Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I got a good start on the decorating this weekend, but still have a LONG way to go. I wanted to show you a few things I have done, and some of my favorite decorations. Mr. and Mrs Claus are salt and pepper shakers that my Mom passed down to me. They sit on the cutest little green wooden bench. Rudolph is as old, if not older than me.
This is the Santa that I told about in my last post. His sleigh folds flat to store. All those little gifts are old perfume and jewelry boxes. I have to update the paper every few years because it tends to fade.
I'm still working on the garland. I was inspired by Nester's post and after much consideration about how to get it to stay up, we stuck some of those removable Command hooks to the bookcase because they do not want to work on the brick. I want to get some battery operated lights for it, because there is no where to plug it in.
Mr. Snowman is chillin' in his chair...
The coffee table in our Family Room. The antlers are just a few of Larry's souvenirs. He can tell you a story about each of them. I like how they look with the pine cone wreath and the leather.
That's it for the little tour, for now! I'm watching some football (GO VIKES!) and enjoying the Christmas music I chose for my playlist. I hope you have a great Monday!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Let the Decorating begin!

I can't believe I am showing ya'll this, but it is TIME TO DECORATE!!! Yes, it is finally time for me to dig in to this MASSIVE amount of Christmas decorations. Have I mentioned that I LOVE CHRISTMAS? This closet is obviously overflowing, but in my defense, some of these totes are there to put the fall/everyday decorations away. The turkey has been cooked and enjoyed, the family has been here and hugged and the dishes have been washed and for the most part, put away. So IT IS TIME! I get to unpack all the treasures that I look forward to every year. There's the Santa that I can remember sitting on top of our TV for as far back as I can remember (I think I was 4, maybe 5 years old - a LONG time ago!). His boot has a little chip in the front now, acquired somewhere over the years. There are snowmen. People, there are SNOWMEN! Larry and I have many collections, and EVERY room will be decked out. A few years ago we started collecting Rudolph figurines. This summer when we were in Branson, we found these three prizes. We really are just kids in an adult size package!

I'm off to tackle that mountain, be back with pictures soon!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Thanksgiving Trifecta!

I have three recipes to share today, just in case you are still planning your menu for tomorrow. All three of these are super simple, but sure to dazzle your guests. I've got you covered from start to finish with an awesome cheese ball, a side dish and a dessert!

Dried Beef Cheese Ball
2 (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
1 jar (I use Armour) dried beef, chopped in to tiny pieces
4 green onions, chopped
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Form in to a ball using wax paper. Chill. Serve with crackers.

I've been using this cheese ball recipe for years and it has always been a favorite at any occasion I've made it for. I've rarely had leftovers!

Here's a new twist for cranberry sauce. I got this recipe from my girl Paula Deen, so ya'll KNOW it's GOOD!

Mrs. Hoggle's Stuffed Cranberry Sauce
1 (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons Hellman's Mayonnaise
1/4 to 1/2 Cup chopped pecans
1 (16 ounce) can of Jellied cranberry sauce, chilled

Mix cream cheese and mayonnaise until creamy. It needs to be spreadable. Add pecans and mix well. Slice cranberry sauce in 1/4 inch rounds and spread cream cheese mixture on one round. Place another round on top, sandwich style. Cut each round in half like a sandwich, place in a shallow container and cover. Refrigerate until time to serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

This dessert recipe is another from Paula Deen. My Larry is not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, but he does like pumpkin in other things. I think you have to have pumpkin at Thanksgiving, and this is so good, and simple!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle
2 (14 ounce) packages gingerbread mix
1 (5.1 ounce) box cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
1 (30 ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
1 (12 ounce) container Cool Whip
1/2 cup crushed gingersnaps (optional)

Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar and cinnamon into the pudding. Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. (a punch bowl would work great for this) Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping. Sprinkle the top with the crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Makes 20 servings.

So what makes Thanksgiving special for you? I'm thankful that our families will be able to spend time together. We all are so busy that we don't make time like we should, so it is a Blessing when everyone can spend the day together with the people we love. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Creamy Pumpkin Dip

Sorry for being AWOP (Absent with out Posting) this week! I had my Southern Living at HOME Holiday Open House on Saturday. I was busy with the cooking and planning and stressing and the blog took a back seat. As did the picture taking, so I can't show you how pretty the Berry Punch looked, or the No-Bake Chocolate chip cookie pie, so you will just have to trust me that everything looked beautiful. And tasted pretty fantastic too!

One of the YUMMY treats I made for Saturday was this dip recipe. By now you know I am a fan of EASY, and this fits that requirement. If you are looking for an alternative to the pumpkin pie this year, this is it.

Creamy Pumpkin Dip
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (16 ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
1 (16 ounce) can pumpkin
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Stir in pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. Serve immediately, or cover and chill. Makes 5 cups.
Serve Dip with Gingersnaps.

Just in case I get crazy with the whole thought of 20+ people coming for Thanksgiving dinner and forget to say this later, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A very Southern Living Christmas

This is the coolest thing! One of my upline Directors, Suzi Thorne(Direct to the company) decorated this tree with mostly Southern Living at HOME products! The Santos Angel tops the tree, and the Santos Wisemen are tucked in here and there. You can see the Holiday Door Bucket, and of course the Sacred Symbols and Brilliant Glass Ornaments are there. I even spotted a Gail Pittman Hand-Painted ornament or two! For a unique tree skirt, she used the Chateau shower curtain from our new Bath Collection. So Pretty! This won't be my tree's theme this year - but if money was no object, I'd be on it!

Have I mentioned I LOVE CHRISTMAS??

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Could it get ANY better? I think not! No baking, so it's easy! Chocolate chip cookies, YUM! AND it's PIE! YAY! This recipe comes from the Southern Living Incredible Chocolate recipes cookbook. (page 50)

1 (15 or 18 oz.) package chocolate chip cookies*
1 Cup Milk
1 (9 oz.) commercial graham cracker crust (extra serving size)
1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Dip 8 cookies in milk and place in a single layer in graham cracker crust. Top with 1/3 of the whipped topping. Dip 8 more cookies in milk; place on top; spread with 1/3 of whipped topping. Repeat layers with 8 more cookies dipped in milk, and remaining whipped topping. Crumble 2 cookies and sprinkle over pie. Cover and chill 8 hours before serving.

* For cookies, we used Nabisco Chunky Chips Ahoy. You'll need 26 cookies for this recipe (you MAY have a few leftover cookies in the package - we didn't!).

Monday, November 17, 2008

OOOHHH, AAAHHH - Drool with me...

The product designers never cease to amaze me. Twice a year we get to introduce a new catalog with stylish ideas to decorate, entertain and organize our homes in a fashion that Southern Living at Home has made me come to expect. With each new catalog I always feel like it is THE BEST ONE EVER, and then it's time for another catalog and IT IS THE BEST ONE, EVER!

Exhibit A:
When the Fall 2008 catalog was released in August I was so impressed with the new Gail Pittman Hand Painted Collection, the Bath Collections we are now offering, and the new additions to some of my favorite collections. Of course I always love the Christmas decorations, and the unique ideas you find on every page.

Exhibit B:

Here is a little "sneak peek" of the new products available in January from your favorite Southern Living at Home Independent Consultant! (I hope that is me!)

(From top left)
Ornate Iron Two-Tiered Stand
Verde Accent Bowls, set of two
Chesapeake Appetizer Set (In the bowl)
Signature Flowerpot

(Second Row)
Camille Vases
Galveston Sectioned Server
Gail Pittman Veranda Footed Compote

I can't wait to see these items in person! The catalog should ship this week, and I am sure I will find more things in it that I will LOVE. If you would like a catalog to call your very own, email me your address and I will be happy to get one to you!

I was busy this weekend pouring through my recipes trying to narrow my list of foods I want to prepare for my Holiday Open House this Saturday. I think (hope!) I have a plan, and a grocery list ready. I'm really looking forward to my first event this Holiday season. How about you? Do you like to entertain? Or just be entertained? I'd love to hear your plans for the Holiday season!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Berry Punch

When company is coming, sometimes it is fun to make punch. I'll be hosting a few Holiday gatherings, and this is one of my favorites. This is a sweet punch, but not too sweet. It is a beautiful red color - perfect for this time of year, plus it is quick and healthy. Prep time is only 4 minutes! It is in The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook.

Berry Punch
1 (10 ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed.
1 (12 ounce) can frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed and undiluted.
1 (12 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed and undiluted.
2 (1-liter) bottles club soda, chilled.
1 (1-liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled.

Process strawberries in container of an electric blender until smooth. Pour into punch bowl; add cranberry juice cocktail and remaining three ingredients.
Makes 13 1-cup servings

I always make a double batch. A great way to keep the punch cold without diluting it is to make ice cubes using your choice of club soda, ginger ale or cranberry juice. Another option is to make an ice ring out of 1 batch of the punch recipe. Add some fresh cranberries to make it really festive!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A little bit of cleaning got done

I've got company coming for Thanksgiving, so I need to get busy and get this house cleaned! I'm easily distracted, mostly when doing tasks I'm not fond of. So what started out as grand plans to clean the kitchen cabinets out, and organize their contents, ended up being organizing the counter tops and changing the window treatment. I've still got two more weeks to clean!
Close up of the Tea Towel I found in this quilt shop I love in Branson, Mo. I have all of these colors in my kitchen, so I was really excited when I found these, and napkins. Here's what I did with them:
I used a tension rod, and hung the napkins over it - no sewing necessary! I started with the center one, then the two ends, and finished up with the two in betweens. It looks really cute, and much more fall-ish than the white Battenburg lace that I had there.
Then I decided that all of the pretty pottery and glass in my bay window really needed to be washed, so I pulled all of that out of the window and gave it a bath in some warm soapy water. The window looked so bare, and I got to thinking about Thanksgiving, and that I would need to set up the Dining room table as a buffet, so I would have to clear my centerpiece off and put the pretty dishes away, so where would I put that centerpiece? AHA! The bay window!

Looks kind of pretty, don't you think? Now if I could just get that excited about the inside of the cabinets!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What I was doing instead of cleaning...

You Are a Cranberry and Popcorn Strung Tree

Christmas is all about showcasing your creative talents.

From cookies to nicely wrapped presents, your unique creations impress everyone.

I LOVE CHRISTMAS! This isn't a huge surprise to those of you that know me. I was reading some of my favorite blogs this morning and found this quiz on one of my new pretend BFF Kim's blog. She is so creative! I just love seeing what she is going to come up with next.
Now I don't know about the impressing everyone part, but I do enjoy EVERY detail about Christmas. My wrapping paper has to match the theme of the tree, and each gift has ribbons and bows and gift tags - almost a work of art! I spend HOURS wrapping gifts, but I love how they look under the tree I spend HOURS decorating, making sure the ornaments are evenly spaced. Larry doesn't even try to understand it anymore! He's realized it's an obsession, and I'm just going to move anything he tries to help with anyway!
I usually start decorating the day after Thanksgiving - when do you decorate for Christmas, or do you? I'd love to know what kind of tree you are!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A new blog to read

One of the blogs I really enjoy reading is Kelly, from Kelly's Korner. She has started a wonderful new Prayer blog for ladies that are waiting for God to bless them with either a Soul Mate, or a child. We all know the power of prayer is AWESOME! If you have a chance, please stop by "Dwelling in the Land" and say a prayer for these ladies as they seek God's plan for their lives. I have added it to my bloglist, click on the link over there!

I want to share just a little bit about why I think this is important. It is easy to get caught up in our own lives, I know I do. There are many women around us that are secretly hurting - longing for someone to spend their forever with. I feel very Blessed to have a Husband that loves me - and all that comes with that! We longed for children, but that was not to be. I can tell you that I know what it is like to sit in the hospital waiting room, ready to welcome your family and friends children and wonder why you will never experience that joy. It is hard to smile, and hold back the tears, when you can't explain the sorrow (and Jealousy) you are feeling in your heart as you hold that beautiful child. Mother's day is another struggle, especially since the Sunday service usually has a baby dedication. Just another painful reminder that you are not any one's Mommy.

So Prayer Warriors, get on your knees! Let's support these ladies and lift them up in prayer. God will provide!
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A thought for today...


Romans 13 (New International Version)

New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Romans 13
Submission to the Authorities

1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Love, for the Day is Near

8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet,"[a] and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."[b] 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

11And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.[c]

Romans 13:9 Exodus 20:13-15,17; Deut. 5:17-19,21
Romans 13:9 Lev. 19:18
Romans 13:14 Or the flesh

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today is the day...

If you didn't Vote early, today is the day. It's important! Please VOTE today!

Monday, November 3, 2008

I ordered these today...

Isn't it Beautiful??! I can't wait to share them with you! The catalogs will be here by Thanksgiving, so I don't have to be TOO patient. I LOVE this "job"!