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.

throwback-thursday

 

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”

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge Day 5 – My Christmas Wish List

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

For day 5, I’m going to choose #4 – Your Christmas Wish List

As far as physical things, there isn’t really anything that I want for Christmas this year. I’m happy just to be here to celebrate with my family, but there are some things that are always on my wish list. I’ve listed them below…

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Here’s my Christmas wish list – 4 things that I wish for in no particular order.

1- Peace and happiness amongst mankind- I know there’s love in this world, but the hate is almost more than I can bear. Christmas time feels so full of joy and people begin to express more kindness to one another. Why can’t it be like this all the time? Sometimes I wish I could just snap my fingers and everyone would love and accept one another, or for once, I could turn on the news without being exposed to someone bashing someone else. Is it too much to ask that we try to love and accept each other no matter our likes and dislikes? Why not offer assistance to someone? Say something uplifting to someone just because. Rather than point out someone you think is negative, help them find a positive. There are many small steps we can take to try and make this world a better place. I’m far from perfect, but I am trying to heed this advice myself.

2- The complete eradication of cancer – We just received news that another one of my uncle’s has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The vast majority of the cancers in my family are rare and hard to treat and I can’t help but fear it myself. It’s taken so many members of my family and caused so much suffering amongst people everywhere. I pray that one day there will be a cure to end all cancers.

3- The end of animal abuse worldwide, including animal endangerment – It would be wonderful if we could live on this planet along with all the animals in harmony. Every week, my good friend Nel@Reactionarytales posts about an endangered animal and many, if not most times, these animals are endangered because we’ve done something to destroy their habitat, or they’re simply killed. In addition, there are countless animals that endure cruelty and neglect from humans worldwide.

4- For every child in this world to be safe and free to have a normal and healthy childhood – I read recently that childhood cancers are on the rise and also that millions of children have suffered from malnutrition in 2017 alone because they don’t have enough food to eat. This year there were so many child abuse cases in my general area alone, let alone all the cases worldwide. There is a massive child refugee crisis right now as I type this and children have been uprooted from their homes and exposed to danger, including war. Every child deserves to learn and grow in a healthy environment and to have their needs met. They deserve to be safe.

Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge Day 5 – My Christmas Wish List”

Music Monday: Scott Weiland “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

-Music Monday-

This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I’m having so much fun with this meme and look forward to sharing a new song every Monday!

musicmonday


 

This Week’s Pick:

Scott Weiland

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

When Scott Weiland came out with a handful of classic Christmas songs, I just about flipped out. I couldn’t believe it and fell in love with all of the songs. For those of you who aren’t sure who Scott Weiland is, he was the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver, and a few others. If you were listening to the radio a lot in the 90’s, you might remember “Plush”, “Interstate Love Song”, or “Creep.” Many of his songs are still played on 90’s stations today.

If you get a chance to watch the actual music videos for these Christmas songs on YouTube, you’ll see that they gave them a traditional vintage feel which I thought was so unique. Plus, he had an awesome voice in my opinion. RIP, Scott. I really miss you!

I thought I’d share his cover of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” for today’s Music Monday. Below I also shared an interview with Scott regarding the song. Hope you enjoy!

 

Lyrics:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on your troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on your troubles will be miles away

Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more

Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest place

So have yourself a merry little Christmas
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
So have yourself a merry little Christmas


 

Interview with Scott Weiland:

 


Continue reading “Music Monday: Scott Weiland “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas””

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Day 4 – Favorite Holiday Destination

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

For my 4th day I’m going with #5 – Your Favorite Holiday Destination.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” by Perry Como. In fact, I was just listening to it yesterday while playing my old Christmas records.

Lyrics:

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze
For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!

I met a man who lives in Tennessee, and he was headin’ for
Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie
From Pennsylvania folks are travellin’
Down to Dixie’s sunny shore
From Atlantic to Pacific
Gee the traffic is terrific!

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam
If you wanna to be happy in a million ways
For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly day
I met a man who lives in Tennessee and he was headin’ for
Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie
From Pennsylvania folks are travellin’
Down to Dixie’s sunny shore
From Atlantic to Pacific
Gee the traffic is terrific!

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam
If you want to be happy in a million ways
For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!
For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!


I personally love being home for Christmas, but if I were to go somewhere else for Christmas I would choose a cabin in the snowy woods like the one below.

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I’m happiest in the winter when everything is white and love the snow.

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For me, snow makes Christmas extra special and I’m really hoping for a white Christmas this year.

Bowie is sure enjoying it!

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What’s your favorite holiday destination? Do you like the snow? Feel free to share your thoughts below. ❤

Shabby Sunday: Christmas Trees and How They Grow by Glenn O. Blough – 1961

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Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


 

Today’s shabby share is:

Christmas Trees and How They Grow

by Glenn O. BloughJeanne Bendick (Illustrator)
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Blurb: The characteristics of the various kinds of trees used as Christmas trees with information on where they grow and how to make a Christmas tree for the birds.

My Thoughts:

This is such an interesting book for kids to read about Christmas trees. The beginning narrative tells about a family who are out looking for the perfect Christmas tree and along the way the children learn facts about which trees are best, how they grow, the different types of Christmas trees and how to sprout pine tree seeds. The book contains interesting illustrations throughout to help kids identify the different types of trees.

Christmas Trees and How They Grow is very educational and might even teach adults a thing or two. Do you know how to find a pine tree’s seeds? How can you grow your own Christmas tree and how long will it take? How to people around the United States celebrate their Christmas trees? How can you set up a Christmas tree outside for the birds in the winter for feeding? Pick up this book to find out and settle in for a journey to learn about our truly amazing Mother Nature. Children will appreciate trees and forests  and understand how important they are after reading this book.

My edition is from 1961 and apparantly the only edition that’s available. It’s a previous library book, but it’s in fairly good shape for it’s age. It has a hard fabric cover. I ended up picking this up from a library book sale and what a find it is! You can find some real gems at sales which is why I love going to these sales so much. You never know what you’ll find.

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Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Christmas Trees and How They Grow by Glenn O. Blough – 1961”

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge: Day 3 – Tree Topper – Angel or Star?

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

For my third day I’m going with #8. Angel or star tree topper?

Growing up, my grandmother always put a star on our Christmas trees. She used the same one here in this picture below.

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I love that the star on top of the tree symbolizes the star of Bethlehem from the Nativity and we’ve always stuck with it. I do adore angels on trees whenever I see them and we might try doing that for a change one Christmas.

Every year since 2006 I’ve had LED lights on my tree. We are huge energy conservationists, but last year, our LED star took a dump and lost half its color. So, this year, I ended up purchasing a basic incandescent lighted star. Here it is below.

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I have to admit that I’ll never lose my admiration for traditional Christmas lighting. It has the most beautiful glow. This year, I cheated and added in some clear traditional along with red LED lights and LED color changing globes.

Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge: Day 3 – Tree Topper – Angel or Star?”

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge: Day 2 – Favorite Christmas Movie

 

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

This is my second day and I’m going with #7.

7. Favorite Christmas Movie

This has to be one of the most difficult questions because there are so many awesome Christmas movies that we watch every year. I’m going to give a short list and then list my absolute favorite of all time.

  • Elf
  • It Came Upon the Midnight Clear (Mickey Rooney)
  • Home Alone
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • A Christmas Story
  • A Christmas Carol (Original and Disney)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • The Polar Express
  • How The Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Rudolph, Frosty, Santa Claus is Coming to Town (you know, all those animated classics you used to have to wait for on local channels over the holidays).

There are so many wonderful Christmas movies and it’s hard to choose just one. This was a toss up between It Came Upon the Midnight Clear and Prancer. Because I’ve talked about It Came Upon the Midnight Clear before, I’m going to choose Prancer. This was filmed near my hometown and it’s always been dear to my heart. Little Jessica reminds me so much of my childhood and the movie itself takes me back in time. It’s such a beautiful movie I think anyone can enjoy.

Prancer (1989)


 

So there are some of my favorite Christmas movies. What about yours? Feel free to comment below or jump on board to participate in this amazing 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge. Spread some Christmas cheer!