I Love Christmas

Every once in a while I find something that expresses exactly how I feel.  This is it and I just had to share on this beautiful Christmas morning.


“I love Christmas.

I fully understand that the decorations, gifts, music, consumerism and Santa Claus are not a part of what we are celebrating. I understand there are plenty of arguments about the pagan ties to our celebrations. I totally get that Jesus’ birth likely wasn’t even when we celebrate. To me these things don’t matter, they all remind me of the One we are to celebrate.

To me, all of it points to Jesus. The good. The bad. All of it.

Everything that is Christmas is being redeemed by who He is and what His birth meant for us.

When I see Christmas lights hanging on a tree… I think of Him.

When someone tells me “Happy Holidays”… I think of Him.

When I listen to Christmas music… I think of Him.

When I see sales ads and busy stores bustling with people buying gifts… I think of Him.

When I sit with my family around the Christmas tree… I think of Him.

Everything that is Christmas as we know it reminds me of the greatest gift humanity has ever received. They fill me with anticipation and hope, joy and peace.

I. Love. Christmas.”

~Borrowed from Kyle Froman



In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a]Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

~Luke 2:1-14

Merry Christmas my friends!


Our Christmas Kitchen

“Ma was busy all day long cooking good things for Christmas. She baked bread and apple pies, and filled the big jar with cookies, Laura and Mary got to lick the spoon.”

~Laura Ingalls Wilder~ Christmas in the Big Woods.

Vintage Christmas

Momma’s cookie cutters and jar; I love that she uses these every year!

The kitchen at Christmastime holds fond memories for me.  I remember as a little girl spending hours in the kitchen with my own momma at Christmas as she baked for family celebrations and church parties.  She would roll out her homemade sugar cookie dough, we would dip the cookie cutters in flour before cutting out the Santa Claus, mittens, and trees, then carefully place M&M’s to make the ornaments or faces.  Sprinkles on cookies were always fun too, but a wee bit messier.  My sister and I would fight to lick the beater, steal a bite of cookie dough, or be the first to “accidentally” break a cookie so that we got to eat one as soon as they were removed from the oven.



It’s those moments I tried to carry-on with my own girls as they grew up hoping they would treasure the memories. Not only did they learn (and love) their Nana’s sugar cookie recipe, we added a few things of our own:  homemade peanut butter cups. truffles, and peppermint bark.



I don’t usually decorate much in the kitchen as it is a busy place in our home.  I value my counter space way too much to give it up!

But, with the empty nest on the horizon I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic lately and decided the kitchen was the perfect place to keep those Christmas memories fresh.


Since I actually have space on the top of my cabinets, it gave me plenty of area to decorate!




Thinking of so many beautiful Christmases with my children, I used peppermint garland, lollipops,  whimsical Mark Roberts fairies and cute little signs to help set a fun mood in the kitchen.


Not only did decorating the top of the cabinets leave valuable counter-space open, it draws your eyes up so that the sink full of dirty dishes is not the first thing you see when you enter the room!





A little coffee bar

Wreaths on the pantry door and windows completed the scene I wanted to set.




With Madeline home from college from Christmas break I have plenty of reasons to set a pretty table for dinner.

Don’t you just LOVE these dishes with a vintage flair?

These were found at Kroger and I adored them the moment I saw them down an aisle!


With Christmas Eve upon us, we have so much going on and the kitchen will be buzzing with activity this weekend!

Thank you for stopping by and we wish you a most blessed Christmas Eve!




Holiday Baking Joy (with Recipes)!

The Christmas season should be one of joy, but oh how life and little things can zap it right from our hearts!  It’s easy to get lost in the demands, hustle and bustle of the holidays, losing our patience, spirit, and minds right a long with it!

Christmas Baking

Sometimes you just have to back away from the commercialism and stress, force yourself to take a break and rest, relax, find your focus and joy again.


We all have different ways we deal with the little stresses that zap our joy.

During the holiday season baking really does it for me!  Not only can I lose myself in rolling, cutting, and decorating, I can knock out a few little gifts as well.  Add time with a good friend, and spirits definitely improve as we laugh, talk and leave the world behind.


Tammie making fudge

My friend Tammie (Talking with Tami) came over last week for a day of this laid back goodness, and what a fun (and productive) day it was as we whipped up a flurry of Christmas goodies.  We made a little fudge, peppermint bark and cut out sugar cookies as well!


Not only are these tasty treats family favorites and portable for any holiday party, they are the makings of fabulous treat boxes for neighbors, teachers and the mailman!



I’ve shared all of these recipes on the blog in past years, but I’ve put them in printable form so you can have easier access to them!

Links are below each picture.


Click here for Pecan Fudge



Click here for Peppermint Bark


Click here for Sugar Cookies

It’s so nice to have some down time and savor highlights of the season, especially with a friend.  Take a little time to do the things that bring you joy in the coming days.

After all, time is one of the greatest gift you can give!



Keeping the Thanks in Thanksgiving & Our Tablescape

It’s one of our favorite weeks of the year, but also one of the most chaotic as we make plans to visit with both sides of our family as well as time with extended family!  Holidays in general invite a lot of unwanted stress into our lives as we work hard to please everyone, but it’s totally up to us to decide how to handle it.  We can lose our minds and our ability to deal with stresses or we can go with the flow and just enjoy the day.


It’s easy to let stress consume us  and ruin our holiday, but y’all, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Have you ever noticed when you sweat and stress over the small things, that our thankfulness slips away and we find ourselves unhappy and dreading the special times coming up?


Over the years, I’ve worked really hard to learn to go with the flow and find gratitude even when little stresses are piling up.  While I am a perfectionist when entertaining, I have discovered perfection is pretty difficult to achieve. In learning to “let it be,” I’ve also learned to find the joy in the little things and savor those fleeting moments of quality family time.


I know I’m not the only person to struggle with the little things that can suck the joy and thankfulness right out of our holiday time, so I asked the question on Facebook; “what issues are you often faced with over the holidays?”  I was surprised by the common theme throughout the comments… pleasing everyone else.

People pleasing and comparison are two of the worst things we can allow into our lives at anytime, but especially during the holidays.

This morning I’m going to attempt to offer a few solutions and ways to not detest or stress about the holidays ahead, just go with the flow and keep the thanks in Thanksgiving!


**First and foremost, stay true to yourself.  I know it sounds like a weird thing to say, but whether you host at your home or travel anywhere for the holiday, unapologetically be yourself.  I wasted so many years worrying about what people would think of my way of doing things, that the holidays were not fun at all.

If it makes you happy to set a table with china and all the trimmings do it without wondering if someone thinks you are putting on “airs”.  I set the table all year-long, and dress it up pretty for just my family, so why would the holidays be any different?

Go all out if it makes you happy!

On the other hand, if you are a super casual person, who cares if you put out paper plates?  Guess what?!  You can eat on them just as well and don’t have near the mess to deal with!

Never, ever try to be someone or something that you are not.

And remember, there is always that one person who just enjoys being critical, judgemental and jealous, so let them be miserable by themselves, while you are in your element enjoying yourself!


**The great hosting debate.  Every family at one time or another is faced with the question of when and where to have Thanksgiving.

 I’m up for celebrating the holidays as many days as possible if it means spending time with my loved ones.  It’s OK to be thankful on multiple days, not just on the 4th Thursday of November.   If the family is up to it, extend the holiday and celebrate two or even three days in a row!  It’s all about family time, not the “day”.  It’s the same thing with Christmas; Audley and I have traveled with our children and been gone nearly every Christmas in our 23 years together.  Santa has visited our house on the 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th over the years, whichever works best to be flexible for the family.

Sometimes where to have the family celebration is a source of contention. It’s been easy for us over the years as we have always let the senior most members of the family who want to host (my parents) do it!  I can cook in Momma’s kitchen as easily as my own. There will come a day when we can’t get together at their house, so I treasure every moment.

In families with brothers and sisters all wanting to host, there are a couple of solutions.  First, let whoever has the less stressful household (older children, more space, less stress in cleaning, etc…) take on the task and offer to help out.  Secondly, try alternating each year if everyone wants to host.  Talk it out and be flexible.  It’s not about one person, it’s about the family and the quality of time you have together. Third, if everyone in both families insists on doing it all on Thanksgiving Day, put on your stretchy pants, embrace the situations and go with the flow if you are able to attend both.  And finally, don’t be afraid to say “NO.”  Sometimes your sanity and the peace in your own home is more important than pleasing everyone else.

We teach our children to compromise, get along, and balance life so be the example and show them how to continue it as an adult!


**The joys of children…. We love our children, but there are days we wish could just duck tape them to the wall and leave them while we do everything on our “to-do” list.

{I can neither confirm nor deny this ever taking place!}

Believe me, I know and have totally been there!

With four underfoot getting ready to host for the holidays presented enough stress on its own that I wanted to say forget it a million times, but I always managed because I wanted the kids to have memories to carry with them into adulthood.

Y’all, it goes by so fast.

There are days you want to hide in a corner, twirling you hair and sucking your own thumb, but one day they will be grown and your youngest child will enlist in the Marine Corps. and you’ll realize 2017 will be the last Thanksgiving you may have him home for the holiday.


Here are a few ways to work with small children and still make hosting the holidays work:

*Ask a preteen or even teenage neighbor to entertain them while you do what needs to be handled.  The $15 or $20 you spend on that time will be well worth it!

*Give your kiddos one area in which to play, watch TV, etc… and prepare other spaces for your company.  FYI, bedroom doors shut.  Pull the door closed to the playroom or the bedroom when your guests arrive and just leave the mess in it.

*Find age appropriate “chores” your kiddos can help with.  Mine learned to set the table as early as four.  Give them a diagram, let them help, and even laugh when they put their own spin on a table-setting   You can also allow a smaller child place rolls on a pan, bring you things from the refrigerator, or put up smaller dishes when you are washing.  It’s a great time to use as a teaching moment as well as a time to bond.

*And finally, don’t be afraid to delegate and not take it all on yourself.  Spouses are usually glad to step up to help, whether entertaining kids or peeling potatoes!  Ask your guests to bring a dish: dessert, casserole, vegetables.  Don’t be afraid to ask, most understand the challenges of balancing life with small children.


**Finally, keep in mind life is not a Hallmark channel movie.  Yes, we have expectations for the holidays, but leave yourself open for anything to happen. Wipe the tears and let it go.

There will be a time when your roast turkey worthy of a magazine cover hits the floor because you used a foil roasting pan instead of the heavy-duty pan to cut down on scrubbing dishes.

There will be a time when the rolls are burned to a crisp and the pumpkin pies are filled too much and flow over into the bottom of the oven setting off the smoke alarm.

There will come a time when not everyone in the family is on the same page for the holiday gathering and you have to make other plans.

There will be a time when you finally unpack the box of serving pieces from your last move and you realize your favorite platter that has been used for 15 of your 23 Thanksgivings broke during transition.

There will be a time when lunch is served at 3:00 pm instead of noon because you overslept and didn’t get the ham in the oven.

There will be a time when there are no more vacation days so everything is crammed into one day.

There will be a time that those large family gatherings become small.  Don’t let that change your attitude and excitement over the holidays, but make it special and memorable for all who do join you.

Thanksgiving Table

Life happens (not always the way we pictured it) and it’s up to us to make sure we don’t let it steal our joy and be thankful for the little things that keep us on our toes during the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving week y’all!  I hope your celebrations are full of thankfulness and joy, and not so stressed.