Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year!

New Year has always been a special time for my family!

My Mother's parents celebrated our family Christmas on New Years Eve for as long as I can remember. It will forever be just as Christmas-y to us as the actual holiday itself. 
We always had the most delicious sit down dinner where there was always room for every family member and any extra guests that stopped by too!
 Before we opened presents my grandpa would read the account of Christ's birth from Luke 2 and then he would pray with us all. It was such a sacred moment!
Then when every present was feverishly opened we went on to play games far into the night, until we rang in the New Year at midnight by watching the ball drop in Times Square. 

~ Gayle and Rosemary Bradstreet (1955) ~

Although my grandmother has been gone from us for may years now and my grandfather can no longer host the holiday, I am so thankful for the many wonderful memories that they gave us all.
I'm especially glad that my sisters and I, in our own way, can continue on with this wonderful family tradition!

Have a blessed, safe, and happy New Year!

With Love,

Thank you to magicmoonlightfreeimages for many of the vintage holiday images that I was able to use for my Holiday posts!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Minute Gifts and Cookie Recipes ~

Hello friends,

I've been baking up a storm around here all week! Thanks to Nate's cousin (and my friend), Jillia, for all the help and fun! 

Don't they just look delicious? Cherry Chocolate Chip cookies, Sugar cookies with butter cream frosting, Candy Cane Blossoms and Cookies 'n' Cream Fudge.

~ Sugar Cookies with Butter Cream Frosting ~

Cookies ~

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (Alcohol free if possible)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (unbleached if possible)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Butter cream  Frosting ~

1/2 cup shortening
1 pound confectioners sugar
5 Tbs. water
1/4 tsp.salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. butter flavored extract

Directions ~

In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla with an electric mixer (I used my Kitchen Aid Mixer) until light and fluffy. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture until well blended using a sturdy spoon. Chill dough for two hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters. Place cookies two inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 4 to 6 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove cookies from pan and cool on wire racks.

Using an electric mixer, (I did use mine this time) beat shortening, confectioners sugar, water, salt, vanilla extract and butter flavoring until fluffy. Frost cookies after they have cooled completely. 

* A former co-worker gave me this recipe a few years ago, so I'm not sure who to give credit to. They're just delicious and the frosting is amazing!

Yields ~ 5 dozen cookies


~ Cherry Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies ~

1 box cherry chip cake mix
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/8 cup milk
2 cups chocolate chips
(I add red food coloring)

Directions ~
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix half the dry cake mix with butter, vanilla, eggs, and milk. Stir in remaining cake mix and chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes or until firm on the edges and soft in the middle. Cool 2 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.

(This recipe is incredibly dense. I always had a very difficult time stirring it by myself and always had to ask my husband into the kitchen to take a turn stirring. Now my Kitchen Aid Mixer makes it so much easier)

 This recipe is from a radio personality from our home town and are by far my favorite Christmas cookie. Anyone that loves cherry cordials will love this recipe!  

Yields ~ 2 dozen cookies

*I found the recipe for the Candy Cane Blossoms here. (Via Pinterest) 


Last Minute Gift ~

Well, there was an oversight at work and I wasn't asked to contribute money for the company wide gifts for the owner and vice president of the company where I work. Anyway, the situation gave me the chance to try and be creative and make something a little more personal, but in a very short amount of time. I mean, what do you get people that have everything, including their own airplanes, right?!

You go country crafty, make candy and Cinnamon Honey Butter, that's what you do!

I found the recipe on Pinterest from a wonderful  blog. Just beautiful!

(I made these little tags)

I cut out some cute Christmas fabric (cloth napkins) from Hobby Lobby.

 "Necessity is indeed the mother of invention" ~ Jo March, Little Women

Some more tags that I made

I have lots of left over little bells from my Christmas ornament making

I filled these little boxes full of chocolate truffles

Chocolate Truffle recipe ~

3 Cups (18 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)

Coatings: finely chopped nuts, flaked coconut,
chocolate sprinkles, colored sugar, unsweetened cocoa, powdered sugar or colored sprinkles.

Directions ~
In a heavy sauce pan over low heat, melt chips with sweetened condensed milk. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Chill two hours or until firm. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in desired coating.

Chill 1 hour or until firm. Store covered at room temperature.

Yields ~ 6 dozen Truffles

I also filled a little bag with fudge, red for this batch. My husband's brilliant idea!

~ Cookies 'n' Cream Fudge ~

3  (6-ounce) packages white chocolate baking squares
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1/8 tsp. salt
Coarsely crushed chocolate creme-filled sandwich cookies
(about 20 Oreo cookies)

Directions ~
Line an 8-inch pan with foil. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate with the sweetened condensed milk and salt. Remove from heat. Stir in crushed cookies. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Chill 2 hours or until firm.

Turn fudge onto a cutting board. Peel off the foil; cut into squares. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Yields ~ 2 1/2 pounds of Fudge

A little peak inside the finished product


It has been a super busy holiday season so far as usual! In all of the craziness of shopping for gifts, the business of baking, of decorating and making crafts I do realize that this season is about something far more important; The time of year that we celebrate our Savior's birth!

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace"

~ Isaiah 9:6

I love this prophecy of Christ coming to this earth in the Old Testament and then the prophecy coming to fruition in the New Testament.

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men".

~ Luke 2:8-14

Have a blessed Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

More ornaments & Christmas decorating ~

Well, I'm finally finished with all of my ornament making!

Take a look ~

For the paper mache ornaments ~
I bought scrap booking paper (25¢ each),
the ornaments were about a dollar each, and I've had the ornament ribbon for years, along with all the other supplies that I used.

The maroon colored musical note ornaments are my absolute favorite!
I just cut strips of the scrap booking paper, soaked each piece in a solution of  modge podge  and water and applied the paper overlapping over and over again until the entire piece was completely covered. I then added more of the  glue and water mixture (a small amount) and poured (Martha Stewart's) crystal coarse glitter all over and hung them to dry. (It took about half an hour to dry)

For the glass bulb ornaments I simply shredded scrap booking paper and filled the ornaments until they were full. I looked all over antique stores, Goodwill and The Salvation Army and couldn't find  sheet music anywhere. 
When we were on vacation in Asheville, North Carolina I saw an entire box with hundreds of sheets of music for 12 dollars. I'm kicking myself now for not buying it when I had the chance! 
Maybe next year I will have real sheet music instead of scrap booking paper and fill some smaller glass ornaments.


My little Christmas display. I just got the manger scene this week! It was the perfect size that I was looking for.

Our humble Christmas tree is finally decorated!
 I miss a real tree but we can't have a real one in our apartment

One of my favorite ornaments

Presents are all wrapped!

I love wrapping presents with old vintage looking wrapping paper, raffia and stamped tags with little Christmas designs.
(Sadly this is the last of the wrapping paper that I lined the drawers of my dresser/buffet with)


Well, I have lots more Christmas baking to do! I'll share some recipes in my next post.

Please feel free to leave me any comments or ask any questions!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas cards and ornaments ~

 I am in the Christmas mood and ready to decorate and create!
 Our tree is up (pics to come later) and I have been decorating around our home since Thanksgiving weekend. I've been working on some projects on the weekends as well. 
This truly is the most wonderful time of year!

Don't you just love pulling out all those Christmas ornaments, lights, and decorations?

My first project was to create a door hanger instead of a wreath this year ~

I bought this grapevine star for $2 at a an antique flea market!

I found the "Country Christmas" ornament in a pack for $5 at Marshalls ~ I can use the rest on my tree or for other projects in the future

My next project was to make some Christmas ornaments ~

I have saved some Christmas cards that my Mom sent out one year.  I asked to keep the left over ones; I must have been 4 years old! They reminded me of the Little House on the Prairie series, specifically The Farmer Boy, as my mother was reading that book to us at the time. 
I feel like my love for all things old, country, and vintage comes from my early years.

I wanted to recreate some post card ornaments that I bought at Macy's for 90% off a few days after the holidays some years back. I've always wanted to display these cards that I've saved for so long, and this seemed like the perfect way to preserve them for years to come.

All I used to create these was thick silver card stock, glue, exacto scissors, silver glitter, red ribbon, bells and some scrapbooking brackets. I had everything except the bells on hand.

The final product...

Then on to Christmas cards ~

I had three left over boxes from last year and I made some labels that I stamped with some Christmas designs.

 Last year, to make it easier for myself this year, I had made little lists that I placed in each box of who got what card. I simply took the three lists out and placed them each in a different box and began writing away...Just a little organizing tip to save you some time!

I must truly be in the mood for organizing because I went through and added all of my current contacts into my new address book. I always have intentions of being organized but it's hard to carry out a plan all the way through. I guess when there's a daunting task like a stack of  Christmas cards ahead of you, the time has come...

We took a break from tree decorating, craft making and card writing to see  the Christmas classic 'It's a Wonderful Life' ~ The movie was just wonderful on the big screen!

Nothing like a classic Christmas movie to put you in the Christmas frame of mind!

We love this second run theater!

"Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!"  

I just love that scene when he's running through beautiful, snow covered Bedford Falls, appreciating everything old and dear like he's truly seeing it's beauty for the very first time. 

"Look Daddy.  Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings."

Don't you just love that movie?! In our home, it's not Christmas until we've seen that movie!

I still have some more ornaments to make (then the tree will be finished), lots of cookie baking to plan...not to mention Christmas shopping! As always it will be a busy December!  

Happy beginning to the holiday season!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Pie Recipes ~

The time of year is here once again to celebrate with family and friends and to remember the things that we are truly grateful for!

Thanksgiving ~

The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in,
and chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway ~
Thanksgiving comes again!

~ Old Rhyme


This Thanksgiving I'm very excited because I get to celebrate this special holiday with my Mom and most of my siblings! It's been a few years now so this year will be extra special.

My Mother is a wonderful cook! My mouth waters just thinking about the food we'll have on Thanksgiving Day. With that in mind, I want to share my Mom's apple pie and pumpkin pie recipes with you all. They're just delicious!


Pie Crust Recipe ~ Single Crust

(Classic Pie Crust from Taste of Home)

1-1/4 Cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 Cup shortening
6 to 7 Tbs. cold water

In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt; cut in the shortening until mixture is crumbly. Gradually add water, tossing with fork until a ball forms. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until easy to handle.
Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to fit a 9-in. or 10-in. pie plate. Transfer pastry to pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 in. beyond edge of plate; flute edges. 

I just love my apple peeler, corer and slicer!

Mom's Crumb  Top Apple Pie ~

5-7 Tart apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. orange peel 
1 tsp. Vanilla extract (pure vanilla flavor, no alcohol)
2 Tbs. unbleached all purpose  flour
4 tsp. lemon juice

Crumb topping ~ 

Mix: 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
Cut in: 1/3 cup butter
until crumbly. Sprinkle over apples.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until done. 

Mom's Pumpkin Pie Recipe ~

1 15 oz. can pumpkin (plain-puree)
2 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 Tbs. molasses
1/4 tsp. orange peel

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes
until knife comes out clean from the center of the pie.

Truly the best pumpkin pie I've ever tasted!


This year (and every year) I'm thankful to God for my husband, for the jobs that He has been gracious enough to provide so that we have a warm home, plenty of food, and more than the necessities in life. For my wonderful family and my lovely  friends. 

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!