Goodbye 2013…I’m Sad to See You Go

Our first Christmas in our new house was amazing.  We’re finally digging our way out from all the wrapping paper. The Christmas cookies have all been eaten and the gifts have all been given.  We had a great time spending time with family, seeing all the Christmasy sites in NYC, and I even spent a whole day in my PJs, snuggling with the pups, watching a Real Housewives marathon…don’t judge.

Here’s our Christmas week via my iPhone.




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I can’t believe another year has passed and a new one is upon us.  2012 was a totally craptastic year for many reasons, but 2013 was quite the opposite.  2013 was filled with amazing goodness. We did a lot of traveling…Las Vegas (where I met Wayne Newton), Belize, New Orleans, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Miami, and Boston.  We bought our first home and we adopted a new pup.

Starting this blog and being in the house has gotten my creative juices flowing again.  I’m loving the never-ending projects I have going on and sharing them with all of you.  I am excited to see what 2014 will bring. Happy New Year to you and yours!



Peanut Butter Blossoms Recipe

Peanut butterblossoms


1   3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 egg

2 tbsp. milk

Hersey’s Kisses


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cream butter and peanut butter with sugar and brown sugar.

3. Add egg and milk.  Mix well.

4. Add salt, baking soda, and flour.  Mix well.

5. Shape dough into balls and roll in sugar.

6. Place dough on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

8. Take out of the oven and immediately place a kiss in the center of each cookie.

9. Let the cookies cool on cooling racks.




Mountain Christmas Cookie Recipe



1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

1   1/4 cups packed brown sugar

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

3 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

3   1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup red and green M&Ms

1 cup chopped pecans


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and shortening together for 30 seconds.

3. Add brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.

4. Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.

5. Add flour slowly to mixture, beating at a low-speed until combined.

6. Stir in M&Ms and pecans.

7. Drop teaspoon size dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

8.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

9. Take out of the oven and let cool.







Christmas Decor Home Tour

I love Christmas.  The lights…the baking…the ornaments…the time spent with family…the traditions.  I love it all.  This is the first Christmas in our new house.  We are still not unpacked.  We still don’t have furniture in some of the rooms.  That all doesn’t matter…I still have my trees up and some decorations around the house.  I did manage to make some crafts to put around the house.  Take a look…

This year we have two trees.  A traditional one in the living room and a beach themed tree in our sunroom. The traditional tree is an artificial tree and is decorated with all of our ornaments that we’ve collected over the years, many of them with special meaning,  I usually get an ornament on all of our vacations and for major life events (engagement, wedding, new home, our pups).  I love reminiscing as we unpack all the decorations and hang them on the tree.



I made this initials  ornament from the bottom cut of our Christmas tree.DSC_0664


Our beach themed tree in the sunroom is a real tree, complete with a flamingo tree skirt and starfish tree topper.  On it you will find ornaments from some of our beach vacations, surfing santa, and lots of shells and starfish.

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beach ornaments collage

I got this lantern at Home Goods and just filled with some fresh greens, pinecones, and red ornaments.


Since we have a new addition to the family, I wanted to get new matching stockings.  I ordered these from  They had a great cyber Monday sale, so I got 25% off and they arrived very quickly!


I just refinished our coffee table and threw this centerpiece together from things I had around the house and some fresh greens from our yard…so it was totally free…awesome!!


You may remember this dining room centerpiece from Thanksgiving.  I used the same hurricane vase and tree branches from the Gratitude Tree and just replaced the Spanish Moss with cotton balls and decorated the branches with these mini ornaments that I found in CVS.


I love incorporating candy in my holiday decor…it’s super inexpensive, gives a great pop of color, and is a very tasty treat.  I’ve already filled up those apothecary jars for the third time…woops.



Here’s my holiday chalkboard.


I had ordered shelves a few weeks ago and never got around to hanging them.  This past weekend we finally hung them in the dining room and I Chrismafied them.


I used a lot of things I already had in the house.  I made the two wooden signs.  I spray painted the mason jars white and added some fresh evergreens from our yard.

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I got this little hand carved angel on a trip to New Mexico.  I love buying from local artists when I can.DSC_0709

I printed this sign and put it in a frame I had in the basement.  I kept with the natural, beachy feel with the starfish.



Hope you enjoyed the tour!



DIY Christmas Wooden Signs

I’ve seen lots of different approaches to DIY wooden signs and how to do the lettering…like this, this, or this.   I had a few Christmas projects I wanted to make, so this was the perfect opportunity to test out which method worked best.

Project #1: Peace on Earth Birch 


For this project, I bought the cut birch piece at Michael’s.  I printed the mirror image of the text and taped it to the center of the birch.

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Next, I used a paintbrush to completely wet the paper.


I then used the top of a Sharpie to rub over the text.


The lettering partially came off onto the birch but it was extremely light.  I had to go over the lettering with a thin Sharpie and then just hand drew the leaves on either side.


Project #2: Joy Wooden Sign

joysignFor this project, I painted and sanded the sign I bought at Michael’s before adding the red lettering.

I printed out the letters normally from my printer and then rubbed pencil over the back of the letters.


I then taped the letters onto the sign and traced over the outside of each letter.



Once you remove the tape you should have a nice outline of each letter.


I then used some acrylic paint to fill in the letters.


Overall, I liked the second method better.  It was quick, easy, no mess, and the letters came out darker than the water and paintbrush method.

Anyone have experience with DIY signs?  What method do you prefer for your lettering?

Seasons greetings,



Thumbprint Cookie Recipe


These cookies are one of my favs that I make during the holiday season. They’re so buttery and the sweetness from the preserves hits the spot!


2 sticks of butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups flour



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cream together butter and sugar.

3. Separate 2 egg yolks and add to bowl with butter and sugar.  Mix well.

4. Add vanilla and salt and mix well.

5. Add flour slowly to mixture and mix well.

6. Scoop a tablespoon size of dough and roll into a ball.  Place dough ball on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

7. Using a fingertip make a print in the center of the dough ball.

8. Add 1/2 teaspoon of preserves in the fingerprint.  I use blackberry, raspberry, and I used to use apricot until I had an allergic reaction last year, so I now use strawberry.

9. Bake for about 10-12 minutes.

10. Remove and let cool on cooling rack.


Check out some of my other holiday recipes: Rum Balls, Sugar Cookies, White Chocolate Gorp

Have a holly jolly Christmas,


Sugar Cookie Recipe

sugar cookie recipe

Every year I bake Christmas cookies for family and friends.  I usually start in the beginning of December but this year I’m a little behind.  I have an old binder that I I keep all of my recipes in and often get asked to share.  I’m not one of those people who keep all of my recipes secret so this year I decided to share with all of you.  Sharing is caring, right?  So the first recipe in my Christmas Cookie Recipe Series is an easy and delicious sprinkle sugar cookie.


2 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl combine dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, baking powder.

2. In a large bowl, (I use a kitchen aid) cream together sugar and butter until smooth.  Add egg and vanilla.  Slowly add in dry ingredients and be sure everything is fully combined.

3.  Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls.  Then, roll dough in sprinkles making sure dough ball is fully covered.  Place dough on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

4.  Bake for 8 – 10 minutes in the preheated oven,or until cookies are golden.  Let cookies stand for a few minutes before placing on cooling racks.

These cookies freeze well if you want to make them a few weeks in advance.  Stay tuned for more cookie recipes, including Thumbprints, Christmas Mountain Cookies, Cream Cheese Cookies, Peanut Butter Blossoms, and Rainbow Cookies.