Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Meet Mr. Santa. He came home with me from Omaha, NE last month, found in the corner of an antique store. He is from 1963 and I just love him. He reminds me of my childhood. He's on our mantle. :)

I absolutely love that we are full swing into the Christmas season and it's not even December first yet. So fun to know that there is still a full month of fun and celebrating ahead. Notice I did not say "stressing." I'm really trying to simplify things this year and it is really working for me and our family so well.

1. I decided that the entire house does not need to be covered in Christmas decor. I have our stairs done with garland and lights, the outside lights up with a fresh wreath on the door, the mantle with stockings, lights and a few other things, the nativity on the piano, and the tree. Noah also has a tree in his playroom full of Star Wars, Spiderman, and boy ornaments. There are other scattered decor items, but I just didn't put everything out this year. And I'm actually liking the simplicity of that. If you are having trouble doing this, here's a hint - group "like" decor items together. Have a collection of Santas on one table. Display all of your village houses together. I have my half-bath done with all of the snowmen decorations that we have and it's great. I put down a red rug, framed two Christmas scrapbook layouts to hang on the wall, and put all of the snowmen on the shelves. So easy. (and yes, I need to take photos, but my card reader decided not to work today)

Angie, you made a comment on my previous post that my house must smell like gingerbread and be a Christmas wonderland. LOL Sorry to disappoint! Hey, I do have a Yankee "Home For the Holidays" candle burning, though! :D

2. I'm doing homemade treats for Noah's teachers along with a Starbucks card and a handwritten note from Noah. I used to teach school and those are things I would have loved. Thanks to a recipe from Heather (thank you, Heather!) that came from Teresa, ha. I found a similar one online that I'll use. I think these are just the cutest things and will look very festive in a cellophane bag tied with Christmas ribbon. And I'm going to pass these out next week so I have them done early.

Little Holiday Pretzel Treats

Bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels
Hershey's Kiss or Hershey's Hug
M&M's candy

Step 1
Heat the oven to 170ยบ. Set a number of bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels (one for each treat) in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then top each pretzel with an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss or Hershey's Hug.

Step 2
Bake for 4 to 6 minutes (the white chocolate will melt more quickly), until the chocolates feel soft when touched with a wooden spoon. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and quickly press an M&M's candy into the center of each Kiss.

Step 3
Allow the treats to cool for a few minutes, then place them in the refrigerator to set, about 10 minutes. Place handfuls of the candies in clear plastic bags and tie on colorful ribbons.


3. Tonight I'm starting the first of 4 large batches of Chex Mix that I will bag and freeze. It freezes beautifully and it's such a perfect thing to pour into a pretty bowl and have out when company comes over. I call it Chex Mix, but it's not really...just the same flavor. Here's how I make mine - so simple.

Party Mix

1/2 cup (1 stick) of margarine or butter
4 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
8 cups of Crispix cereal
1 1/2 cups of nuts (I like to use almonds, pecans, and peanuts)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a very large baking dish or roasting pan, allow butter/margarine to melt by placing in the preheated oven. When butter/margarine is melted, stir in all of the seasonings at once. Gradually add Crispix and nuts, stirring well to make sure all of the cereal and nuts are coated. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. (I just set my oven timer) Pour on paper towel on kitchen counter to cool. Enjoy now or place in freezer bag for later! :)

4. Everything on our family calendar for December is family-related. No crops, going places just for me (or dh), no extra playdates, etc. The month goes by so quickly, I like to have blank spaces and breathing room.

5. Soup Night. We are having one of these a week for at least the next couple of months. It's so easy and stress-free and a good way to try new recipes! Go to Food Network and search the soup recipes. Print some out and try a new one each week.

How are you simplifying this Christmas?
I'd love to hear what you are doing!

Regarding my last blog post....
Cindy you asked what kind of paint I used on the advent calendar. It was Plaid Acrylic Paint in a Cherry Red color. I used almost a whole bottle since it takes at least 3 coats to get the red that opaque.

The macaroni and cheese recipe? Whoa. WAY too rich for a main dish. It would be a great side dish, but I felt like I was gnawing on a stick of butter, LOL. Loved it, but didn't like a huge amount. It would also be great with diced ham added.

Thanks for reading my blog today :)

Here's one of my favorite Christmas videos from SNL. Jimmy Fallon is so funny. :)

"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!
I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail." ~Henry David Thoreau


Bridget said...

I love this video! Tracy Morgan cracks me up!

Jana said...

I remember that fun knowing he's sitting proudly on your mantle! Love the idea of making those little pretzel snacks & putting them in cute bags. That Chex Mix recipe is the one my mom uses and I can just smell that yummy smell coming from the oven now. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Andrea Amu said...

I've actually simplified alot of my decorations for this year too. I got it all put out yesterday, and I'm glad it's done. I still need to take some pix.

I made a big batch of Chex Mix for Thanksgiving day and it's all gone already. Our family loves it and it's my favorite snack. Guess I'll be making more for Christmas now. I also made those pretzel snacks too, only I used those caramel "Rolos" candies. Yummy!

Love your antique Santa light. Your banister looks so pretty too with the garlands and colored lights and balls.

Molly said...


Loved your hamburger handout comment on Ali's blog. Great idea. Also, re: soups, you should check out this, season of soups, post:

some good looking choices over there, too.

Be well,

Kara said...

i love it. seems so fitting for the season. we are heading to salado this weekend for their kickoff christmas stroll. girls only! a fav. tradtion of mine. :D
can't wait to hear more fun things!!

Kim said...

For the first time in 10 years, I don't have my tree up Thanksgiving weekend. I'm MAKING myself stay home today to make room for the tree. I'm using the pretzel recipe too for the kid's Religious Ed teachers. Linens N Things have some real cute glass jars (snowman and Xmas trees) that I'm putting them in. I love the Santa. I love the older decorations. House looks great.

Cupcake said...

A candle is good too. I knew it had to smell like Christmas in there!!!
Thanks for the shout-out girl!