Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fortune Cookie

Powerful words from such a small package. But, it's true. The only thing in life that we really can control is ourselves and our own, personal view of the world. This fortune from our New Year's Eve dinner at the Chinese restaurant says it all! Cheers to a Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

It's the little things

Sometimes the smallest things can make a big difference. Like this new runner we bought for the hallway where the bedrooms are. I thought it looked just fine without it, but then decided to get this on a whim today, and I really like how it warms up the area but still exposes the beautiful floors (as well as the base moldings that still require painting...).

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas all around the house

I'm not sure if it's because we are in a new home this year, or if it's all of the wonderful inspiration from blogs and Pinterest (or likely both!), but I think I am the happiest I've been in a while with Christmas decor in our home. Before we moved, we lived in the same home for many years. All of the decor I had purchased were specifically for different spaces in our former home. Now, we're in a new place, and not all of it "fits" in the same way, and I found I was wanting to switch things up a bit anyway. I went for a lot more fresh greenery this year. I am so happy with the boxwood wreathes we got at Trader Joe's. They are a few weeks old now, and are still bright, vibrant green. I also used paperwhites, and ivy topiares from TJ's and they look beautiful in the dining room window under the wreath. As far as the Christmas tree goes- it's the best one we've had in a LONG time. This is one of the first years we have not gone to a tree farm to hand-select and cut ourselves. Instead, we went to Stone House Nursery in Wyckoff (one of my most favorite places around Bergen county), and bought a pre-cut Frasier Fir there. Even Greg has said over and over what a perfect Christmas tree it is. This year's tree is slightly slimmer than previous years, so we chose to put only our most favorite ornaments on it. Many of our ornaments we received as gifts throughout the years, and many of them have been passed down from my mother. Beautiful, vintage, shiny and vibrant ornaments of so many shapes and colors that it was hard to pick which go on the tree, and which stay in the boxes for another time. We also decided to put a wreath in every window of the house outside, and it really looks pretty. Each wreath has a classic red velvet bow. I think it will stick with the fresh, green theme for many years to come!

Paperwhites along the window sill in the Dining Room. I love having a shed to place a wreath on too!
Love these boxwood wreaths from Trader Joe's. I put a bright green ribbon on it.
Our tree
Mom's ornaments.
The buffet in the dining room. I like how you can see the tree in the mirror on the opposing wall 
Santa on the Chalkboard shelf in the kitchen!
More greens and a wreath from Trader Joe's
My adorable baking companion frosting cookies for Santa tonight!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Praline Pecan Crunch

Looking for the easiest Christmas treat to make and enjoy over the holidays? One that does not involve hours of laborious dough prep and rolling and cutting and frosting? Look no further, this Praline Pecan Crunch is the best stuff ever! My Mom gave my sister and I this recipe, and she and I both agree it's the gold standard of crowd-pleasers when it comes to holiday goodies. We have yet to find one person who doesn't gush over it and ask for the recipe. It's SO EASY too. The funny thing, is that this recipe begins with ingredients that are relatively healthy, but quickly takes a turn to the dark side with lots of sugar. But, hey it's the holidays! You have permission to indulge!!

Praline Pecan Crunch:

1 16 oz package of Quaker Oatmeal Squares Cereal (8 cups)
2 Cups Pecan Pieces
1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup
1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup butter (1/2 stick)
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Heat oven to 250 F. Combine cereal and pecans in a 13x9 pan, and set aside.
Combine corn syrup, brown sugar, and butter in a 2 cup microwaveable bowl and microwave in short intervals while stirring ingredients until they come to a boil (maybe 1 minute, then stir, and then one more minute, etc).
Stir in vanilla and the baking soda. Pour this over the cereal and coat all of the pieces evenly.
Bake for 1 full hour, stirring this mixture every 20 minutes.
Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool
Break into pieces and serve it up!

I put one cup servings into cello treat bags, and brought them in to the office for my friends at work...


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