Happy New Year! Wishing everyone the best in the New Year!
The season of warmth, joy, and good cheer is here! And I love everything about it from decorating to gift giving to entertaining friends and family. I pulled a book from my library shelf to share with you this month. This one is so apropos – Sewing Season’s Greetings by Carol Zentgraf.
The book contains 32 projects designed for every sewing skill level. The photos are beautiful and the step-by-step instructions and lots of great of illustrations are perfect to help you complete each project.
I’ve had this book in my library for years and I have used it many times. (I usually try to select a book for Sew Book Inspired book reviews that is readily available on Amazon. Sewing Season’s Greetings is available but only as a used book.) I love this book and I think it is a great addition to anyone’s sewing library.
For this post I decided to make the Christmas Stocking Silverware Holders from the Polka Dots and Stripes Table Set on page 38. The template on page 41 is actual size so I didn’t need to go to the office store to enlarge anything and I had all the supplies in my stash. I used craft ribbon since I didn’t plan on washing these little holders. (I want to have these on hand for family dinners with the grandchildren. I have little ones who still believe in Santa Claus and his little elves. I can tell them they are real elves stockings and watch their eyes light up.) For the older grandchildren they are the perfect size for gift card holders. I can add a little hanger and hang them on the tree.
Whether creating a whimsical tree skirt, an elegant mantel cloth, a velvet purse, or a Santa coat for your favorite pet, this guide makes it easy to add a personal touch to Christmas decor.
Stitch yourself a sweet little Christmas!
Our New Year’s Eve Party food is all about appetizers! Appetizers are the perfect food. These appetizer recipes are perfect for family and friends get-togethers. They are easy yet elegant. Make your New Year’s Eve a party to remember with these great appetizers.
Let’s start with a real showstopper—a beautiful platter for meats, cheeses and colorful veggies.
There are so many ways you can create an antipasto appetizer, you just can’t go wrong. Baker By Nature created these Antipasto Skewers. This eye-popping array of food only looks difficult.
These Roasted Balsamic Cranberry Brie Appetizers from Toaster Oven Love are sweet, tart and tangy! This is not your mom’s cranberry relish. Bright citrus and strong balsamic flavors are present throughout but don’t overpower the lightly sweetened natural cranberry taste. They will be a hit at your party.
These smoked salmon cucumber rolls look very elegant yet super simple to make. In 35 minutes you’ll have 30 Smoked Salmon Cucumber Rolls. All you’ll need are 4 ingredients to make these lovely Cucumber Rolls from Simply Home Cooked.
With just three ingredients, these delicious Cheese, Grape and Pistachio Truffles are an easy appetizer! Cheese, Grape and Pistachio Truffles from Delightful E Made are the perfect appetizer!
Made with just three ingredients, these Easy Stuffed Mushrooms from Couponing For 4 are the perfect party appetizer solution. They are not only easy but thrifty, too.
Sweet baby peppers stuffed and topped with its cute little “hat” are a family friendly way to serve poppers. And Creamy Feta Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers won’t leave anyone’s mouth in flames. For these Greek themed sweet mini peppers visit The Clean Dish.
All these recipes are easy and quick to make. They will look elegant on your table New Year’s Eve. Come check out our Appetizer board on Pinterest for even more appetizers.
This holidays can be very stressful. What with traffic, lines and crowds, and the changing weather, it’s tough not to stress. What we need is a good dose of Christmas cheer. I want to share with you a few ways to spread cheer and show gestures of care during the holiday season.
Write Christmas cards
We used to receive tons of Christmas cards each year but who sends cards anymore? Not many people do these days. When is the last time you sent a hand-written card? The few I do get come from people like the paperboy, my insurance salesman, and my manicurist. Most of my friends and I keep in touch via text message or Facebook.
But a nice holiday tradition and a wonderful way of spreading Christmas cheer is by sending Christmas cards. This is a tradition I’d like my grandchildren to continue. So each year I buy a box (or two) of inexpensive cards at the Dollar Store. Beginning Thanksgiving weekend we start writing Christmas cards. We make a list of aunts, grandparents, and family friends that would value receiving a card in the mail. We decorate the envelope with stickers, maybe add a piece of artwork or the latest school picture, and do a few at a time. I do my cards along with the kids. We always include a card and a letter/ artwork for our servicemen and women. We send our cards and letters to America’s Adopt a Soldier.
So surprise someone with a traditional Christmas card. You never know—it just might be the only card they receive.
Shelters, soup kitchens, nursing care facilities, and food pantries are likely looking for extra hands this season. My daughter and her husband traditionally start the holiday season by serving Thanksgiving Dinner at the homeless shelter. The grandkids decorate paper placemats with drawings and stickers to line serving trays for patients at the local care facility. When we deliver the placemats to the facility we visit with some of the patients before leaving. There are so many wonderful opportunities to volunteer and spread Christmas cheer.
While volunteering can have age limitations giving donations is without age restrictions and everyone can participate (even the youngest child can participate.) Here are a few ideas to get you started. Adopt an Angel from the Angel Tree, donate toys to Toys for Tots, pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, give your spare change to The Salvation Army, or make a donation to your favorite charity. Perform a RAK (Random Act of Kindness.) One of our favorites is making Blessing Bags for the Homeless.
When you bake cookies or make a holiday craft make up a little extra to share. It doesn’t have to be something big. We made extra bags of Magic Reindeer Food and Reindeer Poop for children of friends from school and church. I had plenty of extra holiday bibs from my bib-making this year. We made extra pumpkin bread and banana this year to share with the neighbors.
I find it makes me happy to do these things and not just at Christmas. We don’t need to stop doing little things like this just because the holidays are over. We can spread the Christmas Cheer throughout the year. We can continue to spread cheer and show gestures of care all year long.
What’s your favorite way to spread Christmas cheer?
Sponsored post: This post is sponsored by Boar’s Head but the contents and opinions expressed here are my own.
We’re heading deep into the holiday season. It’s all tinsel, gift wrap and Christmas carols from here on out. The grandchildren have been working on their Christmas Wish Lists. Instead of a family dinner and game night on Saturday we went to the Christmas Parade and came home to trim the Christmas tree. So much fun!
We never do a big dinner for our annual tree trimming party. It is just pick-up food, something to nosh on while we’re putting up the tree. This year the hit of the party was a new twist on my 7 Layer Mexican Dip. I added a Mediterranean twist. I switched out the refried beans for hummus. I was looking for something healthy to offset all the sweets and treats the kids would be having.
When I went grocery shopping for the party I noticed Boar’s Head Hummus comes in nine different flavors such as Traditional Hummus and the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. There are other flavors too such as Kalamata Olive Tapenade and Roasted Garlic. Each is made with chickpeas and the appropriate ingredients to make each flavor. Boar’s Head Hummus is full of protein, fiber and heart healthy fat and it is gluten-free. I am a huge fan of hummus. It is the perfect, versatile food. Hummus and crackers is a perfect comfort snack and hummus and veggies is a perfect lunch.
All those flavors got my creative juices going and I came up with an idea for dip. It’s not really something new but a Mediterranean version of the ever popular Mexican layered dip. Instead of using refried beans I used Boar’s Head Roasted Garlic Hummus. Then I added Kalamata olives, feta cheese, diced tomatoes, diced cucumber, and chopped parsley. Yummy! (and don’t tell the kids healthy!) I served it with baked pita chips.
My granddaughter, Elyza, came up with the idea of making the dip look like a Christmas wreath. She also named it, Happy Holiday Hummus Dip. The Boar’s Head Roasted Garlic Hummus was a great replacement for the refried beans. The aroma right out on the package was wonderful.
As I said it was the hit of the party and no one needed to know it was healthy.-
Visit the Boar’s Head webpage to see how Boar’s Head Hummus can help you create the perfect Holiday Spread. The quality and taste of Boar’s Head Hummus is second to none.
We had a great Thanksgiving but it’s come and gone. All that is left is dealing with the leftovers—leftover turkey, leftover ham. Our Thanksgiving tradition is to serve both a turkey and a ham. We always have a broad breasted turkey and a bone in ham. And our after Thanksgiving tradition is homemade soup from the leftovers.
So the weekend following Thanksgiving (or any holiday, really) one of my favorite things to do is making soup in my crockpot. Sometimes I go for new recipes and other times I stick to tried and true favorites. This year I wanted to use an old classic – Crockpot Leftover Ham & Lentil Soup.
I remember my mom making this soup when I was a kid. It is a hearty soup – perfect for these shorter fall days. It is easy to throw together and it can be cooking in the crock pot while you do your shopping! When you get home this hearty meal is ready. It’s really easy and tastes great on a cold evening!
Every year we get into a discussion on which is better – boneless or bone in hams. Boneless hams are a bit easier to serve, while I believe bone-in hams impart added flavor. A bone-in ham has the best flavor, texture, and shape. I think meat tastes best when cooked on the bone. (And a ham bone is serious kitchen currency; save it—you can freeze it—to make the best bean soup.) A partially boned ham is next best; it looks like a big football, but it’s easy to carve, and if you’re carving in the kitchen, no one will see its funny shape anyway.
Some years all I have left to make soup from is the ham bone. This year I rescued enough of the leftovers to have about three and a half cups of ham for the soup, but the truth is that whatever you have in leftovers will be just fine. The soup is very flavorful.
Crockpot Leftover Ham & Bean Soup is a delicious way to use leftover ham from Thanksgiving.
The right piece of gear can make travel safer, less stressful, and just more fun. These are the best gifts for the tech-savvy jet-setters in your life. Give the travelers on your list gifts they can take around the world.
This post contains affiliate links.
This speaker provides the perfect soundtrack for the great outdoors, rain or shine. Great for backpacking trips, camping, or cruises. It’s also has a built-in-microphone, is ultra-portable, and waterproof so you can take it to the beach or pool.
Do your techie love keeping track of their fitness levels even while on vacation? Do they love being able to track their steps and receive messages all on their wrist? The FitBit is the perfect techie gift. It shows their heart rate, lets you see how many calories they’ve burned, and monitors their sleep—with far better accuracy than current smart watches. (It also lets them know you are calling.)
Stocking stuffer or must-have phone accessory: the Ollo Clip 4-in-1 Lens (now in gold) turns your iPhone’s built-in-camera into a Fisheye, Wide-Angle, or Macro lens (10x and 15x). Weighing in at less than 1 ounce, there’s no reason to ever leave home without it.
The price tag and proportions of the latest Fire are well suited to children’s small hands, while integration with Amazon Prime lets travelers of all ages access tons of free, downloadable entertainment. It was designed for entertainment. The price tag and proportions of the latest Fire are well suited to children’s small hands, while integration with Amazon Prime lets travelers of all ages access tons of free, downloadable entertainment.
Cheap headphones are good, but quality headphones are awesome. Luckily, sometimes you can find quality headphones for cheap. These noise-cancelling are effective in minimizing light background noise. Your techie traveler will love them.
This is the type of portable battery that every traveler who has the need to charge multiple types of devices needs. It will charge their tablet and their phone—at the same time—with this pocket-size battery. Your techie traveler will love it. It lets them avoid the frenzy of airport-outlet hunting. Featuring two USB ports and enough juice packed into it to charge your phone three times over, this thing puts your run-of-the-mill power bank to shame.
This portable projector fits in the palm of your hand, and is perfect for sharing travel photos or watching videos on a hotel room ceiling or wall. The 2-inch projector is compatible with smartphones, tablets, and laptops, and allows you to stream media without any wires.
Perfect for the man or woman with a lengthy commute, this compact, foldable keyboard will help to maximize those extra moments otherwise spent idle. The rechargeable keyboard is compatible with iPad, iPhone, Android, as well as Windows tablets and phones. Plus, Bluetooth technology means no wires cluttering small already cramped spaces.
Nothing takes a space from streamlined to cluttered faster than a jumble of wires. Plus, an unruly nest of cords can make it extremely difficult to grab your charger and take it on the go. This year, give your techie traveler something that’s going to add style points. This modern phone dock fits a range of iPhone models.
Whether traveling to a ski chalet, a desert hideaway, or the perfect castaway beach (or anywhere else in the world) your traveler will love these techie gifts.
When you think about pumpkin as an ingredient, what do you see? Creamy pies or warm and comforting lattes? What about delicious muffins or breads? There are so many ways to use pumpkin in the kitchen, and I’ll be the first to admit that I hardly ever use it outside of making sweet desserts. Well, autumn and pumpkin do go hand-in-hand, so there’s no better time than right now to explore all of the pumpkin possibilities! This year I wanted to branch out a little—do something different.
My daughter invited me to her church women’s group’s Fall Gathering Potluck. I have been going with her for several years and I enjoy it. Every year theme is a little different. This year’s theme was “Everything Pumpkin.” All the dishes needed to have a pumpkin ingredient. I was really looking forward to all the different things made from pumpkin—and collecting new pumpkin recipes.
For my contribution I wanted to bring something different than my go-to pumpkin sweets recipes. At a potluck years ago I had gotten a recipe for Creamy Pumpkin Ranch Salad Dressing. I’d only made it a few times since but this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to dust it off and whip it up.
When I make this dressing I like to serve it in a Mason jar. For the potluck I added a cute little chalkboard label. Add a little circle of Thanksgiving-themed fabric and it is super cute!
What do you serve this luscious dressing over? A fresh Harvest Salad, of course!
Harvest Salad and Creamy Pumpkin Ranch Dressing make a tasty and colorful combination. They are great together at any fall meal.
There are several ingredients in the salad but it comes together quickly. I use a handy little gadget to slice the apples (just wash the apple and leave the skin on for color.)
To toast pecans, put them on a baking sheet (I line mine with aluminum foil) and toast them just until they become aromatic, about 5 minutes. You have to watch them carefully as they are easily scorched.
This salad is a delicious way to enjoy this special time of year celebrating with family and friends. It’s a perfectly “fit” for the holidays. So toss together some of autumn’s tastiest ingredients in a beautiful and delicious salad and enjoy!