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! :D2. 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
Heat the oven to 170º. 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.
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.
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.
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