Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Do you have your 7-day candle?  How about your list of things to bring into the new year?  I did a post on resolutions last year so I won't bore you with a repeat post.

I hope you all have at least one thing you want to carry over into 2012.  I know it was a rough year for a lot of us, but tomorrow is a brand new day!

So, remember the lessons learned along the way and make some happy plans for a good year to come.  Happy New Year my friends!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Better Homes and Gardens

 The cleaning is done, the pantry is stocked, and the presents wait patiently under the tree.  It's nearly time to go out visiting and admiring all the decorations.

I want to wish you all a very merry Christmas tomorrow!
Eat, drink and be merry!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime

The best, most exciting part of the Holiday season is here...Christmas Eve is tomorrow!  It's time for last minute wrapping and baking, organizing the gifts under the tree just so, tucking away the unused decorations and settling in with some yummy cocoa and holiday movies.  It's time for visiting with friends and family, enjoying all the decorations and hard work that was put into this Holiday.  The anticipation and good cheer abound!  Take a little pride in all you've accomplished and don't worry about the things that didn't get done.  Be merry and enjoy the Holiday in whatever way you choose to celebrate!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Holly and the Ivy

Yule, also known as the Winter Solstice, is the longest night of the year.  After the Solstice, the days begin to grow longer again as the Sun begins its return.  Yule is a time for introspection and planning of the future as well as a celebration of the rebirth of the Sun.

Customs and Activities:
  • caroling
  • burning the Yule log (or candle)
  • kissing under the mistletoe
  • baking sweets

red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange

  • Yule log (or candle)
  • evergreen boughs or wreaths
  • holly & mistletoe
  • candles
  • clove studded fruit
  • poinsettias
  • stars
  • stags

  • pork or poultry dishes
  • fruits & nuts
  • ginger tea
  • cookies
  • eggnog
  • cider

Scents of the season:
  • pine
  • cedar
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • peppermint
  • cinnamon

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...

Join me for a moment in a wonderful fairy tale land.

A magical place where it only snows from December to January.

The holidays are frosted in white sparkling snow and the air itself glitters with tiny falling snowflakes.  The scents of pine, rosemary, and peppermint linger everywhere in the cold, crisp air.  Everything is decorated and twinkles both day and night.  Happy people bustle about preparing for the celebrations ahead.  It's a place for scarves and mittens, thick sweaters and knit caps, hot chocolate and spiced cider.

The various holidays are celebrated with joy and the new year begins.

And just like that...the snow is gone.  Leaving everything clean and refreshed, ready to embrace the quiet time and patiently await the return of the Sun.

May your days be merry and bright!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

The decorations are up, the gifts are bought, wrapped and under the tree.  All that's left to do is plan the meal and clean.  I can't believe I'm almost done!  This time last week, the tree wasn't even decorated yet.  Well, I have had help from the family so I can't take the credit.  Every day when I got home from work more decorating had been done, what a nice surprise!

We are fast approaching crunch time, only 9 days left!  Less than that if you have company coming to stay!!  You can find my original crunch time post here, but if you've got company staying with you, there are a few extra things to be done.

Sleeping Arrangements - Where are you going to put those guests?  If you happen to have a guest room, this step is already done!  If not, you can always make a place in any extra room you may have (think den, office, craft room, etc.).  If at all possible, provide a bit of privacy for your guests, then just clear some space wherever you can for a "bed".  Any bed will do, futon, pull-out sofa, inflatable mattress.  If you truly have no extra space (like me) you may need to let your guests have the bedroom while you camp out somewhere else for the duration.  No matter where your guests are sleeping, there are still things to be done...

Pottery Barn

Amenities - Now that you have a place for your guests, make sure they have basic creature comforts like clean sheets, pillows and blankets.  Don't forget to provide towels and toiletries they don't have to hunt down.  Seriously, make sure there are things like cotton balls, Q-Tips, washcloths, hand soap, and toothpaste readily available.  They'll probably go through your bathroom cabinets anyway, but do you really want to give them a reason to?

Pottery Barn

Food & Drink - Of course you have everything planned for the big day, but what about the rest of the time?  Your guests are going to need to eat and drink before and after the holiday.  Plan on doubling your normal groceries.  Yes double!  There will be more people in your home for more hours of the day over the course of several days.  Trust me, you do not want to run out of something silly like coffee, milk or toilet paper as we get closer to the craziest food shopping day of the year.  Also, decide if you're going to serve your guests or let them rummage through your pantry.  Personally I believe in a self-serve kitchen (if you've been to my house more than twice or are staying more than a day, help yourself), but that means you need to CLEARLY mark anything that is specifically for the Christmas feast.

Martha Stewart

Personal Touches - Consider any special needs your guests may have.  Do they have dietary restrictions?  If so make sure to include items for them with your groceries.  Are they physically able to get in and out of a low bed?  If not, you're sleeping on that air mattress.  Do your guests smoke or have pets while you don't, or is it the other way around?  Decide now how you're going to handle this if it's an issue to avoid any problems or bad feelings.  Different sleeping patterns?  Come to a compromise on what time to be up on Christmas morning.

Southern Living

Entertainment - If your guests will be with you for more than one night this is also something to consider.  Show them how to work any home entertainment equipment you may have.  Everyone's remote is different.  Also, show them where the spare key is kept in case they need to run out for anything or just want to go for a walk in the morning.  You get the idea here, make them feel at home!

Southern Living

I know this seems like a lot.  But if you handle these things now, your holidays will be much more enjoyable for everyone.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Carol of the Bells

As I'm sure you've noticed by now, I've added a twinkly version of Carol of the Bells to my site for this festive season.  Since not everyone enjoys music on the blogs they visit, the player is at the very bottom of the page and can be paused so the music doesn't play.

Photo found on Tumblr here.

This, I think, begs the you prefer music, sound effects, or nothing at all when you visit a blog?  While on my visits around blog land, I've heard seasonal songs, favorite songs, wind chimes, and crackling fires. I like the idea of the ambient sounds vs. songs you hear on the radio, but that's just me.  I chose this version of the popular carol because there are no lyrics and it's more of a background sound.

So, tell me what you prefer!  Music, sounds, or nothing at all?


Friday, December 9, 2011

Deck the Halls...

...with Christmas decorations!  Just sharing a few pics from around my house this season.

If you haven't decorated yet, what are you waiting for?  It doesn't matter if you're the only one who will see them, drag out the boxes and bins and get started!

There's 2 weeks left to get in the spirit and enjoy this time of year.  So put up that tree, even a Charlie Brown one will do.

Hang up some snowflakes, put ornaments in a bowl, light a pretty candle.

Put on your favorite holiday music or movie while you decorate and before you know it, you'll be feeling like a kid again!

Fa la la la la, la la la la!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree...

Better Homes and Gardens
Happy December and welcome to the Holiday Season!

I don't know about you, but I just love this big fat Christmas tree.  I tried to put my artificial tree in my big cauldron as a "container", but the tree stand is just too big.  So, for this year at least, the stand is once again covered by a tree skirt.

I've seen, and implemented a lot of great decorating ideas this year.  The tree isn't decorated yet, but should be by the end of this weekend.  I honestly haven't decided if I'm going to get new ornaments or not this year.  Do you ever get tired of your ornaments too?

If all goes well I'll have some decorating photos for you next week.  But for now it's time to start getting some gifts to put under the tree!

~ Heathen