tonight, as I was driving back home after being away for work for two days, I found a station to listen to called Message Christmas.  I loved listening to Michael W. Smith and the song choices he had and the Christmas Message.  If you haven't discovered this channel on XM radio, I suggest you look it up!

On the way home I saw this beautiful display of lights.  All the lights were light, medium or royal blue.  Of course my photo doesn't do it justice, but I had to try.  Keeping up with the photo a day challenge was, well, a challenge, but I really did pay much more attention to the details of Christmas, not let it fly by.  Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  Really!  I am prepared mentally, physically and spiritually for the coming of baby Jesus!  Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014


I came to work today and found this in my office.

According to German folklore, nutcrackers were given as keepsakes to bring good luck to your family and protect your home.  The legend says that a nutcracker represents power and strength and servels like a trusty watch dog guarding your family from evil spirits an ddanger.  A fierce protector, the nutcracker bares its teeth to the evil spirits and serves as the traditional messenger of good luck and goodwill.

Or, you could have a Wilson to fearlessly protect your home...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Rudolph Caught on Camera!!


Christmas Lights

I know that lights are popular all through the United States, and maybe even the entire world, but do you know how the tradition of lights was started?  I didn't, so I started doing some research.

It seems that in 1882 a strong of electric lights was made for the theater and the English began decorating with the strings of lights almost immediately.  In England these lights were referred to as fairy lights.  Do they still call them fairy lights?  In the US, however, it seemed to take its time to becoming a household tradition.  Most resources say that small towns and large cities used strings of lights before most homes did.  By the 50s homes were starting to use the string of lights for decorating with more and more frequency.

Now we have festivals, neighborhoods, sychronized music and all sorts of ways to enjoy holiday lights.  Our family does an annual Christmas Lights Tour.  The photo I am using is from the tour this year.

I would love to know your traditions around the Christmas lights!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Musical Treat by Train

My husband loves this band, Train, and I just saw a delightful music video from them about Christmas.  I wanted to share it with you, the last weekend before Christmas. While we try to wrap up loose ends, hopefully this little tune will make it a fun experience!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It's a Party!

If you are looking for some unique, but tried and true recipes, crafts or decorating ideas, head over to Rattlebridge Farm.  She is have a linky party that will give you nonstop ideas for the holidays.  Those last minute gift ideas, snacks, treats or just the right decorating idea for that hard-to-decorate spot.

Are you counting down?  My daughter decided to come home a day early and I am not ready!  I will be burning the midnight oil tonight!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bumblebee Lane Christmas Swap

I participated in the Christmas Swap put on by Bumblebee Lane.  Amy has a delightful blog over there, if you don't know her, you should go and meet her!

I love swaps, but probably Christmas Swaps are my favorite.  I saw this one on Bumblebee Lane, which I have followed for some time, but never participated in one of her swaps.  I am so glad I did, this is how I met Sandi, from The Primitive Skate.

Sandi is an artist specializing in primitive work.  She does all her own painting and when you see the pictures below of the items I received, you will be able to tell that she is fantastic at what she does!

I love seeing how boxes are packed!

Everything is out of the box
The items were delightfully packed and wrapped, and tied with red and white string.  So sweet.  Look at this darling snowman.  Everything was made by Sandi, with the exception of a couple of items which I will mention later.

He got a special place on the tree, because I am afraid Wilson will like him too much!
 I am in love with these snowballs!  The tag says, Never melting snowballs!  I promptly placed them in my eggnog bowl.  Too cute.

Sandi made these, too.  For now they are in my plaid candy dish.  I didn't want to take them out.  I loved the tag!
Sweet Joy ornament, painted by Sandi.

Ok, when I saw this ornament, I kinda teared up.  It reminded me of playing bingo every August with my in-laws.  It made me miss my father-in-law, Jake.  He loved playing Bingo!  This instantly became one of my favorites!

Love the gingerbread man!  He's large and looks amazing on my gingerbread tree.  I made space for him right in the prime place on my tree, eye level.

Homemade tarts!! They smell heavenly!!
I received a darling note pad with a "twig" pencil and some of my favorite movie candies: Junior Mints, including a holiday version.  So fun to take to the movies.  Do any of you put your Junior Mints in the refrig?  If not, you need to try it!

Thank you so much, sweet Sandi, for a delightful first swap on Bumblebee Lane.  I can now emphatically say that I love primitive decor!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Work Gifts

Do you give gifts to co-workers?

This year our office staff, of which I am new to, decided to do a gift exchange (one of those, buy for either sex and you can steal it kinda thing).  We were to spend no more than $15.  It could be a gag gift or something nice.  I am not good at gag gifts, what I think is funny isn't, so I usually go with the nice gift.  This year I went with one of those double walled water glasses and I put a $15 Starbucks gift card in the bag as well.  I got the water glass super cheap and so I really didn't go over budget.  Tomorrow is the office party, with a catered lunch and this gift exchange.  Sounds like fun.

I am new to my job so I didn't think about giving something to the schools I worked with until today.  I remembered how my teachers loved getting a cookie tray during the holidays.  I quickly ordered four holiday cookie trays for my four small schools.  Then I needed to do the same for my five large schools.  I decided to go with a fruit basket for them.  It was rather expensive, so I think next year I will send oranges to my school from a grove in Florida.  My father-in-law used to do that and the oranges were so delicious!

This is what I have in my head that I will be passing out to my schools.
 Already reflecting on this Christmas and looking for ways to make next Christmas even better!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

All I Want for Christmas

I just finished watching All I Want for Christmas, a movie with Lauren Bacall.  This movie was made in 1991 and features Leslie Neilsen as Santa.  In my personal opinion, this movie has not had the following that it should.

A summary: Ethan (Ethan Randall) and Hallie O'Fallon (Thora Birch) are two siblings who wish that their divorced mom, Catherine (Harley Jane Kozak) would reunite with their dad, Michael (Jamey Sheridan). Hallie approaches the Macy's Santa with her wish to get their parents back together, even after her brother tells her not to. As Christmas approaches, the kids manage to lock their mother's fiancé, Tony (Kevin Nealon), in an ice cream truck and have him whisked off to New Jersey, all in an attempt to make their mom believe that she's been stood up. The ploy works, and ex-husband Michael is waiting in the wings.

Maybe because Lauren Bacall passed away this past summer, but seeing this movie reminded me of the actress's broad expertise in film. Her lovely voice is apparent in this duet sang with the star's costar, Thora Birch.

The film has a wonderful musical score, a couple of old tunes, and a new song written just for it that is appropriately romantic.  If you want to watch a film easily available, this one is on Netflix.  Enjoy.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Peppermints

I am worn out after the Christmas homes tour yesterday over at Kelly's Korner.  So many beautiful houses and so many wonderful traditions.  Go and check it out if you haven't.

I have a holiday party at my work on Tuesday.  We are all to bring desserts as the meal will be catered.  I decided to make an after dinner mint for us.  These are easy to do and so delicious.

More fun with your favorite sou chef!
 Super easy to make, a great gift for those in your neighborhood or as an addition to your cookie tray.

1/4 c butter, softened
1/3 c light corn syrup
4 c confectioner's sugar, divided
1 t peppermint extract (or any flavor!)
gel food coloring in your favorite Christmas colors
1/2 c granulated sugar

Combine butter and corn syrup together.  To make your corn syrup come out of your measuring cup easier, spray the cup with Pam first, then measure out the syrup, then pour into your bowl.  Clean up is so much easier!  Add 2 cups of the confectioner's (powdered) sugar and beat until well combined.  I did this all by hand, but you could use a mixer to make this part easier.  Add extract and beat more.  Taste to see if the extract is strong enough. Stir in one more cup of confectioner's sugar.  Turn out onto the counter sprinkled in advance with more confectioner's sugar.  Knead until the dough is no longer sticky adding confectioner's sugar as needed.  Divide dough into the number of colors you are making.  Tint one portion of the dough, kneading in the color.  Repeat with the other doughs until all doughs are the color you want.  Shape into small balls, 3/4 inch or 1/2 inch.  Flatten with the back of a glass dipped in granulated sugar.  Or, place the balls in the granulated sugar and roll around to coat.  Flatten with a fork or with a star anise.  Such cute possibilities here!  Let the candies stand at room temp for a day.

Easy, yummy and pretty!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Homes Tour

Today I am joining Kelly from Kelly's Korner in her Christmas Homes Tour.  Head over to see all the lovely homes decorated for the holidays!

We built our home in 2013 and had our first Christmas there in 2013.  This year we were asked to be on the New Town Christmas Home Tour.  What a delight!  The proceeds from this event go to support our local food banks.  I was happy to be a part of such an event.

Welcome to our home!  You will be greeted by the wood Santa that has been a part of the family for ten years.  He was made by a friend of ours from Jefferson City.  Two years ago he had an adventure when he was stolen off our porch and dumped into the lake in front of our home.  Some neighbors saw him and reported his location to us.  It was so great to have him back.
The countdown to Christmas board is a new purchase.  I found this at my local grocery store!  Our store has a wonderful gift department and I always look!  This darling countdown was only $13.  Love it.
The santa and sleigh that appears in the transom window is actually a vinyl sticker made by a woman in my neighborhood.  I love how it looks both inside and outside the house!
The next stop is our living room.  The tree holds ornaments that are sentimental to the family.  The oldest ornament is from 1958, my birth year.  It is decorated with plaid bows and a garland made of loops and beads.

My grandfather built this barrister cabinet.  It holds our David Winter cottage collection.

 The next stop is the kitchen. My husband is the designer as he is now the primary cook. I gave that job away when our daughter left for college. I still love to cook and bake, just not on a daily basis! Mr. and Mrs. Claus have been celebrating Christmas with me since the early 70s. My mom passed them on to me about ten years ago. The oreo tins were collected for a few years. The eggnog bowl on the island was a purchase from an antique store a couple of years ago.

The dining area is attached to the kitchen.  The tree in this room is filled with gingerbread ornaments, cinnamon ornaments and dried oranges. It smells delicious!  Our puppies think so, too!

The dining room table is decorated with a plaid wool reindeer and a plaid bowl filled with apples and pomegranates.  The place setting is a rattan charger, white plate, Christmas mug and a red napkin, all ready for Christmas brunch.  The chandelier has a wreath of greens, burlap bow and ornaments hanging from it.  The Be Merry banner has plaid paper backing!

We have three bedrooms in this house, one which is used for my office. Our daughter has claimed the guest room as her very own.  The tree in her room reflects our love of the beach.  The tree in our bedroom is full of ornaments collected on our travels. The tree in the office is filled with handmade ornaments given to me by friends from all over the world. We do an ornament exchange each year!

The quilt was made by friends and me.  Each contributed a square and we had them put together for a quilt!

The last room in our house is our loft.  It is upstairs with two bedrooms.  This is where we will eventually watch sports.  It is decorated with memorabilia from different sporting events we've been to or support.  Go Tigers! Go Cardinals!

The last few pictures are just of special places throughout the house that have a little Christmas magic.  Check the captions for information!

Wedding photo of our daughter.  The words above are a decal from the Dollar Store!

My piano stool plus a stocking from a very special friend!

The peacock was stitched by my mother-in-law and the ceramic tree painted by my mom.

The nativity set was painted by my mother-in-law and the shed made by my father-in-law

The pink stockings were a gift from a friend in Australia.  The box holds a collection of Christmas mice.

The chair was my great grandmothers, the desk belong to an aunt of my husband's and the pillow was made by a dear friend.

I made this wreath using items from the various schools I have been associated with over the years.
I hope you enjoyed the house tour!  Wouldn't it be awesome if we could all actually come to one another's home?