Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Plans

 

We will be finishing out the year with sports, a party with yummy food and drinks and then a quiet start to 2013.

  • Sports
Our weekend included all things Michigan State. We watched the Spartans win the Buffolo Wild Wings Bowl on Saturday and attended the Great Lakes Invitational Hockey Tournament in Detroit on Sunday. Our Spartan hockey team did not play too well and lost the game we saw, but we had a great time with my sister and her family. My sister and I even took a photo with Sparty.

  • New Year's Eve Party
We will be attending a small party at a friend's home tonight, for a lovely dinner and then watch the ball drop at midnight. There may even be some fireworks.

source

It is traditional for me to bring a special martini to help ring in the new year, in a festive way. This year I will be making a Blue Lemon Drop Martini. To make - add 1 ounce lemon vodka, 1 ounce Blue Curacao and 4 ounces lemonade to a martini shaker, filled with ice. Shake well and strain into martini glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

source

I will also me making these Champagne Jello Shots - aren't they pretty? Finally, the dessert I am bringing is my favorite White Chocolate Trifle with Berries. The recipe can be found on this post and it is delicious.

  • New Year's Day
This will be a quiet day filled with football, a fire in the fireplace and a lot of food to snack on. I plan on making Barbeque Beef, in the crock pot and filling the pantry with chips and munchies.

Have a fun New Year's celebration and best wishes for a happy 2013!

 

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Snow Covered Path

 

The day after our first snowstorm of the season was bright and sunny - a perfect day for a walk in the snow with Cooper.

We headed down the snow covered path, with only a few footprints to guide our way. The sky was so pretty and blue against the back drop of the bright, white snow.

The snow was soft and fluffy beneath our feet as we followed the path through the woods. It was quiet and calm; the only sound was my breath and the snow crunching beneath my boots.

Just off the path, through the woods, you can see a frozen pond. Once it is solid, there will be ice skaters and hockey players, all winter long.

Further ahead, just over a bridge, this stream, still unfrozen, trickles serenely through the fallen trees.

A snowy path, a sunny day and my walking buddy - my favorite things in the winter months.

Have a wonderful weekend :-)

Linking with No Winter Whining

 

Linking with Mockingbird Hill Cottage and The Country Farm Home

 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thoughts for Thursday...movies, snow, etc.

 

Things I am thinking about today...

 

  • We had our first big snowstorm of the season yesterday and it is beautiful this morning. I love the snow on the branches and the white, unbroken expanse of the lawn. While beautiful, the driving last night was quite treacherous. In Michigan, we know how the drive on the snow, but at the rate in was falling, it still makes for some icy conditions on the roads.
  • I went to see Les Miserables yesterday with Megan, my mother in law, sister in law and nieces. The group had mixed reviews, but I loved it. You have to like musicals, because it is 99% singing, but the performances by Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway are both very moving (and Oscar worthy). I have never seen the play, but always wanted to and this makes me want to see it more than ever. I can imagine that the scenes with the revolutionaries are incredible on stage. The costumes and sets are amazing and you are transported to Paris in the 1800's, where the poverty was inconceivable.
  • We will see more movies this week and we look forward to the New Year's celebrations. I started a grocery list today, but am in a little bit of denial that I have to face any shopping again. I know there are people that go to the mall the day after Christmas for the sales and to spend their Chistmas money. It sounds like torture to me. I get my fill of shopping before Christmas and need a break :-)
Happy Thursday!

 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes - Pinterest Success #10

 

The morning after Christmas is here and I am reflecting on the fun we had as a family. The whole preparation involved is exhausting, but seeing my daughters interact with their cousins and Grandparents makes it all worth the effort. The highlight of our night was our traditional game we all play together. This year we played a game called 5 Seconds. The object of this game is to name three things in response to a question you are asked, in only five seconds. When asked to name three perennials, wouldn't you know I could not think of a single one - and I am the gardener in the family :-) The game made for a lot of laughter and fun, late into the night.

One of the dishes I made for Christmas dinner was Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes. It was a big hit and went perfectly with our ham. Also, you can make it ahead and just put in the oven to bake, before your guests arrive. You can find the original pin and recipe here.

Have a relaxing day after Christmas!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Gooseberry Patch

Rattlebridge Farm

This Gal Cooks

Back For Seconds

Mom's Test Kitchen

Savvy Southern Style

Handy Man Crafty Woman

The DIY Dreamer

The Charm of Home

Simple Home Life

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Funky Junk Interiors

I Heart Naptime

Sunny Simple Life

Between Naps on the Porch

Alderberry Hill

Salt Tree

The Dedicated House

Cozy Little House

a bowl full of lemons

Love and Laundry

Kathe with an E

Life on Lakeshore Drive

Katherine's Corner

My Repurposed Life

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

The Shabby Creek Cottage

Rooted in Thyme

The Girl Creative

At The Picket Fence

Debbiedoo's

The Thrifty Groove

The Tablescaper

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Full Circle Creations

Beautiful Mess

 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

 

Merry Christmas from my family to yours! Enjoy the wonder of Christmas all day today. You are never too old for matching footed pajamas :-)

Monday, December 24, 2012

All is Calm, All is Bright

 
 
There is a calm I feel when Christmas Eve arrives. All the preparations are complete, and I look forward to spending time with family. The presents are wrapped and under the Christmas tree. The cookies we baked together, will be enjoyed tonight with hot chocolate, as we sit by the fire. We are happy that we will have a white Christmas this year.

There is a calm that arrives with the softly falling snow and the bright lights shining in the quiet of the night.

There is a calm that you feel sitting in church on Christmas Eve, listening to the story of the birth of Jesus. Silent Night, Holy Night. All is calm, all is bright. May you all have a blessed Christmas as you celebrate and spend time with your family on this holy night.

 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Candy Cane Martini

 

I love a fun martini, and the holidays is a perfect time to serve something festive to your guests. We will be hosting my husband's family for dinner, on Christmas Day and these Candy Cane Martinis will start the evening with a nice touch. We will be using these pretty, green martini glasses, with my special Christmas charms attached to the stem. The candy cane garnish is fun too. This martini tastes like white chocolate and peppermint - so delicious :-)

Don't be intimidated by serving a martini - you just measure and place the ingredients in a martini shaker filled with ice, shake and strain into a pretty glass. It really is as easy as can be and there are so many fun recipes to try - in fact, finding a great, new martini recipe is one of my favorite things.

Candy Cane Martini Recipe

1 1/2 ounces vanilla vodka

1 1/2 ounces white creme de cacao

1/2 ounce peppermint schnapps

Combine the vodka, creme de cacao and peppermint schnapps in a martini shaker, filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a candy cane.

Merry Christmas!

 

{Linking with these friends}


Rattlebridge Farm

This Gal Cooks

Mom's Test Kitchen


Must Try Mondays

Stonegable

Simple Living and Eating

Barns and Noodles

Mockingbird Hill Cottage

Tutus and Tea Parties

 

 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Our Traditional Christmas Treats and Pinterest Success #9

 

For the past two days, my daughters and I have been baking Christmas cookies and treats. We've had the Christmas music playing (Michael Buble) and it has been cozy and warm in the kitchen. There will be plenty of goodies to fill a cookie platter or two.

Our traditional cookies stay the same from year to year, but I like to try something new each year too. Where my girls really get involved is with the Ginger Cut Out Cookies. They love to cut out the shapes and then decorate with frosting and sprinkles.

They look so pretty on a cookie platter and are a light, delicious version, with just a hint of orange rind, along with the spices. This recipe brings back so many memories of when my girls were little and needed to stand on a chair to reach the counter and help roll the dough.

We always make Peanut Blossoms because who can resist the traditional taste of chocolate and peanut butter.

This Peppermint Bark was a new recipe we tried this year and it will look pretty on the platters, along with the cookies.

The Pinterest success were these Chocolate Chunk Cherry Cookies. We love chocolate covered cherries from our favorite store in Northern Michigan, Cherry Republic. I was hoping this cookie recipe would be reminiscent of that flavor and we all agree they tasted incredible. Chewy, rich cocoa flavor, filled with dark chocolate chunks and dried cherries. Go here to find the pin and the recipe link.

To me, Christmas wouldn't be the same, without these precious days spent baking together in the kitchen. I have the same memories with my mom and I hope my daughters will continue the tradition when they have a family of their own.

Happy Thursday!

P.S. Here is a sneak peak of my Christmas Card. We used a photo from this summer's Color Run and I think it is fun and unexpected. Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

{Linking with these parties}

Keep Calm and Carry On

Tutus and Tea Parties

Kelly's Korner

Jennifer Rizzo

 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Winter Window

 

My laundry room window received a seasonal change, as I was doing my Christmas decorating. This particular window is fun to change with the seasons, and you can see how it looks in the spring and summer here and with its fall decor here.

This window topper will stay for the winter months and will look especially pretty with a backdrop of snow falling outside. I love to leave some winter decor, like this and some cute little snowmen, on display through February.

To make this simple window treatment, I used branches sprayed with glittery snow, a garland of leaves with red berries, and twine. My plan was to hang the snowman from the branches, but I liked it better plain and simple. All of these supplies are available from Michaels.

First, cut apart the branches with clippers and gather them together in the proper length to fit your window. Tie the branches together with twine, finishing with a simple bow. Hang the branches, using the twine to attach it to three nails in the window frame. Lastly, drape the garland across branches.

I just love the combination of the sparkly branches, the red berries and the twine bows. Natural, sweet and wintery.

Have a merry Wednesday - I will be finishing my Christmas baking and wishing for some snow :-)

 

{Linking with these friends}


Full Circle Creations

Savvy Southern Style

Handy Man Crafty Woman

The DIY Dreamer

The Charm of Home

Simple Home Life

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Funky Junk Interiors

I Heart Naptime

Sunny Simple Life

Between Naps on the Porch

Alderberry Hill

Salt Tree

The Dedicated House

Cozy Little House

a bowl full of lemons

Love and Laundry

Kathe with an E

Life on Lakeshore Drive

Katherine's Corner

My Repurposed Life

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

Stonegable

The Shabby Creek Cottage

Rooted in Thyme

The Girl Creative

At The Picket Fence

Debbiedoo's

Thrifty Decor Chick

The Thrifty Groove

The Tablescaper

Jennifer Rizzo

 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Prayer and Silence

 

Please pray for the children and families...

Pray if you feel anxious ...

Just pray.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Book Club Christmas Dinner




Tomorrow, I will be joining the blogging community for a day of silence and prayer to support the Sandy Hook victims. Today, I will continue with a regular post, because I believe another way to honor the victims is to continue everyday life and not let evil triumph <3




My book club celebrated Christmas last week with a lovely catered dinner at one of our member's homes. It was a great idea to cater the meal, because it saved both our hostess, as well as all of us, the added work of preparing a dish to share. We had delicious salmon, chicken fettuccini, green beans and salad. Our generous hostess made a buche de noel cake and a Triple Berry Crisp for our dessert.

The table was pretty and very festive and these place cards were adorable. She cut a tree branch, drilled a hole, then inserted a sprig of an evergreen branch, with a star denoting each name. Simple, yet beautiful.

For our gift exchange, we each brought wrapped gift with a favorite thing inside. When a friend picked our gift, we each told the story of why it was our favorite. It was a wonderful way to connect with each other and hear about something important in the life of a friend.

The Christmas spirit of friendship was alive and well at our Book Club Christmas dinner - sharing stories and laughter amongst true friends.

 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Artichoke Dip with a Twist

 

A basic Artichoke Dip is an old standby for most people, and it is one of my favorites to serve when I entertain, because most people love it. However, if you want your guests to really rave about the taste, make this recipe for Artichoke Dip with Chilies. The addition of a can of chopped green chilies adds a nice kick, without being too spicy for most.

I served this dip, with both crackers and tortilla chips, at my Bunco Progressive Christmas Party last week, and all the ladies wanted to know the secret ingredient they were tasting, because it was so good. Give it a try this holiday season - it is easy and quick, requires only four ingredients and you will receive compliments galore.

Recipe for Artichoke Dip with Chilies

1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped in medium pieces

1 4 ounce can chopped green chilies

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients and place in a 8 ounce baking dish, lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm with crackers or tortilla chips.

Enjoy your weekend and try not to stress about Christmas preparations. Take some time to relax and watch a Christmas movie or look at some Christmas lights. Everything will get done :-)

{Linking with these friends}

Gooseberry Patch

Rattlebridge Farm

This Gal Cooks

Back For Seconds

Mom's Test Kitchen

 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thoughts for Thursday...books, empty nest, etc.

 

Things I am thinking about today...

 

  • These two cute girls will be home together, starting Friday. We have a lot of family time to look forward to over the next few weeks. There will be lots of baking, shopping, and movies - maybe even some skiing and ice skating, if we get some snow and colder temperatures. My empty nest will be filled with activity!
  • I just love wrapping presents and putting on the pretty bows and tags. I usually go for the sparkly ribbon, but this year I have been using twine on some of the packages and I like how sweet and simple it looks.
  • While wrapping presents yesterday, I watched my favorite Christmas movie, White Christmas. I couldn't even tell you how many times I have seen it, but I love it and it wouldn't feel like Christmas if I didn't watch it. The scene where the General is surprised by his troops on Christmas Eve, makes me teary every time. And, the scene where Danny Kaye fakes a fall and leg injury to distract the General, makes me laugh.
  • I will be going to a special holiday dinner for my book club tonight, but we will also be discussing The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns, by Margaret Dilloway. I thought it was really good, with interesting, well written characters. The only drawback, was the level of detail on rose breeding. After the first few chapters, you get caught up in the story and it doesn't seem as prevalent. Also, the author took a very interesting stance on organ transplants. It should make for an interesting discussion.
Happy Thursday!

 

Linking with Mockingbird Hill Cottage

 

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