Tag Archives: Christmas and holiday season

A Man on a Secret Mission…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had no idea that for years my husband has been a man on a secret mission. That is I didn’t know until he let the cat out of the bag.  As my husband and I were talking about Christmas gifts and shopping lists it was revealed that for years he has been a man on a mission,a secret mission to make sure one of the first gifts under the tree was for me.

At some point in our many Christmas’ together I off-handedly mentioned that in all the gifts that were under the tree my name wasn’t on a single present.  I do not remember the exact conversation but I am sure I was joking…However, the Hubs heard it and interpreted it to mean something that he took as a  personal challenge.  So, for years he has made sure to be the first one to place gifts under the tree.

I want you to know that no sooner had this little bit of information been revealed I became a woman on a mission…I wanted to join in the fun!

In my defense..I am not a last-minute shopper, or a gift wrap slacker…It’s just that I like to have the majority of my gifts purchased before settling in to do my wrapping.  Therefore, I rarely have my gifts wrapped and under the tree first.  That is until…this year…This year I became a woman on a mission…a mission to place the first gift under the tree!  Even if there is only ONE gift under the tree…I bought it, wrapped it and ran to put it under the tree as the Hubs came through the door…I did it, I put the first gift under the tree.  Guess who its for…no not me…its for the Hubs!

It looks like a new tradition has been born…Not only is there a man on a mission but now there is a woman on a mission. So let the fun and  games begin!

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Filed under Christmas 2012, Christmas Traditions

Stress Free Holiday Entertaining Tips…

Stress Stinks and it has no place in holiday entertaining...

As I flipped though the pages of the December issue of Better Homes and Garden I found several tips that would help avoid the potential for stress…

Here are the tips I found helpful

Plan ahead…start planning your menu and create detailed shopping list as soon as possible.

Utilize shortcuts…If you don’t have time to bake you can pick up some cupcakes or cookies from the bakery.

Ask for help…Ask your guest to bring a side dish or a dessert.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper public radio host of the Splendid Table shares how to roll out the welcome mat with a minimum of stress and trepidation.

  • Focus your efforts! People the first and last thing they engage with.  So focus on a warm welcome and memorable final bite.
  • Rein in the menu!  Plan on making only 4 dishes yourself.  If at all possible make most of them ahead.
  • Turn the light down!  Bright lights never feel festive. Use candlelight at eye level or below to draw your guests in and make your room feel intimate.
  • Encourage mingling!  Cluster chairs around the table…never push the chairs against the wall.
  • Clean where it counts!  Focus on the guest bathroom, lay out fresh towels.
  • Don’t forget the fun!  Having a good time at your own party is the most important thing.  It’s also the best way to make sure your guests are enjoying themselves.

Jorj Morgan, cooking, lifestyle and entertaining author offers this tip for making your holiday entertaining stress free…”A week before your party, lay out vases, dishes and serving platters. If you don’t have everything you need, you still have time to visit thrift stores for fill-in.  Don’t be afraid to mix and match china and glassware.  It’s about patterns that flow not dishes that match.”

Eddie Ross, lifestyle expert, blogger and former caterer has a few tips of his own.  His foolproof plan for a holiday party is long on festive details and short on stress.  Here are a couple of ideas I really loved; put coconut flakes on a cake plate and your store-bought cookies will look festive and inviting.  He also suggests taking store-bought shortbread cookies and sandwich them together with jam or dip store-bought meringues into melted chocolate. Another tip I love and use often is the cheese board. I love Eddie’s combination; A Gruyère, a camembert and a blue cheese served alongside fruit such as pears and grapes and to finish it off add a preserve or chutney and crackers or bread.  Delicious!

Thank you Better Homes and Gardens…for the great advice for stress free holiday entertaining!

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Filed under Christmas 2012, Holiday's

Making Spirits Bright…

Do you love entertaining?  I do!  I love all of the planning that goes into a party.  I really enjoy making out the guest list, planning the menu, decorating the house, choosing the music, deciding on the entertainment and shopping for my outfit.

Every party consists of three key ingredients;  Fabulous Food, Toe Tapping Tunes and Exciting Entertainment.  People will talk about your party for weeks if you serve them good food, give them an opportunity to engage in enjoyable conversations and laugh until their face hurts.

One other key ingredient to a great party is arranging conversation areas for your guests.  We try to make sure there are plenty of sitting areas for our guests; the game room usually has a movie rolling or a game on.  The sitting area in the kitchen usually draws the talkative crowd, the living room is the comfy spot where our friends snuggle up in front of the fireplace and then there is the back yard where our more gregarious friends always seem to gather…it must be the refreshing country air and the starry sky that gets them every time.

We are hosting three very different parties this Christmas Season.  So I have been scanning Pinterest for ideas that will work for all of our gatherings.

This year the menu theme will be Spanish Style Tapas…delicious little bites.

Spotify and Pandora are helping me with my party play lists…

As for the entertainment…There will be plenty of opportunities for “pee in your pants” laughter as people get their photo booth face on and join in the reindeer games.

The photo booth will be located on the back porch. The Hubs has come up with his own idea for hanging the sliding backdrops…there are silly props; lighted reindeer ears, crazy eye glasses, Santa hats, mustaches on a stick, boas and tiaras.  There are assorted hats; cowboy and fedoras, musical instruments, oversized picture frames and giant letters…anything and everything we can think of that would add texture to the photos.

The fun doesn’t stop there…In years past we have played board games, Texas hold em, Who Am I? and Dirty Santa.  This year’s Reindeer Games will be…”Minute 2 Win It:” games!!!  If you have seen the show hosted by Guy Fieri then you know what I am talking about.  If not here a quick over view…All games must be completed in one minute in order to advance to the next round…The games range from stacking 3 golf balls one on top of the other, to moving a Christmas ornament across the floor to a designated spot by fanning it with a gift box.  There is Face the Cookie, where you place a cookie on the contestants forehead and they have one minute to move it into their mouth by only using facial movements…Or This Blows…one balloon and 12 solo cups, the contestant has one minute to blow up the balloon and expel the air from the balloon to blow the cups off of the table.  There are dozens of Minute 2 Win It games to choose from on the website.

Now you know all you need to know for Making Spirits Bright…Food, Tunes and Reindeer Games!

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Filed under Christmas 2012