Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Our Christmas and finishing the 12 Days of Christmas series ♥

Hello Everyone! 

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! Can you believe it's over? It seems like, as much as I tried to avoid it, the holiday slipped by so fast.  

We truly enjoyed ourselves this year, and for that I am truly grateful! 

Always, the best part of the holidays is John being able to have fun with his cousins!  
We don't see them as much as we would like to, so this makes me so happy! 

Our festivities started on Saturday with a Christmas brunch at my mother in laws. Then Christmas Eve at my brother in laws, and then Christmas day at home with my parents.  It was all so lovely and fun.  And I, naturally, indulged in way too much hot chocolate! 

 Not even sorry... :) 


Oh dear.... 

This is me on Christmas eve ♥ 
(Instagramming of course....: ) 

Waiting for Santa... 

And he finally came! 

John was up at 5:30 am!  

Luckily we were home on Christmas day so we all got to take a morning nap after opening presents! 

Aaaand, it snowed! 

I continued our tradition of sticky cinnamon rolls! ♥ 

Santa (and his grandparents) were very good to John this year!  He was thrilled to get a PlayStation! 

He spent a good part of the day doing this....: ) 

Our Christmas day was filled with family, fun, games, laughs, good food, and traditions ♥
I'm sad it's over, but I also feel a great relief that everyone was together and happy.  Now we can all relax and enjoy the last week of the year! 

Which brings me to this....

When I last blogged, I was in the middle of counting down the 12 Days of Christmas.  I thought, to round out my series nicely, for the last three days I will show you three of my favorite things to enjoy this week.  

The week between Christmas and New Years has always been one of my favorite times of the year.  For one thing, John is on school break.  Which means he is home relaxing, in his new bathrobe, playing his video games, watching movies and just being as happy as can be.  

We ALL need that time to recharge our batteries.  And there are certain creature comforts that really help.... 

Day 10: New Pajamas ♥

New pj's for Christmas is a given in my family!  We all get them! This year my mom got me these cozy ones from Croft & Barrow.  I loooove them!  Is there anything better than new freshly washed jammies on a cold night with a cup of tea and a good book? Not really....

Unless you pair them with these....

Day 11: New Slippers ♥ 

My sweet friend Rosinda gifted me with these adorable fox slippers! Could you just.....: )  

I saw hers online and commented how much I liked them.  Much to my surprise she sent them to me!  I'm over the moon for them!  They are so cozy and cute! 

Thank you so much Rosinda! ♥♥♥

And finally Day 12: A new date book ♥

This week I begin to think ahead to the new year.  One of my favorite things of all is starting a new date book!  Santa left me this one in my stocking.  I love the quote on the cover! I've decided to make it my mantra of  2018 ♥  

 I've started filling in special days and birthdays.  I like it because it has a big note section for every week so I can jot down my to-do lists.  Thank you Santa ♥ 

(clearly it doesn't take much to make me happy : ) 

And with that, I will wrap up my 12 Days of Christmas series, but fear not, the holidays are not over yet.  I'll be enjoying this week leading up to New Years and looking forward to a few more family gatherings before the month is over!  

I hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating your holidays! I am so thankful for all of you and look forward to our friendship in 2018~ 

Now....what are we doing for New Years? xo 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 9...traditions♥

Hello Everyone! Tonight is Christmas eve! I'm so excited!
Every family has their own Christmas morning traditions. 
Ours is very simple.  Ever since John has been born I  always make Pillsbury cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. I'll pop them in the oven when I wake up, so they are ready to eat while we open our presents.  It's a little something to tide us over until we have a proper breakfast later on.  It's something so simple, but means so much. 
I make Pillsbury cinnamon rolls all the time, but somehow they taste different on Christmas morning.
I'll bring them into the living room and put the plate on the coffee table so we can help ourselves. Sticky fingers and all!
A sweet treat to go with our coffee and eggnog while we see what Santa has brought ♥

I picked these up on Friday on my way home from work.  I can hardly wait to bake them!  It wouldn't be Christmas without them : )
And there you have it, my friends.  My last presents have been wrapped, all cookies are baked, and the cinnamon rolls are ready to go for the morning! I am ready!  
We are spending tonight at my brother in laws for a festive family celebration with all of my husband's family.  They are Italian and we celebrate the traditional feast of the seven fishes!  If you love seafood (like I do) it's a food dream come true! If you aren't a fan, fear not, there is plenty of other amazing food too!  Tomorrow we will be having Christmas dinner here at home with my parents. I am so happy to be here with them this year.  It's supposed to snow and I really, really hope it does!  Wouldn't a white Christmas be wonderful?! 
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!  Have a magical evening celebrating with the ones you love! Cheers to all of us on this very special holiday!

I'll be back on Tuesday to continue my 12 days countdown.   I started late so I still have a few more days to go.  I've been enjoying blogging everyday and sharing things with you! 
Merry Christmas, my lovely friends!!!! Have fun tonight! I hope Santa is good to you! xoxox

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 8...Cookies! ♥

Good morning Everyone!

It's Saturday morning and tomorrow is Christmas Eve!  We had a little light snow yesterday but unfortunately it was washed away by rain. The weather man is saying there is a possibility for snow on Monday morning which means....white Christmas!  It's been a few years since we've had snow on Christmas so I'm crossing my fingers it happens.  A little snow will make the day all the more magical ♥

I can't believe how close we are.  I was so anxious and excited at work yesterday.  We were let out a bit early and I had to make one final stop at the grocery store to pick up some supplies for baking. Once that was done and I was finally home, in my slippers, I felt content and ready for the weekend.  Let the festivities begin!
We are heading over to Rob's parents house today for a family Christmas lunch and gift exchange.  We will see them on Christmas Eve with all of our extended family, but our tradition has always been to get together for a lunch or dinner either the week before or the week after Christmas to exchange gifts. That way it's not as hectic and we can spend some quality "holiday" time together ♥
My mother in law always does an amazing job with the meal.  I had decided that I was going to bring a dessert  but up until yesterday I didn't know which one.  Then I remembered a delicious cookie recipe that Madison posted a few days ago on her blog for raspberry thumbprint cookies! They not only looked yummy, but so pretty on the plate.  I think these would be perfect for our lunch! 
It took no time to mix up the dough and put these together.  I took cues from Madison and added a teaspoon of vanilla and a tablespoon of milk to the dough.  They came out so buttery and delicious! I love these cookies! My mom asked if I could make another batch for us on Christmas Day. What she didn't know was I had already decided I was going to.  Once batch is simply not enough!
A little dusting of powered sugar make everything better, don't you agree? 
This was my fist time ever making thumbprint cookies.  I thought they would be much harder to make.  They were super simple and didn't require a ton of ingredients either.  I had everything on hand : )

I can't wait to bring these to our Christmas lunch today!
Thank you Madison for sharing the recipe!
Please go check out Madison's blog as well as my friend Billie Jo's!  They are both counting down the 12 days of Christmas and have some amazing posts! ♥
See you all tomorrow! xo

Friday, December 22, 2017

The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 7...Stillness ♥

Hello Everyone! Happy Friday! 
We are only hours away from the weekend and the start of the festivities! Things are about to get crazy, so today I thought I would talk about something that is very important to me. 
Day 7 of my 12 days of Christmas is stillness.
With all the excitement leading up to Christmas it's so easy to lose sight of what's important. 
I often find myself scattering about, thinking of a million things that need to be done and getting totally stressed out.
Did I remember to buy all the gifts on my list? Do I have enough? Did I forget anyone?  Finish wrapping!  When will I have time to bake?
It can be a very stressful time. 
What always seems to ground me and put things into perspective is the stillness of the nights. 
I love a quiet winter evening.  Sometimes I step outside to look at the night sky and take a few deep breaths.  The air is cold but it feels good in my lungs.  Sometimes it's so silent I can hear my own heart beating  ♥
In the stillness of the night I am able to reflect on the true meaning of the season. 
All the cookies and presents and cards are wonderful, but Christmas goes much deeper than those things.  I will not forget. 
 I need that stillness to remind me ♥
I go back inside to my warm and cozy room, thankful for the roof over my head and the blanket wrapped around me.  I know that Christmas lives inside me.  I will try to spread that joy to my loved ones as much as I can. 

In the stillness of the night, I believe ♥
See you tomorrow, dear friends.  And don't forgot to visit Billie Jo & Madison to see what they are up to today, during their 12 days of Christmas.  It's something wonderful, I'm sure! ♥ xo

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 6.....Christmas at the office ♥

Hello Friends!

 It's day 6 of the 12 Days of Christmas and today I'm talking about Christmas in the office!  

Wednesday my office held it's annual Gingerbread House contest. Anyone that wanted to enter had to bring in a decorated gingerbread house.  They all go on display (anonymously : ) and we can vote on our favorites.  

I did not enter but I sure did enjoy seeing all the decorated houses!  

It's so nice to see adults get into the spirit of things! It makes the office a very festive atmosphere! 

Here's a few of my favorites....♥

Some people a just so creative! 

I think John would love this one with all the gumdrops! 
(He would have already eaten half of 

I love the snowcaps and M&M welcome mat! ♥  

This one was all pastel candies so it looked like it was snow covered.  Love it!  

This one was my favorite because I thought it looked like a little fairy cottage!
I love the shredded wheat on the roof! : ) 

There were cookies & treats involved as well which made me very happy! 

 After strolling through the gingerbread forest I made myself a cup of hot chocolate and took a cookie back to my desk! 

Just like home....well, kinda sorta....♥ 

This little bit of whimsy made the rest of my work day so much better.  
Even grown ups get excited for Christmas!

See you tomorrow, friends!  We are getting closer to the big day...♥♥♥  

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 5...A Christmas Concert ♥

Hello Everyone!
Welcome back to the 12 Days of Christmas.  I can't believe we are under a week away.  This time next week it will all be over and I will be experiencing my favorite week of the year!  That peaceful bliss that IS the week between Christmas and New Years! But let's not get ahead of ourselves.  I want to savor each day leading up to Christmas Eve.  Which leads me to tonight and day 5 of my 12 days of Christmas series....
Each year during the week before Christmas, John's school presents a Christmas concert.  The school choir and church choir sing hymns, the band preforms, and each grade sings a Christmas song.  The music director always does a wonderful job of putting this together.  Rob and I attended, as well as my parents and Rob's parents. 
(I always tell John how lucky he is to have both sets of grandparents with him ♥)
As some of you already know, John plays drums in the school band.  This is his second year. 
He loves it! 
As you can tell by the expression on his face he takes his drumming very seriously! ♥
The band played three songs tonight.  My favorite was We Wish You a Merry Christmas! 
It's a wonderful evening to see all the kids preform and also a nice opportunity for us parents to wish friends and teachers a Merry Christmas. 
John's good friend Sean is also in the band.  Here they are together with their sticks after the show!
John's 5th grade class sang Angels We Have Heard on High and the evening ended with all of us singing Silent Night. 
It's night's like this, filled with prayer and beautiful music, that remind me of the true meaning of Christmas.  Seeing it through the children's eyes reminds me how I used to feel at that age.  I was over the moon excited every year!  I never want to forget that feeling of wonderment.
Thank you for joining me tonight! I'll be back tomorrow with day 6.  Did you pop over to Billie Jo's blog and Madison's blog yet? Please do! We are counting the day up to Christmas together! ♥

Monday, December 18, 2017

The 12 days of Christmas: Day 4...a cup of Christmas tea ♥ Downton style

 On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me....
a cup of Downton Abbey Christmas tea ♥ 
Oh yes! 
Thank you for joining me for day four of my 12 days of Christmas series. 
One of the things I enjoy most during the holidays is exchanging cards and gifts with far away friends.  Christmas is the perfect time to let them know you are thinking of them.
It's always pure JOY to find something special from a friend in the mailbox. 
 Personally, my heart overflows with gratitude ♥ 
This year, my dear twitter/IG friend Marcia was kind enough to send me this set of Downton Abbey Christmas teas.  Marcia knows how much I LOVE Downton and tea. I was so excited to receive this thoughtful gift!

For many years Downton was part of my Christmas.  They always had an epic Christmas episode that I looked forward to!

Remember the year Matthew proposed to Mary on Christmas night? Out in front of Highclere Castle....with the gentle snow falling....It still brings tears to my eyes ♥
Clearly I'll never get over this show coming to an end.  I would have been perfectly fine if it went on forever.... : )

Six individual teas came perfectly packaged in this darling box. 

I love the "DA" symbol on the side of the box ♥

Here is the assortment.  If you are a fan of Downton Abbey you will love the names!
For tonight I wanted to try the Downton Christmas tea. 
It seemed appropriate to have it in Christmas china tea cup.
As Lady Mary would do...
The tea was delicious.  It's a black tea with flavors of cinnamon, apple, and clove. 
It was a cozy cup of tea that taste like Christmas night. 
I loved it ♥
I'm looking forward to trying Lady Cora's Evening Herb Tea tomorrow night!
Thank you Marica for this very thoughtful gift.  And thank you for bringing back memories of one of my favorite TV shows ♥
Well, one week from today is Christmas Day!  I can hardly believe we are just 7 sleeps away.  I spent the day out shopping with my mom and getting little last minute things.  The excitement is building!  Tomorrow night is John's Christmas band performance. 
I bet you can take a guess at what Day 5 will be.  Music is truly a gift :)
Thanks again for joining me today! And don't forget to please visit my friend Billie Jo and her beautiful daughter Madison to see what they have in store during the 12 days of Christmas!
See you tomorrow! xo