Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our Winter Wonderland

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We spent Christmas weekend in Spokane with my family. I was pretty bummed to see no snow anywhere in the forecast. Even so, the frost was beautiful.

To our great joy, a surprise snow storm hit on Christmas eve. 

It was a spectacular white Christmas. 
The kids were almost as overjoyed as me. Almost.

Mommy! My hands are cold!

That's better. 
And yummy!

Ice skating on the frozen "pond"

Christmas Sunday and a pretty new coat from grandma.

My handsome men.

Nothing quite as sweet as a white Christmas.

Hope yours was wonderful too.

(See more of our Christmas here, here and here.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Prepare the night before - Christmas Breakfast

Holiday dinners are always daunting and stressful for me. Holiday breakfasts on the other hand are my favorite. Probably since they are so easy. Just a few minutes of prep time the night before, pop some food in the oven while the kids rush the tree and you can have a delicious breakfast or brunch ready for after the gifts are opened. Since I didn't make Thanksgiving dinner this year and we went out, I made my usual Christmas brunch that morning:

On the menu:

Hot Chocolate with whipped cream, sprinkled with cinnamon
I use the Starbucks brand because it's just so yummy. Put the milk in the crockpot on high and everyone can make their own. Use the spray can whipping cream for convenience. Whipped cream that sits over night isn't the best. Crockpot Wassail would be great too and adds a great Christmas smell to the air.

Usually we have a clementine in our stockings, but some thing else to add just a hint of healthy is refreshing. I like using a couple melon halves as bowl. Get persimmons if you can find them. My kids call them Per-cinnamons since they taste (and look) like they have been sprinkled with cinnamon.

Christmas Morning Casserole
A co-worker gave me this recipe shortly after I moved to the South. I was served it many times while I lived there. So easy, very filling and everyone likes it. You prepare the entire dish the night before. I think this is the same dish that the chick in the Family Stone spills all over the kitchen floor. Minus the mushrooms.

9 eggs
1 pound grated cheddar
1 pound breakfast sausage, cooked drained and crumbled
3 cups milk
1 tsp salt
6 slices of white bread (crusts removed and cut into cubes. I like Grandma Sycamore Bread)
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard

Mix eggs. milk, salt and mustard. Stir in other ingredients and pout into 9x13 baking dish or 3 quart casserole dish. Refrigerate over night. Bake one hour at 325 degrees. Let set 5 minutes before serving.

Cinnamon Rolls or Sticky buns.
Ina Garten has a really great recipe using puff pastry for sticky buns. I like to make them the night before and pop them in the oven the next morning. Though I recommend lowering the temperature to 350 and checking them after 20 minutes. If you cook them as long and as high as she suggests, they will burn. Oh, and only use 1/2 cup of butter instead of 2/3.

(Honestly though, I think the Rhodes Roll Cinnamon rolls you can get in the freezer section are awesome. We had them last Christmas and they were a hit. Just get up a little before everyone else to sit them on the pan to raise.)

Another fantastic idea is Cinnamon Roll Waffles. Phemomenon gives a great tutorial on how to make this super easy breakfast treat.

If you want something more special than cinnamon rolls, I always recommend Mace Bundt cake. We've made it twice already this season. Just as good for brunch as for dessert.


Any other Christmas breakfast traditions out there? Growing up, we always found one of those mini cereal boxes in our stockings. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Signs of a very simple Christmas

Christmas is a big deal at our house. Tons of decorations. We have hundreds of ornaments. Really. Hundreds.
Who the crap knows where all that stuff is. I opened the one Christmas box I could get to in the garage and decorated with whatever was in it. This house will be amazing all decked out. This year we just worked with one box. You can see our sad tiny little tree in our home pics

That's okay. I seriously needed a break. 
Taking Christmas down this year will take 30 minutes instead of an entire day. 
Though I do wish I would have been able to find the nativity scene.

Someday I'll make this mantel a Christmas masterpiece. 
But this year we will have to make due with sticks and ornaments. 
Directions here.

And a couple pretty topiaries. 

Paper mache meets snowman. Totally bril. Wish I could take credit. 
Directions on how to make one of your own here.

No tree topper to be found, I made due.

I did get us a new ornament this year. Something to remind me of my two babies. 
I love Tai Pan. This was like $3.

Our first Christmas together will remain forever in my memory as one of the most romantic times of my life. I want to have this photo out every Christmas. Instructions on how to make a wrapping paper frame here

This Christmas has been pretty romantic too.

Since we've moved we're trying to pair down the clutter. 

However, to my utter shock I realized we didn't have a clementine holder! 
No clementine holder?? What on earth would the neighbors say! I rushed right out and found one from Anchor Hocking. That was a close one.

(I actually got this in a Christmas gift exchange with some girl friends. Love it.)

Christmas is less than a week away. Time to watch The Holiday, bake cookies, pull out the guitar to
 sing carols, drive to see lights and hold my family close together. The best week of the year is here. Enjoy it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Modest Holiday Wares

I wore the most incredible dress to Shane's work party last week. Sadly the only photo we got was a snap of at the table. Maybe I'll have a reason to wear it again and I will get a shot.
So hard to find great modest dresses with sleeves. But I'm seeing it more and more lately. Yay!

Leave it to Alive and Olive to make the perfect sparkle dress.

If I could get this in gray, would it be too much for the opera? Cause I'm in love. Just imagine it with a yellow belt and yellow heals. From Fancy NY

How about this little lovely? Sure it costs more than my car, but I really think I need to pull out all the stops this New Years Eve party. Either this dress or jeans and a hoodie. Not sure yet. From Eli Saab

Don't tell Shane, but this Shabby Apple number should be arriving at my house any day now. I wanted something extra pretty for our romantic Christmas date we have next week. Isn't winter white dreamy?
I think I need a spray tan. 

Hope you have big plans for celebrating this year! 
Make sure at least one event includes some dressing up! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Tradition - Gingerbread Playdough

Usually this time of year I spend a lot of my evenings looking at all the the amazing holiday ideas out in the Blogosphere. However, the last three weeks have been overloaded with packing, cleaning, moving and unpacking. We even had our first guests come to stay with us last weekend. The only Christmas blogging I've kept up with is Sweet Paul and My Sister's Suitcase. I'm just glad I had my gifts done last month or I would be so behind. It's going to be a low key Christmas season this year. 

I did come across one idea I wanted to try with my kids during these cold days. Sugerbella posted about Gingerbread Playdough and it looked perfect. My kids love playdough, especially when I sit down with them to play. The dough isn't edible, but it smells amazing and works great. I think we will make this a new tradition. Very Christmasy.
Some of my humble efforts to entertain the children:

Collin requested a Santa. He thought the mustache looked like two birds kissing.

Lydia wanted a surprise, so I told her I would make my favorite things in the world.
 I think I did a pretty good job on Collin's curly hair. :)

Sweetbella shows how to make them into gifts. I'm not that motivated. Maybe next year....

Monday, December 12, 2011

House Pics

Finally! We're settled into our new house and life is gaining a little normalcy. We're having so much fun! Shopping for furniture, figuring out paint colors. 
Who knew how great a date night at Home Depot could be. 

Now remember we are just starting to decorate the house and make it the way we want it. Someday these will be the "before pics". But it gives you an idea. Love any advice you have. I'm not a designer by any stretch.

Main Floor. 

Shane is planning on adding a lot of trim to this space and we will be painting soon. We are also shopping for living room furniture but haven't found just what we want. 
It's a little bare right now as you can see. That huge built in mirror is a little intense. Looking at mantel decor ideas.

The kitchen looks into the living room though a pass though. Gives it a nice open feel.

And it really is this clean ALL the time.

Or at least until 7:30AM.

I really like the kitchen, though it needs to be updated with granite. We bought a new stainless steel fridge and eventually will match the rest of the appliances. 

A couple yellow pops. 

I won't tell you how huge that pantry is. 
Well, okay I will.

It's gynormous. :)

I found a black hutch at a vintage furniture store that was just the right match for our tiny table. 
We've since replaced the stainless hardware on the hutch with black.

Off of the living room is the study. Lydia calls it the library. 

It's my favorite room in the house. 

We always knew we wanted a study with a masculine, dark wood look. I wanted a place to showcase my Pendleton blankets, and I thought they looked kind of cool on the bookcases. 

Now what color should the walls be?

The other side of the study. Love this little desk. Just bought it last week. Merry Christmas to me!

So there's the main floor. I'll post photos of the upstairs when we finish unpacking. 
So sometime in the Spring. :)

I really love this house. 

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