Other Christmas Scenes Around the House

Last week I shared our living room decked out for the holidays. Today I'll share a few other spots that got some holiday touches.  Our theme is slap lights, garland and wreaths on it. Boom. Christmas decorating done.

Let's start outside.  We need a few more lights.  Nate is sad that most of these strands are on their last leg. I'm happy because we can switch to warm lights!  The mixing of cool and warm makes me twitchy.

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I bought a big strand of fresh garland and chopped it up and threw it all over the house. Our house smells amazing.  And there are pine needles everywhere. (Thanks goodness for the Roomba!)

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Our dining room gets our family memories tree. I love it so much. There are ornaments from Nate and I's childhood, our wedding and now Clark's ornaments. It makes me so happy.  And sappy.

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I always try to keep the decor to a minimum during the holidays because our kitchen takes a holiday baking beating and I don't need anything else in my way!  

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Here's a large sneak peek of a project we completed this year in our basement.  I told you, nothing is safe from garland. 

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Lastly, here's our tree all lit up at night. We're actually going to have to turn the house lights on again in January.

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Did you get all of your decorating done? How about shopping? And baking?!?  I'm good to go except for the baking!

Peppermint Oreo Truffles

Merry Christmas Eve!  It's frigid here in Iowa. As in below zero frigid.   After I finish this post I am going to research real estate in Key West.  I think decorating a beach house would be fun.  Ike would love the year round walks.  Now if only we can get Nate on board.

We spent a lovely few days at my parents' house. We did some baking. I love baking. I mentioned earlier that I decided to actually record some of our favorites so I can easily find the recipes next year!

I whipped up these peppermint Oreo truffles.  

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As I was photographing them, my dad wanted me to be sure to mention that I didn't make the Oreos or the candy canes.  Always helpful.  So just so we're clear, I didn't make the Oreos. Or candy canes.  But I totally made all of the truffles.  And I ate all of the truffles.

Peppermint Oreo Truffles

This recipe is adapted from Kraft.

Peppermint Oreo Truffles {decor and the dog}

Enjoy!

Peppermint Oreo Truffles {decor and the dog}

We hope you all have a fantastic holiday!  We'll be back sometime next week!

Decor and the Dog
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Andes Mint Cookies

I have a confession.  I'm on a cookie only diet for the past 3 meals.  (True story.)  It's okay.  They're all from scratch.

I'm sure it's bound to catch up with me.  I am sort of craving a clementine.  Maybe I'll just drink some sangria?

I'm going to share some of my favorite holiday baking recipes over the next few days. Mainly so I don't have to dig through my mess of a recipe box next year.  Blog good. Recipe box bad.

First up are some Andes Mint cookies that are a family favorite of Nate's.  

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I always get nervous making family favorites.  I would really hate to screw them up.  I made my first batch of these for a cookie exchange hosted by NewlyWoodwards.  This recipe is perfect for cookie exchanges because it makes a lot (~80) and they package easily.

Andes Mint Cookies {decor and dog}

And they were so easy to make that I didn't screw them up.  Nate even thought they tasted like his mom's.  Excellent.

Andes Mint Cookies {decor and the dog}

They are also Santa approved.  Always important.

Now for the recipe.  Right click to print!

Andes Mint Cookies {decor and the dog}
Andes Mint Cookies {decor and the dog}
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Dare to DIY Features + Dog Art Giveaway

Happy Friday the 13th!  Last day of work for the week.  Yes!  Nate and I are headed to Chicago.  He surprised me with tickets to Elf the Musical.  We're both pumped.  Hopefully we can beat the snow!  We've never been to Chicago during the Winter so we'll so how tough we are.

Today I'd like to share with you features from Monday's Dare to DIY {Give Handmade} link party, a sneak peek of Monday's Dare to Deck the Halls project and an awesome giveaway.  Action packed post, right?

First up, the features.  There were seriously a ton of great ideas.  Be sure to check them all out right here!

I really loved this DIY novelty IPhone speaker from CeciBean.  It's beautiful!

DIY Novelty iphone speaker from CeciBean

Next up is this delicious looking lemon sugar scrub from Made2Style.  I'm kind of obsessed with body scrubs and this one's ingredients look like a winner to me!  

Lemon sugar scrub from Made2Style

Check out our Dare to DIY pinterest board for inspiration!  Wanna see the other co-hosts picks? Check them out at Maybe Matilda, Newlywoodwards and Primitive and Proper!

The party is over at NewlyWoodwards on Monday.  The challenge is Dare to Deck the Halls. 

"DIY something new to deck your halls. Did you find something in a catalog that you wish you had? Wreaths, stockings, pillows or advent calendars? Make it! Inspire us all to do the same."

Here's a peek at what I'm working on!

dare to deck the halls peek

And now it's time for a fun giveaway from a childhood friend's Etsy shop, Painfully Polite.  

Amanda and I grew up in the tiny town of Dayton, Iowa.  I don't talk about my hometown much but it was a pretty awesome town to grow up in.  800 people.  No stop lights.  One of those towns where you seriously know everyone and their families.  We ran the town until dark and then went home to have suppers with our families.  Us Dayton girls stick together.

Amanda is a graphic designer that is looking for a way to use her skills outside of work.  And I'm madly in love with her latest dog art. 

Amanda took this darling photo of the Ike-ster in his Charlie Be Good tie...

Charlie Be Good Tie

and turned it into this masterpiece!

ike by painfully polite

I die.

Ike's girlfriend, Daisy, got in on the action too.

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Daisy by painfully polite

TOO MUCH CUTENESS!!!

Would you like to win a masterpiece of your pup?  Amanda is kindly offering up a digital print for one lucky reader!  Be sure to check out the quirky collection of art available from Painfully Polite.  I know some of you will love this grammar art print.  Enter via rafflecopter below!

Happy weekend!

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Holiday Home Tour {Dining & Kitchen}

Welcome to the start of our holiday home tour!  Today I'm joining a lovely bunch of bloggers for a holiday home tour blog hop.  The Blogger Stylin' Home Tour organized by Lindsay {The White Buffalo Styling Co.} to be exact.  Be sure to stop by Craftberry Bush to see Lucy's beautiful home!

I'm going to share our holiday house tour in two parts.  I put so much time into decorating that it seems like a lot for only one post. (I also have focus issues and there were just way too many photos for one post.)  Today you can check out our dining room and kitchen.   You can then rest up and check out our living room tomorrow!

Holiday Home Tour- {decor and the dog}

Our dining room is sporting some red and plaid this holiday season.  I've been embracing the world of color since adding the yellow chairs to our farmhouse table.  I have to keep telling myself, "Color good."  It's been an adjustment but I love how the dining room is looking lately.

We have two trees that we put up each year.  We were worried there wouldn't be enough room for the tree we usually place in the dining room beings our new table is much larger than our old table.  The tree still fits in here snugly! 

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Our dining cart is sporting a little hot cocoa station up top along with my vintage Christmas tree.  The lower shelves hold my darling Pyrex and our wedding china.  The "antiques" sign is a recent addition.  More on that soon!

Holiday Home Tour- {decor and the dog}

You may remember my VW van with bottle brush tree place cards.  And the time I hosted a fake dinner party.  I mean, our Christmas tablescape.

Holiday Home Tour- Dinner Party

Moving onto the kitchen.  I like to keep things simple in the kitchen.  I'm a tidy person.  Our kitchen gets abused during the holidays and I don't need a bunch of extra junk in my way. 

Holiday Home Tour {decor and the dog}
Holiday Home Tour- Kitchen

I always add a poinsettia in the kitchen.  It's one of the few items that remains consistent in our holiday decor.  This year I slapped it into a metal bucket.  Classed the joint right up.

Holiday Home Tour {decor and the dog}

There are a few other pops of Christmas cheer.  My Santa cookie jar makes me happy. He's so jolly.   I make him guard my Kitchen Aid.  Like Santa isn't busy enough this time of year.  I have a berry tree hidden in the corner.  Color good.

Holiday Home Tour Kitchen

I love the view of our dining room from the kitchen.  My farmhouse-but-not-cheesy-farmhouse dreams are coming to life!

holiday home tour {decor and the dog}
Holiday Home Tour {decor and the dog}.  Lots of simple holiday decorating ideas!

***Update: Finish our home tour here!***

Head on over to The Curtis Casa to continue the blog hop!  I also recommend stopping by the whole big ol' list of fabulous homes!  Tons of great holiday inspiration!

Blogger Stylin' Home Tours Christmas 2013

Monday:

Lindsay - The White Buffalo Styling Co.

Roeshel - DIY Showoff

Jess and Monica - East Coast Creative

Laura - Finding Home

Jesse - Scout and Nimble

Sarah - Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

Angela - Number Fifty-three

Gwen - The Makerista

Brittany - Brittany Makes

 

Tuesday:

Ashley - The Handmade Home

Anneke - This, That, & Life

Gina - Shabby Creek Cottage

Cassie - Primitive & Proper

Caitlin - Desert Domicile

Jenna - Rain on a Tin Roof

Sarah - The Thriftress

Carolyn - Sweet Chaos Home

Jamie - So Much Better with Age

Shavonda - A Home Full of Color

 

Wednesday

Emily - Jones Design Company

Jamie - C.R.A.F.T.

Lucy - Craftberry Bush

Michelle - Decor and the Dog

Whitney - The Curtis Casa

Kristin - Bliss at Home

Summer - Simple Stylings

Sarah - Lacquer and Linen

Kelly - View Along the Way

 

Thursday:

 

Kennesha – Restoration House Interiors

Jenna - SAS Interiors

Chris - Just a Girl

Kelly - Eclectically Vintage

Michelle - Iron and Twine

Amanda - Our Humble Abode

Julia - Cuckoo 4 Design

Bethany - Dwellings by Devore

Lindsay - Makely Home

Jennifer - Dimples & Tangles

 

Friday:

Shauna - Perfectly Imperfect

Traci - Beneath My Heart

Jen - The Chronicles of Home

Jennifer - Tatertots and Jello

Kristin - Hunted Interior

Eileen - A Creative Day

Gabbi - Retro Ranch Reno

Shannon - Shannon Berry Design

Lakeitha - Lakeitha Duncan

Kristen - KFD Designs

Jessica - Dear Emmeline

Sarah - Royal Marigold

Carmel - Our Fifth House

 

Also, don't forget to link up your handmade gift idea in the Dare to Give Handmade link up!

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Simple Sangria Recipe

It's that time of year again.  The time where you have to find a way to deal with your family so you turn to booze.

I kid.  I kid.

I do, however, love to celebrate the holidays with a tasty sangria.  I love sangria because it's usually sweet and doesn't taste like alcohol.  (I'm one of those sissy girls.)  There aren't a lot of ingredients for sangria.   I also like sangria because it's pretty.  Always important.  Today I thought I'd share with you one of my holiday favorites.

Simple Sangria Recipe

Sangria is also ridiculously easy to make. It's one of those drinks that looks fancy/hard to make but totally isn't.

Holiday Sangria

Here are the ingredients for sangria:

  • 1 bottle white wine (cheap is always good for sangria)
  • 1/2-1 bottle sparkling apple cider or apple juice (both work. amount depends on how bubbly you like your sangria)
  • 2 clementines
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 1 Gala apple
  • 1-2 cups cranberries
Holiday Sangria

You will need to chop up your fruit.

Holiday Sangria
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Once you have your fruit all clean and chopped and sliced and diced, you will add it to a pitcher with the wine and cider.

Holiday Sangria

Look how pretty it is!  Look who finally learned how to use the DSLR!  *pats self on back*

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Chill in the fridge until you're read to serve.  You could mix this up over night.  I would probably wait to add the sparkling cider until just before serving if you are waiting that long.  (Make sure it's chilled!)

Holiday Sangria

Here's a handy dandy recipe for printing if you're into that sort of thing.

Click on the photos below for more holiday fun!

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Simple Sangria Recipe

Are you a sangria fan?  What's your holiday drink of choice?

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Holiday Mantel 2013: Nutcrackers Galore

I'm starting off the 2013 holiday season by sharing our mantel.  

Our mantel that is full of glittery gold and white nutcrackers.  Along with some elf stockings, garland and wood beads.  A very cohesive mix.  (Or something that makes me sound like I know what I'm doing when in reality I just throw stuff on the mantel until it looks decent enough.)

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I sure hope nutcrackers are friendly.  We have a whole army of them and I'm pretty sure they might murder us in our sleep some night.  These are the things that run through my head.  Totally rational thoughts. 

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Holiday 2013 Mantel

I whipped up some elf stockings. I really liked the burlap stockings that I made last year.  Turns out that burlap makes Nate and I feel all icky. I couldn't risk death by burlap AND nutcrackers.  Safety first.

I'm kind of obsessed with the elf stocking look.  They are quirky.  I might put together a tutorial for these if I get my act together.   So probably not.

I also made some wood bead garland.  It was super easy.  Ike helped me make it.  Seriously. I might do a post on that too.

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We bought real garland this year.  We have artificial trees so this gives us that glorious tree smell.  Mmmm, tree.

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It also makes a giant mess.

Worth it.

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Check out our mantels circa 2011 and 2012.  

Linking up to Our Fifth House and Ten June!

Be sure to share your Dare to DIY entertaining project with us today!

What's your mantel looking like this year?  Anyone else terrified of being murdered by holiday decorations?

***Pssst. Looking for a holiday gift idea?  There are few flannel infinity scarves left in the shop!***  

 

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Bottle Brush Tree Place Card {Dare to DIY}

How was everyone's weekend?  We had a great time with both of our families.  Ike is tuckered out.  I won't be hungry again until Christmas.  All is well.

Today is the second Dare to DIY party for 2013.  The always lovely Rachel {Maybe Matilda} is this week's host.  I can't wait to see what DIY entertaining shenanigans you all came up with!

We actually don't do a ton of entertaining during the holidays.  Time just slips away before we realize we should host something.  As a Dare to DIY host, I'm not allowed to wuss out on the challenge so I decided to get whip up a charming place card.

Bottlebrush tree on car place card

Like every cliche blogger, I've become obsessed with bottle brush trees.  If you live in a cave (Hi, Mom!!!), these trees are usually shoved into Mason jars.  I decided to use mine as a place card.  Because everyone needs to know where to sit at a fake dinner party. 

I picked up the VW bus at Walmart in the toy section.  The trees are from Joann's.  I had the Baker's twine from last year.

I invited Ike to the pretend dinner party!

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He was pumped.

I decided to set the table for a quick imaginary party.  It's good to use my China for something, right?

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I wanted to keep the setting relaxed and blogger cliche.  I added a simple white napkin and our regular Mason jar drinking glasses on top of some flannel.  As if Mason jar glasses weren't enough, I added a paper straw.  What kind of blogger would I be without paper straws?  Black and white straws would have been better but I failed to plan ahead.

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Ike supervised the set up.

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I decided to take this whole thing over the top and shove a bottle brush tree and some Epsom salt in a Mason jar.  They make me smile.  Smiling is my favorite.

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The little vans with bottle brush trees also add to the centerpiece.  Aren't they charming?  We also bought a real little tree for the centerpiece.  We'll hopefully plant this guy outside in the Spring.  If Spring returns.  I feel like this may turn out to be the longest Winter ever.  And it's only December.

Christmas Centerpiece.jpg

Our dining room is looking quite festive.  I can't wait to share with your our newest addition to the dining room this week!

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Now it's time to see what my lovely co-hosts whipped up!  It's always fun to see what how we each tackle these dares!

 

 

Dare to Entertain

(Festive VW bus place cards via Decor and the Dog, Kraft paper runner and table via Maybe Matilda (TODAY'S HOSTESS), Blue Ball jar snowscapes via NewlyWoodwards, Gilded animal place cards via Primitive and Proper)

Now it's time for you to share your Dare to Entertain project!  I can't wait to read through all of them!  Head on over to Maybe Matilda and get to sharing!  One person that links up has the chance to win holiday cards from Tiny Prints!

 

Dare to Do It Yourself Link Party

Did you dare to entertain?  Are you obsessed with bottle brush trees and flannel like I am?

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A Reminder and Sneak Peek

I always have to Google "Sneak Peek" to make sure I pick the right "peek".  I must remember "peak" is like the mountain.  Moving on.  

First, I installed Disqus to possibly help with the commenting woes since transferring to Squarespace.  It'll probably cause more problems (like none of my old comments transferred (working on it)) but let's give it a shot.  Let me know if you have problems.  Social media or e-mail me if you do! 

Next, I wanted to remind you all that Monday is the first link up for Dare to DIY!

Dare to DIY 2013

The link party will go live on Monday morning over at Primitive and Proper.  Cassie is seriously one of my favorite people.  I think you should head on over to her blog and check out some of her projects.  You know, get to know the hostess before you show up to the party.

Here are the full details in case you have forgotten.

Party Date: Monday, Nov. 25

(Link goes live Monday morning at Primitive and Proper)

Dare to… be thankful!

DIY a Thanksgiving project to remind you to be grateful during this season. Ideas include a Thanksgiving advent calendar, artwork or banners.

There are also prizes!  One of you will win 1 artisan enhancement 8 oz leaf and foil, 1 artisan enhancement 8 ounce clear topcoat, 1 copper gilding wax, 1 silver gilding wax  and 15 feet of foil from Catfish Studio.

Here's a sneak peek at my project.  Thankful is a tough one but it's good to step outside of our comfort zone every now and then and just create!

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The suspense.

Nate and I are also finishing up a project for our dining room.  It's so pretty and I can't wait to share!

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More suspense.

Here is a sneak peek at what Ike will be working on this weekend.

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There is absolutely no suspense there.

Happy weekend!  I can't wait to see what you craft up for Monday!