Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Heavenly Peace

The older I get,
the more I enjoy the week following Christmas. 

The hustle and bustle is over.  The crazy crowds are beginning to die down. The parties have ended (at least until New Year's Eve!) and the guests are packed up to go home.  While some rush to pack away Christmas and move on, at our home, this is our time to cozy up on the sofa, turn on the lights, pour ourselves a steaming cup of coffee or brew a pot of tea and savor the seasonal splendors.

Do yourself a favor ~ don't rush through the season just because the day has come and gone.  This is the time to enjoy all of the things that you were too busy to get around to while you were preparing.  Watch those holiday DVDs that you skimmed through while cooking or wrapping.  Turn off the lights and plug in the tree lights and read a good book or leaf through a holiday magazine {let your mind file away ideas for NEXT year!)  Curl up with your sweetie and children and reflect on special holiday moments that you want to be sure to remember. 

This is the time to reflect, enjoy and relax as we move into a new year. 

So tonight, I plan to enjoy my Christmas decor {just a little longer!}, curl up with my favorite guys {my husband and son!}, have a warm mug of cocoa in front of my newest love!  One of my favorite presents!! 

and savor the Christmas season ~ just a little bit more :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Elfin Magic

Christopher Pop-in-kins spent the Christmas season hiding in various spots in our house.  Like Elf on the Shelf, this little fella appears in children's homes and keeps a watch on their behavior, reporting back to Santa!  My son loves this tradition! 

Christopher left him small treats in our various advent calendars for him to find each this one:

And of course we had to get the Elf on the Shelf DVD, this year because my son's so into elves. 

So when it came time for baking, I had an idea!

These jolly North Pole Christmas elf cookies were perfect!   He loved their crooked little smiles and happy expressions! 

A simple and cute way to add a little elfin magic to any holiday celebration!

Friday, December 23, 2011

From my home to yours

From my home to yours...

Have a wonderful Christmas!
Today I'll be in the kitchen, finishing my baking...
immersed in flour, icing, and sprinkles!

I hope you're {nearly} ready, too :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Home for the Holidays

We're just days away from Christmas! 

I've been so busy preparing at home, attending parties, finishing shopping, sending packages and cards, and baking ~ all the while trying to find those little blissful moments to soak it all in, that I've completely neglected all of you! 

Why is it that no matter how organized you set out to be, you always find yourself running ragged before a holiday??  (if it's just me, please don't tell me!!)

I switched up my decor this year to include some new pieces, including these pretty, glittery paper mache houses that light up!  (I'm a sucker for anything that sparkles and twinkles)  I love seeing their little, frosted windows all aglow. 

Enjoy these final days before Christmas! 
I hope you're more prepared and organized than I obviously am!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Cookies

Is there anything more reminiscent of Christmas
than something homemade, fresh from the oven?
Looking for some Christmas baking inspiration?

I have an archive full of adorable and delicious Christmas cookie and sweet treat ideas!
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas
without the holiday scents of gingerbread, cinnamon, sugar cookies,
and spice filling the house!

So click on the links below for recipes and tutorials
as well as some eye candy inspiration sure to bring a smile to your face!

Christmas Baking Archives:

Happy Baking :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

St. Nicholas Day

"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there..."
A Visit from St Nicholas
by Clement C Moore

Every year on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, children leave their shoes, slippers or stockings out to find them filled with candies, nuts or fruit by St. Nicholas. Our son eagerly anticipates this annual tradition by leaving his slippers outside his bedroom door to wake to find them filled with a sweet card from St. Nick and special candies. 

The sweet card from St. Nick writes to tell our son that St. Nick's elf, Christopher-pop-in-kins reports that our son's been a good boy (so far!) this year and encourages him to keep up the good work! 

Glittering snowy sprinkles and glistening stars pepper the surrounding floor, leaving a magical trail from this special visit!  Chocolate coins, special hot cocoa mix, peppermints and other candies overflow from his cute little polar bear slippers.

It's an Old World tradition that keeps the religious focus on the Christian aspect of the holiday which is important to us. 

But you don't need to be religious to keep this tradition alive.  We explain to our son that St. Nicholas (St. Nick/Santa) visits before Christmas in order to check in on how he's behaving and to scope out where to leave the presents!  It's a wonderful prelude to the hoopla of Christmas and stretches out the anticipation (the funnest part!) just a little bit longer!

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for tonight!

~Elizabeth Akers Allen

As any child can tell you,
Christmas is magic.

The sights and sounds, the sweet fragrant smells, the anticipation, the joy...
everything seems more alive, brighter, and vibrant.

And what is more magical than a visit to see Santa, himself!

Each year our little family looks forward to an annual tradition of going to see Santa in our little town.  The main street trees covered in tiny white lights.  The walkways lined in white, candle lit luminaries.  Firepits on each street corner to warm your hands.  Carriage and sleigh rides through the street as you shop.  Store-front windows festively decorated with their lovely wares on display.  Vibrant fireworks filling the night sky with explosive color and thunderous sound.  Cups of steaming hot cocoa and sweet sugar cookies to munch as you wait your turn in the seemingly never-ending line to see the Big Guy ~ SANTA!

Ready to see Santa!

It's thrilling even for me, as an adult! 
For my young son, the anticipation is almost too much to bear!

Shopping during the holidays can be so much fun, especially in a small town main street instead of overcrowded malls.  You can take a break from the over-heated stores to venture out into the brisk evening air amidst all of the twinkling tree lights lining the sidewalk.

The cheery store-front window displays are always a delight to behold.

Little eyes filled with wonder and longing at all of the precious treasures within!

A little ice cream parlor beckons us in for a sweet treat.

Always seize the moment
to stop during the hustle and bustle
to let little ones take it all in.
The world seems so fast-paced and overwhelming to children.
Taking time to listen to them, and let them savor the moment is so important.
It helps them feel secure and valued...
and it gives you both a chance to make some extra special memories together!

Horse-drawn sleigh ride throughout the town...

Jingle all the way...

But the highlight of the night is, of course,
a visit with Santa!

Whispering all of the wishes that a little heart can hold...
ever hopeful...
a little timid...
with sparkling eyes filled with wonder!

My wish for you during this busy Christmas season,
as you ready your home for guests and festivities,
is that you take a break, if even for a moment - to savor the magic,
the splendor,
the sights, sounds and smells,
and let Christmas joy fill your heart and home this season.

May your days be merry and bright :)