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Archive for the ‘christmas’ Category

You should understand that the ticket to my husband’s heart involves just a few things. College football, good music, and lots of sweets. Since we’ve dated, I’ve tried to tackle just a few adventures in the kitchen just so he knows I’m not a complete joke as the person he’s chosen to spend the rest of his life with. Sugar cookies are right-up there in his list of favorites, and coincidently the prospect of making these homemade TERRIFIES me.

For a few years now, I’ve slid under the radar by buying the packaged sugar cookie mix, and slapping a little frosting on top.
Betty’s treated me well over the years, but just like Britney and Justin; it was time for us to go our separate ways. I’ve tackled homemade pies. I can make some damn sugar cookies.
In order to ensure a few more solid years of wedded bliss, I tackled straight-up homemade sugar cookies this week. And they were AMAZING. Here’s the recipe for any of you go-getters out there.
Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup salted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1. Cream butter and sugar. Add rest of ingredients.
2. Chill in the fridge at least 10 minutes. Roll the dough out.
*Tip: Use LOTS of flour to make sure it doesn’t stick to the counter.
3. Cut out your shapes and place them onto an un-greased cookie sheet. (thinner = more crispy)
4. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Take them out when you’re supposed to or your first batch will look like this:
This is what I like to call an epic failure. See that little crispy tree on the bottom? Not good for the marriage.

If you finally get your act together and take them out correctly, then you’re ready for some frosting. In my humble (clearly amateur) opinion, this is what takes the cookies to a 10.

Powdered Sugar Icing (from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)
Ingredients
– 1 cup powdered sugar
– 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
– 1 tablespoon milk
1. In a small bowl combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches drizzling consistency.

Start out with the white, then use seperate bowls to make additional colors as needed. A few drops of food coloring and I had yellow and green to work with.

I had some leftover red gel icing, so some of the trees and snowmen got a little extra attention.
Those are obviously scarves on the snowmen. No they don’t have eyes, they are magical snowmen who only need red scarves to feel complete. Moving along….
TA DA!!!
Stand back and admire your handi-work. These bad-boys were gone in 2 hours at the in-laws this weekend. Mission accomplished.
Hope you all had a great holiday!!!

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Favorite Christmas Memories

Christmas is THIS WEEK!!!! I’m not exactly prepared, but either is my husband apparantley. He asked to borrow the Target Check Card this morning because “Santa was meeting him there”. I feel a little better about the situation 🙂
Today I was thinking about the best Christmas memories that I have. There are definitley a few that come to mind!
1. When I was around first or second grade, I woke up and spent the morning opening gifts with my brothers. We were finishing up and my dad/brothers called me over to the window. They were pointing at a large white garbage bag that was laying out in our back yard. The bag was surrounded by deer prints, and the bag said “To Jessi, Love Santa” in huge black letters.
My brothers and I FREAKED OUT. Santa had dropped something out of his sleigh! And it was FOR ME!
I opened it up, and Santa had left me the best present ever. A Little Mermaid bedding set!
The best part is, I remember that story ALL the time. I was telling it again when I was in my teenage years, and my parents burst out laughing. They told the “real story” about how they realized that morning that Santa had forgotten my bedding set. They threw it in a garbage bag and tossed it into the backyard when we weren’t looking. There were always deer in the backyard, so my brothers and I were convinced the reindeer had visited as well. I LOVED the Little Mermaid and that was honestly the best thing ever.
2. The last Christmas Memory is actually just from last year. We had just moved into our new house, and we were hosting for the first time ever. Mom and I spent the day cooking everything, and all the kids had a game of “Nasty Christmas”. (Each person brings a gift worth $20 or less. Roll the dice and if you get doubles, you get to take a present. Keep going for a set amount of time and you can steal presents if you want). We contributed a Nebraska Cornhusker Snuggie, and holy cow was it a hot comoddity!
It was SUPER easy to prep for, and everyone loved it. Zero stress, Zero spending (almost), and we spent time together laughing our asses off which was the best part. As we get older, it’s so much less about the gifts, and way more about spending time together. (Although if Santa brought me a new Coffee maker I wouldn’t hate him. Just sayin……….)
Stop over at Taylor’s to share your Top 2 Christmas Memories as well!

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Ornament Exchange!

This week, a bunch of lovely bloggers got together (virtually that is) for a fun Ornament Exchange. Shockingly, this is the first time I’ve ever done an exchange like this!

Shannon and Karen are our lovely hosts, and my stalking has tripled this week as I found all these great new blogs 🙂 .
I was paired with the lovely Jennifer from “The White House”.
If you want to see a cute blog with some GREAT photography and a real frickin cute baby, head over!
Here’s a pic of the adorable ornament she sent north.
I LOVE IT!
Bright colors? Check.
Polka-dots? Check
It’s also REAL sturdy. The ornament is ceramic, but it’s heavier than I expected! I had to put it on two branches just to keep her from sagging (that sounded horrible, but you feel me? no sagging allowed on this tree). It looks awesome on the tree and it’s one of my new favorites!
Now here’s where Jennifer really took it to a whole new level and put all us other bloggers to shame.
She included this little guy as well!
Don’t let your eyes deceive you. It’s not alcohol (although that would kick this exchange up a whole ‘nother level…….) It’s a bottle of cooking glaze! This southern belle had thrown in a little something from her area of the country. Definitely unnecessary, but oh so sweet. If I can’t really be a southern gal, at least I can cook like one. AWESOME!
Jen, I tried to send you something from our neck of the woods:
but I didn’t think 2 feet of snow would ship very well.
Jen: YOU RULE! Thanks for a sweet little surprise this week 🙂

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There are quite a few Christmas tours happening right now, so I thought I’d lump both my holiday posts into one (easier for linking up). Sorry to those of you who have already seen these!

I love setting up our Christmas tree every year. It’s so fun to open up the ornaments each year, and add to our collection as well.

 

Here’s a shot of our tree (I think I showed it earlier this week). Here she is; small but mighty.

This little guy is about 4 years old now; and it’s nice and small. In our little condo it was awesome, but now that we’re in the big house I may look for an upgrade this year. I LOVE the topper; it’s a great gold colored star that light’s up. Nice and pretty. Here’s one of my favorite ornaments:

 

We actually got this as a wedding gift and it was one of the coolest ideas! I was so excited to use it that first year, and I LOVE how the light reflects through the beautiful shaped glass.

The coolest part about having our own little family now (party of 2) is that we get to start our own traditions. One of my favorites is buying an ornament from every trip we take. There’s nothing worse than “souvenir-shopping” while being on vacation. I don’t want a magnet, or a keychain. Those will only add to my already disastrous junk drawer. This is a fun thing to look for while on vacation, and they’re typically not too expensive. Here are a few of my favorites that we added to the tree just this year:

 

From our trip to Arizona this spring.

From our Anniversary trip to Craguns Resort (the resort in northern MN where we got married).

From our AWESOME trip to Boston this summer. (a little blurry, but combining baseball with red glitter makes this ornament one of my favorites!)

Santa on an NYC cab from our trip this Spring. Can you tell I like when they’re real cheesy and represent something from the place? The hokier the better; and if Santa is involved? Done deal.

I’m not cool enough to have a color-coordinated tree. I love that our tree is also a scrapbook of our life! Matching ornaments or a “theme” don’t really get me in the holiday mood.

I’ve been majorly slacking in the decorations department. My house doesn’t have much “holiday spirit” at the moment. I’ll go the day after Christmas and possibly pick up some new things, but until then I’m fine with it.

Last week I finally got around to putting up our mantel, here are a few pics of that bad boy.

On the table in the kitchen, my SUPER crafty mom (haha mom; do you like that!) made me this beautiful runner.

She just learned how to quilt this year, and has been going CRAZY with all her cool ideas! She found some great holiday fabrics and now I have some actual seasonal decorations which is awesome.Here’s a better zoomed in pic of the great fabric. I love how it pulls out the green from my kitchen.
Here’s our mantel downstairs in the man-cave.

Those stockings have been around for YEARS, someday I’d love to update them with some classic monogrammed ones that match a little better. Doesn’t PB have a good after-Xmas sale? (Seeing a theme here? All shopping must happen at major discounts for me!)

The reindeer on top is a great Holiday Card holder I got at TJ Maxx last year.

Last year this thing stayed up until Easter. And I didn’t even care.
Upstairs is pretty bare, on our table in the entryway I stacked up a trio of candles and propped up this cute sign in front. Nice and basic, but the “Seasons Greetings” can hopefully stay out for a little while!

That’s it! Stop by The Nester and also Kelly’s Korner to see more great holiday pics.

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This week on Home Tour Tuesday it’s: Trim your Tree!

I love setting up our Christmas tree every year. It’s so fun to open up the ornaments each year, and add to our collection as well.
Here’s a shot of our tree (I think I showed it earlier this week). Here she is; small but mighty.

 

This little guy is about 4 years old now; and it’s nice and small. In our little condo it was awesome, but now that we’re in the big house I may look for an upgrade this year.  I LOVE the topper; it’s a great gold colored star that light’s up. Nice and pretty. Here’s one of my favorite ornaments:
We actually got this as a wedding gift and it was one of the coolest ideas! I was so excited to use it that first year, and I LOVE how the light reflects through the beautiful shaped glass.
The coolest part about having our own little family now (party of 2) is that we get to start our own traditions. One of my favorites is buying an ornament from every trip we take. There’s nothing worse than “souvenir-shopping” while being on vacation. I don’t want a magnet, or a keychain. Those will only add to my already disastrous junk drawer. This is a fun thing to look for while on vacation, and they’re typically not too expensive. Here are a few of my favorites that we added to the tree just this year:
From our trip to Arizona this spring.
From our Anniversary trip to Craguns Resort (the resort in northern MN where we got married).
From our AWESOME trip to Boston this summer. (a little blurry, but combining baseball with red glitter makes this ornament one of my favorites!)
Santa on an NYC cab from our trip this Spring. Can you tell I like when they’re real cheesy and represent something from the place? The hokier the better; and if Santa is involved? Done deal.
I’m not cool enough to have a color-coordinated tree. I love that our tree is also a scrapbook of our life!
Matching ornaments or a “theme” don’t really get me in the holiday mood.
Stop over at Thrifty Decor Chick’s Holiday Home Party to see more adorable trees!

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Holiday Decor

I’ve been majorly slacking in the decorations department. My house doesn’t have much “holiday spirit” at the moment. I’ll go the day after Christmas and possibly pick up some new things, but until then I’m fine with it.

Last week I finally got around to putting up our mantel, here are a few pics of that bad boy.

Here’s our little baby tree. We first got him when we lived in our condo, and at the time it was perfect size!

Now it seems a smidge small for what I’d like there. We’re hoping to shop the after Xmas sales this year and maybe pick up a pre-lit tree that’s a little larger. We’ll see how that goes! Next week I’ll highlight some of our ornaments/traditions, so I’ll save those for later!

On the table in the kitchen, my SUPER crafty mom (haha mom; do you like that!) made me this beautiful runner.
She just learned how to quilt this year, and has been going CRAZY with all her cool ideas! She found some great holiday fabrics and now I have some actual seasonal decorations which is awesome.Here’s a better zoomed in pic of the great fabric. I love how it pulls out the green from my kitchen.
Here’s our mantel downstairs in the man-cave.
Those stockings have been around for YEARS, someday I’d love to update them with some classic monogrammed ones that match a little better. Doesn’t PB have a good after-Xmas sale? (Seeing a theme here? All shopping must happen at major discounts for me!)
The reindeer on top is a great Holiday Card holder I got at TJ Maxx last year.
Last year this thing stayed up until Easter. And I didn’t even care.
Upstairs is pretty bare, on our table in the entryway I stacked up a trio of candles and propped up this cute sign in front. Nice and basic, but the “Seasons Greetings” can hopefully stay out for a little while!
We’re a little peeved because our Christmas wreath hasn’t come from the neighborhood boy scout yet. I thought it should be here the week after Thanksgiving, and all the other houses have theirs already! I might shoot his momma an email and see what the story is. Our house is pretty bare out front!
Stop over at Flip Flops & Pearls to see more great house decorations!

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Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

I am loving Kim’s blog, and all the great DIY projects that have been linked up over the last few days.

This week’s challenge? Dare to DIY: Dare to give homemade gifts!

Last year (when I had 3 followers) I posted my homemade hot cocoa mix. I’m making a few new sets this week so I can bring them over to the neighbors and coworkers. My grandma would be so proud; this is her recipe which means guaranteed success!

Here’s the recipe:

– 1/2 Cup powdered mlk
– 1/2 Cup Powdered chocolate mix (nesquik is what I used)
– 1/2 Cup sugar
– 1/4 Cup Marshmallows
– 1/4 Cup chocolate chips

Layer all ingredients in mason jar. For best layering, I did this order: chocolate chips, milk, chocolate, sugar, marshmallows. It’s only to make it look nice but hey, fake it till you make it right?

To jazz them up a bit I topped each lid with some leftover wrapping paper scraps. Tie a little ribbon around the top and noone would know you weren’t the craftiest chick in the office. (Again, we’re faking it here….)

I also included a little tag with the instructions to the recipients.

It reads:

Enjoy this homemade hot cocoa mix. Stir 1/3 cup cocoa mix in mug. Add 1 cup boiling water. Enjoy!

It honestly takes less than 30 minutes to make a HUGE set of these, and the hot cocoa tastes AMAZING. Perfect for neighbors, coworkers, or anyone else who you need something simple for.

Stop over at Kim’s for more fun ideas! Then set aside some time in the next few weeks to tackle some of these projects!

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