12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Day 12 – What’s Christmas Like Where You Live?

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl earlier this month. It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it on her blog. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

Today is the final day of the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge. Christmas has come and its already passed. I can’t believe it. I’ll admit that I’m both excited for the New Year, yet saddened because I don’t want it to be over. I love this time of year.

For day 12 the question is: What is Christmas Like Where You Live? 

I live close to Lake Michigan which means Christmas is generally frigid, in fact, it’s near zero degrees this morning and it’s very white outside! Growing up in this geographical location meant a white Christmas nearly every year.

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Where I live there are many Christmas activities to participate in. Roughly 30 minutes from our house is a designated area where everyone decorates their homes with stunning Christmas lights. You can simply drive through the neighborhoods or even get out and walk through all the decorations if it’s not too cold. It really is a site to see.

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A few years ago, we went to Chicago and visited Winter Wonderfest at Navy Peer. That was fun! You get to make a cookie, ice skate, visit all the different vendors and witness tons of Santa’s from around the world. There are even a few rides and a train for the kids to ride. Chicago in the winter is splendid. They don’t call it the windy city for nothing, even though that’s not why Chicago earned that name. 😁

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In our town there are many churches that offer Christmas Eve candlelit services where you can go and sing with others. There’s also a tree lighting where all the different community groups decorate their own tree. It’s so much fun to stand in the park and wait for lights to come on. Then Santa shows up with the parade and you can chat with him. After, everyone gathers at the fire dept. for hot chocolate and cookies. It’s a fun community event.

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At my house, Christmas starts on Thanksgiving day. We put up decorations and watch the parades. It brings in the Christmas spirit and the rest if the month we listen to Christmas music, watch Christmas movies, read Christmas books, make Christmas cookies and do Christmas crafts–pretty much everything Christmas. On Christmas day we open gifts, eat lots of food, and enjoy family time together.

Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Day 12 – What’s Christmas Like Where You Live?”

12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge – Your Christmas Dinner Menu & Decorations – Silver and Gold or Red and Green?

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl.  It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it earlier this month. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

Christmas is upon us and I still have 3 days to post on the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge. For days 10 & 11, I’m going to talk about #10 Decorations – silver and gold, or red and green, and also #11 Your Christmas Dinner Menu.


 

#10 – Decorations – silver & gold, or red & green?

I started thinking about this question a few days ago. I realized that our Christmas decorations are pretty much every color under the sun, and yesterday, I shared some of our decorations. I’ve included a link for you here.

I don’t feel like we’ve never gone with a color theme, but we do have more red and green decorations than silver and gold. I truly love decorating with traditional Christmas colors like blue, red, green, gold, and even purple. Gold hasn’t been a favorite, but when I see decorations like these in the following pictures, I want to switch it all up and go with silver and gold forever. These are stunning to me…

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I’d love to have a tree like this one below next year. What do you think? I love the way they incorporated the blue ornaments.

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Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge – Your Christmas Dinner Menu & Decorations – Silver and Gold or Red and Green?”

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Days 8 & 9 – House Decorations & Favorite Christmas Craft

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl.  It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it earlier this month. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

I’m catching up, so today I’ll do days 8 & 9. I decided to go with #6 House Decorations & #9 Favorite Christmas Craft.

As far as house decorations, I LOVE to decorate. Growing up, my grandmother would deck out the entire house and I always looked forward to all the beautiful decorations. I believe she is the reason for my love of decorating and I hope that by decorating at Christmas, my kids will want to do the same for their families when they get older.

The Tree:

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Christmas Snow Globes: These are very special to me. I went to this sale in my home town and there was this elderly lady who was selling all of her stuff because she had to move somewhere else. She had the most beautiful Christmas decorations and I found these two snow globes. These are huge snow globes and from the pictures, you can’t really see the size, but I happen to know how expensive these can be because I used to work for The San Francisco Music Box Company in a mall near my old home town. She was asking $5 a piece for them and when I took them up to the counter, she proceeded to tell me how she obtained them. Her father had purchased them for her before he passed away. She turned on the music and began humming the songs. I promised her they were going to a good home and I think about her often. This first one lights up and plays music.

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This one lights up and has a button to automatically blow the snow. I think that’s such a cool feature!

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Poinsettia for the table

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Christmas records of course! Here’s one of my favorites of all time. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without Perry Como.

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I found this person on YouTube that plays the entire album for you. Here’s a video of side two. I love this first song–just wait for him to start singing.

I truly appreciate that people take the time to make YouTube videos like this. You can watch and listen below if you’d like.

Vintage Ceramic Christmas Tree – This is a favorite.

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This is a bell spray that my grandmother would bring out every year. The bells twinkle on and off. 

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Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Days 8 & 9 – House Decorations & Favorite Christmas Craft”

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Day 6 & 7 – Favorite Christmas Cookie and Holiday Tradition

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl.  It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it earlier this month. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

I totally missed day six yesterday and because I’m a little behind, I decided to combine day #6 & #7 together for this post. I’m going to start with #3 – Favorite Christmas Cookie and then #1 Favorite Holiday Tradition. Tomorrow, I’ll share some of my Christmas decorations!

*Favorite Christmas Cookie*

How can anyone choose their favorite Christmas cookie? There are so many delicious cookies at Christmas time. This year, we made cookies for friends and neighbors. We kept it simple by choosing to make easy sugar cookies, chocolate chip, and of course, baklava! I grew up having baklava for pretty much every holiday due to my Syrian ancestry. My uncle was always the one to make it for get-togethers. Luckily, I expressed interest in the recipe just before he passed away and this is now a tradition to make it every year and sometimes in between. 🙂 I’m so thankful that he shared the recipe with me and think about him every time I make it.

Baklava is made using filo dough sheets and sandwiched in between is a walnut mixture with cinnamon and sugar. You basically butter your pan well and start with a half package of filo on the bottom. You have to butter the sheets well as you layer. You then add a layer of the walnut mixture, then 3-4 more sheets of dough and continue the process until your mixture is gone. Finish with another half package of filo dough and butter well. I like to have some larger pieces and some smaller pieces. Usually I cut diagonals first, then verticals.

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After you cut the whole pan, you bake it around 325 degrees for about an hour. When you take it out, it’s nice and brown.

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Now you add the sauce which is made of honey, sugar, and water.

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It sizzles up after you add the sauce as the pan is super hot. This is my favorite part! Cool it completely before cutting and keep it in the fridge so you can eat it all week long. 🙂

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If you’d like my special family recipe for this baklava, contact me and I’ll send it to you!

Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Day 6 & 7 – Favorite Christmas Cookie and Holiday Tradition”

Throwback Thursday: Debbie Macomber – Twelve Days of Christmas – December 21st

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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This week’s pick:

Twelve Days of Christmas

by Debbie Macomber

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Blurb: Continuing in a festive annual tradition, #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber returns with a new original holiday novel full of romance and cheer—and the magical prospect of finding love in the most unexpected places.

Friendly and bubbly, Julia Padden likes nearly everyone, but her standoffish neighbor, Cain Maddox, presents a particular challenge. No matter how hard she’s tried to be nice, Cain rudely rebuffs her at every turn, preferring to keep to himself. But when Julia catches Cain stealing her newspaper from the lobby of their apartment building, that’s the last straw. She’s going to break through Cain’s Scrooge-like exterior the only way she knows how: by killing him with kindness.

To track her progress, Julia starts a blog called The Twelve Days of Christmas. Her first attempts to humanize Cain are far from successful. Julia brings him homemade Christmas treats and the disagreeable grinch won’t even accept them. Meanwhile, Julie’s blog becomes an online sensation, as an astonishing number of people start following her adventures. Julia continues to find ways to express kindness and, little by little, chips away at Cain’s gruff façade to reveal the caring man underneath. Unbelievably, Julia feels herself falling for Cain—and she suspects that he may be falling for her as well. But as the popularity of her blog continues to grow, Julia must decide if telling Cain the truth about having chronicled their relationship to the rest of the world is worth risking their chance at love. – Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I just finished Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber and still have a handful of Christmas reads to get in. This week I’m reading Starry Night which I talked about last week and I’ll be starting this one, Twelve Days of Christmas, after that. I’ve had this one on my TBR for some time! I’ve fallen in love with this author’s writing style and these books are quick reads which are perfect for this time of year. I have no doubt that I’ll be reading Christmas books all the way into January with the amount that I have added! 🙂

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads:

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (October 4, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553391739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553391732

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Debbie Macomber – Twelve Days of Christmas – December 21st”

Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber – Book Review

Merry and Bright

by Debbie Macomber

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Blurb: Merry Knight is pretty busy these days. She’s taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry’s well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her—minus her photo—and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.

Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects—or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.

My Thoughts:

Merry and Bright is a warm, feel-good, clean holiday romance that will get you into the holiday spirit. I was looking for a light, easy, and satisfying read and this one definitely hits the mark.

Merry is preparing for the holiday season, taking care of her family, and working crazy hours as a temp for a job that will soon be completed. She couldn’t be happier because she doesn’t get along with her boss and has plans to finish her college degree. She lives with her mom who isn’t well, along with her little brother Patrick who has down syndrome. Her mother and Patrick wish she could start a relationship because they feel like Merry is lonely, so they get on the computer and set Merry up with an online dating profile, using a picture of her dog so nobody knows who it us. Her profile catches a wink right away, but it’s a mystery who this man is!

Jayson is Merry’ s boss and he’s truly not a person who’s in the Christmas spirit. He has struggles in his relationship with his father which is far from perfect. It’s bad enough that he simply doesn’t want to see his father anymore. They don’t get along and Jayson’s sort of bitter about everything. He has his best friend to lean on and he’s truly a good person at heart, but just needs a little help opening his eyes.

This was my first Debbie Macomber book and I personally loved this story. It was such a fast read and kept me interested until the end. The narrative is believable and the characters were written perfectly. I didn’t feel that it was super predictable until I got closer to the end because every time I thought the story was going one way, the course seemed to lead to a different outcome. This book is lovely and I’m positive Debbie Macomber is going to be a favorite author.

5*****


Find this on Goodreads and Amazon

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399181229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399181221

Continue reading “Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber – Book Review”