BLOGMAS 2022 ~ DAY 9 ~ CHRISTMAS CARDS & WRAPPING IDEAS

Do you still send “snail mail” Christmas cards? 😀 I do! I know a lot of people have stopped or send virtual cards, but I’m a die hard on this one. I just love sending and getting Christmas cards in the mail. But, I fear they are becoming a thing of the past. Unfortunately I receive fewer and fewer each year it seems. Vitual cards just aren’t the same to me. AND I can’t reuse virtual cards to make the next year as gift tags.

I even painted a set of old shutters in Christmas colors to display them.

I DO try to make my own Christmas cards when I can, and I PLANNED to do homemade again this year, but years like this last year full of issues sometimes finds me sending out box cards.

A local store carries boxed cards that are really nice quality, pretty cute and super affordable.  I’m bound and determined that I WILL do homemade again next year 😀

I did try an annual letter a few times, but ended up in just doing a few paragraphs eventually hitting the highlights from throughout the year since.

Here are some cute wrapping ideas. I have been wrapping presents as I go again this year and able to spend a little more time decorating by doing it that way.

BLOGMAS 2022 ~ DAY 8 ~ WINTER MUST HAVES

What I CANNOT live without in the winter is many, many things, but these are my top items! Then again, SNOWMAGGEDDON 2019 proved there are things I CAN live without, but choose not to. 😀

The one thing I am absolutely sure of is that if I have a sore throat, dry skin, cold feet or hands, cold food or catch a cold I am NOT a happy camper so I go out of my way to prevent that. I like to try and not go out unless the temperature reaches 45, but I don’t hibernate well either so that is just a pipe dream of a rule.

I drink a cup of green tea every night and try to make very balanced comfort food meals to warm up my family from the inside out.

I also have a newer and occasional favorite hot toddy, a Lemon Aval Pota Hot Toddy courtesy of McMenamins one of our local favorite resort chains.

LEMON AVAL POTA HOT TODDY

2 ounces Aval Pota Whiskey
2 bar spoons QUALITY honey
Juice of 1 small FRESH squeezed lemon

  • Pour ingredients into a coffee glass or mug and top with hot water.
  • Garnish with a lemon zest twist.

Here are the links to a few of our favorite soups and stews for you.

BLOGMAS 2022 ~ DAY 7 ~ CHRISTMAS COOKIES & TREATS

This is a FUN category! Do you do a lot of baking for the holiday season? Do you have special recipes that you use only for Christmas time? Are they hand me down recipes from your mom or grandma? Do you participate in cookie exchanges? Do you bake for your neighbors?

This year I am trying 2 new recipes (Peanut Butter Balls and Carmelitas), neither of which is exactly a cookie, but will be in addition to the traditional recipes that I make for the “GIVING PLATES” I use for the neighbors each year. I LOVE these plates. They are my way of hopefully spreading some positive random acts of kindness.

Remembering back to being a kid always seems like going home to me.  Dad would buy all sorts of nuts by the pound during the holidays and of course bring out the nutcrackers. There was always a box (or 2 OR 3) of See’s candies (I just loved the milk chocolate Bordeauxs and since there was only 1 or 2 in each box I always tried to be the first to find them) and there would be tins and tins of butter cookies, snickerdoodles, peanut butter fudge, chocolate fudge as well as the sugar cookies that us kids iced and decorated.

Here are some of my favorite recipes and a few links to recipes for even more favorites!

One of our newer favorites though for Christmas are GOOEY CARAMEL TOPPED GINGERSNAPS.

Whether you use homemade or store bought, these cookies turn out swoon worthy of ANY holiday goodie platter. They are sooooo simple, but look and taste sooooo decadent.

GOOEY CARAMEL TOPPED GINGERSNAPS
42 gingersnap cookies, (homemade or store bought)
14 ounces KRAFT caramels
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup + 1/4 cup finely chopped honey roasted peanuts
12 ounces combination of white and dark chocolate
Sprinkles of choice (I like chocolate for the holidays)

  • Arrange cookies on cooling rack line baking sheet.**
  • In a microwave melt the caramels with the heavy cream, stirring until smooth.
  • Stir in peanuts.
  • Spoon about a teaspoon over each cookie.
  • Refrigerate until set.
  • Alternately melt white and dark chocolates.
  • Coat each cookie halfway with one of the chocolates, return to the rack allowing the excess to drip off.
  • Sprinkle with sprinkles and/or crushed peanuts.
  • Refrigerate until set.

NOTE** Wax paper or parchment paper works well also.

GINGERSNAPS
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup CRISCO
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoons ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
sugar for rolling

  • Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg and ground cloves. Set aside.
  • Cream butter and crisco together until smooth.
  • Add sugar and molasses, blending until smooth.
  • Add flour mixture gradually until well blended.
  • Chill dough for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Roll dough into small balls
  • Roll balls in sugar and place on cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8 minutes for soft chewy cookies and 12 minutes for crisp cookies.

Then there are the tried and true favorites of the past!

PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE DROPS
2/3 cup HOT water
10 ounces Land of Lakes cocoa mix
2 cups JIF creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 cups C&H powdered sugar, divided 2cups + 1 cup
2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
2 cups crushed ginger snaps
72 Hershey Kisses (I like the cherry cordials)

  • Whisk together the hot water and cocoa mix until smooth.
  • Add peanut butter and corn syrup. Blend until smooth.
  • Add 2 cups powdered sugar and stir until well blended.
  • Stir in cookie crumbs until well blended.
  • Spray wax paper with PURE (these will be sticky so don’t forget this step).
  • Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of dough onto the wax paper.
  • Place the remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar in a shallow bowl.
  • Roll each piece of dough into a ball and dredge in powdered sugar.
  • Press your thumb into the center and fill with a Hershey’s kiss.

The category is cookies, but cookies come in many forms as far as I’m concerned 😀 These are some of my favorite Christmas “non-cookie” recipes.

My great aunt Louise’s corn flake wreaths are not technically cookies, but they are a treat that I try to make at Christmas time. My great aunt who I only got to see a couple times a year used to make these every year for us kids, but especially just for me because I ALWAYS asked for them.  My cousins and I would wait out on the front steps for her arrive just to see them, the wreaths that is.

She always made them soooooooooo pretty and perfect!  Aunt Louise was just plain crazy it seemed to me.  I can’t pinpoint any one thing that made me think that, but as the years wore on she continually proved it.  Let’s just say if the made a movie of her life, Shirley MacLaine would play her part.  Aunt Louise reminds me of Shirley’s character Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias.

CRAZY AUNT LOUISE’S HOLIDAY WREATHS  (these are better when they are made a few days ahead)
30 LARGE marshmallows (or 1 jar marshmallow cream)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon green food color
3 1/2 cups cornflakes
Red Hots

  • Combine marshmallows, butter, vanilla and food color in top of double boiler. Heat and stir frequently until well blended.
  • Gradually stir in cornflakes until well blended.
  • Drop onto wax paper and arrange into wreath shapes. I plop them onto the wax paper and then push out from the center to form the wreaths.
  • Decorate with red hots.
  • Let cool.
  • If your house is warm – chill in refrigerator until set.

Another fun recipe that can be dressed up with colored sanding sugar are SEA SALT & CARAMEL RICE KRISPY TREATS.

SEA SALT & CARAMEL RICE KRISPY TREATS
8 cups Rice Krispies
50 Kraft caramels
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup + 1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 bag mini marshmallows
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons sea salt flakes
  • In a medium sauce pan over  a low-medium heat stir together the sweetened condensed milk, the caramels and 1/4 cup unsalted butter until smooth.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Line a 9×13 baking dish with foil, extending over the edge.
  • Spray with non-stick PURE or PAM.
  • Melt butter in large sauce pan.
  • Add marshmallows and stir  until just melted.
  • Add vanilla, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of caramel sauce and stir until smooth.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in rice krispies until evenly coated.
  • Press into pan**.
  • Cool completely.
  • Pour remaining caramel over rice kripy treats and spread even with a spatula.
  • Sprinkle remaining sea salt over top.
  • Enjoy!
  • Store in an airtight container.

NOTES:  **I use a stainless steel spatula that has been sprayed with PURE to keep it from sticking.  It helps to press down firmly to get an even level.

This recipe is just PURE decadence, but has become a SERIOUS CHRISTMAS ADDICTION 😀

CINNAMON BUN CUPCAKES
CUPCAKES
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 LARGE eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  • Line cupcake tins with papers.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
  • Whisk eggs for about 1 minute. They will become frothy and lightened in color.
  • Add oil and whisk again until combined.
  • Add sugar and whisk for about 1 minute.
  • Add vanilla extract.
  • Add sour cream to the batter, whisking until combined
  • Now add the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk gently. Whisk batter until JUST until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX!

CINNAMON SWIRL
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar

  • Make the Cinnamon Swirl: mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of white sugar. Set aside.

ASSEMBLY

  • Now start by pouring about 1 heaping tablespoon of the batter on the bottom of each cupcake tin.
  • Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the Cinnamon Swirl mixture.
  • Top with another heaping tablespoon of batter.
  • Now, sprinkle another 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon Swirl mixture over batter.
  • Top with another heaping tablespoon of batter.
  • Using a toothpick, swirl the batter a few times to create a swirl effect.
  • Top already swirled cupcakes with one final 1/2 teaspoon of the Cinnamon Swirl mixture.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, checking halfway to rotate pans.
  • Remove from the oven once cupcakes are lightly golden brown and puffed.
  • Cool 10 minutes.

GLAZE
+/- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
+/- 2 tablespoons milk

  • Mix powdered sugar and milk together.

NOTES:  There are many factors that will affect your glaze consistency.  The brand of sugar you use, whether you use a scale or a measuring cup…  If your glaze is too thin and runny, add more sifted powdered sugar and test for consistency again.  If the glaze is too thick and not spreading, add a very, very small amount (1 teaspoon) of milk at a time, until you achieve your desired consistency.

And these brownies are an ABSOLUTE MUST! The mint is perfect (not like toothpaste) coupled with the fudge brownie and rich ganache.

GRASSHOPPER BROWNIES
11 ounce package dark chocolate pieces
1/2 cup butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
Creme-de-Menthe Filling (BELOW)
Dark Chocolate Ganache (BELOW)

  • In a medium saucepan, melt and stir 4 ounces (3/4 cup) of the dark chocolate pieces, butter, and the unsweetened chocolate over low heat.
  • Remove from heat; cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Grease foil; set aside.
  • Stir sugar into the cooled chocolate mixture in saucepan.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon JUST until combined.
  • Stir in vanilla.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring just until combined.
  • Stir in the remaining 7 ounces (1-1/2 cups) dark chocolate pieces. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
  • Spread Creme-de-Menthe Filling over cooled brownies.
  • Place uncut brownies in the refrigerator while preparing the Dark Chocolate Ganache.
  • Spread slightly cooled Dark Chocolate Ganache over Creme de Menthe Filling, spreading to the edges with a spatula.
  • Cover and chill about 1 hour or until set. Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut brownies out of the pan. Cut into bars.
  • Place brownies in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

CREME-DE-MENTHE FILLING
3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons GREEN creme de menthe
Milk (optional)

  • In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and butter.
  • Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer for 30 seconds.
  • Gradually beat in 1 cup of the powdered sugar.
  • Beat in creme-de-menthe.
  • Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar. If necessary beat in 1 tablespoon of additional milk to make the filling slightly thicker than a frosting

CHOCOLATE GANACHE
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 11 ounce package dark chocolate pieces

  • In a medium saucepan, bring whipping cream JUST to boiling over medium-high heat.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add dark chocolate pieces (do not stir).
  • Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth.
  • Cool for 15 minutes.
  • Pour over brownies and QUICKLY spread evenly.

NOTE: You can substitute 2 tablespoons milk, 1/2 teaspoon mint extract, and several drops of green food coloring for the GREEN Creme-de-menthe.

BLOGMAS 2022 ~ DAY 6 ~ QUIET CHRISTMAS, BIG GATHERING or TRAVELING?

Do you have a quiet Christmas or do a BIG gathering with family and friends or are you traveling over the holiday to somewhere special? Which of these applies to you this year? Has they way you celebrate changed over the past few years during or since COVID?

Honestly COVID and the serious FLU strain this year still concern me a bit. I have several neighbors who went to BIG gatherings for Thanksgiving and now have COVID or the FLU 🙁 so it is still a concern for me as an immunocompromised person.

We’ve always been pretty much homebodies during the holidays. Then again we have always lived fairly close to family so traveling was only day trips or short distances. Personally I cannot fathom traveling through an airport or train station with BIG crowds even before the pandemic. The one time we did travel over the holidays, we made a BIG trip out of it leaving well before the holiday and going home long after it.

When I was a kid one of my favorite traditions was that we did a BIG family get together with a buffet of food and opening our family presents on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, after my dad passed, much of this tradition fell by the wayside.

Then on Christmas Day we did Christmas morning at our respective homes with “Santa” gifts and just the immediate family. Then we would do a BIG turkey with all the trimmings including my dad’s old fashioned stuffing and giblet gravy with the entire family as well as extended family and friends, which included crazy Aunt Louise and Uncle Herb. At my brother’s request I replicated dad’s stuffing recipe a several years back (Oatnut Sourdough Herb Dressing) and that is now a MUST TRADITION for the Christmas meal no matter what the protein is.

Christmases for us now are MUCH MUCH smaller and our newest tradition in the last several years is watching our favorite traditional Christmas movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street as well as Hallmark Christmas movies and dreaming about moving to every small town depicted in them, kind of like Stars Hollow from the Gilmore Girls. We loved that show!

This year again we will be having a quiet Christmas with just the two of us. There are several Christmas events leading up to Christmas we will be participating in though.  We are also hoping some friends will be able to join us for New Years, but there are no plans set in stone yet.

So what are your plans this year?

BLOGMAS 2022 ~ DAY 5 ~ OUTSIDE DECORATING

When do you decorate outside for Christmas? Do you do lights all over the house? Do you do blow ups? How about wreaths? Decorate a special tree in the yard?

While I do decorate indoors before Thanksgiving, we DO wait to do outdoors until the weekend after Thanksgiving. This year is especially frustrating for hubby as he had eye surgery last week and is under serious restrictions for a bit and couldn’t do his normal outdoor stuff yet!

We haven’t done the eave lights or the BIG lighted wreath yet because of his restrictions and not being able to do ladders, but I did get the blow-ups in place and tied down, got the gnome stakes in place, changed the porch light bulbs to the red and green as well as went bought locally made wreaths over the Shop Small weekend. We started the walkway lights today, but the weather had other ideas. We went from the sun coming out and removing layers to a comfortable sweatshirt 5 minutes before the next wave moved in with wind, snow flurries and then pouring rain. It was all over in 30 minutes and I was able to get a couple pictures before it began raining again LOL, but by then the temps were down again into the low 30’s so we called it a day 😀 I will get more pictures as we go along and weather permits.

11-29 update: we were able to get the white “landing” lights up for Santa before it started raining yet again. We’;; try for a few more lights on Thursday since tomorrow’s rain is supposed to be quite heavy.

Our neighbor takes note (and pictures) of what we do each year. It has “almost” become a competition (all in good fun) with each other. Here’s a picture from last year:

 

BLOGMAS 2022 ~ DAY 4 ~ MUSIC of the CHRISTMAS SEASON

What are your favorite Christmas songs? Do you have a regular playlist? I do! I still use a CD player with my disc changer and leave it on shuffle if I’m working at home. 😀

I’m all over the place with Christmas music – it really depends on the day, the occasion, my mood, what food we’re eating, are we at home or listening on the radio? – there are just sooooooooo many factors!

BUT, I do like to wait until at least the day after Thanksgiving!

I LOVE so many of the old standards, but I also love a country Christmas and Mannheim Steamroller. I LOVE Christmas carolers, not that you see many these days. I was even part of the hand bell choir at church for Christmas programs many years ago.

As for some of MY favorite songs I have a few that top the list, including a few newer artists:

  • It’s Beginning to Look A Lot like Christmas
  • Silent Night
  • White Christmas
  • Jingle Bell Rock
  • Last Christmas 
  • Born on Christmas Day
  • Winter Wonderland
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • Little Drummer Boy the version with Bing Crosby and David Bowie
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas
  • Deck the Halls
  • Baby It’s Cold Outside
  • Hard Candy Christmas
  • Come All Ye Faithful
  • It Came upon a Midnight Clear
  • We three Kings of Orient
  • Joy to the World
  • Rudolph the Reindeer
  • Do You Hear What I Hear
  • The Most Wonderful Time of Year
  • It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas
  • Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
  • This Christmas by PJ Morton
  • Oh Santa by Mariah Carey
  • Christmas on the Square by Dolly Parton
  • Carol of the Bells by Lindsey Stirling
  • Believe by Josh Groban
  • Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson
  • Merry Christmas Baby by Hunter Hayes

BLOGMAS 2022 ~ DAY 3 ~ CHRISTMAS MOVIE PLAYLIST

Today’s category, Christmas Movies, is ALWAYS an easy one for me. It’s also one that really doesn’t change much from year to year either. I start taping Christmas movies on Lifetime, Hallmark and INSP as soon as they air so I can watch them ALL year long. I’m a sucker for a happy ending and let’s face it, Christmas movies ALWAYS have happy endings. Sadly though there aren’t as many good new ones each year as there once was.

So this list could be reallllllllllly long, but I will just keep it to the top 10 or so (used to be 5) MUST watch each and every year movies.

It’s a toss up for me about whether White Christmas with Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen and Danny Kaye or It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore and Donna Reed is my absolute favorite, but I think I’m leaning towards It’s a Wonderful life! As I believe the majority of people do.
Which Miracle on 34th street version (the original with Natalie Wood or the remake with Richard Attenborough) is the best? BOTH versions of course! But, the old version is getting REALLY hard to find. Fortunately, we own both 🙂
The Santa Clause with Tim Allen quickly became a favorite – who could resist visiting the North Pole every year?
Now Home Alone is just silly, as is Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase but, they never fail to make me laugh! And a new favorite is the Christmas Chronicles with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn.
In addition to those above, I also LOVE While You were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman.
Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby, Marjorie Reynolds and Fred Astaire and is also a wonderful nostalgic oldie.
Little Women (whether you watch the 1933 with Katharine Hepburn, the 1949 with June Allyson and Peter Lawford, the 1994 with Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder and Kirsten Dunst or even the 2019 version with Emma Watson) is also a fun movie for Christmas as is A Christmas Story.
And for my “11th” choice DIE HARD with Bruce Willis and Bonnie Bedelia is always good. I know there is A LOT of controversy as to whether it is a Christmas movie or not, but I like it – I’m diverse like that 😀
And yet to be seen, but being added to the list for at least this year is the new Violent Night with David Harbour. It certainly looks interesting, but I’m reserving judgement. By the way, why isn’t Santa fat and jolly anymore?

BLOGMAS 2022 ~ DAY 2 ~ ELF ON THE SHELF?

I know many parents are tired of ELF on the SHELF, are you? I love the idea and would make a list each year of the antics they would get into that year so I was always prepared and hopefully didn’t repeat myself!

My munchkins have grown up fast! 2 of 3 of them “KNEW”, but the youngest still believed and we tried keeping the elf/nisse tradition alive another year! BUT, the her teacher told the whole class! Who does that? I was soooooo mad! First off it wasn’t her place to tell the kids and what kind of person, especially a teacher, steals a child’s belief of anything?

Last year I discovered Julenisser, a Nordic tradition, to replace our previous Elf on a Shelf.   I can’t find that a Julenisser is actually given a name, but I’m winging it here. 😀 The nisse is one of the most familiar creatures of Scandinavian folklore. Last year we had Bailey, but this year we’re bringing back Annabelle and her pet reindeer, Alvin.

In Solvang, a Danish community, they actually do a Nisse Adventure like a scavenger hunt and Danish style JuleFest celebration throughout the month of December.

In Denmark there is a serious subculture regarding the Christmas elves and gnomes known as Julenisser. They live in forests and eat fruits and berries throughout the year before they come spend the month of Christmas with your family. They have BIG hearts and ARE magical! They love to play tricks on you and your family.

I know some people begin the day after Thanksgiving, but for us December 1st was always the beginning, though now that the munchkins all know I put them out already this year.

For several years we did an Elf on the Shelf for the munchkins. Each year since we’ve done a “cousin” elf so it wasn’t the same elf every year. I know many parents are dreading that darned elf every year and having to come up with 24 DIFFERENT scenarios that are different from the previous year!

So when do you begin? Do you have unique names for your elf? Or do you have a Julenisser?

Here are a few of my favorite previous pictures:

HAPPY THANKSGIVING & BLOGMAS 2022 SCHEDULE

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you’re having a wonderful day with family and friends.

We’re going out for the first time ever! In the long run it will be more enjoyable and even less expensive with no prep OR clean up. The only down side will be no leftovers! But, that also means it’s that time of year… BLOGMAS is here.

I look forward to this season all year long. I know it’s a busy season for everyone, especially if you are the one hosting the family get together, still have young children, etc… So, just join in where and when you can. This is a FUN and stress free zone.

Here’s my calendar for this year’s BLOGMAS series.
11/25 DAY 1 ~ HOLIDAY SCHEDULE – WHEN DO YOU DECORATE?
11/26 DAY 2 ~ ELF ON THE SHELF – do you partake?
11/27 DAY 3 ~ FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIES
11/28 DAY 4 ~ CHRISTMAS MUSIC PLAYLIST
11/29 DAY 5 ~ OUTSIDE DECORATING
11/30 DAY 6 ~ QUIET CHRISTMAS OR BIG GET TOGETHER? TRAVEL PLANS?
12/1 DAY 7 ~ CHRISTMAS COOKIE EXCHANGE? FAVORITE CHRISTMAS COOKIES?
12/2 DAY 8 ~ WINTER MUST HAVES?
12/3 DAY 9 ~ CHRISTMAS CARDS? HOMEMADE? STORE BOUGHT? VIRTUAL?
12/4 DAY 10 ~ ADVENT CALENDAR? TREATS?
12/5 DAY 11 ~ REAL TREE OR ARTIFICIAL?
12/6 DAY 12 ~ FAVORITE DECORATIONS & ORNAMENTS?
12/7 DAY 13 ~ TAG QUESTIONS
12/8 DAY 14 ~ STOCKING STUFFER IDEAS?
12/9 DAY 15 ~ GOODIES FOR OTHERS?
12/10 DAY 16 ~ WISH LIST
12/11 DAY 17 ~ PARTY FOOD LIKES/DISLIKES & IDEAS
12/12 DAY 18 ~ FAVORITE CHRISTMAS FOODS? BEVERAGES?
12/13 DAY 19 ~ INSPIRATIONS & STORIES
12/14 DAY 20 ~ FAVORITE CHARACTER? SNOWMEN, ANGELS, REINDEER, GNOMES?…
12/15 DAY 21 ~ FAVORITE FAMILY TRADITIONS?
12/16 DAY 22 ~ WRAPPING IDEAS?
12/17 DAY 23 ~ FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORIES?
12/18 DAY 24 ~ MEANING OF CHRISTMAS TO YOU?
12/19 DAY 25 ~ LAST MINUTE GIFTS – HOMEMADE OR STORE BOUGHT?
12/20 DAY 26 ~ WEATHER? WINTER WONDERLAND? PARADES? LIGHT SHOWS?
12/21 DAY 27 ~ CHRISTMAS PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE?
12/22 DAY 28 ~ WHEN DO YOU OPEN PRESENTS?
12/23 DAY 29 ~ CHRISTMAS MENUS?
12/24 DAY 30 ~ CHRISTMAS EVE TRADITIONS?
12/25 DAY 31 ~ CHRISTMAS DAY TRADITIONS?

CRANBERRY VODKA

Some of the best recipes of the Christmas season are those that double as gifts, like this homemade cranberry infused vodka.

CRANBERRY VODKA

1 cup FRESH cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 large strip of orange peel
2 cups QUALITY vodka (Absolut is best)

  • Place the cranberries, sugar and pineapple juice in a medium saucepan over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved, the cranberries pop and the pineapple juice is absorbed. 
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool. 
  • Transfer the mixture into a large mason jar.
  • Place the orange peel in the mason jar, and pour the vodka over top.
  • Screw the lid on tightly and set the jar on a counter at room temperature for at least 3 days, and up to a month.
  • Shake once a day.
  • Strain into a decorative bottle, tie with festive ribbon and gift with a cocktail recipe in which to use it.

ALL THINGS AUTUMN tag questions

YAY FOR AUTUMN! I first saw this over at Jean’s blog and was then also tagged by Carrie from Northwoods Scrapbook. So, Ive decided it was fate I join in. It will take me a bit to catch up, but I’ll get there! The ALL THINGS AUTUMN is being hostted by Deb over at It’s Always Something and you can find her post here. 😊 I would also love it if any of you would like to join in the fun too! Just copy mine and put in your own answers. Yay for this wonderful season! 🧙‍♀️🕸🌾🍁🧡

 

1. What is your favorite thing about fall?
Weather, nature, pumpkins, spice……When the first geese fly over heading south I jump for joy. Shortly thereafter the mornings and evenings both turn cool and crisp and the fireplace smoke brings a fragrant layer of wood smoke to the valley. And of course all the cute sweaters and flannels come out to play. Oh and don’t let me forget about the apples, and pumpkins and spice… This is truly my favorite time of year. If I could have to Autumns, a winter and a spring I’d be sooooo happy.

2. Do you get fall colors where you live?
I used to live in the Upper Peninsula and REALLY miss the fall colors from there, but we also get them here in the Pacific North West, just a bit differently.

3. Favorite fall scent?  (wax melts, candles, anything)
I do change out my wax melt and candle scents to everything apple or pumpkin spice.

4./9. Favorite fall food or drink? Cider or hot chocolate?
When I was a kid I hated cider and it was hot chocolate all the way, but as I got older I fell in love with apple cider! Of course it has to have the perfect spice blend with a lot of cinnamon sticks and oranges. A cup of this with a slice of pumpkin pull apart bread or baked apples  is such a treat.

5. Football . . . yay or nay?
YAY OF COURSE!!!

6. Do you rake, jump in, or burn piles of leaves?
Rake. I’ve never been one to jump in, but my dogs always have been.

7. Haunted house or corn maze?
I’ve done both and when I was younger they were fun with groups of friends, but now I prefer to decorate the house and wait for all the sweet faces of the trick or treaters. I love seeing their costumes.

8. Have you ever gone on a hayride?
When I was in girl scouts we did several and they were really fun!

10./17. Carve a pumpkin or eat pumpkin pie? 17. Apple pie or pumpkin pie?
We no longer carve pumpkins and I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pies. 🙁 Now I do make an awesome Cranberry Apple slab pie for the season.

11. Do you dress up for Halloween?
Not since I was a kid, but I would if the right reason came alone. 😀

12. Candy corn . . . yay or nay?
NOPE, never been a fan.

13. Favorite Halloween season movie?
Definitely like the fun ones that aren’t too gory or scary. The movies like Nightmare before Christmas, Hocus Pocus, Practical Magic and the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown are the best!

14. Scariest movie?
The Omen, Amitville Horror, The Exorcist, Halloween, The Shining…

15. Halloween or Thanksgiving?
BOTH! They are the gateway to Christmas 😀 My favorite months, the “BER” months each have a major holiday in them full of my favorite 3 F’s – fun, family and food.

16. Do you watch the Macy’s parade?
EVERY year for as long as I can remember and always followed by watching Miracle on 34th street.

18. White or dark meat?
I like them both – but I tend to grab more white meat.

19. Jellied or real cranberry sauce?
My oldest stepson LOVES the canned sauce only! He says it isn’t a holiday without it, but I prefer the homemade so I make it for the rest of us and buy a can for him. 😀

20. Will you host or travel for Thanksgiving?
This year it will be just the 2 of us and for the first time ever we’re going to go out. 😀
I hope you enjoyed and will join in! I look forward to reading the answers of others. 🎃