Category Archives: Holidays

Holiday House Tour 2019

Christmas this year has been a little different. Bradley’s grandmother passed away earlier this month, and my grandmother has moved from her home. Our four siblings and their families came for visits earlier in the year, so we don’t see them at Christmas. All of our gathering traditions are changing. It makes for a slower pace which I am better able to handle, but it is sad at the same time. One wonderful addition this year is our new church! We are part of planting a new campus of our church in our local community. No more driving down into the city for church and it makes it so easy to invite our local friends and neighbors. Our Christmas service was on the 20th and I began my volunteer role of coordinating the dinner for over 200 volunteers! I will do this on a weekly basis when we begin normal services in January. I am excited and nervous at the same time!

We began using this slim tree last year so that it could slip into this corner without having to rearrange any furniture. It is easier to put up and requires fewer ornaments, so I’m all about it.
This ornament came from our Christmas service at our new church!
Each year when we travel, we bring home an ornament to remind us of the trip. This one is from our trip to Roanoke, VA for Bradley’s cousin’s wedding.

Sometimes I wonder if I should go all out decorating if no one but us gets to see it, but I really enjoy the nostalgia of coming home to Christmas decorations. I have decided to try to keep my decorations very consistent – I remember as a child, helping decorate and we hardly ever got new decorations and the ones we had were always placed in the same spot each year. There is comfort in that I think.

Most of my nativities go on this shelf. From top-to-bottom: 1. My first nativity, which I bought for myself in high school is a single piece of bone china ; 2. A wedding gift from my aunt who has since passed away ; 3. A gift from my faher-in-law from a mission trip in Africa ; 4. A tiny one-piece nativity from my best high school friend that came from a mission trip to Peru.
This nativity was also a gift from my father-in-law from his mission trip to Cambodia.
I have been slowly collecting vintage glass ornaments, and this bread bowl seemed like a perfect place for them all.

Go Dawgs!

These nutcrackers were a gift from one of Bradley’s grandmothers.
This vintage sled came from Bradley’s grandfather.

Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men! (Luke 2:14)

Holiday House Tour 2018

I made a few changes to our Christmas decorations this year, mostly due to rearranging our living room and adding extra furniture over this past year.  I finally replaced our artificial tree that we bought in 2007.  The new tree has warm white LED lights and is a little shorter than our old tree.  It is also narrower, so it fit perfectly between my new etagere and vintage dresser in the living room.  Bradley really liked the idea of a garland on the dresser, so I ordered one from the same line as our new tree.

The smaller size limited the amount of ornaments I could use this year.  I ended up only using our sentimental ornaments from life events and vacations.  I also am enjoying the traditional red and green color scheme that I’m incorporating with my new wool tree skirt and whimsical tree picks.

Our new ornaments this year are from our trip to Charleston.  We took a boat tour out to an island off Folly Beach where the Morris Lighthouse is located.  We also bought an ornament at the Market that matches the one we got in Savannah years ago.

On the glass etagere, I sprinkled in a couple of nativities and mirrored trees.

The vintage-inspired-light-bulb ornament found it’s home on this shelf as well.

In the dining room, my decorations are very simple.  I put my vintage ornaments in a vintage-inspired dough bowl.  I also added my pair of brass deer to the bar cart.

In the den, I left Buddy’s pictures on the mantle and just added the banner I got at Target last year with a couple of nutcrackers that Bradley’s grandmother gave us years ago and some bottle brush trees from the dollar spot at Target.

Outside, in addition to hanging a wreath on each of the windows, I added a pre-lit entry tree to my front door vignette.  The vintage sled came from Bradley’s grandfather when he was downsizing and the deer were from Home Decorators a couple of years ago.

To see my decorations over the years, check out my Christmas landing page.

We hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

Holiday House Tour 2017

We ordered a pair of new loveseats as our anniversary gift this year.  These finally replace a sofa and loveseat set we got as hand-me-downs years ago.  I was very grateful to have them for free for many years, but ultimately they were oversized for our room and the wrong color.  I wanted something more petite, not deep and more tailored looking.  I also did not want oversized or tall arms.  Bradley liked this loveseat with it’s touch of mid-century style.  I liked that it was shallow and not oversized.  We were able to pick out the fabric and have them made by Craftmaster. I thought the button-tufting on these were less formal than deep tufts and complimented the button tufts on the chairs that I had recovered earlier this year as well.  I did not like the 7″ tapered round legs that came on the loveseats, so I found some 5″ tapered square legs online that better matched the style of the chairs.  At only 5’3″, it is so hard to find furniture that allows my feet to sit on the floor without having to slouch or perch on the edge.

We had an issue getting the correct loveseats in, so after ordering them in September and expecting them around our anniversary at the end of October, we finally got the right ones in time for Christmas decorating.  I also picked up a new pair of mid-century-inspired side tables at Target for one of the loveseats.  I really like the marble tops to kind of shake up all the wood pieces in the room.

On to the dining room.  I finally bit the bullet and got all of the curtain panels in here and the living room hemmed.  I also added simple roman shades to both rooms for added privacy and light control when needed.  My Christmas decorations are minimal this year – table runner, a poinsettia from my neighbor, and some vintage ornaments in a lantern.

On the mantle, I didn’t feel like pulling out the Willow Tree nativity from Bradley’s grandparents, so a simple garland, banner and metallic trees with deer are it.

The red and black buffalo check monogram letter is new this year, but otherwise, just my normal nativity set ups.

The bulldog treat jar always gets dressed up this time of year and of course I have out the light bulb ornament I made years ago.

We have a couple of new travel ornaments this year on the tree.  We went to Nashville for a weekend to see Our Lady Peace in concert.  We also visited Bradley’s brother and his family in Portland this fall.

I will end the post with our early Christmas gift from mother nature – 6-8″ of snow!  We survived without losing power, but the Japanese maple tree in front of our garage couldn’t handle it and we had two very large limbs come down.  Luckily, I hadn’t gotten around to wrapping it in Christmas lights yet, and it might not be salvageable so it may never get decorated again.

Holiday House Tour 2016

I only made a few changes to our Christmas decorations this year.  I think the biggest impact change was to the exterior of our house.  I purchased some bows for our window wreaths and it really made them pop on the house this year.

2016-christmas-exterior 2016-christmas-wreath

I also added a few new porch decorations.  There was a vintage sled that we got from Bradley’s grandparents and a bucket with “snowballs” in it.  I added two golden resin deer next to the door as well.

2016-christmas-porch-1 2016-christmas-porch-2

On our dining table, I added a simple red and white table runner that I had picked up at the end of the season last year.  My thanksgiving cactus is blooming like crazy for me this year.

2016-christmas-dining-2 2016-christmas-centerpiece 2016-christmas-buffet

On the mantle, I used the Willow Tree nativity from Bradley’s grandparents again, but to help everything feel less washed out, I added a cute Merry Christmas banner that Target was carrying this year.

2016-christmas-mantle

Our biggest change inside was moving the tree from the foyer to the front window in the living room.  I bought new floral picks to use as the tree topper this year.

2016-christmas-tree

I got to go to the aquarium this month and do the penguin and sea otter experiences, so I picked up this ornament while I was there.
2016-aquarium-ornament

Countdown to Christmas: Amish Friendship Bread

Friendship Bread

Every year, I start a batch of Amish Friendship bread before Christmas.  When it is time to make the bread, instead of giving away part of the starter, I go ahead and make all five batches of bread.  It yields 30 small loaves.  I cut nesting tags using my Silhouette Cameo and tie each loaf with baker’s string.  We give them to co-workers, neighbors and other friends.

I thought I would share the starter/bread recipe that I use here.

Amish Friendship Bread

Starter

1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar

*Do not use metal bowls or spoons.  Do not refrigerate*

Dissolve yeast in small amount of warm water.  Mix all ingredients together in ample size bowl (it will grow).  Transfer starter to a 1-gallon ziplock bag.  This is day 1 of the recipe.

Day1:   Do nothing to starter
Day 2:   Squeeze bag.
Day 3:   Squeeze bag.
Day 4:   Squeeze bag.
Day 5:   Squeeze bag.
Day 6:   (In bag) add 1 cup self-rising flour, 1 cup milk, and 1 cup sugar.  Seal bag. Squeeze bag to mix.
Day 7:   Squeeze bag.
Day 8:   Squeeze bag.
Day 9:   Squeeze bag.
Day 10:   In a plastic bowl, combine the bag of mix with 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup self-rising flour.  Mix well with spoon.  Pour 1 cup of starter in a 1-gallon ziplock bag.  Make 3 more bags with 1 cup starter each.  Total of 4 bags.  Keep 1 bag and give the other 3 bags with this recipe to friends.  You will be left with 1 cup of starter in the bowl.

(Bread may be made on day 8, 9, or 10)

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2 c. self-rising flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. sugar
1 large box instant vanilla pudding
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
1 c. oil
1/2 c. milk
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix by hand.  Grease 6 small loaf pans.  Mix 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 3 Tbsp. sugar.  Coat bottom and sides of pans with mixture.  Fill each pan 1/2 full with batter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Bake for 45 minutes at 325° (I use the convection oven at 300°)