Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cookie Exchange

Take 14 women, 1008 cookies, a couple pots of coffee and some breakfast food, what do you get? One very yummy Christmas Cookie Exchange!

Yesterday morning I hosted my third cookie exchange for the neighborhood ladies, which I consider my good friends. By no means am I an expert at hosting the cookie exchange, but I have learned a couple of things over the years:

First of all, purchase an assortment of food handler gloves. With the cold and flu season every before us, everyone seems to appreciate the use of the gloves.

Secondly, encourage everyone to bring a separate container to bring cookies home it. Note, I have ziploc freezer bags on hand if needed.

Personally, I love to serve breakfast casseroles, fruit and an easy quick bread. This means all my preparation is done ahead of time. The casseroles smell great and they serve a large number of people.

Over the last couple of years questions arise about food allergies and recipe request. To these questions I have no great answers.

Here I am with friends just hanging out and enjoying the Christmas festivities.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Countdown

Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

In just two weeks Christmas will be here! How are your to-do lists coming? Every year I think I am going to be ahead of schedule, so I won't have to stress about all the activities that Christmas brings. I'm still not ahead of schedule but, I feel like I'm managing. Also, I'm enjoying all the outings, parties and concerts that are family is involved with.

I would have to say I'm 90% finished shopping, 50% done with baking, 0% of gifts wrapped, 95% done with the gifts I'm making, 100% decorated and the Christmas letter - up to my husband!! Can we get an amen for delegating!

This next week I do need to make three different dishes for three different parties and I'm hosting the neighborhood / friends Christmas cookie exchange this Saturday. Again, I'm taking it one day at a time. I will post about that a little later.

Here is a picture of a home featured in Better Homes & Gardens that was inspiring to me!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Use What You Have

I'm almost finished decorating for Christmas, thanks to my sister-in-law who has the gift of decorating! She came over the other night to help "tweak" my decorations. I told her to find things around the house and use them.

With difficult economic times, I'm trying to balance my love for decorating at Christmas time without spending extra money. So, I'm using what I have and trying to use things that can be used throughout the year. I have a number of red decorating accents in my home, so it is easy to decorate and add things for Christmas.

Here is one of my favorite things in my house. My old window! This window was weathered the old fashioned way, by staying in the outdoor elements for years. It came from my parents farm. Every season I just change the wreath around. My friend Laurie also did something special with her window that she can use all year long.

This crystal bowl was one of those wedding gifts that I received and I wasn't sure what to do with it. Well my sister-in-law said, "fill it with candy!" Notice that the bag of Hershey Kisses hasn't been opened. In our home, they wouldn't last if they were left open, and in sight.

The cupboard in our half bath has been empty for a long time. I just added some red and green covered books (not even Christmas related) and I rolled up some colored wash clothes and towels that I had.

Our fireplace mantle is almost finished. I have to put some fresh greens on top to fill in some spaces. Here I'm using a vase that is out all the time, just added some red berries. With the winter sign and "red" additions I will be able to use these things throughout winter, not just for the month of December.

The last thing I wanted to show you is my tree skirt. They can be expensive, so I found a round tablecloth, a few years ago, and I cut it down on the one side. It makes a great tree skirt for a little cost and a little work.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Today is December 1st! So, we put up our new advent calendar. FYI I purchased it last year for $5 at the Pottery Barn Outlet. We have been trying to teach our girls about the true meaning of Christmas and I thought the advent calendar could point to Christ's birth.

My question is, if you have an advent calendar, do you put a small gift in it every day? And what types of mini gifts do you use? I haven't been on "top of things" so the girls got Hershey Kisses. I'm looking for some good ideas!