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.
Love is my inspiration...
This morning while reading blogs and looking at Instagram, I was inspired by all the weddings and love that was flooding the sites. Mondays seem to be I day to reflect on good or bad events and a time to share our adventures.
My week has had its ups and downs. Last Friday my wonderful husband Adam left for the month. He is working in Alaska on a tugboat for a while and I do not really get a chance to talk to him. With the few quick phone calls every couple of days I have to keep myself busy. While he is at work I try to find new projects to not only keep me occupied but motivated so we have more free time when he is home.
So Saturday night my mom asked me to help with the catering company she works for, which I do occasionally. This party was all about love! The couple were both turning 60 and are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary next week. The love that they have for each other and their family was hard not to feel inspired by. I left after a long, exhausting party with a smile on my face, and decided that it was a great way to spend my Saturday night. My week continued and the love was everywhere. So I want to share some of my favorites.
Two of my best friends are finally getting married!!! Last week was their engagement shoot and the photos turned out amazing. After a 10 year relationship they are finally tying the knot and joining the best club there is. Here is a little preview of their shoot with Evangeline Lane. Love you both so much!
A fellow sailor's wife and close friend Kelsey posted a very sweet Facebook post that I felt inspired by. She wrote, "Haven't seen Ryan's face in four months, which is why I was disoriented when he Skyped me today, it took me a solid minute to figure out what was happening. And then the happy tears hit. Thanks for the great surprise, even if I was night shift brained and totally confused." In this kind of relationship there are many sacrifices that we make for each other, but sometimes all it takes is that one phone or Skype call to make everything right in the world. I was inspired by her strength and love for Ryan and had to share.
When I saw the post this morning it made me nostalgic to my own situation and my experience over the weekend. Today is about love and promoting love. So today feel the love!!!!
From the time I was a little girl growing up in Glendora, California, I always had an opinion on everything. My family would ask me about how something looked whether it was what they were wearing or what colors to paint in the house. My opinion was asked because my parents always treated me like an adult even at a very young age. They wanted my sister and I to have opinions and learn how to voice them. My opinion became a joke and I was called the “fashion police” for many years. It then changed to everyone saying go ask Maddie. These questions and comments made me who I am today.
My earliest memory of a time when my opinion was asked was a conversation with my mom. I was two or three and only came up to my mother’s knees but still had something to say. We were in a shoe store trying on a pair of shoes. She looked down at me and asked what I thought of the shoes. My response in a toddler’s voice was “I like those shoes mom but not with those pants.” This memory really started my love for everything visually stimulating.
In 5th grade I decided that I wanted to decorate my room. My parents let me pick the color for the walls and the style of bedding that I wanted, but they had no idea how far I would take it. I chose to paint the walls a sky blue with green rolling hills and stenciled on flowers and white picket fence. I continued the design by painting the ceiling the same blue and mixing glow in the dark paint with white to create clouds. I remember them being so surprised of my creativity and how much work and thought I put into redecorating my room. After finishing the wall I rearranged the furniture in the room. I change the design for the room again in high school and all my friends wanted to see it. It was more mature then. Satin bedding, warm blue walls with a gold gloss to add depth, and even a canopy bed. The furniture was all antiques including my favorite wingback chair that I now use as a desk chair. These choices directed me to where I am today.
I was not always the girl that loved to go to school so when it was time to graduate and go to college I went to Citrus Community College. School was not easy for me and as a second grade I was tested and told I was and am Dyslexic. This made it very difficult in school and teachers did not always know how to help me. I did not find my way until I found a course reader for The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I had no idea I could take classes in visual merchandising or color and design theory. I was so excited just from the courses, and it had never occurred to me that I might like to make this silly hobby of mine a career. High school counselors never asked what we liked to do outside of class when we were looking at colleges. They just looked at your grades and what classes you was doing well in to help you in a direction. If more art based classes were available in high school maybe I would have gone right after but it took a year to figure out what I like to do and where my life was taking me.
I enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising or FIDM in Los Angeles California the summer of 2009. The major I chose was called Visual Communications. We were considered “the Jack of all Trade” major. We learner about visual merchandising, store design, set design, styling, prop making, and drafting. I thrived in my first semester, and received grades higher than I ever did at any other school. At the end of my first semester one of my professors asked to keep all my projects I had worked to use as examples for the other class. I was so shocked and thrilled that my project made that much of an influence on her. I continued through the two-year program working hard and creating beautiful designs. I graduated with honors and was very ready to start working and continuing designing.
I was offered a visual merchandising position for Sears not long after graduating, and worked there for two years. During this time I started to go back to the hobby that I had in high school, decorating for friends and family. A local home furnishing boutique was looking for a “jack of all trade” intern, so I applied. I got the internship and learned so much in the first couple months I worked there. She quickly realized that I loved to merchandise the store would let me come in when I was not working at Sears and paint, move the store around, or help customers. This was the perfect job for me and I was not even looking for it.
Even with this great internship/job I knew I wanted more, So I decided to go back to school. I still for some reason did not know what I wanted to do, but I knew something in the arts. I started to look at the best art school in California and found out that Cal State Long Beach, San Francisco State, and San Diego State had the best programs around. Then I narrow the search down to majors. I was surprised when I found Bachelors of Art in Interior Design because I had no idea that was even an option. Looking further into the program I knew this was the major for me. I applied for all three schools but in the end San Diego State was my choice. Now I am have graduated with a bachelor degree in Interior Design and moved back to my hometown. I also now work for that same company that gave me the final push to go back to school.
If I could go back to the beginning of this twenty something year story I would not change anything. Every job and experience I have had brought me to this point. I hope anyone reading this would see that you do not always have to know what you want to do with your life, but every experience helps you to grow. I never realized that all my life chooses would bring me to this point but in the last seven years since I graduated high school I have taken big step towards my career goals. Recently I was visiting my parents’ house. Once again my dad specifically needed help picking out an outfit for a photo shoot. My mom and I were sitting in the kitchen when he came in. We both knew what he was going to ask us, but my mom stopped him and said “Ask Maddie.” All three of us went silent and looked at each other because we had the same idea. I have now started this blog with that title because Ask Maddie that embodies everything I do. I never realized that that was really what was happening around my. I can give DIY, decorating, design, fashion, or just regular advice, so now all you have to do is Ask Maddie at Madeline Designs.