Today is the twelfth tip of Christmas and it’s CHRISTMAS of course. I wanted to talk about something that may not be a tip but something that I find very special about this time of year, TRADITIONS. My family has many traditions throughout the year, but Christmas is one of my favorites. You have seen all the cookies we make every year for the sixth tip of Christmas, but I have to tell you about the day.
We start early in the morning and get everything set up that we did not the day before. That includes everything from, multiple Kitchen Aid’s, to more pounds of butter and eggs than my waistline would like to count. Then my Aunt, Grammy, and Cousins come over to help. I am not a baker so I stay out of the kitchen and a stick to rolling the dough, adding nuts, kisses, or powdered sugar to cookies that require assistance. We always make sugar cookies to decorate, but this year we were a little burnt out on them. I do hope that we continue to take the time to decorate them because it is a special tradition. The men in the family are our taste testers and suppliers of tamales at lunchtime. The day ends with sugar and flour everywhere but I would not change this tradition for anything.
The tradition I want to talk about for today is breakfast at my parents’ house after we open presents. I get the table all decorated on Christmas Eve so it is ready for use the next morning. We normally use my mothers china and have a more pastel color palette, but this year I was feeling more of a red palette. So I used her everyday white plates. I had to use her silver because I love it so much. (I would use it as everyday flatware if it were mine.) Anyway Christmas is full of opportunities to make new traditions and spend time with friends and family.
Merry Christmas...See you in the NEW YEAR!!!
For the tenth tip of Christmas I wanted to give you a little pick me up option to get you through the season. When I am feeling a little down or unmotivated I use Doterra blends to help make my days more productive. The first is Elevation which has a floral, sweet, and citrusy scent. This blend can be used in a diffuser or topically with coconut oil. Rub a few drops on your temples or wrists to elevate your mood. I love to use this oil in the morning to start my day off right. Motivate is the second blend I use almost everyday. The aroma is clean and minty. You can also use this blend in a diffuser or topically. I like to use it around the middle of the day, well after lunch to keep me driven to finish the day.
The eleventh tip is about space saving and an alternative place for gifts. Sometimes I have fragile gifts that I do not want to have knocked over, but really want to leave them close to the tree. So I use my mantle to display them. This is a great way to keep your kids or in my case dogs from knocking things over. I know we live in California and have earthquakes but in my house the dogs are more likely to trample over something than an earthquake happening before Christmas. (Knock on wood.) Of course, the dogs had to be part of my shoot. I can not believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve and my last blog post of the 12 Tips of Christmas. I hope you have been enjoying it as much as I have.
First it was just Roma and then Dash was cold and wanted to curl up with her.
And they are done. See you tomorrow...
Todays tip is all about food!!! I don't know about you but I love food. Mexican, Chinese, Greek, Italian, you name it I love it. But for today's tip I want to give an easy recipe that will wow any guests this holiday season.
I have had a love affair with brussel sprout for many years now, and have perfected them. My mother made them all the time when I was growing up and now I do too.
Brussel Sprouts ala Zack
1. Rinse brussel sprouts in collender with cool water. The with sparp knife cut stem end off so that the first layer of leafs fall off. Then cut them in half from top to stem. To cook them more evenly take out dense center.
2. Coat the buttom of a large sause pan with extra virgin olive oil (or oil of your choice bacon greese, butter, or for a healthier option, choose grapeseed oil). Turn the pan on medium and add the cut brussel sprouts after a few minutes.
3. Once the sprouts have been coated with oil add the minced garlic and seasoning. (To avoad burning the garlic add it after the sprouts)
4. Once the sprouts have carmelize a little, about 10 minutes, add the chicken broth. Leave the heat medium for 5 minutes, then turn down to low and cover with a lid. Check on them after 5 minutes to see if they are tender and that the chicken broth have cooked down.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the salt and pepper and add the final touch parmegiane chesse. Remove from heat and serve hot in your favorite bowl or platter.
I also grilled a steak, made pasta, and roasted veggies to acompany the delicious brussel sprouts
Tomorrow will be tip number 10. It is crazy to think Christmas is so close. See you tomorrow...
Today has been a gift wrapping day. I spent most of the day shopping and the rest wrapping. Christmas wrapping is different from anyother gift wrapping thoughtout the year. I like to make them special and have more details. I found left over paper from last year and purchased some new ribbon to cordinate with it.
I love to layer the different types of paper to give more texture. Here is how they ended up.
We will be back tomorrow with a entertaining tip...
On Wednesday night my grandparents are hosting a small dinner party, and need to have the table decorated. I told my Grammy I would help her while using the items she already had.
At this time of year we all tend to spend more money than we do other months, and that means we need to save money in other places. In my eyes decorating is a great place to save. So todays tip is decorating on a budget. I only purchased $15 of flowers from Trader Joes to make this look happen.
If you have a white tablecloth, festive napkins, candles, something with some sparkle, and some small decorative items you have everything you need. Lucky for me Grammy has beautiful green and gold china and silver to make the table special. That is not a necessary element, so you can use your everyday white or simple glass plates to keep the cost down.
I love to split up the flowers into three different vases so the eye moves around the table. Then I added in the crystal candlesticks with green, red, and white candles. After looking around the house I found some glitter-covered snowflakes that I scattered around the table. Everything I used for this table Grammy has been colecting for many many years, but you do not have to have something new for it to feel special. If you love it us it and your decorations will be merry and bright
I will be continuing Christmas tips tomorrow with more on entertaining...
Today was one of my favorite days of the year. COOKIE BAKING!!!! Every year my family comes together and makes cookies to give out as gifts and sweet treats. This year was special to me because my husband got to be here. Of the 6 years we have been together we have not spent the holiday's together. He seemed to be having fun as our taste tester.
We make several different cookies and everyone always has their favorite. Our baking includes snowball cookies, thumbprint cookies, peanut blossoms, ribbon cookies, oatmeal with raisins and chocolate, fig cookies, and sugar cookies. My personal favorites are the fig cookies and peanut blossoms. Sorry I have been told the fig cookies are a secret family recipe or I would give everyone the delicious recipe. But instead I am going to include my other favorite, peanut blossoms.
Peanut Blossom Recipe
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 cup of sugar
48 unwrapped hershey's kisses
1. Heat oven to 375F
2. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, butter and peanut butter in a bowl. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and salt; continue beating until well mixed. Add flour and baking soda; beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.
3. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes if dough is too soft. Roll balls in 1/4 cup sugar. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
4. Bake 8-10 minutes or until very lightly golden brown. Immediately press 1 chocolate kiss in center of each cookie. Remove to cooling rack. Makes 48 cookies
We place all of our cookies in tins to give to family and friends.
My husband was feeling very creative and decided that a reindeer sugar cookie needed to be a Ninja Turttle. I had to take a picture of it.
See you tomorrow with more tips...
Sorry for missing the forth tip of Chirstmas. Today will be a double tip to make up for yesterdays tip.
The tree is the one of the most important symbols letting everyone know that the Christmas season has started. At my parents house my mother has a very particular way that she like the tree to look. She does not worry about most of the other decorations in the house, but the tree. Trees can look so different with the right decorations.
A tree can be traditional with ornaments like this from merakilane.com...
They can be more contemperary or unique like this one...
Or nerdy like this one from refinery29.com...I am totally nerding out on this Harry Potter tree!
This year I decided to make handmade ornaments to go with a more glittery rustic style. In my eyes this means chipped paint, rust, glitter, anything metalic, and handmade ornaments.
Here are some of the handmade ornaments that I made.
I have had around 10 broken table legs sitting around for the last year and finally found a use for them. Christmas ornaments!!!
I cut them done to smaller sizes and painted them white, red, blue, and with luminesent paint.
Then I added left over pine cones, ribbon, or twine to make them more festive.
Here they are finished on the tree.
And in the end this is what the tree looks like. I love all the differnt types of ornaments and all there meaning.
Come back tomorrow for a tip about something sweet!!!
Today my tip is about gifts for the holiday season. I work very hard every year to come up with new ideas for special gifts. My family is not hard to please but I still want it to be a magical time of the year. My favorite gift to give and get are ornaments. I can not show you what I am getting this year, but I can show you some of my favorites from my past. They do not always have a special meaning, so most of the time they just catch me eye.
My mom started this years ago with my sister and I, and now we have quite a few ornaments of our own. It made it very easy to fill a tree when we no longer lived at home.
I bought this bird for my mom a couple of years ago because she loves birds. I fell inlove with this ornament when I realized it could be clipped onto the tree.
My husband and I were lucky enough to vacation in Italy this year, and with my love of ornaments I purchased these in Sorrentto. It was the cutest little shop full of Christmas items.
These are more gifts to my mom because of her love of birds.
My grandmother, "Grammy" gave these to my mom around 25 years ago. They are a family favorite.
Last year my mom wanted a more rustic tree, so I bought these for her.
More tips to come...see you tomorrow!
This year I decided to let the spirit of Christmas spill out of my house. The exterior of my house is one of my favorite places to decorate this time of year. It is the last thing you see when you leave for the day and the first when you come home. Some exteriors have many spaces to decorate with garland on a railing, wreath on windows, or as many lights as your electrical panel can handle.
Not all homes are like that. It’s always fun to hang wreaths on windows, but if that won’t work for your home, consider hanging them on a blank wall or even on the wall beside the front door.
On my front porch I have an antique wheelbarrow all year long that works well with every season. This year I decided to add a tree to the mix. This years design is my favorite mix of rustic and glamor. With flowers, a wire basket, antler that my husband found, and a touch of gllitter the final design is exactly what I wanted.
Now I am not one to buy all new items every year, so I like to move items around the house so that they look different.
As I started to set everything up my dog, Roma, desided she wanted to be in the pictures. She will not lay down or sit on concrete so I had to get her a blanket to lay on. She is a ham when I am taking pictures. I do not really mind she makes all pictures special.
But no matter what your home looks like there is always a design that will work for you.
Here is what my house looks like now.
Don't forget there are still 10 tips of Christmas to go!!!! Check back tomorrow for my next tip.
For the first tip of Christmas I want to talk about staying healthy in the stressful times of the holidays. About five months ago I was introduced to essential oil, Doterra to be exact. I decided to try it out when I grew tired of taking pills everyday for my allergies. I did not really think it would work, but in the summer my allergies are lighter so I took a chance. I was completely surprise by how much better I feel after I started using Doterra oils.
I found that a mixture of lavender and peppermint twice a day on the back of my neck and bottom of my feet work better than any drugs I have taken in the last 20 years.
Sorry moving on to my tip. Doterra has a blend of oils called On Guard that I can not live without. On Guard is a mixture of wild orange peel, clove bud, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus leaf, and rosemary. This blend is used to maintain a healthy immune function, cleanses surfaces, and purifies your skin.
Now how can you make this blend work for you? Diffuse it, use it as the best smelling hand sanitizer, or take with water.
I hope this gives you a great holistic option this season to stay healthy. If you are looking to order any oil or have any questions please contact me, I would be happy to help.