Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Baking...Three Great Recipes

My house is clean, my kids are all outside in the delicious, warm sunshine playing together, and I am baking away!
I decided that Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls were perfect for the neighbors.

{Tags HERE}

Have you tried them yet?
Oh my...you are missing out if you haven't.
Recipe HERE.




I made Oreo Tuffles...WOW are they sweet and so simple to make!
Just crush 3 cups of Oreos in a plastic bag.
Pour into a bowl...

Add a package of cream cheese and mix well.


Melt 2 bars of chocolate in the microwave.


 Then form small balls of the ooey gooey filling, dip in chocolate with a spoon until completely covered.
Set on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper to set.


Package them up and they are the perfect little gift!



Recipe HERE.


Lily also made this delicious Chocolate Chip Banana Bread...almost by herself!


Lily's Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
{adapted from Betty Crocker}


1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda 
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
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Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 2 loaf pans.

Mix sugar and butter in a bowl, stir in eggs until well blended.
Add bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla, and cinnamon.. Beat until smooth.
Add flour, baking soda, salt until just moistened. Don't over mix!
Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour into 2 8.5x 4.5x 2.5 pans.

Bake for 1 hour, or until toothpick comes out clean.
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Wishing you a lovely Thursday!

~Julia

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Week

I don't know about you, but I can't believe that Christmas is here this week!
We will be bringing baked goods to neighbors, going to a cookie exchange, and wrapping up last minute gifts:).

And because I am a professional procrastinator, I thought I would share some of my last minute ideas.

Here are some things on my to do list...

I am going to try and make these...I just found the tutorial at Design Mom.
Don't they look like a fun gift for a friend or family member?
I LOVE the mugs from Anthropologie, so these would be so neat. You could use any font to customize each one.

Post image for Holiday Recipe Exchange: Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cranberry Bliss Bars are on my baking agenda.
They are divine! Recipe HERE.

Easy OREO Truffles recipe

I am also hoping to make these for the neighbors...Oreo Truffles!

I will also be whipping up Aunt Barbara's Popcorn Cake for some special people:).

It is such a fun treat to make with your kids...and it is Christmas, after all...so we don't hold back on the goodies.
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For our friends with children..."Root Deer."
Too cute!

I am wishing I would have had time to do this for the neighbors.
Isn't it a neat idea?
Maybe next year:).


If time allows, I might sew up a couple of these cute teddy bear/dolly sleeping bags for Lily.

These might be added to my neighbor/friend gifts...they look like a fast and easy addition.



Wrapping is so fun to me...
Here are some great and frugal ideas!
Just click on the picture to go to the source.

I printed out these tags and they are just "make" the package. I love the design!
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newspaper-wrapping

Small Kraft Gift Bags
I know there is a bunny on that bag, but what a cute idea!

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AND if we get snow...I am really hoping we have a white Christmas...the kids and I are totally doing this!

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Wishing you a wonderful week of preparation!

~Julia

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Simply Christmas

I just HAD to share this book with you, written by my friend Anne-Marie and her husband Jason.
Oh my...I think it is the perfect little holiday surprise gift for someone you know!
Anne-Marie is so creative and anything she touches looks like something out of a magazine!
She is simple...yet elegant and her farmhouse is so lovely.
This e-book is no exception!




I loved it and devoured every page over a cup of tea!
There are Christmas decorating ideas, recipes, and crafts.
She also gives you a glimpse of how they celebrate Christmas on the farm. 
The best part is that it is only $2.99!
Click on the picture to enjoy the book....click here to visit their shop filled with other beautiful handmade items:). They are having a huge sale!

Have a great day filled with warm surprises!

~Julia

Monday, December 12, 2011

Foggy Christmas Days

We have been so looking forward to a good dose of snow, but so far we have been enamored with white fluffy fog.
The whole valley has been socked in, but today it is supposed to lift a bit and give us sunshine!
I love how the fog touches everything in its path and makes the ordinary...extraordinary.
Everything is covered in white....and almost in a much prettier way than a thick cover of snow...and it is so quiet.



I layered our front porch railing in greens and rose twigs. The rose hips add a touch of red. 
Just look at the frosty display.



Our garden is decorated with garlands.



Gertie is looking oh so sweet and festive in her chicken wire skirt.
It looks soft and just like lace in the frozen fog.






I decorated so simple this year and made these little wreaths and the JOY banner.


To hang them in the windows, I tore strips of linen.
I think I will use linen strips on packages, too.


The kids have been playing outside...even in the thick cover of fog.
Tim took Clover out for a cold ride.



The days are short and darkness comes soon, so we cozy around the table and play lots of games.


Our tree is decorated {mostly by the kids} with torn linen garlands, little silver frames with family pictures {frames from the Dollar Store}, LOTS of plastic ornaments, and scripture verses on manila tags.




Jack loves to poke his smiley face when I am snapping photos!
Isn't he sweet?
I keep Christmas books to read {at any moment} in the tray and Christmas cards in the wire basket.
The kids love going through all of the lovely notes.



This season is so full of blessings!
Things don't need to be perfect or extravagant to find them:).
I hope and pray you are enjoying this year more than ever!

~Julia

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sinterklaas Day {St. Nicholas Day}

My Mom was born in Amsterdam and we grew up celebrating this fun little holiday every December 6th.
It has been so fun passing this on to our children. 
The night of December 5th, our kids set out their shoes...or boots... under the freshly decorated tree.



Somewhere along the line somebody had the bright idea that snow boots were the ultimate "shoe" to set out.
I think they were figuring it holds more:).


Over night, Sinterklaas comes to fill them with small goods. 
I add a couple of things, too:).

The kids get up one by one in the morning, all messy-haired and in their pajama comfies and open their gifts.




When I was little, we would find Zoute Drop {Dutch salted licorice} and milk chocolate letters in our shoes. My Mom would usually add a small ornament for each of us. I'd love to start doing that...maybe next year:).

My sweet Aunt sends a St. Nick's Day package for everyone, too, as this is truly something we all celebrate in our family!
She sent this delicious Christmas tea...
which I promptly had with breakfast!


The kids look forward to this and it has become a sweet and memorable tradition.

I hope you are blessed this season with your own simple traditions.
They mean so much!

Have a great day!
~Julia

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