Wednesday, December 25, 2013

JOY to the World ~ Merry Christmas!

From my family to yours...
I hope your day is bright and filled with love and laughter!

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas
from all of us!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Home Tour 2013

Hello there!
How's your Christmas season so far?
It's wonderful and exhausting! :)

So let's just sit back and take a little tour, shall we?
Not like a three-hour tour that ends up with us stranded on some
deserted island with a bunch of other people, no duct tape, and no one
who can figure out how to build a boat without it!

No, this is much more relaxing...
and then we'll have some cocoa and cookies!

Yes, I know there aren't any ornaments on my tree.
Well, actually there are 6.
But only because they're either new...or weren't in the ornament box.

I might get around to putting the rest on this weekend.
But then again, maybe not.
It still looks preeeeeetttty!

I made the ruffle garland last year from some
onasburg fabric ripped into strips.
Love it!

 The stockings I made last year also.
I love onasburg because it has a nice neutral color, like drop cloths...
but it's much easier to work with, in my opinion.
It reminds me of linen.
It's rather inexpensive, too.

I'm a self-proclaimed Christmas traditionalist.
I love red and white decorations.
But not bright white and cream are the ones for me!


My fabulous dresser is host to the nativity this year.

 Since I never got the chance to paint it...
I cut out some wrapping paper to the shape of
the top to give a little color and interest.
So fun.

Santa's just hangin' out in his jammies...

 See? the tree doesn't look so bad...

Maybe I can distract you with this
cute little birdie under glass...

I have two totes full of snowpeople.
Yes, snowpeople...the girls get offended
when I casually toss them in with the "snowmen."

 They're all over the it doesn't look like there are that many here.

Oh, but here are some more...

 A bunch of minis on the chunky shelf...
and who doesn't need a snowman-on-a-stick?


And now...a lovely picture of deer and birdie butts:

 The first year in this house, we put small hooks under the edge of the railing
just for the's one of my favorite parts of the house.

A couple shots of the dining room and kitchen...

Why, yes, I do hang gift bags on the wall as decoration...don't you?

I used an inexpensive greenery wreath - upside down -
and tied it to the light with some fabric strips...
added some berries and's awesome.

 If only this snowman on the fridge would tell me to stay out!

We'll round things out with the master bedroom...
See? This is definitely a girly snowperson!

Sorry, the cat would NOT get off the bed.
She just always has to be wherever I am.

I went super simple in here...just my sandstone quilt,
a red duvet and the reindeer sheets.
A little greenery to the headboard.
I love the homey-ness of the more muted colors.

Lastly, just the trees in the loft...the elliptical is not particularly
festive or this is the only shot you get up here. :)

I hope you've enjoyed your visit...
please convene in the kitchen for refreshments!

I'll admit...I go a little over the top for Christmas.
But then again, I am the girl who loves

It makes me happy to just lounge on
the couch and look at the lights.

How about you?
Do you go all out with Christmas decorating?
Or do you keep is super simple?

I am almost ready for Christmas day!
I do still have to brave the grocery
store for some dinner goodies.

"Although it's been said many times,
many ways, Merry Christmas to YOU!"

Playing Tour Guide at These Fine Parties:

Crafts a la Mode
Craft Dictator
Love of Family and Home
Live Laugh Rowe
Horrific Knits
Rain on a Tin Roof
Twelve O Eight
Simple as That
The Dedicated House
Put a Bird On It
Lamberts Lately
Flower Patch Farmgirl

Friday, December 13, 2013

Pecan Tarts and Family Christmas Traditions

Happy almost weekend!

A couple weeks ago I shared over at
for their Christmas traditions series.

And now it's here for YOU!

Ta da!
Pecan Tarts.
Such a simple name for something so truly scrumptious!

My mom got this recipe from my dad's mom...
unfortunately I never really knew her.
But if she made yummies like this, she must have been pretty wonderful!

I don't believe a year has gone by when these tasty
little treats were not present in our house at Christmastime.

Baking is a huge tradition in our family...
we do these tarts, these little snowball looking cookies called Russian Tea Cakes,
and an old world cake recipe, also from my grandmother {and probably hers}
called Potica Cake...funny name...but who cares what
you call it once you've had a bite...or six.

 Well, let's move on to the tarts.

Pecan Tarts

Tart cups:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup {2 sticks} butter, softened
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
Blend together until smooth, using dough hooks if available.
If you divide the dough into 4 equal balls, it will be easier to keep your tarts even.
From each of those, make 12 even balls about 1" each and place into your tart pan.
Using a tart press, or your fingers, press the dough into a cup, up and around the sides.
Be careful that you don't make it too thin on the bottom.
If you're dough is too wet to handle and shape, add about 1/4 cup flour and rework.

Nut Filling:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
In a medium bowl, combine filling ingredients, stir with a whisk. DO NOT BEAT.
Place about 1 1/2 tsp filling into each dough cup...making them about 2/3 full.
We usually split the filling into 2 bowls...that way if you fill and bake 24 at a time, you know just how much you've got left.
Bake at 350° for about 18 minutes or until lightly golden.
Dark, nonstick pans may bake faster and/or cause them to be a little darker.
Cool slightly, then turn out onto a rack.
Careful if you try to eat them straight out of the oven! That sugary liquid center is HOT!

Speaking of sugary, liquid centers...I recommend using only real butter, cream cheese, and vanilla.

 These are my mom's absolute favorite cookie.
She can't resist they only get made during the holidays.

I have to far...our best family tradition?
Spending the holidays together with family.
You just never know what is going to happen...

Yes, that's my daughter and my sister making
strange faces behind my unsuspecting parents.

Below are a couple outtakes from a family photo session we did for my folks.

We really do have some normal traditions, too.
Ever since my sister and I were just little,
my mom would buy us each a unique ornament every year.
So that when we grew up and left home...
we would have something to put on our own trees.

We still do this today...and we have always done the same for Sara.
Family...together...celebrating the season and the birth of the Newborn King.
These are our greatest family traditions.

If you don't already follow along,
I'd love for you to check out all the antics here.
 Really...we're not always this weird.

Sometimes it's much worse!

I hope you've enjoyed spending a little holiday time with my crazy family!

Merry Christmas and all the best in the
New Year from my family to you and yours!

Partying here:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Have Your Cake and Christmas, Too!

Did you ever see the movie Babe

You know...the one about the pig who herds sheep?

Well...there's this duck...named Ferdinand...
who finds out a good friend of his
just became Christmas dinner.

Horrifying, I know.

Well, actually it's really funny...

but he flies off squawking
"Christmas means carnage!! "Christmas means carnage!!"

Well, I'm starting to feel like MY goose is cooked!
I've been too busy to finish up some Christmas projects I wanted to show you...
guess they'll keep till next time.
So, I thought I'd share some confectionery inspiration
in case you needed some for all those Christmas parties:

The Santa hat is cake cut to a cone shape
then iced and covered in fondant.
I used a star tip to make the "fur".
The snowflakes are fondant cut with cookie cutters and left to harden.

Same technique here for the "fur" and snowflakes.
The gold buckle was edible dust mixed
with vanilla extract and painted on.

Everything was sprayed with edible pearl spray.

Cupcakes are super easy...and super portable.

These were chocolate with peppermint buttercream.

The presents and the Santa hat were made with fondant.
I've seen people shape toppers out of taffy and other
soft candies when they didn't want to mess with fondant.
There are lots of options.

My crazy busy time is almost done...then I can
relax and enjoy the rest of the season.
Oh boy I can't wait.

Come back in a couple days...I'll be sharing some
yummy tarts and Christmas traditions.
I may even throw in a house tour or two!

Are you almost done with your shopping and gift making?
Not me...but I've got it all planned out!
Have a sweet week!

...and don't forget the secret code:


Whipping up frosting here: