Monday, July 27, 2009

Having house guests for the Holidays? Here are a few tips to make them feel welcomed.

- Make sure you have a nice, clean, cozy bed.
- Add lots of pillows for extra comfort.
- Try to decorate the guest bedroom and bathroom for the season.
- Have plenty of candles on hand.
- Fill a small basket with the following: light snack, bottled water, candy or gum, lotion, and maybe a magazine.
- Make sure they have room to spread out their luggage.
- Fill the bathroom with all the necessities: towels, bath cloths, body wash, shampoo, lotions, extra toothbrush and toothpaste just in case.
- Always make sure to wake up earlier than your guests and make sure to have something ready to eat.
- Always have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand - everyone loves to indulge during the holidays.
- I also like to have something freshly baked and ready at all times.
These are just a few small ways to ensure your guests will feel welcomed and at home.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Okay...Back to a Little Fall- 2008 Halloween Decor

Our Halloween dinner. Chili with spider webs. (Actually sour cream) Spooky!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Twists on Classic Recipes- Round Two

Here's a great twist on a sugar cookie. The only bad thing is that you will want to eat them all!

Spiced Sugar Cookies

1 pouch sugar cookie mix
3/4 teaspoons ground allspice
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup (one stick) softened butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup powered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients. Stir in softened butter and vanilla until soft dough forms. Shape teaspoons of dough into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 12-14 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Roll into powdered sugar and let sit for 15 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar again. Makes about 3 dozen cookies. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Here are a few of my creations from last year. I love making wreaths for family and friends.

One of my favorite things to make during the holidays is a wreath. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a festive, holiday wreath on a front door. I actually have wreaths on every door in my house during Christmas. The one's above were made last year with my Mom and Granny. My Granny used to be a florist and now she is our official bow maker!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Twists on Classic Recipes- Round One...

Bread Pudding (with pumpkin)
This is a great way to turn a classic recipe into a holiday favorite! Take your favorite bread pudding recipe and make the following additions:
  • Instead of white bread, use one loaf of cinnamon swirl bread. If you like raisins, get cinnamon-raisin swirl bread.
  • Add a can of pumpkin, 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, and 1/2 cup of maple syrup.
  • Follow the rest of your classic recipe and bake.
  • Top everything off with a drizzle of glaze (powdered sugar and milk).
Here's a recipe:
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
1 loaf (16 ounce) cinnamon raisin or cinnamon swirl bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup cream
4 eggs (I use Egg Beaters)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 can pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350. Spray casserole dish with non stick cooking spray. Toss cubed bread and pecans in casserole dish. Whisk milk, cream, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup and pumpkin in a bowl. Pour over bread cubes. Let soak for 1 hour, occasionally pressing down. Bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
Glaze-Mix together powdered sugar, milk and maple extract to make the glaze for the top. Drizzle over bread pudding before serving.

Bread Pudding (muffins)
Instead of baking your bread pudding in a casserole dish, use a 12 cup muffin pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. This way everyone has their own serving. I use cinnamon bread and I add maple syrup to the recipe. You can serve this for breakfast or brunch. Be sure to serve with extra maple syrup. It almost turns into a variation of french toast.

Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips)
Take your favorite pumpkin bread recipe and add two cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips. It will turn into a fabulous dessert!

If anyone would like a complete recipe, please let me know.

Check back for Round Two...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Here are a few of my favorite Christmas decorations from 2008

How to get your 5 senses ready for the Seasons

So, how do you get your 5 senses ready for the Holidays?
Sight: Beautiful decorations, dimmed lighting, candles, candles, candles!
Sound: Music of course; Fall- Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Michael Buble
Christmas- The Greats Dean, Frank, Nat, Bing, Ella
Smell: Baking, Candles, Christmas trees, spices, warm cider
Touch: Cozy fleece blankets, warm puppy dogs, sweaters
Taste: Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino, Pumpkin Bread, Turkey, Ham, Dressing, I could go on and on....
Check back, I'll be posting some recipes...

Where to Find Inspiration

Some of my favorite reads to help with Fall and Halloween planning are below.
- Autumn by Susan Branch Heart of the Home
- Any Gooseberry Patch Fall and Halloween Books
- Halloween- Better Homes and Gardens

Fall Decorations; As promised, here are a few pictures of my 2008 Fall decorations. Please share your thoughts.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


So the stores are gearing up for my favorite time of year. I can't help just walking in every few days to see the new stock of fall merchandise. It stirs up that great , exciting feeling I get each year: Fall and Winter Holidays are drawing near!

When do you start your decoration? Below is the outline I will use this year. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Fall Decoration: Labor Day Weekend
Halloween Decorating: Last weekend of September
Christmas Decorating: Weekend before Thanksgiving

I have started to review pictures of last year's decor to determine if anything needs to be changed. Come back, I'll post pictures. Please share your thoughts and decorating expertise. I'm always looking for new ideas!