Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

I always enjoy New Year's Eve. I am excited to enjoy an evening counting down to the new year and enjoying appetizers. I have spent the last couple of days carefully packing away my Christmas decorations and today we spent time putting out a few sparkly decorations for New Years Eve.

When I was Christmas shopping a couple of weeks ago I picked up some cute gold, silver and black party hats and blowers and shiny beads. I brought out the glittered clocks that I made last year.

I found really cute mustache paper straws, and decided to keep out the glittered animals I made for Christmas, they look good with all the sparkly New Years decorations.

The kids are having friends over to play games and hang out. I am looking forward to watching The Hundred-Foot Journey, I saw this movie in theaters for Gary and my anniversary this year, it is a wonderful movie. I have been looking forward to it coming out on DVD and thought New Year's Eve would be a fun night to watch this movie again. This movie is really inspiring and is just a treat, beautiful scenery, beautiful food, interesting and rich cultures, I would highly recommend it!

For appetizers and goodies I am making a batch of Super Easy Puff Pastry Cinnamon Palmiers  which is a favorite family treat.

I also make crescent dough wrapped brie and bacon wrapped dates, which I serve with baguette and crackers, and grapes, this is a treat I look forward to every New Year's Eve. 

I am really looking forward to 2015, I love the start to a new year! I have a lot of fun plans for this upcoming year, as well as resolutions. :) I hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year's Eve, and Happy New Year!!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

My oh my has this Christmas season been a whirlwind! Between school activities, family activities, and all of the tasks that go along with holiday preparations, we have been a very busy family. I haven't been able to sit down and blog for that last two weeks, so I thought I would take a moment this Christmas eve to stop in and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and share a little bit about what we've been up to.

We had a wonderful time at the high school choirs Singing Christmas Tree, this year was a Christmas in Neverland theme. My husband spent a great deal of time at the high school helping to build the set which was pretty elaborate with a pirate ship and lost boys tree. The team who worked on the set did an amazing job! This is my son's senior year, so it was his last year performing in the Singing Christmas Tree as a student. He had an acting part as Wendy's brother John, as well as performing in the Concert choir and Socialaires which is like a jazz choir. A lot of work, but well worth the effort. The show was wonderful!

Joe also had the opportunity to sing with his choir at the hospital and on the radio, so that was also exciting. Last week we invited my littlest niece and nephew over for a Christmassy sleep over. We had fun watching Christmas special, playing, enjoying hot cocoa, and we did a fun glittery craft. I picked up some inexpensive plastic animals, and I gave everyone a brush and a paper muffin cup with a bit of mod podge, we coated the animals in mod podge and then covered them with glitter. They turned out really cute.

The glittered animals look great among all of my glittery floral picks in some of my Christmas displays, we even glittered some dinosaurs which are very fun and whimsical among the Christmas decor. I hope to make a whole glittery menagerie next year, it was a very fun craft! :)

I haven't had as much time as I usually do to bake cookies, I did spend the last couple days baking a pretty good selection though. One of my go to cookies this season was very quick cookies made from Cake mixes. Some I made with Andes thin mints as frosting, others are made by adding Cool Whip to the Cake mix along with an egg or two, but the easiest one are these Crinkle cookies. I made one with Devil's Food Cake Mix, and another with Red Velvet Cake Mix. You just add two eggs and 1/2 a cup of vegetable oil to a box of cake mix, blend it well, then drop a rounded spoonful of dough into a bowl of powdered sugar and really roll the dough around in the powdered sugar to get it very thoroughly coated, then bake on a parchment lined pan at 350 F. for around 8 minutes. Super easy recipe! I got these cute new Santa plates for serving cookies and appetizers throughout the season, and we'll be setting Santa out a plate tonight!

With all of the business this holiday season there have been moments where I was a bit Scroogy, which is really not normal for me, I love Christmas time, but I was definitely a bit overbooked! I have really had to purposefully refocus on the true meaning of this season and remember to keep that joy. I have spent the last few weeks with my Sunday school class walking through the advent stories and lessons. My favorite lesson and simple craft was one that reminded us about Jesus being a light of the world. The craft was a simple candle with a glittered candle light. I cut a red sheet of paper into four quarters, put glue along one edge then rolled up the candle. I made a simple candle light template and cut out that shape, which we stuck down in the candle tube and glued with a bit of glue stick. Then added glue and glitter to the candle light.

I really liked this lesson and the reminder of Jesus being our light in this world. Tonight we attended our church's candlelight service, it was so beautiful, when we pulled into our church parking lot, which is normally quite dark in the evening because we go to a little country church, the parking lot was lined with beautifully lit up luminaries, it was so pretty. We sang some carols, and heard the Christmas story, then lit our candles in our darkened sanctuary. All of the little candles looked so beautiful lit up, and lit up the whole room, a reminder of our savior, who is our light in this world. Tonight when we came home we took time to light our little battery operated light to put in our window as a reminder of that welcoming light.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas!

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Tuesdays With A Twist

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Home Tour 2014

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around our house! I spent last week putting the final touches on my decor and getting ready to host a Christmas party for our church youth group. The Christmas party was a lot of fun and a great way to kick off the festivities. Here is a tour of this year's Christmas decor, glitter is definitely the prevailing theme, I am just drawn to everything glittery right now! :) 

On the dining room table I have set a glittery vintage Christmas scene, I love all of my fox ornaments as well as all of the retro trucks with Christmas trees on top.

I love these little pine cone elves, and if you look in the back of the picture you can see the little retro style camper with a Christmas tree on top, I love retro campers and I was excited find this little ornament. 

For our Christmas party I wanted to do a dessert table with a milk and cookie theme, these little milk glasses were perfect with chevron printed Christmas straws, sadly the kids all opted for soda, but that's okay, I will put the glasses to use at our next party. :)

I made a tray of mini red velvet cupcakes, I always make a few batches of these every Christmas for various events.

I made four different cookies to kick off baking season, you can read the bulk of my cookie recipes in my cookie posts here, and here, or in my baking index on the side bar. I made green colored crispy rice treats, oatmeal scotchies, Andes mint cookies, and molasses cookies.

I set out hot cocoa packets with a jar of peppermint marshmallows, we love hot cocoa this time of year!

I was at target last week to work on my Christmas shopping and found these reindeer and Santa on sale, I just love the way they look and it was nice to update my living room decor a bit, I hadn't changed it much in a few years. This year my living room is a sort of modern vintage glittery theme.

It all started with this little red glitter deer ornament.

This little red glittery deer is perfect for my tiny hall table.

I just fell in love with these vintage deer and the domed Christmas scene, this little display makes me happy every time I see it!

Last year the fireplace mantel was old fashioned Christmas Santas. This year I brought out the flocked metal cone shaped trees that I hadn't used for a few years, I thought they would be perfect with the reindeer.

I love the turquoise with the red and green. The little pine cones in the front are tea light holders from Yankee, this year instead of a Playmobil or Lego advent calendar, since the kids are now young adults, I decided that I would get the Yankee candle advent calendar, each day you open a window and get a new Christmas scented tea light to burn, we have all been enjoying it!

I love the way the Christmas lights reflect off glitter, it really sparkles at night.

The foyer I kept pretty much the same as last year, with only the addition of a couple more floral picks and two faux gold mercury glass candle holders which I found earlier this year. I love this glittery cardboard village.

Back in the dining room I have set out the candles on my craft cupboard flanked by a couple of my favorite nutcrackers, this will have to move to the back bedroom soon to make room for the tree this weekend.

The old world Santas are usually in the living room, this year they find themselves on a book case. I think they look nice next to all the colorful books.

More glittery deer! When I was at Target I wasn't sure about these black reindeer, but I didn't want to leave them and regret it later, which I often do, which necessitates a drive back into town often to find that what I passed on is now sold out, so since they were on sale, I decided it wouldn't hurt. Well it turns out they look pretty cool flanking our TV on the entertainment stand. :)

I also found this cute chalkboard style sign in a dollar bin and it matches the black and red reindeer and our entertainment stand.

I love this cute retro Christmas village that is printed onto wooden boards, I found it on clearance at CB2 this past spring, and I love it, the colors match with everything else in my living room. I decorated around it with glitter star-bursts, and glitter Christmas balls. I also put two glittered red trees behind the village, they reminded me of the tinsel trees that shopping centers would put up in the parking lots when I was a child back in the seventies and early eighties.

Here is the coffee shop up close, with a figure from my very first village, I put out this fellow enjoying his coffee every year. :)

I love the Thrift shop as well, this little village reminds me of shopping in Portland! The set also came with a bar, but we are teetotalers here, so no bars in the Christmas decor, lol! Fortunately three buildings were a better fit for this cabinet anyway.

Well that's the end of my Christmas Home Tour, I look forward to sharing our tree decorations next week. 
I hope everyone is having a nice start tot he holiday season! 

I am also hosting a Christmas Homemaking Hop this December, please stop by and link up your holiday posts. 

April's Homemaking

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

2014 Christmas Homemaking Hop

The holidays are in full swing and we are all as busy as Christmas elves! Thanksgiving was wonderful and we celebrated it a little differently this year, I will be sharing about our Thanksgiving as well as all of the other holiday activities we've been up to in my next post. For now though, I thought I would take a break from decorating to start up my 2014 Christmas Homemaking Hop!

This past autumn I hosted my 2014 Harvest Hop and had 101 posts shared! You can check out all of the great fall ideas though the link below.

April's Homemaking

I had so much fun hosting the Harvest hop I thought I would do one for Christmas. Throughout the month of December please feel free to stop by and link up you favorite, family friendly, Christmas and holiday posts, recipes, crafts, decor and holiday activities.

April's Homemaking


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Autumn Backyard Birds and Happy Thanksgiving

I am really looking forward to this holiday weekend, as well as the start to the Christmas season. We have all been busy this week, the kids have been busy studying for finals week, and Gary and I just finished a garage organizing project that we were glad to get done. During all of the busy activity I often need a little downtime, and one of my favorite ways to relax is to sit down and watch all of my backyard birds at the feeders out in my yard. Now that the colder weather has arrived the birds are happy to visit our bird feeders, and we have had quite a variety of different birds as well as our resident sparrows all through the garden.

The sparrows live in our garden year round they are always flying around through the garden and enjoying the feeders as well as any bread I put out for them.

I don't see the red headed finch much in the summer, mostly it is gold finch, but in the fall and through the early spring, the red headed finch show up at the feeders. I love the beautiful red coloring on their heads and touches of red on their back feathers, they are so pretty!

Also when the colder weather arrives we have cute little black capped chickadees hopping around eating at the feeders as well as cleaning up seed that the finch and sparrows have kicked out to the ground.

The blue jays stop by from time to time, it is definitely time to put out suet for them which they really seam to enjoy. We also have visits from crows when I put out bread or crackers. The crows are so intelligent, they walk around carefully investigating the yard, and then hopping down for bread or crackers. We have seen some of the crows pick up crackers and stack them in their beak when they get three or four crackers they fly off, it is really something to see! :)

I just love their cute quizzical little expressions like this little bird below, so cute, I could watch them for hours!

To get ready for Thanksgiving, I have set out some of our favorite fall decor. In my dining room, which also serves as my crafting space, I decided to set out my new favorite crafting supply, washi tape. I put it out in one of my wooden bowls, with pine cones and wooden spools of twine and ribbon that I will need for holiday wrapping projects. To organize the washi tape I have put the rolls onto drift wood sticks so I can easily pick them up and decide what pattern I might want to use. The colorful tape looks pretty among the natural objects and adds another element of color to my already colorful bookcases! I am looking forward to crafting with my washi tape for Christmas!

I also recently got this cute little wooden music box from Magic Cabin, I enjoy Magic Cabin's selection and have found many treasures there over the years. I thought this little music box, with its dancing royals and bright orange color, would be nice to set out for fall.

The rest of my decor are my favorites that I set out every year, you can see some of them in my Autumn Home post from last year. :)

I hope everyone has a nice Thanksgiving celebration, stop by this weekend for the Christmas Blog Hop I will be hosting. :) I am looking forward to all of the fun Christmas projects I have in mind!

Happy Thanksgiving! 

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