Friday, December 12, 2014


Well, its time I got crackin' on this whole Christmas thing.  Here is a little guide to our planned activities....I'm hoping to come in at 75%--a gentleman's C, if you will.


via the Daily Mail

One of these days I will go all out, but mostly I just want my house clean.  At this point, it would just blend into the clutter.   We hope to buy our 9 foot Frasier Fir this weekend.  And maybe I'll get lights on it.  We are hoping to avoid last year's fiasco of the tree crashing to the ground multiple times by purchasing a new stand.

Would you volunteer to decorate the White House?  via

I bought a bunch of garland at Whole Foods that we'll be using too (also, buy it at Trader Joes--1/3 of the cost).  It's similar to the picture below.  I always cheap out, but one of these days I'll buy some magnolia garland--its my fav.  This blog has a DIY, if you live near magnolias.

via Emily Clark

I've always heard that you should spray it with water to keep it relatively fresh.  Apparently there is a spray called Wilt Pruf you can buy that seals your evergreen and keeps it good for 3-4 months.

Gingerbread Houses

I love gingerbread houses.  Like too much.  I'd be much happier just making all the gingerbread houses and not letting my kids do any.  I like the kits from Ikea.


I grew up a purist, thinking they had to be made from scratch and then I realized you don't eat them so I save the good gingerbread dough for cookies  (there are only so many from-scratch desserts I have the stamina to make in a month).  In fact, some blog I can't remember pointed out that you can just hot glue them to a form because no one eats multi-week old cookies with candy all over them.

See the black?  Molten sugar turns dark quickly.  #fail
But I still put 'em together with icing.  After trying to adhere them with molten sugar (good on paper but a terrible idea in practice),  I trolled some blogs and confectionary message boards.  Turns out, Meringue Powder is never quite as good as egg whites.  OMG this was a game changer.  I think this is what I used last year, and they stuck together super easy.  I think the non-pasteurized egg whites really did work best, with the carton o' pasteurized egg whites a close second.  Also, make sure your mixing bowl is BONE DRY--if you've ever had Merigue refuse to form stiff peaks before, that is probably why.

I always want to have a gingerbread house decorating party (this one is cute).  Maybe some year when I'm not a lawyer.

Molly's masterpeice
Also, the fake silver serving trays at Dollar Trees make handy gingerbread house yards/support.  And Dollar Trees are always closer to me than a Michael's (for cake boards, the popular choice).  For some inspiration, you should check-out this round-up, and you can see what Martha-ites sent in to her website here.

Homemade Gifts

Why?  Compulsion.  I don't even know if my kids really care--Charlotte would probably prefer to hit the mall.  But I'm in charge, so we are thinking about homemade bath bombs using this recipe, or this recipe.
I also like these marbelized ring holders.

via A Beautiful Mess
You know I'm all over homemade marshmallows, but I've been meaning to tackle these fleur de sel caramels.  And how cute are these for a travel toy?


This isn't happening until next weekend for sure.  I like to make fudge too because when else can you get away with making fudge?  I'm devoted to the recipe on the side of the Marshmallow Whip jar, byt the way (I think this is it).  I typically use Martha's gingerbread recipe (or get tired and use a mix) and this recipe for Butter and Jam Thumbprints.  One year they were the most AMAZING COOKIE EVER.  Last year, they were meh (I left them in too long).

I might try making this Rosemary Butter Cookie this year, and these Coconut Palmiers are super easy, egg free, and add some diversity to your cookie plate.  Because I have an unexplainable need to have a variety of cookies available.  I might enjoy shoving my face full of double stuffed Oreos just as much (or more),  but I feel a societal pressure to have an interesting and balanced variety available at the same time.  Why is that?  (If your answer is good, I might just pay by the hour).  


  1. I love homemade cookies. It is so hard to have a variety when you have people eating all the cookies as they appear from the oven. Cookies and gingerbread houses are the best!

  2. I too love gingerbread houses. You are right. Who eats them? I have to get started!