oh, the decorations. the food. the fun.

the christmas season was a whirlwind of food, birthdays, fun, family, friends, stress, gifts, and did i mention food?  we were lucky to host at our house on both christmas eve and christmas day.  we just wrapped up all the christmas celebrations this past friday, the 30th.  the decorations are almost all down and we are all getting back to our normal routines.  getting back to the simple day to day routines is so calming.

i wanted to recap our month while it is still fresh.

many gifts were made.  painted totes for a lot of my little cousins.

glass etched jars filled with homemade dark chocolate cocoa, chocolate chips, and crushed peppermint were given out to our friends and the people that work with the husband.  also our families each received jars with a personalized touch.  i became a little obsessed with glass etching and am pretty sure this won’t be my last project.  if you are interested in a tutorial, just let me know.

during a trip to my hometown before the holidays my stepmom and i found a love for all things “sparkle.”  we, without prior conversation, coordinated very well.  her with her glitter tights and me with my glitter shoes.  this pictures makes me smile.

oh the decorations.  i don’t enjoy decorating as much as many of the bloggers i read do.  i really love simple living.  not a lot of knick-knacks.  so as you can imagine christmas decorating kinda unsettles me. i tried to find a balance between simple and festive.

christmas eve is my younger brothers birthday.  we were so excited to have him and his wife over to celebrate on his actual birthday.

for the birthday boy there was his favorite cake and a pinata filled with gift cards and his favorite candies.

we had two trees this years.  one fake that i put up before thanksgiving in our wood stove sunroom..  my cousins from georgia came up for thanksgiving and we celebrated christmas then.  it was my first fake tree and was a lot of work.  my slight ocd was working overtime while fluffing each branch.

i made an impromptu card hanger by stringing red ribbon from door opening to door opening in our kitchen.  this wall won’t be bare for long so i thought i would take advantage.  i loved seeing all our cards right as i walked into our home.

our dining room french doors got a little spruced up.  this idea came completely from pinterest. it was easy and gave the perfect simple decor to our dining room and foyer.

our banister was draped with real pine spruce garland.  the foyer mirror with a real frasier fir wreath.  the smell coming off the wreath filled this area and was one of my favorite decorations.

a simple jar filled with red christmas balls in the kitchen.

little touches of red in our guest bathroom.  this wreath and red towels actually go in the upstairs guest bathroom.  bringing them downstairs and adding peppermint soap and lotion gave the room a holiday feel for not any extra money.

our living room hosted our real frasier fir, north carolina mountain grown christmas tree.  for the mantel i used a cedar pine garland with leftover christmas balls throughout.  i highly recommend the shatterproof glass balls.  during the year i have pictures of the husband and myself, the pups, and cat up on the mantel  i wanted something “holiday” without being over the top.  i found a photograph that my husband took last winter when we were in the mountains for christmas.  is it snowy and white and more “winter” than christmas.  i printed it off and used a frame i already had.  voila, a inexpensive christmas mantel.

i found these hand carved deer at a thrift store along with the huge christmas ball.  both finds made me very excited.  the deer were $1.50 and the ball was $.25.

one of my favorite gifts this year … my boston red sox ornament.  we try to get ornaments from all the places we travel too.  in boston we forgot.  while putting up the tree i mentioned i was sad that we didn’t have an ornament represented that trip.  mostly because it was one of our best vacations.  a few days later this guy popped up on the tree.  sigh.  i love my husband.

over my kitchen sink i place another frasier fir wreath.  another pinterest idea coming to life.

wreaths with red bows on all the windows with a simple white light.  it has taken me three years to acquire enough wreaths for all of our windows.  (i refuse to buy full price!)  it was well worth the wait.

the chicken run got a bit festive.

our front pillars.

and, of course, the land rover needed a little christmas spirit.

food.  food.  food.  we hosted both christmas eve and christmas day.  to keep me sane and our budgets from going overboard we chose to make a huge pan of lasagna for each day.  along with lots of finger foods and a couple desserts.   making lasagna was perfect because i could make it ahead of time and then an hour before time to eat just put in the oven.  this meant i wasn’t in the kitchen cooking, instead i was enjoyed our guests.

i had a hot chocolate station (another pinterest idea!)  i made a slow cooker hot chocolate.  then in jars i had marshmallows, peppermint sticks, candy canes, whipped cream, and peppermint schnapps.

cheese logs are mandatory for a holiday party.

festive caprese toothpicks.  heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil.  drizzled with balsamic vinegar.  easy, pretty, and yummy.

milo spent both parties inside entertaining our families.

he was a fan of all the wrapping paper.  too funny mister milo bojangles.

did i mention pinatas?  the birthday boy had one that he knocked open with one swing.

then we had a christmas one for the christmas day crowd.

we were both spoiled by our families and each other.  even our pets got tons of  love.  sam hogging both toys.  one is for martha stewart but she doesn’t really understand toys which works out well for our “i want every toy to fit in my mouth” golden retriever.

milo got a catnip stogie.  it was a huge hit for everyone.  laughing so hard tears come to your eyes  is always a beautiful thing.

i hope you all had a holiday season filled with laughter and love.