Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Almost New Year!

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I hope you are having (had) a great celebration wherever you are! We are having a nice leisurely evening getting ready to celebrate a wonderful new year!

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Enjoy the rest of 2012!

New Years Eve

Good morning and a happy New Years Eve. Can you believe the year is over? I feel like it just flew by.

Do you have some wonderful plans for the night, or will you be staying and celebrating quietly? I personally have never been a big fan of New Years Eve parties, or big parties of any kind. I love small, intimate dinners with friends, including great desserts, good food, and a glass of champagne and wonderful conversations.

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My plans for today are quiet, I am in for the day, with a good book and some time with family and friends. Tonight we will ring in the new year in front of the fire with some champagne and a movie. I am sure to many this sounds boring, be we are worn out from all of the travel, guests and the holidays.

I wish you a very, Happy New Year. Thank you for visiting here when you can and for your comments, advice, suggestions, constructive criticism and your friendship. I have enjoyed following  you and your blogs and look forward to learning so much more from you this year.

Enjoy your night as you ring in the New Year and be safe.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Silent Sunday 12-30-2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Squeezing a Little More From Christmas

Good morning! How are you? Did you have a wonderful Christmas? Mine was great, busy, sometimes wild, but a lot of fun.

I am worn out, to say the least. My husband and I and our dog are a pretty low key family of three. But this past week and for several more days we have an extra dog, a tween, two kids under 5, and six additional adults in the house. To say that things are a little crazy would be a massive understatement. 

We have logged miles and miles walking the beach and the neighborhood, sung a ton of Christmas carols, unwrapped more presents than we can count and consumed more calories than I can even say.

I am taking a few days to enjoy my family and to squeeze  little more out of our Christmas adventures. 

Image from Nest of Posies Blog

I hope that you have a wonderful week! I would love to hear about your Christmas fun, what did you do, and eat and were you getting the last of the Christmas bargains?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas dear friends! I hope you enjoy a wonderful day! Thank you for your visits to Pine Cones and Acorns, your friendship, encouragement and always kind comments. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve
Albert S Reakes

Lanterns burn and bells are ringing.
To the woods the children go,
Picking evergreens and bringing,
Holly boughs with mistletoe.
Twilight comes as day is ending,
Then around the Yule log fire,
Young and old, their voices blending,
Carol in a tuneful choir

To mankind the revelation
Of the light that came to earth,
Joining in the celebration
Of the Savior's lonely birth.
May the lone, the sad, the stranger
joy and blessedness receive;
come and worship at the manger---
This is the call of Christmas Eve.

Creche Notre Dame 2011

I hope you are having a wonderful, long weekend enjoying your family and friends. I am so incredibly happy to be surrounded with family, sad that one of my sisters could not come but happy that the rest of us are together. We are doing all of the things we love to do, bake, eat, shop, go for long walks and bike rides, watch movies, read magazines, and just be together. 

I wish you a very Merry Christmas Eve! Have a blessed and happy day! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thinking of Christmas Breakfast

Good morning! My guests arrive tonight(if they are not delayed by the storm) and I am so excited! I have baked, primped the house and fluffed the pillows now it is time to sit back and relax, make new memories and enjoy family traditions.

Coffee Cake

Christmas Enchiladas

The only thing I have not planned is Christmas breakfast, I think that is because I do not eat breakfast and do not like breakfast foods. But it is not about me...

Grits and Green Casserole

Overnight Coffee Cake

I have been perusing Pinterest and my stack of magazines to get a few ideas and of course I have a few sweet ideas in my collection. 

Apple Pancakes

Holiday Strata

What do you make and eat on Christmas morning? Do you make a casserole, eggs, waffles, muffins, or something else? 

Christmas Breakfast

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake made by ME!

Do you make your breakfast ahead? If you have some great casserole ideas with eggs let me know, I am looking for a savory dish for my guests. 

Cinnamon Cocoa Coffee Cake Made by me

I hope you are ready for the holidays and are relaxing and enjoying the season. Be safe if you are in the path of the storm and have a great day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Smiles

Good morning! I do not know about you but I could really use a few more days to get ready for Christmas! I am getting a little tired from trying to do WAY too much. 

So last night I made a decision, I am done baking, wrapping, and getting ready. 

My family is coming to see me, not how clean my house is or how many dozens of cookies I made.  

I am going to spend some time enjoying the Christmas smiles around my house and while I am out and about!

How are things at your house? Are you done baking and wrapping?

Or are you already relaxing and enjoying a few Christmas movies, glasses of eggnog and some evening cookies by the fire?

How do you relax during this last hectic week? Or do you wait until the holiday is over for that?

I hope that you find time to revel in the spirit of the season. Enjoy your family and friends because that is truly what it is all about! 

Have a fabulous day!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Favorite Christmas Books

Good morning! Only a week until Christmas! I am so excited, like a kid in a candy store! I have been baking up a storm since last week, and have made cookies, breads, bars, candies and caramel corn. I might be experiencing a little sugar overload at this point.

In addition to all of my baking I have also been listening to lots of holiday music, watching a few holiday classics, enjoying the decorations and of course reading my favorite Christmas books.

I love rereading all of my favorites, Miracle on 34th Street, Charles Dickens Christmas Carol and so many more. Do you have some holiday books that you return to year after year? Or some that you love to read to your children or grandchildren?

My favorite thing to do at the end of a long day is sit by the Christmas tree with a cup of cocoa, a pile of books, Christmas magazines or letters and cards and read and enjoy the magic of Christmas. 

It really is "the little things in life." I hope that you take the time to enjoy your family, friends and the spirit of the holidays. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Cookies: Coconut Pecan Tarts

Good morning, how are you? I hope that you had a good weekend. If I am totally honest I found it to be a very difficult weekend, for I could not forget the beautiful faces of those lost in in Connecticut. I simply cannot wrap my mind around  this tragedy. My thoughts and prayer go out to the families and the town. 

I found myself reflecting and relaxing and of course baking to get ready for my family. I am so excited to be able to be with them at this most sacred time of the year. We will be baking, eating, wrapping and then opening presents, playing games and doing puzzles and so much more. 

What did you do this weekend? Did you bake? Wrap gifts? Shop? or relax? Will you be traveling or having guests?

One of the many, many things I made this weekend were these little cookies, they are similar to pecan tassies and very easy to make, not to mention delicious!

Coconut Pecan Cookie Tarts
Recipe from Southern Living Magazine

Tart Dough
1 cup butter softened
2 (3oz) packages of cream cheese
1 cup sweetened coconut
2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Whisk all filling ingredients together until blended.

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until creamy, stir in coconut. Gradually add flour and beat at low speed until incorporated.  Shape into 36 balls and chill for one hour. Place dough balls into lightly greased mini-muffin tins and shape to fit. Spoon in filling and bake at 350 for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 250 and bake for an additional 10 or more minutes until filling is set. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, and then remove from pan and cool completely.

I also made some fabulous Salted Caramel Bark and if you would like the recipe you can visit my other blog Once Upon a Chocolate Life.

Enjoy your day and the spirit of the season. 

Linking to:

Stone Gable
Savvy Southern Style
Rattlebridge Farm

Friday, December 14, 2012

Paris at Christmas

Hello and good morning! It is a great day! I finally have all of my household problems fixed, the heat is on keeping us toasty while the temperatures have gone down to the 30's and 40's. And the Internet and TV is back on line, so I can catch up on my work, email, and current events. 

Although it was more than frustrating, it allowed me to get a jump on my baking, I have made sugar cookies, rugulach, snowballs, banana bread, pumpkin bread, and a 3 gallon tin of Amish caramel corn. Today I am making "fairy food", chocolate salami, and three other cookies that are yet to be determined. 

As I mentioned I have been in Paris for the last week. It is one of my favorite places in the world and I have been traveling there at least once a year since I was a teenager. The last few years we have gone in December and it is magical.

This year the weather was a little of everything, sun, rain, snow and certainly winter cold but it is still my favorite time of the year visit. 

I love the Christmas decorations, the lights, the window decorations, the Christmas markets and the Christmas spirit, add that to the beauty of Paris on any given day and you are in for something special. 

This year my mother, step-daughter and her boyfriend came along for the adventure. My mom has been almost as many times as I but for my step-daughter and her boyfriend it was the first. I think having them along allowed my husband and I to see so many sights with fresh eyes, and wonder. 

We stayed in the same hotel we have stayed the last 19 years and it was like visiting family, the tree already in the small lobby and decorations in your room. A warm and homey place to come back to after a long day out seeing the sights.

I tell you all about the places we went and the things we saw on another day but I will tell you that one of the highlights was the engagement of my step-daughter. Her boyfriend had called a few weeks before to get ask her dad for her hand in marriage and told us a few of his plans, so it wasn't a surprise for us but is was for her.

 He took her out for the day and they ended on the lock bridge where you go an place a lock with your names or initials and then throw the key into the Seine. 

He had made a lock that was engraved on one side with their initials and on the other it said will you marry me? Then he got down on one knee and gave her a beautiful ring. I wasn't there so I cannot tell you all of the details but I can tell you that she said yes, they are very happy and the wedding is being planned as I write this. 

I hope that your week is going well and that you have some magical holiday plans for the weekend, perhaps sitting with a mug of cocoa by your tree with a good book and a book, or a baking session, or a party. Whatever you do, be safe, enjoy and revel in the magic of the season.